Everything Has Gone Green: The Consequences of Googling Murray Bookchin

Look I would be doing a disservice to my great-grandfather who took his life savings to go to America only to get robbed by the mafia not to place a curse on your country

glad you are enjoying this though!!
They needed the money to stop those pesky dockworkers from unionizing.
Good boys, all of them.
So, Italy is governed by a real Illuminati-like secret society. This is going to be interesting.

Their plan was all OTL, too.

And people wonder why we're so cynical, over here - we may have a developed economy, but our government has more in common with that of a flawed democracy such as Argentina (is it a coincidence, that people of Italian ancestry make up half of their population? I think not) or the Philippines (as weird as Italy can get about immigration, understandably so IMO, for a country that turned from a place of emigration to a place of immigration in less than a generation without any prior warning, Filipinos get shat on way less than other nationalities, and I'm like 95% sure it's because of the accidental cultural similarities going on).

It's also not a coincidence, how people over here have basically forgotten Lupin the 3rd is supposed to be French/Japanese, and how they went absolutely nuts over Eddie Guerrero back in the day, in Italy lying, cheating and stealing is basically a way of life, from the humblest Sardinian shepherd to the richest politician in Rome. :p
This is getting more and more interesting. May I ask some question?

1 - Substantially, what was Murray Bookchin's thought? From what I'm getting, he's an Anarchist and his new adopters are keen on socialist local government, but what's Bookchinism?
2 - Checking a bit of the OTL stories of the British personalities, I've seen that a movement named Democratic Left was born IOTL, from the same origins as the ITTL one (EuroCommunist wing of the CPGB, Marxist Today) a decade later than ITTL, how much the IOTL and the ITTL DL differ?
3 - Is P2 actually out of power? Or has a new puppetmaster dethroned Licio Gelli?
1 - Substantially, what was Murray Bookchin's thought? From what I'm getting, he's an Anarchist and his new adopters are keen on socialist local government, but what's Bookchinism?
He did actually come up with a name for it, Communalism. To quickly summarise essentially it’s a form of Libertarian Socialism/Anarchism in which matters are dealt with inside Communities that are part of a wider confederation. It also has a strong Ecological stance too.

Essentially what is happening in Rojava is very much influenced by the work of Bookchin. An ideology based upon Community action, Ecological ideas and Local Government is rather good basis for a gaggle of Post-Communist Municipal Socialists (who are equally influenced by the New Times movement).

2 - Checking a bit of the OTL stories of the British personalities, I've seen that a movement named Democratic Left was born IOTL, from the same origins as the ITTL one (EuroCommunist wing of the CPGB, Marxist Today) a decade later than ITTL, how much the IOTL and the ITTL DL differ?
The IOTL movement was a Think Tank which came about after the part collapsed whilst the ITTL full fledged DL is a political party similar to the Leeds Left Alliance party which was briefly a thing in 1999 before it wasn’t (mainly because Dave Cook died in a car crash).

As for Q3, well @Oppo is a better source there.
3 - Is P2 actually out of power? Or has a new puppetmaster dethroned Licio Gelli?

On a serious note, the worst moments of The Emergency seem to be in the past as keeping an iron fist rule proves detrimental to the nation's stability. Conditions can change, but those in power in Italy are focused on what's best for their pockets and for keeping people away from the various shades of red.
Part IX - Big Decision: Beyond Bookchin, Capanna and Smith:
Big Decision: Beyond Bookchin, Capanna and Smith:

In Ireland the 1987 election would occur, the Labour-Fine Gael coalition had been attacked for failing to meet the needs of the Irish people with it’s austerity cuts and general bowing towards the Montarist consensus. Whilst this would all play into Fianna Fail’s hands (Charles Hughey Populist rhetoric working well against the awkward Coalition) but this worked incredibly well for the Worker Party and the Progressive Democrats who managed to gain attention on a particularly strong anti-establishment message. The Worker Party had managed to increasingly soften it’s image too, the Official IRA had been placed more or less on indefinite hiatus after Garland’s death and whilst it would still be occasionally investigated for fraud or for engaging in operations with Moscow (all of which it had done) the increased control of Proinsias De Rossa within the party (with support from Tomás Mac Giolla) meant that the party was increasingly been seen as credible softer party. The party would gain 6 seats in the Dail as Labour crashed down to 11 seats (with Dick Spring winning his seat by just four votes). The main victors were Charles Haughey of Fianna Fail and Desmond O’Malley of the Progressive Democrats. The next couple of years would see both Labour and Workers Party prepare for the next election as the 80s rolled on.

