2018 Presidential Election



Friday, 28 February 2020

Irish parties agree to form coalition government

Three weeks after the general election that saw the governing Fianna Fáil party suffer its worst result in history, a new coalition government has been agreed to between the Fine Gael and Labour parties. Both parties announced the signing of a formal coalition agreement earlier this morning, with Fine Gael leader Jim Flanagan set to become the new Taoiseach (prime minister) with Labour leader Brendan McMahon as Tánaiste (deputy prime minister).

"We are pleased to announce the signing of an agreement," Flanagan told reporters in Dublin. "We are still working out the finer details, but the policy agendas have been agreed to." The incoming leader said that the new government, which will control a five-seat majority in the Dáil (parliament), will prioritize making housing more affordable, reducing homelessness and fixing the country's healthcare system.

"We are formalizing what is a democratic revolution at the ballot box," Flanagan said, noting the end of Fianna Fáil's 22 year-long rule signaled a "new day" for Ireland. In particular, Flanagan said that the new government would introduce legislation to the Dáil for constitutional referenda that would legalize abortion in the Republic (currently abortion is illegal except in cases where the mother's life is at risk) and end the requirement that couples need to be separated before filing for divorce. Flanagan also said he was looking forward to working with Prime Minister Richard Samuels on issues affecting both nations, including "continuing the two decades of peace in Northern Ireland."

The new parliament, elected on 8 February, is scheduled to convene on Tuesday, 3 March. With the signing of a coalition agreement, it is almost certain that a majority of the 160 Teachta Dála (TDs- members of parliament) will vote to support Flanagan as the new Taoiseach to succeed Brian Martin.
 


Sunday, March 1st, 2020

Butler wins crowded CPAC straw poll

South Carolina Governor Ethan Butler (R) won the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll yesterday in a divided field. The straw poll, taken by attendees of convention of conservative activists and elected officials, has traditionally been seen as an important gauge of enthusiasm of a candidate by the party's activist base.

Butler narrowly won over Florida Governor James Ritchie (R) 27 votes to 25, with several other candidates, such as Kansas Governor Peter Gault and businessman Andrew Long, coming close behind in a crowded field. Long, who had criticized the Republican Party in the past during his runs for senator and governor in Texas, electrified the crowd with his speech about border security and the "failure of Washington to keep our country safe from the chaos and crime spilling over from Mexico."

As usual, the conference drew the top Republican elected officials in the country, with both Senate Majority Leader Cody Riley and House Minority Leader Mitchell Harris speaking to the crowd, forecasting a "red wave" in the November midterms. Despite being the highest-ranking Republican in the country, Vice President Jack Hunter declined to appear for a second consecutive year.
 


Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

Meeshell Anders named interim Hardball host

After Chris Matthews' on-air departure on Monday, MSNBC has named political journalist Meeshell Anders as the new interim host for the political talk show. The network announced the decision on Wednesday afternoon, saying that Anders would take over hosting duties starting Monday, March 9th, with a series of rotating hosts filling out the three remaining shows in the current week.

Matthews' Monday night departure left the network scrambling, although public pressure had been mounting for MSNBC to cut ties with the veteran host since February when a former MSNBC contributor revealed Matthews' inappropriate comments about and to her during the 2018 presidential election. Recent gaffes and insensitive comments, including that if former senator and Green Party presidential candidate Haydn Straus had won the 2018 election "there would have been mass-executions of 'class enemies' in Central Park" and referring to Delaware Governor Denise Byers (D) as an "jezebel" after Byers refused to allow former governor Declan Molloy to contest the Democratic gubernatorial nomination unopposed after Molloy was exonerated of corruption charges (Byers narrowly won the primary).

Anders, who was a frequent contributor on Hardball in recent years, has been covering Washington politics for NBC and MSNBC since 2004. She is married to star Miami Dolphins wide receiver Chris Wake, who she met while covering the 2014 Democratic convention.


Anders (photo by Gabrielle Union)
 


Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

Meeshell Anders named interim Hardball host

After Chris Matthews' on-air departure on Monday, MSNBC has named political journalist Meeshell Anders as the new interim host for the political talk show. The network announced the decision on Wednesday afternoon, saying that Anders would take over hosting duties starting Monday, March 9th, with a series of rotating hosts filling out the three remaining shows in the current week.

