New Deal Coalition Retained Part I: A Sixth Party System Wikibox Timeline

Discussion in 'Finished Timelines and Scenarios' started by The Congressman, Oct 27, 2017.

  1. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Location:
    Good ol' USA
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    As promised, the completed TL version of NDCR Part I. Here is the original.
    No one could deny that the months following November 1956 were good times to be a Republican. After twenty years of Democratic dominance – more or less – the first Republican President since the dark days of the Great Depression had been re-elected in a landslide. States in the south that had been dominated by the Democratic Party such as Texas, Louisiana, and Florida to name three had thrown their weight behind Dwight D. Eisenhower. Though the Senate and the House remained stubbornly Democratic (the one downer to the otherwise jubilant Republicans), margins of 49-47 and 234-201 respectively were decent. A far cry from the massive margins the New Deal Coalition had held during FDR’s time.

    All in all, nothing could dampen the celebratory mood in the Grand Old Party’s circles as members hoisted their drinks to four more years of General Ike Eisenhower and Dick Nixon.

    These were all known to Chief of Staff Sherman Adams, the former Governor of New Hampshire and considered the power behind the Eisenhower Administration. With the former Supreme Allied Commander’s military service never truly leaving him in his foray into civilian life, the position had taken an almost military model. Adams had basic control over White House operations, all contact with the President – apart from Nixon and senior cabinet officials – having to go through him first. A warrior for the moderate wing of the GOP, it was common knowledge among the Washington crowd of his importance.

    He was the punchline of a widely circulated joke:

    Two Democrats were talking and one said "Wouldn't it be terrible if Eisenhower died and Nixon became President?" The other replied "Wouldn't it be terrible if Sherman Adams died and Eisenhower became President!"

    With this knowledge, the events of January 9th, 1957 were quite ignominious for someone of his influence. Driving along the darkened streets of the Capitol, blanketed with the winter snow, the weak lights of the vehicle’s headlamps had no way of detecting the slick patch of ice that had formed on the road. Losing friction with the road, the vehicle skidded straight into oncoming traffic and met a truck head on. When police arrived on scene, Sherman Adams was discovered in the driver’s seat, his body bruised and his neck broken. Dead.

    Only weeks before the inauguration, the excitement of the new term was clouded with mourning. However, even the high regard the President and his advisors had for Adams didn’t end the obvious need for a Chief of Staff. It wouldn’t besmirch his memory to appoint a successor as soon as possible.

    After a series of heated discussions and a closed door meeting between himself and Vice President Nixon, on January 17th, 1957 Eisenhower announced the appointment of longtime Republican donor and distinguished Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Alan Dulles as his new Chief of Staff, passing CIA to the equally competent Richard M. Bissell, Jr. Personally above reproach, Dulles quickly began working with Richard Nixon to push and protect the political goals of the second Eisenhower term. Most things remained the same, but the tension among the varying wings of the party caused by the hard edged Adams were visibly less taxing – a move that would prove a blessing for the Republican Party.

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    1957 was a grueling year for the Eisenhower Administration. The death of Sherman Adams early on would later be viewed as an inauspicious start, given the many crises that the President and his cabinet would have to endure. Already dealing with the fallout of the Hungarian Revolution and Suez Crisis, Eisenhower began his second term with repairing the image of US strength in the face of an increasingly bombastic Nikita Khrushchev flexing the military muscle of the Red Army. The “Special Relationship” with the United Kingdom began to repair under the new British Prime Minister Harold McMillan, and further aid and military advisors were sent to South Vietnam and other anti-Communist governments facing Eastern Block pressure.

    As the year went on, the Administration was rocked by twin punches – one international and one domestic. The case of the “Little Rock Nine” galvanized the attention of the nation, civil rights leaders throwing their support behind the Eisenhower White House for their principled stand in sending soldiers of the 101st Airborne to protect the students, while the segregationist cause rallied behind Governor Orval Faubus. Observers of the drama could reasonably expect Civil Rights issues to dominate much of the nation’s agenda for the near future.

    However, the launch of the Sputnik satellite by the USSR truly shook the nation to its core. Having been assured by the actions of Eisenhower and the Pentagon in maintaining a nuclear edge over the Soviet Union, the communist advances into space called all of those efforts into question. Lead by the Special Studies Project headed by Republican Nelson A. Rockefeller (then running for Governor of New York), critics began assailing the President for allowing a so-called “Missile Gap” to be formed in favor of the Russians.

    All of this would have likely seriously damaged the administration had it not been for the actions of Vice President Nixon and Chief of Staff Dulles. Coordinating a strategy with the President, Eisenhower forcibly responded to the critics, detailing (to within reason) the true nature of the military situation which showed a large nuclear superiority over the USSR. Policy-wise, increased attention was given to the two US military launch programs, the Navy’s Vanguard and the Army’s Juno. Dulles having convinced Eisenhower beforehand to invest more defense funds in the programs, Project Vanguard successfully launched America’s first satellite into orbit on December 6, 1957 with minimal complications. This was followed by Juno I one month later, both celebrated by the public.

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    Though America projected a strong front of catching up with the USSR, White House officials understood what was at stake. After signing the act which removed jurisdiction of space exploration from the military to the civilian National Aeronautics and Space Administration, on August 24th, 1958 Eisenhower took the podium of a joint session of Congress and announced America’s goal in the Space Race.

    “With the lead possessed by the communists, now is not the time for half measures or incremental gains. America as a nation can accomplish anything, and America does not think small. Therefore, we will go to the moon. We will secure the moon for the cause of Liberty!”

    Looking back, it was apparent that the Republicans would lose seats in 1958. A small recession at the beginning of the year had only reminded Americans of Republican association with hard economic times, and right-to-work pushes only angered union voters into high turnout. The senate seats up for election were glut with GOP gains from the 1946 and 1952 landslides, and even the most optimistic of GOPers were predicting modest losses.

    In the end, the lack of any major scandals, successful launches of Vanguard and Juno, and the electrifying “Secure the Moon” speech by President Eisenhower staunched the bleeding at just the right time. Richard Nixon later recalled saying to Alan Dulles and his brother – Secretary of State John Foster Dulles – “It’s bad, but not a disaster. Like getting shot in the leg rather than the gut.”

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    Even heavily Republican Northeastern and Midwestern states saw Democratic gains. Several major losses included that of noted conservative John W. Bricker (R-OH) and that of former Senate Minority Leader William F. Knowland (R-CA), who’s attempt to switch offices with Governor Goodwin Knight led to both being lost to the Democrats.

    However, narrow holds in NY, MI, WY, MD, and NJ kept the party afloat. Conservative Republican J. Bracken Lee won in a landslide over Frank Moss in Utah, while Eisenhower’s popularity netted one of AK’s senate seats and stemmed the bleeding in the House.​
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    With Hawaii’s entrance into the union in 1959, the Senate held a 60-40 D majority and the House a 255-181 D majority. The Republican seats held on to – along with the wave of new, moderate to liberal democrats – would prove instrumental for the events of the near future.

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    Vice President Richard M. Nixon was considered by most to be a shoo in at the GOP Convention. The Californian was instrumental in the last three years, along with Alan Dulles and Herbert Brownell, in shaping the President’s agenda (nicknamed the ‘Troika’ by the Press).

    Having engaged in friendly correspondence with the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, an idea based on the up and coming civil rights leader’s discussing of the lack of black voter participation in the south – due mostly to dramatic cases of voter intimidation by official policies and paramilitary threats. After deliberations with the Dulles brothers, Nixon moved forward with creating a plan to address this. And solidify African-American support for the Republican Party in what was looking to be a close election.

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    With the blessing of the Troika, President Eisenhower and the Republican leadership pushed for the Civil Rights in Voting Act of 1960, which would basically give the Department of Justice the strict authority to enforce the 15th Amendment nationwide. Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson and Speaker Sam Rayburn, both personally in favor to the legislation, being southern Democrats knew that they would commit political suicide if they voted in favor. While other Civil Rights bills had been previously filibustered to death, Eisenhower had made this the lynchpin of his final two years and lobbied furiously with both congress and the country. Knowing there would be a backlash either way, Rayburn and Johnson split the difference. The bills would be put to a vote, and each would vote against in order to preserve the caucus and prevent another ‘Dixiecrat’ candidacy – considering the African-American vote was coalescing around Nixon, the Democrats couldn’t lose any remaining block of voters.

    The act passed both houses despite narrow majorities of Democrats opposed and a seventeen hour filibuster by Florida Senator George Smathers. Reactions varied from a jubilant crowd headlined by the Rev. Martin Luther King outside the Capitol to violent riots in the Deep South egged on by Orval Faubus, Ross Barnett, and a new face, Alabama Governor George C. Wallace. Civil Rights advocates descended upon the South to begin registering African American voters, most to the benefit of the Republican Party.

    After only a smattering of favorite son votes against him in the primaries, Richard Nixon’s nomination was virtually considered fait accompli. All that remained was who would be chosen as his Vice President. While Nixon was said to have favored former Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr due to his considering of foreign policy as the likely sword for which to defeat the Democrats, a day’s deliberations between Murray Choitner, Robert Finch, Alan Dulles, and even President Eisenhower decided that to concede domestic issues was to concede too much to the Democrats – especially considering the massive battle over Civil Rights that was brewing within the Democratic ranks.

    Remembering his role as the bridge between the conservative and moderate wings in 1952, Nixon knew he had to unite the two factions of the GOP. One choice would accomplish that beyond a shadow of a doubt: New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller.

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    Thusly, Finch, Dulles, Senator Kenneth Keating, and John Dulles were asked to approach the popular Rockefeller. After hours of cajoling and reasoned pleas, the formerly reluctant governor accepted Nixon’s offer. Drafting a platform continuing the Eisenhower program, a firm stance against the Soviet Union, and a strong backing of Civil Rights, the convention virtuously unanimously nominated Richard Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller for the Presidency.

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    Meanwhile, the Democratic nomination didn’t go quite as smoothly. While looked upon as the youthful outsider by the press, the organizational frontrunner was the charming Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts. Owning the support of much of the northeastern establishment and the Labor Unions, his at least making the second place in the convention ballot was guaranteed.

    The main opposition of southern and western delegates pushed Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson to run, the Senator being more than willing but undecided of the timing. Many advisors and the Senator’s own judgement suggested waiting for Kennedy to be bled in the primaries and to push at the convention, but Jim Rowe – his friend and later campaign manager – managed to convince him of the need to run in the primaries and not let Kennedy’s organization build a significant lead.

    Coming in second to Kennedy in Wisconsin – edging out Hubert Humphrey and forcing him out – Johnson’s campaign easily built momentum with a narrow win in Illinois after the endorsement of former nominee Adlai Stevenson – who decided not to run – and a strong win in West Virginia. The remaining primaries were split, making the race jump ball at the convention in Los Angeles.

    The first ballot showed strength for Kennedy, the Senator sweeping the Northeast and most of the Midwestern delegates. He was denied a majority however, Lyndon Johnson netting most of the remainder but with several favorite son candidates such as Smathers and Oregon Senator Wayne Morse getting decent blocks. Surrogates immediately descended on the small candidate blocks to get the narrow win on the second or third ballots.

    After seven ballots the lines barely budged, but when they did they inched slowly to the Massachusetts Senator. What eventually doomed the Kennedy campaign were two factors. Firstly, the Southern delegations decided en mass that Johnson was the more amenable choice than the Catholic, pro-civil rights Kennedy. Secondly, the position of Kennedy’s younger brother Robert as the former’s campaign manager angered influential Teamster’s Union President James “Jimmy” Hoffa. Bobby Kennedy having helped the Senate investigate Hoffa several years before, seeing his chance the bombastic leader of the Teamsters threw himself into pushing delegates for Johnson, cashing favors left and right – along with other, less glamorous methods. The ninth ballot showed both within fifty votes of the other.

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    The endorsements of Eleanor Roosevelt and Wayne Morse finally cleared the hurdle for Johnson on the tenth ballot, netting him the nomination. Afterwards, Kennedy gave a glowing speech for party unity while Johnson selected Morse as his running mate to undercut Republicans in the West. Flexing their strength, southern Democrats pushed through a softening of the pro-Civil Rights plank introduced by Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina.

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    Polls immediately showed a dead heat, 48-48. A long and arduous campaign lied ahead.

    Without the popular former-Supreme Allied Commander on the ballot, the Nixon/Rockefeller ticket were forced back into what amounted to an electoral hole against them. Johnson had the liberal vote, the southern vote, and the unions united behind him out of the convention, and the longtime Oregon Senator Morse gave the Democratic ticket a boost in the Western states, not large electorally but still a major haul.

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    However, Nixon and campaign manager Robert Finch were confident – and thankful not having to run against the charming Kennedy. In facing Johnson, Nixon had youth on his side and couldn’t be outflanked on experience. Over the remaining summer weeks he was focused on a positive campaign, lauding the Eisenhower Administration’s domestic and foreign policy successes. The “Kitchen Debate” where he had famously squared off with Khrushchev was featured prominently in advertising and media appearances. The Republicans were determined to make sure the image of Nixon the strong anti-Communist was maintained. Negative attacks were left to Rockefeller, who leveled his political and oratorical skills directly at Johnson and Morse.

    The Democratic nominee had settled into a generally defensive strategy as well, buoyed by Gallup polls showing him up two points on the Vice President. Johnson focused his attention on the Upper South, the electorally rich states of New York and Pennsylvania, and the Midwest (Morse selling the ticket in his stomping grounds west of the Rockies). He attacked the Eisenhower administration for antagonizing the Russians needlessly regarding the Gary Powers incident, which he stated was a national embarrassment.

    A pitch was made to traditionally Democratic voting blocks that had broken for the popular General Ike, Johnson pushing what Jim Rowe had coined the “Great Society,” a dramatic expansion of what the New Deal had created. Vowing to use his skills acquired as Senate Majority Leader to pass them, “Landslide Lyndon” focused his energy on reminding the card carrying members of the Roosevelt/Truman coalition why they voted Democrat five elections in a row. Standing next to a grinning Jimmy Hoffa, he proclaimed in a major speech to a cheering crowd of Teamsters that a Johnson Administration would declare war on unemployment, lack of health care, and poverty, finishing what FDR started.

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    To the Republicans, still shaking off the ghost of Herbert Hoover, it became apparent that one couldn’t out government program the New Deal Coalition. The headlines from his speech catapulted Johnson to a six point lead in the next Gallup poll. Even the quick dispatch of President Eisenhower to stump for Nixon couldn’t stem the gloom that was starting to form.

    Late September would throw the race on its head however. A strategic gamble had been made before the Convention to attack the Democrats squarely on civil rights. Such was considered by Nixon and Finch to concede nearly the entire south to Johnson – the Texan a natural fit compared to the slick Californian – but the canny observation of Johnson and Morse attempting to straddle the issue loomed too large to ignore. Not a day went by that Nixon wouldn’t boast of his work in passing the CRVA or Rockefeller attacking Johnson and Morse for voting against it and allying with the most hardened segregationists. Earning the enthusiastic endorsement of Martin Luther King, Nixon’s campaign would stand to benefit the most from what would follow.

    As dawn broke on September 19, the beaten and bruised body of a young black man was discovered hanging from a tree branch in unincorporated Newton County, Mississippi. It was later identified as education and voting rights activist Clyde Kennard of the Congress of Racial Equality. Working to register poor black voters in the heat of the Presidential election, despite efforts of the local sheriff’s department to hush up the brutal lynching hordes of media coverage and civil rights protesters descended on the tiny county seat of Decatur. The perpetrators were later identified to be three rogue Ku Klux Klan members who ambushed Kennard, beat him with baseball bats, and lynched his semi-conscious body, but stonewalling by local officials and the Mississippi state government would put the case in limbo for months and lead to acquittals for the three and their accomplice.

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    Politically, the crime made headlines around the nation, images of Kennard’s injuries and stills of the ten thousand demonstrators led by CORE founder James Farmer and the Reverend King dominating the front pages of countless newspapers. While Nixon’s civil rights focused campaign was fueled by the sensational murder, it placed the Johnson campaign between a rock and a hard place.

    After a tense meeting that Nixon biographer Robert Caro would document thoroughly, both Johnson and Morse reversed course and endorsed key civil rights legislation, condemning the murder and proclaiming that if the state government wouldn’t convict the perpetrators then a Johnson White House would.

    When Martin Luther King was arrested by the Newton County Sheriffs on bogus charges of vagrancy and resisting arrest, campaign advisor Robert Kennedy (having joined the Johnson Campaign following the convention) convinced the candidate to phone Coretta Scott King with condolences and an offer of support and Governor Ross Barnett to plead for a pardon of King. The audio tapes were then leaked to the New York Times. The Kings were Nixon supporters, but stated their thanks of Johnson’s kind words and efforts to the press.

    Rallies in the northern and western states all heard proclamations of Johnson’s efforts to push civil rights legislation and how his Great Society programs would help black Americans, and in the following weeks it looked like he would ride out the storm.

    However, these backtracks angered many southern Democratic officials. Having been Johnson’s strongest backers at the convention, they felt betrayed by his flip flopping on the crucial issue. It still to this day remains a mystery of who masterminded its leakage, but the Washington Post was suddenly given possession of a tape of Johnson in a behind closed doors meeting with his senate colleagues regarding CRVA.

    “There goes Tricky Dick [Nixon] pushing his goddamn nigger bill. We’re caught in an –expletive– bind and he knows it. Can’t those –expletive– niggers wait till I’m president to push this bill? Then I’ll have their black asses voting Democratic for a goddamn century!”

    In his defense the Senate Majority Leader had been quite angry at the time, but the audio fed into two Nixon campaign barbs of him. One, that he was a soft-segregationist who didn’t truly support even the civil rights bills he voted for – and two, that he was a political chameleon that only took up causes for his own political gain, for which the King call was seen as (it would backfire considerably and lead to Bobby Kennedy’s abrupt departure from the campaign). The fiery Johnson swung back against the accusations hard, but they took their toll. Nixon and Rockefeller smelled blood in the water and struck hard.

    The final straw for the campaign were the televised debates. First of their kind, four had been scheduled beginning with one on domestic policy on October 7th. While Nixon’s team had thought saving the foreign policy debate (Nixon’s strength) for last so as it would gain the highest audience, they would later congratulate themselves for their inadvertent brilliance.

    Finch and Choitner took no chances for their candidate, who was leading 49-48 in the early October Gallup poll. He was directed to rest for two days, tan, and rebuild his strength after weeks of tough campaigning while Rockefeller picked up the slack. Shaving off the morning shadow before arriving on stage, he looked both youthful and experienced. Presidential as the papers would call it.

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    Johnson, however, had made a huge miscalculation. Descending into a flurry of campaigning across the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states to overcome the civil rights flub, he arrived haggard and with two dark patches under his eyes. The untested medium of television immediately broadcast the differences between the tired and irritable Johnson and the suave and confident Nixon. The Vice President hammered the Senate Majority Leader in easy-going but firm attacks, swatting away at the Great Society programs’ viability and on his duplicity on civil rights. The same bombastic and irascible nature that made him an excellent parliamentary leader came back to bite Johnson, viewers stating that Nixon won the debate convincingly.

    After that, nothing else really mattered. A last minute push by Jimmy Hoffa and George Meany managed to lift Johnson’s numbers a bit, but it was too little too late. The results, to all but the most hardened partisans, were no surprise.

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    Newly registered black voters broke hard for Nixon, the Vice President winning almost eighty percent of them. Morse managed to swing the northwest for Johnson, while Chicago Mayor Daley’s machine pushed Illinois into the Democratic column. However, the crushing margin among African-Americans and strength among the Nixon/Rockefeller ticket netted much of the Mid-Atlantic and the Upper South, winning the election for Nixon. It was a solid win, the GOP’s third in a row.

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    The GOP saw moderate gains in the Senate, Nixon’s convincing win pushing victories in DE, and WY while candidates in MO and MI knocked off sitting Democratic Senators in states Johnson won. However, the Democrats did hold their seats surprisingly well, winning strongly even in states that Nixon carried.

    (In Wyoming, GOP Senator-elect Edwin Keith Thomson would die only a month after the election. Democratic Governor John Hickey would appoint himself to the seat, leading the three Republican gains to drop to two).

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    The only GOP loss was in the South Dakota Senate race, where longtime Senator and Nixon ally Karl Mundt lost in a huge upset to ultra-liberal Representative George McGovern. The race was nasty, especially on McGovern’s end, but his bombastic denunciation of Johnson’s civil rights statements and his crusading for rural issues allowed him to overcome the GOP lean of the state and win by only 1,100 votes of over three hundred thousand cast.

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    Nixon’s win was welcome to the beleaguered GOP house caucus, pushing them once more above two hundred seats with strong gains in New York, Pennsylvania, the Upper Midwest, and the Upper South canceling out Democrat gains in the West.

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    One notable new member was African-American Republican Edward C. Brooke, a tenacious corruption prosecutor who defeated incumbent Democrat Tip O’Neill in the outer Boston 11th district by barely 400 votes. Up till then, the few African-Americans in the house following the New Deal had been inner city Democrats, and many considered his entrance and the enthusiastic support of the Reverend King’s SCLC for Nixon’s candidacy as a sign the tide was turning for black political representation.

    Richard Nixon could now claim a mandate as he prepared to take office as the nation’s 35th President.
     
  2. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Location:
    Good ol' USA

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    The beginning of the Nixon Presidency would announce itself rather quietly, unlike the war drums that continued to beat at the beginning of the previous two Presidential inaugurations. The world was – shaky as it was – at relative peace, and the chaos and rioting that had characterized the Civil Rights Movement since the case of the Little Rock Nine had changed into a tension rippling below the surface.

    Things were quiet the first half of 1961, few pieces of major legislation being signed and drafted as Nixon focused much of his honeymoon period domestically to finally implement all of CRVA. Select income taxes were cut, a panel for Nuclear Arms Control was established, and an act was passed to give President Nixon the authority to cut tariff rates by up to fifty percent (which would later be the impetus for the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade of 1966). A Kennedy sponsored bill to promote equal pay was signed by Nixon after a week of negotiations, while the Clean Air Act received the President’s signature on August 2nd. Modest, but respectable progress for the Nixon Administration.

    Foreign policy saw much bigger action. Massive amounts of military and manpower aid were greenlit for the South Vietnamese Government, by now in the middle of a bloody guerilla war with communist insurgents backed by the north. On the advice of Dulles – promoted to Defense – Lodge, and Kissinger, Nixon appointed Edward Lansdale as the Commander of all US forces in the country, a distinguished officer who already had close ties with the Diem regime. Working closely with around a thousand British advisors sent by PM Macmillan that had experience fighting the Malay Chin Ping, Lansdale sought to implement an effective counterinsurgency doctrine for South Vietnam.

    National pride skyrocketed on March 18, 1961 when Alan B Shepard ascended to the heavens in the Mercury Redstone 3 rocket, becoming the first man to travel into outer space. Celebrated in a ticker tape parade in New York City, he was honored by President Nixon a week after the historic launch. The nation had finally gotten its pride back after losing to Sputnik four years previously.

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    Premier Khrushchev was said to have gone red with anger at the news that the Americans had beaten them. One month later on April 12, Yuri Gagarin joined his American comrade in heading to space on Vostok 1. While forced to keep the title of second man in space, the USSR did snag the consolation prize of being the first man to complete one full orbit of the earth.

