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Alternate Presidents Game

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Prologue:

 

August 9th, 1974 would be a date unlike any other in American history. The 37th President of the United States resigned amidst a tumultuous second term. While his environmental protection laws, further severing Sino-Soviet Relations by commencing a Sino-American dialogue, and concluding the decade-long Vietnam War and three-decades-long American intervention in mainland Southeast Asia, and his record-breaking 1972 reelection would make Richard Milhous Nixon a name to be remembered in history books, now his name would become instantly recognizable with the Watergate Affair. 

 

Congressional leader Representative Gerald Rudolph Ford would find himself at the helm of a terrified nation. President Ford would declare that the "long, national nightmare is over." President Ford had not been voted by the American public, not on any Presidential nor Vice Presidential slot. However, due to a Constitutional amendment, a Vice President not voted by the American people can instead come to power via Congress. Spiro Agnew resigned one year prior in a separate, yet equally toxic scandal involving tax evasion as Governor of Maryland. Agnew would step down, and Ford would take his place. Now, it was Nixon's turn to step down for rhe 38th President of the United States: Gerald Rudolph Ford. 

 

President Ford managed a declining economy, spurred on from an economic crisis when Nixon was re-elected three years prior. After a Cabinet reshuffling a few months into his term, Gerald Ford looked unlikely to win re-election, yet Gerald Ford was nothing if not determined. Gerald Ford would pass a tax cut in an effort to stimulate national growth. It marginally worked, though it appeared that President Ford would have more problems. The City of New York looked to be on the verge of bankruptcy, had it been for an eleventh-hour bailout. Ford would face Conservative backlash for this, but none greater would be his detailed clemency of Richard Nixon for conspiracy to commit a crime. Ford would be under fire for this entire ordeal, with many claiming his Presidency was a corrupt bargain between Nixon and Ford. Further controversy would emit from a clemency program Ford would institute for Vietnam "draft dodgers."

 

Many Conservatives would continue to be incensed by his fervent support of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would be passed by the states and added as the 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Campaign finance reform would find support from the President, with the formation of the FEC occurring in Ford's Presidency. The 1976 Presidential election would come quickly, with an incensed Conservative base angry at the President for the pardoning of Nixon, Draft Dodger clemency, the ERA, the NYC Bailout, appointing Nelson Rockefeller as Vice President, supporting campaign finance reform, and continuing detente with the Soviets. Many rallied behind former California Governor Ronald Reagan, the charismatic arch-conservative. Despite the primary campaign continuing on into the convention, President Ford made a key play by selecting Tennessee Senator Howard Baker as his Vice President. Reagan would end his campaign in support of the President.

 

Employing a so-called "Rose Garden Strategy," Ford took to the White House for his claim for re-election. Democratic nominee Jimmy Carter would hail from Georgia, while his Vice Presidential nominee, Senator John Glenn, would offend few in the party already apprehensive about selecting the unknown former Georgia Governor. Governor Carter began the general election campaign with a truly monstrous lead. However, a highly regrettable interview with Playboy magazine gave headache after headache for the Democrats when the honest, Southern gentleman admitted that he had indeed "committed adultery in [his] heart." The situation would become even worse for the Democrats when it looked like the economy was quickly recovering, despite the energy crisis being only marginally less worse. President Gerald Ford had a confusing moment in the debates when he nearly made a gaffe and made an awkward cleanup. Regardless, it looked like Gerald Ford was headed for a comeback not seen since Harry S. Truman. The question was if he could pull it off.

 

 

U.S. Presidential election, 1976

 

genusmap.php?year=1976&ev_c=1&pv_p=1&ev_

 

President Gerald Ford, R-Michigan/Senator Howard Baker, R-Tennessee, 277 electoral votes, 49.1% of the popular vote

Former Governor Jimmy Carter, D-Georgia/Senator John Glenn, D-Ohio, 261 electoral votes, 48.8% of the popular vote

 

 

U.S. Presidential election, 1980

genusmap.php?year=1976&ev_c=1&pv_p=1&ev_

 

Senator Gary Hart, D-Colorado/Senator Lloyd Bentsen, D-Texas, 325 electoral votes, 50.3% of the popular vote

Vice President Howard Baker, R-Tennessee/Senator Robert Dole, R-Kansas, 213 electoral votes, 48.8% of the popular vote

 

 

U.S. Presidential election, 1984

 

genusmap.php?year=1984&ev_c=1&pv_p=1&ev_p=1&type=calc&AL=2;9;4&AK=2;3;6&AZ=2;7;4&AR=1;6;5&CA=1;47;5&CO=1;8;5&CT=2;8;5&DE=2;3;5&DC=1;3;8&FL=1;21;5&GA=1;12;5&HI=1;4;5&ID=2;4;4&IL=1;24;4&IN=1;12;5&IA=2;8;4&KS=2;7;4&KY=2;9;5&LA=1;10;4&MD=1;10;5&MA=1;13;5&MI=1;20;5&MN=1;10;5&MS=2;7;5&MO=1;11;4&MT=2;4;5&NE=2;5;5&NV=1;4;5&NH=2;4;5&NJ=2;16;5&NM=1;5;5&NY=1;36;5&NC=2;13;4&ND=2;3;4&OH=1;23;5&OK=2;8;5&OR=1;7;5&PA=1;25;5&RI=1;4;5&SC=2;8;4&SD=2;3;5&TN=2;11;5&TX=1;29;5&UT=2;5;6&VT=2;3;5&VA=2;12;4&WA=1;10;5&WV=1;6;5&WI=1;11;5&WY=2;3;5&ME=1;2;5&ME1=1;1;5&ME2=1;1;5

 

President Gary Hart, D-Colorado/Vice President Lloyd Bentsen, D-Texas, 375 electoral votes, 52.4% of the popular vote

Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole, R-Kansas/Former Director of the CIA George H.W. Bush, R-Texas, 163 electoral votes, 47.1% of the popular vote

 

 

U.S. Presidential election, 1988

genusmap.php?year=1988&ev_c=1&pv_p=1&ev_p=1&type=calc&AL=2;9;4&AK=2;3;5&AZ=2;7;5&AR=2;6;4&CA=1;47;5&CO=1;8;5&CT=1;8;5&DE=1;3;5&DC=1;3;8&FL=2;21;6&GA=2;12;4&HI=1;4;5&ID=2;4;6&IL=1;24;5&IN=2;12;5&IA=1;8;5&KS=2;7;5&KY=2;9;5&LA=2;10;5&MD=1;10;5&MA=1;13;6&MI=1;20;5&MN=1;10;5&MS=2;7;4&MO=1;11;5&MT=1;4;5&NE=2;5;6&NV=1;4;5&NH=1;4;6&NJ=1;16;5&NM=1;5;5&NY=1;36;5&NC=2;13;5&ND=2;3;5&OH=1;23;5&OK=2;8;5&OR=1;7;5&PA=1;25;5&RI=1;4;5&SC=2;8;6&SD=2;3;5&TN=1;11;5&TX=1;29;5&UT=2;5;6&VT=1;3;5&VA=2;12;5&WA=1;10;5&WV=1;6;5&WI=1;11;5&WY=2;3;6&ME=1;2;5&ME1=1;1;5&ME2=1;1;5

 

Governor Mario Cuomo, D-New York/Senator Ted Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, 371 electoral votes, 50.5% of the popular vote

Former Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole, R-Kansas/Governor Bill Clements, R-Texas, 163 electoral votes, 49.2% of the popular vote

 

