2018 Presidential Election

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Tuesday, June 8th, 2021

Virginia primary: Harrison wins Democratic nomination, Shepherd takes GOP nod

Virginia primary voters have chosen state representative Hugh Harrison (D) and former state attorney general Cal Shepherd (R) as the nominees for their respective parties.

Harrison defeated lieutenant governor Rachel Cornwall by a surprising ten percent margin (55% of the vote to Cornwall's 45%) to become the Democratic nominee. Harrison previously ran for the nomination in 2017 but lost to then-Richmond mayor Bobby Tyler. Tyler would go on to defeat former Walken administration staffer Cliff Calley in the general election.

Unique among the states, Virginia does not allow its governors to seek immediate re-election, making Tyler ineligible to contest this year's election. The charismatic African-American governor has been rumored to be on the shortlist for the party's vice presidential nomination next year. Tyler did not endorse either candidate during the primary, but was considered to have favored Cornwall, to the left of Harrison, to be his successor.

On the Republican side, former attorney general Cal Shepherd easily defeated state senator Tommy Curtis, with Shepherd receiving 78% of the vote from the party's primary voters. Shepherd served two terms as the state's attorney general from 2010 to 2018. He has promised a campaign on "law and order" and has pushed for a reversal of the state's recently-passed law that legalizes adult recreational marijuana use.

Virginia and New Jersey will be the only states that have gubernatorial elections this year. In New Jersey, incumbent governor Kelly Hoffman (D), another person rumored to be on the shortlist for the Democratic vice presidential nomination in 2022, will face Ruth McCabe (R), the state's senate minority leader in the first statewide election between two women in Garden State history.
 
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Friday June 11th, 2021

Duggan has offered MP's a "free vote" on a second EU Referendum


The BBC understands the Conservative leadership front-runner Michael Duggan told party MP's on Wednesday evening that as Prime-Minister he would offer the House of Commons a "free vote" regarding a second referendum on the issue of continued membership of the European Union.

Many Conservative backbenchers believe that the government should just "give notice" to leave the block without the need for a further referendum because they believe that they are in "breach of the terms in which the 2013 Referendum was held" mostly on the issue of further integration. Despite holding a comfortable lead in the opinion polls, many Conservative MP's are worried about the NPP who continue to draw older "Eurosceptic" voters away from the Conservative in areas such as Essex and Kent. The NPP is pushing for a second referendum as a minimum requirement by May 2023 (The tenth anniversary of the first vote), although they do prefer immediate withdraw without a vote after a short period of notice to leave.

Bob Eastwick who was eliminated after the first ballot yesterday is understood to have been the only candidate who said that he would withdraw from the EU this year without a further referendum. Duggan is the only candidate who has offered a "free vote" which means that MP's of all parties are not subject to the party whip and can vote as they please. Most observers believe that in such a vote, a vote for a referendum would be successful, even if some Conservative MP's voted against they would have the support of the NPP and it's thirteen MP's, and some Labour MP's who do support it.
 
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Saturday, June 12th, 2021

Harris promises "most conservative budget of the 21st century"

Speaker of the House Mitchell Harris (R-IN), in an appearance on Fox & Friends Weekend, touted his party's upcoming budget proposal as "the most conservative budget of the 21st century" and offered the hosts a preview of what the Republican majority will propose next week.

"For one thing, we are going to gradually lower the amount of non-defense spending by the federal government by one-third over five years...We're looking to have the American people spend money rather than have it taken away in taxes, which is why we're also going to lower the federal income tax rate for every bracket, cut the capital gains tax rate in half to spur businesses to invest, and end the 'death tax' that allows the IRS to take money that would have been given away as an inheritance or donation."

The speaker said that the bill would also have other proposals, including barring federal education funds from being dispersed to schools and universities that allow transgender athletes to compete in the events of their chosen gender identity, although Harris said that the primary focus of the bill was the reduction of the deficit.

"We need to rein in the Democrats' out-of-control spending, and this is how we do it," Harris told hosts Will Cain and Rachel Campos-Duffy. "Under our proposal, we will be in a budget surplus by 2030, while the president's proposal has us nowhere near it."

Senator Louise Thornton (D-VA) called the proposed budget "nightmarish" and "cruel", saying that it would reduce the deficit by slashing public services the lower- and middle-class use while reducing taxes most sharply on the richest Americans. Thornton's comments were echoed by other congressional Democrats, including House Minority Leader Daniel Maddox (D-IL), who said the budget's passage would "greatly damage our country and negatively affect the lives of millions of Americans."