Matthews' Monday night departure left the network scrambling, although public pressure had been mounting for MSNBC to cut ties with the veteran host since February when a former MSNBC contributor revealed Matthews' inappropriate comments about and to her during the 2018 presidential election. Recent gaffes and insensitive comments, including that if former senator and Green Party presidential candidate Haydn Straus had won the 2018 election "there would have been mass-executions of 'class enemies' in Central Park" and referring to Delaware Governor Denise Byers (D) as an "jezebel" after Byers refused to allow former governor Declan Molloy to contest the Democratic gubernatorial nomination unopposed after Molloy was exonerated of corruption charges (Byers narrowly won the primary).

Anders, who was a frequent contributor on Hardball in recent years, has been covering Washington politics for NBC and MSNBC since 2004. She is married to star Miami Dolphins wide receiver Chris Wake, who she met while covering the 2014 Democratic convention.


Anders (photo by Gabrielle Union)
In universe Matthews scandal is a big oof. Interesting tweak on RL events.
 
To those whom are interested Senator Gabe Tillman held off the challenge of Congressman Brendan Harper in the Californian Senate Primary held on Tuesday, he won 58.18% to 41.82% (margin 16.36%).
On the Republican side the nomination was won by Karen Donovan, the Californian Senate Minority Leader from the 16th District.
*Note in this universe the sate of California does not use the "Jungle Primary" system as in the "real world"*
 
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OOC: With Flanagan having become the new Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland, here's the wikibox for TTL's leaders of the Republic of Ireland since the 1986 US presidential election. The box from the second-to-the-right is the Tánaiste (deputy prime minister).


Cast
Garret FitzGerald as himself
Charles Haughey as himself
Niall Tóibín as Paul McHugh (new casting)
Brendan Gleeson as Ken Cahill (new casting)
Gary Whelan as Connor O'Doull (new casting)
Colm Meaney as Liam Pullen
Gabriel Byrne as Brian Martin
Cilian Murphy as Jim Flanagan
 
OOC: Looking back at the old thread, there wasn't a Democratic equivalent to this (now outdated) list, so here it is:

List of Chairs of the Democratic National Committee

35. Robert S. Straus (TX): 1975-1977​
36. D. Wire Newman (AL): 1977-1979 James Cromwell
37. John White (TX): 1979-1981​
38. Kevin Martin (CA): 1981-1983​
39. Denise Byers (DE): 1983-1987 Phylicia Rashad
40. Jim Mathews (SC): 1987-1991​
41. Deborah Whitmer (IL): 1991-1992​
42. Joseph McGuire (MA): 1992-1995​
43. Barry Goodwin (MD): 1995-1999 John Aylward
44. Denise Byers (DE): 1999-2005 Phylicia Rashad
45. Steve Rorsche (IN): 2005-2009 Mark L. Taylor
46. Josh Lyman (CT): 2009-2014 Bradley Whitford
47. Stephen Collins (PA): 2014-present Kyle Chandler

Collins' current term expires in 2023. He filled out the remainder of Lyman's term (2011-15) and was reelected unopposed in 2015 and 2019.

  • Martin, Matthews, Whitmer and McGuire are new establishments. McGuire was established as a former governor of Massachusetts, but I've retconned him into also serving as DNC chair.

  • Excelsior's write-up the Byers family mentioned that the DNC chair had two-year terms. I'm retconning this to have the brokered 2006 convention convince the DNC that a four-year term for its chair would be needed for stability, so the 2005 election that elected Rorsche was the last one elected to a two-year term.

    Ironically, neither Rorsche or Lyman served out a four year term after these were established (Rorsche resigned two years into the 2007-2011 term and Josh stepped down with a year left in his own term).

  • Plenty of men and women on this list served in high office besides being DNC chair:
    • Strauss: US Trade Representative under Jimmy Carter (OTL)
    • Newman: President of the United States, Governor of Alabama
    • Byers: Secretary of Transportation under Newman, First Lady of Delaware
    • McGuire: Governor of Massachusetts
    • Goodwin: Governor of Maryland, Senator from Maryland, Congressman from Maryland, vice presidential nominee in 1994
    • Lyman: White House Chief of Staff under Santos
    • Collins: Congressman from Pennsylvania
 


Sunday, March 8th, 2020

Hundreds exposed in radiation accident near Japan-US air base

Hundreds of people have been exposed to dangerous amounts of radioactive material in the city of Hachinohe, Japan, less than 20 miles from a joint Japanese-US air base. Earlier today, officials from the Japanese Ministry of Environment and Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF) alerted the public that several dozen people in the northern city of Hachinohe had been admitted to the hospital with signs of radiation sickness, and that several residential buildings have been quarantined due to detected high levels of cesium-137, a radioactive byproduct created by nuclear fission.

