For my final President Elect simulation of this year’s horrorthon, I decided to see what would happen if, in 1964, Dracula had been the Republican nominee against LBJ. I had already discovered that Dracula would have easily defeated both Frankenstein’s Monster and Jimmy Carter in a presidential election. Would he be able to do the same with LBJ?
In the real world, LBJ easily defeated the Republican nominee, Barry Goldwater. LBJ benefitted from public sympathy for the Kennedy family and also from a brutally negative campaign that portrayed Goldwater as being a war monger. Johnson won 61% of the popular vote and he carried 44 states (and DC). Goldwater won only 38% of the popular vote and carried only 6 states (5 in the Deep South and his home state of Arizona). At the time, Goldwater’s defeat was portrayed as being the end of the Republican Party. Instead, Goldwater’s losing campaign set the foundations that would later lead to election of Ronald Reagan in the 80s.
How would Dracula have done against LBJ? Would Dracula, with his superb speaking skills and his hypnotic magnetism, have been able to defeat LBJ despite the incumbent’s strengths?
According to President Elect, LBJ would have still won if Dracula had been the nominee but the election would have been much closer, as far as the popular vote was concerned. During the simulation, Dracula was such a strong candidate that LBJ even debated him twice. Dracula won both times but LBJ was still able to hold his own. If LBJ had made a serious gaffe during the debate, the election would have turned out differently. It was a risk but it was a risk that paid off for Johnson.
The first results of election night tells the story:
Though Johnson easily won the District of Columbia, the rest of the states were much closer. Dracula did well in the South and in the west. Johnson did well in the North and the Industrial Midwest. It was Iowa that put him over the top.
In the end, Dracula carried 18 states while Johnson won the other 32 (and D.C.).
Against Dracula, Johnson still scored an electoral landslide but the popular vote was much closer.
So, if you’re ever wondering which President could have defeated Dracula, the answer is Lyndon B. Johnson.
And Ronald Reagan. But you already knew that.