AH Vignette: "You Have a Choice"

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by wilcoxchar, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. wilcoxchar The Craft Beer and Coffee Guy

    Jan 15, 2008
    The People's Republic of Boulder
    Decided to try my hand at a vignette based on a little idea I've been mulling for a while.


    Finally, the first results were about to come in for the start of the long count to 338. The campaign had seemed interminable, but at last the hard work was finally over. Well, for a few days anyway.

    Ending the long decade of Conservative Party leadership was the main priority among the electorate according to most polls. After the near breakdown of the Conservatives in the 90s with the brief rise of the Reform Party in the west, the Conservatives had rebuilt their platform out of the base of the Reform Party’s positions. They’d found a man from the western region of the country and had shouted western alienation to the high heavens. As part of this new western doctrine, the Conservatives had ramped up exploitation of the shale oil fields. Sure some in the capital and from the big cities complained of the reliance on resource extraction but that just fed into the narrative that the country was neglecting the Western regional economy. And naturally, the Green Party leader was joining them as one of the few voices actually in the Western counties against the shale exploitation. But the Green Party aside from their single seat in the Assembly, the Greens had little voice in the rest of the country. Sure they had a loyal three percent nowadays, and maybe they’d gain another seat, but nobody really expected them to wield any sort of power once the results were final.

    Ed sat on his couch alone and turned on the television to watch the results come in. The venerable man who once led the New Democrats to historic success now sagged in his old age. The announcer was recounting the election four years ago as they waited for the first results to arrive. Despite the odds against them, the Conservatives had managed to increase their number of seats and even snag a majority. Ed chuckled. Michael’s Liberals suffered the worst defeat since independence then. And Jack… poor Jack… the New Democrats were so lucky to have him. With the Liberals collapsing, Jack had brought the New Democrats surging into second in seats. It was far more than Ed had ever done. Official Opposition. Ed shook his head and smiled.

    The TV caught his attention just as Ed started to drift away. The first results were just coming on screen. Ed shuffled his aching body to get a better sitting position. Of course. Nassau and Jamaica always had the first seats coming in. They were generally good territory for the New Democrats, but the Conservatives could nip a few seats there if it went well for them. Last time, it had. Despite the NDP surge, the Conservatives had taken a seat in Nassau and two in Jamaica on their way to a majority. Now, Ed hoped, the NDP could take them back. He waited. It was rough having the numbers trickle in precinct by precinct, but Ed had to admit it sure kept the suspense of election night going.

    An hour later when the rest of the polls closed, most of the Nassau and Jamaica results were in and counted. The NDP had taken its seat back in Nassau and one more in Jamaica. Apparently a few more seats had been finalized as well. St. Alban’s was a Liberal seat and only increased the Liberal lead there. Ed heard the commentator mention the name of the next seat - Egmont - and craned his head to listen. The Conservatives had taken Egmont four years ago, but now it would be close. And, the Liberals had taken it back! Ed noticed the heavy swing to the Liberals and smiled as he waited for the NDP result to be stated. If anything, the Liberals were better than the Conservatives and would at least swing the country back toward the center. The NDP result was in… over twenty percent! Ed nodded. Even when the NDP had been leading the polls a month before, there was little hope of taking Egmont. But over twenty percent showed they could do well there in the future.

    The night wore on as the rest of the remaining polls closed around the country and a smattering of results came in. Richmond Hill, another Liberal gain from the Conservatives. Looks like a lot of Liberal gains would be from the Conservatives in the more suburban districts. Essex County had quite a few of its districts declaring now. The NDP snagged one more from the Conservatives there. Ed nodded. It was good to see support for the NDP still strong out there, after it was recently moving to a more urban support. During Ed’s leadership of the New Democrats, he had positioned his party as “liberals with sanity” but the more social democratic aspects of the platform had frightened some more affluent regions of the country.

    Ed looked at the wall clock above the television. It was already 9 o’clock. He had to go to bed soon, but he wanted to wait for the overall results to show again. As long as the Conservatives, with their disastrous promotion of free trade were defeated, he would rest easy. The broadcast brought up the different leaders with the current seat count. The Conservative leader’s portrait was on the far left. Next over was the smiling man with the beard, instantly recognizable as the only one of the candidates for leaders with facial hair. And then there were the other two. One young face ridiculed as running on his name and the legacy of his father. Ed hesitated at that disparaging description. Throughout the campaign he’d considered it unfair. Yes the dynasty was a selling point, but the young man was indeed making a name for himself, and was certainly capable in his own right.

