1996 Australian federal election
John Hewson’s victory in 1993 saw the Coalition enter government but would find itself unable to enact its agenda. Thanks to the close election result (where the Coalition lost the 2pp vote), Hewson was unable to implement many parts of the economically austere Fightback!. In recognition of the weak parliamentary position of the Coalition, saw the government instead, focus on the centrepiece of Fightback!, the GST. In a charged and divisive parliamentary debate, Hewson eventually saw through the introduction of the deeply unpopular Goods and Service Tax (GST), which made both the government historically unpopular and drained all the political capital and goodwill that Hewson had gained in 1993. Attempts to reduce red-tape, change labour laws and cut corporation tax fell by the wayside, with government attention soon being diverted to dealing with the biting mid-1990s recession.

Internally within the Liberal Party, Hewson's position was in an even more tenuous position than his party's. Many MPs saw Hewson as having 'blown' 1993 and distrusted Hewson’s commitment to republicanism and his social liberal bent. These issues did little to help buoy his internal party popularity, especially with the National Party continually sniping at Hewson’s ineffective leadership. So, with the government unpopular and party tensions high, cabinet ministers like John Howard and Peter Costello would engage in a briefing war against Hewson, characterising him as 'aloof' and unable to manage the Liberal Party, let alone the country, effectively.

These briefings and internal party strife eventually culminated in a leadership spill in Autumn 1994, where Hewson narrowly retained the support of the party. In an attempt to clear the air, Hewson announced that he would not be running for re-election, but would remain PM until 1996, when he would resign and a leadership contest would follow. This announcement, instead of strengthening his hand, sealed his fate. Triggering this was an unprecedented by-election defeat in Kooyong in November 1994, the seat of former Liberal leader Andrew Peacock, which also saw the government lose its majority (and elect the first Green MP Peter Singer, in Australian history in the process). By January 1995, Hewson was faced with another leadership spill, but this time, he was not as lucky. Hewson was deposed by the main agitator against him, John Howard.

Howard’s first act as Prime Minister was to reverse the GST and gain independent support for the government from the 2 Independent MPs elected in 1993. Phil Cleary and Ted Mack, the two independents, reluctantly chose to support the government, to gain government monies for their constituencies alongside a pledge that Howard would legislate for a referendum on the monarchy before the millennium.

Howard, against Opposition Leader Kim Beazley (who had defeated Paul Keating in an April 1995 leadership spill), met a worthy match. Polling concurred, and despite a small bounce for Howard after the repeal of the GST, Beazley effectively countered that Labor would never have introduced it in the first place. Howard, therefore, was forced to spend 1995 attempting to make up from the polling deficit which had grown since the 1993 election, which was a difficult task considering the recession Australia had found itself in.

When the election was called for March 9, 1996, polling predicted a Labour landslide, which could see the Coalition fall as low as 45 seats. Whilst Howard proved a more adept campaigner than Hewson before him, ultimately Beazley never lost the initiative or his popularity. In a landslide, albeit not as grand as once predicted, Beazley returned Labor to government and begun preparations for the upcoming referendum on whether Australia would become a republic.

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“Republican Australia”

👀👀👀
I wonder if it'll actually go through this time, or if the electorate will get hung up on the semantics of how the president is selected like it did IOTL.
Republican Australia is a harder reach to make than you'd expect as it not only needs a majority of the voters, but a majority of the states as well. There could be a possibility wherein a majority of the voters back the change to become a republic, but there's not enough of the states voting in favour to ratify it.

And the monarchy is more popular in TTL than in OTL, as there's less scandal (no Fergie) and Charles and Diana are still unhappily married unlike OTL in 1996, even if they are separated.

But, without Howard as PM, and both Beazley, Costello supportive of the move, who knows what could happen?

EDIT: Costello is the next Liberal leader, which I just realised I didn't mention in the update
 
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Gordon Brown
By 1996, despite Labour's landslide majority in Parliament, Cook was struggling to achieve his agenda, especially with regards to increased spending and European monetary integration. The reason for this was the struggle lay primarily in Number 11, with his Chancellor, Gordon Brown, who had both centralised power and was unafraid of bucking Cook's agenda and telling Number 10, 'no'. When Cook and Brown had been aligned during their first term, achievements included establishing an independent central bank and creating a national minimum wage. By the second term, this alignment had began to break down and tensions grew.

The main issue between the men proved to be disagreements on the common currency, now preliminary named the ecu (the name derived from the European Currency Unit). Cook saw adoption of a European common currency as desirable, seeing the currency as complementing both his modernizing and pro-Europe agenda. Brown, however, privately resisted moves towards the adoption of the ecu, fearful of the political and economic effects such a move would cause, alongside the loss of power Number 11 would undoubtedly suffer.

