McGoverning

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Yes, Jan 2, 2018.

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  1. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    Oy vey!!! That's a post and a half.
    How many hungry lawyers did you employ for how many months?
    Wow!
     
  2. Soup Well-Known Member

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    Wait, that helicopter incident actually happened? God, the world is weird.
     
  3. Wayside If It Were Up To Me

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    What an apt metaphor.

    Oh. Oh, yes. McGoverning prose is back, baby!

    The prime watchword of all conservative political communications.

    Introduction to a Fascinating Career In Politics That I Was Hardly Aware Of #1...

    And Introduction to a Fascinating Career In Politics That I Was Hardly Aware Of #2!

    I have a funny feeling about whether or not a certain company was present at this dinner, and I say that mostly because I can look out my window at the rusted wreck of their facilities.

    A butterfly flaps its wings in Chuck Colson's general vicinity, and now Robert Preston's medical bills will wind up being quite smaller.

    I wonder what university will get Bill Weld's papers, when all is said and done. They're gonna need a generation of alumni to fund the shelving units.

    I mean, same.
     
  4. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

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    You're very kind, and I'm very grateful for your readership. And yes, you should - Boz has his ups and his downs but he's never a bad idea.

    Thank you! Yeah, when I had that moment of plot-arcing revelation there was a little bit of joy in it. Irony is the Lost Law of Thermodynamics. Keep an eye on that ex-marine among the Irregulars also. We might know him from OTL...

    Thanks!

    Oh, there's some powerful goodness coming in the next chapter, and really even the one after that (there's a little more distance to the Brits now, though that chapter is coming, because there's just so damn much good stuff that surrounds, weaves in and out of, bringing Richard Nixon before the law. And we've kind of gone around-end with it in past, policy-driven chapters but from the point of view of Big History and also crucial AH plot points it's absolutely central. So we're there now. And there's some punchy stuff coming in "part two" of this legal narrative, also in the Scandals & Midterms chapter thereafter.) Stuff that makes one go "ooh!" There's no trail of bodies or anything, I'll say that, but it's some of the punchiest plot-pointing since I whacked the Saddam & Ruhollah Show in pre-production.
     
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  5. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

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    :p This is a true point. I did pretty much go Full Metal GRRM on length and detail here. But, hey, this is Richard goddamn Nixon before the law and all that correlates. We're gonna have some fun here. I'm glad you did. No hungry lawyers of my own but I will say the combo of my legal and historical research skills I was able to put to work on this part was tremendous fun. There's even more goodness headed this way in the "part two" chapter, with a subtitle borrowed from Richard Mahler no less...

    I know, right? I couldn't resist one solid scene of levity in this whole life-and-death struggle over the rule of law not men and stuff. Also it's an opportunity for George to be, well, George in ways he hasn't gotten to in some time.

    All of Bill's best stuff was Freudian slips.


    I could say the same about @Wayside nested-glosses on the latest chapter. Good stuff :) And, yes, the only way one can probably write convincingly about the Nixonian early Seventies is in Full-Throated Gonzo. (PSA: only a handful of breeding pairs of Full-Throated Gonzos remain in captivity, their migratory networks strangled by Facebook and cable news. Please give generously.)


    It very is, isn't it.

    Oh yes indeedy. For all Sawyer's "Elegantly Heroic Female Journalist" schtick later in her career, she was so personally far in the tank for Tricky Dick she'd grown gills, and remained so throughout her life.


    Marty has traded up quite nicely here, IOTL he was stuck with Agnew. But I figured, given how well he did with a client as tawdry and far-gone as Ted From Towson, the only really proper fight card for this very different United States v. Nixon was London versus Doar. LETS GET READY TO RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE....


    I feel genuinely certain they were. And probably about as attentive to what miner's-son Jim Gavin was shouting at them as he grabbed them by the lapels and shook them backwards and forth as IOTL.

    Sometimes chaos theory is a winsome thing.


    The Childlike Glee of Bill Weld is the name of my next band.