    As the months passed a festering sore within American foreign policy dating back to Eisenhower’s first term was about to burst. Growing opposition to South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem worried both opposition groups within the civilian government, ARVN, and US officials. Feelers were sent out between the camps about a possible coup, though the Nixon administration were worried about the implications of supporting one.

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    In the end, none of it mattered. On the evening of June 8th, sporadic gunfire erupted near the Presidential Palace only to be followed moments later by a massive explosion that rocked Saigon. A National Liberation Front (nicknamed “Viet Cong” by American advisers and military personnel) assault team set upon the palace, automatic fire providing a distraction while four men drove a massive truck bomb through the barricades. As firefighters and ARVN soldiers combed through the rubble, among the over 100 casualties were the mangled corpses of President Diem, his brother and close confidant Ngo Dinh Nhu, and Nhu’s wife Tran Le Xuan.

    The opposition and ARVN plotters and their contacts in the CIA were supremely shocked at the turn of events – and the unexpected opportunity that had fallen into their laps. Worry about how an assassination/coup of Diem would appear to the world evaporated in a stunning example of divine providence (as ARVN Lt. Colonel Vurong Van Dong would later describe it). Once the shock wore off, the plotters set to work. Military units whizzed through the streets of Saigon, the city placed under martial law. Nearly a week later the government had been completely secured by the Military Junta lead by General Nguyen Van Thieu. Former Prime Minister Nguyen Ngoc Tho was elevated to the position of President, the necessary civilian head of state advocated by Lansdale.

    Upon the news of the stabilization following the bombing, President Nixon authorized a state visit by Secretary of State Lodge to Saigon. Conversations between the President, Lodge, Secretary of Defense Dulles, and Lansdale came to the conclusion that such a visit was necessary to legitimize the new government.

    Despite massive strides on the federal level both through legislation and the courts, southern Democrats controlling the Deep South states used every maneuver in their arsenal to circumvent and defy the laws and rulings. School desegregation had barely progressed even six years after Brown vs. Board of Education, joined by even more strenuous defiance of CRVA. Tasked with enforcing the rulings and laws, Attorney General Leslie Arends determined that enforcing African-American voter registration and voting was the more pressing priority – given that if blacks could vote in the south then they’d have much wider recourses to pursue their interests. Most other rulings received less attention than they otherwise would as the Justice Department focused on CRVA.

    One of these was a Supreme Court decision desegregating interstate bus travel, ignored by the States of Alabama and Mississippi. To protest this, the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee organized groups of “Freedom Riders,” black and white advocates that would ride south on interstate buses in open defiance of the southern state governments.

    The initial rides proceeded smoothly, but on May 14th a convoy of three Greyhound buses were stopped by a large mob of armed men outside Cullman, Alabama – just north of Birmingham. Organized unofficially by Birmingham Police Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Conner and Police Sergeant – and Ku Klux Klan member – Tom Cook, the group of Klan militants set upon the buses with clubs, axes, the errant firearm, and Molotov cocktails. The first bus began to burn, panicked riders fleeing outside while the Klan members beat them, killing one with a baseball bat upside the head, a young woman about twenty years old.

    As they moved toward the second bus, a group of armed blacks organized by one Colonel Stone Johnson arrived and attacked the Klan. Fierce hand to hand fighting broke out before highway patrolmen arrived to stop the fighting, several firing their pistols in the air.

    This would repeat with three other bus convoys, four buses being burned to charred husks before the federal government finally intervened.

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    Recorded Conversation between President Nixon, Chief of Staff Finch, and Attorney General Arends: May 19th, 1961:


    Nixon: S### Leslie, these pictures made me vomit. Buses full of people burning in Alabama, this has to be stopped.

    Arends: Mr. President, these buses aren’t protected by the local police, and from what the reports say their leaders are in cahoots with the Klan mobs.

    Nixon: Damn tinderbox. It’s like Barnett and Wallace want a race showdown like those radicals are advocating… Never Mind. I want this stopped.

    Arends: How…

    Nixon: Get each bus an escort. FBI, Marshals, f### even the National Guard if you can.

    Finch: That would create a lot of tension between the administration and allies on Capitol Hill…

    Nixon:……………………..The Southern caucus? Those racist a##holes? Going against them would make us look like saints

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    Since the 1959 overthrow of pro-American Dictator Fulgencio Batista by Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement, the United States under President Eisenhower and later President Nixon had been concerned about the direction the country was headed. American business interests suddenly evaporated with the change of power, Soviet aid pouring in and ties with Moscow and the Eastern Block expanded as Castro and his allies began transforming Cuba into a socialist state.

    Tension high with Khrushchev-lead USSR – especially since the shootdown of Gary Powers in 1960 – as they were, no one within the Administrations were willing to take the chance of a Soviet ally popping up so close to the American coast. CIA Director Richard Bissell (who succeeded Alan Dulles) worked with nearly ten thousand Cuban exiles and anti-communist volunteers from around Central and South America. While some within the Nixon Cabinet and CIA called for a large amount of US direct military assistance to augment the division sized force, the President agreed with Dulles and Bissell to distance themselves from the operation beyond the covert involvement. Intelligence from Europe indicated the Soviets and East Germans were up to something, and since what was codenamed Operation Pluto had already ballooned from a mere 1,500 to six times that there was no gain in backing them.

    The initial plan was to land at the Bay of Pigs near Havana after sailing from Nicaragua – controlled by the friendly Somoza Government – but the sheer size necessitated a closer landing spot to avoid detection. CIA and Cuban Democratic Resistance Front planners identified the beaches of the Gulf of Guacanayabo near both Santiago de Cuba and the US naval base at Guantanamo. The prospect of securing Santiago, thus establishing legitimacy and a base of operations, and securing Guantanamo from possible Cuban retaliation made it a viable option. A week prior to the invasion, Richard Nixon gave Pluto his stamp of approval.

    Based in Nicaragua and the British Crown Colony of Jamaica – Nixon having obtained the assistance of Prime Minister McMillan – on September 19th twelve B-26 Invader bombers and thirty-six F-86 Sabre fighters sold to the DRF by the CIA bombed Cuban military airfields and strafed naval and military installations in and around the landing site. Six battalions landed with the first wave, mopping up whatever government militia units were present and liberating several coastal towns including the small city of Manzanillo.

    Cuban forces weren’t dazed by the DRF air sorties for long. Rallied by Castro Minister and Militia commandant José Ramón Fernández and joined by Castro’s brother Raul on the afternoon of the second day, approximately fifteen thousand Army and militia troops threw themselves at the beachheads in a desperate yet organized attempt to force the DRF back into the sea. However, the rebels had spent the night furiously unloading troops and supplies, sometimes directly onto the sandy beaches. The Invaders and Sabres screaming out of the sky with a vengeance, Cuban forces were set upon by dug in machine gun and anti-tank rocket fire. After three hours of vicious fighting, Fernandez and Castro ordered a retreat. The Army withdrew in good order, while much of the militia either threw down their arms and ran into the countryside or outright defected to the rebels.

    After two days it was clear to Fidel Castro, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, and the remainder of the Revolutionary Government knew that they had a full-fledged crisis on their hands. Ordering martial law and a draft to extend across the nation, Castro directed the entire might of the Cuban Military south to contain the invasion to the periphery of the Gulf. If Santiago was captured then the whole country might rise up – or worse, the dreaded Estados Unidos might intervene.

    After five days of preparation and light probing attacks on the Government lines, swollen to twenty-five thousand men due to defections and recruitment of anti-Communists among the population, the DRF advanced toward the inland city and transportation hub of Bayamo. Capturing the city would secure their beachhead, swell the ranks, and likely force the Communists to withdraw completely from the peninsula south of the Gulf.

    Fernandez and Raul Castro realized it too, and concentrated their eighteen thousand troops and ten thousand militia in strong defenses in and around the city. Surviving air units dueled with the small DRF air force as the advance ground forces engaged one another in what would become nearly five hours of continuous conflict. Victory seemed at hand for the Government when a US Naval Air component from the USS Essexsuddenly joined the fray, wiping out Cuban aircraft and assaulting ground positions with napalm and conventional munitions. Troops panicking, officers bought off by the CIA sprang into action and defected whole units up to battalion size to the DRF.
    [​IMG]
    In the ensuing chaos Raul Castro was killed when his command vehicle was turned into a fireball by a defecting armored platoon. Fernandez managed to evacuate with fourteen thousand loyalist troops and militia, but nine thousand had defected and the rest dead or captured.

    Dulles: Good news Mr. President, the airstrikes from the Essex seem to have turned the tide.

    Nixon: [sighs audibly] Thank the Lord. God forbid those pilots if Castro’s men had dug in flak. It would have been my fault. Can the rebels drive for Santiago?

    Dulles: ………. Not to my knowledge, and we shouldn’t expect them too.

    Nixon: [hesitance] Why the hell not?

    Dulles: They just suffered massive casualties and have to sift through prisoners and defections. Any advance that far would extend their supply lines more than can they can bare.

    Nixon: [inaudible muttering] F###, fine. Robert?

    Finch: Yes Mr. President?

    Nixon: Call Henry [Cabot Lodge]. We need Somoza to send in more supplies lest the rebels fail to exploit what we gave them.

    -Richard Nixon, Alan Dulles, and Robert Finch; Recorded September 27th, 1961-

    Operation Pluto could be described as a tactical stalemate. The DRF had failed to incite a countrywide insurrection against Castro or even a localized one enabling it to roll into Santiago, only managing to hold on due to training, defections, US air support, and aid from the Somoza government in Nicaragua. The Cuban Government had managed to contain the invasion for now. But strategically it was an overwhelming victory for the Rebels, beginning what would later be named the Cuban Civil War.
    As the month of October 1961 rolled by, one couldn’t describe a more fearful, paranoid person than Fidel Castro. Ever since the airstrikes from the USS Essex prevented his forces from pushing back the DRF to their beachhead – killing his brother Raul in the meantime – the Cuban Communist leader found himself descending into a near-delusional state. Worry plagued him that Nixon would try an amphibious intervention in conjunction with the limited airstrikes.

    Despite the decision within the White House inner circle to go no further than the airstrikes after Soviet action within Berlin set off a large standoff between the two alliance blocks, to one without knowledge of this it was a reasonable assessment. Under orders from Castro, the Cuban Government and Army began a series of police actions in the non-frontline areas of the nation. Suspected rebels or rebel-sympathizers were rounded up and ‘detained,’ often meeting their end at the firing squad. As rebel gains grew the harsher Castro’s retaliatory measures grew, proclaiming on the official Government radio network that it was “Time for the reactionary elements seeking to oppress the brave people of Cuba be driven out and utterly crushed for the remainder of time.”

    Predictably, in the southeastern provinces closer to the advancing DRF the actions only served to legitimize the rebel cause rather than delegitimizing it. As such, the anger and loathing of the Castro Government finally reached its logical conclusion on November 17th. All across the nation – though more acute in southern cities such as Guantanamo and Santiago de Cuba – the populace rose up en masse against the government, countless militia and several regular Army units mutinying and defecting to the DRF. Chaos reigned supreme for nearly a week before the rapidly advancing DRF forces had managed to secure much of the south, liberating Santiago on November 20th.

    These rapid military successes necessitated a change in status for the hitherto amazingly successful rebel movement. On December 2nd, 1961 – the US, UK, and much of NATO holding an official diplomatic presence – the Federal Republic of Cuba was declared in Santiago by Interim (and later elected) President Jose M. Cardona and was immediately recognized by every NATO state and much of the Caribbean as well.

    The birth of the Federal Republic proved the end for Fidel Castro’s Cuba. Accepting that the leader had fully lost his mind, Che Guevara and high ranking party member Juan Bosque made an arrangement to rule over the country upon Castro’s demise, which was anticipated to be soon.

    Soon it was, Cuban state media reporting the death of Fidel Castro at the hands of a ‘rebel sniper,’ joined in the following days by several high ranking Castro confidants (despite the lack of evidence, most historians have concluded that security forces loyal to Guevara and Bosque summarily executed Castro). On New Year’s Eve, Guevara announced to the world the formation of the Socialist Republic of Cuba, bolstered by an immediate alliance with the Soviet Union and the acceptance of several shiploads of arms that were directed to the fight with the FRC.

    Furious fighting would continue along the central third of the island for nearly six months until a ceasefire was declared in June, the SRC not getting anywhere close to Santiago while the FRC was bogged down at the closest point of 150 miles from Havana. In a conference mediated by Mexico, the two sides – along with their superpower benefactors – hammered out a peace treaty that was signed on the 13th of July.

    [​IMG]
    It would take a further two months to fully implement the agreement, exchange prisoners, and calm down tensions over the Berlin Wall Crisis in Europe, but as the 1962 Midterms started in full swing, a semblance of peace had returned to the Cold War environment.

    ----------------------------​

    Across the Atlantic, the Soviet Union was watching the events plaguing its erstwhile Western Hemisphere ally with both trepidation and opportunity. Nikita Khruschev, worried himself about possible moves on his power by others in the Politburo, ordered the Red Army General Staff to prepare massive military aid shipments to Castro – but to hold off for the moment. It wasn’t worth antagonizing the United States any further. Not from what had to be done far closer to the Rodina.

    For years, a signifigant brain and manpower drain had haunted the Warsaw Pact governments, especially that of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). Many fled across the reletively ungaurded borders of the socialist state, running from the oppresive regime to the freedom offered by the neighboring Federal Republic of Germany. Socialist Unity Party leader Walther Ulbricht informed Khruschev that something had to be done if the GDR was to remain a viable nation state.

    With the Cuban Civil War capturing the attention of most in the United States as the DRF consolidated their gains and prepared an offensive to Santiago, in October the GDR struck. With the full approval of Khruschev and the Red Army high command in East Germany, Ulbricht formally closed and secured the border between the GDR and West Germany. Construction of what Ulbricht called der Mauer in a speech to the Party Congress began at a furioius pace, scheduled for completion at the end of January 1962.
    [​IMG]
    The mazes of barbed wire topped walls, guard towers, machine gun nests, and pillboxes rapidly crowded the border between West Berlin and the communist East. Anyone in the marked “Death Strip” was shot on sight by the border guards, the ripping of automatic fire resonating through Berlin for weeks until the refugees caught on and the flow trickled to a crawl. Already on high alert due to the war in Cuba and the construction, several firefights took place between NATO forces and the Warsaw Pack along the borders, forcing Nixon to jack up the readiness of SACEUR in response to an increasingly belligerent Khruschev. With what was happening in Cuba, the Soviets had the advantage in Germany and both sides knew it.

    Having met Nixon in person at the American National Exhibition in Moscow, 1959, Nikita Khruschev held an uneasy respect for the American President. The hopes that someone untested and therefore possibly weak being elected in 1960 dashed, while presenting a bellicose front the Ukranian and his allies in the Politburo pushed the USSR on a course of caution. Instead of bold projections of power, the Soviet Union increased arms shipments to friendly governments and – covertly – to foreign ‘national liberation’ movements. The hope was that by increasing their power it would serve to further project Marxism-Leninism for when the USSR finally caught up to the West.

    In most cases the programme payed dividends in the long run by bolstering many foundering movements, but in one area of the world it backfired. Barely surviving a near putch among its colonial military hierarchy, the French Fourth Republic was in dire straits as the year 1958 entered its second half. Algeria was becoming a quagmire, and only the quick thinking of President Rene Coty in appointing famed war hero Charles de Gaulle as President of the Council and negotiating with military officers plotting a coup saved the faltering government.

    Although de Gaulle planned to end the War in Algeria, brought on by Arab rebel groups fighting for independence from the Fourth Republic (unlike other colonial possessions, Algeria had a massive French settler population), all was for naught when a rogue Algerian communist fighter assassinated 'The General" during the latter's visit to Algiers to assess the situation. With increased Soviet aid pouring into the coffers of the insurgents through smuggling and from Libya, de Gaulle's successor Georges Bidault rallied support among the furious French populace to continue the fight for Algerie Franciase.

    Unwilling to lose Algeria and have it established as a Soviet client state, the Fourth Republic was buttressed by limited military aid from the US and Britian. Its military and economy was exhausted, but Bidault wouldn't give up and de Gaulle's assassination gave him enough political cover to continue. Wearing the FLN down in a series of furious offensives, by 1960 Bidault was ready to call for negotiations.

    Meeting at Toulon, the French and non-Communist/radical Algerians hammered out a peace treaty that would end the war, which was signed on Octobr 23rd, 1961.

    [​IMG]
    In exchange for renouncing support of the communists and relinquishing their arms, Algeria would be divided. Much of the coastline (the areas where the French settlers lived for the most part) would remain a part of the Fourth Republic officially and all Algerians living within them would be granted French citizenship if they so chose. The rest of the country – including nearly all of the inland regions – would be given complete domestic autonomy as the Province of Algerian Sahara, though still subordinate to the Fourth Republic on foreign policy issues.

    While the communists and radical members of the FLN would oppose and fight a small scale insurgency in both Algeria-Littoral and Algerian Sahara for nearly a decade, the Toulon accords had ended the seven year conflict. Bidault was hailed a hero across France for the action, preventing yet another country from falling to communism and saving the crown jewel of France’s colonial empire.

    ------------------------
    If any one person could be associated with Arizona, he would have to be Carl Hayden. First in the House (when it was an at-large seat) and then the Senate, he had represented the state continuously since 1913. With this he had racked up considerable seniority, the Senator using it and backroom dealings to funnel millions of federal dollars to infrastructure projects in the state. Though age and general ill health were encroaching rapidly on the veteran Senator, Hayden sought reelection for an unprecedented seventh term.

    Nicknamed the ‘Silent Senator’ (for never speaking out on the Senate floor), Hayden’s GOP opponent was the exact opposite. Having only been elected to one term in the Arizona State Senate only two years previously, no one gave the bombastic gadfly Evan Mecham any chance to defeat a virtual state institution.

    Mecham took it in stride, campaigning firmly against the “Gutter communistic practices in Washington” and claiming that the six term incumbent Hayden was “Too busy living it up in immoral sauries in Gomorrah to properly represent the people of Arizona.” Joined with several racial gaffes including the use of the word “pickaninny” at a campaign stop, his campaign was never taken seriously.

    [​IMG]
    After two recounts by state officials lasting nearly three weeks, the conventional wisdom was proven a fatal miscalculation. The Hayden campaign had thought his seniority regarding the Central Arizona Project (a massive aqueduct system) would ensure his reelection even with the spate of new arrivals to the state that lacked memory of his long service. However by ignoring the feisty Mecham, in addition to a hospitalizing illness barely a week before election day, merely played into the State Senators hand’s and giving him a razor thin 281 vote win.

    Barry Goldwater later recounted a statement to him by Senate Majority Leader Everett Dirksen: “Jesus Barry, what has your state done to us?”

    ------------------------------------------------------​
    Having been elected after over a decade of GOP dominance in the Democratic year of 1958, the California GOP knew Pat Brown was vulnerable. It was virtually certain that he would face a well-funded, strong challenge being in the President’s home state.

    While the Democratic Party and organized Labor were fully behind the Governor, Brown was hindered with low approval ratings due to several failures in enacting his agenda on issues such as the minimum wage. The GOP primary was bitter with both the liberal and the conservative wings jockeying for the chance to defeat the Governor. Winning over Oil Executive and John Birch society member Joe Shell was the Mayor of San Francisco, George Christopher who rode attacks on the Birch Society’s leader’s racist attitudes and the coattails of popular liberal Republican Senator Thomas Kuchel to a ten point victory. Hailing from the Democratic base area of the state, Christopher began with an instant eight point lead over Brown.

    Enthusiastically endorsed by organized labor, John F. Kennedy, and popular Mayor Sam Yorty of Los Angeles, Pat Brown went full liberal populist against Christopher. Attack after attack was sent on the Mayor on economic issues to appeal with both white working class and black voters. Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa made it his personal mission to reelect Pat Brown, knowing a victory in California would boost his profile as a political kingmaker (part of his latest move to renounce his shady past and go fully legitimate in his practices).

    Brown had effectively chipped away at the deficit, but by election day Christopher still possessed a 49-47 lead.

    [​IMG]
    Despite strong leads for most of the campaign, Christopher found himself edged out by Brown by a pretty solid margin of 400,000 votes despite Senator Kuchel’s landslide 60-39 win. Dissatisfaction by working class voters in the cities, the rural north, and the Central Valley with the liberal Christopher contributed to Brown’s victory, as did resentment by Shell supporters from the vicious primary. Black voters had gone for Christopher, but by the narrow 55-45 margin compared to Nixon’s 89% two years previously, Brown narrowly carrying whites and overwhelming among Hispanics. Pat Brown and the Democrats raised their glasses in celebration, confident the now divided state GOP was finally on its last legs.

    The following four years would prove how wrong they were.

    ------------------------------------------------------​

    The Class III Hawaii senate seat was originally considered a slam dunk for the Democratic Party given that all expected popular Japanese-American Representative Daniel Inouye to run for the open seat. However, Inouye stunned the political world when he opted to run for re-election in the house for unsaid reasons. Afterward, intense pressure was placed on Senator Owen Long to run for reelection. A former Governor, he was the party’s best bet to retain the seat after Inouye’s decline.

    [​IMG]
    In a grueling campaign dominated by local patronage issues, foreign policy, and especially civil rights (as the all-important Asian and native Hawaiian vote was in play), Republican Lt. Governor James Kealoha triumphed by four thousand votes. His victory over Long could be attributed to the heavily pro-military Hawaii’s vote of confidence for the Nixon foreign policy and the state’s Asian-American population’s concern over civil rights legislation. Memories of the Japanese Internment and discrimination ran deep, and they caused the state to punish the Democratic Party.

    ---------------------------------------------​

    Propelled to office in the Eisenhower landslide of 1956, the first time Republicans won Kentucky since Herbert Hoover in 1928, Thruston Morton had rapidly risen to hold several major party positions, including leading the RNC for the year 1961. Such actions and the pale-blue lean of the state made him a tempting target for both wings of the Democratic Party.

    Despite his desire to run for an unprecedented third non-consecutive term as Governor for the next year, party bosses managed to convince former Governor, Senator, and Commissioner of Major League Baseball Albert Benjamin "Happy" Chandler to throw his hat in the ring for Morton’s seat. Both sides having the absolute best candidate to run, the race immediately saw massive amounts of out of state money pouring in. Former President Truman, Senators John F. Kennedy and Michael Mansfield, and several labor leaders including Jimmy Hoffa campaigned for Chandler while Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon, along with Kentucky’s popular senior Senator John Sherman Cooper stumped for Moreton.

    Chandler mostly campaigned on economic and labor issues, both Senators holding matching liberal views on civil rights and conservative ones on other social issues. However, at the direction of southern Democrats such as George Wallace and Orval Faubus, segregationist voters pushed hard for Chandler in the form of voter turnout. Morton chose to make an issue out of it, while Chandler issued furious press statements denouncing Wallace’s actions.

    [​IMG]
    Ironically, the campaign by the southern segregationists joined pushes by the AFL-CIO, Teamsters, and United Mine Workers in Chandler’s fourteen thousand vote win over Morton. The Kentucky giant returned to the Senate for his last term in any Kentucky office.