Brown attempted a compromise, one which involved a series of independent economic tests on whether Britain should adopt the ecu, but Cook (rightly) saw this as a potential off-ramp for Brown to take, considering the economic tests would be, in essence, self-marked by Brown. Complementing the policy clashes was their continually fractious relationship, who despite their 1991 agreement, were mutually distrustful of and disliked each other. These disagreements began to spill over into the Labour Party at large. Cabinet Members soon felt pressure to ‘pick sides’, between Cook and Brown. MPs who hoped for promotion into ministries would start to position themselves accordingly. So began the next series of divisions in Labour, the Modernizers (Mods) versus the Rockers (Rocks). The Mods were led by Brown, Tony Blair and Jack Straw versus the Rocks, consisting of Robin Cook, Margaret Beckett and Gavin Strang. Both groups and both men would orbit the other, waiting for the other to strike first. This uneasy peace would last until May 1996.

It was a leak from the Guardian that forced Cook’s hand. A source from within Number 11 said that Brown (after a shouting match between the Chancellor and his staff) was openly plotting against Cook and talking about being PM before 2000, making preliminary plans for a potential cabinet. In the week that followed, the once private tensions in both Number 11 and Labour-as-a-whole began to be played out in public. The week of leaks which followed were a series of damaging stories about the hostile workplace created by Brown in Number 11, with Brown acting like a mini-dictator, bullying staffers and becoming overly reliant on special advisers. Labour was unable to escape this week unscathed either, with newspapers beginning to identify, the once-hidden, divides in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).

It would be on the morning of the 19th of May which finally saw the end of Brown. Cook, sensing the opportunity after the torrid week previously, tried to reign in Brown. The details remain sketchy about the meeting which followed, as both Brown and Cook refused to disclose what was discussed behind closed doors. What is known, however, is that after a short ten minute meeting between the men, Brown was seen leaving Number 10, where journalists quickly discovered that Robin Cook had fired Brown as Chancellor.

Shocked and angered by Cook, Brown attempted to launch a coup and began to rally support in the party. However, Brown found himself, probably for the first time in his career, one step behind his opponent. Cook, after sacking Brown immediately initiated a massive government reshuffle. Unbeknownst to Brown, the press reports of who Brown would have in his Cabinet had prompted similar action from Number 10, planned for the eventuality that Brown would quit. Replacing Brown, was Cook ally and veteran Labour politician Margaret Beckett, both a historic choice and someone seen to be more amenable to the ecu. In a widely perceived slight to Brown, (and a slight which destroyed Brown's attempted coup), Tony Blair was appointed and accepted the role of Foreign Secretary, replacing Jack Cunningham. The move was both a major promotion for Blair and deprived Brown of one of his closest allies in the PLP. Cook had, in essence, replaced one big beast in Cabinet with another, but at least this one was in a less critical position and more supportive of Cook's agenda. Also, included in the reshuffle was the sacking of Brownites in cabinet, with the most well-known victim of reshuffle being Chief Secretary to the Treasury Harriet Harman, who was replaced by Chris Smith. Meanwhile, loyal cabinet members like Frank Dobson, Gavin Strang and Ron Davies remained in their positions or saw promotions, to replace gaps left by Brownites in government.

The move was both easily comparable to and reminiscent of Harold Macmillan’s ‘Night of the Long Knives’. The move was as unpopular as Macmillan's dramatic 1962 reshuffle too. Conservative leader Chris Patten attacked the government for creating “chaos and upheaval” as Labour fell behind the Conservative Party in polling for the first time since 1993, as a result of the reshuffle and the firing of Brown (who was one of the more popular members of Cabinet). Cook, however, took this criticism in his stride. To the Prime Minister, he saw the move as a necessary evil, one in which that meant he could forge ahead with his agenda, not Brown’s.

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The move was both easily comparable to and reminiscent of Harold Macmillan’s ‘Night of the Long Knives’. The move was as unpopular as Macmillan's dramatic 1962 reshuffle too. Conservative leader Chris Patten attacked the government for creating “chaos and upheaval” as Labour fell behind the Conservative Party in polling for the first time since 1993, as a result of the reshuffle and the firing of Brown (who was one of the more popular members of Cabinet). Cook, however, took this criticism in his stride. To the Prime Minister, he saw the move as a necessary evil, one in which that meant he could forge ahead with his agenda, not Brown’s.
Oh boy, but understandable. Brown’s personality would definitely clash if he was having to deal with any one other than Blair, mainly because Blair had to rely on his support, Cook doesn’t as much (given how he would have much of the Soft Left, Old Left and Right and opportunistic members being his supporters). Also Blair taking the job with Cook probably enforces the view of him as a Soft Left Moderniser which permeated him through the 80s and up until he got the Shadow Employment Secretary job.

Brown becoming Director of the IMF makes sense as he did seem to want have bigger international financial jobs if he couldn’t run Britain. Also I wonder how Hong Kong is doing as it’s handover gets closer (amusingly I could see Gould as Governor given his admiration for the city, has relatives there and his general awkwardness probably meaning that Cook or anyone else in the Early 90s would probably send him over there).
 
Oh boy, but understandable. Brown’s personality would definitely clash if he was having to deal with any one other than Blair, mainly because Blair had to rely on his support, Cook doesn’t as much (given how he would have much of the Soft Left, Old Left and Right and opportunistic members being his supporters). Also Blair taking the job with Cook probably enforces the view of him as a Soft Left Moderniser which permeated him through the 80s and up until he got the Shadow Employment Secretary job.