    Perhaps the central philosophical conceit of this whole story is this: what happens when you take a system as vast and complicated and brusque and atomizing and self-corrupting as the High Cold War United States, and put in the big chair of executive power a man who, for all his very real flaws, is basically good? That does not, despite our lingering childhood trope-ic expectations, always make for an uplifting story. But it can make for a interesting one. Also in its way (Oh, God and a half-dozen other such movies say hi!) that's very much a story suited to those times.
     
  6. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

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    There's not really a Big Explainer for this chapter. Nor, really, for the next. Yet with an eye to the part-two chapter in particular, a few things for the Careful Readers to consider...




    So.

    You have a relentlessly ambitious, driven, splenetic, ruthless, in many ways inwardly broken, man who seeks the presidency of the United States.

    He has around him a collection of hardened longtime advisers just as relentless as he, and even more sharpies and frauds drawn to his campaign, as they sense his potential for power and reward.

    In the midst of one of the most contentious presidential elections in recent memory, as many voters and indeed factions of the two main parties recoil from the two parties' frontrunners and seek out alternatives, this relentless and ambitious character conspires with a foreign government to thwart designs of the present, outgoing administration. The cutthroat candidate believes the foreign power can help him turn the political tables on the American election here at home, and provide his campaign with narratives it needs to capture enough voters to take the election.

    In a multi-candidate, multi-party vote - over and above the two usual Republican and Democratic suspects - this candidate wins an Electoral College majority with considerably less than fifty percent of the popular vote.

    There's a catch. The outgoing administration caught him doing the dirty deeds that contributed to victory. It lacked the exquisite specifics to nail down the candidate directly, so the outgoing crowd withheld the data at the moment of the election for fear of blowback, that they'd be accused of a "partisan witch-hunt" and it would harm their own candidate who looked well-positioned now in the polls. But they hung on to the evidence they'd gathered, and moved to gather more before leaving office in order to hold it over the president-elect.

    As a result the ex-candidate's administration is, as they say, born fighting: much of its internal energy turns quickly and permanently to shoring up relationships with corrupt corporate interests that can provide political cover and reelection cash. The administration grabs at the instruments of the national-security (and internal-security) state, then turned wherever possible toward investigating its opponents before the administration itself gets investigated.

    Levers of government and covert dark-money setups actively attack the administrations foes as they seek to discredit opposition, sabotage opponents' chances to defeat the administration through conventional politics, stonewall any investigations into its conduct, and seek out and destroy the information - evidence - gathered about their past criminal misdeeds.

    Eventually, over what might seem to be a relatively trivial piece of the whole vast ratfucking machine, it goes awry. A hue and cry goes up, more of the administration's conduct gets laid bare. In the wake of that, a combination of genuine political opponents of this rogue president and relatively-honest servants of the machinery of government move to investigate and sanction the misdeeds.

    In response, the rogue president and his feral team of body men seize this incoming aggregate mass of doom and Force-push it away from them like - to quote a snippet of the youth of today's ditty "Wii Tennis" - motherfucking Yoda.

    We did nothing wrong! they cry. Instead, this was all a vast Establishment conspiracy to pillory and indeed outright depose this rogue president and his administration - a coup of sorts, conducted by a shadowy Establishment permagov network, a kind of "deep state" if you will, that hates and opposes the rogue-presidency whose only wish and joy is to defend the honor and interests of hard-working, reactionary, Real American lumpensuburbiat buzz-cut drones against just this kind of high-handed, limp-wristed, culturally alien elite shenanigans.

    Then the rogue-presidential team hurls that defense in every possible direction, in the media, through networks of political and corporate contacts, through Congress, and through the courts themselves.


    Aha! says the careful reader. This bears the Scarlet Letter of Current Politics! I see what you did there!

    But no.

    What this is? This is the tale of a very different case of United States v. Nixon, circa 1973-74, in the McGoverningverse. Stay tuned.



