Kentucky Fried Politics: A Colonel Sanders Timeline

Great chapter! @gap80

Foot won a 3rd General Election? Wow, Britain’s 70’s will be very different - hopefully the deindustrialisation will be less severe and possibly more heavy industry such as shipbuilding will survive.

Mary Whitehouse winning an election will give the satirists plenty to work with indeed!

Micheal Jackson having a slightly easier time of it will possibly help him me more balanced, though it’s likely to change his music a lot.

The Trojan Tower disaster sounds bad- way worse than anything OTL except Chernobyl - though I wonder if a worse nuclear disaster in the US makes the Soviets take a look at their own plants.

Does Reefer Rock have any effect on reggae?

Good luck Colonel Sanders! Don’t die on us!
With regards to LGBT rights ITTL, some interesting facts to point out here from OTL: the first state to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in all forms of employment, housing, credit, education and public accommodations was not California but...Wisconsin, of all states (given its Progressive history, though, it might not be a surprise--in fact, during the 1950s, when Laverne and Shirley and Happy Days were set in, Milwaukee had a Socialist Party mayor (1); keep in mind that this was during the Red Scare period), in 1982, way before gay rights became a big issue...

And Minnesota was the first state to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in housing, insurance, goods/services, contracts, health benefits, hospital visitation rights, and 1993 (over a decade before gender identity started being the issue it is today)...

That's interesting, methinks...

Back to the TL at hand, though, hope Sanders lives (although, sadly, he might not have long; he died on December 16, 1980 IOTL)...

And the Trojan Tower disaster reminds me a little of the Fermi plant disaster in @dartingfog's TL How We Lost Detroit...

(1) Garry Marshall, the creator of both, had never been to Wisconsin before he created Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley, which is why Milwaukee is depicted in the 1950s as a sort of Eagleland...
With regards to LGBT rights ITTL, some interesting facts to point out here from OTL: the first state to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in all forms of employment, housing, credit, education and public accommodations was not California but...Wisconsin, of all states (given its Progressive history, though, it might not be a surprise--in fact, during the 1950s, when Laverne and Shirley and Happy Days were set in, Milwaukee had a Socialist Party mayor (1); keep in mind that this was during the Red Scare period), in 1982, way before gay rights became a big issue...

Wisconsin reflects the schizophrenia of Middle American politics. It has produced some of the most liberal politicians in America (La Follette and Russ Feingold) and some of the most conservative politicians (Joe McCarthy and Scott Walker).
Does the Claudine Longet-Spider Sabich shooting case still occur here? (More here: Andy Williams (who was married and had three children with her, but they had divorced by this time) did support her during the trial (one of the few things people criticize him for--by all appearances, he was a nice guy IRL, as well as an excellent musician, and "Moon River" and "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" will still be listened to for as long as there is music, IMO)...
Chapter 46: January 1980 – July 1980
Chapter 46: January 1980 – July 1980

“There are no accidents… there is only some purpose that we haven’t yet understood.”

– Deepak Chopra

“Oh boy, I don’t like the looks of this,” The Colonel thought as he slowly opened his eyes and saw nothing but white. A bright, warm, pleasant light filled his vision. “What happened?” He said out loud.

“You were shot,” a voice ended the silence. It came from The Colonel’s side. As he turned his head, away from the bright light, which the Colonel now realized was just the sun dancing in through a window, he also began to hear the sounds of monitors beeping and people shuffling around nearby. As he took in the area, he looked around more carefully, and then realized that he was in a hospital room. He felt a firm bed beneath him through the open part of the standard hospital gown. He noticed Claudia and I sitting solemnly next to him and an unknown figure nearby. Secret Servicemen were standing near the door. He sat up, clearing his throat. Quickly, Claudia carefully handed him some water. His throat dry, it felt more refreshing than usual.

The doctor sat down next to him and gave my father the low-down. “The would-be assassin fired two bullets. One grazed the underside of your arm, the other was slowed by your body fat, Colonel, and it went clean through you. It missed all of your vital organs.”

“And my non-vital organs?” Father was quick to grab hold of the situation.

“They’ll be fine, but they’re not the main issue.”

Father looked at him with befuddlement in his eyes.

“Sir, I’ll be blunt. After we treated your wounds we ran tests on, well, everything, including your blood sugar levels. We then talked with your wife and the results just came back in. Colonel, you’re in the earliest stages of Type 2 diabetes.” [1]

Father went silent for a moment. “What does that mean, doc? How serious is ‘earliest’?”

“Well, there’s no cure for diabetes, but studies have shown that for some cases the conditions can be reversed, or at the least slowed. With dieting and weight loss, you could even get your blood sugar levels back down to a normal level, but you still won’t be cured of it.” [2]

“How long have I got, then? I mean, after doing all of that?”

The doctor informed him, “Most men in their 50s can live for another 10, 15, even 20 years with the disease. But men in their 70s…usually between 5 and 10 years. But that’s if the blood sugar level remain high. Cut them down and you can live longer.” [3]

“Doc, I’m 89, I’ve already lived longer,” Father remarked. After a pause, he sighed, “This really salts my melon.”

Finally I spoke up to tell Father that now was no time for levity. “C’mon, Dad, we’ve stared death in the face before, remember? Back in ’26, doc, a bridge we were on collapsed and we both survived the fall to the creek below. Dad, we’re Sanders men. If we’re one thing, we’re resilient.”

“This is all my damn fault,” Claudia finally said something, “All the signs were right there in front of our faces. You’ve been more exhausted than usual, and more reluctant to eat - even when filming commercials. Last month was the first time I ever saw him actually use a spit bucket, Doctor! And while on a promotional trip last year, you had that fainting spell, remember Harland? You collapsed in your seat! But we’d had a long day, so we thought nothing of it! But those are the symptoms: fatigue, loss of appetite, easily bruised. Okay, I haven’t spotted the last one, but – ”

“Claudia, honey! Let me know when it’s my turn to wig out!” Father called out to her. “Please?” He sighed, “If it was my time to go, then that would be that. But I don’t think it’s my time to go just yet, because there is still much for me to do. I’ve got to get trim, for one. I’ve got to make sure those radicals overseas don’t try to fry up the world. And another thing I got to do is find the somb*tch who shot me – and thank him for getting me to a hospital. Without this unplanned checkup, I wouldn’t know I was so close to the end. But now, Claudia? Now we can push back my deadline to, heck, to who-even-knows-when!”

Claudia smirked in disbelief at her husband’s optimism. “How are you taking this better than me?”

“Because you can’t help the world if you’re buried in it, and I ain’t plannin’ on preppin’ for a burial plot just yet,” was his response. “Wait a minute,” he thought for a second before realizing his need to ask, “Just who did try to rub me out anyway?”

– Harland David “Harley” Sanders Jr., In the Thick of It: The Story of The Colonel and His Son, Sunrise Publishing, 1991

NARRATOR: “Osama bin Laden was born on March 10, 1957, in Saudi Arabia, to a Saudi construction company-owning millionaire father from Yemen and a middle-class mother from Syria. At King Abdulaziz University, he was an increasingly religious students who took judo classes in his spare time.”



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CAPTION: bin Laden at the age of 22

NARRATOR: “Upon graduating with a degree in civil engineering in 1979, the young bin Laden joined a group of Islamic radicals in Iran in opposition to that nation’s leader, the Shah Reza Pahlavi, who had just risen to the throne while in his teens.”

HISTORIAN 1: “Osama and his cohorts believed that the young Shah was a puppet of the U.S. and Europe, just like the previous Shah, but after the Mecca Siege, he began to study the bigger picture, he began to think more about the U.S. than about Iran.”

NARRATOR: “bin Laden’s opposition to western influence in the Middle East was highlighted by his known outrage at the landmark 1978 Atlanta Peace Treaty. Signed by several Middle Eastern countries to end hostilities in the region, bin Laden blamed former US President Harland David “Colonel” Sanders for the treaty, as the former head of state’s annual Chicken Dinner Summits was what brought several key members of the negotiating process into contact with one another.

HISTORIAN 2: “On January 2[, 1980], bin Laden flew to New York City, purchased a gun, and bought a train ticket for Louisville, Kentucky. When he showed up there, he found out the Colonel had just published a cookbook and was touring the northeast as part of a book tour. Bin Laden then took a second train to get to Boston, and got close to the Colonel on January 7, but failed to get close to the former President.