Brown becoming Director of the IMF makes sense as he did seem to want have bigger international financial jobs if he couldn’t run Britain. Also I wonder how Hong Kong is doing as it’s handover gets closer (amusingly I could see Gould as Governor given his admiration for the city, has relatives there and his general awkwardness probably meaning that Cook or anyone else in the Early 90s would probably send him over there).
Cook-Brown was always an alliance of circumstance and of political expediency, rather than Blair-Brown, which at least at the beginning, was based on their close friendship and ideology. That and Cook-Brown's mutual dislike of each other (prior to the mid 2000s), meant that it was a ticking timebomb ever since 1991.

Blair is definitely perceived as more lefty than in OTL but then again, so's Labour as a whole. The party didn't have a traumatic defeat in 1992, so there's no need for both the party's and Blair's modernization campaign. But, they aren't winning 150+ majorities either, so, swings and roundabouts.

Yeah I thought the IMF would suit Brown. I reasoned he would've accepted the IMF director job in 2000 because he knows full well that his time has passed and that he would struggle to win the leadership (Cook's still young, and there's more appealing and less divisive successors waiting in the wings) and can focus on international economics, which he had a fondness for anyway.

Hong Kong is pretty much the same as OTL so I hadn't given much thought about who would be the last governor. And the more I'm thinking about it, and based on what you said, Gould would probably work quite well as Governor. Cook would probably want him out of domestic politics, he's got a similar profile to Patten and I imagine Gould wouldn't be particularly happy in Cook's government, based on the direction of travel taken by Cook. Consider it canon.
 
1996 Russian presidential election
Ruslan Khasbulatov, elected President of a Russia free from Soviet influence, knew the challenges that lied ahead. After the shocking death of Yeltsin and the chaos of the August Coup, Khasbulatov believed that Russia needed a pluralist government to better serve the divided and dividing nation. In this vein, Khasbulatov sought to govern Russia as a unifier under the Democratic Russia banner, inviting ideological allies and foes to work together.

He extended this tradition to international relations, working closely with the West and America. After extensive negotiations between Khasbulatov and President Thompson, both men negotiated a large aid and economic development package, akin to the Marshall Plan (called the Cheney Plan after Secretary of State Cheney) to help Russia re-orientate itself away from a command economy and become better able to enter global markets. This allowed Khasbulatov some room for manoeuvre in order avoid the worst excesses of economic liberalisation. In a particularly poignant clause of the Cheney Plan, Russia (for a considerable amount of aid) Russia would initiate a unilateral reduction of its nuclear weapons and capacity, unthinkable 10 years before.

Khasbulatov a native Chechian, took special interest in the conflict in Chechnya, who advocated for the nation to remain a member of the Russian Federation, albeit able to act autonomously. His visit to Grozny in 1994 was meant to be the first step in negotiations between the republics, but was cut short by a deadly truck bomb, killing 47 and injuring Khasbulatov. While peace talks were shelved, Khasbulatov ordered that Russian troops remained out of Chechnya, unless used to displace terror cells, for fear of an escalation of the conflict.

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Khasbulatov, an economist, was heavily critical of some of the “shock therapy” employed by other Soviet and Eastern Bloc nations and instead more-or-less, continued government spending and state support. Whilst these policies proved popular with the Russian people, the economy soon begun to overheat, with inflation becoming a continual problem. It would culminate in the Spiralling Recession of 1994.

The Spiralling Recession would begin when this inflation would eventually be classified as hyperinflation and after a badly worded statement from Khasbulatov, he inadvertently triggered a run on the Russian financial and banking sector as savings became worthless. To international investors (such as those in America) the crisis also highlighted the threat that Russia could default on its foreign loans and wouldn’t be able to pay back its substantial debts. Subsequently, this led to a crash of the rouble on foreign exchange markets, which meant that Russian imports of oil and gas (by far its greatest source of revenue) became almost worthless overnight, exacerbating the situation.

Khasbulatov in response, was forced to undo most of his economic policies by replacing the Rouble (RUR) with the New Rouble (RUB), which while ending hyperinflation, led to crippling poverty for millions. Both the U-turn and his subsequent actions crippled Khasbulatov’s reputation and popularity. This led to an impeachment vote by the Russian Parliament (Congress of People's Deputies), led by Homeland – Our Russia, the party of business interests and capitalists. Barely surviving the impeachment charge, Khasbulatov was forced to defer to the hostile legislature for the remainder of his presidency.

However, Sergey Shakhray a constitutional scholar and Khasbulatov’s Vice President, enjoyed some success by entrenching Russian democracy and political freedoms. Shakhray, working closely with various liberal figures in Democratic Russia (including Galina Starovoytova), proved critical in the formulation of the 1995 Constitution, enshrining democracy, and human rights. The Constitution was narrowly approved via referendum the same year despite a concerted effort by the Communists and other agitators to make the referendum a proxy on Khasbulatov’s continued leadership.

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So, by 1996 and after many trials and tribulations, the Russian economy had integrated into the world market. The New Rouble had stablished after a Western and IMF bailout, but the terms of the bailout saw the break-up of government monopolies and state industries. This led to mass unemployment and poverty and accelerated rise of kleptocrats like Gazprom owner Viktor Chernomyrdin and NTV owner Vladimir Gusinsky. These kleptocrats, with the help of the media and their many subsidiaries, proved fatal to Khasbulatov’s government, acting as prominent critics of the government, funding millions into anti-government protests and propaganda.