Prime Minister Ayeka Juchiro issued a statement telling Hachinohe residents to remain calm, and urged those who had been to certain areas of the city within the past week to "contact health officials immediately" for testing. The prime minister further stated that radioactive material had been recovered from the residences of three of the affected victims, and that there is no indication of terrorist intent. Scientists from the Ministry of the Environment have stated the material is radioactive cesium chloride, a substance used in cancer treatment. Investigators have not yet determined how such a substance came to be found in several residential buildings.

While no service members in the nearby Misawa Air Base (MAB) have been reported to have shown symptoms of radiation sickness, a Pentagon spokesman has confirmed that the base is on lock-down and that all Japanese and American service members present are being tested for exposure to high amounts of radiation. Bram Howard, the United States Ambassador to Japan, said that American authorities believe there is an "extremely remote" chance that any US service members were exposed, given the location of the contaminated residences is far from areas frequented by off-duty service members when visiting Hachinohe.
 
Just to clarify that in this world the main players in the Good Friday Agreement signed in 1998 (and confirmed on the Show in the Third series Episode "Dead Irish Writers" as having taken place in this world) where:
UK Prime-Minister: Ricky Meyer
Irish Taoiseach: Connor O'Doull
President of the United States: Owen Lassister
President of Sinn Fein: Brendan McGann
 
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Monday, March 9th, 2020

Improper disposal of medical equipment results in radiation accident

Officials in Japan have reported that improper disposal of radioactive medical equipment is responsible for the contamination of several residential buildings and dozens of people in the Japanese city of Hachinohe. Interviews with victims and a radiation survey has confirmed that the accident was caused by a scrap metal worker taking home a damaged container of radioactive cesium chloride that he found while working. The container, part of a device used in radiation therapy to treat cancer patients, emitted a blue glow—ionization of the air caused by intense radiation—that the worker took home and showed to his friends and family. A preliminary report suggests that the worker and a friend pried open the damaged canister and extracted the highly radioactive cesium chloride itself to investigate. Social media posts (subsequently taken down) of the teenage daughter of one of the men putting the substance on her lips while smaller children play with it in the background have been used by health officials to help estimate the dosages the various victims have accumulated.

The canister and device itself, both since relocated to a facilities, were improperly deposited in a local scrap metal yard instead of a facility with the ability to handle radioactive material. Investigators have not determined whether the device was taken to the scrap yard deliberately, or in error. At press time, 56 people have been confirmed to be hospitalized with symptoms suggesting radiation sickness, with thousands more undergoing testing in Hachinohe and the surrounding area.

No Japanese or American soldiers stationed at the nearby Misawa Air Base have been reported to have been exposed to the substance, but the Department of Defense has cancelled all leave for American soldiers stationed there. Japanese Minister of the Environment Noboru Miyashita has pledged "full and unceasing" efforts to treat those affected and decontaminate affected areas.
 
So is there anything like the Coronavirus happening in this TL (although the radiation accident doesn't sound good...)
 
OOC: A few infoboxes that everyone can stay inside and admire instead of going on cruise liners or hanging around nursing homes while you're feeling sick.


Cast
Sir Patrick Stewart as Lord Hewes
Matthew Del Negro as Bram Howard
Gabrielle Union as Meeshell Anders

  • Mark came up with the idea for Stewart to be a former Bank of England governor and I filled in the rest. Eagle-eyed viewers will infer that he was named to a peerage as part of the Dissolution Honors for the 2000-2004 parliament. Also, that there a few references to Stewart's roles in X-Men, Star Trek and American Dad!

  • Bram seemed like he spent nearly ten years quietly in the background before KahukuMan10 mentioned that he was gong to feature him in an article, just before he last was seen (December 2018). So, after 15 months of waiting, I decided to make him US Ambassador to Japan as a nod to his (retconned) background as member of the Howard family and the most recent OTL Democratic appointee to the position.

    In the show, he was described as a "Venezuelan from Princeton", which posed a headache with the aforementioned retcon (also, kind of confusing since "Howard" isn't exactly a common surname in Venezuela). My work-around is that Bram was born in Venezuela where his parents were in the Peace Corps. The family moved back to the United States when the Peace Corps ended its involvement in Venezuela in 1976. He spent the remainder of his childhood in California and then got both a bachelor's and master's degrees from Princeton before getting involved in politics, eventually joining the victorious Santos campaign.