NARRATOR: “After nearly a month of following Colonel Sanders across New England, 22-year-old would-be assassin Osama bin Laden finally got close enough, and fired two shots before being subdued by members of the shocked crowd…”


– Narration from Episode 5 of the BBC Documentary Series “Would-Be: A Look at Unsuccessful Heroes and Villains,” aired 2/3/2003


…Saudi Arabia “will have to answer for this, as this guy is one of theirs,” New York Gov. Mario Biaggi said. “Their government has to address this because this guy is the product of how they fail to address dangerous radicals over there.” The suspect that shot and injured former President Harland “Colonel” Sanders and two bystanders in New York City on Monday was an official Saudi Arabian citizen, officials said Tuesday. Several law enforcement sources identified the gunman as a 22 year old man named Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, or Osama bin Laden for short.

While two bystanders received minor flesh wounds and were released later the same day of the shooing, the Colonel had to undergo surgery at a nearby hospital. The Colonel is expected to survive his injuries, hospital authorities said. The Sanders family commended the doctor’s work to reporters yesterday. “I couldn’t be prouder of our E.R. team,” also said the hospital’s head director yesterday.

The Secret Service, on the other hand, is being criticized for allowing Mr. bin Laden to get so close to the President in the first place. Secret Service Director H. Stuart Knight noted “The servicemen followed the instructions given to them by the former President and respected his order to be given space at the function despite it breaking standard protocols and procedures. The Colonel has opposed such safety measurements for years.” He added that the secret servicemen regularly practice for emergency events and “prevented the situation from being worse.”

President Mondale reportedly spoke to Saudi Arabia’s King Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, according to the White House Press Secretary. “The King has expressed his sincere sympathies to those hurt by the actions of Mr. bin Laden, and that the Saudi people are, quote, ‘incensed by the barbaric action of this militant extremist. Mr. bin Laden does not in any way represent the feelings that the Saudi people have toward the Colonel or to Americans in general. The Saudi people love America and KFC, and wish the Colonel a full recovery’ unquote.”

The CIA and FBI are conducting full investigations into the matter, with Director Felt urging Saudi officials to cooperate with both agencies. Bin Laden reportedly had no prior criminal record, and came from a wealthy and well-connected family, which made former Senator Hibbard note early yesterday that “this [expletive] must have been really sick in the head, really brainwashed by whatever cult he’s in, to give up all he had and to go and do something so heinous as this.”

The Sacramento Union, 1/31/1980

“I remember how the crowd waiting outside the hospital erupted in celebration when the Colonel walked into view from his room's balcony and waved to the congregation of supporters below. It really lifted a lot of spirits… [snip] I remember how much The Colonel hated hospitals, sitting around with tubes stuck in him, or anxiously waiting for the doctor or nurse to finally come over to him and tell him what was going on. And now he had to take up all these exercises – with tubes still in him for some of them. He had to get his strength up before they could let him leave. It seems he had to take a break from living in order to keep on living. Heh. ‘The human body is like a car,’ I once told him, ‘you sometimes have to make a pit stop to keep on driving.’ So he improvised! The Colonel had nurses bring over a private phone so he could still call people. He ended up spending hours in that hospital doing business and calling grandkids and great-grandkids while trying to fight back the diabetes. Keeping up-to-date with the goings-on of KFC kept him determined to return to work and address any concerns or issues the company had here or there. In February, the Colonel’s 21-year-old great-grandson, Harland Sanders the fourth, gave him another family-based reason to keep on going – Harland Number 4 was going to propose to his girlfriend, and wanted he his great-grandpa at the wedding.

– Pete Harman, 60 Minutes Interview, early 1996


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– Colonel Sanders finally leaving the New York hospital, albeit in a wheelchair per hospital policy, 2/2/1980; the hospital insisted he leave in a gown instead of in his iconic white cotton suit, making for a very rare occurrence in which the public saw him wearing something other than his famous attire (though, out of respect for the former President, most major networks did not cover this aspect of his exit from the hospital)


…The Baikonur Cosmodrome space launch facility located in the Kazakhstan Soviet of the USSR was the scene of a destructive incident in which a manned rocket failed to lift off, and instead erupted into a fireball on the launch base. All three cosmonauts on board the Soyuz 42, which planned to travel to the lunar surface and thus become the second Soviet spacecraft to do so, were killed in the explosion…

– The Guardian, 2/3/1980

…Premier Suslov was never entirely convinced that the Soyuz 42 Disaster was not an act of American sabotage. This suspicion may have contributed to the actions he took later on down the line…

– Alexander Korzhakov’s autobiography From Dawn to Dusk: A Cutthroat Career, St. Petersburg Press, 1997


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– NBC News Special Report, 2/4/1980 broadcast

A DOVE SINGS HIS SONG, BUT WHO IS HIS AUDIENCE?: Gravel’s Fight Against Scoop, Jeremiah, and the D.C. Warhawks


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Springfield, MA – Last year, when Mike Gravel officially launched his long-planned campaign for the Presidency in his childhood home town, the Vice President’s speech focused almost entirely on his domestic policy passion projects: The ceasing of America’s military contributing to warfare overseas and instead dedicate more federals funds to domestic programs to improve the quality of life nationwide. A ballot initiative with the Federal Government, dubbed a “National Initiative,” to allow voting citizens to introduce, and then vote for or against legislation, policies, and other federal elements. Reforming the government’s environmental policies, energy policies, taxation policies, and transparency. Expanding healthcare so all can afford it, as “healthy living is a right, not a privilege.” And of course, the end of American Intervention oversees.
Despite Jackson declining to do so, Gravel still wants to debate his biggest opponent. Gravel says he would start by discussing something on which both men may actually find common ground: Income versus Expendable Income – what you have after paying for rent, healthcare, childcare, utility bills, he believes, should be more than it is now. “All of Chrysler’s employees suffered pay cuts last year. Pay losses lead to more family members working, which raises the odds of them going into debt via home equity loans, instead of getting into college. We need a more constructive form of capitalism to replace our currently destructive version of capitalism.” Gravel’s wording may rub Scoop the wrong way, but Gravel brushes off such concerns. “I’m passionate because I care.”
Mostly, though, the man is “frightened” by the two men – he insists we add “alleged” in front of the word “frontrunners” – challenging him this year, Jeremiah Denton (R-AL) and Scoop Jackson (D-WA), as both favor increasing military activities overseas. “Has everyone forgotten about the Cuban War? About the high casualty count, the blood spilled on both sides?” Gravel opposes sending American troops to engage in troubled regions. Unfortunately for him, Gallup poll after Gallup poll confirm that currently between 58% and 65% of American voters approve of military intervention in general, and 71% to 79% support the military.
One more hound biting at the heels of his surprisingly “outsider”-like campaign is historic precedence – no sitting VP has been elected President since Martin Van Buren did so in 1836. That was 144 years ago. When told of this, Gravel said to this reporter “Better late than never, I suppose!”…

Associated Press, 2/5/1980

The trial of John Wayne Gacy of Cook County, IL, by far KFC’s most notorious former employee, began on February 6, 1980. Gacy was arrested for and charged with the murder of 22 teenage boys and young men between the years 1972 and 1977, the most grisly of these murders being that of 17-year-old Jeffrey Dahmer. Dahmer was from Milwaukee but had fled his home due to his parents fighting over his alcohol abuse and aloof personality. After hitchhiking south, Dahmer entered Gacy’s home town. Police allege Gacy lured Dahmer into his home and killed him during a struggle in the living room that caused a bookend to break through a window. The commotion and a neighbor informing local police of suspicious activity on the premises led to an officer spotting blood on the couch inside the home near the broken window. Gacy was soon arrested after a search warrant led to the discovery of the victim’s bodies in Gacy’s crawl space.

The trial became a focus point for anti-BLUTAG organizations. Gacy spending hundreds of hours with psychiatrists to determine if he was mentally competent enough to even stand trial convinced some anti-Blutag activists that blutagism was a sign of mental illness. Congressperson Anita Bryant (R-OK) pointed to the trial as verifying her claims of the BLUTAG community being “rife with rapists.” This only encouraged BLUTAGs to increase their activism to “prove [them] wrong.” BLUTAG supporters nationwide, including major celebrities and Tumbleweed Magazine CEO Bernard Sanders [4] came to our defense as well.