Khasbulatov had during his term made enemies of the right-wing, military, and capitalist interests. These group would (uneasily) rally behind the Mayor of St Petersburg Anatoly Sobchak, a prominent figure in the early democratic movement and a liberal reformer who had led St Petersburg to economic prosperity. The Communists chose anti-Gorbachev (and pro-August Coup) Gennady Zyuganov, who railed against the liberal excess of Khasbulatov and promised to “stand up for Russia” and return it to the glory days of its Communist past. Khasbulatov was thus sandwiched between one extremist and one who had the support of the media and kleptocrats, who clearly favoured Sobchak. And so, the first round saw the incumbent lose out to a second round showing (wherein polling indicates he would’ve been defeated in a landslide by either of the other candidates) by 0.3%.

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In the race against the “unpredictable and dangerous” Zyuganov, according to the NTV, the result was both easy to predict and clear in its result. In a greater landslide than even Khasbulatov received in 1992, Anatoly Sobchak was elected as Russia’s third President.

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Ah yeah, I was gonna cover that a bit more with the US 1996 election but honestly its pretty unremarkable. Republicans keep hold of the House (they lose a few seats) and keep hold of the Senate (they actually increase their seats due to retiring Southern Democrats).
Bob Michel retires as Speaker and Dick Armey replaces him, with Hastert (unfortunately) becoming House Majority Leader.
You'd think with a trifecta the GOP would do a lot worse than lose a few seats in the House and gain in the Senate. There's almost always a backlash to the ruling party.

Here's the list of midterm Senate elections where the incumbent President's party gained seats since 1900: 1902 [1], 1906, 1914, 1934, 1962, 2002, 2018. As you can see it has happened exactly three times since WWII.

Here's the list of House of Representative elections where the incumbent party has lost only a "few" seats (defined as less than 10) or gained seats since 1900: 1902 [1], 1926, 1934, 1962, 1986, 1990, 1998, 2002.

Thompson must be able to walk on water or something to explain how everything is going right for him politically to explain such a fortuitous midterm given how uncommon it has been ITTL up to this point.

[1] Sorta - both the GOP and Democrats each gained at the expense of third parties.
 
You'd think with a trifecta the GOP would do a lot worse than lose a few seats in the House and gain in the Senate. There's almost always a backlash to the ruling party.

Here's the list of midterm Senate elections where the incumbent President's party gained seats since 1900: 1902 [1], 1906, 1914, 1934, 1962, 2002, 2018. As you can see it has happened exactly three times since WWII.

Here's the list of House of Representative elections where the incumbent party has lost only a "few" seats (defined as less than 10) or gained seats since 1900: 1902 [1], 1926, 1934, 1962, 1986, 1990, 1998, 2002.

Thompson must be able to walk on water or something to explain how everything is going right for him politically to explain such a fortuitous midterm given how uncommon it has been ITTL up to this point.

[1] Sorta - both the GOP and Democrats each gained at the expense of third parties.
1902 also had the unique circumstance of being the last midterm to fall in a year when the House expanded (this did not apply to 1922) so both parties were able to make gains amongst the new districts that had just been allocated
 
You'd think with a trifecta the GOP would do a lot worse than lose a few seats in the House and gain in the Senate. There's almost always a backlash to the ruling party.

Here's the list of midterm Senate elections where the incumbent President's party gained seats since 1900: 1902 [1], 1906, 1914, 1934, 1962, 2002, 2018. As you can see it has happened exactly three times since WWII.

Here's the list of House of Representative elections where the incumbent party has lost only a "few" seats (defined as less than 10) or gained seats since 1900: 1902 [1], 1926, 1934, 1962, 1986, 1990, 1998, 2002.

Thompson must be able to walk on water or something to explain how everything is going right for him politically to explain such a fortuitous midterm given how uncommon it has been ITTL up to this point.

[1] Sorta - both the GOP and Democrats each gained at the expense of third parties.
Hey, so about the 1994 Midterms. As you’ll see when I post more about Thompson Administration, he’s definitely not going to be walking on water and he will run into difficulty.
I’ve not covered the 1994 Midterms a lot, either in my notes or plan to in this TL, but I’ll address some of your concerns.

In terms of the Senate, the metric you’ve used I’d say is a bit of an overgeneralisation. From my knowledge there were four times when the incumbent party gained seats in the Senate (1962, 1970, 2002, 2018) since WWII. Further you had close results in 1954 (+2D); 1970 (+1R) actually saw Republicans gain a seat (though I guess its more that Democrats lost seats, due to 'conservative' candidates in NY, VA); 1990 (+1D) and then in 1998 (=).