    He was mentioned as Santos' bodyman before leaving the administration to go work on the Seaborn for Senate campaign. Since Charlie is US Trade Representative, it seems like being the president's personal assistant is a pretty good career move (time will tell what Jace Manning gets up to).

  • Union is one of those people who had a guest appearance on the show that later became much more famous. Unlike a certain scientist who proposed wolf-only highways, I figured it wasn't out of bounds to bring her back given that when we last saw her, she was going to be in the White House press pool. Her husband is basically her OTL husband who decided to play football instead of basketball.

  • Inspired by this old post detailing some of the ATL campaign ribbons, I decided to try my hand at making one. The ribbon is derived from the colors of both the flag of Qumar (the green and gold in the middle) and the colors of the three countries that intervened to prevent Iranian annexation of the country (US, UK & PRC). The medal is my poor edit of the OTL Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal.
 


Thursday, March 12th, 2020

First Lady checks into Walter Reed early after false contractions

First Lady Lauren Parker-Seaborn was admitted to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center today after experiencing several irregular contractions. The First Lady was scheduled to be admitted Sunday in preparation for Caeserean section surgery to deliver the First Couple's twin children. A spokeswoman for Walter Reed said that the First Lady was "in good spirits", and that both her and the twin fetuses are in good health.

"There is no medical necessity for a change in the scheduled surgery," a hospital spokeswoman told NBS. "Both the Mrs. Parker Seaborn and President Seaborn have not given any indication that they wish to change the time of the surgery, or opt for a natural birth."

The President has reportedly cancelled or postponed several meetings and appearances in both New York and Washington after being informed of the news. Air Force One is expected to arrive at Andrews Air Force Base in a half-hour and the presidential motorcade to proceed to Walter Reed shortly thereafter.

False (or Braxton Hicks) contractions are common in the second and third semesters of pregnancy, and have no known negative effects on the health of the mother or fetus(es). NBS' chief medical correspondent Dr. Nicole Hart said that it is likely that White House physicians recommended the First Lady be admitted ahead of schedule due to the riskier nature of her pregnancy, as both an older mother-to-be (Parker-Seaborn is 41) and pregnant with twins instead of just one fetus.


The First Couple at a California fundraiser earlier this month (photo credit: R. Lowe & A. Hathaway)
 


Sunday, 15 March 2020

Cabinet ministers resign in Japan as criminal charges filed in radiation incident

The political fallout from the radiation incident in Japan has seen several cabinet ministers resign after criminal charges were filed yesterday against several individuals deemed responsible for the improper disposal of radiation therapy equipment that led to hundreds of people being potentially exposed to dangerous levels of radioactive cesium from a device used in cancer treatment.

On Saturday, officials in the Public Prosecutors Office announced that they would be filing criminal charges against nine individuals who a spokesman says through "dangerous and irresponsible" had created the conditions where an incident with radioactive materials could occur. Included in the charges are three administrators from Sendai City Hospital, where the device has been determined to have originated, and two officials from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare who prosecutors charge had received kickbacks in exchange for allowing the disposal of radioactive materials as normal medical waste.

In response, three cabinet ministers and junior ministers, including Minister of Health, Education and Welfare Shinji Oshima, have resigned. Prime Minister Ayeka Juchiro issued a statement saying she would announce the results of a reshuffle in the following days, refusing to address questions about whether she will resign over the incident.

Cleanup efforts are ongoing in Hachinohe, where 275 people have been hospitalized with symptoms associated with radiation sickness, 12 of whom, including three children, are reportedly in intensive care with acute radiation sickness. A spokesman from the Ministry of the Environment has confirmed that five buildings have tested positive for "dangerously high" levels of cesium and one residence has been scheduled for destruction as a result of severe contamination. A quarantine remains in place around several other buildings in Hachinohe while decontamination efforts are underway.
 
Fun Fact:
UK Prime-Minister Richard Samuels celebrates Five Years as Prime-Minister today.
That's 1,828 days in office.
Since World War Two, he has served longer in office than Winston Churchill (1951-1955), Anthony Eden (1955-1957), Edward Heath (1970-1974), Harold Wilson (2nd term 1974-1976), James Callaghan (1976-1979), Henry Reed (1993-1996), Maureen Graty (2004-2007), John Green (2007-2011), Andrew Carter (2011-2015).
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Prime-Minister Richard Samuels awaiting news in Cobra after giving the go-ahead for "Operation Forsyth" the rescue of 188 hostages from Jabel Nafusa International Airport, Qumar, on August 9th 2016.
 