Since the Republicans retook the House last fall, Washington insiders have expected budget negotiations this year to be particularly intense.

"The Constitution requires that all revenue bills begin in the House, so whichever party controls the House tries as hard as they can to get the ball rolling [in budget negotiations] in the direction they want," Larry Brown, former Bartlet administration staffer and co-host on the popular What's Next? political podcast told NBS. "After thirteen years of watching the Democrats kick off the budget negotiations, it seems like Republicans in the House are going to make up for lost time."

Negotiations are expected to last through the summer on the twelve separate funding bills that make up the federal budget for the 2022 fiscal year.
 
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Monday June 14th, 2021

Leadership TV Debate round-up:

Last night saw the first TV debate of the leadership election which was shown on BBC2. Here we look at how each candidate performed:

Michael Duggan
The front-runner who topped the first ballot on Thursday, although his 126 votes was less than expected (I thought he would get above 130 even 140 votes). His performance last night was as expected he did nothing wrong, and made no major gaffe, but it was a struggle to see "the big vision". He seems to be the clear continuation of Samuels (and Carter for that matter) but with a fresh look to the cabinet, making clear he would be looking for promoting "the vast array of talent in the Party". It is clear that it is going to take a major scandal to stop him from winning.

John Freeman
Like Duggan the other contender from 2015, but after a decent launch event the other week and from what we understand he gave a decent performance to MP's last week, he had a nightmare debate. He seemed nervous and didn't like when he was asked about Maureen Graty (his Mother-in-law) by Emily Matlis the moderator, "she isn't running" was the rather snappy reply. Fair play to Martin Greenwell who in a moment of light relief interrupted and said "you can have mine (Mother-in-law) if you want", which actually saved Freeman. He did get some rough questions but did struggle badly.

Martin Greenwell
I wouldn't say that he won the debate (I don't think anyone did), but he certainly surprised people and gave the most polished performance. He talked of his "humbling before the electorate" in losing by just five votes at the 2018 election. Along with his comment to John Freeman about his Mother-in-law, the other moment of light relief was when he said his five year old son said after the election defeat and that he had lost his close protection officers "Daddy aren't you famous anymore", he said it "brought me back to the real world". In running Greenwell clearly wants to return to the Cabinet and based on this performance, he is almost certain to do so.

Karen Purvis
She was coming into the debate on the back of her far better than expected performance in the first ballot. She was feisty and as Health Secretary didn't hold back when Matlis accused her of "privatising the NHS by stealth", her reply "come on your better than that Labour party soundbite, we have been in office what 45 years of the NHS 73 year history, why haven't we done it already". I suspect like Greenwell she is after promotion (I would suspect Home Secretary).

George Tamm
I don't know what to say about his performance. Like Greenwell he is currently out of the Cabinet, he has an impressive back story, and his record as Chancellor in the first two and half years of the Carter Government, saved the country from probable economic collapse, but he seemed he wanted to put distance between him and the Carter years. He has support within the party and the winder party as a whole, but he wasn't really on his game yesterday, especially when compared to his 2011 "economic debate" with then Chancellor Daniel Lamont.
 
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I can't seem to find any reference to Martin Greenwell standing for the leadership. He's just there.

Anyone got his backstory?
Greenwell got in on the final day, I have mentioned him loads of times in the story and was cast as well (Ben Silverstone).
A quick look at his background:
He was elected in 2011 in Great Yarmouth winning the seat with a 9.43% swing. He swiftly moved up the ranks he was promoted to Business Secretary in May 2017 replacing Duggan when he went to the Home Office but lost his seat in 2018 but got back into Parliament after the death of the Speaker in November, winning the Esher & Walton by-election in January 2020.
 
This is Greenwell being promoted to the Cabinet in February 2016.
 
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Monday, June 13th, 2021

Seaborn pushes Congress on student debt reform

With millions of newly-minted high school graduates ready to begin their college education in a few months, President Sam Seaborn is pushing Congress to tackle the country's student debt problem.

Seaborn spoke at a conference for the National Education Association and proposed a series of reforms that would ease the burden on Americans who have outstanding student loan debt.

"We tell young people they need an education. Once they listen to us, study hard and walk through the doors of a college or university, they are then saddled with a tremendous amount of debt that takes decades to pay back." the president told the educator's union, "That needs to change."

The president introduced his proposals to tackling the nation's student debt problem: a blanket forgiveness of $50,000 for each person who has a federal student loan, mandating student loan debt to be automatically repaid after 20 years of payment, making two-years of community or technical college free for every American, and forgiveness of $10,000 for each year of employment in a public sector job. Seaborn also proposed expanding the GI Bill to cover all four-year tuition at public universities and colleges for military veterans and reservists.