In Japan, Shintaro Abe had managed to make a lot of enemies within the LDP during his 4 year rule (longer than any other LDP Prime Minister since Eisaku Satō). The Reformers hated him due to his centralisation of power, the Conservatives hated him due to his semi-acceptance of the Neoliberal/Montarist Consensus and the Nationalists hated him due to his attempts to work with Ronald Reagan against Communists influence. It seemed likely that one of the factions would push him out of office before too long. Noboru Takeshita would push him out of office in 1986 as part of a Reformist-Nationalist leadership coup and the subsequent leadership election, Takeshita would win. He decided that pushing for a general election would be a good way to shore up his rule. This went, badly.

The main opponents of the LDP, the Japanese Socialists would experience enough of a surge in 1986 to force the LDP to gobble together a coalition with the Komeito party, a Conservative party who was also incredibly Anti-Corruption. This seemed to be a good idea...until the Recruit Scandal occurred. Several members of Takeshita’s cabinet and himself would be fond guilty of insider trading. The Komieto party would leave the coalition, Morihiro Hosokawa would leave the LDP with 10 other representatives to form the Reformist Shinshintō party and Takeshita pushed for another General Election. The 1987 election would break the 32 year old stranglehold the LDP had on Japanese politics as the LDP lost enough in the Diet to allow the Japanese Socialists under Takako Doi to form a ‘Democratic Coalition’ with several other Reformists/Progressive parties based upon reforming Japanese society and politics.

China was during the 1980s undergoing mass reform under Deng Xiaoping, an attempt to take China away from the Cultural Revolution of Mao and to undergo a form of Liberalisation. Deng Xiaoping would be the unifying figure for this move, as the Conservatives within the CCP still very much viewed the project as Non-Communist and disliked the ‘Liberal’ figures like Hu Yaobang who was one of the major forces behind China’s reform. In 1987, Deng Xiaoping would abruptly suffer a massive stroke. In the ensuing months between his stroke and his death in October 1987, the Conservatives and Reformers would secretly battle each other over who would succeed Deng. In the end Zhao Ziyang, the Premier was able to gain support from Qiao Shi who managed to bring over a number of the moderates, the military and the law and order/Anti-Corruption types to support Zhao and the Reformers. In late 87/early 88, several of the Conservative Communists from Chen Yun to Yang Shangkun would find themselves removed from office due to allegations of corruption. From there Zhao had more room to breath.

Under Scalfaro, Christian Democracy relied on votes from the Radicals to loosen the grip that the Catholic Church had over social issues. Nuclear power plants were phased out in light of the Chernobyl disaster. Trials were held against the mafia and certain politicians, and while Francesco Cosentino may have been the only high-profile politician to get dragged into the court, it did make Andreotti quite cautious. After a split between Panella and Scalfaro, the government fell, leading to the brief premiership of Giovanni Goria, who resigned after a corruption scandal. The counterreaction to Goria was Vittorio Lattanzio, an old ally of Aldo Moro. Lattanzio’s more interventionist policies got the economy back on track and ended a series of difficult strikes. 1990 gave a brief electoral resurgence to Christian Democracy, though one might cite the changing of hands from different generations of the left’s leadership as the cause of this.
Part X - We Are The Champions
We Are The Champions (go to 21:00 in the video for a suprise)

In the aftermath of John Smith’s heart attack, there was much panic and worry. Though he had managed to survive, his ability to govern was unlikely. Whilst Micheal Meacher would serve on an acting basis it was decided that the best thing for the party was to quickly elect a leader. An attempt to push Neil Kinnock forwards as a compromise candidate for the various factions would fail, as Kinnock was neck deep in trying to deal with a crisis involving HIV contaminated blood. For now, this would be ignored as the two party factions would battle it out. Attempts by Bryan Gould and Tony Benn to run would be soured by their inability to gain the MP nominations needed, leading to the left going with the boisterous John Prescott. Meanwhile, the Labour Right went with Jack Cunningham, as Donald Dewar was busying himself with the nearing Scottish Assembly elections and Gerald Kaufman was seen as too controversial to run.

