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Evan

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

 

U.S. Presidential election, 2000

genusmap.php?year=2000&ev_c=1&pv_p=1&ev_p=1&type=calc&AL=2;9;5&AK=2;3;5&AZ=2;8;5&AR=2;6;5&CA=1;54;5&CO=2;8;5&CT=1;8;5&DE=1;3;5&DC=1;3;8&FL=2;25;4&GA=2;13;4&HI=1;4;4&ID=2;4;6&IL=1;22;5&IN=2;12;5&IA=2;7;4&KS=2;6;5&KY=2;8;5&LA=2;9;5&MD=1;10;5&MA=1;12;5&MI=1;18;5&MN=1;10;4&MS=2;7;5&MO=2;11;5&MT=2;3;5&NV=2;4;4&NH=1;4;4&NJ=1;15;5&NM=1;5;4&NY=1;33;6&NC=2;14;5&ND=2;3;6&OH=1;21;4&OK=2;8;6&OR=1;7;4&PA=2;23;5&RI=1;4;6&SC=2;8;5&SD=2;3;6&TN=2;11;5&TX=2;32;5&UT=2;5;6&VT=1;3;5&VA=2;13;5&WA=1;11;5&WV=2;5;5&WI=1;11;4&WY=2;3;6&ME=1;2;4&ME1=1;1;5&ME2=1;1;4&NE=2;2;6&NE1=2;1;5&NE2=2;1;5&NE3=2;1;7

President Nancy Kassebaum, R-Kansas/Vice President George W. Bush, R-Texas, 276 electoral votes, 48.3% of the popular vote

Former Secretary of State Sam Nunn, D-Georgia/Governor John F. Kerry, D-Massachusetts, 262 electoral votes, 48.8% of the popular vote

 

U.S. Presidential election, 2004

genusmap.php?year=2004&ev_c=1&pv_p=1&ev_p=1&type=calc&AL=2;9;6&AK=2;3;6&AZ=2;10;5&AR=2;6;5&CA=1;55;5&CO=1;9;5&CT=1;7;5&DE=1;3;5&DC=1;3;8&FL=2;27;5&GA=2;15;5&HI=1;4;5&ID=2;4;6&IL=1;21;5&IN=2;11;5&IA=1;7;5&KS=2;6;6&KY=2;8;5&LA=2;9;5&MD=1;10;5&MA=1;12;6&MI=1;17;5&MN=1;10;5&MS=2;6;5&MO=1;11;4&MT=2;3;5&NV=2;5;5&NH=1;4;5&NJ=1;15;5&NM=1;5;5&NY=1;31;5&NC=2;15;5&ND=2;3;6&OH=1;20;4&OK=2;7;6&OR=1;7;5&PA=2;21;5&RI=1;4;5&SC=2;8;5&SD=2;3;5&TN=2;11;5&TX=2;34;6&UT=2;5;7&VT=1;3;5&VA=2;13;5&WA=1;11;5&WV=2;5;4&WI=1;10;5&WY=2;3;6&ME=1;2;5&ME1=1;1;5&ME2=1;1;5&NE=2;2;6&NE1=2;1;6&NE2=2;1;6&NE3=2;1;7

Former Governor John F. Kerry, D-Massachusetts/Senator Bill Nelson, D-Florida, 283 electoral votes, 48.8% of the popular vote

Former Secretary of State John McCain, III, R-Arizona/Governor Rick Perry, R-Texas, 276 electoral votes, 48.3% of the popular vote

 

U.S. Presidential election, 2008

genusmap.php?year=2008&ev_c=1&pv_p=1&ev_p=1&type=calc&AL=2;9;5&AK=2;3;5&AZ=2;10;5&AR=2;6;5&CA=1;55;4&CO=2;9;5&CT=1;7;5&DE=1;3;5&DC=1;3;9&FL=2;27;5&GA=2;15;5&HI=1;4;4&ID=2;4;6&IL=2;21;4&IN=2;11;5&IA=2;7;5&KS=2;6;6&KY=2;8;5&LA=2;9;5&MD=1;10;5&MA=1;12;6&MI=1;17;5&MN=1;10;5&MS=2;6;5&MO=2;11;5&MT=2;3;5&NV=2;5;5&NH=2;4;5&NJ=1;15;5&NM=2;5;5&NY=1;31;5&NC=2;15;5&ND=2;3;5&OH=2;20;4&OK=2;7;6&OR=1;7;5&PA=1;21;5&RI=1;4;6&SC=2;8;6&SD=2;3;5&TN=2;11;5&TX=2;34;6&UT=2;5;6&VT=1;3;6&VA=2;13;5&WA=1;11;5&WV=2;5;5&WI=1;10;4&WY=2;3;6&ME=2;2;5&ME1=2;1;5&ME2=2;1;5&NE=2;2;5&NE1=2;1;5&NE2=2;1;5&NE3=2;1;6

 

Governor Luis Fortuño, R/NPP-Puerto Rico/Former Senator Don Rumsfeld, R-Illinois, 315 electoral votes, 54.8% of the popular vote

President John F. Kerry, D-Massachusetts/Vice President Bill Nelson, D-Florida, 223 electoral votes, 45.1% of the popular vote

 

U.S. Presidential election, 2012

genusmap.php?year=2012&ev_c=1&pv_p=1&ev_p=1&type=calc&AL=2;9;6&AK=2;3;5&AZ=2;11;5&AR=2;6;6&CA=1;55;5&CO=2;9;5&CT=1;7;5&DE=1;3;5&DC=1;3;9&FL=2;29;4&GA=2;16;5&HI=1;4;5&ID=2;4;6&IL=1;20;5&IN=2;11;5&IA=2;6;5&KS=2;6;5&KY=2;8;6&LA=2;8;5&MD=1;10;6&MA=1;11;6&MI=1;16;5&MN=1;10;5&MS=2;6;5&MO=2;10;5&MT=2;3;5&NV=2;6;5&NH=1;4;5&NJ=1;14;5&NM=2;5;5&NY=1;29;6&NC=2;15;5&ND=2;3;5&OH=1;18;5&OK=2;7;6&OR=1;7;5&PA=1;20;5&RI=1;4;6&SC=2;9;5&SD=2;3;5&TN=2;11;5&TX=2;38;5&UT=2;6;7&VT=1;3;6&VA=2;13;5&WA=1;12;5&WV=2;5;6&WI=1;10;5&WY=2;3;6&ME=1;2;5&ME1=1;1;5&ME2=1;1;5&NE=2;2;5&NE1=2;1;5&NE2=2;1;5&NE3=2;1;6

 

President Luis Fortuño, R/NPP-Puerto Rico/Vice President Don Rumsfeld, R-Illinois, 274 electoral votes, 46.3% of the popular vote

Governor Deval Patrick, D-Massachusetts/Governor Jennifer Granholm, D-Michigan, 264 electoral votes, 48.5% 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-January 20th, 1997

41. Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker, R-Kansas, January 20th, 1997-January 20th, 2005

42. John Forbes Kerry, D-Massachusetts, January 20th, 2005-January 20th, 2009

43. Luis Guillermo Fortuño Burset, R/NPP-Puerto Rico, January 20th, 2009-

 

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-January 20th, 1997

45. George Walker Bush, R-Texas, January 20th, 1997-January 20th, 2005

46. Clarence William Nelson II, D-Florida, January 20th, 2005-January 20th, 2009

47. Donald Henry Rumsfeld, R-Illinois, January 20th, 2009-

 

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 Janice Rogers Brown, Conservative, Appointed by President Fortuño, 2011-

                                                Associate Justice Richard Riley, Centrist, Appointed by President Hart, 1987-2011

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

                                                Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall, Liberal, Appointed by President L. Johnson, 1967-1989

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

                                                Associate Justice Byron White, Liberal, Appointed by President Kennedy, 1962-1990

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

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

Associate Justice Alice Batchelder, Conservative, Appointed by President Kassebaum, 1998-

                                                Associate Justice William Brennan, Liberal, Appointed by President Eisenhower, 1956-1998

Associate Justice Consuelo Callahan, Conservative, Appointed by President Kassebaum, 1998-

                                                Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, Liberal, Appointed by President Ford, 1975-1998

Associate Justice Diane Wood, Liberal, Appointed by President Kerry, 2005-

                                                 Associate Justice Richard Arnold, Appointed by President Cuomo, 1993-2004

Associate Justice Merrick Garland, Centrist, Appointed by President Kerry, 2005-

                                                 Associate Justice William Rehnquist, Conservative, Appointed by President Nixon, 1971-2005