– Brandon Teena’s The Rise of BLUTAG Rights: The Story of the Bi-Lesbian-Undefined-Trans-Asexual-Gay Movement, Scholastic, 2019


...While Knutson was not particularly supportive of the bill, several state legislators, led by State Senator Alice Tripp, convinced Knutson that the bill would benefit state residents by pointing to the success of similar state legislation passed in Massachusetts, Vermont, and other states over the past several years. In Massachusetts, for example, healthcare reform in 1973 led to an increase in people’s health, which encouraged others to move there, and those additional consumers contributed to Massachusetts pulling out of its years-long debt crisis by October 1978…

– The Duluth News Tribune, Minnesota newspaper, 2/11/1980

The last debate before the New Hampshire primary, held on February 19, was a pivotal moment in the Denton campaign. The former Governor presented himself as a moderate hawk with some appeal to the religious right for his social conservatism, causing him to win endorsements from several evangelical leaders despite being a Roman Catholic. At the beginning of the debate, Denton took a swipe at Senator Paul, the libertarian darling from Texas, by explaining “Ron has no legislative history, no legislative success. Every bill he’s worked on since entering the Senate thirteen months ago has gone nowhere.” Paul countered by claiming “special interests and the ruling class will use every trick in the book to oppose bold initiatives meant to restore the power to the people. But as President, I’d be at a better position to abolish the Income Tax and the Federal Reserve.” [5]


Baker’s statements focused on his talking points, though many of them were almost exact copies of those of his fellow candidates. Baker stated that he, as President, would “restrain government spending, balance the federal budget, enact a production-oriented energy policy, provide incentives to increase savings, capital investment and productivity, and cut out excessive government regulations.” [6] He claimed “You have to know Washington to change Washington. You have to know congress to deal with it effectively and get it to respond to Presidential initiatives. You have to know how to bring people together, how to reconcile special interests with the common interest,” [6] which was similar to a notion Senator Paul had stated 20 minutes earlier.

After Hammond and Stassen criticized the nuclear energy industry, Baker opposed creating “even more federal red tape” for the industry, and instead supported the “maximum domestic production of oil, gas, coal, solar, and as much nuclear energy as we can safely produce [and] new investment in research and development for the fuels of the future.” [6] Baker then gave a comment that seemed to try to appeal to the youth population, which was a large part of Paul’s grassroots support: “America’s young people – the living future of our country – must have the best education, the best employment training, the best of everything we can give them.” [6] However, he later received criticism from pundits for then adding that “All Americans need relief from high taxes [and] the less fortunate need a fair chance to work, to provide for themselves and contribute to a growing national economy.” [6] The comment came off as being insensitive to disabled, infirm, and elderly Americans unable to work. Baker also differed from Lamar Alexander of fiscal policy, as the latter believed “local land trusts would be a better way to protect ecology [sic],” along with “opening the Outer Continental Shelf for oil and gas leasing[7]. As a result of these multiple controversies, Baker’s polling numbers dropped considerably.
Alexander, Eagles, and Paul praised Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca for his efforts to avoid a government bailout of said multimillion-dollar company during that year.
Brooke, running on a platform that was socially liberal and fiscally moderate, was poised to benefit the most from certain states that allowed registered Democrats to vote in Republican primaries, and this cross-party appealed to voters who focused more on winning in November than nominating an ideal ticket.

Lukens, contrastingly, was the candidate of most members of the religious right due to his “fire-and-brimstone” type of rhetoric; his biggest supporters seemed to completely ignore his moderate-to-conservative-with-a-splash-of-maverick-liberalism governorship record, and his former-beauty-pageant-winner wife. However, Alexander, a moderate-to-conservative friend of Denton, also appeal to the religious right, making some leaders of that party faction fear the two candidates would cancel each other out in the weeks ahead…

– Michael Stewart Foley’s Front Porch Politics: American Activism in the 1970s and 1980s, 2013 net-book edition


…The would-be killer is demanding to be sent back to his native country of Saudi Arabia to stand trial, but New York prosecutors argue he will stand trial in the Empire State… Research is being done on historic precedence for this case...

– The Washington Post, 2/20/1980

In February, Trump used his free agency abilities to transfer from the Yankees to the Phillies after getting into a heated argument with Manager Dick Howser two months prior. In a 1982 interview, he explained “I’ve always loved Philly. You know, I went to school in Penny...slivania - I mean Pennsi...vania - I mean Pennsylvania. Yeah. Yeah, Pennsylvania. The Wharton School of Business at Penny... at Penn U. I went there for two years before signing onto the Yankees. I was really smart there. I got the best grades. As, Bs, A-Bs, lots of the best grades, the best. So, you know, it’s good to be coming back here, I’m glad to see they take me on this close to the, uh, the big game in October, and I hope to play it in, it should be fun.”

– John Helyar’s Lords of the Realm: The Real History of Baseball, Ballantine Books, 1994

…We have just received confirmation… yes, it seems Vice President Gravel has won the Democratic Presidential primary in New Hampshire. The race was a tight margin of five percent between Gravel and Senator Jackson, but after weeks of travelling through the state, the winner, once again, is Vice President Gravel… On the Republican side, though, the margin of victory is even narrower. [snip] …We can now confirm that, by a plurality, Denton has defied expectations to win the state in an upset over initial favorite Ed Brooke. Denton’s blue-collar talking points seems to have tapped into enough voters without college degrees to upset Brooke’s middle-to-upper class appeal. The result is most likely a disappointment to the Ed Brooke campaign, which came in third place, just two points behind Senator Paul. Speaking of which, tonight was a very good night for the Texas Senator, who previously was polling in fourth place nationally, behind Brooke, Denton, and Baker. This unexpectedly strong showing is most definitely a boost to his campaign as well, and the results overall change the dynamics of the primary composition for sure…

– The Overmyer Network, 2/26/1980 broadcast

…Earlier today, the voters of Massachusetts and Vermont voted in their Republican and Democratic Presidential primaries. The results demonstrate the region’s backing of liberal states in both parties. For instance, in the Republican Party, Ed Brooke won both states by narrow margin, giving his campaign the boost it most likely needed to stay competitive in the race. The victories are historic in that they mark the first time that an African-American has won a Presidential primary. On the Democratic side of things, Vice President Gravel barely held onto both states as well, but challenger Scoop Jackson’s momentum shows no signs of slowing down any time soon...

– NBC News, 3/4/1980 broadcast

MCDONALD: The McCarthy Of Our Times?

…the four-term Representative and former member of the John Birch Society has espoused controversial claims ever since his election to a Congressional district from northern Georgia in 1972, running out of fear that, amid détente warming US-Soviet relations, American was “suffering from insufficient anticommunist zeal.” McDonald and Gravel are on polar opposites of the same party. While Gravel opposes military involvement overseas, McDonald espouses more extreme views: a philosophy of steep cuts in government spending and foreign aid programs; abolishing the income tax; and undoing almost all the post-New Deal welfare and regulatory state.


At times called a “Fascist” or a “McCarthyist” by even his fellow Democrats, McDonald believes America is in a state of war: “It’s an economic war, it’s a war of subversion, it’s a war of espionage, it’s a war of ideas, and it’s a war of terrorism, and it’s a war of infiltration.”

With his loyal wife Kathy McDonald, the Congressman was developed a grassroots movement in the Deep South among conservative, blue-collar, low-educated, and rural voters. “Larry went knocking door to door, talking to people... focused on getting information out to the average American. They[’]re painted as wackos, but they’re not—they’re very good patriotic Americans,” Kathy once told the hosts of “Meet the Press.”

McDonald’s sense of besiegement, however, has bled into his personal life. “He often wears a bulletproof vest,” his brother told the Atlanta Constitution. “He keeps significant assets in silver, and has stocked purified drinking water and dehydrated food in his living room.” Another curious tidbit of information concerning McDonald’s personal life that may appeal to evangelical and socially conservative primary voters is that McDonald, a teetotaler, “also reportedly abstains—at least some of the time—from other pleasures of the flesh.” “We’re at war,” his ex-wife said the future congressman once told her, according to the Atlanta Constitution, “and people do not make love in wartime.”