    Some of the Conservative strongholds in the west were coming in now and were being added to the seat count below the leaders’ portraits. By now, about a third of the Assembly was decided. The Liberals were ahead with 64. Ed raised an eyebrow and nodded. That was a pretty good result for them so far. They’d taken ten seats from the Conservatives, mostly in suburban districts. Whether they could keep making gains at that rate, however, remained to be seen. With a lot of more rural and western districts being counted later in the night, the Conservatives were bound to make up some of the current difference. The Conservatives had managed to hold off a strong challenge from both the Liberals and NDP in Niagara Falls to keep that seat. With that, the Conservatives were currently in second with 28, and they were likely to break the 100 mark at least if things stayed as they were. Ed’s own NDP was a close third for now, with only 25. And of course, the Green Party held the seat of their leader. Ed had heard they were targeting a second seat in a neighboring district to their leaders’, which was somewhat worrisome. A good showing by the Greens in that area of the country would cut into NDP votes and could cost be enough to flip a few NDP seats to the Liberals or the Conservatives. THat spelled trouble. But Ed didn’t have worry about that much. They had shown they could fill the role of Official Opposition, and if they got anywhere close to the performance of four years ago, he would be pleased.

    Ed got up and made his way slowly to the other room and his bed. The house was empty aside from him. He momentarily considered giving Pierre a call. The two had become friends in the 90s after their political careers had wound down. For all his faults, Ed had to admit Pierre was a titan of politics and led the Liberals at their high point. He hung his head when the realization came and put his hand on the bedroom door frame. He could not call Pierre. Pierre had passed five years before. His mind was slipping in his old age. It would not be long before he would join Pierre. For now, however, Ed kept his mind firmly on the present. He was doing well for his age, and while he required some assistance, he could still get through the day mostly on his own. Ed climbed into bed and shut his eyes. He awaited the results tomorrow morning with eager anticipation.

    Ed opened the front door and slowly reached down to get the morning paper. His eyes lit up at the headline. “Shock result! NDP maintain second in seat count, Conservatives fall to third! Coalition talks under way!” Ed skimmed through the article as fast as his eyes could manage. Despite the NDP being narrowly ahead in the popular vote, the Liberals had eked ahead in the seat count. They had garnered 143 seats in the Assembly. The NDP had managed 111, a modest increase of 8 on their showing four years ago. The Conservatives, Ed moved a finger across to the total results column… oh dear. The Conservatives had only managed 81 seats! He grinned. Several people in the party would be lucky to keep their heads if they hadn’t been booted out of the Assembly already. He scanned the colored map in the paper. Orange for the New Democrats, red for the Liberals, and blue for the Conservatives as usual. The first thing Ed noticed aside from the mass of red across the country was that Ontario was surprisingly orange, for a nominally Conservative area. If the New Democrats were doing well in Ontario, that would certainly explain how far the Conservatives had fallen.

    The coalition talks lasted for two weeks with all parties trying to come to a bargain. The Conservatives were desperately trying to remain in government somehow, but the chances for that soon evaporated as prominent members of both the Liberals and the NDP spoke out against any agreement with the Conservatives. After the first week, it Liberal-NDP government was almost a certainty. Now it was just a matter of hashing out the details. Both parties could claim they had the mandate of the people to claim the top spot. Tom pushed hard for placing himself in the top position, but after no agreement could be made for several days, he relented. The agreement was announced on November 17 to great applause from the media and the people. There were some grumblings out west, but generally the Conservatives now had to accept they had stumbled and rebuild. Even the Green Party was offered Environment in a show of good faith.

    The coalition agreement was announced on November 17. On November 20, 2016, the government formation was marked with a historic flight. Jack Kennedy Jr. made his first flight since the tragic accident in 1999. Accompanied by New Democratic Party founder Ed Koch, Jack flew from New York City to Albany to become the first New Democratic Governor-President of the Republic of New York. On November 22, Jack Kennedy officially succeeded Carl Paladino as New York’s Governor-President. His government, which included Liberal leader Tom Allon as Secretary of Commerce and Environment Secretary Howie Hawkins, saw an unprecedented era of partisan cooperation as the NDP-Liberal-Green coalition served for the next eight years.