    -----------------------------------------​

    While the President’s party normally lost seats in the midterm elections, Richard Nixon and the Republicans were riding high from several high profile foreign policy victories such as the establishment of the Federal Republic of Cuba, the reestablishment of friendly relations between the US and the UK and the French Fourth Republic, and the effective response to Communist aggression in Vietnam without employing US ground troops.

    Thusly, Republican losses were modest in nature, focused more in individual factors in the different races and the backlash by Southern voters against Nixon’s pro-civil rights stance.

    [​IMG]
    Most senior members (with the notable absence of Carl Hayden) including Everett Dirksen, Thomas Kuchel, George Smathers, and – despite a strong GOP challenge – 1960 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Wayne Morse won reelection, the losses restricted to freshmen and open seats for the most part. Aside from the NH special election the GOP swept the northeast, reelecting three Senators including appointed incumbent Horace Seely-Brown winning Treasury Secretary Prescott Bush’s seat over Abraham Ribacoff.

    Overall, the balance in the senate remained mostly the same, the Democrats poaching a net one seat gain over the Republicans despite the loss of several high profile members. While senators such as Birch Bayh and Thomas McIntyre were as pro-civil rights as their defeated Republican opponents, the southern forces were boosted by the election of George P. Mahoney in MD, having rode the wave of discontent against Nixon to defeat his Democratic and Republican opponents by roughly ten points each.

    [​IMG]
    The house was much more favorable to the Democrats than the senate, forcing the GOP back under 200 seats. Republican gains from the western states (netted due to the strength of the Johnson/Morse ticket in them) were more than made up for by Democratic gains in the upper south (winning back half of the seats gained in the Nixon wave in NC, TX, VA, TN, and KY) and from working class ethnics in New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

    One notable Republican victory was that of the youthful navy vet and congressional aide Donald Rumsfeld, winning a GOP seat in the north shore of Chicago in a landslide. A single Dixiecrat candidate, Lester Maddox, was elected to a majority rural district in Georgia with a 39%-38% plurality over an incumbent Democrat.

    As the year of 1963 dawned, the people of the United States had awoken to an unimaginable horror. As morning services were winding down, a bomb detonated at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The parishioners were nearly all African-American, and among the eleven dead were four small girls whose pictures made national headlines barely a day following the crime.

    [​IMG]
    It would later be discovered that several Ku Klux Klan members perpetrated the bombing, but the successful and unsuccessful convictions were still decades in the making. As the weeks passed in January and February with no leads in the highest profile crime yet of the new decade, intense pressure was pressed on the Nixon Administration and the Federal Government for an addressment of civil rights.

    White House audio transcript, February 11th 1963
    Meeting of Senior Cabinet.

    Nixon: [audible sighing] Seeing those tiny coffins, the lives of four young kids denied a chance at life. Shit.

    [Silence]

    Finch: Funerals of children are tough on all of us Mr. President, especially this one.

    Bunche: I had a conversation with Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP leadership yesterday. They and Doctor King expect something done because of this.

    Arends: I agree, the status quo cannot be sustained. But with Brown and CRVA still being resisted there’s only so much capital we have to affect real change?

    Nixon: Four kids and seven others are dead Leslie, now’s not the time to hand out a fucking spanking! [muttered profanities] Jesus, it’s time we finish off the segregationist assholes once and for all.

    Bush: It won’t be easy, far from it. Thurmond, Gore, that puissant slug Mecham, and the others won’t take this lying down. And the scope of the bill is an issue as well.

    Nixon: Agreed Prescott, the restrained bills from before aren’t enough. The courts are toothless as it is becoming quite clear and any negro voting we see with CRVA is meaningless if the fuckers detonate a bomb or take up arms whenever a young black boy even talks to a white girl. Let along what happened too… uh… [mumbling]

    Dulles: Kennard, Mr. President. Clyde Kennard.

    Nixon: Right, thank you Alan. [chuckles dryly] Ike was right about the stress getting to you sometimes. Anyway, something has to be done. Something big, something that’ll hit the bastards right in the stomach.

    Chotiner: What are you suggesting sir?

    [Silence]

    Nixon: Get Mansfield and Dirksen up here. I think it’s time for a chat. Oh, and Bob.

    Finch: Yes Mr. President?

    Nixon: Schedule an address soon, on all major networks television and radio. Time for a line in the sand.


    (end transcript)​

    In an address to the nation on February 14th, President Nixon did not disappoint. Stating that the United States had a “Moral duty to ensure that every man, woman, and child can live out their inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Nixon directed that he and Vice President Rockefeller would seek a broad solution on ending official discrimination against racial minorities with congressional leadership.

    Congress, led by Senate Majority Leader Michael Mansfield, Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen, Senate Majority Whip John F. Kennedy, and Senate Minority Whip Thomas Kuchel were united to bring what was to become the Civil Rights Act of 1963 to a vote by the end of the summer of the year. However, there were major hurdles. The Senate Committee that would have taken up the bill was chaired by the Southern Democrat James Eastland (D-MS) – normally a conservative ally with the President but firmly anti-civil rights. The bill was yanked and introduced by discharge petition in the House but what remained ways a strong phalanx of opposition from southern Democrats far-right Republicans such as Senator Evan Mecham and Representative John Ashbrook.

    Controlling most Committees due to their seniority, the southern block possessed formidable pull in their favor. Teaming up with Democrat partisans in the House and Senate that were not eager to see the Nixon Administration win a legislative victory (including a bitter Lyndon Johnson, who worked behind closed doors against the legislation), the cadre of senators launched a campaign of obstruction and delays that lasted for almost the entire summer.

    These legislative standoffs were once again brought to the limelight by nearly half a million people brought on September 1st, 1963 to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in what would be called the March on Washington. Addressed personally by President Nixon (at the urging of Martin Luther King Jr. and Chief of Staff Finch despite opposition by many due to the possibility of losing southern Republican and moderate Democrat swing votes in the House), the most famous address was that of the civil rights leader himself:

    “My prayer, said every morning with passion in my voice and tears in my eyes, is that all persons in this nation may be able to live up to its creed, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’”

    This, plus several compromises made by the bipartisan leadership to moderate Democrats (mostly representing working class districts in the northeast or Midwest) and conservative Republicans (constitutionalists like John Ashbrook or southerners like Edward Gurney and Bill Brock), the Civil Rights Act passed the House of Representatives four days following the March on Washington – only ten Republicans voted against, while one hundred and fifty-three Democrats did. Now it was up to the Senate.

    Senate rules required two-thirds of senators for a vote of cloture – to end debate and bring the bill for a vote – and the southern block was prepared to block it from happening. Senators Strom Thurmond, Albert Gore Sr, Robert Byrd, and the freshman firebrand Evan Mecham ran a running filibuster for over 72 hours total, the Arizona Republican breaking Thurmond’s previous record for a single speech with a 23 hour 44 minute rant where he discussed items such as family recipes and how to properly tend a home garden in the desert alongside Constitutional issues.

    Driksen, Kuchel, and Mansfield performed a headcount while Mecham – a headache for the Republican leadership since he was sworn in – spoke. The bill’s backers were one vote shy of passage. Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona.

    -Excerpt from In the Thick of the Fight: The Autobiography of Barry M. Goldwater-
    No one understood greater than I the importance of this particular vote. Though I always seek to appear modest in nature, I must say that in fact, I understood the gravity of my choice more acutely than my Senate colleagues. After my meeting with Everett [Dirksen] and Thomas [Kuchel], there was no mishmashing of words. I would be the deciding vote. At least I was given the mercy of a day to deliberate.

    It was not an easy decision to make, even with the benefit of hindsight. I spent silent hours wracking my brain on the merits of the legislation, weighing the need to fight the righteous cause of equality of all men or take a stand against the government abrogation of what the Constitution specifically restricts congress from engaging in.

    The morning of the vote, I am sad to say that I hadn’t made any progress. Suddenly, my secretary interrupted my contemplative haze with the news I had a visitor. I had no appointments for that day, so I was confused to say the least.

    After telling her to let the visitor in, I was then greeted by the presence of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. I had met him several times on previous occasions, and just like then he was the humblest of humble. A decent man through and through.

    “I’ve been told you are the deciding vote on the civil rights bill,” he said, not a trace of malice or even pleading in his voice.

    “Yes,” I replied. “I’m concerned that the bill expands the scope of the federal government, despite the need to combat discrimination.”

    Reverend King was silent, smiling slightly. “I can respect that particular view, even in disagreeing with it. Such it is with our system yes?”

    I smiled back, “Very true, yes.”

    King looked out the window. “Booker T. Washington was weary of direct action as well, putting more on how the black man must find his way up the economic ladder before he has the clout to demand rights from his government.” The Reverend sighed. “I believe now the time has come. Do you believe that Brown vs. Board was the right decision Senator?” He looked directly at me, boring into my eyes.

    “Yes.”

    “In the south, my home, it appears as if the landmark decision never happened. Segregation is still in place.”

    I really didn’t know where he was going with this. “A travesty,” I answered. There were some things too vital for the government not to step in. I believed in enforcing desegregation of the schools, but the bill in front of me was another thing entirely.

    What King said next wasn’t what I would think he’d do. “Do you mind if we prayed Senator? Ask the almighty for guidance.” I am proud to say that I agreed.

    As we clasped our hands together, the Reverend speaking a soft prayer that He could give us the guidance to do what was right, I realized what I had to do. And to this day, I never regret that choice.


    “Until all men in this nation are able to exercise their unalienable rights, granted them by their creator, then this nation can never truly call itself free! While the power this body is seeking to invoke can be dangerous in the wrong hands and for the wrong reasons, the sickening lack of many states to accept the principle that all men are created equal necessitates this action. We must not cower in the face of evil my fellow Senators! Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue! Therefore I announce that I will cast my vote in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1963.”


    -Barry Goldwater on the Senate floor, September 10th, 1963-


    The deciding vote cast by the Arizona Senator – which led to a near shouting match between him and his home state colleague Evan Mecham – ensured the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1963 by a margin of 67-33 on the senate floor. President Nixon would sign the bill with Martin Luther King and several other civil rights leaders in attendance one week later.


    Civil Rights Act of 1963:

    Title I

    Barred unequal application of official government services (voting already guaranteed in CRVA).

    Title II

    Outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public and private accommodations engaged in interstate commerce.

    Title III

    Prohibited state and municipal governments from denying access to public facilities on grounds of race, color, religion or national origin.

    Title IV

    Encouraged the desegregation of public schools and authorized the U.S. Attorney General to file suits to enforce said act.

    Title V

    Expanded the Civil Rights Commission established by the earlier Civil Rights Act of 1957 with additional powers, rules and procedures.

    Title VI

    Prevents discrimination by government agencies that receive federal funds. If an agency is found in violation of Title VI, that agency may lose its federal funding.

    Title VII

    Directed state governments to create agencies to enforce the requirements – however, if the state enforcement is lacking then the Justice Department would act to enforce them.

    Title VIII

    Established that any law that sought to use race as a determining factor had to establish a ‘vital state interest’ in enacting said law with the Justice Department or a Federal Appeals Court panel before it could take effect.


    After its passage, dozens of states would soon pass bans on racial discrimination by private businesses in hiring and firing decisions, citing a loophole in the federal act. Despite this however, no one could deny the momentous year it had been for the cause of civil rights.

    With the Civil Rights Act signed into law, President Richard Nixon had concluded three years of sweeping policy victories that easily set him up for re-election in the next year. No legitimate candidate had entered the Republican race to challenge him, and his average 57% approval rating discouraged many top Democrats from attempting to take the plunge. After a week-long rest from the tumultuous year for Thanksgiving in sunny San Clemente, California, the President immediately set upon a national tour of key states and cities to further bolster his already strong position.

    Nixon’s popularity would be a boon to Republicans across the nation, especially to those state parties overcoming losses in the midterms.

    [​IMG]
    This was self-evident in Kentucky, where tensions within the Democratic machine between Governor Bert Combs and Senator Happy Chandler combined with a late push by President Nixon allowed Louie B. Nunn to win by a modest three point margin, rejuvenating Kentucky Republicans after Thruston Morton’s agonizing loss the year before.

    Having toured the northeast and the Upper South (to cheering crowds, especially among African-American audiences), the last stop before the industrial heartland of the Midwest was Baltimore, Maryland. A state that had been trending away from the GOP in recent years, shoring up the state’s electoral votes by getting huge margins among urban blacks and suburban voters could make the difference in a possible close election,

    Rallying with Baltimore harbor in the background, Nixon and First Lady Pat joined the rally’s sponsors, Senator James Glenn Beall, Baltimore County Executive Spiro Agnew, and civil rights leader Gloria Richardson, to a cheering crowd of about three thousand white and black supporters. The applause for the President could be heard across the city, a sendoff fit for a great leader.

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    Suddenly a sharp crack rang out, followed by a second mere seconds after. The president toppled, the bullet hitting his aorta and exiting his back to hit Spiro Agnew in the shoulder. The second would kill Chief of Staff Murray Chotiner, having been aimed to hit the First Lady.

    Richard Nixon wouldn’t survive long enough to be loaded into the ambulance, bleeding out from the well placed gunshot.

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    All in the United States would later be able to say where they were when they heard the President had been assassinated, a black cloud of mourning descending upon the shocked nation. Secret Service and Baltimore Police would quickly apprehend the killer, having attempted to duck out the back exit of the five story building he had used.

    It soon became clear that Lee Harvey Oswald had targeted the President of the United States personally, both an ideological target and one of vengeance.

    Lee Harvey Oswald was born in New Orleans to a single mother, his father having died two months prior to his birth. They moved around quite often, the growing Lee exhibiting countless behavioral problems including rage and delusions. He dropped out of school in the 10th grade and proceeded to get a series of odd jobs here and there to earn a living. While doing so he came upon socialist and communist periodicals. In later interviews he stated that in this dark time in his life, he became a committed Marxist-Leninist.

    Enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1956, he quickly drew ire from his squadmates for his pro Soviet views. Despite this, he excelled at the training and was quickly rated as an expert marksman. However, in 1959 he was court marshaled and dishonorably discharged for assaulting an officer and moved back in with his mother.

    In 1959 he immigrated to the Soviet Union, marrying one Marina Nikolayevna Prusakova and having several children. Circumstances regarding the strained tensions caused by the Berlin crisis would force Oswald to return home to the United States. Marina and their children would be denied entry visas however, caused by temporary rules limiting travel by private individuals instituted by the Nixon Administration. Heartbroken and fueled with rage, Oswald made it his mission to get vengeance upon the president, which he would bring to fruition.

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    Armed with an Italian made sharpshooting rifle, Oswald waited for the right moment overlooking the Baltimore rally before killing Nixon. In his detailed confession to the police, he ranted furiously about his wife and kids while other times coolly proclaiming his allegiance to the Soviet Union and the Marxist dialectic. Convicted of two counts of first degree murder (for Nixon and Chotiner) and two counts of attempted first degree murder for two police officers wounded in trying to apprehend him, Oswald would be executed four years later in the Maryland House of Correction gas chamber, ending the life of the most infamous person in the 20th Century.

    Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, in Portland on a speaking tour of the western states, was immediately flown back to Washington. On the plane, he was sworn in as the nation’s 36th President, the task to bring American together after the great tragedy his and his alone.
     
  3. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Location:
    Good ol' USA
    Taking office in 1957 and winning a decisive election in 1959, British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan had accomplished much in his six years as Prime Minister. Military modernization was rammed through to rejuvenate British prestige after the disastrous Suez Crisis, the economy was growing, and the British Colonial Empire was peacefully set toward decolonization. However, after all of this and what was coming to 12 years of Conservative Party governance had exhausted the party and left the fatigued Prime Minister in poor health.

    The revelation that Secretary of State of War John Profumo was engaged in a torrid love affair hammered the nails in Macmillan’s coffin. Already wracked by stress, the scandal caused Macmillan to announce his resignation, leaving the leadership race for the Conservatives wide open.

    After several possible candidates were either too divisive or refused to run – the most notable being Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Home – many of the liberal wing and the conservative Monday Club wing settled on Colonial Secretary Iain Macleod. Though disliked by many on the right due to his pushing of rapid independence of Britain’s Colonial Empire (though close ties were maintained in the French model, except in the case of South Africa, Bechuanaland, and Rhodesia, all three of which declared themselves republics) the lack of other consensus choices lead to his appointment in Summer 1963.

    Meanwhile, the Labour Party was rapidly gaining in the polls following the appointment of the center-left, youthful Harold Wilson as Leader of the Opposition. Attacking the Government at every turn, Wilson ran on a forward looking message aimed at the working class, stating that the "white heat of revolution" would sweep away "restrictive practices... on both sides of industry.” Having delayed holding a General Election for as long as conceivably possible, Prime Minister Macleod eventually was forced to call one for the fourteenth of August, 1964.

    Wilson and Deputy Leader George Brown, a strong campaigner despite his penchant for gaffes, touted further expansion of the Atlee-government labour reforms while smearing Conservative leaders as immoral aristocrats – invoking the Profumo Affair. The Tories advocated keeping Great Britain as a world power, criticizing Wilson’s proposed slashing of defence spending – an unpopular policy after the Berlin Wall crisis and the assassination of Richard Nixon. Quite adept at this was the fiery Lord Havisham. Once, interrupted by hecklers at a rally in Manchester, his face reddened to that of a ripe tomato as he hit at one of their Wilson placards with his brass tipped cane – far from a detriment, these actions injected a needed passion into the moribund Conservatives.

    The moment of the campaign, however, came as a response to Wilson’s repeated charges of Tory attacks on the working class. Scoffing in a national television interview, Macleod replied that he didn’t seek to impose a “Nanny State” like Wilson, “Where one treats the working class Briton as a mere lad just needing to be watched and guided through life.”

    On election day, BBC election specialist David Butler initially predicted a hung parliament with the Liberals holding the balance. However, as marginal constituencies began to pour in the picture rapidly changed. Modest Labour swings across most of the nation were cancelled out with Tory swings in Central England, Yorkshire, and northern Scotland, dashing opposition hopes to form even a minority government. The Liberals did reasonably well, earning double digit support once more with ten seats.

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    Buoyed by a stronger than expected hold on rural Scotland, the unanimous holds in Northern Ireland, and nearly a dozen gained seats in central England (including the seat of prospective Foreign Secretary Gordon Walker by Conservative Peter Griffiths, Smethwick, in a campaign dominated by dirty attacks and race baiting), Iain Macleod retained a narrow 13-seat majority to be able to visit Her Majesty to form a new government.
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    After the near constitutional crisis that the French Fourth Republic faced in the late 1950s, Georges Bidault knew the broad unity government (including all but the communists and far-right) wouldn’t last much longer. Despite the surge of support his government recieved following the assassination of Charles de Gaulle, Bidault found himself unable to draft a new Constitution with a powerful executive due to the sluggishness and inertia of the National Assembly. Instead, the WWII hero placed both the proposed Toulon Accords and several changes to the Fourth Republic’s Constitution to the people for the next general election. A mandate from them could break the legislative deadlock.

    Though the two center-right parties had merged into Bidault's Popular Republican Movement, what was originally looking like a win for the centrist/left parties (MRP, the Radicals/Democratic and Socialist Union of the Resistance, and the French Section of the Workers' International), the entrance of two new parties shook up the entire race. As negotiated, the Algerian FLN was allowed to run candidates in the new proportional system in the proposed districts of Algeria-littoral. Countering this was the new right-wing National Front, founded by former Paratrooper General and Algerian War veteran Jacques Massu. To secure his right flank, Bidault campaigned hard on his war record and desire to preserve France’s status as a great power, using the strong communist push as a perfect foil.

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    Bidault did rather well in the proportional election, winning a strong thirty-two percent of the vote. His allies in the Radical-UDSR alliance were the major losers aside from the underperforming communists, and this would force Bidault to make a deal with Massu and the FN in order to form a government not including SFIO.

    The FLN cleaned up among the native Algerians, allowed the vote for the first time in France’s history. Observations pointed out that the FLN and communist dominated native vote contrasted blatantly with the Pied Noir and Harki vote, cast for the FN and MRP for the most part.

    After the ratification of the Toulon Accords and the passage of Bidault’s constitutional amendments –basically increasing the executive power of the President of the Council – the governing coalition government found itself in great disagreement over the issue of France’s colonial empire. With the rapid decolonization in the British Empire, the French defeat in Indochina, and the largely successful Algerian insurgency, independence movements were gaining ground both across the colonies and on the home front. The Communists, FLN, and SFIO joined with the Radicals and many within Bidault’s own party in pushing for decolonization. However, the MRP right wing and FN were categorically against the move, now Defense Minister Massu threatening to resign and break the coalition if independence was given.

    Though personally desiring to rid the still economically problematic Fourth Republic of the headache, Bidault decided not to risk the stability of his government. Calling independence movement leaders to the Élysée Palace in 1962, a week of negotiations lead to the formation of the French Community, a military and economic confederation styled after the British Commonwealth.

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    Hope soared among the French people that the battered nation could maintain its place in the sun.
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    The conservative Coalition government of Australia (the Liberal Party representing the more populated areas while the Country Party was more rural in scope) had been in power two years longer than the British Conservatives, and unlike them were led the whole period by the towering Victorian Sir Robert Menzies. The government had survived all attempts by the leftist Labor Party to dislodge it as it oversaw Australia’s post-War economic boom, but a mild recession and the appointment of the new opposition leader Arthur Calwell were leaving it in real danger of losing the next election.

    However, two things would save the long-serving Menzies government. The dogged campaigning of Minister of External Affairs Harold Holt (promoted to Treasurer after the election) consistently hit the theme of the Government that with Southeast Asia flaring up the people couldn’t risk changing the government. Menzies and American President Nixon worked quite closely on the Vietnam situation, and any development there worried the nearby Australians more than any other western nation.

    The Second was the Democratic Labor Party, an anti-Communist offshoot of Labor that was nominally allied with the Coalition. Come election day, DLP preference votes (Australia using instant runoff voting) kept the swing against the government from getting too large.

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    Three seats were immediately focused on. Moreton, a marginal Queensland seat, was narrowly won by Labor while the Victoria seat of Bruce, held by future Prime Minister Billy Snedden, was narrowly retained for the Coalition thanks to DLP preferences. Lastly, the seat of Wills was retained by the sole DLP member of Parliament, former Labor MP Bill Bryson – having lost his seat in 1955 but won it once more in 1958. While the two major parties were divided 61-60, Bryson’s decision to sit with the Coalition as a crossbench MP allowed Menzies to form his ninth ministry.

    After three further years in office the Menzies Government was looking in far better shape. The stable economy and disputes regarding private school funding and the inclusion of Aboriginal Australians onto the voting rolls (approved by the Government in time for the election) had dramatically improved the Coalition’s position. Calwell and Labor had never really recovered from the narrow loss three years earlier, their position further hurt by a negative news story showing Calwell and Gough Whitlam waiting outside a meeting of Labor insiders – dubbed the ‘Thirty-eight Faceless Men’ by the press.

    However, as Menzies prepared to call an election the main issue turned out to be foreign policy and defence. With the Vietnam War heating up to the north – several thousand Australian troops and advisors in South Vietnam – and the assassination of US President Nixon brought fears of Communism to a new high. Labor’s opposition to several new joint RAN (Royal Australian Navy)/RN bases and RAN/USN submarine communications stations were trumpeted to the skies by the Coalition. Still beset by the Petrov Affair nearly a decade before, Labor struggled to overcome the Coalition’s latest barrage.