A major controversy for McDonald is his role in an “alternative” medicine scandal. In 1976, McDonald became embroiled in a nasty lawsuit filed by the wife of a former patient, who claimed McDonald had hastened her husband’s death. Throughout the 1970s, McDonald advocated the use of laetrile, an extract derived from apricot and peach pits, delivered via injection, as a cure for cancer. (McDonald discontinued his medical practice upon election to Congress.) In 1963, the FDA had said laetrile had no medical value and was potentially poisonous to users, forbidding its interstate sale. But that did little to deter its boosters, many of whom were affiliated with the Birch Society. McDonald was ordered to pay thousands of dollars in the malpractice suit. Yet he faced no consequences when, in October 1976, an Atlanta Constitution reporter conducted an undercover investigation and found that one of McDonald’s closest confidants, a fellow Georgia physician, was requesting that patients seeking laetrile treatment make their checks out to the Larry McDonald for Congress campaign.

Then there was the potential gun-running scandal. By 1977, there were multiple news reports that McDonald—who said he personally owned about 200 firearms—was the subject of active grand jury proceedings over potential felony weapons registration violations. According to Atlanta Constitution, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms launched an investigation into whether McDonald in 1974 had induced terminally ill, laetrile-using patients to sign “stacks” of federal firearm purchase forms in their own names, obscuring the true owner of the guns: McDonald.

While McDonald admitted to having “quite a few firearms,” he called the reports “lies and deception.” The former John Birch Society member plans to win the nomination by sweeping the Deep Southern states in order to deadlock the convention into choosing him over Gravel and Gravel’s biggest challenger, Senator Scoop Jackson, who McDonald believes “is not nearly conservative enough to keep America safe.” [8]


The Sacramento Union, 3/5/1980

MCDONALD CLAIMS GRAVEL “COULD BE” A SOVIET AGENT his bid for President, the controversial Congressman has gathered a small but loyal regional base of supporters, many of whom are former supporters of the once-prominent conservative Heritage and Independence Party of the 1960s… McDonald’s claims that the Vice President is a “Russian Mole” joins a colorful list of other controversies from the conservative Georgian, who in the past seven years:

- kept a framed portrait of Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco in his office

- opposed subsidized school lunches and all federal funding for education

- argued for the complete loosening of gun laws and the deportation of “illegal aliens”

- decried the welfare state’s “road to totalitarianism”


The New York Post, 3/7/1980

CRONKITE: “In South Carolina, Senator Fritz Hollings won over Mike Gravel in tonight’s Democratic Presidential primary. The candidate’s win is most likely the result of his home state advantage, and the fact that Senator Scoop Jackson was not on the state’s ballot. We now turn to the Republican race, where former Governor Jeremiah Denton has won over Senator Paul and Senator Brooke, will former Governor Westmoreland coming in fourth place. We now take you live to the Westmoreland political headquarters, where the former Governor is already addressing a crowd of supporters.”

WESTMORELAND: “This defeat is disappointing, but it is not worth surrendering this campaign over. We will see how well we do on the eleventh, and the eighteenth, and the twenty-fifth, and we will continue to fight this good fight will into April, then May, then June, and then on to the convention and into November and into the White House!”

– CBS Evening News, 3/8/1980 broadcast



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Above: Barry Goldwater and his wife Peggy attending a political function earlier this year

…NBC apologized last week to the Paul campaign for making the candidate “feel unheard” in their recent coverage of the Presidential campaign, but his supporters are still critical of the “big four” media sources (NBC, ABC, CBS, TON)…

The Arizona Republic, 3/9/1980

…On the [European] Continent, while economic market conditions continue to improve under the watchful eyes of Prime Minister Foot, times are worsening for the workers of France and Portugal, with many becoming jobless and/or homeless, and other suffering from fear as crime rates climb. Behind the iron curtain, the situation becomes more dire every day for the people of places such as Poland and Romania...

– BBC World News “market watch” segment, 10/3/1980 report

March 11, 1980 saw primaries for both parties be held in three states. It was a breakout momentum for Denton, who not only easily secured his home state of Alabama, but Florida and Georgia as well, even with Florida’s former Governor Bafalis actively campaigning for his “good friend” Buz Lukens. The night was disappointing for national and establishment Democrats, however, when Congressman McDonald "eeked" out a win in Alabama and anther with Georgia. Jackson won Florida, though – evidently, his “Strong At Home” messaging appealed to Cuban War veterans and their families much more so than McDonald’s race-baiting and fearmongering techniques. Scoop’s first win came on an underwhelming night, but nevertheless demonstrated his ability to win states outside of his home region.

– historian Jeff Greenfield’s How Everything Changed: The Effects of 1980, Centurion Publishers, 2019


The Post And Courier, South Carolina newspaper, 3/12/1980


The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 3/14/1980

…With reports confirming that US Congressman John Slack Jr. of West Virginia has died, the US House of Representatives is now split exactly even between the Republican and Democratic parties, 217 to 217, with Mr. Slack’s seat remaining vacant until a special election determines his successor, which is scheduled to be held on July 30… Mo Udall continues to be the House Speaker …

– CBS News, 3/17/1980 report


...these election results are a boon to two left-leaning politicians with deep ties to Massachusetts...

– The Boston Globe, 3/19/1980

“I am bitterly disappointed in this administration turning its back on Grenada after this Maurice Bishop’s successful coup in March of last year. He is not the people’s choice for that island, and quite frankly, we need to do something about that! The people of the Caribbean have the right to be free!”

– Jeremiah Denton in Queens, New York, 3/20/1980


...Biaggi continued, "our next President needs to understand the realities of global geopolitics. Someone who acknowledges the 'war' aspect of 'The Cold War,' someone who will be brave enough to stand up for America on the world stage. And someone who will not bring a flower to a fistfight, or a picket sign to a gunfight"...

– The New York Post, 3/21/1980

…well, tonight is a big night for the world of politics, and for women everywhere. Aloha Eagles, the outgoing Governor of North Dakota, won the Republican primary in Connecticut a few moments ago. Analysts are reporting she bested US Senator Ron Paul of Texas and US Senator Ed Brooke of Massachusetts by appealing to suburban voters with her calls for equal rights and lower taxes, and by an increase in women heading to the polls. She, uh, Eagles is the preferred choice among libertarian-leaning voters after Senator Paul, says a recent Gallup Poll. Well, Eagles has certainly made history tonight, now let’s see how far she can go with the momentum from this occasion.

On the Democratic side of tonight's Presidential primary contests, US Senator Scoop Jackson of Washington state unexpectedly won over Vice President Gravel in both Connecticut and New York, which we reported earlier tonight as having voted for Governor, uh, for former Governor Denton in the Republican primaries…

– NBC’s WMAQ-TV, Chicago, IL, 3/25/1980


...the CBS drama series "Dallas" ended its third season last week on a cliffhanger, in which J.R. Ewing, a character that audiences love to hate, is shot by an unknown assailant. The episode soon led to the studio receiving hundreds of fan letters in the mail deriding the episode as being "inappropriate" and "too soon," as the episode aired less than two months after former President Colonel Sanders was almost assassinated. ..."the episode was planned months in advance, and we apologize for any perceived insensitivity. That was not at all our intention," the writer of the episode, Rena Down, explains... However, other fans responded to the episode more positively, praising the cliffhanger and defending it as being a "natural conclusion" to the season after many episodes building up to it...

– The Hollywood Reporter, 3/27/1980


[pic: ]
– Margaret Sanders (left) celebrates her 70th birthday with her father (center) and sister Mildred (right) at a party held near the University of Louisville Hospital in Kentucky, where her father was staying at the time for diabetes-related treatment, 3/29/1980

…for those of you just tuning in for tonight’s primary election updates, the final results are as follows: On the Republican side, Dole won Kansas and Paul won Wisconsin; for the Democrats, Gravel’s campaign caught a break with the anti-war state of Wisconsin, while Jackson won Kansas…

– CBS News, 4/1/1980


The Indianapolis Star, 4/5/1980

April 7, 1980: The global eradiation of smallpox, achieved last year, is certified by the World Health Organization


After only a few weeks, though, Chretien had already lost support among his own party. The 1973 Oil Shock and the ripple effects of the 1978 recession had caused Stanfield to attempt to prohibit the amount of oil the rich province of Alberta could sell to American corporations, via nationalization, via Petro-Canada, via legislation introduced in 1974 and again in 1979. Each time, Alberta, led by politicians such as its future Premier Joe Clark, and others, opposed the efforts, and each failed to be implemented despite rising inflation in the western provinces. Chretien’s efforts to impose similar tariffs on exports from the Maritime Provinces in the wake of a national debt crisis cut into his party’s support in said provinces. Nationally, his approval rating plummeted to 40%, and, unfortunately for Chrétien, Progressive Conservatives could smell the blood in the water.