    The administration of Jack Kennedy Jr. saw New York enter a new political era.. The Liberal-Conservative axis of Pierre Rinfret and J. Daniel Mahoney had broken down. Jack did what Ed had strived to do but never succeeded at and expanded the New Democrats out of New York City making waves upstate. Even the Greens saw continued momentum after 2016, and Howie Hawkins was joined in the Assembly by other Greens from Syracuse and Ithaca. In many counties where two party race had been entrenched since independence eighty years ago, the options were expanded to three or even four parties.
  2. CaliBoy1990 A bright future is still possible! =) Donor

    Jul 14, 2010
    El Pueblo, East Texas
    I like this! Is New York supposed to be kind of a mini-Canada ITTL? :cool:
  3. Gordian Basileus

    May 6, 2015
    New Amsterdam
    That twist. :p

    Great vignette wilcoxchar!

    My only question is are the rest of the Kennedies in Mass./New England?
  4. wilcoxchar The Craft Beer and Coffee Guy

    Jan 15, 2008
    The People's Republic of Boulder
    Thanks for the replies! I'm glad you liked it.

    Yep, I tried to mimic New York's politics as Canada's. Also, incidentally the districts of Richmond Hill, Egmont, and St. Alban's are all in Long Island. Because that was the only place aside form Niagara that I could find similarly named places. :D

    I would say it's somewhat split. JFK Jr. as well as RFK and his family are in New York, but most of the rest of the Kennedies are still in New England.
  5. wilcoxchar The Craft Beer and Coffee Guy

    Jan 15, 2008
    The People's Republic of Boulder
    I expanded a bit on the politics here to make a list of the governor-presidents and elections.

    Governor-President of New York:
    Wendell Willkie (Lib.) 1948-1956
    William F. Buckley (Con.) 1956-1964
    Jacob Javits (Lib.) 1964-1968
    Pierre Rinfret (Lib.) 1968-1984

    J. Daniel Mahoney (Con.) 1984-1992
    Mario Cuomo (Lib.) 1992-2000
    George Pataki (Lib.) 2000-2004

    Carl Paladino (Con.) 2004-2016
    Jack Kennedy Jr. (NDP-Lib.-Green) 2016-present

    1948: Wendell Willkie (Lib) defeats William F. Buckley (Con)
    1952: Wendell Willkie (Lib) defeats Thomas Dewey (Con)
    1956: William F. Buckley (Con) defeats Nelson Rockefeller (Lib)
    1960: William F. Buckley (Con) defeats Nelson Rockefeller (Lib)
    1964: Jacob Javits (Lib) defeats William F. Buckley (Con)
    1968: Pierre Rinfret (Lib) defeats Charles Goodell (Con)
    1972: Pierre Rinfret (Lib) defeats Charles Goodell (Con)
    1976: Pierre Rinfret (Lib) defeats Lewis Lehman (Con) and Ed Koch (NDP)
    1980: Pierre Rinfret (Lib) defeats Hamilton Fish IV (Con) and Ed Koch (NDP)
    1984: J. Daniel Mahoney (Con) defeats John Lindsay (Lib) and Ed Koch (NDP)
    1988: J. Daniel Mahoney (Con) defeats John Lindsay (Lib) and Ed Koch (NDP)
    1992: Mario Cuomo (Lib) defeats Tom Golisano (Ref) and Carol Bellamy (NDP) and Laureen Oliver (Con)
    1996: Mario Cuomo (Lib) defeats Tom Golisano (Ref) and Hamilton Fish IV (Con) Louise Slaughter (NDP)
    2000: George Pataki (Lib) defeats Peter King (Con) and Louise Slaughter (NDP)
    2004: Carl Paladino (Con) defeats George Pataki (Lib) and Jack Kennedy Jr. (NDP)
    2008: Carl Paladino (Con) defeats Fernando Ferrer (Lib) and Jack Kennedy Jr. (NDP)
    2012: Carl Paladino (Con) defeats Jack Kennedy Jr. (NDP) and Michael Bloomberg (Lib) and Howie Hawkins (Green)
    2016: Jack Kennedy Jr. (NDP) forms gov’t with Tom Allon (Lib) and Howie Hawkins (Green), defeats Carl Paladino (Con)