2018 Presidential Election


Top Stories This Week

Wiley announces retirement

Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

Senator William Wiley (D-WA), the longest-serving member of the Senate, announced on Wednesday that he will not seek re-election in 2024. Wiley, who is 88 years old, said that he believes it is time for a new generation of leadership.

"Nothing can stop the flow of time, and it is now time for me to step aside," Wiley said. "I have been honored to serve the people of Washington for over half of my life, and I hope that my successor will share that dedication to public service."

Wiley, the president pro tempore of the Senate, is currently third in line for the presidency. He has served in the Senate since 1983, after serving five terms in the House of Representatives, making him the last remaining member of Congress to have served in office during the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Known as a "liberal lion" of the Senate, Wiley ran for the White House in 1998 and was on Josiah Bartlet's vice presidential shortlist. His retirement is expected to kick off a fierce Democratic primary in Washington, which has voted Democratic in the last six presidential elections.

Contentious hearings over Supreme Court nominee
Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

Supreme Court nominee Judge Ronald Lin faced a divided and contentious Senate Judiciary Committee on his first day of hearings on Tuesday. While both sides asked questions of the nominee, observers noted a much higher rate of partisan attacks between committee members, with several Republican committee members accusing Democrats of "railroading" Lin's nomination through and raising questions about his competency, while Democrats attacked what they perceived as Republican hypocrisy and attempts to stir up xenophobia by playing on Lin's ethnicity and status as a childhood immigrant to the United States.

Lin, a former Department of Justice attorney and sitting federal judge, stuck largely to the script of previous Supreme Court nominees giving only cautious answers about hypothetical cases, only going into detail on cases he either ruled on as a judge or helped prosecute as an attorney.

The Taiwan-born Lin did, however, show signs of anger at the insinuations by some Senate Republicans at his loyalty to the United States, or familiarity with the American legal system. Responding to a question by senator Hamilton Crooks (R-SC) about Lin's ties to his land of birth, Lin bristled before answering: "Senator, unlike you, I was not granted American citizenship at birth. I had to choose to be an American."

Republicans fail to knock Lin off-script in final day of hearing
Thursday, September 14th, 2023

Judge Ronald Lin, President Seaborn's nominee for the Supreme Court, finished his third and final day of hearings on Thursday, having weathered one some of the contentious Senate Judiciary Committee hearings in recent history. Some Republican committee members, most notably Hamilton Crooks (R-SC) and Emmitt George (R-NE) were almost openly hostile to Lin, whose potential replacement of the deceased associate justice Jackson Hoyt would be the first time in decades that a new justice would shift the court's balance to the left. Spats between the two Republicans and Democrats, notably Louise Thornton (D-VA) and Michael Rice (D-MI), led a frustrated chairman Andrew Thorn (D-NY) to apologize to the nominee after chastening Crooks for interrupting a question offered by Hank King (D-NC).

Lin, after appearing agitated at repeated insinuations about his background at the end of the first day of hearings on Tuesday, appeared more sanguine during his next two days of hearings, even with George questioning his retention of Taiwanese citizenship in a way that many believed to question his loyalty to the United States (Lin responded by explaining that both the United States and Taiwan allow for dual citizenship, and that he had never exercised many rights afforded to Taiwanese citizens, including voting in an Taiwanese election).

Hearings concluded on Friday after testimonies from witnesses called by both the majority and minority, as well as members representing the American Bar Association. The latter gave the committee their rating that Lin was "well qualified" to serve on the Supreme Court.

Seaborn apologizes for American support of 1973 coup in Chile
Monday, September 11th, 2023

The fiftieth anniversary of the 1973 coup d'état in Chile that overthrew the democratically-elected government of Salvador Allende saw President Sam Seaborn formally apologize for the United States' covert support to overthrow Allende.