– Richard Johnston’s The Canadian Party System: An Analytic History, UBC Press, 2017


…Sirhan B Sirhan is turning to politics in response to his agitation with America’s relationships with the country in the Middle East. Sirhan is a critic of the 1978 Atlanta Treaty, and received criticism earlier this year when he allegedly “joked” that the assassination attempt on former President Colonel Sanders was “justified,” prompting the FBI and the Secret Service to visit his 40-acre Kentucky ranch. Sirhan, a Palestinian immigrant, wants to use his fortune to support political candidates that support “the nation of Palestine and its people”…

– The Washington Post, 4/12/1980

Fearing his death was imminent, Grand Marshall Tito became more active in obtaining national unity among Yugoslavia’s various ethnicities and cultures. He began by calling for rural development, as part of the internal tensions stemmed from an uneven quality of life among each region. Yugoslavia leadership believed that socialism was constantly in peril, and the regime was in danger, because of subversive activities, and under Tito reinvesting into regional development programs throughout the 1980s, liberalizing trends contributed to the conceived importance of monitoring individual freedom in Yugoslavia. This belief was heightened by the introduction of market elements to the economy, consumerism, freedom to work abroad and political devolution from the center to the republics created high expectation for further freedoms among certain segments of society[9].

Furthermore, Tito oversaw the economy being decentralized further to better distribute control among the regions, which proved to be especially popular among Bosnians and Croats, as many Yugoslavia regional leaders saw the central government as responsible for the downturn’s worse effects on the country. The International Monetary Fund also assisted the country in April 1980 when it, in the name of financial rectitude, stepped in and prodded the Yugoslav authorities to slow growth, restrict credit, cut social expenditures, and devalue the dinar [10] for a two-year period in order to reduce the national deficit and pay off foreign debt. Tito also increased trade with other Non-Aligned nations in Asia, Africa, and South America.

– Leslie Benson’s Yugoslavia: A Concise History, Palgrave Publishers, 2001

OFFICER 1: Did you try to assassinate Tommy Chong?

CHAPMAN: I already said so.

OFFICER 2: We just need it for the record, sir.

CHAPMAN: Yes, I wanted to kill the immoral son-of-a-bitch. He’s a menace to Christianity.

OFFICER 1: And you thought killing him was the best solution?

CHAPMAN: Don’t get me wrong, I mean, his music is good, but I am just outraged at the level of disrespect he’s given to people like Jerry Falwell and Billy Graham, and to religion in general. Christians most of the time. I kept hearing him at concerts making jokes about Falwell, calling him a “fat f@#ker” and s#!t like that. I couldn’t stand it!

OFFICER 1: Was your attempt on his life planned or more of a spur-of-the-moment type thing?

CHAPMAN: Well, I was thinking of doing something about the injustice back in September, after the Colonel turned his back on Falwell –

OFFICER 2: You mean Colonel Sanders?

OFFICER 1: You were planned to kill him, too?

CHAPMAN: No, no, I was just thinking, thinking, about how much it angered me –

OFFICER 1: – Angered you enough to want to kill him?

CHAPMAN: No! Angry enough to think of all the other people who’ve turned their backs on the one true faith. I’d never shoot Colonel Sanders – I love that man’s chicken. Yeah, his action pissed me off, sure, but not as much as other politicians. He isn’t the only politician I hate and Chong isn't the only musician I hate. I mean, if, for example, mind you, for example, if, say, someone like Barry Goldwater or one of the Beatles had decided to visit Hawaii, I may have gone after one of them - maybe! Maybe not. But no, instead, another b@st@rd, Tommy Chong, decided to drop on in. I saw it as a sign. I saw it as God’s will. [11] It was an opportunity, and I took it.

– Audio recording of local police interrogating Hawaii resident Mark David Chapman after being arrested for concealing a weapon and attempted illegal entry, outside a Chong concert in Honolulu, HI, 4/15/1980; Chapman would later be sentenced to two years of psychiatric treatment and five years in prison for attempted murder

As 1980 progressed, the South African government began losing support among white South Africans. Paradoxically, the violence was radicalizing other whites who failed to understand the true starters of the situation, and blamed the revolutionary chaos on those fighting for their rights instead of on the true culprits, the enforcers of Apartheid. …As Biko continued to organize operations in Botswana, he was joined by Abram Onkgopotse Tiro, a then-35-year-old militant who was a teacher at Morris Isaacson when the Soweto Uprising began. Together, they oversaw operations against Apartheid increase in size, severity, and variety…

– Julian Brown’s The Road to Soweto: Resistance & Revolution in Post-Soweto South Africa, Jacana Publishers, 2016


The Huntsville Times, Alabama Newspaper, 4/22/1980

“Uh, I actually think we’ve set up a very energetic grassroots organizations down here. I think this campaign’s policies and proposals are going to win over the people in my home state because they’re policies and proposals that everyone can agree on. Everyone wants maximum freedom, uh, and everyone hates a government that bosses them around. We have people working in every corner of Texas because this a mobilized and well-organized campaign that can appeal to farmers, ranchers, city folk, country folk, uh, I mean, uh, you name ’em, and they’ll say that limited government involvement in your life is the best way to go about running a country.”

– Ron Paul appearing on a segment of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” 4/27/1980

…In the Lone Star State, US Senator Ron Paul has fought hard to win over the voters that elected him to the Senate less than two years ago. Tonight, the arduous campaigning has paid off for him, as he has won the delegate-rich Texas Republican Primary by a 2% margin. The victory has shifted the composition of the race, as Paul is now in second place in the delegate count, behind Denton but ahead of the once-frontrunner Ed Brooke of Massachusetts… Meanwhile, Senator Scoop Jackson has won the Texas Democratic Primary by a comfortable margin…

– CBS Evening News, 5/3/1980 broadcast

The May 6, 1980 gave pundits further uncertainty. The Republican Party saw each state vote for a different candidate: Jeremiah Denton narrowly won Indiana, Buz Lukens barely won North Carolina, Lamar Alexander easily won his home state of Tennessee, and Meredith won DC in a landslide. Tennessee was the most-watched of the four, as it was the make-or-break contest for both the Alexander and Baker campaigns. At 39, the spritely former Governor traversed his home state in what has since become his iconic look – a red-and-black plaid shirt and jeans – to win over enough voters to defeat Denton and Paul, while Baker finished in fifth place. Disappointed, Baker bowed out and returned to his duties as the leader of the Senate majority.

Meanwhile, the Democrats saw Vice President Mike Gravel make a comeback with victories in Indiana, North Carolina (which was largely credited to the surrogate campaigning done by liberal US Senator Nick Galifianakis), and DC, with his main challenger, US Senator Scoop Jackson of Washington, only winning the state of Tennessee...

– Theodore H. White’s The Making of the President: 1980, Atheneum Publishers, 1981


...the Governor is unlikely to attempt a last-minute entry into this year's governor's race, given that the Republic primary for Governor of Indiana is set for Tuesday the 13th, six days from now... "It is possible that he may run for Governor in 1984, or for a US Senate seat in a few years, but at the moment, it seems his best bet is for a Republican to win in November and for him to then get a position in that administration come 1981," says one former member of the Burton'80 campaign...

The Indianapolis Star, 5/7/1980


The Wichita Eagle, Kansas newspaper, 5/8/1980

…Tonight, Scoop Jackson won the Democratic primary in Nebraska while Mike Gravel won the contest held in Maryland. Republicans, meanwhile, have voted for Jerry Denton in Nebraska, and for Ed Brooke in Maryland…

– The Overmyer Network, 5/13/1980 broadcast

It seemed to be that most conservatives, even “Colonel Conservatives,” began to rally around the moderate-to-conservative frontrunner, and soon candidates such as the once-promising Paul Laxalt began to feel the effects of running low on cash, support, and options. Buckling under the pressure of Denton’s diverse attacks, libertarian-leaning candidates such as Aloha Eagles and even the once-imposing Barry Goldwater began to lose momentum.