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Liberal, Appointed by President Kerry, 2006-

                                                 Associate Justice Gilbert Merritt, Centrist, Appointed by President Hart, 1981-2006

 

List of Speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives

47th. Thomas "Tip" Philip O'Neill, D-Massachusetts, 8th District, January 3rd, 1977-January 3rd, 1989

48th. William Herbert Gray III, D-Pennsylvania, 2nd District, January 3rd, 1989-January 3rd, 1995

49th. Newton "Newt" Leeroy Gingrich, R-Georgia, 8th District, January 3rd, 1995-January 3rd, 1999

50th. Richard "Dick" Bruce Cheney, R-Wyoming, At-Large District, January 3rd, 1999-January 3rd, 2001

51st. Blanche Meyers Lambert Lincoln, D-Arkansas, 1st District, January 3rd, 2001-January 3rd, 2007

52nd. Christine "Christie" Todd Whitman, R-New Jersey, 7th District, January 3rd, 2007-January 20th, 2013

53rd. Sherrod Campbell Brown, D-Ohio, 13th District, January 3rd, 2013-

 

List of Senate Majority Leaders

Robert Carlyle Byrd, Jr., D-West Virginia, January 3rd, 1977-January 3rd, 1987

Edmund Sixtus Muskie, D-Maine, January 3rd, 1987-January 3rd, 1991

George John Mitchell, Jr., D-Maine, January 3rd, 1991-January 3rd, 1993

Edmund Sixtus Muskie, D-Maine, January 3rd, 1993-January 3rd, 1995

Richard "Dick" Green Lugar, R-Indiana, January 3rd, 1995-January 3rd, 2001

Thomas Andrew Daschle, D-South Dakota, January 3rd, 2001-January 3rd, 2005

Albert Arnold Gore, Jr., D-Tennessee, January 3rd, 2005-January 3rd, 2007

Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, January 3rd, 2007-January 3rd, 2013


World Map, as of December 31st, 2008

 

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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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The Kassebaum Administration

 

Domestic Front

 

President Kassebaum entered office with a lot of momentum, the country putting major focus on her historic win against Tennessee Senator Al Gore in the 1996 Presidential election. At the beginning of her term, the growing conservative House passed legislation banning gays from serving in the military and passed legislation defining marriage between one man and one woman. This legislation would be named the ‘Defense of Traditional Marriage Act.’ It was reported Kassebaum was reluctant to appease the growing Christian right movement at the very beginning of her term, but she signed both pieces of legislation after the urging of Vice President George W. Bush and other advisors, as a way of ensuring that her agenda would not be sidetracked over “small matters.”

 

In late 1997, there was a large dip in the Dow after the markets were spooked due to trouble in the Japanese economy having ripple effects on the growing bubble in the United States. This didn’t last long, however, with Wall Street not only recovering but thriving. Companies which were founded on the internet grew rapidly, beginning to offer high-priced IPOs on the Nasdaq. Around this time, the technological sector began to grow at a rapid pace. At the end of 1997, Congress passed the ‘Digital Protection and Defense of the United States Act’ through Congress. In the bill, the government was given broad authority to regulate the internet and apply penalties to infringement of copyright and trademarks, along with monitoring for illicit and illegal material being sold or traded over the internet. The FBI was given a large amount of authority in this legislation as well as a boost in additional funding to carry out its provisions. At the same time, Congress also passed the ‘Criminal Accountability and War on Drugs Act’ through Congress. The legislation applied new mandatory penalties to drug dealers and those charged with possession of drugs. States were also offered grants based on their performance on convicting criminals related to drugs and lowering their crime rates.

 

In 1998, President Kassebaum and Speaker Newt Gingrich teamed up and passed the National Defense for Fiscal Year 1998 which included a huge increase in funding to the military. This included a massive boost to recruitment efforts for the military, with many anticipating further involvement in the Kashmir Conflict. The 1998 budget also included new tax cuts, with Kassebaum eliminating several of the Hart-era tax hikes providing businesses new tax relief. This series of bills also included major deregulation – including environmental regulations and labor regulations, with union influence rapidly declining during this period. At the beginning of June of 1998, Justice William Brennan announced he must retire due to his health. This was a big win for Kassebaum and conservatives as Brennan was reliably liberal on the court. To replace him, Kassebaum appointed Alice Batchelder to the court. A month later, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died. It took only three weeks for the President to find a replacement, as she appointed Judge Consuelo Callaham to replace Stevens.

 

In August of 1998, it was announced Kassebaum would be meeting directly with former Vice President Edward Kennedy to form a bipartisan commission on healthcare. The commission came forward with a recommendation in the middle of October, at the behest of the Kassebaum White House. The proposal included increased funding towards children’s healthcare, a massive increase in funding to Medicaid, along with an elimination of use of ‘pre-conditions’ by insurance companies to deny or target those pre-disposed with illnesses. In addition, the recommendations included changes to pharmaceutical coverage in Medicare. President Kassebaum did not endorse the recommendations of the commission, promising to address healthcare following the midterm elections.

 

1998 MIDTERM ELECTIONS

Senate Majority Leader Richard Lugar (R-Indiana)

Senate Majority Whip Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Texas)

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota)

Senate Majority Whip Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)

105th Senate Makeup: 50 Republicans (-2), 50 Democrats (+2),

 

50th Speaker of the House of Representatives Dick Cheney

House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-Wyoming)

House Majority Whip Trent Lott (R-Mississippi)

House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Missouri)

House Minority Whip Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut)

105th House Makeup: 222 Republicans (-8), 212 Democrats (+8)

 

The 1998 midterm elections were focused on Kassebaum and her involvement in the Kashmir Conflict (covered below) along with her domestic achievements thus far and the growing healthcare debate. Republicans were happy to campaign with Kassebaum, however, as she was able to maintain positive approvals going into the midterm elections. In the end, it was the topic of healthcare that ended up becoming a highly politicized issue used by Democrats in the midterm elections. It became a bitter affair, with Republicans accusing the former Vice President of using the commission as a “political tool” for Democrats to put the President and Republicans in a corner. President Kassebaum was criticized herself for working with Kennedy and extending an olive branch to Democrats due to Republican dominance in government. At the end of the day, the results shocked Republicans who ended up holding the Senate by the skin of their teeth and holding the House but losing eight seats, mostly in districts which Kassebaum lost in the 1996 election.

 

After the midterm elections, at the beginning of 1999, Kassebaum was looking toward reelection. Keeping her promise, Kassebaum – despite many close advisors, including Vice President George Bush disagreeing –  moved forward on her healthcare. The ‘Healthcare Reform and Cost Reduction Act of 1999’ was introduced with the heavy backing of the Kassebaum administration. The President worked hard to gather both Republican and Democratic votes and passed the legislation with a bipartisan coalition of Senator’s including Majority Leader Lugar and Majority Whip Tom Harkin. The legislation also included new pharmaceutical benefits under Medicare, later being called ‘Medicare Part D.’ The legislation was unpopular with conservatives, as it added to the new deficit being branded by fiscally conservative Democrats as the ‘Kassebaum Deficit.’ Kassebaum has been criticized throughout her term for her husband, Howard Baker’s, role in her administration and how much influence he has over certain decisions. Leaks in several papers have indicated he plays “an integral part” in decisions made by the President.

 

Foreign Front

 

On the foreign front, shortly after taking office, Nancy Kassebaum was faced with the crisis of North Korea firing several missiles in the direction of South Korea who threatened to respond by moving ground forces through the DMZ. The President immediately called for a summit, sending Secretary of State James Baker to meet with President Kim Jong-il, who recently ascended to the spot following the death of his father. In the meeting, Secretary Baker was highly successful and effectively ended the conflict as the United States promised an increased food aid reward for the next three years. This was a big victory for Baker who had been called one of the architects of the ‘Kassebaum Doctrine.’

 

At the end of 1997, Pakistan and India began exchanging fire in a largescale conflict in the Kurgil sector of Kashmir. The Indian Air Force was bombarding Pakistani forces and the conflict escalated to new levels with China threatened to intervene and assist Pakistan from “relentless and cruel bombardment.” Pakistani insurgents at this point were suffering major losses in Kurgil. The United States threatened sanctions on Pakistan if they did not cease their insurgency in Kashmir. Secretary of State James Baker worked relentlessly to try and stop China from becoming involved in the conflict but had little success. In the summer of 1998, it was clear China was interfering on behalf of Pakistan, providing them with resources and funding to continue the conflict and further their efforts. In an interview with 60 Minutes, Speaker of the House Dick Cheney suggested he would support “whatever the President wants to do when it comes to enforcing… to combatting Pakistani funded terrorism.” The comments were seen as growing pressure on Kassebaum to act on growing threats in the Middle East, such as Pakistan and Iraq.