U.S. Presidential election, 1992

genusmap.php?year=1992&ev_c=1&pv_p=1&ev_p=1&type=calc&AL=2;9;3&AK=2;3;4&AZ=2;8;4&AR=2;6;4&CA=2;54;5&CO=1;8;4&CT=1;8;5&DE=1;3;5&DC=1;3;8&FL=2;25;4&GA=2;13;4&HI=1;4;5&ID=2;4;5&IL=1;22;5&IN=2;12;4&IA=1;7;4&KS=2;6;4&KY=2;8;4&LA=2;9;4&MD=1;10;5&MA=1;12;6&MI=1;18;5&MN=1;10;5&MS=2;7;3&MO=1;11;4&MT=1;3;4&NV=1;4;4&NH=1;4;4&NJ=1;15;4&NM=1;5;4&NY=1;33;5&NC=2;14;4&ND=2;3;4&OH=1;21;4&OK=2;8;3&OR=1;7;4&PA=1;23;4&RI=1;4;4&SC=2;8;6&SD=1;3;4&TN=2;11;4&TX=2;32;4&UT=2;5;4&VT=1;3;4&VA=2;13;4&WA=1;11;4&WV=1;5;4&WI=1;11;5&WY=2;3;5&ME=1;2;5&ME1=1;1;5&ME2=1;1;5&NE=2;2;6&NE1=2;1;4&NE2=2;1;4&NE3=2;1;6

 

President Mario Cuomo, D-New York/Vice President Ted Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, 272 electoral votes, 47.9% of the popular vote

Governor Carroll Campbell, R-South Carolina/Former Dallas Mayor Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, 266 electoral votes, 47.8% of the popular vote

Former Alabama Attorney General Roy Moore, C-Alabama/Congressman Pat Buchanan, C-Virginia, 0 electoral votes, 5.1% of the popular vote

 

U.S. Presidential election, 1996

genusmap.php?year=1996&ev_c=1&pv_p=1&ev_p=1&type=calc&AL=2;9;6&AK=1;3;5&AZ=2;8;5&AR=2;6;5&CA=1;54;4&CO=1;8;4&CT=1;8;5&DE=2;3;5&DC=1;3;8&FL=2;25;4&GA=2;13;5&HI=2;4;4&ID=2;4;6&IL=2;22;5&IN=2;12;5&IA=2;7;4&KS=2;6;6&KY=2;8;5&LA=2;9;5&MD=2;10;4&MA=1;12;5&MI=1;18;5&MN=1;10;5&MS=2;7;6&MO=2;11;4&MT=2;3;5&NV=2;4;5&NH=1;4;5&NJ=1;15;5&NM=2;5;5&NY=1;33;5&NC=2;14;5&ND=2;3;6&OH=2;21;5&OK=2;8;6&OR=1;7;5&PA=1;23;5&RI=1;4;5&SC=2;8;6&SD=2;3;6&TN=2;11;4&TX=2;32;5&UT=2;5;6&VT=1;3;5&VA=2;13;5&WA=1;11;5&WV=2;5;4&WI=1;11;5&WY=2;3;6&ME=1;2;5&ME1=1;1;5&ME2=1;1;5&NE=2;2;6&NE1=2;1;5&NE2=2;1;5&NE3=2;1;7

 

Senator Nancy Kassebaum, R-Kansas/Governor George W. Bush, 307 electoral votes, 52.5% of the popular vote

Senator Albert "Al" Gore, Jr., D-Tennessee/Former Senate Majority Leader George J. Marshall, D-Maine, 231 electoral votes, 47.2% of the popular vote

 

List of Presidents:

37. Richard Milhous Nixon, R-California, January 20th, 1969-August 9th, 1974

38. Gerald Rudolph Ford, R-Michigan, August 9th, 1974-January 20th, 1981

39. Gary Warren Hart, D-Colorado, January 20th, 1981-January 20th, 1989

40. Mario Matthew Cuomo, D-New York, January 20th, 1989-On

 

List of Vice Presidents:

39. Spiro Theodore Agnew, R-Maryland, January 20th, 1969-October 10th, 1973

40. Gerald Rudolph Ford, R-Michigan, December 6th, 1973-August 9th, 1974

41. Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, R-New York, December 19th, 1974-January 20th, 1977

42. Howard Henry Baker, Jr. R-Tennessee, January 20th, 1977-January 20th, 1981

43. Lloyd Millard Bentsen, Jr. D-Texas, January 20th, 1981-January 20th, 1989

44. Edward Morris Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, January 20th, 1989-On

 

The Burger Court: 1969-1987

Chief Justice Warren Burger, Conservative, 1969-1987

                 Associate Justice Hugo Black, Liberal, Appointed by President F. Roosevelt, 1937-1971

Associate Justice Lewis Powell, Centrist, Appointed by President Nixon, 1971-1987

                 Associate Justice William O. Douglas,  Liberal, Appointed by President F. Roosevelt, 1939-1975

Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, Liberal, Appointed by President Ford, 1975-1987

                 Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan, Conservative, Appointed by President Eisenhower, 1955-1971

Associate Justice William Rehnquist, Conservative, Appointed by President Nixon, 1971-1987

Associate Justice William Brennan, Liberal, Appointed by President Eisenhower, 1956-1987

Associate Justice Potter Stewart, Centrist, Appointed by President Eisenhower, 1958-1987

Associate Justice Byron White, Liberal, Appointed by President Kennedy, 1962-1987

Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall, Liberal, Appointed by President L. Johnson, 1967-1987

Associate Justice Harry Blackmun, Liberal, Appointed by President Nixon, 1970-1987

 

The Ginsberg Court: 1987-

Chief Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Liberal, 1987-

Associate Justice Lewis Powell, Centrist, Appointed by President Nixon, 1971-

Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, Liberal, Appointed by President Ford, 1975-

Associate Justice William Rehnquist, Conservative, Appointed by President Nixon, 1971-

Associate Justice William Brennan, Liberal, Appointed by President Eisenhower, 1956-

Associate Justice Gilbert Meritt, Centrist, Appointed by President Hart, 1981-

Associate Justice José Cabranes, Liberal, Appointed by President Cuomo, 1989-

Associate Justice Guido Calabresi, Liberal, Appointed by President Cuomo, 1990-

Associate Justice David Tatel, Liberal, Appointed by President Cuomo, 1991-

Associate Justice Richard Arnold, Centrist, Appointed by President Cuomo, 1992-

 

It's back one again! Since we're doing a late 1900s round in proper, I thought one good way to ring it in is to bring this back once again! The basic rules as I remember them are as follows: claim a term (maximum of four years), make your post about as much detail as you'd like, (but remember to keep it at a soft cap of 1,000 words per post. You can go over it if you'd like, though it's probably not ideal for people just jumping into the game) and try not to go too overboard with unrealism (say, for example, Vietcong agents crashing into the White House *glares at micalste*). Also, please let another person have a term of their own instead of going cavalier and posting a round of your own. I'm quite excited about this round especially, as I believe the last one went from 1956-2020, though I don't have the records to prove it. Anyways, here's to what I hope to be an interesting round of Alternate Presidents!

 

Next Post: The Second Term of Gerald Ford

Edited by Evan

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Ford's Second Term

 

Gerald Ford had finally won the office that he had held for over two years as an unelected caretaker. Now the American people had seen fit to bestow upon him the highest office in the land. Election Night 1976 has the highlight of Gerald Ford's life. It would also be the last high moment of his presidency. Buffeted by inflation, an oil crisis, and eventually angry Iranian ayatollahs Ford's term in the White House would be tumultuous and heart breaking for him. He would later be quoted by an aide in a tell all book published in the 1990s that "winning the White House was the worst thing to ever happen".