"This is not a hand-out to lazy college students," the president said. "This is a way to turn the students sitting in a lecture hall in 2021 into middle-class homeowners starting families in 2026."

No Republican presidential candidate has taken a position on student loan debt, and Senator Patrick Stacy (R-TN), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said it was "unlikely" that Seaborn's proposal could pass the Republican-controlled Congress.

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Monday, June 14th 2021

Mazar elected new president of Israel

Tel Aviv — Doran Mazar, who served as Israel's minister of defense during the Gaza and Syrian Wars, was chosen by the Knesset (legislature) to be Israel's eleventh president today.

Mazar was chosen to replace outgoing president Mordechai Ovitz by an 87-30 margin over Rachel Ne'eman, an educator and activist notable for her work in the State of Israel's efforts to support Jewish religious education for its observant Jewish citizens who live outside of the post-2011 borders of Israel. Mazar emerged as the preferred candidate of prime minister Gilad Doron after several weeks of consultations between Doron, his ministers and other Knesset members.

The presidency is a largely ceremonial role, with its most important role being to help lead to the formation of a government after legislative elections. Since 2000, the president has been limited to a single seven-year term.

The president-elect is a member of the governing Likud party, and served two stints as the country's minister of defense under Efraim Zahavy between 2004 and 2012. His parents both had military backgrounds: his father was a member of the Haganah (the Jewish paramilitary organization in the Mandate of Palestine) and his mother fought as a partisan in Byelorussia (modern-day Belarus) during World War II before being captured and sent to a concentration camp. Mazar joined the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) as an officer in 1972 and fought in the Yom Kippur War before resigning his commission in 1978.

Following his retirement from the military, he became involved in politics after a failed business career and became a member of the Knesset in 1989. He served as a junior minister under both Zahavy and Benjamin Yahvin before Zahavy promoted him to lead the Ministry of Defense in 2004. Mazar's combined tenure was one of the most consequential in IDF history: the beginning and end of the Gaza War, the withdrawal of IDF forces from Palestine and the Holy City of Jerusalem, and the Syrian War. He continued to serve in Zahavy's cabinet until 2013, when he left politics.

Mazar will be inaugurated as Israel's new president on 2 July.

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Marty Seaborn Wows Westminster Dog Show With Pledge To "Get the Muzzles"

June 13, 2021

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Atlantis Cable News

Rising Tensions Threaten Minority Communities in Cyprus

Nicosia, Cyprus-
With the 2nd Anniversary of the Nicosia Disaster having only recently past, tensions on the divided island have been steadily growing. In particular danger are the minority groups who still reside on either side of the border. The Cypriot Coup and subsequent Turkish Invasion of 1974 saw the island almost totally divided along ethnic lines; the Turks to the North and the Greeks to the south. This was largely due to Greek Cypriots being forcibly evicted from their homes by the Turkish Army, as well as Turkish Cypriots fleeing to the "safety" of the North. However, some small enclaves still remain to this day. There are still approximately 1,100 Turkish Cypriots still living in the South, and just over 600 Greeks and 120 Maronites in the North. All but a handful live together in small, isolated communities. While the fighting that took place on Cyprus just over a decade ago seemingly spared these isolated villages, but it seems that the new age of wide-spread internet and social media has made it more and more difficult for these groups to "hide in plane sight".
 
Fun fact: Unlike OTL, here only one Democratic president has ever served two terms with the same vice president, Woodrow Wilson. This dubious honor will likely remain in place for at least twelve years, and possibly longer.
 
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Thursday June 17th, 2021

Conservative leadership: Fourth Ballot Results


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The final vote for the leadership of the Conservative party will be between Michael Duggan and Karen Purvis. Despite putting on the most of in terms of votes in the final ballot (26 votes), Martin Greenwell who had building up support during the rounds of balloting was unable to overtake Karen Purvis for second place and which was enough for the Health Secretary to take on the Home Secretary in the final stage of voting which is done by the membership of the party.

The final round of the contest will formally open on Saturday with both candidates taking part in hustings across the country. Ballot papers will be sent out from Saturday July 10th and voting closing on Monday July 19th at 17.00 hrs. The final result will be announced the following day at a special event to be held at the at the Queen Elizabeth The Second, Conference Centre in Westminster, at around Midday. On Wednesday July 21st, Prime-Minister Richard Samuels will formally resign as Prime-Minister and the new leader of the party will travel to Buckingham Palace to be invited to form a new government by the Queen.
 
