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When did OTL leaders become 'plausible'?

Indicus

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Manmohan Singh was, prior to becoming Prime Minister of India, a respected economist who served as finance minister during the early nineties, in which he was credited for transitioning India to a free market economy. After the shock Indian National Congress win in the election of 2004, everyone thought that its leader Sonia Gandhi would become PM, but there was furor over her foreign birth and dubious qualifications, and this caused her to select the respected figure Manmohan Singh instead.

Of course, this didn’t stop the opposition from alleging that Manmohan Singh was little more than a puppet of Sonia Gandhi and a benchwarmer for her son.
 

Walpurgisnacht

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I think if Biden ran in 2016 you basically get one of three options - he squeezes Hillary out of the race and Sanders registers as a footnote in American political history now that the bogeyman isn't the presumptive nominee, Hillary stays in and you get a drawn-out brawl between the two over what would basically amount to differences in personality and whether a woman should get the nomination, or (this is the least likeliest) Hillary drops out and the small-P progressives that backed her simply because it time a woman got the nomination back Sanders against Creepy Joe Biden, Sanders once again does well with young voters, and you get a 2016-esque primary result.
There is, of course, a fourth situation where Sanders backs out deciding not to run against his friend, and another member of the progressive wing (maybe Warren, given her poor relationship with Diamond Joseph) decides to take a tilt at it, and becomes the left's standard bearer...
 

Francisco Cojuanco

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I think for a Philippine figure, Noynoy Aquino became the inevitable President of the 2010 election (or at least someone who would make it very close) on his more famous mother's death in 2009. Before the exposure he got, he was a reasonably prominent Senator, but in fact his party had nominated Mar Roxas for the position before a bunch of cajoling and lobbying got Roxas to withdraw from his own ticket and endorse Noynoy instead. So if Cory Aquino dies a bit later, say just months before the election, you're likely to either hqve Roxas win (on the sympathy coming from Cory's death) or Arroyo gets replaced by either Manny Villar or the return of Joseph Estrada (who were largely seen as the frontrunners as recently as a year before the election).

Each of the originally plausible candidates would have left us with a very different Philippines in the 2010s - Villar, while still somewhat corrupt, was at the time seen as relatively clean, while to some degree Estrada would be a proto-Duterte, but with much less willingness than either Noynoy or Duterte to fight the Church.
 

Nomad

Well-known member
I wonder who had 'Winston S. Churchill' as 'next leader of the Conservative Party' in the Cabinet office sweepstakes in 1938 or even 1939.

Similarly, I wonder who had 'Harry S. Truman' as 'next Democrat President' in the West wing sweepstakes in 1941.

They must have won a fucking fortune!
Baldwin once remarked something along the lines of 'we need to keep Winston in reserve as our wartime PM', so it's likely that some considered a Churchill Premiership to at least be an outside possibility in the years before the war.
 
Baldwin once remarked something along the lines of 'we need to keep Winston in reserve as our wartime PM', so it's likely that some considered a Churchill Premiership to at least be an outside possibility in the years before the war.
At the start of the time period Arfur is talking about, there were moves by Central Office to de-select him. Had there been a post-Munich snap election, it's quite possible this might have happened.
 

Arthur_Phuxache

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Baldwin once remarked something along the lines of 'we need to keep Winston in reserve as our wartime PM', so it's likely that some considered a Churchill Premiership to at least be an outside possibility in the years before the war.
Yes, but if a government is going to extraordinary lengths to appease your most recent enemy nation state, that war isn't going to be declared.
 
I've always found Douglas-Home to be an interesting one, when would people say his crossover point into plausibility was?
It is another one of those cases which became plausible pretty much when it happened.

The process, in so far as you can describe it as one, was basically rigged in Home's favour at a time when Macmillan was largely out of the loop in hospital, so naturally it wasn't really expected until it happened.
 

Nomad

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Yes, but if a government is going to extraordinary lengths to appease your most recent enemy nation state, that war isn't going to be declared.
This only works if there was a consensus pursuing appeasement meant that there was little to no chance of war-which there wasn't at the time. Yes, a lot of people supported appeasement, but there was also a feeling that war was still a distinct possibility, hence why the issue came to dominate UK politics for several years prior to 1939.
 