    I leave you with a quote from one Tom Charles Houston. We shall get to know him well in the next chapter. A son of small-town Indiana, Houston had been a president of the balkanized ratfucking shop for bright young reactionaries called Young Americans for Freedom. He hitched his wagon to the Nixon star for '68, not because he thought Nixon was a conservative, but because he thought Nixon machiavellian enough to embrace conservative principles when they proved useful. Brought in to the West Wing as a speechwriter, within a year he had put himself in charge of the Nixon administration's plan to use outright acts of criminality by the Cold War state's internal-security apparatus, not just to combat left-wing terrorism (Weathermen blowing themselves up say hi!), but also for some other reasons. The money quote:


    If we reach the point where we really want to start playing the game tough, you might wish to consider my suggestion of some months ago [ @Yes: Huston was at work on this already in 1970] that we consider going into Brookings after the classified material which they have stashed over there. There are a number of ways we could handle this. There are risks in all of them of course; but there are also risks in allowing the government-in-exile to grow increasingly arrogant and powerful as each day goes by. [ @Yes: emphasis mine]


    That, friends, is a quotable from OTL. Insert J.M. Barrie/Battlestar Galactica Reboot quote right here.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
  7. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

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    A quick addendum to the post immediately above:


    Q: What's another thing you can call a self-consciously principled, politically progressive Democratic administration, formed from a mix of high-minded political outsiders, Kennedy administration veterans, and skilled political lifers, miraculously elected in a contentious and scandal-addled three-way presidential vote, now given the chance to put right the ship of state and enforce the rule of laws, not men?


    A: A big, fat target...
     
  8. CountDVB Dual Emperor of the Aztech and Maychanical Empires

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    The MCGOVERNATOR will fight all corruption
     
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  9. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

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    You're number one with a bullet in the RFP for the "McGovern Administration Agitprop" contract...
     
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  10. Expat Well-Known Member

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    No exaggeration, the most thrilling legal drama all year. I’ve got the TiVo already programmed for part 2.

    So the ruling on parody...how does that track with OTL? It has me wondering how the ruling might correlate if some...oh, some media magnate, say, were to set up a kind of network designed to destabilize a political system. Something with all the outward appearance of news, but maintaining its identity as commentary and entertainment in the fine print. An entity designed to spread misinformation, perhaps even undermine the concept of truth itself. A real fox in the hen house, as dear grandmama might say.

    So is there any chance this ruling might undermine the very formation of such an entity? Or are the first amendment protections they might fall back on stronger than the ones our Nixonian friends have recourse to?
     
  11. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

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    I'm very glad you liked it so much - keep that TiVo fired up.

    It's funny you should bring up an alternative information network, a kind of "news counterculture" if you will. Not funny-ha-ha, not funny-bad, not even funny-strange, just ... funny. The specific evil genius responsible for so much of that process started by winning Emmys in his twenties for show-running - would you believe - The Mike Douglas Show, a staple of my early-childhood afternoon TV right before the Hogan's Heroes and Batman reruns kicked in. And he had a very particular set of skills </NEESON> for doing his most important work out in the open where it could be seen, so there were no charges of sabotage or skullduggery, he just relied on average viewers' laziness and incuriosity to get away with it. (A particularly good place to start on all that is The Selling of the President 1968, about the ways in which Nixon was packaged and marketed to the public that fateful year.) Simply getting rid of trained journalists wherever possible to substitute programmatic mouthpieces or general-public rubes was a big step, and all done in plain sight. So the short version is, I think they could run to the First Amendment. The slightly-longer version is, they're learning from the outright dirty tricks of CREP that what they should do instead is rig the entire game board so it's impossible for the opposition to win regularly. Less like saboteurs, more like casinos: rely on stupidity and cupidity to do your work for you after the initial structural setup.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  12. John Fredrick Parker Donor

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    So I’ve asked before about how the Republicans evolve to challenge McGovern, both in 1976 and beyond, but I’m also excited to see how well McGovern is able to keep the Democratic Party united behind him. Even if the party (Wallace and his folks aside) comes together to support his re-election (which, compared to Carter OTL, would be an achievement in itself), I can’t help but wonder how popular he’s going to manage to stay even among Democrats by the end of his (hypothetical) second term.