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    With the DLP having officially joined the Coalition (Bryson joined by a second elected member), the coalition reversed Labor’s gains from 1961 as the size of the House of Representatives was increased to 130. Menzies found himself elected to his ninth and final ministry, just as the fight for Southeast Asia would begin to escalate.

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    President Nelson Rockefeller had his work cut out for him. Taking office on the heels of the assassination on Richard Nixon, his first move as chief executive was to instruct Director J Edgar Hoover of the FBI to compile a full investigation into the killing. To ensure nonpartisanship, he authorized a bipartisan commission to be formed to conduct a separate investigation – it would be called the Burger Commission after its chairman, Nixon appointed Associate Justice Warren Burger (one of the late President’s two, along with former New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey).

    After months of testimony, both Hoover and the Burger Commission declared that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, and his motivation was simultaneously revenge for the blocking of his wife’s visa application and Marxist-Leninist zeal against the United States.

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    Even before the full report was authored, President Rockefeller prepared a package of legislation in response to the assassination. Thundering in his first State of the Union Address, the patrician New Yorker delivered a fiery speech that would later be determined as the beginning of the Third Red Scare.

    A Constitutional amendment to allow for the appointment of a Vice President was proposed by the former holder of that office. He called on Congress to pass legislation placing strict security restrictions and monitoring protocols on immigrants from Communist or Third World nations, and to ban repatriation of defecting citizens. Several projects once deemed on the back-burner (including nuclear powered cruisers) were funded along with the appropriation of additional funds to the CIA and FBI, directed with monitoring suspicious individuals both of the American far-left (mostly the fringe groups rather than established and respected ones) and many immigrants from the third world. The efforts drew support from across the political aisle, Senators John Stennis and Henry M Jackson among their strongest proponents.

    Though controversial, generous foreign aid packages were set up – with collaboration with Prime Minister Iain Macleod in Britain – for the anti-Communist white-minority governments in South Africa, Bechuanaland, and Rhodesia. Despite Rockefeller’s opposition to the racial oppression, the cause of fighting communism was considered more vital at that point.

    Overseas, Rockefeller ordered the deployment of 25,000 additional ground troops to Vietnam as well as further military aid to the country. Increased Soviet and Chinese funding had emboldened the North Vietnamese, which in turn had stepped up supply to the Southern guerillas. The Viet Cong were reeling from Thieu and Lansdale’s efforts however, and to bolster them General Vo Ngyuen Giap authorized two divisions of the NVA south along the ‘Ho Chi Min’ trail, a series of footpaths and tracks through the Laotian and Cambodian jungles from North Vietnam to the South.

    Mostly continuing the Nixon domestic policy, Rockefeller would push through two final pieces of legislation before the Presidential campaign would halt most of Washington. The Anti-Discrimination Act of 1964 would outlaw private discrimination on the basis of race, sex, and national origin, though the law was watered down slightly to earn the votes of prominent conservatives concerned about government power (Rockefeller not wanting to split the party while running for a full term). The second would, however, render all previous efforts moot. By a strong margin – though with every conservative Republican opposed – the Public Works Act was passed, establishing the United States Department of Public Works, a full cabinet department enthusiastically signed by President Rockefeller.
    -------------------------
    There was no doubt that President Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller was a member of the liberal wing of the Republican Party, amenable to big government solutions and pro-New Deal. As the conservative wing of the party was growing in power (though subject to its own divisions), many observers considered it likely that the President would face a challenger for the GOP nomination. However, the strength of the scion of one of the nation’s wealthiest families and as an incumbent President was still daunting. There was no doubt that Nixon would have sailed to the nomination unopposed, so one by one conservatives lined up behind the President or – such as Barry Goldwater – declared neutrality.

    Suddenly, a challenger emerged in the form of Freshman Arizona Senator Evan Mecham, the famous gadfly and John Birch Society member. Declaring his candidacy to a packed Phoenix crowd of Republicans and Birchers, Mecham immediately zeroed in on Rockefeller as a “toady of the New York elite” and a “closet socialist.” Riding into New Hampshire and camping there for nearly three weeks, he furiously attacked the President and championed “Constitutional conservatism in the mold of Thomas Jefferson and Barry Goldwater” (despite the immediate denunciation of the speech by Arizona’s senior senator).

    [​IMG]

    Due in part to Rockefeller’s campaign deeming that the President had to appear above the fray – and considering Mecham an insect unworthy of replying to – the New Hampshire primary stunned the nation. The final results were razor thin, Rockefeller 50.2%, Mecham 49.5%, a disastrous showing for the incumbent. Rockefeller thus began hitting the trail, top tier surrogates such as California Senator Thomas Kuchel, New York Governor Malcom Wilson, Kentucky Governor Louie B. Nunn, charismatic Manhattan Congressman John Lindsay, and even former President Eisenhower began stumping for him and attacking Mecham – Kuchel taking the point on the attacks.

    Meanwhile, influential conservatives met in Philadelphia in early March to discuss the Mecham candidacy. It was almost unanimous that the Arizona Senator and his Birch Society allies had to be stopped from taking over the movement, even if it meant for Rockefeller to win the primary. It was decided that an alternate candidate was needed to serve as a true Conservative alternative to Mecham’s “reactionary insanity” and racist remarks. Not three days later, influential journalist and founder of National Review William F Buckley announced his run for the Presidency, referencing Rockefeller only indirectly as he trained his fire on Mecham and the southern Democrats.

    The remainder of the primaries would be relatively sleepy, Mecham winning Florida, West Virginia, and Oregon, Buckley Nebraska, Wisconsin, and New Jersey, and Rockefeller sweeping the rest.

    At the convention, the fracturing of the conservative block by Buckley (whose candidacy was mainly as a foil of Mecham, not a serious bid) and the persuasions of many swing votes to give Rockefeller the nomination as to prevent Mecham from gaining ground sealed the deal. On the first ballot the President was renominated handily, Buckley beating out Mecham for second place – which it was reported the Arizona Senator let out a profanity and racially charged rant as he and his delegates stormed out of the convention for the day.

    Despite winning the nomination only through the support of many conservatives, Rockefeller stirred up the hornet’s nest when he announced Thomas Kuchel as his running mate. The California Senator was a vociferous opponent of the rival faction, but a last ditch effort by conservatives to push Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton fizzled out. Rockefeller and Kuchel left the convention ready to take on whomever the Democrats nominated.

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    With Rockefeller facing sky high approval ratings, the casual observer would be reasonable in assuming that many Democrats wouldn’t try to challenge the incumbent. However, the Democrats as a whole rightly recognized the flaws in the New Yorker and soon, a modest crop of top tier candidates had lined up.
    With four additional years of experience in the Senate and on the campaign trail under his belt, the conventional wisdom once again declared this was John F. Kennedy’s race to lose. Having stumped across the country for Democratic candidates, Kennedy and the family team headed by the crafty Democratic electioneer Joseph P Kennedy Sr had cornered a massive amount of institutional support. Groups such as the Democratic machines of the Upper South, former President Harry Truman, and the influential Teamsters Union and its President, Jimmy Hoffa. Unlike before, Kennedy surrogates lobbied Deep South delegates hard, unwilling to take any chance for the nomination to slip between the Massachusetts Senator’s fingers once more.

    Kennedy however faced intense opposition, winning no more than half of the primaries. His “New Horizons” agenda that combined old New Deal-era solutions with classical liberal ideas to better society drew much opposition from core Democratic constituencies, as did Kennedy’s modest support for civil rights (angering both segregationists and the far-left). Former Vice Presidential nominee Wayne Morse quickly emerged as the main threat to Kennedy outright, winning several western and plains state primaries along with West Virginia. He targeted the same populist demographic as Johnson did four years earlier, but was blunted by two other Democrats for the anti-Kennedy vote. Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey was back for another try, but he was increasingly sidelined as the liberal alternative by California Governor Pat Brown, fresh from his decisive re-election win. Humphrey narrowly clinched Wisconsin, while Brown convincingly carried California (54%) over Kennedy (41%) and Morse (15%).

    The Southern Wing of the Democratic Party coalesced early for Tennessee Senator Albert Gore Sr, an ardent opponent of the Nixon/Rockefeller civil rights agenda – unlike Kennedy, who had voted for every bill – and firmly a member of the party’s populist wing on most other issues. Winning the Florida primary with the endorsement of longtime Senator George Smathers, Gore nipped at the heels of Kennedy and Morse but was dealt a blow when Kennedy clinched Texas with the late endorsement of former Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson – a surprise to many, also seen as a massive snub of Morse.

    At the convention in Atlantic City, no one was in the position to take the nomination outright as the first ballot arrived. Kennedy cleaned up in the Northeast, Upper South, and Midwest; Morse in the West and plains states; Brown on the West Coast and many urban delegations; Gore in the south; Humphrey’s low haul quickly doomed his candidacy, half of his delegates scrambling to Kennedy on the second ballot.

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    Between the second and third, a tip was sent to the Missouri delegation that Kennedy was planning to pick his friend and colleague Stuart Symington as his running mate. The news that their senior senator was in line swung the crucial delegation from a Brown/Gore split to Kennedy, allowing him to win the nomination on the third ballot. The rumor was proven right, the smiling JFK announcing Symington as his running mate, approved by a unanimous vote.

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    The nomination of two pro-civil rights senators angered many within the Southern wing of the Democratic Party. In protest, nearly eighty percent of the delegates revived the 1948 Dixiecrat ticket to showcase their displeasure with both political parties. Running on firm platforms of populist economics, uncompromising anti-Communism, and firm pro-Segregation, the delegates selected Governor Orval Faubus of the Little Rock Nine fame as their candidate. He subsequently chose Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett as his running mate, setting up for a three-way election between Rockefeller/Kuchel, Kennedy/Symington, and Faubus/Barnett.

    Ironically, as both conventions gave way to the general election campaign, the nominees to both major parties had very similar stances on most issues. Both Rockefeller and Kennedy were vocal anti-Communists. Both Rockefeller and Kennedy supported smaller marginal tax rates (though the President was more in line with the majority of his party on the issue than the Senator). Both Rockefeller and Kennedy were vocally in support of civil rights – Kennedy and Symington reversing the anti-civil rights changes Sam Ervin made to the platform four years previously. And both Rockefeller and Kennedy were supportive of government efforts to form as a sort of scaffold for society, both supporting of New Deal efforts.

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    Thusly, when it came to the ratcheting up of the campaign against the other, policy contrasts took the backburner for the most part. Certain issues of contention were brought up, Kennedy denouncing Rockefeller’s immigration changes – the base of white ethnics in the northeast and Midwest a vital demographic for the Democrats – and Rockefeller declaring that the Democratic nominee’s New Horizons initiative was bloated and inefficient, a means to calm right-wing fears that had persisted since his establishment of the Department of Public Works and his choice of Senator Kuchel to be his running mate. However, for the most part when policy was discussed, it was the candidates bringing up their records.

    Attacks and contrasts placed on style, relatability, and personality dominated the back and forth between the two. Kennedy and Symington focused their charges on Rockefeller’s wealth and patrician air, the President hailing from one of the nation’s wealthiest families. Consistent fusillades by Democratic surrogates were leveled at Rockefeller, dubbing him a Manhattan elitist out of touch with the ordinary citizen laboring in the farms, factories, or mines. In contrast, the charming and handsome Kennedy played up his Irish roots, visiting working class communities in rolled back shirtsleeves with local union heads flanking him. He especially campaigned hard in black communities, not conceding anything to Rockefeller, especially the demographic that had gone 90% to Nixon four years earlier.

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    Knowing the charges were hurting – the polling gap closing from an eight point lead to a modest four points – Rockefeller pushed back aggressively. The President’s handlers harped on the multi-millionaire’s numerous charitable contributions, demonizing Kennedy for deeming success as a negative thing. Bringing his notorious ferocity to the campaign trail Kuchel raised the question as how could a Senator whose career had been financed by his family’s corruption and illegal activities, could hope to manage the federal government better than the former Governor and current President. Kuchel’s charges were followed up hard, ads hitting Kennedy on his family’s shady activities. The Senator merely laughed it off, saying to CBS radio that the Rockefeller campaign must be getting desperate.

    The entire campaign was shadowed by the Dixiecrat bid of Orval Faubus, the Governor of Arkansas likely to sweep the entire south. Deeming the Deep South a lock thanks to the local Democratic machines that had controlled the heart of the Confederacy since the end of Reconstruction, Faubus and Barnett focused their energy on the border areas. Hoping to throw the election to the House, the two southern governors campaigned hard in states such as Florida, Texas, Kentucky, and Virginia, combining a populist flair with strong denunciations of federal intervention into what was supposed to be a state matter – Rockefeller was attacked as a threat to the Constitution while Kennedy was deemed a Yankee interloper. Polling fluctuated, some showing the Dixiecrats getting upwards of ten points.

    A single debate was held in early October between the three candidates. Each did reasonably well with no major blows, Rockefeller appearing competent and presidential while Faubus’ more hard-edged nature surly helped him among his target voters. However, the winner was clearly Kennedy, who in one evening dispelled the notion that he was out of his league managing the federal government with calm, charismatic, and precise answers to all the questions and attacks brought his way. Gallup found the race a dead heat: Rockefeller 46%, Kennedy 43%, Faubus 9%.

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    On October 10th, the Washington Post published an expose that would net three of their reporters the Pulitzer Prize and completely flip the election on its head. The story documented a six year affair between the President and a married woman named Margaretta "Happy" Murphy, a woman eighteen years his junior and whom he had met as a volunteer for his 1958 gubernatorial run. The President issued a heated denial at first, but after more information came out of the woodwork his campaign was forced to issue a confirming statement. The sensational affair was compounded when First Lady Mary Rockefeller announced she was seeking a divorce, issuing a long and blistering statement to the media.

    Immediately the Kennedy campaign pounced on the issue. Every effort was made to portray the Senator as a family man, a smiling JFK bringing his wife and two young children on the campaign trail with him, he and the beautiful Jackie conducting joint television interviews on all stations. Democrats across the nation contrasted the “Adulterous, out of touch” Rockefeller with the “Faithful, common man” Kennedy, a perception that was highlighted further with the charming, young family on one end while the other featured the President and First Lady’s lawyers arguing in court over the President’s large fortune. A blistering ad, “Daisy” was aired, showing a mother and children – faces not on screen – waiting patiently around a dinner table before cutting to a man enter the apartment of another woman named Daisyl. It closed with the line “Support Honesty and Integrity. Vote John F. Kennedy on November 3rd”

    Republicans made one last ditch attempt to save the crumbling campaign with a televised, twenty minute speech with a surprising surrogate. Having switched parties to support Richard Nixon in 1960, actor and Screen Actors Guild President Ronald Reagan had barnstormed across the nation in 1962 and 1964 for Conservative Republican candidates. After a speech backing Senator Barry Goldwater, who was in a tight reelection race in Arizona, Rockefeller handlers persuaded him to do a national television broadcast in support of the President with the same speech. Rockefeller overruling some liberal members of the campaign (including Kuchel, who’s animosity with Reagan was well known), what became known as the “Great Choice” speech was given, catapulting Ronald Reagan into the political limelight.

    Despite the speech’s rave reviews, a gloom had settled over the White House.

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    John Fitzgerald Kennedy had been elected the 37th President of the United States.

    Strong home state performances, the loyalty of African-Americans to the Republican party, and the moderate nature of the GOP ticket managed to prevent the election from being a complete wipeout, but there was no doubt the Republicans had taken a shellacking. Virginia was narrowly won due to Faubus splitting the D vote and leading to a 41% Rockefeller plurality win, but overall the map ended up a worse version of (now Associate Justice) Thomas Dewey’s failed 1948 run.

    Kennedy swept most of the nation, cleaning up in the Mountain West, the industrial Midwest, and the Upper Midwest. His charm and charisma brought many voters to the Democratic fold, and his stance on Civil Rights would net him 37% of the black vote, a massive improvement over Johnson four years previously.

    Faubus had failed to throw the election to the House, but overall performed better than the 1948 Dixiecrats. Anger at the tide turning against segregation had led to Kennedy third place showings in Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina, while reliably Democratic Georgia and swing Tennessee were won by the Dixiecrats in an impressive 51% and 38% respectively. The Southern caucus had flexed its muscle, there was no doubt about it. Celebratory Democrats, cheering the recapture of the White House, cast worried glances toward this fact.

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    Following the death of freshman Senator Clair Engle early in the year from cancer, California Governor Pat Brown appointed liberal State Controller Alan Cranston to the seat, having been the leading declared candidate for the open seat. A close ally of Brown and the left wing of the California Democratic party, Cranston immediately found himself in a bruising primary for his appointed seat from the conservative Mayor of Los Angeles Sam Yorty. Touting his faithful service as Controller, the pork he had brought back after mere months in the Senate, and his opposition to President Rockefeller’s policies (alluding that the more populist Yorty would vote more with the Republicans than their own party), Cranston won by a large margin – but thirty-seven percent had still gone for the Mayor.

    Overcoming liberal former Governor Goodwin Knight and John Birch Society conservative Bill Shearer in a three way primary, former vaudeville and film actor George Murphy led the Republican ticket against the incumbent. As a moderate conservative Murphy quickly consolidated support from both wings of the party. Wide ranging talent such as Senator and Vice Presidential nominee Thomas Kuchel and fellow-actor Ronald Reagan (the latter acting as a very effective surrogate for the campaign) vouched for him, while the campaign was headed by election all-star and former Chief of Staff Robert Finch. Pitches were made to the Yorty Democrats, Murphy and Finch attempting to add them to the building coalition of suburbanites, outer Bay Area moderates, rural conservatives, and Los Angeles blacks.

    Plagued by the ambivalence of Yorty and his Los Angeles populist Democrat machine (a rapid rift forming between them and the liberal Brown wing of the party), Cranston’s lack of charisma easily contrasted with Murphy, who as a former vaudeville actor possessed it in spades. Cranston, Pat Brown, and other Democrats harped on Murphy’s lack of experience and attempting to frame his Hollywood career as a negative. The attacks didn’t do much to shift the numbers, Murphy going into October as the modest favorite.

    The general collapse of Rockefeller’s poll numbers and organized labor shifting many of the Yorty Democrats back into Cranston’s camp at the last minute, but by then it was too late.

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    Winning the state by a larger percentage than Rockefeller (52.1 to 50.4), Murphy retained much of the coalition that George Christopher carried into his loss two years earlier, but added much needed voters among the rapidly growing Southern California suburbs, rural voters in the northern portions of the state, and the increasingly important Los Angeles African-American community. Cranston’s loss loomed ominously for Pat Brown and the liberal wing, both regarding the intra-party squabbles with the Yorty wing and the emerging Republican coalition that was seeming to guarantee a majority.


    Traditionally a deep south state, by the mid-sixties Florida was beginning to shift away from its Dixie roots. Black voters in the northern rural counties and the Miami area were rapidly enfranchised after CRVA was passed, and an exodus of Cuban emigres from Castro – and later Che Guevara’s Socialist Republic of Cuba – and northern transplants began to open up the Democratic heartland for the GOP. With the liberal/populist split in the Democratic ranks beginning to widen, what encompassed the tiny Republican Party of Florida felt they had an excellent shot at winning the Governor’s mansion for the first time since reconstruction.

    The Democrats nominated Jacksonville mayor Haydon Burns, a member of the populist conservative wing embodied by most Florida Democrats such as Senator George Smathers and incumbent Governor Ferris Bryant. Republicans, by acclimation since few were strong enough to attempt a run, picked party-switching Congressman Claude Kirk.

    What had seemed initially a cakewalk soon descended into a scramble to the finish for both parties. High profile Democrats such as VP Nominee Stuart Symington, Senator George Smathers, George Wallace, and Jimmy Hoffa campaigned for Burns while Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater spared time from their busy schedules in the west to stump for Kirk. African-American voters were wooed by Martin Luther King and his SCLC, seeking whatever chance to get an ally elected in a Deep South state.

    The defining issue of the campaign ended up being fought on the changing economy, Burns’ record as Mayor, and the death penalty. Claiming the “New Florida” needed a champion, Kirk focused much of his effort on the northern transplants bringing a greater Republican voting pattern to the Yellow Dog Democrat state. Charges dogged Burns on his handling of racial problems in Jacksonville, Kirk blasting his lack of support for civil rights with black audiences and the high rate of crime with suburban audiences. Advertisements consistently mentioned Burns’ opposition to the death penalty, deathly poison to deeply culturally conservative voters in Florida’s heartland.

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    Come election day, Republican efforts finally payed off with their first victory in a Deep South governor’s race. Large margins among black voters, suburban developments, and national-security minded Cubans and military personnel contributed to Kirk’s 8,500 vote margin to one of four Republican gubernatorial gains (along with DE, WA, and WI).


    Massachusetts had been a “Yankee Republican” state from the founding of the Republican Party in 1855, voting for successive GOP candidates for all elections since (exempting the three way 1912 election). However, the increasing power of the immigrant working class voters in Boston and the outer mill towns started allowing Democrats to compete strongly, including the election of John F Kennedy over Senator Henry Cabot Lodge – later Secretary of State – in 1952. With Kennedy running for President, Democrats eyes sweeping the state by riding his coattails.

    Dubbed the “Rematch” by the Boston Globe, the 1964 gubernatorial race featured the same two nominees from two years before. Having lost by a mere 11,000 votes out of two million cast, former Executive Councilor Endicott Peabody was back challenging incumbent Republican Governor John Volpe, and all signs pointed to an intensely competitive race to the finish.

    While Volpe banked on his popularity and far-liberal statements made by the Democrat on certain social issues, Peabody used Kennedy’s popularity and working class dissatisfaction with the Republicans to great effect. His liberalism was tempting to many suburbanite white collar voters, while a leaked proposal among black Republican leaders affiliated with Volpe’s campaign to potentially bus African-American students to white schools to end unofficial segregation caused a massive backlash among white ethnics in and around Boston. Originally banking on using Peabody’s liberalism to avoid hemorrhaging these voters, Volpe’s dilemma of having to simultaneously keep a huge majority among blacks hurt his campaign heading into November.

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    Banking on John F Kennedy’s landslide 61% margin in the Bay State, Peabody overcame the still popular Volpe by over 60,000 votes. Crushing margins among the blue collar districts in Boston and the mill towns scattered around the state were joined by Peabody keeping the margins in the suburbs lower for Volpe than expected, though black districts such as Roxbury went hard for the Republican.

    With Kennedy’s senate seat going for former Governor Foster Furcolo, the only competitive seat in Massachusetts that went GOP was Rep. Edward Brooke’s narrow re-election to a third term in an otherwise Kennedy landslide. The Yankee Republican state was continuing its Democratic trend – at least at the time it was.


    Populist Democrat and notable anti-civil rights Senator Albert Gore Sr, immediately threw his energy into winning reelection after coming short at the Democratic National Convention. Liberal anger at his unsuccessful challenge of Kennedy joined with increasing black voter participation and shifts within the Tennessee voter base to give him the hardest race of his career.