 

Through 1998, Kassebaum had directed Baker to work with the United Nations and arm peacekeepers in the region. The United States would pledge five thousand troops to keep peace in the Kurgil sector in the rough provisions of a UNSC resolution drafted by the US. China would veto the resolution, however, again causing frustration. Kassebaum would go on to sign sanctions against Pakistan in return and threatening new tariffs on China. The conflict would rage on in 1999, resulting in thousands of deaths on both sides. India would call it a “humanitarian crisis” and called upon the United States to condemn the involvement of China. The escalation of the conflict caused many Republicans to call for action against Pakistan, with Kassebaum herself taking a more aggressive stance. Kassebaum drew a red line, calling on immediate ceasefire and a beginning of talks between Pakistan, India, China, and other ‘mediating parties’ to come to a resolution to the conflict. The President also called on Pakistan to immediately cease their support for known terrorist groups reportedly assisting them in their conflicts throughout Asia and the Middle East. The one major success of the Kassebaum administration was the European Union joining them in sanctioning Pakistan and further alienating China as they continued their support of Pakistan to combat the growing influence of India.

 

 

2000 Election

 

At the beginning of 2000, there were reports that Speaker of the House Dick Cheney would be looking to primary Kassebaum as he viewed her as “weak” on foreign policy. There was a reported secret campaign, led by Cheney, for the Vice President to primary Kassebaum from the right. This plan, however, was reportedly halted by Secretary of State James Baker who would later be appointed as the White House Chief of Staff and campaign manager of Kassebaum in the 2000 election. There were no major challenges to Kassebaum in the 2000 Republican primaries, only minor contenders such as Alan Keyes and Pat Robertson challenged Kassebaum from the right. She would sweep the primaries all the way into Super Tuesday. Vice President George W. Bush was already on the campaign trail as well at this point.

 

On the Democratic side, a robust primary began. The candidates included Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, Texas Governor Ann Richards, Missouri Senator Dick Gephardt, Massachusetts Governor John Kerry, and former Secretary of State Sam Nunn. At the end of the day, Nunn carried a lot of weight in and won the Iowa primary. Nunn was emphatically endorsed by former Vice President Ted Kennedy who remained a popular figure among Democrats. In New Hampshire, however, Governor John Kerry showed he was also clearly in the race. It remained competitive when Richards won the South Carolina primary. On Super Tuesday, though, Nunn pulled out as the big favorite, winning a majority of states and a majority of delegates. Governor Ann Richards fought hard but attacks on her age and her foreign policy experience was too much. Nunn was the clear favorite in June, winning the endorsement of former President Mario Cuomo and all but locking up the nomination. Former Secretary Sam Nunn would choose Governor John Kerry as his running mate.

 

During the campaign, Nunn focused extensively on Kassebaum’s foreign policy failures – noting she has been unable to get anything significant done. Nunn would note his vast foreign policy experience, dealing with various crises throughout the Cuomo Presidency. The Kashmir Conflict was well in the minds of the American people, but it wasn’t as big of an issue as jobs were. The year 2000 saw a declining stock market, with ‘dot com’ companies falling. Various online companies would see a drop off the stock market, causing big losses in investment and in turn job losses in various sectors. Kassebaum was criticized for failing to see this and also criticized for her massive reregulation during her Presidency. During the Presidential debate, critics said Kassebaum was “unable to keep up” with Sam Nunn on nuanced foreign policy discussions, but many wondered whether or not voters would care about that. She still seemed strong and sure of what she was saying, they noted.

 

As the days ran closer to the election, Kassebaum made a gaffe at the last minute when a reporter asked her – with a hot mic running – what her thoughts on allowing gays to serve in the military were. “I agree with former President Cuomo, they should have that right, but, you know, the Christian right is a thing,” she said. The hot mic moment was seen as possibly detrimental to Kassebaum as she depended on the ‘Christian right’s’ support and their votes in the election. In the end, with the faltering economy, uncertainty abroad, and Republicans running consistently even to the right of Kassebaum, she very narrowly pulled out a victory.

 

Screen_Shot_2018-09-28_at_7.13.41_PM.png 

 

President Nancy Kassebaum/Vice President George W. Bush

Speaker of the House Blanche Lincoln (D)

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D)

Secretary of State John McCain (R) 

Secretary of Defense John Warner (R) 

 

106th House Makeup: 211 Republicans (-11), 223 Democrats (+11)

106th Senate Makeup: 47 Republicans (-3), 52 Democrats (+2), Independent (+1)

 

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The Kassebaum Administration: Second Term

 

Domestic Front

 

President Kassebaum began her second term in 2001 with a teetering economy. One of the reasons for it’s alarming status was the amount of “dot com” companies continuously failing to cash in on the rise of the Internet. It wasn’t until a tech tycoon by the name of Ross Perot, who had found some success with a couple of “dot com” ventures of his own, told news outlets “it’s the market, stupid.” When Perot elaborated that the market was the “God factor” in business, many dismissed him as a crazy conspiracy theorist. However, very few “dot com” entrepreneurs took the chance of heeding Perot’s advice and saw their businesses thrived using data gathered from market research. One of the more notable companies was a Seattle-based online bookstore known as Amazon.

 

While the risks paid off, the needle slightly moved on the economic scale but was still a long way off from being modernized to accommodate the Internet era. Given his efforts, Kassebaum appointed Perot, a political independent, to spearhead a non-partisan task force to ensure that the American economy to be modernized for the “dot com” era. One of the concerns facing Americans and the internet economy was their reluctance to hand over private information due to the number of hacking incidents of various websites over the course of 2000-2001.

 

As a result, Congress passed by bipartisan margins the “Online Data Protection Act”, which made it illegal for anyone doing business online to mishandle private data that was required to complete transactions over the Internet. This included, but not limited to credit cards, bank account information, phone numbers, and addresses. It also prohibited businesses to sell their customer’s data to third parties.

 

While the economy began to improve slowly, President Kassebaum’s second term also faced another speed bump. Her controversial “hot mic” incident had angered her fellow Republicans who were among the “Christian right”. While she was re-elected to a second term, Kassebaums approvals with Evangelical Christian voters was dramatically cut in half. This was largely due to the impending issue surrounding gays in the military. This created a ripple within the party that would soon cause the party to split into two factions, the “Administration loyalists” and the “Faith and Family” Republicans.

 

At the start of Kassebaum’s second term, the President and Secretary of Defense John Warner began to consider options on the contentious gays in the military issue. Meanwhile, the “Faith and Family” faction were talking up the idea of pushing through a policy banning homosexuals to serve in the military. As expected, this was met with bipartisan resistance, with one member of Congress saying “with issues that concern our military, those should be left up to the Commander in Chief and their closest advisors. We’ll have this tied up for so long, we won’t get the other stuff on our agenda done”.

 

In April 2001, the Defense Department under the direction of Secretary Warner allowed openly homosexual and bisexual members of the military to service.

 

Warner stated, “the most pressing issue that concerns our military at this point is whether or not we are ready to fight when our very freedom is threatened. Each military member shall treat each other with respect. Though you may live a different lifestyle, you, the members of our armed forces have all sworn to uphold our Constitution and share a willingness to serve your country and defend it in times of hostility. Even it if means making a sacrifice of your own.”

 

The directive was approved by Kassebaum and was enacted immediately. This move was praised by Democrats and Kassebaum Republicans. This dealt a blow to “Faith and Family” Republicans but only angered enough to rally their base in the 2002 midterms.

 

2002 Midterms

 

The 2002 Midterms saw a contentious battle within the Republican party between it’s two factions. “Christian right” Republicans sought to unseat incumbents who were loyal to the White House. Even though the party witnessed a slight tilt to the right, the Kassebaum Republicans managed to hold their own in federal elections.

 

However, things were different at the state level. The “Faith and Family” faction began taking on ballot initiatives and insurgent campaigns against state Republicans. This picked up steam in the Southern half of the United States, with a church pastor and radio show host Mike Huckabee running for governor of Arkansas. Huckabee was seen as a rising star among “Faith and Family” Republicans. Huckabee sailed through the GOP primary and ended up winning the general election.

 

Ballot initiatives that were the targets of the “Faith and Family” faction included a referendum in Maine that would legalize “physician-assisted euthanasia”. That initiative faced some solid support among Democrats and moderate Republicans, but split among independent voters. In the end, the referendum was narrowly defeated with the “Faith and Family” faction claiming the credit.