– Theodore H. White’s The Making of the President: 1980, Atheneum Publishers, 1981

VOLCANO EXPLODES! Mount St. Helens Turns Into Killer!

Inside: First Pictures of Momentous Washington State Eruption

…Mount St. Helens exploded in volcanic fury Sunday, unleashing massive mudflows, floods and other land-changing forces, eliminating Washington’s nearby Spirit Lake and sending an ash cloud adrift that is expected to travel as far as Wyoming… Governor Julia Butler Hansen has declared a state of emergency while federal emergency services are working to evacuate anyone within the “danger zone” as the intense heat seers a 15-miles wide arc around the mountain’s north flank…

The Oregonian, 5/18/1980


[pic: ]
Above: St. Helens erupting

The deadly environmental disaster that was St. Helens’ Eruption shifted focus back to the primary plank of the Jay Hammond campaign – environmentalism. Suddenly, Hammond was receiving the attention his campaign needed, and two days after the catastrophe, Hammond won the GOP Presidential primary in Oregon. Oregon Democrats also voted for Gravel, while Michigan voted for Denton in the GOP Primary and Jackson in the Democratic primary…

– historian Jeff Greenfield’s How Everything Changed: The Effects of 1980, Centurion Publishers, 2019


The Seattle Times, 5/19/1980

I remember how just a few months later, Mount St. Helens blew up. May, did that scare the cr@p out of people. But even before then, Oregonians were debating just how safe they were. Government officials had called for an evacuation zone of only, like, a 20-mile radius around the plant, but two major cities – Portland and Astoria – were just 50 miles away or so. And so a lot of people debated the merits of moving away from those cities. Paranoia set in. Doubt over how much the government was telling people began to be a thing. And this was a rarity back then – because, back then, most people always believed what the government said. But a lot of people feared for their lives, their families, and the volcano just made things worse. Oregon went to pieces as more and more people fled, it seemed. I remember seeing Governor Atiyeh TV – he seemed to just be running back and forth all the time, going between the radiation zone and the two cities, trying to get everyone to calm down. But him doing that – and Washington’s governor doing the same, going on TV with this frantic, tired look on her face, and everything – it made a lot of people think there really was a problem – otherwise the two governors wouldn’t be running around so much! So yeah, not a good time to live in the northwest.

– Cartoonist and environmental activist Matt Groening, 2009 KNN interview

…In May 1980, Dukakis finally managed to passes a heavy tax reform bill that was detrimental to the state’s rich and upper middle class in order to pay off the commonwealth’s rising debt. The law stipulated that it would cease to be upon the debt being paid and the state economy leaving the red. Dukakis made many enemies by doing this, which would hurt him politically in the short run, but the law proved to be just what the Bay State needed. By late 1982, the economy had grown so strong due to the bill and the national recovery that it was actually doing better than it had been in its prosperous WW2-era days...

– Michelle Lansing’s The Duke of Massachusetts: Politics And Policies In The Commonwealth Under Governor Michael Dukakis, Summit Books, 2019

…Tonight, the candidates for President faced off against one another in four states… In the Republican primaries, Denton won Arkansas and Kentucky, while Ron Paul won Idaho and Nevada… In the Democratic primaries, Senator Scoop Jackson won all four states…

– CBS Evening News, 5/27/1980


– The Las Vegas Review-Journal, 5/28/1980

June 3 was the last primary election date, and it was a big night – 9 primaries were held for both parties. Paul and Denton were the only two candidates left who could win outright, while the rest of field were hoping for a brokered convention to come out on top; the same was true for the Democratic primaries, as only Gravel and Jackson had a shot at winning the nomination outright. Denton and Gravel won the delegate rich state of California, but in Montana, Republican voters went for Paul, while state delegates for the Democratic National Convention remained uncommitted. New Jersey, Gravel’s support for a federal aid dividend similar to the Garden State’s “rebate” dividend program, while Ed Brooke won the state with 40% of the vote, the last gasp for air of a deflating Presidential campaign. Paul and Jackson won New Mexico, while Denton and Jackson won Ohio, causing the Buckeye state’s former Governor, Buz Lukens, to finally drop out of the race. Gravel’s campaign gained momentum going into the night, and showed he still had support among party members, but still not among the party’s elite, by narrowly winning a majority in Rhode Island and South Dakota. Paul did the same in both states. Finally, West Virginians voted for Paul and Jackson.

– Theodore H. White’s The Making of the President: 1980, Atheneum Publishers, 1981

1980 Democratic Primaries

[pic: ]
Note: info-box above lists the candidates by delegate distribution (see below)
Total Number of Delegates: 3,315
Delegates Needed to Win: 1,658
Delegate Distribution on the First (and Only) Ballot:
Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson: 1,894 (57.2%)
Maurice R. "Mike" Gravel: 1,171 (35.5%)
Walter Nixon: 115 (3.5%)
Larry McDonald: 96 (2.9%)
All Others: 39 (1.2%)


1980 Republican Primaries

[pic: ]
Popular vote:
Jeremiah A. "Jer" Denton: 4,819,912 (37.5%)
Ronald Ernest "Ron" Paul: 3,714,775 (28.9%)
Edward W. "Ed" Brooke III: 1,351,294 (10.5%)
Donald Edgar "Buz" Lukens: 1,055,736 (8.2%)
A. Lamar Alexander Jr.: 657,372 (5.1%)
Aloha Pearl Taylor Browne Eagles: 618,991 (4.7%)
Howard Henry Baker Jr.: 324,561 (2.5%)
Harold Edward Stassen: 116,784 (0.9%)
Jay Sterner Hammond: 90,953 (0.7%)
James Howard Meredith: 40,551 (0.3%)
Uncommitted: 15,024 (0.1%)
All others: 14,479 (0.1%)
Total: 12,850,432


…US Senator Harold E. Stassen, age 73, was a formidable candidate for the first time in decades thanks to his successful Senate bid four years prior. Unfortunately for him, the party had moved to the right considerably since his previous formidable bid in 1948, making his liberal stances a hard sell in practically all of the primaries where he managed to get his name on the ballot. Due to this change in political dynamics, Stassen only won one primary - the one held in his home state of Minnesota - in the long run...
...US Senator Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona, running for President for the fourth time, and as a “conservative-light” candidate, performed even worse than Stassen, as he failed to even win his home state in the crowded field of candidates. Stassen later remarked that he performed better due to being less "aggressive and pompuos" than Goldwater during primary debates, forums, and town hall events…
...McDonald exited the DNC in a bitter mood. Not only had he failed to win the Democratic nomination, but it was too late to jump back into the race for his Congressional seat. He considered running in the general election, but ultimately concluded that running as an independent or on a party created at the last minute would be just as ineffective as running on the no-longer-relevant H. I. Party line. Instead, McDonald returned to Georgia to prepare for a bid for the US Senate in 1982...

– historian Jeff Greenfield’s How Everything Changed: The Effects of 1980, Centurion Publishers, 2019

The Americans’ Trojan Tower Disaster spooked Soviet officials into inspecting the quality of their own nuclear plants. Publicly, though, the opposite seemed to have happened – Soviet officials practically laughed at the plant failure, claiming the corruption of capitalism had caused plant management in America to put profit ahead of people and proclaiming Soviet Nuclear Plants to be the best. But the officials were behind closed doors concerns over the decay of their own plants. At the Kremlin, however, whether through sheer ignorance or a sincere belief that the Soviet nuclear capabilities were unmatched and without the possibility of incident after the measurements put into place after the Kyshtym Disaster of 1957, the need to maintain and update the USSR’s power plants was ignored by Premier Suslov. Until June 1980.

The city of Aktau rests on the very edge of the Caspian Sea, in western Kazakhstan. A planned camp for oil industry workers, the streets are organized by three-digit numbers instead by regular name addresses. In 1973, Aktau’s BN-350 FBR nuclear power plant went online to produce the local plutonium for power and for desalination of the city’s fresh water supply via a sodium-cooled fast reactor, making it the only land-based nuclear-heated desalination unit in the world. While not that large or even that powerful – blackouts were an occasional issue – the plant had gone without incident, and there was even talk of building a second plant nearby. The events of June 11, 1980 changed all that.

