Nixon's The One!

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1960 United States presidential election

← 1956 November 8, 1960 1964 →

537 members of the Electoral College
269 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout 62.8% Increase 2.2 pp

Nominee Richard Nixon John F. Kennedy
Party Republican Democratic
Home state California Massachusetts
Running mate Robert Anderson Lyndon B. Johnson
Electoral vote 296 226
States carried 33 15
Popular vote 34,794,820 33,535,185
Percentage 50.6% 48.7%

Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Nixon/Anderson, blue denotes those won by Kennedy/Johnson, orange denotes the electoral votes for Byrd/Thurmond by Alabama and Mississippi unpledged electors, and a vote for Byrd/Goldwater by an Oklahoma faithless elector. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Elected President

Richard Nixon

What if Richard Nixon managed to win the 1960 presidential election?

Point of Divergence

Nixon decides to select Treasury Secretary Robert Anderson of Texas as his running mate, hoping his southern roots and defection from the Democratic Party would draw dissatisfied southern Democrats to his campaign. Albeit a drab speaker, Anderson does not make the same gaffes that Lodge made, namely when Lodge pledging that Nixon would appoint a black member of his cabinet.

In October, Nixon, believing his gains in the south would hold strong regardless, made a phone call to the imprisoned Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and made a public statement the following morning. Standing with President Eisenhower, Nixon compared King's arrest to communist authoritarianism and an attack on the constitution, and demanded King's immediate release from jail. While Kennedy called King shortly after Nixon, Nixon had already swept up media coverage of his support for the reverend. Upon release, King praised both Nixon and Kennedy for their support and did not endorse either candidate, however some interpreted his stronger praise of Nixon as a tacit endorsement. Nixon's affirmation of support for civil rights increased his support among northern moderates and black voters, however polling in the days following showed his momentum in the south ground to a halt. Nevertheless, Nixon continued his "50 state campaign" and toured states that hadn't been contested in decades, or in some cases, a century.

On election day, the Nixon/Anderson ticket bested Kennedy/Johnson, taking 296 electoral votes to Kennedy's 226.