The 2002 midterms saw the Democrats capitalizing on their majority in Congress and retained both chambers.

 

However, there was nothing to celebrate for them in two states that had legalizing same-sex marriage on the ballot. All eyes were on California and Vermont as citizens voiced their arguments on whether or not same-sex marriage was allowed. Both states voted to legalize by wide margins. As a result, more states have begun considering the idea of installing policies on same-sex marriage either by way of legislation or ballot initiatives.

 

In 2003, New York legalized same sex marriage after the Assembly and Senate passed legislation, making it the first state of the union by use of their state legislature. In a half dozen states, the debate to legalize same-sex marriage outright became contentious while some states reached compromises to pass legislation that legalized same-sex civil unions.

 

Foreign Front

 

Relations between the United States and China continued to strain at the beginning of Kassebaum’s second term. Those came to a head in early 2002 when a terrorist organization with a heavy presence in Pakistan was linked to the twin bombings of U.S. embassies in Damascus, Syria and Beirut, Lebanon. The bombings killed a total of 250 people, including the U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon. The U.S. called on Pakistan to condemn the terror attacks from groups housed within the Islamic country, with no reply at all. The European Union and India were swift to condemn the attacks, calling Pakistan’s silence “a hidden refusal to condemn the violence”. As a result, Kassebaum recalled all U.S. government personnel from Pakistan and had closed down it’s embassy, stating “If we’re not getting a straight answer about the safety of our people abroad, then we’re not taking chances.”

 

2004 Election

 

With Kassebaum termed out, the Republicans in party rift continued into the 2004 elections. Vice President George W. Bush decided not to run for a presidential term of his own.

 

The GOP candidates included Secretary of State John McCain, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, and Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. The primary itself showcased a wide array of ideologies, despite the party’s split. Ron Paul was a known non-interventionist stating that the damage between the United States and the international community was irreversible and said it was time to stay away from the conflicts altogether and worry about the domestic issues.

 

On the foreign policy issues, John McCain was the most experienced and more articulate. McCain believed that the world deserves freedom rather than tyranny. He outlined in his agenda that the United States would assess the relations between China, Pakistan, and the rest of the world. “We don’t want to be considered the enemy of the world. America is a place where we hold freedom and peace to a higher importance. We have plenty of issues that need international solutions, so now is the time to heal the divide.”

 

Meanwhile, Huckabee became the darling of the “Faith and Family” Republicans, winning the primaries in Iowa and a handful of southern states. In the final stages, McCain, a former military officer himself, believed that the directive of gays in the military should be respected.

 

McCain ended up winning the Republican nomination. Just days before the convention, McCain had not chosen a running mate and wanted to live up to his “heal the divide” pledge. McCain selected Rick Perry of Texas, who was known as a “Christian conservative” that called to set aside the differences because of an “oops” moment from the current President and work together to beat the Democrats.

 

The Democrats fielded candidates that ran on the platform that the United States was not the world’s police and regime change. Sam Nunn, the 2000 Democratic nominee declined to run again. Massachusetts Governor John Kerry was considered one of the early front-runners for the Democratic nod. His opponents included Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, Georgia Senator Zell Miller, and a New York congressman and son of a former US President, Andrew Cuomo.

 

Kerry scored a decisive victory in New Hampshire, while Zell Miller, who was more conservative than his fellow Democrats, narrowly won in Iowa and states in the South. Though his results mirrored that of Mike Huckabee’s, Miller was the subject of some news fodder when he remarked, “It’s a coincidence, but mind you I’m not one of those super Jesus freaks”.

 

Kerry secured the nomination for the Democrats and tapped fellow U.S. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida as his running mate.

The debate between McCain and Kerry focused more on the US handling of foreign policy, with Kerry firing at the GOP calling them the “party of war and destruction”. McCain countered with attacks of his own calling Kerry a pacifist and further retorted that “freedom around the world must be defended at any cost. Not doing so would descend the world farther into chaos”.

 

With the economy slowly creeping upwards thanks to the adaptation of the Internet, voters sentiment between both parties was a dead split. But the tensions between China and US on an economic scale began to raise more questions about where the economy was headed into 2004 and beyond.

 

As the 2004 election results played out, the map for the most part was colored red. In the early hours, McCain appeared to be in a position to win as he gained a lion’s share of the states. As of 2AM the morning after, only one state had yet to be called...the state of Ohio. It wasn’t until the following afternoon when the Buckeye State had turned blue, giving Kerry 283 electoral votes over McCain’s 255.


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The John F. Kerry Administration

 

President John Kerry/Vice President Bill Nelson (D)

Speaker of the House Blanche Lincoln (D)

Senate Majority Leader Al Gore (D)

Secretary of State Joe Biden (D) 

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (D)

Secretary of Treasury Chris Dodd (D)

 

 

2004 Congressional elections

Senate Majority Leader Al Gore, Jr. (D-Tennessee)

Senate Majority Whip Paul Wellstone (D-Minnesota)

Senate Minority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee)

Senate Minority Whip Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)

109th Senate Makeup: 54 Democrats (-4), 46 Republicans (-4)

 

51st Speaker of the House of Representatives Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas)

House Majority Leader John Murtha (D-Pennsylvania)

House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland)

House Minority Leader Richard Cheney (R-Wyoming)

House Minority Whip Julius Caesar Watts (R-Oklahoma)

109th House Makeup: 240 Democrats (+12), 185 Republicans (-12)

 

John Kerry took on the Presidency with stride. While Kassebaum and McCain looked to have dissolved the Progressive coalition that Hart and Cuomo had made, it was going to be quickly undone. The Kerry Administration would have a unique task as the "Massachusetts Liberal" was taking the oath of office. Richard Arnold, a compromise candidate made by Cuomo in the heat of his re-election campaign, would announce his retirement the day before the 2004 Presidential election. Arnold's resignation would be attributed to the very strange map that saw the normally swingy state of Illinois go solidly for Kerry while Pennsylvania became a nail-biter. 

 

Domestic Agenda

 

President Kerry, unlike other Presidents, believed that Supreme Court Justices ought to have strong convictions, rather than the centrism that resembled Arnold's judicial career. President Kassebaum was a staunch believer against this position, yet her advisers would have her pursue a lame duck confirmation. Kassebaum would find a strong Constitutionalist in the name of William Pryor. The most striking part of the nomination of William Pryor would not be his Conservative stances, but the ramrodding of the lame duck, Republican-controlled Senate that looked to confirm the former Alabama Attorney General. 

 

The Pryor Supreme Court nomination would fail by a vote of 51-49, with Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski casting the deciding negative vote in a very dramatic fashion. Murkowski would be reviled by the Conservative base while many lost the respect that they had for the first female President. Kassebaum would continue to be a polarizing figure for both the political left and right, while centrists consider Kassebaum to be more good than bad.  Kerry would take Kassebaum's failure and twisted the knife during the transition. While Kassebaum apologized to the nation for her partisan-fueled transgression, Kerry would look forward to perhaps nominating an entirely new left bench. Kerry would nominate Appeals Court Justice Diane Wood to succeed Arnold. Many criticized the former Associate Justice for even creating this entire thing, though many credit Richard Arnold for his jurisprudence in his many years on the Federal bench.

 

William Rehnquist had been considered a reliable vote for Conservatives on the Court. While he considered retiring sometime in the early 2000s, Rehnquist believed that McCain would have a much better opportunity to nominate a Conservative on the bench than not. When his health began to seriously deteriorate in the spring of 2005, Rehnquist would announce his retirement from the court. Kerry would gladly use this rare, second opportunity to nominate a Supreme Court Justice. Merrick Garland, a man who had prosecuted the perpetrators of the OKC Bombing in 1995, would succeed Rehnquist. Rehnquist would be followed in 2006 with the retirement of Gilbert Merritt, by which Sonia Sotomayor would be appointed and confirmed with fanfare and little controversy.

 

President Kerry's judicial achievements, however, would not be undone by the reforms he would make to the economy. Kerry rolled back the amount spent on national defense in the 2005 Federal Budget. The Kassebaum tax cuts would be summarily reversed, placing high taxes on the upper class and wealthy corporations. Many tax loopholes would be closed, especially tax havens. Strict guidelines would be implemented in the Frank Reform and Banking Reform Act of 2005. The economic reforms brought on by Kerry would have a relatively positive effect on the economy. The economic stagnation of the 2000s, often called "the Long Growth", would finally see positive results that accelerated the economy.