    In terms of legacy, there’s difference - even before getting to things like how historians write your story and rank you - between Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and (imho - though it’s posdibly still too early to say) Barack Obama - between them Woodrow Wilson or, say, George W Bush.
     
  13. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

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    I'll try to unpack some of this without giving away too much spoileration for the next two election cycles, midterms b/c we'll get to see that monkey try to hump a football two chapters hence, and the Bicentennial because it is the very climax (bad monkey! down!) of this part of the narrative. In each case, whether we want to talk about the fluid dynamics of the GOP or of the Democrats, there's a considerable amount of parallel evolution afoot. For the Republicans, if we move across their spectrum from the very leftward edge all the way over to folks who are basically neo-Confederates who've now, rather bizarrely, staged a major entryist incursion into the Party of Lincoln, it looks a bit like this:

    • You have some of the very most liberal Republicans, especially those who at this point have no presidential ambitions and even more particularly ones in the Senate where the GOP caucus in the 93rd Congress skews quite a bit more liberal than the House caucus or the GOP voting base, actually ready to work with the McGovern administration, subject to a few conditions. Once exposed to a real, practicing McGovern administration that generates empirical data about its actions rather than just the fever dreams of pro- and anti- partisans, several of them recognize the capital-P Progressive strains in its worldview, methods, and policy priorities. Those are things with which these ultra-liberal Goopers can work, and indeed sometimes the administration reaches out to them because it needs votes from across the aisle to counteract the most hard-core of Southern Grandees who still wear the "D" after their names, most notably Mississippi's James Eastland and Arkansas' John McLellan (a study in contrasts there because McLellan's state-mate William Fulbright is one of McGovern's best friends in the Senate despite their divergences on some domestic-policy matters.) What the ultra-libs want is (1) efficiency, by which they usually mean managed costs and restraint on taxes as much as possible (they recognize valuable governmental functions cost money but they'd like them empirically efficient) and (2) "lean," or where possible small or devolved, administration. So, no ever-growing federal bureaucracies, power devolved to states and localities where possible, and an interest they share with some mid-level McGoverners in a "small is beautiful and also more democratic" approach to administering the work of government.
    • Rockefeller Republicans, in their way, consider the McGovern administration a political gift. Not only has its existence tamped down some of the ongoing civil war between RRs and the New Right inside the GOP, but the RRs feel "McGoverning" has made the Rockefeller Republican worldview a kind of "Goldilocks faction" (akin to Goldilocks planets) within the GOP. The RRs are solid on LAWNORDER, more hawkish on foreign policy and defense spending, and orthodox friends of big business, while they also embrace - with some reservations about taxes that may play well in the suburbs - a number of the more popular elements of the McGovern program like a generally proactive view of nuclear weapons-focused arms control, a tax code that's more redistributive for working blue-collar families, public institutions seen to be honest and healthy and, hey - they are keen to point out - the roots of MECA (McGoverning's approach to Medicare-for-All) lay in a RR plan, sponsored on Rocky's behalf in the Senate by Jack Javits. Tl;dr they won't sacrifice what David Broder's sanctified "middle opinion" thinks are material benefits of McGoverning-thus-far, but will take a more "responsible" and in places actively conservative line on things where the average split-level-and-station-wagon family in the 'burbs may view the McGoverners as starry-eyed hippie coddlers. The question is whether and how RRs can mobilize that potential chance to seize "middle opinion" and club President McGovern with it like a baby seal, while still retaining the mouth-frothier parts of the GOP Base.