Fun fact: Unlike OTL, here only one Democratic president has ever served two terms with the same vice president, Woodrow Wilson. This dubious honor will likely remain in place for at least twelve years, and possibly longer.
John Nance Garner was vice president for two terms under FDR.
 
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Thursday, June 17th, 2021

Pentagon general reportedly blasts Seaborn on far-right news site

A high-ranking general in the United States Army is in hot water after comments attributed to him appeared in a far-right news website, disparaging President Sam Seaborn and his policies. Lieutenant General Lloyd Pendleton, Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reportedly told reporters at the fringe WorldNetDaily that the president's defense policies were "limp-wristed" and "harmful to the United States."

"He's essentially given Iran the go-ahead to construct a nuclear weapon and cozied up to the communists in Havana," Pendleton is quoted as saying. "I don't see how any reasonable person could say that his agenda and actions have not been harmful to the United States or our interests."

Pendleton was appointed to his current role in October 2020 at the recommendation of General Claire Eckhart, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to Pentagon sources, Pendleton has earned a reputation in Army circles for his outspokenness and willingness to wade into political issues other officers choose to avoid.

Since the site began in 1997, WorldNetDaily has repeatedly peddled conspiracy theories, debunked claims, and far-right ideas that have occasionally ventured into support for white supremacy, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Pentagon declined to comment on the story, saying it was investigating the matter.

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File photo of Lt. Gen. Pendleton (photo by Terry Serpico)
 
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Thursday, June 17th, 2021

Seaborn signs legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday

President Sam Seaborn today signed legislation establishing June 19th as Juneteenth National Independence Day.

The new federal holiday, the first since the establishment of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. The date commemorates the enactment of General Order No. 3 on June 19, 1865 by the Union Army, fulfilling Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and ending slavery in Texas after the end of the Civil War.

Juneteenth has long been celebrated by African-Americans, but was not given status as an official holiday before 1980, when Texas declared it a state holiday. All but three states have since recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday before the passage of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act.

After it was introduced by Senators William Wiley (D-WA) and Daryl Lukins (R-OK), the act passed the nation's upper house unanimously. It similarly sailed through the House, with 403 members voting "yes" and 25 Republican members voting "no."

In a signing ceremony, President Seaborn said signing the act was "a profound honor."

"I am grateful to have the privilege to be your president when the long-overdue federal recognition of Juneteenth was granted," Seaborn told assembled reporters, members of Congress, and African-American leaders. "This is a symbolic, but important step, in our national journey to ensure that every American can enjoy freedom and equality. It is a celebration of the progress we have made, and a reminder of the distance we have yet to go to achieve equal freedom and justice for all."

Most federal workers will celebrate Juneteenth tomorrow, as June 19th falls on a Saturday this year.
 
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Friday June 18th, 2021

Conservative hold Rushcliffe in by-election


The Conservatives held the seat of Rushcliffe at the by-election, it was caused by the death of former MP Sir Kenneth Paton back in April. Conservative Peter Benjamin took the seat with a vastly reduced majority of 13,738 votes. Labour achieved a 13% swing but it would of required a 25% swing for them to take the seat.

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(Thanks as always to @lord caedus for the Wiki box)
 
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Thursday, June 17th, 2021

Pentagon general reportedly blasts Seaborn on far-right news site

A high-ranking general in the United States Army is in hot water after comments attributed to him appeared in a far-right news website, disparaging President Sam Seaborn and his policies. Lieutenant General Lloyd Pendleton, Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reportedly told reporters at the fringe WorldNetDaily that the president's defense policies were "limp-wristed" and "harmful to the United States."

"He's essentially given Iran the go-ahead to construct a nuclear weapon and cozied up to the communists in Havana," Pendleton is quoted as saying. "I don't see how any reasonable person could say that his agenda and actions have not been harmful to the United States or our interests."

Pendleton was appointed to his current role in October 2020 at the recommendation of General Claire Eckhart, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to Pentagon sources, Pendleton has earned a reputation in Army circles for his outspokenness and willingness to wade into political issues other officers choose to avoid.

Since the site began in 1997, WorldNetDaily has repeatedly peddled conspiracy theories, debunked claims, and far-right ideas that have occasionally ventured into support for white supremacy, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Pentagon declined to comment on the story, saying it was investigating the matter.

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File photo of Lt. Gen. Pendleton (photo by Terry Serpico)
Can you say reassigned to Antarctica (or bureaucratic equivalent?)
 
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