The biggest disadvantage to having such a reactor on the edge of the largest lake in the world is that sodium produces sodium hydroxide and hydrogen (and hydrogen, burns when it makes contact with air) when it makes contact with water. Sodium’s chemical reactivity requires special precautions to avoid fires, such as long thermal response times, and a separation of the radioactive sodium found in the primary sodium system and the water and steam of the power plant. After performing no inspections of the BN-350 for two years, Soviet inspectors decided to perform a safety test on the reactor core. The outdated machinery, however, failed to handle the safety test’s sudden shutdown of energy, inadvertently extending exposure of radioactive sodium to the water supply near the reactor core. The subsequent chemical reaction ruptured the core, creating a huge fireball to the shock and horror of the plant’s workers and inspectors. The explosion could be heard from several miles away.


[pic: ]
Above: the BN-350, prior to the Aktau Disaster

The Aktau Disaster was later determined to have been a Number Seven – the most severe ranking – on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the first (and as of the writing of the book, the only) Number Seven-rated nuclear event in history. However, most Russians remember the actions taken in its aftermath more so than was the disaster itself.

Aktau’s rather isolated location in sparsely-populated Central Asia was both a blessing and a curse, as it minimize the deaths and the chaos of the city’s evacuation, but it also prevented additional assistance from arriving from the closest cities for nearly an hour. The destruction of the desalination plant cut off several nearby cities from clean drinking water for weeks. Radiation ended up killing millions of animals that lived in the Caspian Sea, with large piles of fish washing up on its shores as far away as Baku. The radioactive fallout that spread out over the lands north of Aktau was blamed for the higher cancer rates and genetic mutations found in said regions for years.

Overall, Soviet officials handled containment issues much poorer than Americans had handled their own. Suslov’s attempts to downplay the event only made things worse. The lack of information released to the public combined with sub-par cleanup strategies and the true extent of the damaged only being revealed slowly over the next several months angered Russians for being left in the dark during a major national crisis [12], and absolutely outraged the local Kazakhs, fueling anti-Soviet sentiments in the Kazakh Soviet.

The one silver lining was that the subsequent nationwide nuclear safety and maintenance reforms led to officials preventing another type of incident from occurring in Balakovo, Saratov Oblast, at the Balakov Nuclear Power Plant. Then again, the Balakov Incident did convince many citizens that Aktau was not an isolated incident like the authorities kept declaring…

– Alexander Korzhakov’s autobiography From Dawn to Dusk: A Cutthroat Career, St. Petersburg Press, 1997

Stanfield’s sudden return to 21 Sussex Avenue was unexpected but understandable. Chretien’s inability to unite his party over unpopular but necessary economic measures had constricted market capabilities in the short term, seemingly making things worse, and this turn of events made voters yearn for the PC party. With another election underway, nostalgic feelings for Stanfield’s aura of “stability, sanity and security” – his best-remembered campaign slogan – set into the voters’ minds. After only roughly six months in office, Chretien’s Liberal Party lost to Stanfield on June 14, 1980. Ed Broadbent of the Progressive Tomorrow party, the only other noteworthy party at the time, underperformed.

– Richard Johnston’s The Canadian Party System: An Analytic History, UBC Press, 2017


…In the landmark Central Hudson Gas & Electric Co. court case, the US Supreme Court decided 7-2 that there is no authority in the U.S. Constitution that provides “personhood” rights to corporations... The judges in the ruling’s majority were Chief Justice Frank Minis Johnson, and Associate Justices A. Leon Higginbotham, Sarah Hughes, William Nealon, Sylvia Bacon, Miles Lord, and Walter Brennan. The other two justices, Ed Levi and Potter Stewart, made up the ruling’s dissent...

The Washington Post, 6/20/1980


The Wall Street Journal, 7/1/1980

In early July, likely days after Lamar Alexander had just 40 on July 3, Denton called Alexander to his campaign headquarters in Mobile, Alabama. The Presidential-nominee-in-waiting had big news for his fellow ex-governor. “Lamar,” Denton said, “I’ve worn out this carpet pacing back and forth over this decision. I’ve thought about it from every angle, and I have made my decision. Before anyone else, I want you to be my running mate.”

Curious, Alexander simply responded with “Why?”

Denton explained. “Because I like you both as a politician and as a friend.” The two men had befriended each other in January 1975, when both of them began their terms as the Governor of their respective home states. “I want to pick you because during the last eight years the whole country got to see what happens when you pick for running mate a guy from a different party faction who doesn’t like you. I’m not going to pick some deeply liberal or deeply conservative Republican to try and follow that ‘unite the party’ bull. I mean, who are the deep conservatives gonna vote for but us anyway? They’re not going to vote for Scoop, not with the welfare-state-loving Democrat label attached to him. And don’t let Brooke fool you – Rocky’s boys are a non-issue. No, Lamar, I’m going to pick someone I know will be in my corner. Someone I honestly do respect because I can trust him – I mean, I can trust you, can’t I?”

“Of course, Jer,” Alexander said, “Of course,” a smile spread from Alexander’s one ear to the other as the two men shook on it.

However, friendship and trust were not the only factors present. While a Denton-Alexander ticket clearly lacked geographic variety – Tennessee and Alabama were southern states that shared a border – Denton, of rather his campaign, was interested in assuring they would have the votes of the religious right faction of the party, whom had rallied around mainly Alexander during his time in the primaries. Denton’s campaign may have also figured that Alexander’s youth and energy could win over some of the young Republican voters who had rallied behind Paul during the primaries. Thus, to a certain extent, Alexander was chosen to maintain party unity after all.

– Robert Woodward and Stuart I. Rochester’s Honor Bound: The Life And Careers of Jeremiah Denton, Freedom Publishers, 2015


The New York Times, 7/7/1980

…and as the temperature reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Indianapolis, the Weather Advisory continues to be in place as this continues to be one of the hottest summers on record, so again, we caution everyone going outside to keep themselves safe and protected, drink plenty of water and…

– Weather Forecast update on WJHL-TV, 7/15/1980

…In South Africa, anti-Apartheid leader Nelson Mandela is being treated for wounds after being severely beaten by guards at the Robben Island prison. The confessed perpetrators of the attack blame Mandela for the breakdown of society in several parts of the country where state officials are being continuously overwhelmed by revolution. …According to multiple sources, The South African government is in crisis as polls show a gradual increase in support for dismantling the nation’s divisive Apartheid system...

– BBC, 16/7/1980

“The next decade will be one of dignity and duty, not Democrat disarray.”

– Jeremiah Denton, 7/16/1980

RNC MAKES DENTON/ALEXANDER TICKET OFFICIAL: Platform Pledges Conservative And Libertarian Points, Environmental Protection

…the platform features some concessions to the Ron Paul campaign that came within striking distance of defeating Denton in the primaries such as a significant cut in taxes and deregulation of certain industries… …Keynote Speaker Jay Hammond called for “a less hectic, more prosperous” decade… most of the convention speakers gave praise to former President Colonel Sanders, who declined to attend the festivities due to health concerns…

– The Detroit News, 7/17/1980, the last day of the 1980 RNC (July 14-17, 1980)

…we’ve yet to see who Jackson will pick to be his running mate, but sources close to the Jackson campaign have claimed the pick will be announced before the Democratic National Convention that will begin on August 11…

– CBS News, 7/18/1980


[pic: ]

– Colonel Sanders inspecting a KFC outlet's kitchen to ensure quality control , c. 7/19/1980

MODERATOR BILL MONROE: Do you think Jackson will pick Secretary of State Jimmy Carter to be his running mate?

ANALYST ROBERT BECKEL: It is a possibility, though there are other people he could pick if he aims to win over the Southern voter. Terry Sanford, Jerry Litton, or even Walter Nixon. Carter may be too uneasy with Jackson’s hawkishness, but then again, just as easily, he may not be.

REPORTER LINDA ELLERBEE: Well I think if he picks Carter there’ll be a lack of diversity on the ticket. He needs to win over the progressives still bitter at the Vice President losing the nomination, with many saying Walter Nixon acted as a spoiler in many primaries, so maybe not Nixon. I think Scoop should pick a more left-leaning politician to keep the party together come November.