    • For different reasons the Goldwaterite New Right sees the McGovern administration as a gift also. As sincere ideologues, the New Right crowd gets up every morning grateful that the McGoverners have "heightened the contrasts" for them, without their (Goldwaterites) having to make policy and take risks themselves. When it comes to political motives and methods, the New Rightists preach a faith and try to win converts. That means they'll double down on building organs of opinion and evangelism to sell their case that George McGovern is wrecking America with half-assed socialism pursued by undemocratic means, advancing the interests of an elite left-leaning cabal as he hounds a distinguished former president through the courts (hi, Dick!), is a hot-dish-eating surrender monkey when it comes to Moscow, etc. The organizing and fundraising potential of the McGovern administration for the Goldwaterites as compared to, say, the Johnson administration, is the like the difference between powder cocaine (Johnson) and crack (McGovern.) As they truly believe that Only Our Flying Freak Flag Will Save America, they tend to believe TTL!now is the moment of decision - as Saint Ronald of Pacific Pallisade's stump number from the Sixties (just called "The Speech" by his SoCal huckster buddies) would call it, "A Time for Choosing." After all, hell, George McGovern done gone and socialized medicine! (Well, not really, he's kind-of socialized health insurance, more than not, but it's got nothing on the British NHS model.) This is tasty, tasty chum for The Base. They will take a MOAR PURER approach to both the '74 and '76 cycles as a matter of Trend, because not only is that who they are, they also read the early phases of the McGovern administration as (1) a serious threat to their worldview and (2) proof they must act (heroically, obvs) in response. Question(s) is/are, can they winnow down their policy wish list to a few specifics and unify behind a specific candidate in '76.
    • From there we get into the Dixiecrats, the real Uncut Neo-Secesh Product folk. They likewise benefit not only from the party unity(ish) that being in opposition brings, but also because George McGovern might as well show up to work each day in a Union Army uniform with the navy-blue greatcoat and kepi with the crossed muskets on it. Right now they're in a delicate position. ITTL two George Wallace presidential runs in consecutive cycles has given at least some legs to the AIP as a potential vehicle for the fears, anger, and dissatisfaction of Southern white yeomanry. The Dixiecrat Republicans have outflanked that in part, on what's really a class basis: by reframing (with Lee Atwater's infamous heuristic) a lot of racial and status animus in terms of low taxes, growth for business, "good" (i.e. as close to whites-only as you can still get) schools, etc., the Dixiecrat Goopers have seized the initiative in the growing suburbs of Southern boom towns. At the same time a lot of the white blue-collar population is still tribally Democratic, at least at the state-and-local level, and quite receptive to redistributive economic policies so long as Those People get less, or none wherever that's still feasible. The degree to which Wallace has held the AIP close as something of a vanity project works to the Dixiecrat-Rs' advantage in structural and organizational terms. But if any of the state-level AIP organizations win free of top-down Wallace control they could pose a legitimate threat to control of the voting base the DRs are chasing after. It helps therefore that the DRs can say they're already in Washington where they battle the McGoverners on a daily basis. Also on a number of economic and other macro-policy issues the DRs have growing common ground with the Goldwaterites. That means the two factions can haggle over how to be useful to one another, or butt heads over who has the more attractive candidate(s) for office in a given situation, so they could force the other faction to ride along in a subordinate role.
    Then, of course, there's the Democrats. On one hand it's always fundamentally useful to have control over two branches of government (executive and legislative) plus what could be called heavy sway over the third (through SCOTUS and several Democratic presidents' district/appellate judges.) So long as George McGovern doesn't hand the launch codes to Moscow or eat Goldwaterite babies at state dinners, that means there's at least a transactional series of relationships available between the McGoverners and their congressional or state-level allies and what we could call the institutional majority in the Democratic Party of the early Seventies.