 

Domestic Front

 

Ford was elected during a period of stagflation; inflation was skyrocketing while unemployment refused to budge downwards. The economy brightened enough in 1976 to help push Ford over the finish line. But in 1977 it began to trend downward. Inflation would hit 12% in 1978. Ford attempted to rein in government spending through a serious of budgets that slashed government spending, except military, by at least the rate of inflation. However, Congressional Democrats, many of them holdovers from the Great Society days, were not interested in cutting the budgets for what they deemed to be essential programs. Ford and Democrats fought over every budget and eventually Ford had to capitulate, especially after the 1978 midterms when Democrats won a veto proof majority in both houses of Congress. Eventually Ford, stymied by Congress, would appoint Paul Volcker as Fed Chair understanding that he would adopt a tight money policy that would eventually bring down inflation. This led to a race against time for Ford to buttress the economy up enough before tight money sucked away any forward moment he had. 

 

At the same time employment inched upwards putting millions of Americans out of work. One area where Ford was able to work with Democrats was in a joint tax cut bill for the middle class. The idea was that by cutting taxes middle class buyers would fuel an economic boom. Ford wanted a larger tax cut, but settled in 1978 for a moderate one pushed by Speaker Tip O'Neill. However, the Speaker knew that politics was politics and so he gave Ford a sop in a small tax cut for businesses. Ford was able to credit the uptick in the economy in 1978 as a part of this deal. However, given his failure to bring Congress along earlier in the term the credit was largely given to Congress for the economic upswing in 1978-1979. 

 

Ford was ultimately stymied on the domestic front by a series of foreign policy problems.

 

Foreign Front

 

Israel was feeling hemmed in by its Arab neighbors. However, in the 1970s there was a very real chance for peace between Israel and it's largest neighbor Egypt. However, it would be a missed opportunity. Ford invited Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to Camp David in 1977 in an attempt to build off of the Sinai Interim Agreement. However, Ford's threat to "reassess" American support for Israel during his first term continued to poison the well between him and Prime Minister Rabin. Rabin wanted assurances that the United States would support Israel's right to "defensible borders". Ford saw this as an attempt at Israeli irredentism and strongly encouraged Sadat to demand a return to the 1967 borders as a pre condition for a peace agreement. When Rabin found out that Ford was feeding Sadat lines he became irate and accused the President of tipping the scales. Ford backed off and said that all he really wanted to true peace in the Middle East. This brought Rabin around, but while he had been away an opposition newspaper found out the Rabin still had a bank account in the U.S. from his days as Israeli ambassador. This was in direct contravention with Israeli law. Overnight Rabin's government lost a vote of no confidence and Rabin would resign as Prime Minister. His Labour party would lose the election to the more hardliner Likud Party led by Menachem Begin, and Ford saw no possibility of negotiating a peace between the prickly Begin and Sadat. The Camp David talks would go down in foreign policy lore as arguably the single greatest missed opportunity as Middle East peace.

 

In 1977 Panama began making increasing threats to the American controlled Panama Canal. The Panamanians saw American ownership and intervention as a direct assault on their sovereignty and General Omar Torrijos was able to focus general unrest away from his undemocratic regime and towards the Americans. Ford sent Secretary of State Kissinger to negotiate a new treaty that eventually ceded control of the Panama Canal back to Panama in 2003, 100 years after America began work. Additionally America would have the right to intervene if the security of passage in the canal was threatened. Torrijos was more than willing to go along with this knowing that the substantial toll fees would be flowing into his country's coffers, and then, coincidentally, his. The Panamanian Congress rushed through approval after the signing ceremony in the Rose Garden in May of 1978. However, the U.S. Senate was far less receptive. Congressional conservatives saw the Canal and the Canal zone as American property. Vice President Baker proved critical to securing the votes needed to get passage. He was able to persuade, pigeonhole, or maneuver his former colleagues into supporting the treaty. In fact, Baker was so successful that most Senators referred to it as the Torrijos-Baker Treaty, rather than the Torrijos-Ford Treaty. Ford took the personal humiliation to gain a political victory. However, conservatives would notch this as a another sin by the President against true Republicanism.

 

In 1979 the crisis that effectively ended Ford's presidency happened, the Iranian Revolution. The dictatorial regime of the Iranian Shah had not kept pace with the young, increasingly unemployed populace of Iran. While they were some of the best educated people in the world they had little opportunity to use their education to better themselves or the economic situation. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was able to use this unrest to explode the nation. Protests, sponsored by Khomeini, grew over the summer of 1979. The Shah was increasingly indecisive. At first he attempted to meet the demands of the protesters by increasing government subsidies and university placements. However,  as the protests continued and grew larger the Shah began ordering SAVAK and Army intelligence units to begin rounding up and disappearing leaders. This only turned the protests violent which pushed the Shah away from ordering a full scale military crackdown which may have saved his regime. He allowed Khomeini to return in October. This, however, did not cease the protests, but instead turned them into something new. Khomeini began demanding that the Shah step aside and that an Islamic Republic be established. The Shah refused initially, but as the protesters became more and more violent he was eventually forced out in November and fled to the United States. Protesters learned of this and began attacking the American Embassy in April 1979 taking 55 hostages. This surprised even Khomeini, but with hostages now taken Khomeini played along as part of the plan to punish the Devil who backed the Shah, the United States.

 

Ford was irate and almost ordered an immediate attack upon Iran. Vice President Baker and Secretary of State Kissinger talked him down. Eventually a covert operation was planned to rescue the hostages. However, Operation Freedom was a failure leading to the deaths of 13 Navy SEALs when their helicopters ran into an unplanned sandstorm. Ford's popularity plummeted. Secret negotiations began which would eventually free to hostages on January 21st, 1981 over a year and a half after they were taken.

 

The fall of the Iranian monarchy sent the world oil supply into a tailspin while demand immediately shot up in reaction to the crisis. All of the sudden gas lines became an common occurrence across the United States. Waiting two-three hours every other day to put a quarter of a tank of gas in your car became the symbol of America in 1979 and 1980. In 1980 this frustration boiled over and in many places across the U.S. Ford was burned in effigy over the energy crisis.

 

To top it all off in 1980 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to prop up a friendly government. The CIA, led by George H.W. Bush, was completely blind sided and so was Ford. It continued to play into the narrative of a Presidency careening for crisis to crisis. Ford was eventually able to pass sanctions through Congress in response to the Soviet Union's aggression, but it was seen as a weak kneed response. 

 

1980 Election

President Ford could not run for another term given the 22nd Amendment, and truly did not want another term even if he could have run. However, Vice President Howard Baker entered the field essentially as a proxy for the President. However, the Vice President did not have the field to himself. Former California Governor Ronald Reagan once again threw his hat into the ring as did former Texas Governor John Connally, Congressmen Jack Kemp, John Anderson, and Phil Crane and Senators Bob Dole and Larry Pressler. It was a raucous race with all sides accusing the other of not being sufficiently Republican. Reagan's attacks were particularly devastating as he asked Republican party members if the "party was better off than it was 4 years ago?" However, Reagan was seen by too many as too old and too Barry Goldwaterish. Eventually Vice President Baker was able to eke out an win and as a sop to the conservatives nominated Bob Dole as Vice President.

 

The Democrats had an equally large field. 1976 Vice Presidential nominee John Glenn was the frontrunner, but Senators Gary Hart, Walter Mondale, Birch Bayh, Lloyd Bentsen, Congressmen Morris Udall and Governors Jerry Brown and Terry Sanford all threw their hats into the ring as well. Glenn had offended no one in 1976, but the party faithful knew that 1980 was their best chance to end 12 years of Republican rule. Senator Hart, a relative unknown was able to use his charisma, charm, and honesty to win primaries across the United States starting with Iowa. He essentially had the race sewn up by March. Knowing that he was a young  liberal he chose Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas  as his running mate and did not discourage the Kennedyesque connections that were drawn. 