I’d say TTL’s 1994 would be similar to OTL’s 1990. In 1990 (with a similar Republican agenda albeit Thompson would be more effective with reforms to welfare and tax cuts, firmly in the 1990s zeitgeist) only saw 1 Democratic seat pick-up, and that was close (Minnesota).
For 1994, the seats up, such as, Oklahoma (Special), Tennessee, Maine and Ohio had exceptionally strong candidates or strong partisan leans which hardened in the 1990s who would likely go Republican regardless of the incumbents in the White House.
Further, potential Democratic pickups are really limited in 1994 thanks to the 1988 result which saw a successful Democratic President win the White House and (in the 1988 update I mentioned Hart had large coattails) so Republicans simply have more to gain, like in 2018 IOTL. It might not be an accurate reflection on Thompson, but that's the way the cards have fallen.

For the House of Representatives (HoR) midterms elections (outside of 1982 which saw the monetarist shockwaves of Reaganism and the reaction to Clinton’s legislative failures and personal unpopularity in 1994) the 80s and 90s were relatively stable in terms of the number of seats exchanged. You’ve listed 1986, 1990, 1998 as times when the respective parties roughly held their ground. This trend is being followed, in a way.
Further, if we’re including HoR results in Presidential years then every Presidential election during the (except 1980) in 80s (16 in 1984 so a small difference in the ≈10 metric), the 90s and early 00s saw roughly equal number of seats changing hands, despite the HoR changing hands dramatically in 1994.

So yeah, that’s why I’ve reasoned why the result is what it is and why there’d be such a result. I hope that makes it a bit clearer.
 
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Hey, so about the 1994 Midterms. As you’ll see when I post more about Thompson Administration, he’s definitely not going to be walking on water and he will run into difficulty.
I’ve not covered the 1994 Midterms a lot, either in my notes or plan to in this TL, but I’ll address some of your concerns.

In terms of the Senate, the metric you’ve used I’d say is a bit of an overgeneralisation. From my knowledge there were four times when the incumbent party gained seats in the Senate (1962, 1970, 2002, 2018) since WWII. Further you had close results in 1954 (+2D); 1970 (+1R) actually saw Republicans gain a seat (though I guess its more that Democrats lost seats, due to 'conservative' candidates in NY, VA); 1990 (+1D) and then in 1998 (=).

I’d say TTL’s 1994 would be similar to OTL’s 1990. In 1990 (with a similar Republican agenda albeit Thompson would be more effective with reforms to welfare and tax cuts, firmly in the 1990s zeitgeist) only saw 1 Democratic seat pick-up, and that was close (Minnesota).
For 1994, the seats up, such as, Oklahoma (Special), Tennessee, Maine and Ohio had exceptionally strong candidates or strong partisan leans which hardened in the 1990s who would likely go Republican regardless of the incumbents in the White House.
Further, potential Democratic pickups are really limited in 1994 thanks to the 1988 result which saw a successful Democratic President win the White House and (in the 1988 update I mentioned Hart had large coattails) so Republicans simply have more to gain, like in 2018 IOTL. It might not be an accurate reflection on Thompson, but that's the way the cards have fallen.

For the House of Representatives (HoR) midterms elections (outside of 1982 which saw the monetarist shockwaves of Reaganism and the reaction to Clinton’s legislative failures and personal unpopularity in 1994) the 80s and 90s were relatively stable in terms of the number of seats exchanged. You’ve listed 1986, 1990, 1998 as times when the respective parties roughly held their ground. This trend is being followed, in a way.
Further, if we’re including HoR results in Presidential years then every Presidential election during the (except 1970) in 80s (16 in 1984 so a small difference in the ≈10 metric), the 90s and early 00s saw roughly equal number of seats changing hands, despite the HoR changing hands dramatically in 1994.

So yeah, that’s why I’ve reasoned why the result is what it is and why there’d be such a result. I hope that makes it a bit clearer.
I missed 1970 in my look at Senate elections. My mistake. Four times since WWII, two of them in the 21st Century, well after the POD so irrelevant ITTL. So three times since WWII ITTL (1964, 1970, 1994).

I'm going by one update but the Hart Administration was basically a shitshow from Day 1. His party rebelled and basically shattered without the unifying force of Reagan to rally against. He wasn't even able to get easy wins in the USSC nomination (Cuomo's nomination was listed as a "grueling affair") and the country ran into what looks like OTL's Bush-era recession. 1990 saw a bounceback to the GOP winning the house as a result. Safe to say they grew their majority during 1992's Thompson drubbing. All that makes sense. Hart ITTL seems to have inherited the worst traits of Herbert Bush and Carter which isn't probably assuming too much based on what we know about the guy.

What I'm still struggling with is that despite two straight GOP increases the caucus isn't over-extended enough to lose more than a few seats. All we know about Thompson so far is that he got boilerplate GOP stuff passed (welfare reform and tax cuts as mentioned above) and intervened in Rwanda - an intervention that went stunningly well. Can you at least see why I think he's rolling nothing but sixes? I'll wait to hear what you've got planned for the US in general and Thompson specifically but so far, given what you've shown, he's navigating the viper's nest without a single bite. Nothing has gone wrong in his administration - at least nothing that resonates politically or internationally.
 
Addendum, thought of this on the train so forgive me the second post.

1988-1992 ITTL has shades of 2004-2008 OTL.

1988/2004 - Party A wins the presidential election, gains seats in the House.
1990/2006 - Party B takes the House back in a landslide.
1992/2008 - Party B wins the Presidency, grows their majority in the House.