Monday, March 16th, 2020

First Lady gives birth to twins

First Lady Lauren Parker-Seaborn gave birth to a twin boy and a twin girl today at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. A spokesman for Walter Reed told reporters that the two babies were delivered by Caesarean section at 11:38 AM local (Eastern) time without complications to either the babies or the First Lady. President Seaborn was on-hand to witness the birth in an adjacent observation room.

"Mrs. Parker-Seaborn is resting currently, and will remain to recover from the surgery, but we do not anticipate any complications to arise," the spokesman said. "Both children appear to be healthy and we anticipate being able to discharge all three in a few days' time."

The White House put out a formal announcement of the birth, stating that the President and First Lady "could not be happier to announce the arrival of their son Thomas Josiah (5 lb, 11 oz) and daughter Lea Erin Seaborn (5 lb, 7 oz)." The White House has not released pictures of the infants, and Press Secretary Cassie Tatum said that the President and First Lady will release pictures of the twins after they leave Walter Reed.

Well-wishers across the country and the world sent their congratulations to the First Couple, including messages from other world leaders including Pope Clement XV, Russian president Natalya Romanova, British prime minister Richard Samuels, French president Giselle Trenier and Nigerian president Pius Babangida, who extended an offer for the entire First Family to visit his nation, which has the highest rate of twin births in the world. The governors of both Maryland, where the twins were born, and California, where the Seaborns are from, proclaimed March 16th "Thomas and Lea Seaborn Day" after being informed of the twins' birth.

The birth of the Seaborn children marks the first time since John F. Kennedy's administration when a child was born to a sitting president. According to a White House historian, President Seaborn becomes only the third president known to have a child while in office alongside Kennedy and Grover Cleveland. Three children born to Thomas Jefferson's slave Sally Hemmings during Jefferson's presidency are widely assumed by historians to be Jefferson's, along with three earlier children born to Hemmings, after DNA testing showed that Hemmings' descendants were also descended from a male member of the Jefferson family.
 


Monday, March 16th, 2020

First Lady gives birth to twins

First Lady Lauren Parker-Seaborn gave birth to a twin boy and a twin girl today at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. A spokesman for Walter Reed told reporters that the two babies were delivered by Caesarean section at 11:38 AM local (Eastern) time without complications to either the babies or the First Lady. President Seaborn was on-hand to witness the birth in an adjacent observation room.

"Mrs. Parker-Seaborn is resting currently, and will remain to recover from the surgery, but we do not anticipate any complications to arise," the spokesman said. "Both children appear to be healthy and we anticipate being able to discharge all three in a few days' time."

The White House put out a formal announcement of the birth, stating that the President and First Lady "could not be happier to announce the arrival of their son Thomas Josiah (5 lb, 11 oz) and daughter Lea Erin Seaborn (5 lb, 7 oz)." The White House has not released pictures of the infants, and Press Secretary Cassie Tatum said that the President and First Lady will release pictures of the twins after they leave Walter Reed.

Well-wishers across the country and the world sent their congratulations to the First Couple, including messages from other world leaders including Pope Clement XV, Russian president Natalya Romanova, British prime minister Richard Samuels, French president Giselle Trenier and Nigerian president Pius Babangida, who extended an offer for the entire First Family to visit his nation, which has the highest rate of twin births in the world. The governors of both Maryland, where the twins were born, and California, where the Seaborns are from, proclaimed March 16th "Thomas and Lea Seaborn Day" after being informed of the twins' birth.

The birth of the Seaborn children marks the first time since John F. Kennedy's administration when a child was born to a sitting president. According to a White House historian, President Seaborn becomes only the third president known to have a child while in office alongside Kennedy and Grover Cleveland. Three children born to Thomas Jefferson's slave Sally Hemmings during Jefferson's presidency are widely assumed by historians to be Jefferson's, along with three earlier children born to Hemmings, after DNA testing showed that Hemmings' descendants were also descended from a male member of the Jefferson family.
Subtle way to name Sam's son after both Leo and President Bartlet but avoiding the curse of ever having to defend yourself from naming a kid 'Josiah' XD

And, as a fellow Thomas, I rather like that that's Mini Seaborn's first name ^^
 
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