 

The Hart/Bentsen ticket started out 10 points ahead in the opinion polls and they held that lead through out the campaign. Ford essentially stayed put in the White House knowing that he was toxic on the campaign trail. Baker and Dole held their own in the debates and the polls tightened somewhat but on election day Hart/Bentsen romped winning 311-217.

 

 

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Edited by Holson
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The Democratic ticket led by Colorado Senator Gary Hart and Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen ended the 12 year Republican reign in Washington with a resounding victory in the 1980 election. As the calendar turned to 1981, Americans were feeling a change in the air both at home and abroad. The economic continued to grow but at a slightly slower pace in 1981 than it did in the last years of the 1970s. Meanwhile, unemployment remained an issue and the Hart administration was determined to reduce the number of Americans unemployed by 1983.

 

Meanwhile abroad, the Middle East witnessed a rapid escalation in violent incidents that would continue to stall any peace talks between Israel and Egypt. Meanwhile, the hostile showdown between the U.S. and Iran had finally ended with the hostages being freed.

 

Domestic front

 

President Hart took office and laid out his plans for America in his first four years as President. On his first full day of his presidency, President Hart met with Congressional leaders regarding his plans with the upcoming Federal Budget. Among one of his main intentions was to reduce military spending, which drew the ire of many Republicans, including former VP candidate and now Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole. Dole went as far to call Hart’s plan to reduce military spending “insane”.

 

Meanwhile, Hart decided to lay out his economic plan which included job training for young and disadvantaged American, fairer policies for women in the workplace, and providing tax breaks to small businesses, including businesses which were considered “employee owned”. To stimulate growth, he included a plan to eliminate taxes that were targeting savings and investment.

 

1982 and 1983 witnessed a dramatic decline in the country’s unemployment rate thanks to small businesses being able to invest in creating more jobs. In which President Hart declared in the 1983 State of the Union Address that “Main Street is open for business and better than ever”.

 

Another pillar in the decline of unemployment saw a rise in young women, specifically single mothers, taking job training in such skills like accounting and office typing as part of their terms while collecting welfare. This was credited by an unconventional idea hammered out by Hart and congressional Republicans agreeing that aided those on welfare that were transitioning into the workforce and adjusting to life with their new jobs while their benefits phased out.

 

Foreign Front

 

After a near two year ordeal, the US Embassy hostages in Tehran were freed after secret negotiations were proved to be successful. Hours after the inauguration, Vice President Bentsen’s eventful day took a turn for the unconventional. Upon learning of the release of the hostages, Bentsen arrived at Andrews AFB in the late night hours to travel to Germany in a surprise visit to meet the hostages and escort them back home. Many of them were understandably upset and felt that the Ford administration did not do enough in an effort to free them. Despite the successful negotiations, the Hart administration made no plans regarding US-Iran relations going forward.

 

Though Iran released the hostages, problems continued to mount for the Khomeini regime. That problem came in the form of Saddam Hussein, the leader of the neighboring country of Iraq. While Hussein praised the new Revolution in Iran, Khomeini rebuffed Saddam. Meanwhile, Hussein had ulterior motives of his own. Hussein believed that with Egypt facing problems with Israel over peace talks and Iran weakened from the Revolution and their tensions with the United States, he had a chance to establish himself as the new “leader of the Arab world”.

 

In early 1981, Saddam and Iraqi forces successfully invaded and annexed oil rich provinces within Iran’s borders, triggering a war between the two countries. Though the U.S. had no intention of repairing relations with Iran, they sent aid to Saddam and the Iraqi government in their efforts. This further infuriated Khomeini and he continously vowed revenge against the United States and any nation that aligned with Iraq.

 

Meanwhile, in Egypt, tensions began to escalate between Egypt and Israel despite a number of failed attempts of peace talks. The Hart administration at the start of 1981 had tried to encourage both Israeli Prime Minister Begin and Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat to pick up where they left off since the Ford years, but neither side refused. When Sadat visited Hart in Washington in May 1981, Sadat feared that a peace deal with Israel would result in what he considered “dangerous implications”. These implications were based on threats from Arab nations like Libya, Syria, and Iraq.

 

Upon hearing of Sadat’s apparent reservations, Hart conversed with Begin the following day, leading to a secret summit at Camp David that would take place in September 1981. Details of the summit were kept on a lid and no one in the media was made aware of the talks. The summit lasted three days at Camp David. President Hart would announce that peace between Israel and Egypt were finally achieved in a primetime Oval Office address to the nation.

 

When word got around in Egypt about the successful peace talks, hardlining Islamists were infuriated and began rioting in the streets. Many of them demanded Sadat to resign. Since the talks, Sadat remained largely out of sight from the public for fear that his life may be in danger, even after a few failed attempts to overthrow him.

 

In the Soviet Union, the battled raged on between Afghanistan and the Soviets throughout 1981. In 1982, General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev was facing a series of health issues and had plans to consult with the Central Committee on who would be his replacement if he decided to vacate the office or die. Before such discussions were made, Brezhnev dies. This left the country in a state of in a mix of grief and confusion as the Soviet people were left wondering who would lead the country. After two days of deliberation, Mikhail Gorbachev was named the new General Secretary to the surprise of many. Some believed that Yuri Andropov or Konstantin Chernenko as the successor, but Gorbachev was seen as more youthful and as the more long-term option over the older Andropov and Chernenko.

 

1984 Election

 

In the beginning of his first term, the American people were uncertain as to how President Hart would govern, considering that he was an unknown to voters before his rise and eventual victory just four years earlier. As the economy witnessed even greater growth, Hart’s popularity began to rise. His declaration of “Main Street is back” gave the American people a new sense of confidence and highly approved of Hart. His approval ratings would stay well into the high 50% and had at one point peaked at about 61%.

 

However, Hart was not without any staunch opposition. Former Vice Presidential candidate and Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole was a frequent critic of the Hart administration and their policies. His major gripe with Hart was on the reduction of defense spending, calling it “insane” and “dangerous” at a time when tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union still ran high and Khomeini’s consistent threats as part of the U.S aiding Saddam Hussein. It wasn’t until the Camp David peace agreement when Hussein rebuffed any aid from the U.S. as retaliation.

 

It was clear that Dole would be the major front-runner for the Republican nomination in 1984. He sailed through the GOP primaries and selected former Congressman and former CIA director George H.W. Bush as his running mate. The debates were tense at time, but both candidates were able to get their points across, with Hart further referring to his accomplishments as to why he deserved a second term.

 

On Election night, Hart secured his second term with a win over the Dole/Bush ticket. The biggest surprise of the night was when Texas, long to have been a lock in the GOP column, had flipped to blue thanks to the popularity of their Vice President and native son, Lloyd Bentsen. Dole/Bush carried most of the South and the heartland, but could only net 141 electoral votes to Hart’s 397.

 

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Hart's Second Term

President of the United States, Gary Hart (D)

Vice President of the United States, Lloyd Bentsen (D) 

Secretary of State Clark Clifford 

Secretary of Defense Zbigniew Brzezinski

 

Domestic Front

Following reelection, President Gary Hart went into Inauguration Day with a strong economy, a majority in the Senate, and a large majority in the House of Representatives. In his first act following reelection, Hart backed a major education bill. The American Education Act was a signature bill of President Hart which expanded school lunch programs, a major expansion of teacher training, and a major increase of funding for the student loan program. To pay for this, Hart proposed a decrease in deductions for businesses, particularly entertainment deductions. This was fought vigorously by lobbyists and Republicans in the Senate, but Hart used his influence with Democrats and used the large majority in the House to pressure the Senate to pass the bill. Following the passage of the American Education Act, President Hart worked with Democrats on legislation focused on protecting the environment. To achieve this, Democrats in the House introduced the Environmental Protection Act of 1985. The legislation proposed new funds to clean up hazardous waste dumps, provide new finding for wild refuge and national forrest upkeep, and imposing new taxes on hazardous waste products and chemicals. The legislation passed the House easily and passed the Senate after a small fight from Republicans. 