BECKEL: I don’t know, Jackson’s been pretty consistent with his message that moderation is the best way forward. He might double-down on that message with someone such as, say, Senator John Glenn of Ohio, or Senator Bob Short of Minnesota, or even Senator Malcolm McLane of New Hampshire. I would suggest that Senator Bob Casey may be vetted at some point, too, but he’s running for re-election right now, so I would be very surprised if he was selected; it's a possible pick, but I doubt it. If I was a betting man, I wouldn't put my money on Casey.

ELLERBEE: Well, hold on, Casey could win over Catholic voters that may be inclined to vote for Denton, who, if he wins, will be our first-ever Catholic President. If this is on his mind, Scoop could consider a religiously or even an ethnically different running mate or Casey or some other Democratic high-profile Catholic politician. It could energize his campaign. Someone like Congressman Herman Badillo. Or, you know, maybe Milton Shapp – he’d be the Democratic Party’s first-ever Jewish running mate.

MONROE: Interesting. Lots of optics and options to consider here. Who else would you suggest for a more diverse ticket, Ms. Ellerbee?

ELLERBEE: Off the top of my head, I think he could pick Patsy Mink to make amends with her and the Progressives, but I suppose if Robert’s right and he does intend to double down and go with a more right-leaning or centrist candidate, I can see Scoop deciding to pick a diverse person closer to his own ideology with the selection of Senator Daniel Inouye.

MONROE: Oh yes, Inouye, I interviewed him not too long ago. Very interesting politician, and with a very inspiring backstory, to boot. Let’s see, what other names have been floated around recently? Robert?

BECKEL: Well, uh, several, uh, African-American politicians, moderate and progressive, have been suggested – Congressman Matthew G. Carter of New Jersey, D.C. Mayor Clifford Alexander, for example.

MONROE: Yes, and most recently, if I recall them correctly, the names of US Senators John Sarbanes, Edmund Muskie, and Nick Galifianakis have been floated as well… [14]

– Meet the Press, 7/22/1980

[1] IOTL, the Colonel was diagnosed with diabetes in June 1980: According to two sources on his wikipedia article, the Colonel was also diagnosed with acute leukemia in June 1980. The Colonel likely had Type 2 diabetes, as people with that type have a 20% chance of developing leukemia: Thus, the Colonel most likely got leukemia from the diabetes. But since the diabetes is detected six months earlier than it was IOTL, it gets treated early enough for the Colonel to avoid getting leukemia in June 1980!
[2] Source:
[3] Source:
[4] OTL Video of Bernie Sanders defending members of the LGBTQ+ community wanting to serve in the US military in 1995!:
[5] From here:
[6] Quote from here:
[7] Italicized parts found here:
[8] Source:
[9] Italicized part is from here (many thanks again, @Damian0358):
[10] Italicized part is from here (many thanks, @Damian0358):
[11] Chapman used the same defense for assassinating Lennon – that it was “the will of God” – in OTL.
[12] In fact, Gorbachev once said in an interview that he considered the Soviet government’s handling of Chernobyl to be a catalyst that led to the fall of the USSR IOTL (I just need to find which interview that was…)
[13] OTL, the unemployment rate in the US hit 7.8% in July 1980, the highest in 4 years at that point in time.
[14] Does anyone have any thoughts on who he should pick to be his running mate? Anyone, any thoughts at all?

(Additional note: I'm posting this today because I'm busy tomorrow)

Does the Claudine Longet-Spider Sabich shooting case still occur here? (More here: Andy Williams (who was married and had three children with her, but they had divorced by this time) did support her during the trial (one of the few things people criticize him for--by all appearances, he was a nice guy IRL, as well as an excellent musician, and "Moon River" and "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" will still be listened to for as long as there is music, IMO)...
This has probably been butterflied away. Also, an interesting bit: since RFK wasn't assassinated ITTL, Claudine's son isn't named after him; hey, maybe he's named Harland instead!

Expect the next chapter to be posted within the next two weeks, and thanks for reading, everyone!
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[14[ Any thoughts on who he should pick? Anyone, any thoughts at all?
Not gonna lie, I'd like Scoop picking Jimmy Carter. He's a southerner, populist, could bring the religious vote, reliable for advice especially foreign affairs as he is the SecState, he needs a good relationship unlike Mondale and Gravel which I think that Carter could give, and I think he would be good as the Republican nominees are both southern thus using Carter as a bullet against them.

But it depends on you @gap80
bruh just go scoop/james longley

pros: kinda work around each other experience wise, could help in north east, james longelys my favorite meme, he beat george mitchell who’s been controversial recently
cons: i forget if he was even governor ITTL, probably committed harrassment at some point, is from maine
Well, a high school friend who had the same last name s Jeffrey Dahmer won't be tempted to change his name TTL. (Granted, PTSD from the Gulf War may have contributed to his anxiety; and he never actually did. Which reminds me, though he never replies, I need to write him a Christmas card tmorrow; our veterans face a lot of struggles.)

Okay, so if things go as OTl tand Jackson wins, he will die in office of natural causes. LBJ already broke the curse so there will be no talk of it. But, it will be at an interesting time. It seems like Jackson didn't really know he was that ill.So, it won't be caught, most likely.

There are quite a few good candidates for VP. While the Republicans have two from bordering states. It didn't hurt Clinton and Gore in '92, though.

How badly is Portland impacted by the number of people leaving, I wonder. Do Paul Allen and Bill Gates, from somewhat nearby Seattle, get involved to try to help the area? Do the Trail Blazers of the NBA consider a move? Perhaps Allen - who owned them and the Seattle Seahawks at the time of his death - invests in them early to keep them around, though I don't know if he'd have much money in 1980.

The Kennedy News Network, being closer to the accident, may get their first major breakthrough covering it, just as ABC's NIghtline put several people on the map with the hostage crsisis. Or, one could argue that TTL Nightline starts in order to cover the nuclear accident.
Nice chapter there @gap80

Very glad the Colonel is still alive! Wonder if he’d like a trip to sort out South Africa?

American and Soviet nuclear disasters so close together, plus St Helens on top of that? Environmental concerns should be very high this election indeed.

Has PM Foot made any moves re leaving NATO and disarmament, or is the still strong Cold War tempering his hand?

That’s one hot summer!
Margaret Sanders (left) celebrates her 70th birthday with her father (center) and sister Mildred (right) at a party held near the University of Louisville Hospital in Kentucky, where her father was staying at the time for diabetes-related treatment, 3/29/1980

I may think that the Colonel may be a star for this TL, but I don't think he could have turned back the clock. That was his 90th birthday, not 70th
On a side note, Dahmer's death was karmic IOTL, since most of his victims were African-American; IOTL, he was killed by an African-American inmate named Christopher Scarver, who also killed another inmate named Jesse Anderson (who was in jail for murdering his wife--he'd tried to blame it on two African-American men trying to mug him (1)). Scarver was already in jail for life for murdering a Wisconsin Conservation Corps supervisor who he blamed for not getting a full-time position (it should be pointed out that, while he was in jail, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia after experiencing messianic delusions)...

It should be pointed out that Wisconsin doesn't have the death penalty and Scarver was disgusted at Dahmer's crimes (as were, probably, almost all of the inmates in the prison Dahmer was at, IMO) so, not fearing being put to death, he decided to kill Dahmer (and Anderson just happened to be there) so he had nothing to lose...

(1) This was similar to the Charles Stuart case in Boston, where he'd shot himself and his pregnant wife Carol (who died at the hospital--while her son was born, he died 17 days later) in a high-crime neighborhood (while they were driving home from childbirth classes) and blamed it on an African-American man; the Boston authorities overreacted (for which they got a lot of criticism) and arrested an innocent man (though the person who was arrested, Willie Bennett, did have a criminal record and was a perfect scapegoat) before his brother came forward and implicated him--Charles subsequently killed himself. The Milwaukee authorities were understandably more cautious due to that, which is believed to have eventually led to Anderson's arrest...
I'm kinda torn who to support. On one hand I really like Jerimiah Denton and think he's an underused charecter, on the other I think that Scoop is an awesome potential president...decisions decisions
I'm kinda torn who to support. On one hand I really like Jerimiah Denton and think he's an underused charecter, on the other I think that Scoop is an awesome potential president...decisions decisions

I'm gonna give Denton a couple of terms. Just so that I can hopefully give the dems the win in 88 and 92 and shake things up.
BTW, glad Steve Biko is still alive here; wonder how South Africa develops post-Apartheid, assuming Biko lives to see it...