    Unlike other states among the “Solid South” Unionist sentiment dating back to the Civil War had provided Tennessee with a strong Republican base in the east of the state. This provided attorney Howard Baker a solid floor from which to launch his bid. Unlike past elections however, changing demographics and moderate anger over Gore’s segregationist stance rapidly moved the race in Baker’s direction. Upbeat Republicans were bullish about their prospects for the first time in generations.

    The race gained notoriety for dirty campaigning (though both Gore and Baker were civil themselves) when a Gore rally outside of heavily African-American Memphis ended in a mild confrontation between black protestors and the pro-Gore crowd/police. Many Baker loyalists moved to drive turnout in black neighborhoods and more moderate cosmopolitan areas in Nashville and Memphis with leaflets painting Gore as a closet Klansman, while the Gore campaign smeared Baker as a sympathizer with the growing “Black Power” Movement that was out to destroy the South.

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    While Gore won another six year term, the story of the night was Baker. Going against the history and lean of the state, he had ridden an odd coalition of inner city blacks, suburban whites from the populous counties of Shelby (Memphis) and Davidson (Nashville), and the traditional Republican heartland in the east to come within three and a half points of winning a Tennessee senate seat for the GOP for the first time since reconstruction. Only Gore’s massive margins with blue collar and rural whites in the center of the state saved him.

    Such a polyglot Republican coalition would prove successful for Baker two years later.


    Before the election, the deaths of Dennis Chavez (D-NM) and Alexander Wiley (R-WI) led to the opposite party appointments of Edwin Mecham and Gaylord Nelson respectively, leading to a wash in party numbers. As expected by the end of October, the Republicans had gone from expecting large gains to battling modest losses with the “Happy” Scandal dogging the President.

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    Taking four seats from the GOP (defeating incumbents in MD, WY, and an appointed one in NM, along with the open seat in Michigan), Democrats nevertheless were stymied from sweeping gains by narrow Republican holds in AZ (Goldwater), NY (Keating), and PA (Hugh Scott). Murphy’s win in California and the upset defeat of Howard Cannon by unknown Lt. Governor Paul Laxalt in Nevada whittled down the Democratic gains to a net of two, and races in several Democratic states such as Texas, Ohio, and Connecticut were closer than expected. Contrary to Republican hopes, Nelson held on to his appointed seat in WI along with his colleague William Proxmire in the regularly scheduled election.

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    Though not reaching the nadir of the Great Depression, the collapse of Rockefeller’s vote total hurt Republicans greatly downballot. Shut out of both the industrial Midwest and – for the most part – the Upper South, their losses served to pad a tidy congressional majority for the incoming President Kennedy. In Georgia, Dixiecrat independent Lester Maddox won a second term.

    The true excitement however was in the leadership races, both changing before the election. Charles Halleck retiring, Republicans selected Michigan Republican Gerald Ford as their Minority Leader in a close race. On the Democratic side, Speaker John McCormick accidently slipped on the capitol steps and the resulting spinal injury left him with limited movement in his legs. Keeping his seat but resigning the speakership, South Carolina Congressman L. Mendel Rivers overcame a protracted fight between northern liberals and his own populist wing to claim the Speaker’s gavel.
     
  4. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Location:
    Good ol' USA
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    After the tumultuous and tragic years of the Nixon/Rockefeller administrations – racial unrest, war, threats of war, and a presidential assassination hitting the national psyche hard – the public breathed a collective sigh of relief as the handsome John F Kennedy took the oath of office on the east face of the Capitol Building. Claiming in his aspirational inaugural address, Kennedy appealed to the American people to “Put aside our meager differences to do what our country needs of you, to give what you can give for your country,” and “By the end of my term, an American will walk on the moon.” The American people overwhelmingly threw their support behind the President, confident he would bring back the optimistic spirit that had begun the 1960s.

    President Kennedy’s cabinet picks were confirmed by the 61-seat Democratic caucus easily, the only even mildly difficult nomination being that for Secretary of Public Works, the second ever African-American cabinet pick Congressman Adam Clayton Powell of New York (the first being Nixon HEW Secretary Ralph Bunche). Newspapers immediately dubbed the Kennedy Cabinet the “Brain Trust” for the high qualifications many held.

    Prioritizing parts of the New Horizons agenda, Kennedy and congressional Democrats oversaw the passage of several low-key but important initiatives through congress – though opposition from many of the more conservative Democrats including Speaker Rivers caused compromises to be sought with the Republicans. The Peace Corps was established with a large budget to combat Soviet aid programs to national liberation movements, the Clean Air Act sailed through (giving the departments of Commerce and Interior the responsibility to combat air pollution which affected many urban areas), and some of the Rockefeller immigration restrictions were rescinded and the immigration caps increased. Efforts pushed by many Democrats to dramatically overhaul the immigration system were however blocked by Republicans and Southern Democrats.

    The signature achievement of Kennedy’s first year in office was the Medicare bill, providing health care coverage for millions of needy seniors. One of his signature planks during the campaign, Kennedy cited poverty rates among the elderly and the need to combat this by shouldering the burden of health care costs as Social Security did regarding income. However, with the Democratic Coalition unable to defeat a filibuster (several conservative southerners opposing the plan and thusly nixing an idea by Mansfield to reduce the cloture vote total from 67 to 60), negotiations with the Republicans began in earnest.

    Despite intense opposition from the conservative wing such as Barry Goldwater “I fear that the government will take the vital task of caring for the neediest Americans and turn it into a bureaucratic nightmare,” John Ashbrook “Government is best kept out of our hospital wards,” and the ever persistent gadfly Evan Mecham “This bill is merely the beginning of a goddamned road to Soviet tanks parading down Pennsylvania Avenue – or would it be called Lenin Avenue then?” a compromise was quickly reached between Democrats and Republican leaders Everett Dirksen and Robert Kean in the senate and Gerald Ford and Al Quie in the house. A large-scale voucher system was created to directly pay the health care premiums for the elderly while several insurance reforms were added to the legislation including the allowance for sale across state lines and the ban on an increasingly common contract clause preventing payment for pre-existing conditions. A jubilant President Kennedy signed the Medicare Act on September 15th, 1965.

    What would bring down the jubilant start for the new administration was the issue of civil rights. Unlike the Nixon Administration – which had almost universal unity among Republican legislators and leaders to pursue a bold agenda – Kennedy was in the unenviable position of juggling the two disparate wings of the Democratic Party, the liberal wing and the populist wing. The former wanted the Administration to live up to its campaign promises to continue the Nixon era reforms (both idealistically and eyeing the increasingly important black vote, gettable by using the liberal social reform messages) while the latter was either increasingly hostile (the southerners) or sought to focus the President’s efforts on expanding social programs to fight poverty and to win back angered Faubus voters to the fold (mostly union and big city Democrats).

    This balancing act was seen early on in the desegregation of schools. Despite Nixon ordering it to proceed, backlogs, vicious opposition in the south, and the prioritization of enforcing the CRVA and CRA resulted in only ten percent integration by the time Kennedy took office. Kennedy sought to finish complying to Brown vs. Board once and for all, but after a heated conversation with Chief of Staff Ted Kennedy (his younger brother), the President directed the executive agencies to initiate a long term strategy to integrate fifty percent of the remaining schools within four years.

    Such underwhelming actions didn’t hearten the civil rights movement, but Kennedy’s pro-civil rights stance and his formation of the new Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department (retaining many lawyers and officials from the Nixon era to staff it), tensions remained low with prominent leaders such as Martin Luther King, John Lewis, and Medgar Evers considering Kennedy an ally. Other groups such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee or the Organization for Racial Equality – ORE, led by the charismatic Malcom X – began to be disillusioned by the slow pace of change and began preparing for more… shall we say drastic means.

    Los Angeles in 1965, underneath the veneer of Hollywood and a booming service economy, was a hotbed of racial tension. Migration of blacks from the east and south in search of employment had led to a skyrocketing African American population in Southern California, putting strain on the majority white and Spanish-American populations. Starting in the forties, city housing ordinances and collaboration between developer organizations kept blacks out of nearly 90% of the city’s housing. Aside from a large suburban development in Compton that attracted many middle class African-Americans, much of the poor were forced into cramped slums starved for housing, increasingly filled with crime.

    The person considered by many historians to be the father of the California Democratic Party was Los Angeles Mayor Samuel Yorty, a populist Democrat that many of the liberal Brown-wing were opposed to. Neutral to civil rights laws at best, he often found himself skirmishing with Governor Pat Brown and other liberal Democrats in both Sacramento and the Los Angeles City Council (all African-American members by 1965 hailing from the Republican Party). Efforts to repeal the housing ordinances or establish public housing were blocked by Yorty and his allies, the Mayor’s agenda more with the massive infrastructure developments built using Department of Public Works’ funds – which would be his most enduring legacy as Mayor. On the state level, lobbying to pass a ban on housing discrimination known as the Rumford Act in was squelched by Yorty’s counter-lobbying by his allies, the governor caving and not pushing the issue. Disgusted, chief sponsor African-American state legislator William Rumford switched parties to the GOP the day after the Governor’s decision.

    Tensions boiling over the housing crisis, the proximate cause would be accusations of racism within the Los Angeles Police Department, overwhelmingly white and lacking accountability regarding racial prejudice by officers due to a collective bargaining agreement agreed to by the police union and Mayor Yorty.

    On September 2nd, a Spanish-American owned liquor store in overwhelmingly black Watts was robbed. While the owner – who was knocked out – would later state that two white men were the perpetrators, responding officers set their sights on a group of young black teens running from the scene. Splitting in two, one group was taken down by three officers who proceeded to use excessive force to subdue the suspects (most of the battery done by one officer, identified afterwards as a known racist).

    It was the second group of two teens that provided the spark. After spotting one reach into his pocket, one of the four pursuing officers drew his weapon and opened fire – killing 19-year old Byron Marcus, who was reaching for his key, and 61-year old widow Mary Douglass.

    Word of mouth quickly spread and a crowd formed around both scenes, witnessing the bloodied boys and the corpses of a young man and a well-liked elderly woman. Anger soon spread and lit the tinderbox, erupting crowds taking to the streets despite calls for calm from black leaders. Whole blocks were set ablaze, the Police Chief likening it to fighting the Viet Cong. On pleas from Mayor Yorty, Governor Brown ordered in the National Guard which began heavy-handed tactics to subdue the rioters.
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    Order was eventually restored, and nationally it was looked on as a state matter. However, the riots began a chain of events that would completely define the Kennedy Presidency even after its strong start.


    Excerpt from The Formation of the Sixth Party System
    By Newt Gingrich, 1999

    Chairman of the Political Science Department, Princeton University


    Chapter Five: How John F. Kennedy Lost the Democratic Party
    The nature of the modern Republican Party can be condensed into the contributions of four individuals. In my now famous quote, the current GOP “Owes its existence to three Californians and William F. Buckley.” To understand the events that led to the problems President John F. Kennedy faced starting in 1966, we must take a closer look at the latter.

    From his last minute bid for the Republican nomination in 1964, Bill Buckley came to the realization that the Republican Party at the time was reaching a point where its electoral coalition would be untenable. The GOP at the time was attempting to both support civil rights and retain the support of African-American voters while also drifting to a more conservative direction in regards to economic and size of government matters. Though it was believed by Buckley and his fellow conservatives that the two were not mutually exclusive, in his battles against Evan Mecham and the John Birch Society (which represented to him as a Republican Party that had abandoned civil rights and went too far to the right on social and economic policy) he realized that there had to be a shift or the statist inclinations of the Democrats would take black voters gradually under their electoral coalition. In the months after the 1964 convention, he spent most of his time laboring to find a solution that would avoid this and not allow the GOP to copy Democratic big government solutions to the problem of racial injustice.

    It was this mindset that precluded his famous speech at the Tuskegee Institute in March 1965. On the podium in front of the entire student body of the prestigious center for African-American learning, Buckley revealed to the world what he called Liberty Conservatism. In brief, he stated that the root cause of the continuance of racial injustice was its propagation by the government. His examples abounded. Slavery was the policy not of the general populace but of the landed gentry that controlled southern politics, leading to the dehumanization of blacks. This same ruling class developed black codes, Jim Crow, anti-miscegenation laws, and other facets of racism in the nation. In order to vanquish the evil from the shores of the United States, according to Buckley, the Government would be forced to police itself rather than private individuals. To act proactively in eliminating all shreds of racial bigotry or discrimination from the law books and promote equality and liberty of all men. Once this was done, combined with private efforts, the culture would change.

    The speech was well received, making the intellectual Buckley an odd celebrity among the civil rights movement. Many Republican politicians such as Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, and Medgar Evers among others – including some Democrats such as Eugene McCarthy – quickly took up liberty conservatism as their banner when it came to civil rights. Its first test against the established order of the New Deal Democrats and the Rockefeller Republicans would be Buckley himself in the 1965 New York Mayoral race.

    Having defeated the reformist-minded Mayor Robert Wagner in the 1957 Democratic Primary, Tammany Hall boss and incumbent Mayor Carmine DeSapio was retiring after two terms, and the race to replace him was heated. Republicans nominated Rockefeller ally and noted liberal John Lindsay, hoping his views and personal charm and good looks would carry them to a win. DeSapio’s allies in the Democratic party forced through Abraham Beame, which made disgruntled liberals seek to nominate author and defeated primary candidate Norman Mailer for the Liberal Party line.

    In this race jumped Buckley for the nomination of the Conservative Party (headed by the dogged and ruthless campaign manager Roy M. Cohn, of McCarthy hearings fame). His entry upset much of the Lindsay campaign’s well prepared election strategy of competence and anti-corruption rhetoric, mostly given the intelligent Buckley hit those marks as well. Mailer an afterthought, the two major party nominees hit Buckley and each other hard to maintain their dominance, Beame doubling down on the class division and white ethnic-centered outreach that so characterized DeSapio’s tenure. Lindsay on the other hand utilized surrogates to attack Buckley as an “out of touch, right-wing intellectual” and Beame as a “tool for the corrupt Tammany Hall” while he stayed above the fray using his charm and good looks to great avail. Mailer, ever the stirrer of controversy, focused most of his campaign on bizarre publicity stunts such as an impromptu book reading/campaign rally in Central Park where he would debate any man or woman that came forward.

    Despite the attacks Buckley slowly gained support as the campaign wore on. His tireless outreach to African-American communities and brandishing of the Liberty Conservative message won many plaudits, focusing on quality of life issues such as traffic congestion, tax burdens, and above all law enforcement – criticism of Tammany Hall shielding of the NYPD from reform and citing of the disproportionate impact of crime on the poor (especially black) underclass as a point against Lindsay’s proposed Civilian Review Board won him much plaudits from both the middle class and the civil rights community. Once he was seen as a legitimate contender, the coming attacks of the main candidates were countered with vicious mudslinging engineered by Cohn.

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    The election ended up confirming the conventional wisdom for the most part. Lindsay won against Beame narrowly in the heavily Democratic city. However, the narrow margins and low percentages of votes belied Buckley’s strength. While the white ethnics stayed with Beame and Tammany Hall, the anticipated black and suburban support for Lindsay instead went to Buckley, the latter winning Queens by a decent five point margin while the former’s margin of victory was delivered solely from the so called elite in the Upper East and West Sides of Manhattan.

    Even in defeat, through his doctrine of Liberty Conservatism William F. Buckley had changed the playing field for the two parties, the effect of which would become known quite soon on the national level.

    While the passage of Medicare – health care policy being a cornerstone of the Democratic wish list since the Truman Administration – had made John Fitzgerald Kennedy a hero in many liberal and populist circuits, the events of early 1966 would prove the beginning of his downfall.

    A new wave liberal from the Northeast (as opposed to the more populist, New Deal kind of Democrat that formed the majority of the party), Kennedy often found himself at odds with the working class-centric scope of much of the congressional leadership, a mix between long-serving southerners such as Speaker L. Mendel Rivers and more-economically centered populists like Mike Mansfield and Hubert Humphrey. His New Horizons policy contained as many social platforms as they did economic, and the perceived softness of the Kennedy Administration to the growing counterculture movement in actuality hurt them far worse than the more infamous infighting over civil rights did with the southern block.

    The first sign of the growing chasm between Kennedy and the majority of the Democratic Party was seen in the retirement of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Tom Clark. At the time, the court held a balance between liberals Earl Warren, William O. Douglas, Clark, and William Brennan against conservatives John Marshall Harlan, Potter Stewart, Warren Burger, and Thomas Dewey - Justice Hugo Black was often the swing vote, siding with each side about half the time. Holding this seat by an ideological ally was key, and Mike Mansfield had conversations with Kennedy to the tune of making sure the confirmation was a formality.

    However, Kennedy’s decision to appoint NAACP lawyer and civil rights advocate Thurgood Marshall to the seat was met with immediate firestorm, not just from the usual culprits of the southern block. Mindful of the spread of Liberty Conservatism among the black community within the United States, many on the populist wing of the Democratic Party had made the conclusion that trying to break the Republican heritage of blacks (reaffirmed by Nixon’s passage of the CRA in 1963) was certain suicide for the party. A doubling down on the cultural conservatism and economic populism embodied in Harry Truman’s come from behind re-election in 1948 seemed to be the key to these Democrats – with the added boost of keeping the Dixiecrats in.

    During the confirmation hearings, Democrats such as Sam Ervin and George Smathers went heavily after Marshall for his liberal views on social policy, the debate eventually carrying out to the Senate floor. Mansfield, keeping his promise to the President, scheduled an up and down vote.

    The results were shocking to the White House. The Democratic Caucus had rejected the nomination 25-36 (the only southern Senators voting Yea being Ralph Yarbrough of Texas and Estes Kefauver of Tennessee), while Marshall was only confirmed by a 30-9 vote of the Republican Caucus, concerns about liberalism tampered by the historic nature of the pick. Even noted administration allies such as J. William Fulbright, John Pastore, and Majority Leader Mansfield voted nay, a stinging rebuke to Kennedy barely over a year into office.

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    Following the contentious Marshall confirmation hearings, several New Horizons initiatives meeting resistance from the populist block (repealing further immigration restrictions, guest worker programs, increased funding for housing initiatives as opposed to the more infrastructure-focused Department of Public Works, establishment of welfare programs for the non-working poor, and financial assistance for students; all but the latter were blocked by a coalition of Southern Democrats and conservative Republicans), President Kennedy found himself increasingly isolated and paranoid. Many within his inner circle could see the stress dogging the once youthful man, aging nearly a decade overnight as he struggled to manage the complexities of the Democratic Party’s divisions.

    Along with the solid phalanx of southern Senators and Representatives blocking all his major initiatives except for the higher education initiative known currently as the Kefauver Grants – after Senator Estes Kefauver, close to his deathbed at the time – the most prominent Democratic group souring on the President were the labor unions, most notably George Meany’s AFL-CIO and Jimmy Hoffa’s Teamsters. Noticing the great stress eating away at the President, a group of Kennedy loyalists led by Chief of Staff Edward “Teddy” Kennedy (motivated most likely out of love for his older brother) arranged for a series of investigations into labor union practices and primary challenges to southern politicians in order to break the legislative deadlock.

    The number one target was considered to be Governor George Wallace of Alabama, running for re-election after two terms. Wallace had angered many in the Kennedy Administration after Kennedy ally Miles E. Goodwin (later elected senator as a Republican) was defeated by Republican A. Linwood Holton after he backed the candidacy of former leader of the American Nazi Party founder George Lincoln Rockwell. Rockwell’s fifteen percent of the vote was blamed for Holton’s one percent margin of victory. With the Alabama Governor being touted by some as a potential Presidential candidate, Teddy Kennedy and the others felt it was necessary to defeat him.

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    As it turned out, Kennedy Democrat Albert Brewer was virtually annihilated by Wallace as the Alabama Democratic electorate put their confidence in the Governor. The electoral motions in the primaries as a whole ended in a disaster as well. Segregationist Democrats won all of the open primaries for gubernatorial and senator, while the only scalps being that of a smattering of congressmen and local offices.

    The divisions of the Democratic Party were widening, but the events of 1966 and 1967 would end with a gaping chasm to be formed.

    -----------------------------
    Kennedy Administration cautiousness in proceeding with the desegregation of schools (in a ploy to ensure the lack of party divisions) had started to try the patience of the major civil rights organizations by 1966. While the Department of Justice plan to comply with the 50% rule drafted by Attorney General Goldberg was viewed as timid, in reality the only states actually engaged in desegregation were Virginia, Florida, Kentucky, and Texas (the former three controlled by Republican Governors while Governor John Connelly of Texas was one of the few conservative allies of the President). Segregationist administrations in the other southern states engaged in a heel dragging campaign of obstruction not seen since the black codes following the Civil War. Beset by party divisions and attempting to pass its own agenda – though in fairness, the Kennedy Administration had by this time fully instituted CRVA and CRA – President Kennedy was seen as paralyzed to accomplish even his cautious goal.

    Meeting in the Massachusetts home of Congressman Edward Brooke, Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, John Lewis, Malcom X, Stokely Carmichael, and nearly half a dozen other civil rights leaders (the last coordinated meeting before the 1967 schism between the organizations) met to discuss a plan of action to bring public attention back to the problem. By a unanimous vote, the decision was made to begin a wave of peaceful protests in the epicenter of racial tension in the south. Birmingham, Alabama.

    The city that started much of the movement with the successful bus boycott nearly a decade earlier, things had arguably gotten worse since. Under the leadership of newly elected Mayor Eugene “Bull” Connor – covered by Governor George Wallace – the city had successfully obstructed all efforts by the federal government to dismantle segregation that did not involve the right to vote or the most blatant aspects prohibited by CRA. While the municipal government wasn’t able to overtly segregate anymore, Connor and the city council placed black-owned businesses at a huge disadvantage by blocking them from the massive state and municipal funds earmarked by Governor Wallace’s expansion of the Alabama welfare state (aimed more at the working poor rather than the indigent, drawing many analogies to Huey Long).

    It was the lack of action on desegregation and the blatant discrimination in awarding state and city contracts that were made the focus of the Birmingham Campaign. Civil rights advocates of all races and from all states descended into Birmingham for the August march despite the boiling heat. Connor and the Department of Public Safety made it clear that the city would not tolerate any action, but no one was deterred.

    Children taking the protest lines among their parents, the whole world watched as the Birmingham Police and Fire Departments unleashed their full fury on the marchers. Riot batons, dogs, and high pressure fire hoses were let loose, and it seemed to be that the nonviolent protestors were about to win a propaganda victory out of their dangerous situation.

    It was not to be.

    Memories of the Watts Riots the year before had been seared into the head of many African-Americans beleaguered by the blatant prejudice still existing in American society. Many young men blighted by poverty and government abuse were turning to more radical leaders like Malcom X or Stokely Carmichael, or in worse cases militants like the newly formed Black Jaguar Party. Exhorted to take up arms against the oppressors, a group of several of these angry militants were carrying concealed weapons. Remembering the police and National Guard abuses during the Watts Riots and watching children getting swept away by hoses, none of them were planning on taking it “like chumps” as one was quoted in saying.

    On August 13th, four days into the campaign, the group was met by three Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies carrying nightsticks as they screened the outer marchers (most of the action being in the city center). Seeing the men accost a racist heckler, they waded in to break up the crowd when the group drew arms and fired at the deputies. After nearly a dozen shots were loosed, Deputies Lucas Wayne, Mark Tobin, and 18-year old trainee Dwayne Phillips were dead, blood pooling in the middle of the street.