 

Kerry would be lauded for his attempt to truly do something regarding Climate Change, with Senate Majority Leader Al Gore ushering through the Climate Science Reform Act of 2005, also known as the Gore Act. Cap-and-trade policies would be implemented alongside tax credits and cuts to incite "green" business. This legislation would be considered controversial and helped formulate a populist response from the Republicans. Regardless, the Gore Act would be passed in Kerry's First 100 Days alongside anti-tort reform, voting reform, and further legislation against income discrimination.

 

The Kerry Administration would see that the Democrats needed some sort of rallying cry to secure a solid campaign. The 2006 State of the Union Address would have the President make a fervent plea for a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The debate would go on for months as Speaker Lincoln and Senate Majority Leader Gore negotiated with Frist and Cheney on specifics. The Bipartisan Immigration Reform Act of 2006 would finally be passed in the Summer of 2006, while many anti-establishment candidates fervently criticized the Kerry Administration over what both Progressives and Conservatives thought were weak measures. Regardless, the United States would finally have an efficient, simple immigration system and a Southern border fence.

 

2006 Congressional elections

Senate Majority Leader Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)

Senate Majority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Arizona)

Senate Minority Leader Al Gore, Jr. (D-Tennessee)

Senate Minority Whip Paul Wellstone (D-Minnesota)

110th Senate Makeup: 58 Republicans (+12), 42 Democrats (-12)

 

53rd Speaker of the House of Representatives Christine Todd Whitman (R-New Jersey)

House Majority Leader Michael Pence, (R-Indiana)

House Majority Whip Julius Caesar Watts, Jr. (R-Oklahoma)

House Minority Leader Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas)

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland)

110th House Makeup: 238 Republicans (+43), 197 Democrats (-43)

 

President Kerry would find himself caught between Progressive Democrats that openly criticized the President for what they perceived as inaction while holding the majority in Congress. National Conservatives were mad at the President in general, proclaiming his weakness in the midst of a rising Communist Russia. Learning from Gingrich's Contract with America, Whitman, Pence, and Watts together crafted with retiring Senate leader Frist and first female Senate Majority Leader Kay Bailey Hutchison a much more populist series of bills that they would work with Kerry to pass in the 110th Congress. Despite the very good economy and a good record on paper, the DSCC and DCCC fielded simply bad candidates that would prove controversial such as longtime Ohio Senator Jerry Springer, corrupt such as New York City prosecutor Eliot Spitzer, or suffered spoilers such as the case of Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman's independent run that garnered him 25% of the vote to John Ensign's 45% and Dina Titus's 35%. The Republicans would find themselves on the cusp of the largest Senate victory since 1958. Yet many attribute the growing economy to have stopped their record short. Regardless, the Republican party would elect their first female Speaker of the House in Christie Whitman and the first female Senate Majority Leader in Kay Bailey Hutchison.

 

Foreign Policy

 

John Kerry's foreign policy had far more of a focus as his domestic policy. While the Russian Redoubt, as it was called, was completed with the Treaty of Shanghai, Kerry sought to diversify American interests in the Middle East and Maritime Asia. Rising Arabic and Persian nationalism caused the United States to support rather shady groups such as the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan. When the aforementioned groups began to attack allies in the region, Presidents Cuomo and Kassebaum would quickly divert attention away from the true grimy work that these extremists were causing. Kerry believed that this was an unconscionable moral wrong and ended many relationships in the Middle East, most notably the Saudis. This, while completely moral stance would cause an extreme imbalance in the region that allowed an Islamic Cold War, as some would label it, to arise between the Saudis and Iran. Both were united in their belief that Islam was incompatible with the "imperialist" agendas of the Russians and Americans. The flip side of this was their desire to politically and economically dominate the other. The result would be entangling alliances that saw a complex situation look to only get worse as Arab nationalism reached a fever pitch on July 4th, 2006. July 4th would see the storming of the U.S.-Oman Embassy after weeks of protests that quickly turned violent. The situation would be only heightened when, in a situation of incompetence, it appeared that the Ambassador to Oman had been killed in a plane crash that Omani extremists declared was a sabotage of the plane- a U.S. Military plane. The aftermath of this attack would drive anti-Omani and wartime sentiment in America through the roof. The same could be said with Oman, who would reject Saudi and Iranian suggestions of a political alliance. A relatively contained situation would explode when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, having previously been an ally of the Saudis, began an attack against them in an attempt to stifle a possible civil war. U.S. and Soviet leaders would condemn this unprovoked act of aggression and began joint air strikes in Operation Lightning Fury. 

 

Lightning Fury would spark further nationalist sentiments across the Arabic world, leading to protests of this action in Jordan, Algeria, and Pakistan. The originally anti-Western and anti-Soviet protests would slowly become anti-government protesters as the relatively pro-West governments began to suppress certain peaceful protesters. Lightning Fury would conclude with an economically broken Iraq and an enraged Iraqi people. Saddam Hussein would give another public speech that seemed routine, except that the crowd was as volatile as ever. It only took a radical with a lucky shot and a dream to ignite what would become one of the most volatile times to live in the Arab world. The Assassination of Saddam Hussein would see the fall of a West-cooperative or Russia-cooperative Middle East. 

 

The failure to capitalize on what appeared to be American bloodlust after the Muscat Embassy attack would bring down the approval of John Kerry's foreign policy. Yet it would be elsewhere that Kerry found success. The Organisation of American States would see an increasingly important role in foreign policy, while the slow peeling away of the Republic of Yugoslavia from Russia would become slowly complete. Yugoslavia itself would see a time of immense change as it transitioned from a Constitutional monarchy (1990-2002) that contained King Alexander II, though the transition into a full constitutional republic would be complete in 2002 and ended the Second War of Yugoslav Unification (1997-2002). Yugoslavia would, despite many fully intending to maintain the existence of Yugoslavia, appear to be at its breaking point. The 2006 Federal elections would see controversy after controversy that President Kerry sought to redeem the dissolving that Boris Tadić was essentially forced to manage. President Kerry would negotiate with the regional leaders as to a place in the U.S. where they could have discussions and Atlanta, Georgia appeared to be the most agreed place. The talks would start with the possibility of Yugoslavia ever actually unifying into one cohesive state. This question was muddled, though it would become clear that the demands of every representative could not be met and a unified Yugoslavia maintained. Slowly, each representative would be convinced of this, while discussions of the proper way to divide itself would be discussed. Eventually, the slow process of making nations would begin, with nine separate nations beginning at the end of the conference. Slovakia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska, Vojvodina, Serbia, Kosovo, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Atlanta Accords, as it would become known, would be a historical turning point that would, as many expected, started as a controversial act that many pan-Yugoslavians began riots over, though it would calm down when many began to accept that Yugoslavia would be no more.

 

Armed conflict would be something that the United States would actually see during the Administration of John Kerry. The isolation of North Korea by the U.S., China, and Russia would see its own culmination when Kim Jong Un attempted to strike at South Korea, though was quickly driven back by basically every country. The Korean Missile Crisis would be much less of a crisis and more of a guess that North Korea would not actually use their nuclear weapons against military targets. This would be proven false when they fired at Chinese, American, and South Korean forces. President Kerry would order Operation Korean Freedom, a military operation that lasted less than a month. While Kerry would have a massive approval spike in the Spring of 2007, Kerry was a legislative lame duck unless he would be able to retake Congress after the DSCC and DCCC's failures the previous year.

 

2008 Presidential election

 

Kerry looked like he was sure for defeat after the so-called Arab Spring in the Summer of 2006. The next year, he would look like he was going to dominate the Republican field. The Conservative competition would be many, with Governor Mitt Romney leading national polls through the start of 2007. Senator George Allen looked to rival the Conservative position, while Huckabee and Santorum looked to return to take up the "Faith and Family" wing of the party. Mississippian Republicans Trent Lott and Haley Barbour reportedly considered Presidential runs, though it would be Lott that went through with his run. Florida Governor Crist, Colorado Governor Owens, Illinois Senator Fitzgerald, and Ohio Senator Kasich would make campaigns of their own, though faltered as the money primary truly commenced. The controversial Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski would continuously bat down considerations of running, while Maine Senator Susan Collins toured GOP donation circles in an apparent exploration of a campaign. Former Florida Governor and Education Secretary Jeb Bush was asked if he would run for the Presidency though he would deny consideration after George W. Bush announced his campaign in July of 2007. VP Bush knew very well that GOP chances in 2004 were slim to none. The hiring of the famed and controversial "Darth Vader of American politics" Lee Atwater, efficient operative Steve Schmidt, and GOP communications and polling guru Frank Luntz formed a sort of "unholy alliance" that intended on placing George Walker Bush on the national ticket in 2008. 