The election would be called a stitch up by the Labour Left as Cunningham was able to use John Smith’s endorsement to gain support from Scottish CLPs and the Trade Unions. When the election was finally finished on November 22nd 1988 these were the results;

First Ballot;
Jack Cunningham: 52%
John Prescott: 48%

Prescott poetically called the election a ‘victory for Jack Cuntingham’ as the new Prime Minister set about shoring up his predecessor’s legacy and bunkering down for the planned general election. With the economy stable, terrorist attacks down and union disputes a blip it seemed that Cunningham would easily win Labour a second term with the Liberals taking the brunt of any coalition controversy...but this rapidly turned out to be a false belief.

In December 1989, Neil Kinnock would reveal the scale of the ensuing contaminated blood scandal. Though much of the failures had occurred under the chaotic Conservative-Alliance coalition, it was clear that the Labour Government had failed to adequately reform the system. Cunningham demanded that Kinnock bury the report and lie to the public about the scale of the scandal. Kinnock resigned in response and in a special episode of Question Time revealed the scale of it. Thousands had been infected with HIV or Hepatitis and about 2,500 people had died as a result. There was an outcry over the failure to properly protect people which hurt Labour’s rhetoric deeply.

Things would get worse, as reporters sensing various opportunities duck further into what Labour could be hiding, embolden by Jack Cunningham’s aggressive behavior towards reporters throughout his leadership. First reporters found that Michael Meacher, the prominent soft left Deputy Leader, seemingly socialist firebrand and Secretary for Industry seemed to have irregularities when it came to how many houses he owned. It would turn out that despite Meacher having condemned those who owned second homes as "robbing people of a home which is a basic right," during his brief time in Government, Meacher had bought about five additional properties for renting. Whilst not illegal and Meacher only receiving a slap on the wrist for failing to mention this to the Parliamentary regulators, the finding of these houses would be an embarrassment for the Labour government.

In March 1989 as Jack Cunningham was preparing the Labour Party to go to the polls, it would be revealed that he had spent nearly £20,000 in expenses during his time in various offices. This would horrify many, but it would get worse. During his brief time as Foreign Secretary, he had entertained many important businessmen and statesmen, including a friend of the Sultan of Brunei, Mohammed Al Fayed. This would become a friendship and it was questioned if the Prime Minister was helping Al-Fayed in a number of British business deals. The allegations of corruption haunted Cunningham as he wobbled on whether to go to the nation.

In April 1989, Roy Hattersley revealed to Jack Cunningham that the seeming slow stable system of finance that had existed in Britain under the Labour Government was about to come crashing down. Britain had seemingly managed to weather the Black Monday Crisis of 1987, but it was rapidly becoming clear that this was a fabrication as foriegn investors had been investing in a property bubble that had occurred in London under Hattersley’s support of Business zones, but now investors were worried and were starting to retreat.

Hattersley told Cunningham that there was a choice. Go to the polls in the Summer of 1989 and pray that Labour didn’t collapse or go to the polls in 1990 and lose hard due to a collapse in the British economy as investment left. Cunningham grit his teeth and went to the polls hoping to at least salvage something.
The reaction across the Communist World was mixed, to put it mildly. From Moscow, a rather pickled looking Leonid Brezhnev denouncing the move of ‘bourgeoises social democrats who have taken over the proud Italian Communist Party.’ Other pro-Moscow parties like the French Communist Party and Irish Workers’ Party took this line, often with the addition of denouncing the Italian Communists as ‘Trotskyist Wreckers’ which inevitably angered Proletarian Democracy, who as the main Italian Trotskyists were rather shocked and disgusted by the deal.
At the risk of picking nits, it was still Sinn Féin – The Workers' Party in '78. The Great Renaming was in '82.
Unless you mean the Irish Worker's Party, but they re-merged into the CPI in 1970.
That was my fault there, I’m not going to change just because SF-WP is the clunkiest possible party title in the world (I see why they changed it).
Don't worry about it, the only reason it hit me was my LC project was on the history of Irish political parties (mainly the offshoots of SF). And you;re right about the name but they were attempting to hold onto part of the stickies while appealing to the softer left.
Part XI - Everyday Is Like Sunday
Everyday Is Like Sunday:

The July 1989 election was one of new ideas battling the old. Despite the insistence of the Gould’s alongside an increasing group of Modernisers behind them, Jack Cunningham resisted the idea of using ideas of media management and spin, not trusting the media after they had investigated his purported crimes. Cunningham was a poor media campaigner and at one point aggressively grabbed a journalist's jacket and shouted at him, when the journalist got too close. In general there was a sense that Labour was going to do badly and numerous people made sure to batten down the hatches in their constituencies (for example, Bryan Gould). Labour’s campaign was for the most part shambles.