Arthur_Phuxache

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This only works if there was a consensus pursuing appeasement meant that there was little to no chance of war-which there wasn't at the time
Coalition Governments with huge majorities don't change their centrepiece foreign policy strategy on a whim until public humiliation forces them to.

Churchill could easily have been sacked from his Cabinet position for his poor conduct of the Norwegian campaign in April-May 1940.

Hore-Belisha was sacked for far far less.

Most people in the Conservative Party would have been glad to see the back of him.

Churchill didn't even become Tory party leader until FIVE MONTHS after becoming PM, of course, which showed popular he was in his own party (not very)
 
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Nomad

Well-known member
Coalition Governments with huge majorities don't change their centrepiece foreign policy strategy on a whim until public humiliation forces them to.
Yes, but that eventuality was not unexpected at the time, given that war over was widely expected over Czechoslovakia immediately prior to Munich, and Germany had already reneged on several peace agreements in the recent past.
Churchill could easily have been sacked from his Cabinet position for his poor conduct of the Norwegian campaign in April-May 1940.
I'm not sure how relevant this point is. The argument is not that Churchill's rise to power was inevitable (it wasn't) but that it would not have been seen as a totally unexpected development in the years leading up to it. Plus people could hardly be expected to predict the Norway campaign and Churchill's role in it during the 1938/39 period you were initially talking about.
Most people in the Conservative Party would have been glad to see the back of him.

Churchill didn't even become Tory party leader until FIVE MONTHS after becoming PM, of course, which showed popular he was in his own party (not very)
But on the other hand, it was clear that the circumstances of a war with Germany would lend themselves to a Prime Minister who was not associated with the failed policy of appeasement. Even before the war began, that fact would have been fairly obvious-indeed, it was exactly what Baldwin's comments were alluding too.

Plus it's not as if Churchill was the first person to have been PM without the support of large sections of his own party. In fact, that exact situation had occurred twice in the two decades prior to 1939.
 
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Kato

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Its something of a personal hobby horse of mine, by I always wonder how Liberal Edwardian-era Churchill was seen in terms of potential future leadership material.

Like pre-war Lloyd George he was a dangerous radical who the right of his own party mistrusted, never mind the Tories. Good thing the Baltic Project Gallipolli safely ended his career.
 

Ciclavex

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Americans, correct me if I'm wrong, but I get the feeling that Biden became a 'plausible' president very soon after Trump won simply because he didn't run in 2016 and so worked as a "he coulda won" figure. If he'd actually run for the candidacy, he'd be squeezed out by Clinton and Sanders and What If Biden Was President would be a tongue-in-cheek AH thing that isn't taken too seriously.




I do need to reread their PM Johnson stuff now we've actually got him.
Joe Biden has been at the very least a possible dark horse candidate for the Democratic nomination in every cycle since 1984, and a plausible enough candidate for the nomination in every cycle since 1988, with the exceptions of 1996, 2000 (where even here I think he's back in possible dark horse territory and is one of the few Democrats who could launch a plausible though very unlikely Please Not Gore) and 2012. I intentionally include 2016 from this; he would have definitely given Clinton a run for her money, and, since both splits the moderates, probably cleans up a healthy chunk of the Obama Loyalists and he probably sweeps up the Please Not Clinton vote instead of Sanders, he has a very good chance of winning the nomination.

The thing is that in 2008 and 1988 he just fucked it up, which meant that it's also quite possible that he just fucks it up in any other primary race he runs in throughout the 1984-2020 period, including this one. And, in terms of inevitability, he didn't seem like the inevitable candidate this year until a surprisingly late date considering that he thoroughly and utterly dominated the 2020 primary process, though in retrospect it was obviously his to lose -- but, again, given his record, that doesn't mean he doesn't lose it.

