2020 Turtledoves - Best Cold War to Contemporary Timeline POLL

The Best Cold War to Contemporary Timeline is...

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A bunch of other voting threads have had the authors put up summaries of their timelines for those unfamiliar with them, so I figured I'd start the trend here.

Learning to be Free Again

Starting with the complete failure of General Secretary Walter Mondale's reformist socialism and the dissolution of the USSA in 1990, Learning to be Free Again is a timeline which details the intricacies of the politics of a United States which are shaken and turned inside out by the post-communist transformation. Ambitious oligarchs, a complete lack of ideology in partisan politics, quirky politicians which only post-communist legacy can create, vanity runs and spite parties galore, and more. It is here you can witness President and former Communist functionary Dick Cheney bombing Mexico, John McCain buying the Democratic Party and running for President while cosplaying Andrew Jackson, John McAfee becoming the greatest enemy of the political establishment and nearly taking over with a fanatical libertarian movement, oligarchs Bernie Sanders and Warren Buffett turning the 2004 election into a betting match, and other things which no other timeline can offer.

The timeline operates under soft alternate history, paying less attention to pinpoint historical accuracy and the point of divergence, and instead focusing entirely on events over a century after the PoD. While it has some parallels with real life Eastern European political history, it is not a direct parallel of any specific country, and instead is a homage of all the greatest beats which Eastern Europe can offer.
THE BEATEN PATH: One Bicentennial and Counting

What if things went just a little bit differently in 1976? In this world, a little-known Senator from Maryland, Charles Mathias, launches a bid for president against Gerald Ford. While only carrying a handful of states, his presence in the race is enough to drag disaffected moderates away from Ford and to hand Ronald Reagan a number of plurality victories, enough to get nominated. Mathias isn't done from here, though, as Jimmy Carter plays the center even harder due to Reagan's presence in the general election. Watch the three-way struggle that is Carter v Reagan v Mathias go down with a result that nearly 60% of Americans didn't agree to, and from there? In this TL you can find all sorts of oddities - we've got Jerry Litton holding a talk-show for Congresscritters, a dose of southern-fried populism, cocaine-fueled campaign strategists, a bloody Iranian Revolution, Michael Foot in 10 Downing, Ollie North hanging out in Panama, and to top it all off a heaping helping of Lee Atwater. It's a right mess, all spawned from one Marylander's quixotic bid for President.

This TL is very far from complete - at the moment, it sits in 1981, with Act One having been wrapped up about four days ago. Expect Act Two soon enough, but for now there's quite a lot of content to go through from Reagan's '76 term.
I don’t like to toot my own horn, so here’s what others have said about my TL, Kentucky Fried Politics: A Colonel Sanders Timeline, in its thread:

“Interesting, not to mention well researched.” – historybuff, Post #10

“Great timeline” – Ogrebear, #11

“Fantastic premise” – Electric Monk, #13

“One of the more interesting and well researched TLs I’ve ever seen.” – Admiral Halsey, #22

“I never would’ve thought that I’d read a timeline where a fast food creator becomes governor of a state and like it… Who knew the man behind the fast food chain would be so wholesome?” – TheImperialTheorist, #27 and #45

“Very cool…MLK sitting down to KFC with the Colonel makes me smile” – Ogrebear, #36

“This is beyond wholesome and an incredibly interesting timeline.” – Cmmdfugal, #37

“This is a really good timeline, loving it so far!” – Stretch, #69

“ like the little world-building details you are using ITTL” – Unknown, #117

“Enjoying this immensely! Keep up the good work!” – TC9078, #118

“I just love this timeline, It’s covering events I never thought I’d see in a ATL.” – miner249er, #187

“Amazing” – Bookmark1995, #235

“I love the deeply sourced detail of this timeline :) ” – Electric Monk, #254

“I like the detail in TTL, too; I also like how Colonel Sanders isn’t President Perfect (that’s more realistic, IMO)…” – Unknown, #257

“One of the things I love about alternate history is the sheer plausibility people find to play in seemingly outlandish scenarios. This timeline is absolutely one of the best at that :) …Too many timelines skip the insane happenings of OTL because it’s simply too unlikely…For my next timeline I’m deliberately including implausible events to make it more realistic :) . Something I think this timeline does very well.” – Electric Monk, #274 and #277

“Enjoying this timeline very much.” – Fenrisulfr, #286

“This is a strange America, but its still recognizable as America, and some of the career paths of OTL Americans are interesting (Sirhan Sirhan as a jockey, among others)…” – Unknown, #366

“Charming” – RyuDrago, #369

“This has been a really great timeline and one I’ll be voting for the Turtledoves. When this first started, I thought it was going to be a really lame and cheesy celebrity wank that I couldn’t taking seriously. However after going through the entire thing, I really love the world that you have built here gap and I wish that Sanders had been a President in our timeline. It’s so fascinating how a fast food icon can radically change the country and world for the better…I also like the social and pop culture aspects…” – Kaiser Chris, #379

“I really been enjoying this TL since I’m a Kentuckian” – FDRFan1943, #431

[commenting on the Chapter 45 cliffhanger] “You’ve set this up so beautifully…You really put a lot of work into the 20 years from 1960-1980 in the timeline” – DTF955Baseballfan, #514 and #544

“The breadth and depth of each of this timeline’s updates (as well as the frequency of them) is something you really should be proud of.” – Rattus, #703

“Great timeline!” – phoenix101, #731

But also, this:

Please do go and read it, I'll very much appreciate it!

[pic1: https://imgur.com/RCLsiKx ]
[pic2: https://imgur.com/M05HRei ]
[pic3: https://imgur.com/aCyJ6sC ]
[pic4: https://imgur.com/GFBSGfZ ]
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Fair warning - while I'm honored to have been nominated for Remember, Remember the Fifth of November, I should let everyone know that the last several chapters deal with a bioterrorist attack and may be somewhat disturbing in the present-day context. (I wrote it long before Covid-19 was around.) If the mods would prefer to remove it from the poll I won't be offended at all.