Meanwhile the Conservatives under Ian Gow the party had modernised numerous aspects of their party. Whilst still fighting on a Thatcherite platform, it was also decided to include integrating further with the EEC, liberalising the Conservatives treatment of various Minority communities and increasing housing funds. Gow was a man of split personalities; whilst The Times called him 'overpowering', 'arrogant', and 'bellicose' when he was running for parliament, he cultivated strong friendships that allowed him to become Tory leader.

When the nation went to the polls, the Tories were given a strong 322 seats, allowing them to form a minority government with Ulster Unionist support. Labour were down to 223, and their Liberal coalition allies were pushed into their traditional support bases. Owen’s SDP had a solid 47 seats; a net gain in Social Democratic MPs, but a disappointment when polls had the party over 20%.

The real surprise came from Democratic Left, who passed the 5% threshold for the first time. The attention gained from Peck’s presence in Westminster coupled with the spotlight being on Green issues were reasons cited for the breakthrough with Democratic Left gaining two Constituency MPs in the form of Alan Simpson for Nottingham South (part of the increasing domination the party had over the city) and open Labour defector Diane Abbott. Meanwhile there list consisted of everything from former Trotskyist Ken Coates to Left Wing Gay Rights organiser Mike Jackson.

The nation was warned of an imminent recession, one that Prime Minister Gow was deeply cautious of. His friends on the Labour benches warned him about the conversation with Hattersley that forced Cunningham into a seemingly suicidal campaign. It was a race against the clock, though Gow was lucky enough that the Tories were uninhibited. The mutilated conservatism of the Jenkins-Pym government was rejected in favour of a dash towards the monetarist right.

Leading the charge was the Community Charge, or as it was more commonly known, the poll tax. The abolition of the rating system became the defining issue of the Gow ministry, with critics attacking the system for creating a burden on the lower-classes. Over a hundred thousand people demonstrated against the tax, leading to a series of arrests and mass riots. So many people refused to pay the tax that some authorities were unable to launch arrests for the sheer numbers of offenders.

Notable “martyrs” for the anti-poll tax cause were Labour MPs Terry Fields and Tommy Sheridan, who were expelled from the Labour Party for their refusal to pay. In the absence of Labour Party support, Democratic Left under Nina Temple emerged as a public face of the opposition, bringing in new voices to the party. With pressure growing from his own party, Gow backed down and significantly reduced the tax. Few were satisfied by this decision, but it was enough to keep the Conservatives’ head above water.

Economically, Gow pushed forward the privatization of the former British Leyland, now known as Rover Group. The former flagship Rover marque was spun off into a merger with Honda, intensifying the fear that the Japanese were bound to take over the Western economies. Land Rover went to General Motors after a few scuffles with the Tory backbenchers; and while it had already been privatized, Jaguar was sold off to Ford. While the sale of these marques was a patriotic rallying cry for the tabloids, it was undeniable that the British motor industry saw an improvement in quality following the sales.

Across the aisle, Labour were in a political crisis of their own. After his surprising showing in 1988, John Prescott was clearly the man to beat for the leadership. There was a clear gap needing to be filled on the Labour right, but few thought that they could overcome Prescott’s popularity with the party’s left. Hattersley had enough with the frontbenches and was too personally controversial, whilst Robin Cook couldn’t see a path to victory. Gerald Kaufman looked to be a strong candidate, but his clever diplomacy during the Iran-Iraq War was not the best look for him after Salman Rushide narrowly survived an assassination attempt related to the Ayatollah's fatwa. Kaufman withdrew from the race, having to focus on tensions in his increasingly Muslim constituency as MPs such as Keith Vaz continued their calls for the banning of The Satanic Verses.

With Tony Benn also forgoing another campaign, the main figure on the left in opposition to Prescott was Bryan Gould, who saw old Prezza as too “Old Labour” and unpolished to lead a modern government. However it quickly became apparent that Gould was considered ‘too intellectual’ for his own good, with Prescott more popular with the Trade Unions and CLPs than Gould was (it still would have been a close battle all the same). So the Gould’s went back to the drawing board and searched for a candidate who could unite the Left and Right in a way that Gould simply couldn’t. They found their man in the Former Minister for Europe, Robert Kilroy-Silk.