 

1986 MIDTERM ELECTIONS

United States

President Gary Hart

Vice President Lloyd Bentsen 

 

Senate Majority Leader Edmund Muskie (D)

Senate Makeup: 45 Republicans (+1), 55 Democrats (-1) 

 

House Speaker Tip O'Neil (D) 

House Makeup: 175 (+5) Republicans, 260 (-5) Democrats

 

The midterm elections were rather uneventful. Due to President Hart's popularity and the economy retaining steady growth -- as well as a series of legislative accomplishments for Democrats -- Republicans were only able to pick up a few seats in the House and only one seat in the United States Senate. Democrats campaigned on a major infrastructure program to rebuild American cities and lower the unemployment rate even further. Ted Kennedy personally pressure President Gary Hart to push for major healthcare reform but he was apprehensive to do so, fearing that Democrats would be unable to pay for a major program with further tax hikes. Despite pressure from Kennedy, even in the press, Hart refused to address major healthcare reform and instead chose to focus his attention in the last two years of his Presidency on passing the major infrastructure legislation promised by Democrats during the campaign. With the help of Speaker Tip O'Neil, President Hart pushed forward the 'American Infrastructure Investment Act of 1987' which included major investments to fixing American ports, building new bridges, and a major investment into water systems in urban areas.

 

At the end of 1987, Chief Justice Warren Burger passed away in his sleep due to a heart attack. The news was a shock to many due to the fact that he had been in good health and working in the court earlier in the week. President Hart promised he would appoint a replacement but told the American people in a speech it would "take time to find someone with the intelligence and grace" of Burger. To replace Burger, President Hart reportedly initially considered elevating Associate Justice Byron White to the position. Instead, however, Gary Hart had a more ambitious choice -- he appointed D.C. Appeals Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Hart had appointed Ginsburg to her post on the Appeals Court seven years earlier. Republicans extensively questioned Ginsburg, whom refused to answer certain hypothetical questions about her views on certain issues such as abortion rights and the death penalty, but she received confirmation by a wide bipartisan margin. This made Ruth Bader Ginsburg both the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court as well as the first woman to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. This tipped the court solidly in the favor of the liberals. 

 

Major Legislation/Events

American Education Act - Expansion of the school lunch program, teacher training, and the college student loan program.

Environmental Protection Act of 1985 - New funds to clean up hazardous waste dumps, provided new finding for wild refuge and national forrest upkeep, and imposed new taxes on hazardous waste products.

American Infrastructure Act of 1987 - Major investments to fixing American ports, building new bridges, and a major investment into water systems in urban areas.

Burger Death - Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated and confirmed as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

 

Foreign/Defense Front 

 

On the foreign front, the Soviet Union advanced in Afghanistan. The mujahideen used guerrilla tactics against Soviet advances, which mostly saw Soviet units take over major cities and avoid influence in the west from Iran. Throughout the period of 1985 to 1987, the mujahideen grew in numbers and this caused even more trouble for Soviet units stationed in Afghanistan, with a major increase in fighting and casualties. The United Nations passed a resolution condemning the offensives by the Soviet's. The U.S. placed further embargoes upon the Soviet Union and dismissed diplomats and dismissed the idea of future talks. Despite this, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher met with the new leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, and this hurt the image of Hart's foreign policy after Thatcher told the press that she "liked Gorbachev" and "could do business with him anytime." In late 1987, even as President Hart was pushing domestic policies at home and dealing with a major vacancy on the Supreme Court, Gorbachev proposed a meeting with President Hart at Camp David.

 

During the meeting with Gorbachev, the issue of Afghanistan was discussed extensively. Following the meeting, Gorbachev announced he would begin withdrawing Soviet troops from Afghanistan beginning in 1988. This was seen as a huge win for Hart in the media and was seen as a new era for the relationship between the Soviet Union and the U.S.. Despite the promise by Gorbachev, he was still criticized for his failure to move more quickly to withdraw more Soviet troops from Afghanistan throughout 1988, constantly moving deadlines. 

 

1988 Election

 

Coming into the election with a strong economy, a major foreign policy victory, and a new popular infrastructure program, Democrats were confident going into the 1988 election. In the Democratic primaries, Vice President Lloyd Bentsen announced he would be running for the nomination for President. Following the announcement of Bentsen, Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts shocked many when he too announced he would be running in the 1988 election for President. After Kennedy's announcement, Mario Cuomo put a hold on plans to announce his own intention to run for President for three weeks. After this period, however, Cuomo also announced he would be running. Other candidates in the Democratic primary included Congressman Jesse Jackson, Senator Al Gore, and Governor Bruce Babbitt. 

 

The Democratic Primary of 1988 was a bitter one. Senator Edward Kennedy attacked Lloyd Bentsen for his centrist record and the Hart administration for refusing to tackle major issues such as healthcare reform and a more ambitious Democratic agenda. In turn, rumors surrounded Kennedy yet again about the automobile accident that many predicted would haunt him in a national election. Mario Cuomo, however, was viewed to have helped Kennedy on the issue, telling the press it was "more important to focus on the issues rather than personal tragedies which have no bearing in this election." Lloyd Bentsen remained the frontrunner by winning Iowa and New Hampshire until Kennedy won big Maine, Minnesota and Vermont. On Super Tuesday, Bentsen picked up many southern states including Texas, Missouri, and Mississippi. Mario Cuomo surprised many, however, when he stole several states from Kennedy such as Maryland, Hawaii and Washington. The tight race continued on into April. Mario Cuomo had many major successes throughout this period, winning major states such as New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. After losing the Ohio primary in early May, Kennedy dropped out of the race and endorsed Cuomo out of resentment for the Hart administration. This gave Cuomo a major boost as he would go on to win California and New Jersey in June. Vice President Bentsen still picked up delegates during this period, however.

 

At the convention, Kennedy's delegates largely went to Cuomo. It was announced that Cuomo would pick Kennedy as his Vice President if he were the nominee which led to a majority of Democrats supporting Cuomo. He would deliver his acceptance speech of the nomination with the image of him and Kennedy raising their hands in victory. This would bother allies of Hart and Bentsen, who believed Cuomo and Kennedy would take the party in a direction which Hart refused to in order to shore up Democratic influence. 

 

On the Republican side, Senator Bob Dole announced his intention to make another run for the Presidency and was widely considered the front-runner upon his early announcement. Later, Representative Jack Kemp also announced his campaign along with Texas Governor Bill Clements. While there was a campaign to draft former CIA Director George H. W. Bush, he declined to run preferring work in the private sector. The Republican primary ended up with Jack Kemp dropping out and endorsing Dole and Clements dropping before the RNC National Convention and endorsing Dole. At the convention, Dole announced that Clements would be his choice for Vice President. 