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    Naturally the news of cop killings travelled quickly through the ranks. Mayor Connor, having caught the break of a lifetime, initiated a state of emergency throughout the city. Armed officers in full riot gear burst through homes in black neighborhoods and marcher camps in search of the killers. Respectful they were not, racism mixed with hatred over three of their own being killed fueling multiple cases of abuse and excessive force.

    After a day, the people of Birmingham had enough. Battles between the city’s black population and law enforcement and many white civilians rocked the city, the nation watching in horror as Walter Cronkite documented the terror live on CBS. Governor Wallace ordered in the National Guard into Birmingham – causing more harm than good in reality as the KKK’s Alabama chapter proclaimed the race war at hand while the Black Jaguars called for the “Destruction of the American Auschwitz.”

    The riots petered out in Birmingham after three days, Martin Luther King making a pitched appeal from municipal jail for peace. Demonstrations and civil unrest would continue unabated for nearly a week across the nation, damaging the Kennedy White House right in the middle of a vital election year. Republicans stumped the country calling for decisive action to eliminate segregation and corral lawlessness while Governor George Wallace of Alabama went to the steps of the Alabama Capitol and delivered what would be called the Order Address. Proclaiming that he and other like-minded leaders would push the Democratic Party to be the “Party of Law and Order,” this speech and his actions to stave off the rioting – seen as decisive by nearly 61% of Americans according to Gallup – would catapult him to national prominence.

    White House audio transcript, August 20th, 1966
    Meeting between the President and his two brothers.

    R. Kennedy: Jesus Jack, you don’t look so good.

    President Kennedy: [chuckles] You too eh? At least Jackie doesn’t think less of me. She’s actually happier now in one respect. Haven’t touched anybody but her in six months. [mumbling] Damn this job. I wonder if Lyndon or Dick Nixon would’ve gone as mad as I am getting towards?

    E. Kennedy: Don’t say that Jack. We’re still in a good position.

    President Kennedy: Are you goddamn kidding me Teddy? Didn’t we agree no ass kissing from you? I don’t want this to be some sycophantic Stalinist shit.

    R. Kennedy: Calm down Jack. I agree things are tough, but it isn’t hopeless.

    President Kennedy: What’s the status of your race, I forget with all the crap and whatnot?

    R. Kennedy: [sighs] Neck and neck with Wilson, as much as we can know. Only two months left till election day more or less, so we’ll fight to the end.

    President Kennedy: Amen. So what now?

    E. Kennedy: I talked to Humphrey, who’s sympathetic, and Rivers, who’s cordial but noncommittal. The House and Senate seem amenable to the establishment of assistance programs for the poor, but negotiations will be hard on focusing our priorities with theirs.

    President Kennedy: Fuck. Dick made it look so easy. Inside he must have been close to the breaking point.

    R. Kennedy: May I make a suggestion Jack?

    President Kennedy: Shoot.

    R. Kennedy: Go to Martha’s Vineyard for a few days with Jackie and the kids. Then, after the midterms are over, whatever the result you need one signature achievement to focus on – like Medicare – and devote the rest of your capital to foreign policy.

    E. Kennedy: Agreed. Nothing can get the American people to rally around the flag and President like a crisis abroad.

    President Kennedy: True. And one more thing. [silence] Pray like my life depended on it that George Wallace loses his reelection.

    R. Kennedy: [laughs dryly] A Republican getting elected in Alabama. It would need divine intervention.

    (end transcript)


    Depending on how the 1966 midterms went, many in the Democratic Party were secretly and not so secretly considering the fiery Alabaman to be a potential challenger to the increasingly seen as ineffectual President Kennedy.

    ---------------------------------​

    Despite a successful first term and a solid reelection win in 1962, Pat Brown’s second term as Governor of California was widely considered one disaster after another. The Democratic infighting between the liberal and populist wings were front and center in the Golden State, clashes over civil rights and the priorities of the welfare state affecting Governor Brown like the plague. After the poor state response to the Watts Riots and an increase in student demonstrations that began to plague the UC system alienated both the populists and African-Americans, both whose support earned Brown a second term four years earlier. The Governor would barely survive the primary, winning only forty-four percent to LA Mayor Sam Yorty’s forty and African-American Congressman Augustus Hawkins’ sixteen (the latter would subsequently endorse the Republican candidate).

    In contrast, the Republican Party united very early around its candidate, actor and former Screen Actor’s Guild President Ronald Reagan. Easily batting aside his liberal and John Birch Society opponents despite being disliked by Thomas Kuchel and Joe Shell (the leaders of the respective wings), Reagan immediately vaulted to an overwhelming lead over the incumbent Governor.

    No one can claim Brown didn’t try, and try he did to bring down the affable actor. Reagan was attacked by many Democratic surrogates as a right wing extremist, delightful airhead, and unqualified for the job in the same breath. Organized labor never wavered in its support of Brown, funding his coffers and deploying its massive ground game to defend him. Despite earlier opposition, Mayor Yorty tepidly endorsed the Governor and campaigned with him in southern California.

    However, it was clear that the same attacks that worked on George Christopher wouldn’t on Ronald Reagan. Ever charismatic and sunny, he shrugged off the attacks and hammered home his own agenda. Mixing limited government and Liberty Conservatism in the mold of William F. Buckley, the candidate railed against the bloated state budget and welfare system in addition to the mess of racial injustice that clouded the state law enforcement agencies. Reagan’s message resonated well among Californians of all backgrounds angry at the racial strife, budget problems, and the apparent indecisiveness in the Brown Administration to corral the student demonstrations shutting down the schools. A durable polling lead was maintained throughout the campaign, leaving no doubt how the race would end.

    [​IMG]
    Unlike 1962, the polls proved to be on the mark. Carrying every demographic except the white working class (lost narrowly), and Spanish-Americans, Ronald Reagan won the largest percentage of the vote since Earl Warren in 1946. After netting 45% of blacks in 62, Brown was knocked down to 12% after the Watts Riots and failure to pass the Rumford Act (Reagan would later pass another version banning discriminatory housing ordinances, in addition to initiating a top down reform of the National Guard to prevent abuses in the vein of the Watts Riots).

    Sharing jubilance with the Republicans – Reagan’s coattails netting the GOP both houses of the state legislature – was Sam Yorty. He had good reason to be. With the demise of Brown, the populist wing of the party was now firmly in control.


    Governing as a Kennedy-esque liberal, Governor Endicott Peabody had a good-sized record of achievement following his first two years as Governor. The working class base in Boston and the mill towns was not neglected either, Peabody modeling a public assistance system after the successful Wallace framework in AL (only with firm anti-discrimination provisions attached). Earning plaudits from African-American leaders for his executive order instituting minority quotas for state contractors, he seemed to be the modest favorite for reelection over former Governor John Volpe.

    The immolation for that narrative was perpetrated by one Albert DeSalvo. Dubbed the Boston Strangler by the press, DeSalvo had engaged in a killing spree from 1962-1965, raping and strangling twenty-three women before he was caught by the police. Pleading insanity, the jury didn’t buy the – considered masterful by legal experts – defense by attorney F. Lee Bailey and sentenced DeSalvo to death on October 5th, 1966.

    All of Massachusetts was stunned when news broke the next day that Governor Peabody had commuted DeSalvo’s sentence to life imprisonment. “What society are we if we send those whose minds are obviously afflicted by a cruel twist of nature to the death chamber? It is inhumane.”

    “With respect to the Governor, what is inhumane is how that bastard raped and murdered twenty-three girls in the prime of their life,” Volpe shot back in a press conference. It soon became clear that Massachusetts voters agreed with him.

    [​IMG]
    Historians and politicians in the future would credit Peabody for a courageous stance against the death penalty (one that was always near and dear to him). Massachusetts overwhelmingly didn’t as they booted him out of office by a two to one margin.

    Peabody’s disasterous campaign affected Republican fortunes up and down the ticket. One of the few states where the protracted infighting was absent between the different wings of the party, it was almost tragic to see the party on the rise fall so dramatically. Initially hoping to poach the senate seat of retiring Everett Saltonsall, Boston Mayor John Collins was defeated in a landslide by Congressman Edward Brooke (becoming the first African-American elected Senator in the nation).

    [​IMG]
    The Democratic Party in Massachusetts would rebuild itself, but for now Albert DeSalvo had ushered in a new GOP dominance of the Commonwealth. The Yankee Republican state was back.


    Ed Brooke wasn’t alone. Across the South, Republican nominations for state and congressional offices were held by African-Americans. Representative of them was the Mississippi Senate race, where civil rights leader Medgar Evers challenged longtime Democratic Senator John Stennis. Knowing that he wouldn’t win, Evers nevertheless crisscrossed the state to find whatever votes he could. Accompanied by three bodyguards (two whites and a black) and with a concealed handgun in his jeans pocket, Evers escaped at least a dozen attempted attacks as he campaigned. His dogged determination and message of making government accountable to all people, not just the elite, earning reluctant respect from many downtrodden whites and suburban professionals feeling left out by the ruling power structure.

    [​IMG]
    Stennis won as was expected, but building a coalition of black voters, suburbanites, and liberal whites, Medgar Evers had come closer than any Republican ever had to win a seat in the deep south. And two years later, he would defy expectations – and two Klan assassination plots – again to win a seat in the House of Representatives for the Republican Party.


    Taking office after Nelson Rockefeller was elected Vice President in 1960, Malcom Wilson was seen as a rather benign Governor – the Rockefeller views without the Rockefeller personality. Public works were funded, housing discrimination was prohibited, prison terms in drug rehabilitation centers were made mandatory for non-violent drug offenders, and abortion access was expanded to include fetal abnormality, rape, and danger to the mother’s health. Largely preferring to push incremental gains and shirk away from touching the status quo, the invisible nature of the Governor’s influence was the butt of many jokes in Albany.

    New York Republicans had dominated the state in the 50s and 60s owing to Democrat sluggishness, Tammany Hall more concerned with maintaining its power base than electing statewide Democrats. This all changed in 1966 when star candidate and the younger brother of the President Robert F. Kennedy threw his hat in the ring. Holding a broom on the steps of the State Capitol, he called for the status quo in Albany to be wiped out, promising to take on corruption and create efficient government – bolstered by his selection of Tammany Hall opponent Franklin Roosevelt Jr. as his running mate.

    While Wilson’s campaign trumpeted his incremental achievements and tried to tar Bobby Kennedy to the troubles of his older brother, RFK seemed to float above the fray. He deployed his charm to the hilt, remaining sunny and optimistic (comparisons were drawn to Ronald Reagan in CA) while seeming more disappointed than angry when reciting the litany of promises Wilson broke from the 1958 and 1962 elections.

    [​IMG]
    Flair ultimately won over boring, Kennedy dominating among working class neighborhoods (despite the pro-civil rights stance and attacks on Tammany Hall) and wealthy suburbs by large margins. Wilson dominated among Long Island and African-American voters, but underperformed greatly in upstate as RFK ended eight years of Republican governance in the Empire State.

    The middle Kennedy would not disappoint on his campaign. Even to the present day, the period between 1967 and 1969 remains the busiest period of legislative activity in New York’s history.


    Exhausted didn’t begin to describe Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson. In the aftermath of his unsuccessful run for the Presidency in 1960, the former Majority Leader found much of the power he had built up squelched on Capitol Hill. Many allies deserted him in the moment of weakness, while many enemies saw his loss as the opportunity to take him down a peg. Majority Leader Mansfield graciously gave him the Judiciary Committee to chair, but ironically the person he got along best with was President Nixon – the victor of 1960 routinely consulting him for legislative action.

    Seriously contemplating retirement to his Texas ranch to live out the rest of his life in relative peace, only pleas from his longtime ally Hubert Humphrey (the senate majority whip) convinced him to make a go at a fifth term for the senate seat. A veritable state institution, no one expected the steadily growing Texas Republican Party to seriously have a chance, let alone a carpet bagging businessman and failed 1964 Senate candidate. However, as the son of the former Secretary of the Treasury, George H. W. Bush could deploy a hefty war chest – this and residual name recognition from nearly knocking off liberal Senator Ralph Yarborough in 1964 gave him a leg up that his resume ignored.

    The chance of an upset grew larger as the campaign wore on. Growing dissatisfaction with the ruling Democratic Party among liberals and suburban moderates transplanted from the north due to the booming Texas economy boosted Bush’s numbers, as did outrage from the African-American community regarding Johnson’s vote against Thurgood Marshall earlier in the year.

    Still, no one seriously expected “Landslide Lyndon” to lose.

    [​IMG]
    As it turned out, the salient factor for Bush’s 1,700 vote win was quite simple. Johnson just didn’t have it in him anymore. The stress and exhaustion finally getting to him, many voters that liked the fiery Former Majority Leader felt that new blood was needed. Stumping across the state in a beat up pickup truck with his young family in tow, Bush campaigned hard for every vote and projected a youthful air that many Texans found refreshing. A combination of swing votes in the west and suburban/black voters in the metro areas sent George Bush to Washington as Texas’ first elected Republican Senator. Johnson would retire to his ranch, living a comfortable retirement until his death five years later. “The best days of my life, free from the filthy cesspool I once waded in,” he would later recount.

    1966 would be remembered as the birth of the Texas GOP, in which Bush, Gubernatorial nominee John Tower (running for the open seat of John Connelly), and four house seats would switch that year.


    The midterms were a strong victory for both the GOP and the populist wing of the Democratic Party. Kennedy allies such as NH’s Thomas McIntyre, RI’s Claiborne Pell, and IL’s Paul Douglas were defeated by Republicans Harrison Thyng, John Chafee, and Charles Percy respectively, while Estes Kefauver was replaced by Howard Baker. The only narrow win for the Dems was Oregon, where conservative Democrat Robert Straub defeated Republican governor Mark Hatfield.

    In the south, divisions within the Democratic Party were apparent. Where populists defeated more moderate Democrats, Republican nominees found defections to them common. In Arkansas, former Governor and Dixiecrat presidential candidate Orval Faubus defeated Senator John McClellan in the primary, forcing a divide that elected Winthrop Rockefeller – the brother of the former President – to the simultaneous governor’s race that year. Republicans gained ten governors races that year, while the Democrats picked off Rhode Island (John Chafee being elected to the Senate) and New York.

    [​IMG]
    The Democratic infighting and the spate of violence starting with Birmingham was felt most acutely in the House, where Democrats saw their commanding majority drop from fifty-three seats to a mere six. Republicans rocketed into their best position since the Eisenhower first term. Dixiecrat congressman Lester Maddox left the chamber after being elected Governor of Georgia.

    [​IMG]
    One noteworthy race was for the Manhattan based 17th Congressional district. Vacant since John Lindsay moved into Gracie Mansion, the Upper East Side based district was much more amenable to the GOP than most city based districts. Democrats had attempted to rig the seat in 1962 by grafting part of heavily African-American Harlem into the district, but it backfired by giving Lindsay a larger margin of victory. Even so, the open seat was considered quite competitive.

    Ballot fusion between the main parties and the lesser ones ensured there were only two candidates running. Democrats chose attorney and Democratic activist Ed Koch over allies of Tammany Hall and former Mayor DeSapio. While the Republican primary was expected to be tight, the nominee ended up running unopposed. Attorney, McCarthy lawyer, and former Buckley Campaign Manager Roy M. Cohn.

    The race was nasty, Cohn’s operatives tarring Koch with both Tammany Hall and the racial strife instigated by George Wallace and black radicals. “A vote for a Democrat is a vote for racists!” read Cohn posters put up all over Harlem. The Democrats were equally as vicious, branding Cohn a McCarthyite and a closeted homosexual, charges Cohn denied in a heated press conference a week before the election. “It’s obvious why they’re smearing me,” Cohn stated. “They know they’re losing.”

    [​IMG]
    Cohn’s words proved prophetic. Though he would lose the Upper East Side narrowly, a stunning 70-point margin in the district’s slice of Harlem won him the seat by over 19,000 votes. In the end, it would be the 17th District’s new member’s closest race.

    ------------------------------
    When John F. Kennedy had taken office in 1965, the Vietnam War was seen to be winding down. With President Diem’s death in the Saigon Palace Bombing in 1961, the new Government of President Tho and General Thieu had rapidly calmed the simmering tension developing under the former President. Counterinsurgency strategies pioneered by General Edward Lansdale (Commander of Multinational Assistance Command-Vietnam, or MACV) and his British advisors – all veterans of the Malayan Emergency had stamped out much of the National Liberation Front (Viet Cong) between 62 and 65. What had been a pace of nearly 459 separate attacks in 1961 had decreased to a mere 47 four years later.

    With Ho Chi Minh increasingly sick and frail from age, de facto control of North Vietnam had passed to General Secretary Le Duan, an ardent Communist and increasingly becoming a Stalin-like figure within the party. The lack of success in the South by mid-1965 was worrying him, fears of a victorious RVN bringing down his standing never far from his mind. Convening a meeting of the Central Military Commission, General Vo Nguyen Giap proposed a new operational plan to him. With the NFL increasingly weak from Lansdale’s strategies, Giap proposed that the Army be sent to the South and assume responsibilities. It was the same as the old plan, but fast forwarded several years in advance. Despite his misgivings, Duan had little choice but to approve the venture.

    It would take most of a year and a half to move the necessary men and material into position. Using a rudimentary chain of boat smugglings through the Cambodian port of Shianoukville and improvised trails and bike/animal tracks through the Laotian/Cambodian jungles to South Vietnam (nicknamed the Ho Chi Minh trail by American GIs), by the beginning of 1967 Giap had transferred over fifteen divisions (approximately 170,000 troops) to the South, a further fifty thousand in reserve in southern Laos and eastern Cambodia.

    Attacks began to increase in number during the latter half of 1966 before spiking massively as the new year dawned. Beleaguered from a series of bloody battles centered in the mountainous Central Highlands – part of a diversionary campaign by Giap to draw US attention from the more populous Mekong Delta – President Kennedy was forced to order an additional 45,000 soldiers to Vietnam especially after with the threat of the election of Gough Whitlam of Australia expressed the intent to remove all 20,000 Australian soldiers from the war. He demanded assurances from Lansdale to get results and fight off the attacks. As the 1968 election loomed, a potential foreign policy crisis could destroy his chances.

    What would dramatically shift the entire war from a sideshow to a key element in the national discourse occurred in the Central Highlands valley of the Ia Drang on a humid September day. Established by four battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment a year earlier as a forward firebase to interdict NVA forces attempting to move deeper into South Vietnam, the US 1st Marine Regiment was transferred in under Colonel Stanley Hughes. In an attempt to both destroy the encampment and lure more US forces out to the wilderness to be wiped out, NVA commanders launched a pitched assault on the base with infantry and armor on September 5th.

    Even with air support Col. Hughes called in for reinforcements, claiming that he’d be overrun if none were given. Consulting with Secretary of Defense Clifford, Lansdale ordered the units of the 1st Cavalry Division under Major General Harold Moore to be airlifted in by helicopter around the base, alleviating the pressure on the Ia Drang complex.

    [​IMG]
    Four days in pitched and brutal fighting, both the complex and LZ X-Ray (one of the two LZs blasted out of the valley to lessen the pressure on the complex itself) nearly overrun by thousands of NVA troops before USAF and USN air sorties beating them back using bombs and napalm in close air support. When all was done, over a thousand total casualties were counted – NVA estimates being over three times that. What would be a tactical victory ended up as a pyrrhic one as Lansdale ordered the evacuation of all US forces from the valley.

    White House audio transcript, September 11th, 1967
    Meeting between the President, SecState McNamara, NSA George Kennen, and SecDef Clifford.

    President Kennedy: What in the c#######ing f##k is going on in f#####g Vietnam?!!! [audible calming breaths]. Only a month ago you were telling me things were secure? How did the damn Commies get the jump on us?

    Kennen: Aerial reconnaissance has pinpointed that the enemy is moving soldiers and equipment through neutral Laos and Cambodia.

    Kennedy: [fist slamming] Son of a b###h! Can we blast the bastards off the face of the earth?

    McNamara: That wouldn’t be advisable Mr. President. With our actions in dealing with the Czech issue, I wouldn’t recommend antagonizing the Soviet Union any further than we already have by violating the territorial integrity of a neutral nation. All we have is a treaty with South Vietnam guaranteeing fighting the communists within their borders as legal.

    Kennedy: [sighs] F##k Congress, they’ll do anything to scalp me before the election. We’ll do this without them. Airstrikes, bomb the North to the negotiating table. Clark, what do we have?

    Clifford: Combining Air Force assets out of Thailand and Navy assets in the South China Sea we can create a round the clock bombing campaign against the north. If need be we have B-52s out of Guam or Clark Airbase in the Philippines.

    McNamara: That wouldn’t give us any points with the Chinese. If they intervene we’re all screwed, so we need to be careful with what we target.

    Clifford: The enemy is the north, and airstrikes will put the pressure on them to capitulate. If need be we can put restrictions to placate the Chinese. The main problem, however, is on the ground.

    Kennedy: How so?

    Clifford: Lansdale is not the proper commander for this stage in the war, what with the NVA going to a conventional fighting strategy. He’s been there too long, we need a replacement. Some new blood and new soldiers to make up for the Australians if that s###t Whitlam wins.

    Kennedy: You make a good point Clark. Who would be the best choice?

    Kennen: How about Westmoreland?

    (end transcript)


    With the replacement of Lansdale by William Westmoreland by Kennedy, his commitment to winning the war and the decision to send an additional 100,000 troops – partly accounting for the newly elected Prime Minister Whitlam removing the Australian commitment – and approving airstrikes drew flak from both the doves as an unneeded escalation and by hawks as half measures. With the campus protests of 1966 looking like a marshmallow roast in comparison to the new wave of demonstrations, Vietnam was suddenly looking to be an albatross around Kennedy’s neck.

    [​IMG]
    The victory at Ia Drang and other setbacks for the United States and their South Vietnamese allies were looked favorably by the North. Seeming in higher spirits, General Secretary Duan engaged on a state visit to the Soviet Union where he met with General Secretary Semichastny. In the Sochi Accords reached between the two nations, the USSR agreed to double its commitment to North Vietnam including advisors and increased military aid in exchange for Duan committing to be part of the Soviet sphere of influence.

    All of this was being watched closely by Beijing, greatly troubling the increasingly aging Mao.

    -----------------------------

    Another theater act of the Cold War in Asia played out in the Indian Subcontinent. Tension between the former British Crown dominions of India and Pakistan had been high since both received independence in the late 1940s. Already having fought a war over territorial concerns, the border remained heavily fortified as each nation turned to superpower backers – the United States for Pakistan and the Soviet Union for India.

    In the enclave of East Pakistan – surrounded on three sides by India and cut off from the heart of the nation in the west – Bengali resistance fighters had been seeking independence for the Bengali people for nearly a decade, attempts put down harshly by Karachi. When one demonstration in downtown Dacca turned violent as Pakistani troops fired into the crowd, the Indian consulate was raided and burned to the ground by a large fire that gutted parts of the city.