A friend of Bryan’s and formerly of the Left, Kilroy had progressively drifted Rightwards as time went on, putting him more in line with the Robin Cook’s and the Neil Kinnock’s of the Smith Cabinet, wholeheartedly accepting the new economic consensus alongside a mild Social Conservative streak. Kilroy-Silk had become Minister of Europe during the death throes of the Cunningham Government as a sop to the Eurosceptic Left. In many ways Kilroy had become like Peter Shore in terms of politics, without the incredibly abrasive attitude. The Gould’s realised that Kilroy could be the unifying figure for them so they decided to meet at the River Cafe in London to see if they could sort out a deal…

“Robert smirked when I told him we wanted him to be leader, he found the whole encounter amusing to be fair. I told him that I certainly would have done it, but I work best in matters economic and culture, Robert works best in firing up the base. Philip told him that being a leader would mean someone who worked well in front of the camera’s and who could present a new, modern Labour for the people. Now at that he found our offer more serious and eagerly agreed to be the Gould candidate. I probably should have realised that I was making a mistake with Robert but even the smartest individuals have their moments of foolishness”
-Bryan Gould, Goodbye to All That, 1998

Robert Kilroy-Silk would end up being the Moderniser candidate and would set about uniting Left and Right. With endorsements ranging from the Left’s Brian Wilson to the Right’s Vince Cable it seemed that Silk could present himself as whatever the membership wanted him to be; he could be seen as the fierce Eurosceptic Democratic Socialist or the European Social Democrat depending on his mood. Meanwhile during the same period, Meacher's resignation as Deputy Leader lead to rush for various candidates. It would end up being a battle between Bryan Gould, John Prescott and Brian Sedegemore representing the Left.

When the votes came in it was obvious who won.

1989 Labour Party Leadership Election:
Robert Kilroy-Silk- 55%
John Prescott- 45%

1989 Labour Deputy Leadership Election:
Bryan Gould- 58%

John Prescott- 30%
Brian Sedgemore- 12%

In one fell swoop, the Modernisers had won control. The man who once earned the ire of Harold Wilson for proclaiming he’d be prime minister in 15 years might have been a few years off, but if the polls were any indication, he’d have the last laugh. If the Gould's assumed that Robert Kilroy-Silk was going to be a puppet, they were very much mistaken.

1989 General Election:
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Is this

Is this

Is this British Tangentopoli?

Jokes apart, has any of you two ever seen 1992? It's an Italian TV series about Tangentopoli and there were huge points about a corruption scandal around mishandling of blood banks involving HIV contamination, and a group of people involved with media and modern campaigning trying to find the "perfect candidate", so these two updates reminded me of it a lot.
Jokes apart, has any of you two ever seen 1992?
Amusingly, @Oppo has just started watching it. We didn’t watch it at the time.
It's an Italian TV series about Tangentopoli and there were huge points about a corruption scandal around mishandling of blood banks involving HIV contamination, and a group of people involved with media and modern campaigning trying to find the "perfect candidate", so these two updates reminded me of it a lot.
How amusing, the HIV blood scandal was one of those things that would have been huge if it wasn’t Late Thatcher era, meanwhile the other corruption scandals are related to a variety of early Blair corruption scandals and the perfect candidate thing seemed like something the Gould’s would do.
Part XII - Comrades In Arms: Socialism in the wake of Kilroy
Comrades In Arms: Socialism in the wake of Kilroy

With Kilroy being branded Labour’s most formidable leader since Hugh Gaitskell, the leader of the opposition decided to do what Gaitskell couldn’t; repeal Clause IV of the Labour Party constitution. Common ownership of industry was no longer as popular as it was under Attlee, and the unions were no longer as crucial with Bryan Gould arguing that limited Public Ownership should be the way to go down. At a special conference in 1990, the party agreed to change its wording in favour of a less socialist commitment. Of course, there was still one trade union leader that those in power feared; the “industrial Napoleon” Arthur Scargill.

In 1991, he announced his new Socialist Labour Party, committed to ending the capitalist policies of the major parties. In his manifesto, Scargill called for a £6 minimum wage, cutting defence spending by 2/3rds, renationalization, a four-day work week, and ending VAT. Of course, there were plenty of other parties on the far-left. Working with the dirty revisionists of Democratic Left was a no-go for someone who founded the Stalin Society, nor was he pleased to work with the Trotskyists of Militant.