Now, I'm NOT saying Democrats should win 63 seats in 1994 like the GOP did in 2010. But given overextension they should certainly do better than a "few" seats.
 
I missed 1970 in my look at Senate elections. My mistake. Four times since WWII, two of them in the 21st Century, well after the POD so irrelevant ITTL. So three times since WWII ITTL (1964, 1970, 1994).

I'm going by one update but the Hart Administration was basically a shitshow from Day 1. His party rebelled and basically shattered without the unifying force of Reagan to rally against. He wasn't even able to get easy wins in the USSC nomination (Cuomo's nomination was listed as a "grueling affair") and the country ran into what looks like OTL's Bush-era recession. 1990 saw a bounceback to the GOP winning the house as a result. Safe to say they grew their majority during 1992's Thompson drubbing. All that makes sense. Hart ITTL seems to have inherited the worst traits of Herbert Bush and Carter which isn't probably assuming too much based on what we know about the guy.

What I'm still struggling with is that despite two straight GOP increases the caucus isn't over-extended enough to lose more than a few seats. All we know about Thompson so far is that he got boilerplate GOP stuff passed (welfare reform and tax cuts as mentioned above) and intervened in Rwanda - an intervention that went stunningly well. Can you at least see why I think he's rolling nothing but sixes? I'll wait to hear what you've got planned for the US in general and Thompson specifically but so far, given what you've shown, he's navigating the viper's nest without a single bite. Nothing has gone wrong in his administration - at least nothing that resonates politically or internationally.
Addendum, thought of this on the train so forgive me the second post.

1988-1992 ITTL has shades of 2004-2008 OTL.

1988/2004 - Party A wins the presidential election, gains seats in the House.
1990/2006 - Party B takes the House back in a landslide.
1992/2008 - Party B wins the Presidency, grows their majority in the House.

Now, I'm NOT saying Democrats should win 63 seats in 1994 like the GOP did in 2010. But given overextension they should certainly do better than a "few" seats.
Apologies for the late reply but yes, that's broadly correct and what I envisioned for the Hart Administration.

Remember, the Democrats would've had its two most recent (and alive) Presidents both be deeply unpopular one termers, one who was deeply inexperienced and squandered the Congressional majorities gained after Watergate and the other who promised the world and lost them the once impregnable House majority. Arguably, the effect of this would be deeply discouraging for the party, which would struggle with how to actually keep the White House for more than a term. They tried a lefty (McGovern), a moral outsider (Carter), a liberal stalwart (Mondale) and a charismatic moderniser (Hart). All have proven unpopular and have been defeated in landslides. Arguably this is similar to Democrats in OTL 1992, but the recent defeat of another incumbent Democratic President and the loss of both branches would be harsher for the party than an extra 4 years in without the Presidency. Democrats in 1994 are demoralised, much more so than in 2006. This does have an effect on the party.

Further, the House Republicans would've only had Congress for 4 years, which is a pretty small window to over-tax the caucus (or at least for the 1990s, which had less political volatility, if you take away Newt's Republican Revolution). Bob Michel as Speaker is arguably going to be better at keeping the party united (what with the larger establishment wing) than Newt Gingrich would've been. 2006 ended 12 years of GOP control of the House and saw the incumbent being a 6 year, deeply controversial and unpopular President. 1994 TTL would've ended only 4 years, against a recently elected popular President. Also, inherent incumbency advantages would've been a bit stronger for Republicans in 1994 than in 2006 (or even OTL 1994), as there's less polarisation in 1994 both without the Republican Revolution and the Dubya Presidency.

And, honestly, for the overall plan for America, unlike OTL, the 1994 Midterms are not important for how things turn out later on, hence why they weren't covered in an full update.

And yeah, I understand your concern that Thompson is having *too* good of a time at it in TTL, but that doesn't mean he's astronomically popular nor is he escaping governing without a bite. Thompson is popular and yes, he's had success abroad and at home. But that doesn't mean he'll stay that way nor does it mean he's rolling all sixes.
Sure, his domestic agenda is broadly popular, but as the next update will hopefully show, he's had an intense counterreaction to it. Without Clinton and 'triangulation', the welfare and economic reforms don't have Democratic support and are immediately more unpopular among their party base. Their 1996 nominee will be reflection of this.
Further, isolationism and isolationists are more present in TTL than in OTL, as Thompson has committed American troops to far more locations than would be deemed necessary to voters, or at least necessary without the impetus of 9/11. The Cold War hasn't been won or a New World Order has begun, it has just become the 'New War', another feature of this TL. The New War isn't popular in America, but, fortunately for Thompson, the effects of that are not apparent prior to the 1994 Midterms. The Noel Attack occurs just after the midterms afterall. It hopefully becomes clearer in the next update, that Thompson isn't bulletproof.
And about Rwanda. Rwanda might seem good in terms of OTL, but TTL, the intervention is seen as less of a success than what was envisioned. Rwanda still sees hundreds of thousands die in the genocide, and American action to intervene is pretty much useless. Its the RPF who win the war, not America, who mostly stay in Kigali and give weapons and logistics to the RPF. Also, in the aftermath they become bogged down in a hostile, multi-ethnic country, for very little reward for staying.