    Pakistan laid official blame on the Bengali resistance movement, while India countered that the fire was caused by Pakistani troops trying to quell the demonstrators. Both nations quickly mobilized their forces, the ruling socialist Indian National Congress government in New Delhi seeking to dramatically weaken their regional rival by coopting Bengali separatism toward a quick military campaign to annex East Pakistan. On July 31st, the guns boomed all across the eastern subcontinent as nearly half a million men advanced to crush the 140,000 Pakistanis within the enclave. Glasses were raised in New Delhi for a decisive campaign.

    Unknown to them, the Pakistani General Staff had planned for this very occurrence. The prevailing mood in the higher echelons of the government was that the East would be lost come a war, so all attempts would be taken for offensives in the west to compensate the lost territory. Two weeks after the Indians began the war, the Pakistani Army launched a full scale offensive in Kashmir, advancing steadily despite massive Indian resistance.

    Just as Dacca was about to be captured on August 15th, Indian forces in the west-central province of Gujarat awoke to a massive invasion force steamrolling across the border. Unlike the one in the north, this force was comprised of over a quarter million Iranian troops equipped with the latest in American weaponry. Sent to Sindh by a secret treaty clause agreed to by the Shah and Pakistani President Ayub Khan, the unprepared Indians were no match for the unexpected assault as the Pakistani/Iranian force scythed through Gujarat to capture Ahmedabad on September 22nd.

    [​IMG]
    An emergency resolution at the UN, sponsored by both the Soviet Union and the United States, was immediately sought to end the conflict before all of South Asia was engulfed in the flames. On October 17th the guns fell silent as Karachi, Tehran, and New Delhi were goaded to the negotiating table in Kabul by their respective superpower patrons.

    What followed at the Treaty of Kabul was internationally recognized as a stalemate, a net wash (though many historians would assert that Pakistan and Iran got the better end of the deal). India was allowed to annex East Pakistan, having conquered it fair and square. However, the Pakistanis were compensated with the addition of most of Gujarat and all of Jammu and Kashmir to their domain – Iran, widely regarded in Pakistan as the reason why they had triumphed in the western theater, received extensive economic and resource concessions in the newly acquired territories along with adjustments on their border in the Baluchistan region.

    Both Pakistan and Imperial Iran would keep their alliance with the US a going concern, ignoring the concerns of socialist and Islamist movements within their borders. India on the other hand, despite its victory in conquering East Pakistan (now the Indian Province of East Bengal) would widely see the war as a failure of epic proportions. Thusly, new Prime Minister Indira Gandhi would seek a stronger alliance with the USSR, flying to Moscow to meet with General Secretary Semichastny in February 1969. Along with Yugoslavia, the Indian overture would mark the beginning of a change in the foreign policy of the USSR.
     
  5. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Location:
    Good ol' USA
    Mostly continuing the One Nation domestic policies of the Macmillan era (in addition to resisting socially liberal efforts to abolish the death penalty and remove caps on immigration), the Macleod Government’s most notable achievements were in the sphere of defence and foreign policy. Special Forces advisers were sent to Vietnam as part of an international assistance force, three new fleet carriers were commissioned for the Royal Navy (while existing ships were modernized), and the RAF was transformed into the main nuclear deterrence force in European airspace. Within the NATO alliance, Great Britain remained the second largest military after the United States, Presidents Rockefeller and Kennedy giving her Cold War responsibilities over much of the world.

    In the realm of diplomacy, among the former colonial Empire Macleod and Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Home were common players. Full independence movements were headed off in all but the white minority regimes of South Africa, Rhodesia, and Bechuanaland (though they would remain within the Commonwealth alliance) and the Indian states.

    Arguably the greatest achievement was the Treaty of Amman in January 1967, mediated by Douglas-Home between Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol and Jordanian King Hussein. The treaty stipulated:

    · Jordan would recognize Israel’s right to exist as a nation.

    · A two square kilometer tract of land in East Jerusalem – including the Wailing Wall but not the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount – would be ceded to the State of Israel.

    · Israel would recognize a Jordanian annexation of the West Bank and pay one billion Pounds for approximately one fifth of the West Bank to increase the size of the corridor to Jerusalem.

    · All Palestinian subjects within Jordan would be recognized as citizens of said state, and Arab residents of Israel would have one month after the treaty to move to Jordan if they so chose.

    Reaction in Israel was jubilant, throngs of people celebrating in the streets. Reaction was hostile in Jordan’s erstwhile allies Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Syria, the treaty basically heading off any attempt to fund a reasonable Palestinian freedom movement. In Britain, with the general election campaign two months away, reactions were mixed due to both party’s divisions in support and opposition for Israel.

    While divisions smoldered in the Tory ranks regarding tension between the One Nation moderates and Monday Club conservatives over domestic and foreign policy (documented by the Daily Mail in front page exclusives), Labour’s problems were more the concern of yesteryear. Humiliated after the defeat in 1964 in what was supposed to be an unlosable election, Harold Wilson resigned as Opposition Leader for the position of Shadow Chancellor. In a clash between the Bevinite and Gaitskellite wings of the party, the winner ended up being the folksy, gaffe-prone Deputy Leader George Brown.

    A social conservative and an economic progressive (not quite a socialist but falling with the party left more than half of the time), Brown reorganized the Labour frontbench to address concerns from the 64 election. Most of the party left were relegated to domestic policy, Gaitskellites James Callaghan and Peter Shore (known for his nationalistic views) were promoted to Shadow Foreign Secretary and Shadow Defence Secretary respectively.

    Seeing the Government’s poll numbers start to dip following its rise after the Treaty of Amman, Macleod headed the calls of his cabinet to call a general election in April. The focus of the Tory campaign centered on Macleod’s successes overseas and how the “Borderline Alcoholic” Brown was unfit to lead the nation through the Cold War. Government charges were bolstered when Brown seemed slurred in a BBC interview in mid-March.

    Brown ended up playing it off brilliantly, claiming the mantle of being the candidate of the people, “sharing a pint of lager with the average labourer while the Prime Minister sips expensive brandy, secluded from average Britons in 10 Downing Street.” Labour campaigners attacked the government for ignoring domestic concerns while “jetting off for exotic locales.” The charges, along with a general dissatisfaction with a decade and a half of Tory governance, that whittled the Government’s numbers to a two point deficit by election day.

    [​IMG]
    Final results delivered hung Parliament.

    After sixteen years the prospect of a Tory win was low to say the least (Macleod was later quoted to say that 1964 had been his one miracle). The Conservatives put up a good showing, Peter Griffiths holding Smethwick (the closest result in the entire nation, decided by eleven votes) and the gains in central England mostly holding. Labour accomplished modest swings in Scotland and London, wiping out the Tories in Wales. The Liberals poached four seats (one in Scotland, one in Wales, and two in Cornwall) and positioned themselves to be the kingmakers in the election, while the left-wing SDLP won its first seat in the seat of Londonderry.

    Granting concessions and several cabinet positions to Grimond’s Liberals, Brown secured a Lab-Lib pact to form the first Labour led government since Clement Atlee in 1950.

    -----------------------------------​

    After nearly nineteen years in power, Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies finally decided to retire from the country’s top job. Feeling that the government was becoming as sluggish and unfocused as the ideologically similar Conservative Party in the UK, he felt that stepping aside for a younger leader was best for the Coalition. He was replaced as Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal party by the stylish Treasurer Harold Holt.

    For the opposition, the tired Arthur Calwell was ousted after two election defeats in a party room spill by his deputy, western Sydney MP Gough Whitlam. Cleaning house within the party, he ditched unpopular socialistic platforms from the fifties, repudiated the White Australia Policy, and promoted much of the younger members of the party to the frontbench. Watching his initial popularity be countered by the new Labor leader, Holt decided to call the election for the latest possible opportunity in order to wait it out.

    In retrospect, the idea was a flawed one. While both Holt and Whitlam were personally popular, the Labor party was seen as the fresher face while the Coalition still possessed many of the regulars from the Menzies era in high positions. As the election heated up, Whitlam’s campaign slogan “It’s Time, for something new…” caught on as working class voters flocked to Labor’s banner.

    The defining moment in the campaign proved to be an ambush of Australian soldiers in the Central Highlands of Vietnam by advance units of the NVA dispatched by General Vo Nugyen Giap. Nearly half the force was either killed or wounded before US airpower was vectored in. Holt and his ministry having made comments to how the war was winding down ended up coming to bite him mere days before Australian voters headed to the polls.

    [​IMG]
    The result was tight, but at the end of the day Gough Whitlam was set to form majority government. Gaining many working class districts in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane and defeating the two DLP MPs, Labor announced that its first action upon taking office was to begin removing Australian troops from Vietnam – handing John F. Kennedy a massive foreign policy defeat.

    -----------------------------​

    What people would consider to be John F. Kennedy’s greatest triumph occurred not in the US or Southeast Asia, but in Central Europe. Having been appointed the year before to the position as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, Alexander Dubcek had inherited an increasingly noncompetitive and stagnant Czechoslovak economy, exports largely being rejected by European and world demand. Faced with the task of revitalizing his nation, the leader gave a speech in July emphasizing the need for the state to create “Socialism with a human face.”

    In late summer of 1967 Dubcek shocked his Soviet and Warsaw Pact allies by instituting a spate of liberal reforms to the socialist state. The economy was decentralized, liberties restored to the general populace, and the border was opened to both Warsaw Pact and Western Block nations. Negotiations were conducted in Bratislava between furious Soviet delegations and the Dubcek regime, Slovakian delegates begging their Czech colleagues to accede to Soviet demands or risk losing sovereignty. Neither was willing to budge however, and the negotiations collapsed after only a week. All waited for the hammer to fall as had happened to the Hungarian Revolution a mere decade before – intelligence estimates from the CIA speculated as many as a quarter of a million Red Army, East German, and Bulgarian troops waited within Hungary, Poland, and East Germany for the order to invade.

    [​IMG]
    Why Khrushchev hesitated to order the Red Army in to crush what was being called the Prague Spring is a question banded about by modern historians. No one can agree on an answer, and with the events that happened afterwards the question would never be solved. As the lack of Red Army response dragged on, the Czechoslovak embassy in Washington made inquiries to the Kennedy White House about joining NATO.

    Increasingly pensive, Kennedy nevertheless immediately set the wheels into motion for the acceptance of the former communist state. While Slovak communists managed to cleave their nation from the new Czech Federal Republic, a triumphant ceremony in Prague was held between the leaders of NATO and Alexander Dubcek (both he and Kennedy would receive a joint Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in the Prague Spring). Free elections were held in 1969, and Dubcek and his newly founded Czech Front for Social Democracy won an estimated fifty-eight percent of seats in the Diet.

    To say the Soviet Union had been subjected to political and diplomatic chaos was an understatement. Having built an image since the last years of the Eisenhower Administration as a defender of national liberation movements the world over, them throwing overboard the Czech communists was a massive blow to Soviet prestige. In addition, the Politburo was increasingly worried about Khrushchev’s erratic behavior, undiplomatic outbursts commonly heard from the General Secretary’s office during meetings between him and ambassadors from allied states.

    In dachas and limousines across Moscow, discussions on how to replace Khrushchev were increasingly common – only his removal could rebuild the trust the USSR’s Marxist allies had in the world’s first Socialist state.

    [​IMG]
    Afterwards, in late 1967 Nikita Khrushchev was reported dead of a heart attack by Soviet state media (immediately suspicious). He was succeeded as General Secretary by KGB chief Vladimir Semichastny, the leader of the anti-Khrushchev elements in the Politburo and a notorious CPSU hardliner. Firstly upon taking office, a quiet purge of moderates from the ranks of the Politburo and Communist Party was undertaken, none killed but rather forcibly retired or sent to chair Party branches in places like Irkutsk or Astana. Gathering the Red Army commanders together, Semichastny issued directives for them to secure the USSR’s holdings in Eastern Europe to prevent any further humiliations such as with the Czechs.

    The Soviet Union had thusly begun a new, more belligerent and militant course for the foreseeable future.

    --------------------------------
    Going into the latter half of John F Kennedy’s first term, faced with a devastating midterm defeat both from the GOP and the populist wing of the Democratic Party, a tough nomination fight being ahead his main goal was to shore up his standing with policy victories. The White House subsequently began negotiations with congressional leadership over the blocked financial assistance packages for the poor. Having been defeated by an odd coalition of southern populists and conservative Republicans, Kennedy signaled his intention to retreat on certain measures in order to let it pass.

    Finally, a bill modeling itself on the Wallace welfare program in Alabama was finally passed with strong majorities in both chambers, focusing on giving limited financial stipends and housing assistance to the working poor. It also created the Office of Employment Opportunities within the executive branch, a sub-cabinet agency based off old temporary New Deal programs of the FDR administration. Newly unemployed workers, in lieu of being paid by the Government, would be prioritized for employment/contracts with the government (such as constructing public works projects). The OEO would also coordinate with state and local governments while additionally providing employment training for anyone in need of it. The initiatives boosted Kennedy’s approval ratings, as did Prague Spring, but the situation was still very much in play for the President.

    For the first time since 1952, the Republican race was completely wide open. No incumbent President or Vice President was running – with the statement from former President Rockefeller at the beginning of the year that he wasn’t pursuing the bid – and with the pronounced divisions in the party, all were geared up for a long and crowded field.

    The first to announce a bid was longtime Michigan Governor and former auto executive George Romney, a powerful moderate voice and civil rights advocate. Widely considered the initial frontrunner over a field of lesser known candidates such as MO Senator Dewey Short, NY Congressman William Miller, and former AZ Governor Paul Fannin, Romney attempted to straddle the line between the party’s conservatives and the liberal wing. Much of his campaign staff and surrogates hailed from the “Liberty Conservative” wing of the party, one who’s power had yet to be truly tested within the GOP.

    As it turned out, the attempt to walk the fine line didn’t work for Romney. Firstly, the conservative wing of the party had their candidate in the form of Senator Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona, who immediately received a boost when Fannin dropped out and threw his backing to him. A week later, the Rockefeller Eastern Establishment – who had never been warm to Romney – coalesced behind the announced bid of two-term Senator Kenneth Keating of New York. The other candidates soon became also-rans as all attention was given to the three leaders.

    The primaries were evenly divided along regional lines, Keating winning on the east coast, Goldwater in the west, and Romney in Wisconsin and other Midwestern states. California was won by Governor Ronald Reagan, who despite not running was included on the ballot as a favorite son candidate.

    As it stood, the convention watchers had pegged the first ballot right on the mark. Goldwater was ahead by a tiny plurality, Keating not far behind. Romney was in a distant but significant third with much of the Midwest and a good sized chunk of the Mountain West (the Governor being a Mormon). The not-running Reagan controlled California and the delegations of Nevada and Washington, netted for him by his allies, Senator Paul Laxalt of NV and Governor Dan Evans of WA.

    Two further ballots both bolstered Goldwater and Keating’s margins at the expense of Romney’s. Romney’s haul of delegates had plummeted by nearly a third, indicative of the defeat his campaign was hurtling towards. It just wasn’t the year for the Liberty Conservatives. On the fourth ballot Reagan finally ended his flirtation and released his delegates for Goldwater, putting him on the cusp of the nomination on the fourth ballot.

    [​IMG]

    Negotiations began in earnest between the Goldwater and Keating camps with Romney, both seeking his endorsement and his delegates. Despite his ideological differences with the conservative Arizonan, Romney deemed it better to endorse him over the Eastern Establishment Keating in his concession speech. Romney’s backing and that of Mississippi congressional candidate Medgar Evers pulled Goldwater over the line on the fifth ballot.

    Nominated, Goldwater picked the governor of Michigan as his running mate, shoring up his appeal among African-Americans and as an offering to moderate and LibCon voters.

    [​IMG]
    Despite the still lingering dislike of Goldwater by the Rockefeller wing of the GOP, the selection of Romney managed to calm the tension and unite the party ahead of the election. Both former President Rockefeller and Senator Keating endorsed Goldwater following his nomination. Many were confident that they could retake the White House for the fourth time in five elections with what was considered the all-star unity team.

    However, both the divisions within the party and the positive headlines that emerged from Goldwater and Romney’s acceptance speeches were completely drowned out by the chaos unfurling in the Democratic National Convention.

    White House audio transcript, January 7th, 1968

    Kennedy: He did it, that crazy motherf####r did it!

    (end transcript)

    [​IMG]
    While many expected Kennedy to be challenged for the Democratic nomination, and the same name was bounded around by all, it was still a shock when Governor George Corley Wallace of Alabama announced he would seek the nomination of his party against the incumbent president.

    Wallace’s strategy, drafted by an untested, novice campaign manager named Gary Hart, was evident from the beginning. While a strong defender of segregation, the Alabama Governor wasn’t a bullheaded diehard such as strong supporters Gov. Lester Maddox, Mayor Eugene Connor, and Senator George Mahoney. After a meeting of the senior campaign staff and top surrogates (Russell Long and John J McKeithen of Louisiana and Jimmy Hoffa to name three), all outward references to segregation were stricken from Wallace’s campaign promises – all the segregationists were in his camp anyway, and there was no doubt among the group that it was only a matter of time before an anti-civil rights stance was an automatic loser. Instead, the assault would be made on Kennedy on subtler charges regarding the mismanagement of the Vietnam War, the lack of attention on assistance for the working poor, and an overly coddling nature regarding the counterculture movement. Wallace deployed his bombast as the ‘law and order’ candidate, citing his tough stance on the Birmingham riots.

    Kennedy from the beginning banked on his foreign policy, citing his Prague Spring negotiations and the rebuilding of alliances as evidence of his strength. Wallace was attacked as untested on foreign policy, surrogate after surrogate lambasting the Alabama Governor as a “Hothead who would jeopardize national security.” However, the decline in social order on both racial and counterculture fronts had damaged the President, and prevented him from putting Wallace away early.

    Campaign plans and de facto divisions of support were suddenly thrown into the open as Democrats of all stripes were pressured early into taking sides. Only a few notables, namely Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, and AFL-CIO President George Meany refused to pick a horse in the race. Many of the northeastern and urban liberal constituencies threw in with Kennedy, while the south and west were Wallace strongholds.

    It was clear in the primaries. Wallace stunningly won New Hampshire, and pulled off wins in Nebraska, Florida, West Virginia, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Kennedy, rallying and campaigning hard, took Oregon, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio, South Dakota, and a stunning win in California that bolstered his campaign. What seemed like the campaign gaining steam off of the California win came to a screeching halt a week afterward, where Chief of Staff Teddy Kennedy (the President’s brother) was arrested in Maryland for solicitation – burnishing the challenger’s cultural conservative attacks among the working class Democrat base. Wallace bounced back strongly in Illinois following the arrest. It soon became obvious that there wouldn’t be an early winner. To the shock of many, it would be going to the convention.

    FBI audio transcript, DNC Chicago, August 27th, 1968

    Kennedy campaign meeting room

    President Kennedy: How are we looking for the first ballot?

    Birch Bayh: The Midwest is wavering. We may lose a few delegates from Ohio and Illinois to Wallace.

    President Kennedy: F##k. What about New York Bobby? Can you hold the line there?

    Robert Kennedy: Rest assured Jack. Despite DeSapio and his crap, we’re holding there and in the northeast. We may even gain a few Wallace delegates from Rhode Island.

    Symington: Problem is our holdings in the west. If Wallace can break through there it’s going to be tricky.

    President Kennedy: Find someone, maybe Roncalio. Tell him he has his choice of cabinet positions.

    Alan Cranston: [Panting as he enters] We have a problem.

    Robert Kennedy: Which is?

    Cranston: It’s Yorty. He’s come out for Wallace.

    President Kennedy: F##k!

    (end transcript)


    FBI audio transcript, DNC Chicago, August 27th, 1968

    Wallace campaign meeting room

    McKeithen: Perfect, Yorty’s split the California delegation. We’re that much closer to the magic number.

    Wallace: Where can we get the remainder?

    Ervin: We can poach a few of the holdouts from the upper south, and we should take a run at the Midwestern delegates.

    Wallace: Some are Kennedy loyalists.

    Otto Kerner: But many are persuadable. I’ll handle the negotiations with Jimmy [Hoffa] [exits]

    McKeithen: I heard from our Minnesota chairman that McCarthy is planning a walkout if we win the nomination.

    Wallace: He can go take a s##t for all I care. We can whip that Arizona cur and his Mormon yankee faster than Lee did at Fredericksburg. We need those delegates though.

    [phone being hung up]

    Wallace: What did you find Gary?

    Hart: It’s Connolly. He wants to meet before the balloting.

    [​IMG]

    In what had to be the political story of the decade, last minute moves by Mayor Sam Yorty of Los Angeles and former Texas Governor John Connolly had enabled George Corley Wallace to defeat President John Fitzgerald Kennedy by a mere fifty delegate votes. Astonished newsmen sent the news across television and radio nationwide, while the crowd of civil rights and anti-war protestors reacted to the nomination with a booming fury. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley had to deploy police in full riot gear, Wallace screaming to the heavens that the disturbances were proving him and his campaign right.

    In order to entice liberals and Kennedy backers back into the fold after the bruising contest, against Wallace’s personal desires (he would have been far more comfortable with someone such as Sam Ervin, former Governor of Texas John Connelly, or even Senator Hubert Humphrey) he selected the cerebral Secretary of State Robert McNamara as his running mate. Offering a more polished, intellectual counter to Wallace’s populist bombast and calming charges of inexperience on foreign policy, McNamara would settle down the Kennedy delegate revolt rumors as the Governor of Alabama formally accepted the nomination.

    [​IMG]
    For the first time in American history, an incumbent President had been defeated for the nomination of his own party. Graciously endorsing Wallace, John Fitzgerald Kennedy would campaign up and down for Democratic candidates across the nation. Retiring with Jackie to his home on Martha’s Vinyard, the former President would throw himself into humanitarian and philanthropic work (often pairing with the man he defeated in 1964, Nelson Rockefeller). Struggling with Addison’s disease, he would still manage to live an active life, stating to a 1993 interview with CNN’s Brit Hume that his greatest achievement was securing Czech membership in NATO during Prague Spring, and his greatest regret not finishing the desegregation of schools. He would die in 2001 at the age of eighty-four, surrounded by his family.

    John F. Kennedy’s defeat was the beginning of the end of the Democratic Party’s time of choosing. The populist wing had secured its candidate in George Wallace, and were on the cusp of triumph. All it needed was to win the election.

    For some liberals of both parties, the nomination of a strident conservative on the GOP side and the public face of the segregationist cause on the other was a bridge too far. Watching Wallace and Goldwater move toward the nominations of the Democratic and Republican parties, a group of influential liberals, leftist civil rights advocates, and anti-war activists gathered together in Minneapolis, Minnesota to declare a third party run for the presidency. Invoking the name of the same third party that ran in 1912, 1924, and 1948, Senator Eugene McCarthy – one of the most prominent voices against the Vietnam War and who had famously led a group of two hundred liberal delegates in a walkout of the convention – announced he would be a candidate of the Progressive party, tossing a monkey wrench into what was setting up to be a tight election.
    At the announcement of the third party bid, McCarthy selected fellow Senator and notable liberal George McGovern as his running mate, pledging to give disgruntled liberals and anti-war activists a horse to back in the coming election. Both men and the Progressive Party’s campaign apparatus agreed not to run congressional candidates except against the lowest hanging targets. Theirs was an attempt to rescue the Democratic Party from the populist Wallace wing, and would proceed accordingly with the third option on the Presidential race and funding liberal primary candidates to populist Democrats.