That being said, the misfit Scottish MP Tommy Sheridan was willing to work with Scargill, under certain conditions of course. Sheridan was willing to defect in exchange for being appointed leader of an autonomous Scottish section of the party and agreeing to Scottish self-determination. Scargill quickly dismissed Sheridan’s offer, but was forced to awkwardly ask him for his support after realizing that the elections to the Scottish assembly were going on later that year.

With a series of slick election broadcasts directed by filmmaker Ken Loach and the trade unions breaking from Labour, the SLP were able to “break the mould,” finishing ahead of the SDP and Democratic Left (much to the embarrassment of Bill Bonnar who was in charge of Dem Left’s Scottish Branch). While Scargill was hoping to break free of Sheridan as soon as he could, by the beginning of 1992 the party was majority Scottish. The tables had turned, and now Sheridan was hoping for Scargill to give up on public life, although ideally after the Scargill name could be milked enough to win seats in Yorkshire and Wales. The battle for control of the SLP for many was considered what blunted their momentum. Scargill’s stubborn refusal to leave the post presented awkwardness for the young radical, as it seemed the young party would rip itself to shreds.

Enter Dave Nellist. The party’s only English MP (having sat as Independent after being pushed out of Labour during the Poll Tax disputes and joining the SLP not long after) he managed to get the two to negotiate. The Socialist Labour Party despite its Democratic Centralist nature decided to adopt a position of job share leadership to represent the party’s Scottish and English-Welsh groupings. Tommy Sheridan and Arthur Scargill would become the awkward revolutionary bastards of British politics (and would be excellent fodder for Newspaper cartoonists with the SLP being portrayed with two faces). The eventual hope was to push Scargill out after the General Election and replace him with another prominent English Trade Unionist like Bob Crow when the time came.

Meanwhile Democratic Left had celebrated its General Election win, but was flummoxed by it’s failure in the Assembly elections of 1992 (especially given that Democratic Left had formed alliances with several Centre Left parties for help in Assemblies). Blame was placed on two factors, the parties media communication which after Julien Temple stepped down in 1990, had stagnated and their alliance with the stagnant Green party not producing results. The media communication problem that Democratic Left had was solved by the hiring of a interesting BBC Journalist Adam Curtis, who sympathizes with the ideals of Libertarian Municipalism. His use of montage and type in Democratic Left advertisements would revolutionise the parties messaging and media. As for the Greens, Nina Temple would discuss with the Left of the Green Party about breaking away from the Moderates. Derek Wall, having seen the stagnation that the party had suffered under David Icke agreed and he and many others would defect to Democratic Left.

After a brief scare, the Left of British Politics had managed to get it’s groove back. Just in time for the General Election.
Jokes apart, has any of you two ever seen 1992? It's an Italian TV series about Tangentopoli and there were huge points about a corruption scandal around mishandling of blood banks involving HIV contamination, and a group of people involved with media and modern campaigning trying to find the "perfect candidate", so these two updates reminded me of it a lot.
Just got finished watching 1992 and 1993 and I love it so much! Stefano Accorsi's character is really interesting to me.
Part XIII - Help Save the Youth Of America: The American Left and the Hope of ‘92
an exploration of a new country!

Help Save the Youth Of America: The American Left and the Hope of ‘92

Opposition was not kind to the Democratic Party. Unlike most of the Western world, neoliberalism remained the dominant ideology from throughout the disappointing presidency of President Carter to the extremely impactful Reagan administration. In a sign of the times, George H.W. Bush, the man who once derided Reagan’s supply-side philosophy as “voodoo economics” was now forced to put those ideas in practice. After a resounding victory in the Gulf War, the public saw Bush as the man that brought about the end of history.

Perhaps the 1992 primaries shouldn’t have been as much of a surprise as the 1976 ones, though history certainly has set up their victors as obscure upstarts. Part of the difference emerged in which candidates ended up running; despite the absence of Hubert Humphrey and Ted Kennedy, the 1976 election involved over a dozen of the top Democrats in the country. This was in sharp contrast to 1992, where the DNC failed to get anyone with an equivalent stature to Scoop Jackson or Birch Bayh. With Gore, Cuomo, and Jackson staying out, the party even looked towards George McGovern as a viable option (though the aging McGovern didn’t move past an exploratory committee).