 

A massive unknown would emerge from a place that many Americans forget is a part of the United States. Luis Guillermo Fortuño Burset is as American as any other person that was born on American soil. The young Puerto Rican, however, emerged as a top contender for the Presidency from his record of cutting state spending through halting government raises, cutting government salaries, and cutting working and middle-class tax rates. The ballooning deficit that Puerto Rico had been suffering under is slowly being released by Governor Fortuño. The rhetorical style from the Puerto Rican Governor would slowly rival that of his other candidates as the Republican field whittled down further. Fortuño would find himself securing a strong third place while Romney and Bush were at a delegate tie. Romney would take New Hampshire while Fortuño solidified his placement as a true alternative to the Massachusetts and Texan contenders. 

 

South Carolina would see immensely dirty tactics that Fortuño and Romney would decry, though it would be Bush that saw a victory there. Nevada pulled in for Romney while Mini-Tuesday saw Fortuño make a Conservative comeback. Huckabee, Santorum, and Crist would eventually capitulate and endorse the Puerto Rican Governor. Super Tuesday would place Fortuño solidly in third place, though it was becoming increasingly more likely that Romney and Bush would not have enough delegates to secure the nomination. Romney, Bush, and Fortuño shared the position of the most likely to win the nomination in the April and May primaries, though June's primaries would place Fortuño at a solid third. While it began to look more likely that the Puerto Rican would have to settle for kingmaker, a story regarding Bush's 1976 DUI would be brought up by sources close to the Romney campaign. The Bush campaign would then make sure that "that Mormon ******* would pay" in the words of Atwater. Multiple instances of shady business deals, "heartless" mass firings, and a strange story regarding Romney and keeping their dog on the roof of their car would all be brought up in an attempt to completely discredit the Massachusetts Governor. "Probably true" information would be disseminated at a furious pace from the Bush campaign while push polling RNC delegates left a sour taste in everyone's mouths. George Bush looked more and more desperate to win while Romney appeared to be unable to keep track with discrediting these allegations. A silent delegate campaign would begin as the primaries officially ended with Bush and Romney in a bitter deadlock. The first ballot at the Pittsburgh RNC would give a deadlock, as with the second, and third ballots. Fortuño would be asked if he would break his delegates off of their convention obligations, to which he made a grandiose speech that he would not release his delegates, instead demanded a fourth ballot so that "the Conservative conscience will prevail over dark secrets and backroom deals!"

 

Fortuño would win the fourth ballot by a landslide, well over that of Romney and Bush. The Vice Presidential nominee would have to be chosen quickly and independently. Many saw the potential positives of nominating Virginia Senator George Allen, though he would decline. Hutchison and Whitman would both be reached out towards and both declined. Ohio Senator John Kasich, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, former U.N. Ambassador Condi Rice, Missouri Senator John Ashcroft, New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg, and New York Governor Rudy Giuliani would highlight the top of Fortuño's VP list, though in actuality Fortuño would narrow the list down to Kasich and Talent, preferring Rice, Gregg, Ashcroft, Giuliani, and Brownback in the Cabinet. The tables would be quickly turned as Governor Bush would suggest to Governor Fortuño that he ought to select someone that he personally knew from their friendship in Congress that Bush developed in the 80s and 90s: Don Rumsfeld. longtime Illinois Senator and Congressman, former Secretary of Defense, and White House Chief of Staff, Rumsfeld garnered a knowledge of Washington that rivaled only his protege, Speaker Dick Cheney. While the retired Speaker preferred not being nominated for VP if he had to leave Halliburton, he was open to the idea of a Secretary Cheney. Don Rumsfeld would be approached for the Vice Presidency and, while it came with much convincing, Rumsfeld would be placed with the young Puerto Rican Governor. Fortuño/Rumsfeld would face off against President Kerry and Vice President Nelson. 

 

The General Election campaign would be energetic and enticing as Kerry sought to campaign from the Bully Pulpit, making full use of the Rose Garden. Fortuño, meanwhile, would abuse the weakness of this by making many speeches on the same level that the crowd would be, with the only dividing line being a line of Secret Service agents. Fortuño would be seen with Rumsfeld mixing with the crowd while attacking the President for "hiding behind his desk and not listening to the American people." Kerry would infamously retort that "I'm fine with hiding behind my accomplishments, the economy has never been in better shape and our defenses are a sign to the world." The following weeks would see the economy take a pause, then a collapse. The clip "the economy has never been in better shape" would be used brutally by the Republican campaign (advised by the aforementioned Atwater). The economy would decline into a recession as banks and corporations would declare bankruptcy due to taking on bad loans. The 2008 Economic Crisis seemed inevitable, yet it was Kerry that looked like he was doing the most to stop the economy from completely unraveling by proposing a massive economic stimulus package on par with what FDR would propose in the depths of the Great Depression. The 2008 Presidential Debates would do no better as Fortuño appeared ready to face the worse economic crisis since the Great Depression with Don Rumsfeld at his side. Then 10/20 happened.

 

A brisk, Tuesday morning would be interrupted by planes being flown into the World Trade Center, the Sears Tower, the Empire State Building, and the Capitol Building. The New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. attacks would shock the nation to its core as the perceived safety of the American homeland was proved to be absolutely not safe. President Kerry, for his part, did his best to ensure that the nation would feel safe. His jingoistic performance in the debates, however, would be panned as fraudulent. Governor Fortuño made use of this by suspending his campaign and directing further campaign resources directly to the victims of the attacks. When al-Qaeda was found to have been responsible, Kerry would be immensely pressured to take some sort of military action, yet John Kerry was insistent that America is not to be a "mad lion, attacking at anything that crosses its path." Yet hawkish Democrats and the GOP as a whole decried Kerry's lack of immediate action. The Fortuño Campaign was essentially non-existent, with grassroots organization taking the place of national campaigning. A campaigning moratorium would be agreed to by Kerry and Fortuño, though it appeared that the latter benefited the most from the agreement. The election would fittingly go down to the wire with record-breaking turnout in all states. The Great Recession already stoked the American people's frustrations with the current state of Washington. The 10/20 Attacks would make many voters go berserk in terms of frustration with it all, which made the result as historic as the campaign that preceded the result.

 

 

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Governor Luis Fortuño, R/NPP-Puerto Rico/Former Senator Don Rumsfeld, R-Illinois, 315 electoral votes, 54.8% of the popular vote

President John F. Kerry, D-Massachusetts/Vice President Bill Nelson, D-Florida, 223 electoral votes, 45.1% of the popular vote

 

 

2008 Congressional elections

Senate Majority Leader Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)

Senate Majority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Arizona)

Senate Minority Leader Paul Wellstone (D-Minnesota)

Senate Minority Whip Chuck Schumer (D-New York)

111th Senate Makeup: 63 Republicans (+5), 37 Democrats (-5)

 

52nd Speaker of the House of Representatives Christine Todd Whitman (R-New Jersey)

House Majority Leader Michael Pence, (R-Indiana)

House Majority Whip Julius Caesar Watts, Jr. (R-Oklahoma)

House Minority Leader Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)

House Minority Whip Xavier Becerra (D-California)

111th House Makeup: 259 Republicans (+21), 179 Democrats (-21)

Edited by Evan

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The Luis Fortuño Administration

 

President Luis Fortuno/Vice Donald Rumsfeld (R)

Speaker of the House Christine Todd-Whitman (R)

Senate Majority Leader Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R)

Secretary of State Jim Talent (R) 

Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney (R)

Secretary of Treasury Glenn Hubbard (R)

Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) 

 

 

Senate Majority Leader Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)

Senate Majority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Arizona)

Senate Minority Leader Paul Wellstone (D-Minnesota)

Senate Minority Whip Chuck Schumer (D-New York)

111th Senate Makeup: 63 Republicans (+5), 37 Democrats (-5)

 

52nd Speaker of the House of Representatives Christine Todd Whitman (R-New Jersey)

House Majority Leader Michael Pence, (R-Indiana)

House Majority Whip Julius Caesar Watts, Jr. (R-Oklahoma)

House Minority Leader Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)

House Minority Whip Xavier Becerra (D-California)

111th House Makeup: 259 Republicans (+21), 179 Democrats (-21)

 

Domestic Front AND Foreign Front 

 

As the nation was reeling from the sudden economic collapse, fueled by the banks collapsing and several industries (including automobile manufacturing) facing bankruptcy, Luis Guillermo  Fortuño  was inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States of America in a rebuilt Capitol building. In his inaugural speech, Fortuño promised that those who perished on 10/20 would face justice and promised to bring forward proposals to repair the American economy and make America great once again. In his first action as President, as advised by many within his administration, Fortuño announced that the United States had made an ultimatum to the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan and warned action would be taken if the terrorists responsible for the attacks were not extradited to the United States. The same week, Congress passed a blanket authorization allowing the President to take military action against all terrorist actors responsible for the 10/20 attacks. Vice President Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary Cheney, along with former Vice President George W. Bush, all advocated for the United States to immediately begin operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan to wipe out the Taliban.