 

During the general election, Cuomo was seen as an inspiring figure and promised to ensure economic growth continued under his Presidency. Bob Dole criticized the Democratic Party's failures on the foreign front and believed Cuomo was "inexperience and unable" to handle a crisis if it were to happen during his Presidency. This became a major attack line during the campaign, but seemingly fell flat. Cuomo led in the polls, campaigning on promises of a new approach to foreign policy and an ambitious domestic agenda which included major healthcare reform and a balanced budget. During the campaign, Ted Kennedy made what some viewed as a gaffe, saying that Jesse Jackson would be "Secretary of State so that those damn South African's get their sh*t straight." This was an off-the-cuff comment during a fundraiser but was covered extensively in the media. On Election Day, Cuomo would go on to prove pundits correctly by winning in a landslide against Dole, who had increasingly become known for Democrats' catchphrase saying "Dole is Dull." Dole would end up retiring from the Senate following his third straight national loss. Notably, Republicans picked up two Senate seats and six more House seats. Democrats, however, still retained their majorities in both chambers.

 

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President Mario Cuomo/Vice President Edward Kennedy 

Speaker of the House William H. Gray III (D)

Senate Majority Leader Edmund Muskie (D)

Secretary of State Sam Nunn (D) 

Secretary of Defense Donald McHenry (D)

 

 

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I'll take Cuomo's first term then to get the ball rolling out of the 80s and into the 90s!

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The Mario Cuomo Administration

 

President Mario Cuomo/Vice President Edward Kennedy 

Speaker of the House William H. Gray III (D)

Senate Majority Leader Edmund Muskie (D)

Secretary of State Sam Nunn (D) 

Secretary of Defense Donald McHenry (D)

 

Mario Matthew Cuomo took on the Presidency at a truly unique time. Mario Cuomo had defeated expectations of many by securing a third consecutive term for the same party, a first since Franklin Roosevelt secured a third term in 1940. The first Italian-American president would waste no time in basking of the historicity of his Presidential ascension. Cuomo had indeed helped solidify the so-called Sixth Party System, by which the Republicans would dominate the Deep South and Progressive Democrats would come to power in the Northwest and West. Coloradoan President Gary Hart helped to build a coalition that would push the Western states leftward and the Southern states rightward. Cuomo would accelerate this trend through Progressive legislation that would push the Boil Weevil Democrats out of the party. While some left for the Republican party, most declared themselves as independents, or made their own state-based parties. Mario Cuomo would prove to be divisive in the South and generally well-liked elsewhere. Watergate and the Ford Administration had pushed the country away from the Conservative movement and Republicans by proxy. While Tim LaHaye, Jim Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Paul Weyrich sought to push politics to a more Christian and "ethical" place, their efforts in the 1970s would not bear fruit until the 1990s, when the Mario Cuomo Administration sought to bring America leftward.

 

Domestic Policy:

 

When Mario Cuomo took power in 1989, he sought an America that "benefitted the two cities" economically, socially, and culturally. Knowing full well that he would see backlash for his policies, Cuomo would rapidly legislate at a pace not seen since President Johnson's second term. The Gary Hart tax code would be reformed from its flat tax-based economics towards a truer progressive tax that more resembled the Eisenhower-era tax code. This would be largely off the back of the popular theory that Hartenomics saved America from the economic stagnation of the 1970s. Education would see massive overhauls, with reforms focusing less on general educational achievement and more towards inciting vocational achievement. Universal pre-kindergarten education would be reportedly considered by the Cuomo Administration in its American Academic Achievement Act of 1989, though it would be thrown out when some would accuse the Cuomo Administration of "nationalizing preschool " towards advocating Communism. 

 

The 1980s economic boom would be felt throughout the Cuomo Administration, with wages slowly lifting from their recent doldrums. Young urban professionals, also known as "yuppies" would appear throughout Wall Street and financial sectors. Many would liken their motto to Michael Douglas' line in the 1987 film Wall Street: "Greed, for the lack of a better word, is good." This would permeate throughout the consumerist tendencies of the middle and upper classes. Shopping malls would explode as strip malls became a popular urban background landscape. Economic conditions brought on after the economic turmoil began to turn the page on American exceptionalism. Perhaps America was the greatest country on Earth, it only made an accident in Vietnam. Watergate was only an accident by a paranoid President, right?

 

Economic conditions would accelerate during the Cuomo years, despite what many Conservative commentators would preach to their increasingly poor, increasingly rural audiences. Insomuch as that, the rural poor would see many of their benefits increase due to the Hart surpluses and the Cuomo social funding. This paradoxical situation would not go without notice by the Cuomo Administration as it tried so desperately to maintain these voters in their column. Yet the Fifth Party System had long ended, and the Sixth system would dawn in the late 80s.

 

Social strife would be rampant throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, especially its final quarter. Many would believe that the newfound Conservatism of the rural poor would be largely from social backlash from civil rights policies. The Ford Administration would find a working strategy of pushing for the Equal Rights Amendment. The Supreme Court would rule in 1984 against the tacking on of LGBT rights onto the ERA in Milk v. State of California. Anti-hate crimes legislation would be passed by the Cuomo Administration, as well as stronger laws for income equality. Cuomo, despite his continual push for criminal justice reform, his signature National Justice Standards Act of 1991 would be voted down by a narrow margin thanks majorly to lobbying by Boil Weevil Democrats. Mario Cuomo would indeed remember this.

 

The course of the Supreme Court had been gradually shifting leftward, thanks largely to convenient Democratic presidencies. This would stay true with Chief Justice Ginsberg, and it would stay as such when Thurgood Marshall, Byron White, William Brennan, and Harry Blackmun would retire in the early days of the Cuomo Administration. Cuomo would waste no time in nominating Supreme Court justices in the first three years of his Presidency. as José Cabranes, (the first Latino Supreme Court associate justice), Guido Calabresi (the first Italian American Supreme Court associate justice), David Tatel (first legally blind Supreme Court associate justice) and Richard Arnold would be nominated and confirmed by the Senate, pushing the Supreme Court leftward and becoming more diverse.

 

Foreign Policy:

 

Mario Cuomo would make his mark on foreign policy upon the time he took to power in January of 1989. Declaring a rollback in American aggression. This, however, would have to be revised when Panamanian President Manuel Noriega would appear to threaten the stability of the Panama Canal. This sore spot of foreign relations would add tension in the spring and summer of 1989 to Amero-Panamanian relations. When an October military coup turned into a civil war, President Cuomo threatened to deploy troops to "keep the peace" for American interests in the Panama Canal. Threats to "renegotiate" the Torrijos-Baker Treaty would cause anti-American protests to spring up. The anti-Noriega coup supporters would quickly become anti-American revolutionaries. President Cuomo and Secretary of State Nunn would secretly meet with Noriega about this in San José, Costa Rica. They would be secret, until Noriega opened his mouth to his supporters saying that "the Americans will surely come." The San José negotiations would spring up more anti-Noriega and anti-American fervor throughout the country. 1989 would come to a close with calls from both sides of the aisle to intervene in Panama, lest another Grenada Incident occur. The irony of this situation would not be lost by President Ford nor President Nixon, both describing in their memoirs that this was poetic justice for the Vietnam debacle.

 

When anti-American activists began taking the Panama Canal and setting charges at Miraflores and Pedro Miguel, Cuomo would have no choice but to send interventionary forces to secure the Panama Canal in February 1990. This would please many war hawks, though it would come at the cost of Progressive Cuomo supporters who regarded this as a betrayal of his policies. The Panama Canal Zone and Panama City would be taken before the Ides of March, and the Panama Civil War would be quelled recently after. However, Noriega was still in power. He would be the cause of many headaches to come.