At a reception with Chilean ambassador Juan Zúñiga, scheduled also to announce new loans to Chile for the construction of infrastructure designed to handle the projected effects of climate change in that nation, Seaborn issued a statement apologizing the United States' "shameful role" in "working to end decades of democracy in Chile" and helping to install a military regime "notorious for its cruelty, and human rights abuses."

After Allende's overthrow and death, Chile became a military dictatorship under general Augusto Pinochet until 1990, when democracy was re-established. Pinochet, who died in 2006 while awaiting trial on over 300 charges of human rights abuses, tax evasion and embezzlement, was part of a group of military officers who were supported by covert CIA actions during the presidency of Richard Nixon as part of an attempt to oust Allende that began shortly after Allende took office in 1970. Zúñiga accepted the American apology on behalf of Chilean president Miguel Morel.

Baxley announces resignation plans, citing medical advice
Friday, September 15th, 2023

Congressman John Baxley (D-IL), the dean of Illinois' congressional delegation, announced that he will resign from his House seat at the end of September, citing urgent medical advice from his physician to take on a "less strenuous" pace and limit his travel from his Chicago home.

"I want to thank the people of the seventh district for the opportunity to represent them, and wish that I could complete the term they have elected me to," Baxley said in a statement. "My health, however, will not allow me to do so and remain an effective representative on their behalf. Therefore, I have decided to resign."

Baxley was first elected to Congress in 1990 and was re-elected for his 17th term last year. His office said that Baxley has had multiple heart surgeries in the past decade and was hospitalized twice for exhaustion last year. His resignation will take effect September 30th. His Chicago district is among the most Democratic in the nation, with President Seaborn receiving 85 percent of the vote there last November.

Concrete crisis sees schools, UK government in danger of fracture
Saturday, September 16th, 2023

The crisis over the failure of RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) in over 100 schools and universities in the UK just as the school year began in the United Kingdom has led not only to fears that some public buildings are structurally unsound, but that the Conservative government could be toppled just months after it lost its majority in June. The news came on Saturday when Charles Thaw, leader of the right-wing populist and anti-European Union National People's Party, which signed a coalition-and-supply agreement to keep the Conservatives in power, said his party will support a motion by the opposition Labour Party to release government records of the efforts to mitigate buildings with RAAC once the government became aware of structural issues with buildings that utilized the material in 2018.

"British children should not have to worry about collapsing buildings," Thaw said, "Parents have the right to know if their government is using the tax they pay to keep their schools safe, or if it's being forced to use it to comply with overcomplicated regulations dictated by Brussels."

The NPP's defection means that the Conservatives will be unable to block the motion, which could be politically damaging for the party that has governed the UK since 2011, and which critics say did little to ameliorate the situation under former prime ministers Andrew Carter and Richard Samuels.

RAAC was used in the construction of buildings in many countries, including the United Kingdom from the 1950s to the 1990s, as a lighter and cheaper alternative to traditional concrete. Starting in the mid-1990s, however, concern began increasing as it became clear that RAAC both had a significantly shorter duration than traditional concrete, and that the material's composition meant that it exhibited little visible warning before collapse.

Minister of Education George Woods said that "all available funding" would be given to inspecting every school constructed when RAAC was in use, and to replace the defective concrete "when feasible."
Not really. Should be a Democratic hold, since it is a blue state. Unless it is a Republican wave year, which is certainly possible since 2024 is a "sixth year itch" election.
The Democratic primary itself is what I'm thinking about, as Washington has lots of prominent Democrats with no obvious frontrunner. I'm sure most of the major prospects have been anticipating the retirement, and we could be in for a real dogfight unless there's a coronation of a single party candidate. Also, Washington has a top-two runoff primary system in OTL, not sure if that's also the case in universe.

Wednesday September 20th, 2023

Galloway resigns as Socialist Alliance leader

Hamish Galloway, of the Socialist Alliance has announced this morning that he is standing down as leader of the party ahead of it's two day party conference in Liverpool starting on Friday. He has been leader since September 2017, after replacing it's first leader Ben Stanley.