    In a number of cases the McGovern administration can either actively support or quietly stay out of the way of liberal-to-left legislation that looks set to pass through Congress on its own terms. And they can work with Congress to pass legislation that's seen as "progressive yet reasonable" in the political climate of the times, anything from constitutional-level work on the War Powers Amendments (as they're known colloquially, passed in response to both Vietnam and living in the nuclear age), to MECA (Medicare Expansion & Consolidation Act), FFRA (Food & Farming Renaissance Act), the more aggressive earned-income tax credits program, a progressive reform platform for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, etc. In other cases the administration-plus-allies and the institutional majority can feel and stumble and haggle their way toward a sort of workable middle ground, where each side's dissatisfied in some ways but a functional program moves ahead. One good example of this is defense policy, where the sides accept the administration hacking away at the institutionalized-crazy aspects of SIOP and overall trimming of the scale (and bills) of the post-Vietnam military, where at the same time the administration has gotten some things it wants on procurement policy, institutional organization, big Army and USMC personnel cuts, legislating-by-budget-and-basing against land wars in Asia, etc., while more pragmatic interests have gotten continued funding for Nimitz-class carriers, a reasonable buy rate for the F-15 in return for aggressive production on the A-10 (that the McGoverners actually wanted and the zipper-suited sky gods hate), etc. That's all on the practical end of what could be done with any more-liberal-than-not Democratic administration in place.

    On other economic matters things are more complex. As of McGoverning!now the Demogrant is a dead letter, for example. From a working politician's point of view, McGovern got something out of the process in its place, the much more expansive (at this point on a timeline) than OTL earned-income credit system pushed by Vice President Hart then steered by Russell Long. But there's something of a devil's bargain in that anyway: it's designed for people who have a family adult who works, or who did work and now receive Social Security, or who are actively looking for work in a formal, registered way. There are a dozen little ways in which that legislation's designed, by the Russell Longs of the world, to let "irresponsible women" or the poorest people of color, or very often people who happen to be both (in America? Shocking, I know...) fall through the cracks. The Demogrant was designed to be solid, simple in execution, and universal: what they got instead was Congressional legislation, managed according to the prejudices of a deliberative body of mostly-white nearly-all-men, many of whom with the greatest parliamentary power had been marinated in Jim Crow boyhoods. But at least they got something.

    Likewise, the McGoverners could actually thread the hair's-breadth by which they're trying to pass the Revenue Reform Act (RRA) - designed to close dozens of loopholes and put some teeth back in progressive taxation that have been filed down since the last years under Eisenhower - with the aid of Southern populists, many of whom would like to keep at least a barge-pole's breadth between them and the administration at all times. They may pull that off especially if they keep the "Mills-Mansfield" label on RRA like OTL's 1972 tax-code review. Likewise on the drive toward a coherent industrial policy there are a number of Rockefeller Republicans who'd be ready to do business in the sub-clauses: Big Government in the service of Big Business is after all, as the Youth of Today might say, extremely their shit. They'd like the process of decision and execution skewed hard in the direction of business, with Big Government there as a useful tool, but they're still willing to haggle. At the same time there are other issues where they too want miles between themselves (the RRs) and the McGoverners.

    Among Democrats there are big frictions. Some of these come from culture clashes that are like a mirror image of OTL's Carter administration woes. McGovern himself, and a number of key people around him are as much capital-P Progressive in their outlook and instincts - "practical idealism" made policy and practice; drives for simplicity, transparency, and ethics front and center; skeptical pragmatism about running the "Free World"; attention to smaller communities and rural states; suspicion of closed old-boy networks of all kinds and a preference for meritocratic inclusion - rather than old-school Democratic. It's a different clash than with Carter's small-c-conservative technocracy, but one side is common to both fights: those institutional Democrats, to use my term, who are part and parcel of a party that grew up out of machine politics, both the old big-city machines often dependent on "Catholic ethnics" or organized labor, and the Southern machinery of the old "courthouse rings." The attention to rural issues and devotion to redistributive economics are net pluses for the McGoverners, all things considered, because that lets them still speak to some Southern populists not taken aback by McGovern's OG Rainbow Coalition, and rural interests in the Midwest and Plains states, along with inland areas of the West Coast. Also to some areas in the Steel Belt and Northeast Corridor where there's a more explicitly political cast to organized labor rather than just looking out for herrenvolk interests (that then includes things like trying to keep women and minorities out of some union locals.)