Arkansas’ Bill Clinton was almost a cut-rate version of Al Gore; his speech at the 1988 DNC was so dreadfully long that the audience prematurely applauded to beg for its end. Paul Tsongas was the closest thing the field had to a conventional liberal, but the formerly retired senator went a little too far going off about a balanced budget. Rounding off the field were senators Tom Harkin and Bob Kerrey, governors Douglas Wilder and Jerry Brown, and one candidate of note, former Irvine Mayor Larry Agran.

Agran’s background was unconventional for a presidential candidate - as a democratic socialist endorsed by Noam Chomsky, he became mayor of a city that voted for Bush with 66% of the vote. Irvine is a small town in Orange County, an area previously known for President Nixon, “B1 Bob” Dornan, and the punk band Social Distortion. After heading McGovern’s exploratory committee, he eventually went for a run himself once McGovern bowed out of the contest. Few expected him to run for the presidency; his mother only learned about her son’s decision on a local talk radio show.

For most of the campaign, he was grouped together with Eugene McCarthy and Lyndon LaRouche as a fringe candidate. In one of the few interviews he received, Roger Mudd openly said “it does stretch credibility to think that a Jewish ex-mayor of a suburban town can make it.” This media blackout continued until Agran literally forced his way into a forum hosted by Senator Jay Rockefeller and began polling ahead of candidates such as former frontrunner Jerry Brown and Harkin. On his former supporter’s behalf, McGovern wrote to DNC Chairman Ron Brown, putting enough pressure on him to allow Agran to appear in the national debates.

Ahead of New Hampshire, all eyes were on Clinton and Tsongas, but it was clear the former senator had a clear advantage. Clinton was met with allegations of an affair with Jennifer Flowers, in which several phone calls were taped (including tapes of Clinton disparaging the Italian-American community). His interview with 60 Minutes was widely seen as a failure, and with it directly following the Super Bowl, a flop couldn’t have come at a worse time. Tsongas predictably won the New Hampshire primary, but jaws dropped when the public learned who came in second. Agran, seizing his newfound media attention, called a press conference earlier than the other candidates. Declaring himself “the underdog no longer,” few would realize that Tsongas actually won the primary without looking at the results. 7% of the vote went to write-ins for Mario Cuomo, again fueling speculation that the New York governor would run; further weakening Tsongas’ position as the mainstream liberal.

Super Tuesday was designed by the moderate Democrats to give a Southern DLC candidate a clear shot at the nomination, but as in 1988, this strategy clearly did not play out. Clinton, much weakened but still in the race, was forced to compete for a similar brand of votes with Douglas Wilder, the first African-American Governor of Virginia; and while one would expect Wilder to do well in urban areas, Agran capitalized on his endorsement from the National Council of Mayors and friendship with Desmond Tutu. While the results weren’t conclusive for Agran, they were an embarrassment for Tsongas, Clinton, and Wilder, who saw their assumed bases of support in the northeast and the south eroded. As March turned into April, the race was down to two candidates, with many speculating whether neither Tsongas nor Agran would win a majority; this fear and/or hope was quelled by Agran’s inherent advantage in his home state of California.

While expected to easily win the election in January, Bush’s campaign was now much less confident about their victory. The president lost the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries to firebrand populist Pat Buchanan, and independent candidate Ross Perot was polling ahead or even with Bush. With dark times ahead and Agran becoming a viable candidate after the Democratic Convention, Bush needed to bring back his prince of darkness; former RNC Chairman Lee Atwater. While Atwater converted to Catholicism and repented for his prior campaign sins, like many people, his brain reverted to his normal ways after miraculously surviving his treatment. The same strategies that gave Bush in 1988 a landslide could be applied again, by going negative on Bush’s opponents. Pat Buchanan was front and center at the RNC, giving his infamous culture war speech to consolidate the right-wing vote. In a controversial ad, Atwater openly questioned Perot’s mental health as the businessman bizarrely accused Bush and the CIA of sabotaging his daughter’s wedding. As the two Texans fought each other off in the debates, Agran was able to overcome attacks on his affiliation with socialist and gay rights groups.

Agran’s share of the vote was similar to George McGovern’s in 1972, but in a three-way race, solidifying the base and driving up turnout was enough to pull off a victory. A number of British journalists reporting on the election drew comparisons to Clement Attlee’s victory in 1945; after winning the Cold War, the American public was looking for a new direction. Agran’s proposal for an education plan to overtake Europe and Japan, a $400 million peace dividend, and national health insurance were cornerstones of the new 1990s.
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