Re: West Wing timeline divergence?
Alternate possibility: Reagan was the VP for Nixon's second term instead of Ford. this gives him the rest of that term and possibly one other, while still leaving room for the 2 or 3 fictional presidents before Bartlett.
Maybe the point of divergence is WWII, maybe the 1944 election never happened and the election was delayed until WWII over. Given that it ended in Aug 1945 allowing time for primaries etc.. perhaps 1946 would be the earliest date they could hold it.
Add in an amendment and this works.
"There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the Maffia." - Winston Niles Rumfoord.