Edward Moore Kennedy, Sr. was the 38th president of the United States of America, serving one term from 1973 - 1977. A member of the Democratic Party and the Kennedy political family, he was the youngest president in United States history.
Kennedy was a brother of President John F. Kennedy, who gave impulse to America's space program, and like his brother, he served as the junior senator from Massachusetts from 1962 to 1973. After the Soviet Union landed on the moon, Kennedy left a party on Chappaquiddick Island on July 18, 1969 and returned to Washington. He served on a congressional committee investigating the American failure to land on the moon first, which President Richard Nixon interpreted as a presidential challenge. Kennedy successfully defeated Nixon in the elections of 1972, winning in a landslide; despite his victory, he offered to pardon his predecessor for his involvement in the Watergate scandal (though Nixon refused).
During his presidency, he successfully pushed for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. However, it emerged that this was accomplished through a corrupt scheme; the adminsitration secured the critical ratification of Illinois (a state with a conservative Republican government) by the awarding the state a lucrative NASA contract for Saturn V rocket components. This was exposed by Wernher von Braun after the explosion of Apollo 23. While the report was buried by NASA Administrator Harold Weisner, the series of accidents at NASA caused significant damage to his approval rating.
Kennedy's presidency was further tarred by his extramarital affair with Mary Jo Kopechne, which caused him considerable political difficulties. In the presidential elections of 1976, which centered on growing Cold War tensions, national defense, and deficit spending, Kennedy was defeated in a narrow margin by the Republican nominee and former Governor of California Ronald Reagan. This was due to the case Reagan v. Kennedy where the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that partially marked ballots in the state of Ohio must be counted, giving Reagan a 713 vote lead in the state and its 25 electoral votes.
Behind the scenes
In our timeline, Ted Kennedy was never elected president, despite a failed campaign against Jimmy Carter in 1980. This was largely due to his involvement in a car accident at Chappaquiddick on the night of July 18-19 1969 (during the Apollo 11 mission). The incident caused the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, possibly involved in an extramarital affair with Kennedy, and hindered his political career.