 

The Panama intervention would be a watermark for the Cuomo Administration. While many supported his anti-war stance, Cuomo's intervention in Panama would appear to undermine his word. Regardless, America and Russia were considered to be the leading superpowers in the world. Mikhail Gorbachev, a young Soviet politician, would come to power about the same time as Gary Hart would. The two had a genial personal relationship that would become the butt of many jokes, though Hart's long game was to advance Gorbachev's policies of glasnost and perestroika, literally "openness" and "rebuilding." Gary Hart believed in the policy of detente and pushed back on the creation of nuclear missiles, preferring joint agreements that would "end the Cold War" not by war but by peace and negotiation. President Cuomo would largely follow this policy by negotiating the gradual unification of Germany in 1989 and 1990, thanks greatly to pro-unification West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. There would only be one requirement: Germany would not join NATO, nor would it join the Warsaw Pact. The March 1990 Reykjavik Summit would prove fruitful in ending German occupation and allowing the full and complete self-rule of a united Germany.

 

Despite America's best efforts to negotiate towards peace and the historicity of the Reykavik Summit, Gorbachev dared to continue the Brenzhev Doctrine by intervening and crushing rebellions in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Byelorussia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. While countries such as Byelorussia and Hungary would be crushed, Romania and Poland would fiercely fight for their independence. Demonstrations would be bloody and often turned into block-by-block battles. Polish and Romanian rebels would eventually storm the capital and take control of Warsaw and Bucharest, respectively. President Cuomo, intent on establishing these countries as free, liberal republics, made sure the Administration held a delicate balance by "supporting these countries in the destiny that they choose." The Soviet Union would be forced into acquiescing into demands for independence. Demonstrations would break out in Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and the Baltic states over this. The Warsaw Pact looks like it is at a breaking point. 1992 would arrive with a fresh coup for Gorbachev to deal with. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuiania, Byelorussia, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Khazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan would be partially released in a quasi-united Soviet. These drastic reforms would be made by one Boris Yeltsin, who would prove to be a continuously polarizing figure in Russian politics. Due to Gorbachev's release of Poland, Romania, and the entire Warsaw Pact, Yeltsin and others would stage a successful coup that truly shocked the world. Economic reforms would transition the country from a socialist planned economy to a radical free market economy that would slowly give rise to Russian oligarchs that controlled the economy like a fiefdom.

 

Iraq had always been a problem that America usually was obligated to deal with. When Israel became the leading Middle Eastern ally of America, it would be Gary Hart and Mario Cuomo that felt obligated to aid them. Iraq, feeling boxed in from threats to economically retaliate, would continue regardless to threaten Israel. When President Hart's threats became actualized, Saddam Hussein would become desperate. Believing that Iraq could make a quick buck by seizing Kuwaitian oil fields. President Cuomo would learn from his mistake in Panama, deciding to take to the international stage to rally against Iraq's blatant violantion of international law. Congress would have a difficult time arguing against this when the U.N. unanimously condemned Iraq's Kuwatian intervention. President Cuomo would quickly gardner an authorization of use of military force against Iraq in 1991. The First Gulf War, a coalition effort that included Russian, U.K., French, Israeli, Saudi Arabian, and Canadian forces, would last for approximately three weeks when Kuwait would be liberated and Baghdad itself was nearly taken. Yet, President Cuomo would be determined to halt coalition forces at Baghdad, declaring that "America's business is protection and liberation, not nation-building." Operation Desert Badger, as it would be called, would be known as a relative success that largely secured Iraqi security. Iraq would be sanctioned, yet the world would largely move on from this intervention. Yet Saddam Hussein would remember this quite well.

 

1990 Midterm elections

Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Maine)

Senate Majority Whip Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico)

Senate Minority Leader Richard Lugar (R-Indiana)

Senate Minority Whip Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska)

102nd Senate Makeup: 45 Republicans (+0), 54 Democrats (-1), 2 Conservatives (+1)

 

48th Speaker of the House of Representatives William H. Gray III (D-Pennsylvania) 

House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Missouri)

House Majority Whip Dave Bonoir (D-Michigan)

House Minority Leader Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia)
House Minority Whip Dick Cheney (R-Wyoming)

102nd House Makeup: 185 Republicans (+10), 243 Democrats (-17), 7 Conservatives (+7)

 

President Cuomo would push America in a far more Progressive direction. Yet it would be wrong to say that he was beloved by everyone. Many people, including Democrats, were not the greatest fans of the President. While many on the left derided him for his interventionist tendencies, Conservative Democrats would split into their own party called the Conservative Party. The Conservative party's largely Southern base would be directly challenged by Republicans, with Virginia Congressman Pat Buchanan leading that charge. While it had a few supporters, the Religious Right's takeover of the Republican party was very difficult as the Conservatives were far friendlier to their cause, with Reverend Jerry Falwell Chairing the party as a whole. Pat Robertson would seek the nomination, though the South would largely be the base of support. 

 

The Republican party would see a wide field of candidates, though they would be relatively lackluster. Illinois Senator Don Rumsfeld, former Delaware Governor Pete DuPont IV,  New York Congressman Jack Kemp, former Nevada Senator Paul Laxalt, Illinois Congresswoman Lynn Morley Martin, Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, South Carolina Governor Carroll Campbell, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, Texas Senator Phill Gramm, and Senate Minority Leader Richard Lugar all competed for the 1992 Republican presidential nomination. While many candidates had their time in the media's spotlight, the so-called "flavor of the month" primaries would favor Campbell, Specter, and Thompson to fight for the nomination. While Thompson waged a more populistic campaign, Campbell managed to win Super Tuesday, landing win after win all the way to the final primaries. Campbell would secure the nomination after a tough fight from Thompson, with many Moral Majority members supporting his campaign.

 

The female Republican vote had rallied almost as a block to support Congresswoman Martin. After a failed result in Iowa, Congresswoman Martin and many female Republicans would rally the eventual Republican nominee to select a female vice Presidential nominee. Many suggested Governor Campbell ought to select female politicians such as New Jersey Congresswoman Christie Whitman, former Dallas Mayor Kay Bailey Hutchison, or even Lynn Martin. Eventually, Carroll Campbell decided to select popular Texan and former Congresswoman Kay Bailey Hutchison. As Carroll Campbell and Kay Bailey Hutchison shook hands together for the first time in the New Orleans Superdome, the Conservative party sought to declare war on "defeatism, anti-Americanism, feminism, and moral treachery" that they claimed both parties represented. Former Alabama Attorney General Doug Jones would be nominated in Nashville as the first Presidential nominee of the Conservative party, with Congressman Pat Buchanan  at his side. 

 

While Doug Jones sought to run up numbers in the South and support their new insurgent party, President Cuomo and Governor Campbell would spar on the national stage. Financial scandals from Mrs. Hutchison would be expanded upon into the national spotlight, by which former Mayor Hutchison would deride "blatant dirty tricks" for their being brought up. Regardless, polls would show everything from a Cuomo landslide to a Campbell landslide as it looked like the country was solidifying its realignment from the 1980s. Campbell would heavily criticize President Cuomo's tax brackets, while Cuomo attacked Campbell's controversial plans to roll back Federal education with partial privitization. The first Presidential debate would have Campbell severely bruise the President for his agenda that had "all the ivory tower elitism with none of the heart."

 

Hutchison and Kennedy would furiously spar each other in the 1992 Vice Presidential debates, in which a woman had appeared at for the first time. While Kennedy attempted to capture Camelot once again, Kay Bailey Hutchison ambushed Kennedy by telling him to "I'm sorry, Mr. Kennedy, but Camelot is over, we're past the Era of Innocence. The Soviet is no longer, the Space Race is won, and America hasn't shown a new vision in that time." Kennedy would defend President Cuomo's record, to which Hutchison would question "Mr. Kennedy, what have you done? What have you added to the Hamlet on the Potomac?" The Vice President would struggle for an answer, and struggle even more when Hutchison derided Kennedy to answer for Chappaquaddick. Some would say that the following headline from the New York Times would say it best: "Is Camelot Dead?" Unfortunately, Hutchison would be derided herself for "being completely disrespectful" to the Vice President. One commentator would say that she "ought to have stayed in her place." While it would be reviled by many Conservatives, a sympathy bump would be given to the Democrats as many considered Kennedy to have been disrespected by the Republican Vice Presidential nominee. November would arrive and would see an America one step further from Conservatism.