 

The United States would ask NATO allies to join them in eliminating al-Qaeda from Afghanistan and fight terrorism in the region. The United States would immediately begin bombing operations in Afghanistan, targeting the Taliban and known al-Qaeda bases. Most if not all major al-Qaeda leaders retreated to neighboring Pakistan. A month later, the new President announced that the United States would be sending troops to Afghanistan in order to eliminate al-Qaeda and those who are harboring terrorists. Following intelligence that Pakistan was helping members of the Taliban retreat to their territory, the United States suspended aid to the region despite Vice President Rumsfeld and Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney advising the President to continue working with Pakistan. President Fortuño insisted they must face consequences for being "accomplices to those responsible for what happened on 10/20." There were rumors around this time that Secretary Cheney and Vice President Rumsfeld believed Iran and its sponsored terrorist organizations needed to be brought to heel. 

 

During this time, President Fortuño was also working closely with Treasury Secretary Glenn Hubbard and Economic Advisor John Sununu on a response to the economic crisis. After the bank bailouts that were passed before President Fortuño took office began taking effect, the President announced Greg Mankiw would be leading the bailout effort. A week later, the President announced the 'Economic Resurgence and Recovery Act' -- sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Kay Bailey Hutchinson -- which made certain tax cuts permanent, cut corporate business taxes, and reversed several of the provisions of Kerry's banking reforms. A new regulation agency was setup under the Government Accountability Office which would strike U.S. regulations for every new regulation that was made by Congress. The moves were panned by Democrats as irresponsible, noting those responsible were given hall passes to recking the economy even further. The most popular provisions of the legislation was the major infrastructure investment through the states, a cut in payroll taxes, as well as relief for first-time homeowners and a repeal of the so-called "Death Tax" and the Alternative Minimum Tax. The bill would go on to easily pass Congress. Around this time, the President's approval rating was at 74%. 

 

In March, the President and Congress passed the 'Energy Investment and Exploration Act of 2009' which authorized the government to lease new oil explorations in various places, including ANWR and various new pipelines. The legislation also included new investments into 'clean coal' and some alternative energy sources. The legislation easily passed. In the same week, Congress passed the 'DEFENSE Act' which authorized wide surveillance from the government in order to thwart terrorist threats. In addition, the Department of Defense budget was revised to include hundreds of billions of dollars for the war effort in Afghanistan and new Defense projects. This would mark the beginning of a new large deficit in the budget which was largely dismissed as part of the war effort and response effort to 10/20. Months later, Congress would pass the 'Partial-Birth Abortion Ban.' This new law would go on to be challenged in the Supreme Court in the case 'Codwell v. Mississippi.' In a 7-2 decision, with Justices Ginsburg, Cabranes, Calabresi, Tatel, Wood, Garland and Satomayor writing for the majority, the Supreme Court ruled the banning of partial-birth abortions unconstitutional. Dissenting were Justices Batchelder and Callahan. This would mark the first major setback for President Fortuño and his ambitious agenda. 

 

In late 2009, the economy had still yet to recover. The unemployment rate was at 8.8% and still on the rise and the Fortuño administration was running out of options for action. The President was displeased with economic advisers calls to "wait-out" the rough period of the recovery. General Motors filed for bankruptcy in late 2009 and Chrysler followed suit shortly after. Democrats were heavily in favor of a bailout plan while Republicans, especially fiscal conservatives, remained very resistant -- especially with the rising deficit from war efforts and the recent passage of major spending on stimulus and the bank bailouts. President Fortuño met with Democrats but ultimately decided against endorsing an auto bailout, telling reporters the government could not be picking winners and losers throughout the recession. Democrats were defeated and outraged at the abandonment of the auto industry. In March of 2010, the unemployment rate hit 9.5%. This was the highest of the recession. The war in Afghanistan was raging on and there were announcements of several deaths on the American side in the fight of the Taliban. The same month, Congress passed the "Promotion of Iranian Freedom Act", allocating $50 million to pro-Democratic groups in Iran against the Iranian government as well as new sanctions against Iran. The issue of nuclear weapons in Iran was a growing one and Vice President Rumsfeld was insistent that President Fortuño give the Iranian's an ultimatum because Democrats were already critical of the move, calling it "the first step to war with Iran." 

 

In the summer of 2010, several more landmark Supreme Court case came through. This time it was in Lowell v. Patterson, a case which saw a 6-3 majority opinion affirming the right of same-sex marriages across America. States such as Alabama and Mississippi were incredibly resistant to the Supreme Court ruling and many county clerks resigned their positions in protest of the 'liberal Supreme Court' ruining America's values. In Teller v. FEC, in another 6-3 decision with Chief Justice Ginsburg ruling in the majority, the court upheld that legal entities did not have a right to speech protections under the First Amendment and therefore did not have unfettered access to participating in U.S. elections. Finally, in a 5-4 decision in the case of Samson v. Georgia, Chief Justice Ginsburg wrote in a majority opinion that the death penalty was unconstitutional under the 8th amendment. The case came forward after a juvenile was sentenced to the death penalty in Georgia. Conservatives relentlessly attacked the Supreme Court as 'activist' and Republican political pundits on cable news publicly decried the court as an illegitimate body carrying on the agendas of the likes of John Kerry and Mario Cuomo. 

 

2010 MIDTERM ELECTIONS

Senate Majority Leader Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)

Senate Majority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Arizona)

Senate Minority Leader Paul Wellstone (D-Minnesota)

Senate Minority Whip Chuck Schumer (D-New York)

112th Senate Makeup: 58 Republicans (-5), 42 Democrats (+4)

 

52nd Speaker of the House of Representatives Christine Todd Whitman (R-New Jersey)

House Majority Leader Michael Pence, (R-Indiana)

House Majority Whip Julius Caesar Watts, Jr. (R-Oklahoma)

House Minority Leader Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)

House Minority Whip Xavier Becerra (D-California)

112th House Makeup: 237 Republicans (-22), 198 Democrats (+23)

 

Democrats were able to campaign against the slow recovery of the President as well as the failure of GM and Chrysler. Democrats ran advertisements in key districts targeting the President and his policies as "tested and failed." The campaign was a success as throughout the midterm elections, the President's approvals went down significantly. At the beginning of October, the President went from an approval rating in the mid fifties to an approval rating of 47%. Polls around this time also showed Democrats with a lead of about seven nationally with some predicting they would be able to make significant gains in the House of Representatives and take away the filibuster proof majority in the Senate from Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Paul Wellstone was a big figure in the Democratic campaign, hammering home the President's failures on the economy. This was frustrating to President Fortuño because he had initially been hesitant about denying General Motors and Chrysler a bailout package. At the end of the day, Republicans kept their majorities. Despite the economy remaining stagnant, the future was starting to look not as bleak; employment numbers were improving and job losses had finally stopped. The President's mortgage reforms were coming into effect and the reduction in payroll taxes was seen as a significant boon to Republicans. 

 

In December of 2010, Associate Justice Richard Riley -- the last remaining Justice on the court appointed by President Hart other than the Chief Justice -- announced he would be retiring at the end of the year. Republicans saw this as a chance to finally begin to balance the court. Judge Janice Rogers Brown was chosen as the replacement to Richard Riley. Democrats feverishly opposed her nomination to the court, lamenting her record of judicial activism. Republicans balked at this notion, however, pointing to the judicial activism they believe the Supreme Court had been enacting the entirety of President Fortuño's term. President Fortuño had also brought up the issue of Puerto Rican statehood many times but the idea was not popular in the Republican Party who were already unhappy about the President's lax immigration stances. Republicans privately feared promoting Puerto Rican statehood would put them at a future disadvantage in the United States Senate. Vice President Donald Rumsfeld eventually talked the President out of pursuing this goal, urging him to consider the political capital it would take to achieve it. 