When Vladimir Putin became Prime Minister in 1999 few expected him to stay long. He was the fifth PM in 18 months and was generally seen as a rather colorless individual. The front-runner to succeed Yeltsin was former PM Yevgeny Primakov. Then the apartment bombings and the Second Chechen War happened. Putin demonstrated that he was a capable leader, and his popularity rose until he was the favorite to succeed Yeltsin.
Considering some of the credible allegations that have come out about that period, there's a distinct possibility that Putin was made to look like a capable leader with intention and forethought. Even if you discount the most extreme allegations, that the apartment bombings were an inside job to trigger a war in Chechnya - which I tend to be somewhat skeptical of myself, though I find myself unable to discount them - and just go with the idea that Putin's role was specifically and intentionally bigged up by Yeltsin and his own men in preparation to try to hand over power to him as part of a deal to prevent their own prosecution by the next administration. Considering how well Putin cleaned up for and covered over his previous boss' sins in St. Petersburg before, the idea of him being brought in by Yeltsin to do exactly that but for him this time is very plausible indeed.

But none of that, of course, changes that he seemed to come completely out of nowhere to being one of the most powerful men on Earth for the next two decades. His eventual ascension to the Russian presidency was probably entirely unforeseeable even four years earlier.
 

ShortsBelfast

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The thing is, there are people who aren't plausible candidates in any serious TL because they were some combination of maverick, untrustworthy, didn't play well with others, veering all over the place politically ( no matter where the Overton window is you just aren't going to have an Oswald Mosley, Tony Benn, , Desmond Donnelly or Woodrow Wyatt as a serious candidate) and there are people like Ted Heath, Peter Shore, Mo Mowlam or Theresa May who just weren't up to the top job. If they do get there it will end in tears. Then you have the Duff Cooper, John Profumo and Alan Clark types who are sex scandals waiting to happen.
But there also are a lot of competent people who had avoidable deaths or were derailed by OTL circumstances.
No WW1 or peace by 1916- Liberals have the future options of Raymond Asquith and Edward Horner and the Imperial Liberals are likely to try and push Reginald McKenna as a successor to Asquith to keep out DLG and the Radicals. George Barnes won't be discredited as Labour leader and F H Keeling survives to be a potential future war hero leader of Labour. For the Conservatives, Robert Horne wouldn't be discredited by association with DLG either, or the Geddes brothers or (to a lesser extent) Austen Chamberlain.
No rise of the Nazis, Samuel Hoare and Robert Hudson have a good chance of leading post Chamberlain 1940s Conservative governments and Ronald Cartland and Victor Cazalet are candidates for the 1950s
I could go on but you get the idea.
 

Charles EP M.

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But none of that, of course, changes that he seemed to come completely out of nowhere to being one of the most powerful men on Earth for the next two decades. His eventual ascension to the Russian presidency was probably entirely unforeseeable even four years earlier.
Now thinking there's an allohistorical AH in John Major, the other out-of-nowhere G8 leader, having Putin's arc.
 

ShortsBelfast

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A V Alexander is another much underrated potential Labour PM. OTL, his undoubted patriotism kept him in Admiralty posts during the wartime coalition and Attlee's government and we never really got to see him in domestic politics. In a TL where Attlee was killed in WW1 or otherwise derailed from his OTL career trajectory, a strong advocate of Co-operative Labour becoming PM around 1945 might have handled nationalisation and the NHS significantly differently.
 

Arthur_Phuxache

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But on the other hand, it was clear that the circumstances of a war with Germany would lend themselves to a Prime Minister who was not associated with the failed policy of appeasement.
Would it? It only happened because Lord Halifax turned the job down, fearing he'd become a cipher for whomever lead the War Effort in the Commons.

A timeline in which Churchill is still alive in 1940, in Parliament, but still utterly sidelined would be fascinating....
 
Would it? It only happened because Lord Halifax turned the job down, fearing he'd become a cipher for whomever lead the War Effort in the Commons.

A timeline in which Churchill is still alive in 1940, in Parliament, but still utterly sidelined would be fascinating....
A Munich snap election could potentially clear out both Churchill and Atlee - Atlee for obvious reasons, Churchill because of my aforementioned deselection coming to fruition event.

I think Lord Churchill's prospects of becoming Prime Minister disappear in such a scenario.
 
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