 

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President Mario Cuomo, D-New York/Vice President Ted Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, 272 electoral votes, 47.9% of the popular vote

Governor Carroll Campbell, R-South Carolina/Former Dallas Mayor Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, 266 electoral votes, 47.8% of the popular vote

Former Alabama Attorney General Roy Moore, C-Alabama/Congressman Pat Buchanan, C-Virginia, 0 electoral votes, 5.1% of the popular vote

 

 

1992 Congressional elections

Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Maine)

Senate Majority Whip Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico)

Senate Minority Leader Richard Lugar (R-Indiana)

Senate Minority Whip Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska)

103rd Senate Makeup: 43 Republicans (-4), 56 Democrats (+2), 4 Conservatives (+2)

 

48th Speaker of the House of Representatives William H. Gray III (D-Pennsylvania) 

House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Missouri)

House Majority Whip Dave Bonoir (D-Michigan)

House Minority Leader Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia)
House Minority Whip Dick Cheney (R-Wyoming)

103rd House Makeup: 177 Republicans (-8), 232 Democrats (-12), 24 Conservatives (+7)

Edited by Evan
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The 2nd Cuomo Term

 

President Mario Cuomo/Vice President Edward Kennedy 

Speaker of the House William H. Gray III (D)

Senate Majority Leader Edmund Muskie (D)

Secretary of State Sam Nunn (D) 

Secretary of Defense Donald McHenry (D)

 

13 years in power had essentially made the Democratic Party a monolith of political life. In many ways President Cuomo firmly cemented his image upon our national landscape by essentially crafting the Democratic Party in his image. However, as the saying goes "power corrupts" and eventually the Democratic Party, a party of fallible men and women, would fall too. 

 

Domestic Front

President Cuomo's second term opened him up to be politically more adventurous. Pushed hard by Vice President Kennedy Cuomo decided to take up health care reform. Cuomo and Kennedy blitzed network after network with sit downs and interviews about the real stories of Americans who had been denied health care access or who had declared bankruptcy because of the debt created by going to the hospital. It was all very well managed and raised polling numbers sky high. But then came the bill. Health care was a monstrous sector of the economy to take on and the sausage making of writing a bill for it would essentially doom the bill from the start. Cuomo and Kennedy pushed essentially for a bill that required everyone carry health insurance coverage, with reimbursements for those within 250% of the poverty line. It also required that insurance companies could no longer deny insurance coverage for preexisting conditions and gave states money to expand Medicaid coverage. However, even with 56 votes spread across a narrow political spectrum there was a great deal of debate. Senators in the Northeast fought provisions to include a public buy-in to Medicaid at the urging of insurance companies. Conservatives screamed murder at the price and at the possibility of government take over of health care. They began running "Judy and Paul" ads showing a seeming middle class couple worried about paying much higher taxes towards a health care plan for poor people. The ads were brutally effective and the poll numbers on the "American Health and Security Act of 1993" dipped southward. Speaker Gray was able to muster a bare majority, 219 votes, for the bill, but Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell could not get even 52 from his caucus much less the 60 needed for cloture. Cuomo and Kennedy had suffered a devastating political defeat. 

 

In 1994 Cuomo was forced to make another unpopular move when Republicans were able to push forward a bill that would make it illegal for a person of homosexual orientation to serve in the Armed Force. President Cuomo in a primetime interview called the bill, "the single most cruel, thoughtless, and heartless bill that I have ever seen and if it every darkened my door I would veto it then and there". While gay rights organizations applauded the President's stance it energized conservative voters right before the 1994 elections. House Minority Leader Newt Gingrich had already released earlier in the year his "Contract with America" which spelled out a conservative, small government approach. With a massive  tailwind Republicans were able in 1994 to win back a majority in both the House and the Senate with their socially and fiscally conservative message.

 

1994 Congressional elections

Senate Majority Leader Richard Lugar (R-Indiana)

Senate Majority Whip Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska)

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota)

Senate Majority Whip Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)

103rd Senate Makeup: 52 Republicans (+9), 48 Democrats (-8), 4 Conservatives (-2)

 

49th Speaker of the House of Representatives Newton Gingrich (R-Republican) 

House Majority Leader Dick Cheney (R-Wyoming)

House Majority Whip Tom Delay (R-Texas)

House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Missouri)
House Minority Whip Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecitcut)

104th House Makeup: 230 Republicans (+53), 204 Democrats (-28), 0 Conservatives (-24)

 

The remainder of Cuomo's term was marked by turmoil. In 1995 Timothy McVeigh exploded a truck bomb beneath a federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma killing 236 including children of workers in the daycare center in the building. President Cuomo was able to briefly unify the nation, however, events in Texas soon took the headlines. In Waco, Texas a fundamentalist group led by David Koresh had arrest warrants issued for violating federal gun laws and child endangerment laws. The group holed up in their compound for two weeks before FBI agents attempted to storm the facility. However, a fire, of unknown origin, was set off killing most of the 96 people in the compound including 30 children and David Koresh. Two FBI agents were also killed. Cuomo appeared to hawkish to those on the left and two weak to those on the right. Congress began investigating and holding hearing on Waco and the failure of the Cuomo administration. Congress did pass in 1996 the No Gays in the Military Act as well as the Defense of Marriage act, essentially declaring only marriages of a man and a woman valid. Cuomo vetoed both, but this only rallied conservatives.

 

1996 Primaries

 

 The Democratic primaries in 1996 were a desultory affair. Everyone knew that the nomination was a poisoned chalice and nearly all credible candidates stayed away from the fray. Vice President Kennedy announced that he would not seek the nomination which opened the door a little wider. Eventually Tennessee Senator Al Gore would announce that he would seek the nomination. Other than a few quixotic campaigns from fringe candidates Gore had the nomination sewn up well before the Convention. In an attempt to break the GOP's strangle hold on the South and offer a more moderate vision of the Democratic Party he asked Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton to be his running mate. The duo was officially nominated in Atlanta in July. However, by August a woman by the name of Gennifer Flowers came forward and stated that she had an affair with Governor Clinton. Soon two more women also came forward and Gore was forced to eject an angry Clinton from the second seat. He appeared weak and unprepared and eventually settled on former Majority Leader George Mitchell who had nothing to lose as he had retired in 1994.

 

The Republican primaries were fierce and full. New Texas Governor George W. Bush was widely seen as the front runner, but Illinois Senator Donald Rumsfeld, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Spector, Kansas Senator Nancy Kassebaum, and New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman all were viable candidates. Surprisingly Nancy Kassebaum was able to use her Midwest roots and small town conservatism to win Iowa and then parlay that into another victory in New Hampshire. Bush would win South Carolina and it became a two person race. However, Kassebaum was able to win a majority of delegates. At the convention she put Bush forward as her Vice Presidential pick.

 

The rest of the campaign was a cakewalk for Kassenbaum. Democrats were disheartened. Gore was seen as incompetent. Really the only question was how big a margin Kassebaum could win. Pretty substantial would be the final verdict. 320-218.

 

Electoral Map

 

President Nancy Kassebaum/Vice President George W. Bush

Speaker of the House Newton Gingrich (R)

Senate Majority Leader Richard Lugar (R)

Secretary of State James Baker (R) 

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (R)

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