 

At the beginning of 2011, President Fortuño would send another 20,000 troops to Afghanistan as part of a surge to the country to fight al-Qaeda insurgents and the Taliban as well as to begin training the army in the country. The move was favored by most American's with 10/20 still fresh in their minds. In April of 2011, the New York Times published a story which laid out a timeline where Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and Vice President Donald Rumsfeld conspired to withhold intelligence information from the President regarding Pakistan's involvement in helping certain leaders of the Taliban in 2009. The White House went into damage control mode, assuring the press that the President and the Vice President were fully cooperating on all matters including that of national security. Privately, however, the President became highly distrustful of Cheney and Rumsfeld. Cheney would go on to resign only four months following the New York Times article and he would be replaced by former National Security Advisor Kelly Ayotte. This would see the beginning of a shift, with former Kassebaum officials being hired periodically throughout 2011 to replace Cheney hires in the Defense Department. During this same time, the President passed legislation consolidating the Commerce Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Energy Department into a single Department known simply as the 'Department of Commerce, Energy, and Environmental Protection.' This was coupled with cutbacks to the departments.

 

By the middle of 2011, the economy was still very stagnant. The unemployment rate was 7.8% and while it had gone down significantly from the highest numbers of the recession, many American's were still unemployed and many were still deeply in debt. The war in Afghanistan continued and the President promised to continue the war until the Taliban and al-Qaeda were eliminated as a threat to the United States. It remained popular with American's in polling. In the fall of 2011, tensions with Iran grew to new heights after intelligence found they were increasing their uranium enrichment levels. The hawks of the Republican Party demanded the President draw an ultimatum to Iran. At the end of the day, Congress passed further sanctions and Secretary of State Jim Talent secured European Union support for sanctions on Iran for their nuclear program. At the beginning of 2012, despite several filibusters from Democrats and protests from climate activists, Republicans effectively gutted the 'Gore Act' enacted under John Kerry with the 'Energy Deregulation and Protection Act.' The move would be dismissed by most American's who, at this point, were displeased about the lack of economic results. Republicans would go on to pass the 'Immigration Reform Act of 2011.' The legislation did not include requested exemptions for supposed 'dreamers' -- immigrants brought to the United States as children -- protecting them from deportations. President Fortuño received a lot of criticism for this, even from the center-right. The war in Afghanistan was growing increasingly unpopular the more resources the United States poured into it and there was a growing coverage of the palace intrigue inside the White House going into 2012 after the Rumsfeld-Cheney scandal.

 

2012 Presidential Election

 

President Luis Fortuño entered the first Republican primaries with an approval rating of 45% and a disapproval rating of 47%. Democrats relentlessly attacked the President for his lack of action on the economy as well as his failure to keep several of his campaign promises like making Puerto Rico a state and bringing an end to the economic crisis as quickly as he promised he would in the campaign in 2008. In addition, his former 'ace card' so-to-speak -- Donald Rumsfeld -- was now more of a liability on his ticket, seeming like a figure which used him as a puppet instead of backing him up as a trusted veteran advisor. This caused major speculation in the media the President would be looking for a new running mate in the 2012 election. The speculation was put to an end when the President and Vice President Rumsfeld held a joint press conference affirming Rumsfeld would be on the ticket and affirming the two worked together "better than we ever have."

 

Ohio Senator John Kasich would announce his campaign to primary the incumbent President from the right, promising fiscal responsibility and promising an end to the war in Afghanistan through major force which the President was unwilling to commit to; many believed he had a bitter taste in his mouth from the Bush influence in the administration. Governor of South Carolina Lindsey Graham also announced his intention to run in the primary, railing against the President's foreign policy and calling on immediate action to bring an end to Iran's nuclear program. Graham campaign feverishly in South Carolina and built up a major lead in the state. President Fortuño campaigned in Iowa and New Hampshire along with Senator Kasich. 

 

The President would go on to win the Iowa primary while Kasich would barely take the New Hampshire primary from him -- a shocking development that lead many to question the President's viability in a general election. Governor Lindsey Graham easily won South Carolina. In a primary debate before Super Tuesday, the President made a gaffe when Lindsey Graham forcefully questioned if he was aware of the current number of American's who have perished in the war with Afghanistan. President Fortuño was unable to give a specific number and the moment was covered extensively after the debate. Romney chose to stay out of the race, many speculated he wasn't interested in trying to primary the incumbent President. The President would go on to win the larger states, forcing Graham out of the race. Graham pledged to use his delegates to change the Republican Party platform in regards to Iran and 'bad foreign actors.'

 

The Democratic primaries were filled with viable candidates. Vice President Bill Nelson was seen as a possible front-runner along with former Secretary of State Joe Biden. However, early on, Vice President Nelson refused to run. The former Secretary of State also refused to run, citing his age and wanting to spend time with his family. New York Senator Andrew Cuomo announced he would be running for President, following in the foot steps of his father. Soon after, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced his campaign for the Presidency to much fanfare. Within the same week, both Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and California Governor Gavin Newsom announced their intentions to run. The final entry into the race was Texas Congressman Julian Castro. The "deck was stacked" according to most media outlets, noting the large heavyweights within the Democratic Party eager to take on President Fortuño in light of the flailing economy. Former Secretary of State Joe Biden would win Iowa and New Hampshire but Texas Congressman Julian Castro shocked many when he came in second place in New Hampshire.

 

Deval Patrick won South Carolina and would go on to defeat Joe Biden in various larger swing-states on Super Tuesday. Granholm would take Michigan and Julian Castro was able to take various smaller states as well. Deval Patrick would go on to dominate in most of the south but would lose to Julian Castro in Texas. Jennifer Granholm dropped out of the race after Super Tuesday, endorsing Governor Deval Patrick. Governor Newsom also dropped out of the race, endorsing Biden. Ultimately, Joe Biden conceded the race after it was clear Governor Patrick would win California even with Governor Newsom campaigning with Biden in the final weeks of the campaign. 

 

The tickets were set; Governor Deval Patrick chose Jennifer Granholm as his Vice Presidential nominee. In the early onset of the campaign, Patrick would use a positive message to try and engage American's. The polling showed Patrick up by six points in the beginning of August. President Fortuño refused to rehire many of the previous operatives who worked on his campaign in 2008, much to the objection of Vice President Rumsfeld. The strategy of the Fortuño reelection campaign shifted before the convention, opting to air ads attacking Deval Patrick as far-left and incapable of fixing the economy. The campaign also focused on the many accomplishments of President Fortuño, including lower-taxes, the beginning of an economic recovery, and his management of the war effort in Afghanistan. During the first debate, Deval Patrick pounced on the President with a barrage of facts and statistics on the economy which he seemed unprepared for. Patrick was said to be more passionate than Fortuño. 

 

In an 'October surprise', Deval Patrick was revealed to have been involved in a scheme with casinos in Massachusetts, skirting state rules in order to fast-track new casinos being built in the state. Governor Patrick initially denied the allegations, but the damage was done. The Fortuño took advantage, with explicit permission from the President, and ran smear ads calling Patrick corrupt and pointing out his shady background. This would overshadow Patrick's key talking point of his economic success in Massachusetts as Governor in the face of the recession -- two weeks later, in the middle of October, national polls showed the race was essentially tied and within the margin of error. The key swing states were Florida, Illinois, Colorado, New Mexico, and Ohio. The midwest was one of the toughest places for the President, especially with the auto bankruptcy haunting him, and Deval Patrick took advantage of that. Florida and Colorado were states which received the most attention in the election. Ultimately, on Election Day, it would be Florida that would secure President Luis Fortuño a second term. Governor Deval Patrick, however, would win the popular vote by nearly two percentage points. Democrats would fare much better in Congressional races, essentially wiping out any Republicans in left-leaning districts who were forced into tough votes in the latter end of Fortuño's first term. 

 

 

Screen-Shot-2018-10-12-at-1-50-22-AM.png

 

President Luis Fortuño, R/NPP-Puerto Rico/Vice President Don Rumsfeld, R-Illinois, 274 electoral votes, 46.3% of the popular vote

Governor Deval Patrick, D-Massachusetts/Governor Jennifer Granholm, D-Michigan, 264 electoral votes, 48.5% of the popular vote

 

 

2012 Congressional elections

Senate Majority Leader Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)

Senate Majority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Arizona)

Senate Minority Leader Paul Wellstone (D-Minnesota)

Senate Minority Whip Chuck Schumer (D-New York)

113th Senate Makeup: 52 Republicans (-6), 47 Democrats (+5), 1 Independent(s)  (+1)

 

53rd Speaker of the House of Representatives Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)

House Majority Leader Xaiver Becerra, (D-California)

House Majority Whip Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland)

House Minority Leader Christine Todd-Whitman (D-New Jersey)

House Minority Whip Michael Pence (D-California)

113th House Makeup: 213 Republicans (-24), 222 Democrats (+24)

 

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