I hope that addresses some of your concerns and answers some of your questions.

And speaking of that next update, I should have 1996 up soon...
 
Thank you for replying.

Democrats in 1994 are demoralised, much more so than in 2006. This does have an effect on the party.

Sure, his domestic agenda is broadly popular, but as the next update will hopefully show, he's had an intense counterreaction to it. Without Clinton and 'triangulation', the welfare and economic reforms don't have Democratic support and are immediately more unpopular among their party base. Their 1996 nominee will be reflection of this.

I'm failing to reconcile these two snippets. On the one hand, Democrats are demoralized. On the other, Thompson's agenda is unpopular among the Democrats. So wouldn't they be more motivated to show up in 1994 and vote, if for no other reason than to try and stick it to the President they dislike? I don't think you can say that Thompson's agenda has had an "intense counterreation" when he and his party got away essentially scot-free in the 1994 midterms. Sounds like to me Thompson is doing just fine.
 
I'm failing to reconcile these two snippets. On the one hand, Democrats are demoralized. On the other, Thompson's agenda is unpopular among the Democrats. So wouldn't they be more motivated to show up in 1994 and vote, if for no other reason than to try and stick it to the President they dislike? I don't think you can say that Thompson's agenda has had an "intense counterreation" when he and his party got away essentially scot-free in the 1994 midterms. Sounds like to me Thompson is doing just fine.

Ah, but I don't believe the two are mutually exclusive and I'll explain my thinking behind why. Firstly, Democrats as a whole are demoralized, and the party is still mostly made up of moderates and 'new ideas' Democrats (TTL New Democrats) and conservative Democrats. The intense counterreaction comes from certain elements of the party, but it's just that these wings (liberal and minorities) can't translate this anger into a political majority as has always been the case in OTL.

For clarity, the counterreaction I talk about comes because of the welfare reforms instituted by Thompson, not his tax reforms. Tax reform (or at least opposing it) aren't going to inspire movements against Thompson, as seen throughout history with the Reagan, Bush and Trump tax cuts. Sure, unpopular in the moment, but its especially difficult to win a campaign and inspire voters by saying you'll raise taxes.

Elaborating more on the countermovement opposed to welfare reforms, the countermovement consists of the Democratic party's liberal wing and its minority wing, such as African-Americans and Latinos, were are unfairly demonized for taking advantage of welfare. Afterall, the welfare queen trope has clear racial connotations behind it. As you would expect with welfare reform, it is similarly controversial to OTL and the same blocs that opposed in TTL are the same blocs who didn't' back Clinton's OTL push. Unfortunately for the Democrats, minority voters are difficult to motivate, (especially in Midterms) and these blocs (minorities and liberals), are already concentrated in safe Democratic seats and states. And even then liberals aren't a particularly large voting bloc, with only 16% of voters self-identifying as liberals in 1996 according to Gallup polling. So liberals are strongly negative to the welfare reform as are minorities but moderates and conservatives liked it (hence why Clinton backed it in OTL and why he employed triangulation). While they make up a large part of the Democratic base, Democrats both can't motivate and can't win reclaim a Congressional majority with their justified anger. One vote is one vote, regardless of how angry said voter is.

I don't dispute that Thompson is doing 'fine' in 1994. He's had a much better time than Clinton in TTL. But, there are clear trends against him, but unfortunately for Democrats these trends haven't been fully realised in 1994.
 
1996 US presidential election
President Tommy Thompson was the next Ronald Reagan. Or at least that was the image that his spin-doctors and likeminded ideological allies in the media tried to portray. A charming, tax-cutting, pro-American (anti-communist didn’t work anymore with the end of communism), his administration would undo the damage done by his Democratic predecessor and see a nation returned to prosperity.

An ambitious agenda (led by House Speaker Bob Michel and Treasury Secretary Alan Greenspan) of tax cuts, deregulation and welfare reform, complemented by the first Republican trifecta since the 1950s was employed to combat the early 1990s recession. The signing of NAFTZ (North American Free Trade Zone), in 1994 and the Cheney Plan of economic loans to Russia were also part-of the economic reforms embraced by the Thompson Administration. America needed to embrace globalisation and free trade or else it would ‘lose’ the decade and the next millennium. Whether these policies were responsible for the economic boom of the late 1990s or whether it was because of the rise of ‘intelitech’, a pseudonym for intelligent information technology, Thompson and the nation enjoyed a real sense of economic prosperity not felt since the highs of the Reagan Administration.

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Thompson, however, is remember more for his foreign policy actions and the rise of neoconservatism, exemplified by hawks such as Secretary of State Dick Cheney, NSA Advisor Paul Wolfowitz and Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld. In the aftermath of the Cold War, America had assumed the role as the world’s policeman, intervening in Eritrea, Yugoslavia and Rwanda whilst negotiating disarmament and arms limitations treaties in Russia and overseeing the successful disarmament of South Africa.