    The other culture clash, common between the OTL!Carter and TTL!McGovern experiences, is the deep and powerful It Wasn't Your Turn Dammit spirit that eddies through the institutional party. In ideological terms, the natural pole for opposition is the Coalition for a Democratic Majority, the go-to vehicle for Jacksonian Democrats that soon we will see is a good bit more open and muscular than IOTL. More generally, the institutional types mean to keep the McGoverners away from as many levers of long-term power in the party as they can. That's gotten a little bit harder in one particular way, though that data point also reinforces the culture clash in other ways. That is: since McGovern hasn't rearmed the military with gladiolus plants or eaten any babies, as people try to figure out how to do business with (or sandbag) the current administration one of its principal means of support turns out to be the Kennedy Mafia, not just family flunkies and hangers-on but the various networks of patronage and trained experts that had been attached to Jack's actual administration and later Bobby's campaign. (In its own way this gives life to certain wingers raising old Bircher ghosts about Kennedy the Russian mole/patsy by characterizing McGovern as a Potemkin front for "Kennedy's people" - this has the delightful side affect of reaching deep into the American-nativist muck of anti-Popery - but that's another matter.) You can see it in plain sight after all: McGovern's alter ego Frank Mankiewicz was Bobby's press secretary; Secretary of Defense Cy Vance another Kennedy stalwart; most of McGovern's Keynesian Justice League on economic/industrial policy are Kennedy vets including former Ambassador to India turned Treasury Secretary Ken Galbraith; etc. George himself of course was the second boss and true original spirit of the Food For Peace Program in Jack's time. That of course plays into a number of fissures within the party too, and those may build and variegate over time.

    Who are McGovern's people? In terms of rank-and-file Democrats or just ordinary US residents, that is. Minorities, the "political" elements of organized labor, a number (though not always all) of liberal-minded professional types - perhaps the key for McGovern is that we start to see the first flickers of a definite gender gap as we're moving along here. Prior to that, though for very different reasons than we see today IOTL, party affiliation and voter preference was relatively "tribal" in the sense that the sex of the voter didn't seem to signify by very much in either direction. To some degree that was a function of the New Deal-and-Postwar eras, if you go back to the Twenties and beyond (even to polled preferences of women before the Nineteenth Amendment) there was often splitting on specific issues with women more often drawn to social-reform policies, some of which we'd consider quite liberal, others wholly reactionary (hi, Prohibition!) In the McGoverning!Seventies there are temblors, to go full Earthquake! (hit the cinemas IOTL in 1974), of a political gender gap. Those could get dampened if you had - to choose one of a half-dozen or more possibles - Chuck Percy as the GOP nominee in 1976. But the more you go full Right - yer Saint Ronnies, yer Ed Gurneys, yer Westmorelands, etc. - the more you could see a definite gender gap of women -> George and men -> Winger of Choice. Rural voters are another interesting potential battleground, there are still a number of legitimately-small farmers out there in the Heartland at this point (the farm-property extinction event of OTL's 1980s hasn't hit yet) and with George around they may be in play. Money and commerce of course loathes George - he's all administration and management and national priorities and other-directedness, they all want to get rich quick because there is money to be made in inflation if you know what you're doing and then put the screws to your lessers in order to tamp it back down and protect your winnings (hi, Classical Economics gaining lower inflation through higher unemployment and regressive taxation!) In an effort to, y'know, get reelected, some of George's smarter minions have taken a look at all this and, contra the peevish Pat Caddell, suggested that McGovern not make The-Beast-With-Two-Backs with Wallace voters but instead trade some proportion of Hard Hats and Rednecks for some proportion of women, liberal professionals, and smallhold farmers. The mileage on that may vary.

    Tl;dr there's a lot going on, but it's fun :)
     
  14. Planita13 Wishing for a Lake

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    Nov 3, 2018
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    Sometimes I forget how good your writing is, but then it just comes all back all at once like biting into a good burger.
     