There had been strong indications that supporters of Martin Abbott, one of two MP's the party now has, where preparing to force a vote of no confidence in him, on Friday. According to the parties constitution, the party members present at the conference will elect the new leader. Unless she resigns, Jackie Morgan will remain as Deputy Leader.

Galloway had come under fire for his "Scotland First" campaign strategy in June's General election, in which it failed to win a single seat, north of the border, supporters of Martin Abbott who won the previous Labour strong hold of Islington North, say that the strategy took away vital resources from other seats in England which they had targeted.
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Friday, September 22nd 2023

Senate braces for possible filibuster over Lin nomination

Washington, D.C.
— Members of the United States Senate are bracing for another potential filibuster from Republicans that would seek to prevent Judge Ronald Lin from being named to the Supreme Court.

Ahead of the Senate Judiciary Committee's vote on Monday, senators from both the Democratic and Republican parties have begun preparing for a second filibuster in the session, following the Republican attempt to stop the American Health Care Protection Act (AHCPA) in May and June. With Democrats having a numerical advantage on the Judiciary Committee, and with almost half of the Republican members there having previously voted to confirm Lin to his current posting as a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Lin is expected to be overwhelmingly recommended for confirmation to the whole Senate.

However, seating Lin—whose views largely align with members of the court's liberal wing—would be a setback to conservatives and most especially anti-abortion activists, who lost one of the court's most solid conservatives in Jackson Hoyt, the man whose seat Lin is nominated to fill. An intense pressure campaign to block any nominee for the seat until a Republican president can fill it has been aimed at Republican senators, with the only method available for the minority party to block judicial nominations that pass the Judiciary Committee being a filibuster.

"We cannot let this president continue the holocaust of unborn babies for another generation." Mary Marsh, vice president of the American Christian Assembly, said during an appearance on Fox and Friends. Others, including former Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, have similarly echoed Marsh's language and called for a "complete shutdown" of the Supreme Court nominations until what Carlson called an "acceptable nominee" is named.

The pressure campaign has gained some pledges to filibuster among Republican senators, including Davis Roberts (R-TX) and Curt Judd (R-KS), but proponents are facing an uphill battle. With 18 Republican senators who voted to confirm Lin to the federal bench four years ago still in office, plus the incredibly daunting prospect of keeping a Supreme Court seat open for over three years until a new chief executive replaces Seaborn, party leadership has reportedly struggled to reach support within the caucus for a prolonged filibuster.

Democrats, who narrowly control the Senate with 51 seats to the GOP's 49, have similarly been negotiating with enough Republicans to vote for cloture (ending debate on Lin's nomination) to reach the 60 vote threshold needed to overcome the filibuster. Currently, only Daryl Lukins (R-OK) has said publicly that he would not vote to sustain a filibuster of Lin's nomination.



MacLaurin to join MSNBC

Friday, September 22nd, 2023

The White House announced today that Senior Advisor to the President Jordan MacLaurin will leave the White House after four years to join MSNBC as a paid contributor.

"I want to thank Jordan for his dedication to public service and his years of counsel," President Sam Seaborn said, announcing MacLaurin's departure. "Lauren and I want to wish him all the best in his future endeavors."

MacLaurin, who had been slated to be Franklin Hollis' chief of staff ahead of the 2019 inauguration, instead was named a senior advisor to President Seaborn after the Senate contingent election chose Republican Jack Hunter over Hollis to be the vice president for Seaborn's first term. The former chief of staff to senator Louise Thornton (D-VA), MacLaurin was largely tasked with rebuilding trust between the White House and state and local Democratic parties after the disastrous selection of Hollis as his running mate, leaving him outside the White House inner circle even after Seaborn's decisive victory last year.

The move leaves C.J. Cregg as the sole Senior Advisor to the President, having shared the role with MacLaurin since Seaborn replaced Glen Allen Walken in January 2019.