Dick Cheney, the most effective and powerful Secretary of State since Henry Kissinger, co-ordinated and organised NATO’s response to the Noël Attack, with a joint intervention in Algeria, later expanded to civil war-stricken Libya. This intervention was designed to stabilise both regimes and fight terrorists as an opportunity to spread democracy and deepen American ties. Further, alleged American interference in Russia’s 1996 presidential election saw noted Western-sympathiser Anatoly Sobchak elected. Sobchak’s victory opened up new markets for American companies to enter Russia, the most famous expansion being the Halliburton joint-partnership with Gazprom. Whilst corruption or malpractice has never been proven, the merger occurred when both former chairmen of the respective energy conglomerates (Cheney and Chernomyrdin) had positions of power in their respective governments. However, these interventions (which saw rising costs in both American treasure and lives) ran counter to the inward-looking American public, who polling showed to experiencing a period of retrenchment, in order to enjoy the spoils supposedly gained through the end of the Cold War.

Democrats, having lost the White House (with both its two living presidents one-termers and deeply unpopular) and Congress, descended into a period of ideological warfare. The ‘New Ideas’ wing, moderate and economically conservative, blamed Hart’s loss not on Hart himself but due to the difficult economic circumstances of the time and the 1989 Omnibus Budget Bill, which cemented the party to trapped in a ‘tax-and-spend’ paradigm. The ‘Old Democrat’ wing, representing the more liberal wing, meanwhile, blamed the loss of 1992 at Hart and his because of Ross Perot (who stole anti-Republicans and the working class) and a failure to motivate the party’s voter bases of the party due to Hart’s failure to pass healthcare legislation. The 1994 Midterms which kept Republican majorities in Congress exacerbated these divisions, which seemingly showed the party on course for a defeat akin in 1984.

In this light, many prominent Democrats like Jerry Brown, Bill Clinton, and Dick Gephardt stood 1996 out, believing Thompson to be a shoo-in for re-election. The front-runner was Bob Kerrey, a Vietnam veteran, who received the Medal of Honor from Nixon, on top of being a well-liked and well-respected Senator from Nebraska. However, a scandal about him committing potential war crimes against a Viet Cong village in Thong Phang and his cool response to the alleged crimes, saw his campaign collapse and subsequent withdrawal, winning only his home state of Nebraska.

In the resulting aftermath of the Thong Phang Scandal, the Democratic race was blown wide-open. To the surprise of the party and the country, it would be former Senator Henry Cisneros of Texas, first elected in 1989, to replace incoming Vice President Lloyd Bentsen, before narrowly losing re-election in 1994 against Joe Barton, who picked up the debris. Cisneros represented (another) new form of Democrat, with a winning smile and looks and youth to boot. Bilingual, optimistic, charismatic, his campaign seemed to represent a breath of fresh air, more so than Hart or Thompson ever did. Using his strident opposition to the welfare reform enacted by Thompson, he gained the support of the liberal wing. To win the support of the party elite and moderates, (outside of welfare reform) Cisneros positioned himself as a moderate ‘New Ideas’ Democrat, referring back to his time as San Antonio mayor and the connections made whilst a Senator. And so, against a scattered field of former Cabinet members and bland Senators, Cisneros had history on his side to become the Democratic nominee.

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Cisneros’ selection of Michigan Governor Jim Blanchard as his running mate, meant to appeal to blue-collar voters and keep unions onside, was well-received by the party and was meant to plug a gap in polling that saw Cisneros struggle to win white blue-collar voters. It was polling showing Cisneros, relatively unknown to the public, catching up to Thompson as more voters heard him, which sent the Republican campaign into a frenzy.

This frenzy consisted of Republican surrogates ran a highly negative campaign against Cisneros and the Democratic Party as a whole. Employing wedge issues like crime, race, and (for the first time) immigration as ‘dog-whistles’ against the Cisneros campaign, Republican strategists attempted to peel away both white voters and black voters, many of whom were unenthused about Cisneros candidacy. Attacks on Cisneros' character in light of his admitted marital affair and the ever-present corruption scandals which haunted Texas would become key talking points by Republican surrogates. Further attacks would be made at Cisneros voting record as Senator, including backing both the Omnibus Bill and his votes against the welfare reforms instituted by Thompson, to tar Cisneros. It would be the infamous ‘Macarena Ad’ which would come to epitomise the Republican campaign. Interspersed with clips from the Democratic National Convention of party grandees dancing the Macarena, an ominous voice portrayed Cisneros, and the Democrats as a whole, were untested, inexperienced, and unsuited to White House. The ad had clear racial undertones behind it, the undertones of which were heard by those who wanted to hear it.

This negative campaign, however, could not fully stop Cisneros or his momentum. A debate blowout against Thompson in the first presidential debate, liberal anger at the Thompson Administration, alongside voters who disliked the foreign policy ‘adventurism’ seen, was enough to keep the race nail-bitingly close. Cisneros seemed to offer change, and with the next presidential term to be the one of the new millennium, change was in the air. When polls opened, no-one was really sure who would come out on top.

However, and by a narrower than expected margin from the outset of the campaign, Thompson won re-election. Whilst Cisneros was the underdog, his confident and change message resonated with voters, but a series of factors including; African-American apathy toward Cisneros; a concerted effort to reach out to blue collar ‘Reagan Democrats’ by Thompson (and inherent racism caused by Cisneros' historic campaign) and a strong conservative showing had given Thompson just enough of an advantage in just enough states to win a second term.

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