  15. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

    Joined:
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    I like that metaphor. There's a joint in the town where I went to college, and I can not-go there for decades at a time, then come back and stop in for lunch because why not? and take a bite and say, "damn, this actually is as good as I remembered." Hey, if Proust got a thousand pages out of a wet cookie, with burgers we could really go places... (PSA: my high-schooler's vegetarian, Bocas are welcome, just don't expect me to eat them.)

    And of course: thank you very much.
     
  16. Electric Monk Does Your Believing For You

    Joined:
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    Another fantastic chapter, and an excellent outline of the Republicans in the early days of the Cavaliers moving on up in their new vehicle.

    FE862CB2-BF6A-4018-8436-7D61F0E4BEC4.jpeg

    I dunno which particular New York City museum is being polled, but if their visitors voted… (h/t Nate Silver)
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
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  17. John Fredrick Parker Donor

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    Los Angeles
    @Yes And of course it's worth remembering that the 1970's and 80's were a lot whiter (+80% of the population) than OTL! present day (~60%).
     
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  18. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

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    Oh goodness yes they were. I remember the day-to-day evidence of that fact as a kid. This is a data point of real moment in these realignments.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
  19. Expat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    The San Francisco of Appalachia
    Great peek into the electorate, there.

    One thought: a spark of anti-Popery (dammit autocorrect, nobody’s anti-Popeye) were to catch fire, that could really chop the tail off the would-be Reagan coalition.

    And another one...You know, I haven’t brought him up on this thread, since I was gonna use him heavily in my own TL, but as that may not see update until you’re working on your third sequel to this (Dukakising!), let’s talk about John Culver as an example of the future of the Democratic coalition under McGovern.

    Iowa progressive. Loves a family farmer. Governing style? Party in the front, business in the back. Sweats the small stuff on government effectiveness, over-prepping and getting granular as hell on policy, but defends it with bombastic rhetoric to the press and on the floor. Can hang with the intellectual snobs and the dirt-scrabblers in the same afternoon. Built like a grain silo, played some crazy football (but, uh, at a little private school just outside Boston you mighta heard of). Marine Corps veteran. Literally wrote the book on Henry Wallace. And you wanna talk about a Kennedy ally? If you haven’t seen his eulogy for Ted, go have a chuckle.

    He’s been in the House up until now, and ran for senate IOTL in ‘74. Made it in, possibly due to some Nixon backlash. I expect he’ll run ITTL. If there’s a backlash against McGovern, or if a McGovern coalition is really emerging, I’d wager on Culver’s fortunes to give us the answer.

    Relatedly, Senator by Elizabeth Drew is a fantastic look into the quotidian aspects of the chamber circa 1979 that could probably be quite useful for an early-mid-70s setting as well, though it wouldn’t surprise me if you’d already checked it out. I can confirm that it can be read over the course of a few long morning bus rides.

    One day, in a world where John B Anderson has a posse, John Culver might just get to see the elephant in his own time.
     
  20. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

    Joined:
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    Thanks!

    It is one of those things with the potential to create complexity. Birchers yam what they yam and that's all that they yam, after all.

    We'll see at least a little of him also (maybe more, maybe just a little, won't say yet.) In addition to these biographical details he fits my side-line in HANDEGG since he was not only the starting fullback for some of the last HAHVUD teams to get any national attention, as you say, but also got picked up by the football Cardinals in the 1954 NFL Draft. (Even in his later years you can still see the fullback in him - a burly guy.) He's definitely the sort of person George would love to see go places. And their mutual affection for Wallace's SecAg years is a touchstone. I will say that it's McGoverningverse canon that Culver was one of the first to sign on to the H.B. Pickanumber version of FFRA, long before reconciliation and the final draft for both houses.

    I am familiar, and Powell's up in Far Portlandia has at least one copy in stock, but I hadn't plunked down money on it yet. Just might have to now.
     
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