Seaborn authorizes Climate Corps after congressional stalemate
September 22, 2023

President Sam Seaborn signed Executive Order 14101, directing the creation of the American Climate Corps (ACC), modeled after the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps, following congressional inaction on allocating funds for the program.

The program, which was authorized in the federal budget passed earlier this month by Congress, had its own funding removed as part of budget negotiations, angering progressives within the Democratic Party. In his executive order, Seaborn authorized several federal Cabinet departments (Agriculture, Energy, Interior and Labor) to re-direct discretionary funding to the ACC program, as well as authorizing AmeriCorps funding to be used for the program.

AmeriCorps CEO Lisa Baer, who will also oversee the ACC until a permanent director is confirmed, is also directed to incorporate the pre-existing 10 state climate corps programs into the ACC. A spokesman for Baer said the agency hopes to have volunteers and agency infrastructure in place in every state, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia by the end of the year.

White House Press Secretary Cassie Tatum said that the program will aim to put 50,000 people to work in its first year, on projects deploying renewable energy resources and energy-efficient technology and making communities more resilient to the effects of climate change.

"This program is aimed not only at creating more sustainable and resilient communities, but also to provide a pathway for volunteers into both federal civil service jobs, but also high-wage private sector jobs with a protected right to organize." Tatum said.

Applicants are not required to have previous experience, and will likely be eligible for education awards similar to those awarded to AmeriCorps volunteers.

Labour loses majority, but remains largest party New Zealand election

Saturday, September 23rd, 2023

The governing New Zealand Labour Party failed to retain its majority from the previous election, but will get first crack at forming a new government after the New Zealand's general election earlier today, giving prime minister Kylie Brownlee a potential third term in office.

With most of the votes having been counted, Labour has been projected to edge out the center-right National Party to be the biggest party in the House of Representatives (New Zealand's parliament), 45 seats to 43, both a far cry from the estimated 61 seats necessary to form a government. The Greens, Labour's coalition partner, is estimated to have won 12 seats, requiring three-party talks between Labour, the Greens, and the Māori Party, which advocates on behalf of the rights of New Zealand's indigenous inhabitants. The populist New Zealand First Party, which had served as a partner in Brownlee's first government from 2017 to 2020, failed to win seats again, having failed to win any seats in the country's previous election three years ago.

Brownlee said the loss of the party's majority was "expected", given the country's mixed-member proportional (MMP) system.

"We should not be disappointed in this result," Brownlee told an assembly of Labour Party supporters in Wellington, "Our mandate three years ago was an extraordinary vote of confidence from the people of New Zealand, but not one that I, nor anyone on my team, ever expected we could duplicate."

In contrast to Labour's domination of the 2020 election, the campaign frequently saw lead changes between National and Labour, with the party buoyed by Brownlee's wide lead in preferred prime minister polls over National leader David Peters. The libertarian ACT New Zealand party appeared to be the main beneficiary of right-wing disgruntlement with the Labour government, not only crossing the five percent vote threshold (or winning at least one of the72 electorate seats) that entitles the party to seats in the House of Representatives, but shooting into third place with 16 seats.

While the Māori Party has historically been open to working with the National Party, under the party's leadership of Christine Māmangu and Rāniera Heke, the party has moved decisively to the left, outright rejecting the possibility of joining or supporting a National-led government, and supporting higher taxes on high-income earners and a wealth tax on millionaires.

National Party leader David Peters said the results showed that voters attitudes were shifting on the government, pointing to non-government parties gaining more in the popular vote than the combined Labour and Green totals. Within the National Party, though, several members of the party frontbench have expressed concern at the growth of ACT, whose performance nearly doubled their previous best performance of 7.1% of the popular vote in the 2002 election.

If Brownlee is successful in negotiations that enable Labour to remain in power, she will be the third consecutive New Zealand prime minister to win three consecutive elections, following Labour's Graham West (served from 1999 to 2008) and National's Kevin Te Hare (served from 2008 to 2017). The only woman to precede Brownlee as New Zealand's prime minister, Kate Bynes of the National Party (served 1990 to 1997), won the last two elections under the first-past-the-post system (the same system used to elect members of Congress in the United States) and the first election under the current MMP system. Bynes' successor Harry McIver (1997 to 1999) was defeated by West in the only election he contested leading the National Party.


The obligatory infobox:

Melanie Lynskey as Kylie Brownlee
Jed Brophy as David Peters (new character)
Jason Hoyte as Rodney Franks
Rachel House as Marika Maguire
Whirimako Black as Christine Māmangu (new character)

  • It's not stated, but this election was called slightly early (the RL New Zealand election will take place on October 14 of this year), with Brownlee calling it a month early to catch National off-guard in hopes that that would be the slight edge Labour needed to come out on top.
  • To get the results, I basically extrapolated how the polls taken at the beginning of year matched with the results in both of the last times a party has run for re-election IRL in the MMP era (National in 1996 & 2014, Labour in 2005) and applied that to Labour's poll numbers IRL at the beginning of 2023. Then the rest of the vote was divvied up among the other parties according to their share of the vote totaled from similar projections.
  • For those who aren't aware, overhang seats occur in mixed-member proportional systems when a party wins more constituency seats than the total number of seats they are entitled to in the party vote. In this case, the Māori Party would only be entitled to 4 seats as a result of their share of the party vote, but they won 5 constituency seats, meaning the size of the House of Representatives increases by one to accommodate the overhang.
  • Understandably, there are very Māori actresses with moko on their faces. I was lucky to find Black, who is primarily a singer but has some movie appearances under her belt.
  • Both the Greens and Māori Party have two leaders, one male and one female. As in the previous NZ election box, I've decided to put the leader the party named as the #1 candidate on their party list as their leader, in this case, both female leaders (per the RL lists for OTL's 2023 election). The dates are when both women were named the female leader of their party, not when they were designated as the top candidate on the party list.

Sunday September 24th, 2023

Abbott elected Socialist Alliance leader as he calls for the UK to leave NATO

Martin Abbott was yesterday elected the third leader of the Socialist Alliance party at the end of a two day conference in Liverpool. Abbott replaces Hamish Galloway who resigned on Wednesday just two days before the annual conference was due to begin. It came following rumors that supporters of Abbott who was elected to the House of Commons at June's general election where preparing to remove Galloway via a vote of no confidence.

Daniel Lamont, the Socialist Alliance's other MP, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer who defected to the Socialist Alliance in November 2019, after losing a bid to became Labour leader, declined to stand for the Socialist Alliance leadership. The supporters of Abbott who ran for London Mayor in 2022, has a strong hard core support in the party.

Abbott said "a dream of a Socialist Republic in the UK was closer than ever, and his election showed that true Socialism was not dead" adding "I will fight imperialism" as he called once again for the UK to leave NATO "It is a warmongering association, it has to go, or we will leave". He also attacked both the Conservatives and Labour " There is nothing between them, Labour supports the Conservatives austerity. It is evil and must stop" adding "I say to many in the Labour party, the party isn't Socialist, it is a Tory lite party, join us, fight for real socialism".

The party which had said in it's last three general election manifesto's (2013, 2018 & 2023) that it would hold a referendum on the future of the monarchy, voted on Saturday to change it's policy to abolition within six months of a Socialist Alliance Government coming into office. It also pledged to scrap the House of Lords, the County Governorship's, the end of the power of the Church of England, as well handing over Northern Ireland to the Irish Republic in the same time frame. It also voted for the creation of a "Socialist Republican Commonwealth of England, Scotland & Wales".

Martin Abbott accepts the leadership of the Socialist Alliance on Saturday
(photo by Mark Rylance-established casting)