    As it turned out, in the frightened mood the country was in regarding security both at home and abroad, the Progressives faced a slow start against their Democratic and Republican opponents. The first Gallup poll after both conventions showed:

    Wallace/McNamara: 45%

    Goldwater/Romney: 41%

    McCarthy/McGovern: 6%
    As the Labor Day unofficial start date for the general election campaign began, the modest Wallace lead that he had left the convention with soon evaporated with the wave of massive anti-war protests that blossomed from Chicago’s. Effigies of both the Alabama Governor and his GOP opponent were burned on a mass scale by the protestors, several turning violent as members of radical groups such as the SDS and Black Jaguar Party clashed with riot police.

    Both Goldwater and Wallace responded by taking hawkish positions on national defense and law and order issues. Political cartoonists and TV comedian Johnny Carson lampooned the similar statements of the two candidates quite often, the latter stating that the only difference being one wanted to bomb the communists tomorrow while the other wanted to bomb them yesterday.

    [​IMG]

    Jokes aside, many attacks were made by both camps on the discrepancies of the specific plans. Wallace claimed Goldwater wanted to abandon America’s edge in nuclear firepower over the Soviet Union (the Soviets had overcome the US by the third year of the Kennedy Administration, though it was never by much; for every nine US missiles there were ten Soviet). The widely printed slogan “Bomb them to the Stone Age” was widely circulated and received much support from what Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew called “The Silent Majority” in an interview with CBS’ Walter Cronkite.

    Goldwater on the other hand claimed Wallace was a trigger happy hothead, echoing many attacks from President Kennedy’s camp in the primary contest. Claiming the need to avoid nuclear war was prominent, he and Romney promised a massive investment into America’s conventional forces – stating in a speech that “The spendthrift liberals are content to build a few more nukes so they can gut our national defense to pay for their bloated programs. It doesn’t work!” Wallace’s camp dispatched McNamara in response, the VP nominee coolly and calmly explaining to a national audience the nature of the Alabaman’s policies to rave reviews from the press.

    [​IMG]

    In the words of Governor Agnew: “The liberal nabobs’ white knight has never been so… boring. Wallace has enough fire for the both of them.”

    Left-leaning voters of both parties began to flee to McCarthy’s campaign, the Minnesota Senator promising a gradual withdrawal from South Vietnam, “As it is time for the South Vietnamese to engage in the fight by themselves. American children don’t need to engage in battles in their nation, not now that they can stand on their own two feet.” Rallies for the McCarthy/McGovern ticket often took the appearance of counterculture music festivals, Wallace remarking “You can tell who the Progressive candidates are in the crowd by the fact that they’re the only ones in suits.”

    [​IMG]

    On domestic policy the battle lines were drawn sharply. Goldwater championed his small government conservatism, arguing the need to roll back regulations, cut social programs, and eliminate the Department of Public Works. To promote the economy, tax cuts were necessary while crime control needed to be instituted while still respecting concerns of bigotry. Governor Romney was the point man for the African American community, the former auto executive campaigning across black neighborhoods with black leaders of all ideologies.

    Wallace by contrast proclaimed his policies with his characteristic bombast, channeling the anger building in his working class base. Never mentioning segregation in the slightest, the southern white base nevertheless remained in his corner. Northern laborers and ethnics threw their support behind him, his calls for increased programs for the working poor and an administration friendly to organized labor hitting their heartstrings. Crime wouldn’t be coddled in a Wallace Administrations, state the advertisements.

    Meanwhile, the Progressives aligned themselves as the true heirs to the left, McCarthy’s maverick views appealing to many moderate Republicans weary of Goldwater while McGovern co-opted the brewing counterculture and anti-war sentiment felt on the nations fringes.

    Unlike the past two elections, there would be no October Surprise. Heavier fighting in Vietnam, the rising crime rate, and no abatement to the demonstrations kept the race to the wire till Election Day.

    [​IMG]
    The nation woke up – or glanced with red-rimmed, exhausted eyes after a night of monitoring returns – to a collective shock. The stock market took a two hundred point nosedive as a pale Walter Cronkite announced (once California had been declared for Goldwater by 10,000 votes and Ohio for Wallace by 7,200) that neither Barry Goldwater (having won the most states and a one EV plurality) nor George Wallace (the popular vote winner, though not close to a majority) had cracked the 270 electoral votes needed for a majority in the Electoral College. The 1968 election would head to the House of Representatives, for the first time in 140 years and only the third time in the nation’s history.

    It was clear that George Wallace had retained much of the old Truman coalition. Sweeping the Deep South and the industrial Midwest, fears of the new Soviet leadership, concerns over the escalating conflict in Vietnam, and the rising crime rate and counterculture caused a huge outpouring of white backlash against the Republicans and the Kennedy Democrats. Being the man who defeated Kennedy, Wallace had largely escaped the same taint.

    In the West, what had been an indisputable part of the Truman coalition had largely abandoned Wallace. Barry Goldwater, a westerner himself, and his pre-New Deal conservatism were a perfect fit for the region and swept all the west coast, mountain, and plains states (save for Oklahoma, voting for Wallace by 24,000 votes). Loyalty to the party of Nixon and the presence of George Romney kept the African American-vote for Goldwater, while his conservatism took several border states (Texas, Kentucky, Virginia, and Florida). Backlash against Wallace gave the GOP much of the upper Midwest as well as Massachusetts, the latter both as a black eye to the man that defeated their home state hero and due to significant vote splitting for McCarthy.

    The Progressives didn’t do too badly, winning a significant chunk of the popular vote. In the Electoral College, McCarthy and McGovern only won their home states and the moderate bastion of Vermont (neither main party candidates a good fit for the state). Though they weren’t able to influence the current election as much as they had hoped, both Senators had laid the groundwork for the future of the American left.

    [​IMG]
    Despite fears that liberal Democrats would cast their ballots for McCarthy, the overwhelming southern/Midwestern/union control of the House would make the coming vote quite anticlimactic. The Democrats controlling 26 state delegations despite a modest net gain for the GOP (kept for the most part in already heavily GOP western states, upper south, and the three new African-American representatives; Medgar Evers of MS, Charlie Rangel of NY, and Augustus Hawkins of CA), Wallace was voted in as the nation’s 38th President. The Democratic Senate would similarly vote in McNamara the next day.
    ---------------------------------------​
    No one had created as much a stir after so little time than freshman junior Senator from Arizona Evan Mecham. From bombastic language, winding tirades against nothing in particular, an embarrassing run against President Nelson Rockefeller in the 1964 primaries, and racist gaffes that would make George Wallace blanch. Having only been nominated in 1962 because no one else wanted to run against longtime Senator Carl Hayden, the Goldwater controlled state Republican Party would make ridding themselves of the troublesome senator their highest priority.

    Coming off of a successful five two year terms as governor, Paul Fannin quickly announced his intention to run against Mecham in the Republican Primary. Branding himself a Goldwater Republican and with the senior Senator’s firm support, he prevailed in the primary with 61% to Mecham’s 39% and was immediately rated as the probative favorite over Congressman Samuel Goddard.

    However, Mecham wouldn’t go down that easily. Declaring an independent run for the senate, Mecham positioned himself to be the candidate of George Wallace’s supporters against the Kennedy Democrat Goddard – denouncing the Democrat as a “Communist interloper allied with the Politburo” and the Republican as a “Traitor in the service of the Negro power structure.” Goddard and Fannin meanwhile campaigned as orthodox party members, observers gathering that each major candidate had a good chance of winning.

    [​IMG]
    In the end, despite underperforming Wallace’s showing by four points Goddard was able to pull off a 1,600 vote win over second place finisher Mecham, beginning a resurgence of Democratic fortunes in the home state of the Republican Presidential nominee.

    In defeat, Fannin would retire to a quiet life as an RNC Committeeman. Mecham… well, it would be simplest to say that the state of Arizona hadn’t seen the last of him.

    -------------------------​

    Most political observers considered Senator Thomas Kuchel the Republican Lyndon Johnson. Tainted by being Rockefeller’s running mate in 1964, the former Senate Minority Whip (being defeated for the position by NJ Senator Robert Kean) lacked the gravitas of the former President to truly rehabilitate his image. So as Rockefeller began to improve his public standing after having taken a beating in the Happy Scandal, Kuchel only saw it deteriorate further. Like Johnson, the wolves began to come out, but unlike his Democratic Senate colleague most of them ended up being from his own party.

    He had never been liked by the Conservative wing of the party, which pushed State Superintendent of Instruction Max Rafferty into the primary against him to no surprise. What surprised Kuchel – and indeed everyone – was the entrance into the primary of Congressman, maverick conservative, and noted anti-war Republican Pete McCloskey of San Mateo. One of the most prominent voices against the Vietnam War made famous by a stirring speech on the House floor, no one took the one term congressman seriously at first. Kuchel and Rafferty took turns attacking each other, while McCloskey sat back and took the high ground. Attacks sent his way were laughed off in an almost Reaganite manner, the Governor staying neutral. Steadily McCloskey gained ground, buoyed by the same anti-war movement that propelled Eugene McCarthy’s Progressive run.

    When the results came in, the political world was stunned as McCloskey prevailed in a tight three-way contest. The Democrats nominated, over ‘some dude’ opposition, former Speaker of the State Assembly Jesse M. Unruh – a liberal turned Yorty Democrat.

    With the candidates being the maverick, anti-war moderate McCloskey and the populist machine politician Unruh, the left wing of the state was left bereft of a candidate that they could truly support. While many grudgingly endorsed McCloskey, the core of Brown loyalists and progressive activists backing the McCarthy/McGovern ticket drafted Los Angeles City Councilman Tom Bradley to run on the newly named Peace and Freedom ticket as an unabashed liberal. Bradley accepted, knowing a statewide run would burnish his chances in running against Sam Yorty for Mayor – or win him a seat in congress.

    The campaign charted new territory in California politics, blurring the lines of past coalitions and solidifying new ones. McCloskey doubled down on the base of the Reagan victory in 1966, targeting minority communities and the middle class. Conceding the most radical of the counterculture to Bradley, he nevertheless campaigned hard in universities and moderate neighborhoods in the Bay Area that he knew so well. Unruh focused on the working class, traversing the Central Valley and industrial areas of LA. The disparity was brutal. In much of Orange and Contra Costa counties there were nothing but McCloskey signs, while residents of Kern County towns reported knowing only Unruh supporters. Bradley’s campaign was vicious, the P&F candidate not pulling back any punches in attacking both his opponents – though his particular ire was directed at the “Racist Puppeteer” Mayor Sam Yorty.

    [​IMG]
    The final numbers proved to be tight, but McCloskey emerged with a clear plurality. Carrying most of the Bay Area (including Berkeley), central coast, and non-Spanish portions of SoCal, his strength among suburbanites, conservatives, anti-war voters, and African-Americans proved to be a winning coalition. Unruh by contrast swept the Central Valley and the north of the state in what would be called the Yorty Coalition, many of the John Birch wing of the Republican party defecting after party leader Bill Shearer endorsed Wallace and Unruh. The California party bases were starting to harden, but the GOP seemed to hold the winning edge.

    Bradley’s inflated polling numbers proved to be a red herring, and the Peace and Freedom ticket was relegated to a modest share of the vote a little over half that of McCarthy’s in the state – many liberals held their noses and voted for McCloskey, finding him the most palatable out of a list of bad options. In a state that had elected Pat Brown not six years before, both parties were quickly leaving the liberal wing in the dust.

    One notable member of the McCloskey campaign was a junior staffer brought over from the then-Congressman’s House office, one Leon Panetta. Appointed to organize the campaign’s minority outreach that would end up being decisive for the Senator-elect’s win, Panetta would look back on McCloskey’s 1968 race as the most crucial formative event in his career. He would consider McCloskey – both for inspiration during the campaign and after, where he used his connections to get Panetta a job in Governor Reagan’s administration – his mentor.

    ------------------​

    In America, when people were asked to imagine a union boss the name they would come up with was James “Jimmy” Hoffa. President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, much of his rise to power had been arranged through connections with organized crime such as the Sicilian La Cosa Nostra. Deep political connections had saved him from prosecution, but a close scare at the 1960 Convention – Hoffa having been tipped off that the boy scout Bobby Kennedy would be looking to investigate him – caused the Teamster’s President to fully shed himself of the more shady aspects of his business.

    Eight years later, inoculated from investigation by deft political maneuvering and a quiet severing of ties with the mob (he knew far too much and was far too high profile to be disposed of), Hoffa had positioned himself as a kingmaker in Democratic circles, ardently opposed to the Kennedys and their allies during the power struggles of the latter half of JFK’s term. Already at the pinnacle of his power, he set his sights on netting a high profile trophy to cement his position. The Governorship of his home state.

    While a traditionally Republican Midwestern state – and generally conservative – in the late fifties and early sixties Indiana had swung hard to the Democrats as they took both senate seats and the governorship. In 1968 two-term Governor Matthew E. Welsh was term limited, and Republicans were angling to regain the initiative in the state that had so slipped from their control. Selected as their nominee in the primary election over Indianapolis Mayor Richard Lugar was Secretary of State Edgar Whitcomb, facing off against Hoffa – who had defeated a Kennedy Democrat for the nomination.

    [​IMG]
    It would not come to fruition. Combining the standard Democratic liberal economic and welfare policies with solid cultural conservatism (slowly becoming the norm for the Democratic Party), the star power of Jimmy Hoffa would persevere over the traditional Republican tilt of the state. The Teamsters President would outperform both George Wallace and Senator Birch Bayh by four and three points respectively, the race drawing massive attention by the press over his run. By and large, ‘Jimmy’ had the distinction of firmly tilting Indiana more blue than red.

    His victory would make him a national icon – more infamous than celebrated – widely referenced and parodied in popular culture. Most notably, one of the antagonists in Francis Ford Coppola’s acclaimed sequel The Godfather: Part II, would be cast as a corrupt union official based largely off of the Indiana Governor. Hoffa famously took it in stride, even attending the premier with a big grin on his face.

    ----------------------​

    New York for the Eisenhower and post-Eisenhower era was the fiefdom of the moderate Republicans. The Dulles brothers, Irving Ives, Kenneth Keating, Nelson Rockefeller, Malcolm Wilson, John Lindsay, and the ever popular Jacob Javits. The senior senator of the Empire State, after the 1964 election Javits had largely taken over from the weakened Thomas Kuchel as the leader of the liberal wing of the Republican Party in the senate. When upstate Democratic congressman Samuel Stratton announced his intention to campaign against Javits, no one expected the race to be close.

    However, tension had been boiling within the NY GOP since the 1965 Mayoral Election. The moderate wing of Javits, Keating, and Lindsay found themselves in the face of a turf war over control of the party by the conservative wing of Cohn and the Buckleys. With Congressman Cohn standing right by his side, attorney and activist James Buckley announced his run on the ticket of the NY Conservative Party. Javits had faced similar opposition before and they hadn’t amounted to anything, but once influential Republicans such as Cohn, William Miller, and Charlie Rangel (as well as the rest of the African-American wing) threw their support behind Buckley – inheriting his brother’s vast campaign infrastructure in NYC that elected Cohn two years before – his campaign viewed him as a real threat.

    The three way race (one of many that the country found itself in with the fragile coalitions both cracking and hardening) was contentious all around, each side lobbing rhetorical bombs at the other to appease both their bases and the small group of swing voters. Javits argued he had experience unlike the others, while the charasmatic Buckley shot back that New York needed new blood in a calculated attempt to appeal to moderates and youthful voters that put Bobby Kennedy over the top in 1966. Stratton, now a viable contender, pushed hard as the only upstate candidate, arguing both for a regional balance and for a potential President Wallace to have an ally in the senate.

    Come Election Day, the race was jump ball, the New York Times finding:

    Buckley: 32%

    Stratton: 31%

    Javits: 31%

    [​IMG]
    In the end, safety conscious suburbanites, conservative upstaters, and loyal African-Americans provided Buckley with a strong 90,000 vote margin in the three way race. Stratton cleaned up in the ethnic enclaves of NYC and Metro Buffalo, mirroring President-elect Wallace who cleaned up in these areas. Javits, for his third place finish, kept much of the liberal GOP base in the far upstate and Manhattan. In a post-election interview he quipped, “At the very least, I cleaned up in Roy’s backyard,” with a grin, referring to Cohn.

    Giddy members of the Conservative Party headed to the drawing boards to plan the downfall of their other target, Mayor Lindsay, but party godfather William F. Buckley – the Senator-elect’s brother – would ensure that a different course for the party was attempted.

    ----------------------------​

    Since the birth of the Democratic Party following the 1824 election, the only state that hadn’t been won at least once by them had been Vermont. In every election since, the Green Mountain state had given its electoral votes to the main opposition party, which since 1856 had been the Republican Party. It could be said the dictionary archetype of a ‘Yankee Republican’ state was Vermont.

    However, since the Great Depression at the very least, the state’s brand of Republicanism had been of the more moderate variety, casting landslides for Dwight Eisenhower but resisting the more conservative wing of the party. Taking advantage of this split, the Democrats made history in the 1962 midterm election by electing Philip Hoff – the state’s first Democratic Governor since before the Republican Party even existed. Governing as a moderate liberal, he rode the Kennedy wave to a five point reelection in 1964, and repeating a win by five hundred votes in 1966 against a conservative Republican.

    1968 would be a far different year however.

    Hoff would be dutifully nominated for a fourth, two year term, but the Democratic Party would soon find itself embroiled in a split of its own. With the defeat of President Kennedy by George Wallace – as poor a fit for the state of Vermont as one could imagine – the decision of Governor Hoff to prioritize party unity and throw his support, however reluctantly, to him fractured the party. Many liberal Democrats bolted to the as yet tiny Vermont Progressive Party as their counterparts did on the national level. Hoff soon found himself facing a challenge from the left in the form of Vermont State House member Thomas P. Salmon, who ran on a platform similar to the McCarthy/McGovern Progressive ticket.

    After a contentious primary the Republicans selected as their candidate one of Salmon’s House colleague, the relatively unknown Roger McBride. Mostly known as heir to the estate of Laura Ingalls Wilder of Little House on the Prairie fame, McBride had the distinction of holding a mix of individualistic libertarian views similar to presidential nominee Barry Goldwater. While senior VT Republicans such as George Aiken were initially worried, the robust McBride campaign team spun the views in his favor, casting him as one who would “Manage best by governing least” and “Preserve Green Mountain values we treasure best from government interference.”

    Normally, the moderate liberals that had kept the GOP in power for so long would have been skeptical of McBride’s message. But this was no ordinary election. With the Democrats split, all that was needed to win was a plurality.

    [​IMG]
    GOP calculations came to fruition in the end. As with the presidential race, the state’s liberals deserted the Democrats in droves. Salmon and the VT Progressives vaulted into second place, but unlike with the top of the ticket (McCarthy 55%, Goldwater 36%, Wallace 8%), the rock-ribbed Republican nature of the state and a top-tier campaign kept McBride’s numbers above forty percent, bringing the Green Mountain State back into the GOP fold.

    Salmon and the VT Progressives would have much to feel proud of in the end though. While the national Progressive tide would fade away for the moment, in Vermont the party would stay a major force, supplanting the Democrats as the main opposition to the Republicans. With President Wallace taking the party on a populist turn, no more would Democrats be able to compete in Vermont. Governor Hoff would serve the distinction of being both the first and the last statewide Democrat to hold office in the state since the founding of the Republican Party.

    -------------------------​

    Overall, the picture on the congressional front showed sweeping GOP gains. Even in states that Wallace would end up winning the Republican Party poached senate, house, and gubernatorial seats on the strength of Goldwater’s coattails and local strength.

    [​IMG]
    Maryland (Rogers Morton), Pennsylvania (Richard Schweiker), Oregon (Mark Hatfield, defeating 1960 VP nominee Wayne Morse), and Wisconsin (William Dyke) continued their drift towards the Republican Party, while strong challengers Henry Bellmon (OK), Louie B. Nunn (KY), Robert Taft (OH), and Edward Gurney (FL) took difficult seats.

    However, the Democrats – now led by Hubert Humphrey after Mike Mansfield stepped down – managed to hang onto the senate by virtue of taking three seats from the Republicans, AZ, AK, and MO (the only Deep South seat that ended up Republican were Medgar Evers in MS-03 and re-elected Governor Winthrop Rockefeller in AR). Nevertheless, with the margin tighter than it had been since the middle four years of the Eisenhower Presidency, President-elect Wallace would have no margin for error.

    91st United States Congress
     
  6. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Location:
    Good ol' USA
    Entering the optimistic first few years of the 1950s, television was beginning to find its legs as a medium of entertainment. As more people had access to the ‘picture box’ than ever before with the widespread prosperity brought on by the post-war boom by the Nixon years, the old conglomeration of variety shows and broad based targeting soon gave way to a larger sampling – different shows to suit the individual moods of the audience. Dramas, comedies, action-adventure. Though the Federal Government set strict rules about what could be shown on air, hastily put together sets and effects quickly changed as high demand brought in near film level production values.

    Political campaigns and the news media would soon swoop in to claim the new medium of broadcast, given its effectiveness. The record-breaking Nixon-Johnson debate of 1960 broke new ground in political campaigning. Whole swaths of advertising gurus ended up pitching their professional tents in politics at the brutal effectiveness of John F. Kennedy’s ‘Daisy’ ad on President Nelson Rockefeller during the Happy Scandal. Walter Cronkite’s riveting television reports during the Birmingham Riots gave birth to the mass media era, where governments now had to be clear monitors of the immediate broadcasts.

    As George Wallace famously said of the CBS reporting of the Birmingham Riots, “I could kiss Walther Cronkite, the magnificent bastard. He gave me middle America.”

    By the end of the decade, television had established itself as an equal pillar of media and a more potent weapon than any platform before it since the printing press was during the War for Independence.

    Drawing from the optimism that so characterized the popular mood of the time – embodied by the affable Eisenhower and the youthful national figures such as President Nixon and Senator Kennedy – the culture of the early sixties remained bright and joyful, spiced in with epic tales of action and inspiration such as The Alamo, Lawrence of Arabia, and A Day of Heroes (a blockbuster hit about the D-Day landings told from the Allied and German perspective, released to commemorate the 18th anniversary of Operation Overlord).

    Americans flocked to the theater, movie screens, or their living rooms to escape the day’s labor or the stresses of news abroad to enjoy the musical theatrics of The Sound of Music, spectacles of ancient Rome in Cleopatra, and the delightful variety hosted by Ronald Reagan in General Electric Theater.

    The virtual embodiment of the national mood at the dawn of the decade was I Love Lucy. Already the first true silver screen hit, the telegenic couple of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were often said to have carried TV on their backs from an advanced technomarvel to part of the national fabric.

    [​IMG]
    Lasting a total of eleven seasons, the half an hour comedy was praised by critics and beloved by audiences across America. The original cast remained together the whole of its run, joined in the ninth season by General Electric Theater host Ronald Reagan (playing a wealthy widower with a daughter the same age as Lucy and Ricky’s boy moving next door to their house in CT).

    Starting in the fourth season, a vast coterie of guest stars took to the silver screen in high profile cameo appearances – at the end, even President Nixon got into the act:

    -transcript from “Lucy Visits the White House,” Season 11, aired Oct 5th, 1961-
    Lucy: [lost her tour group and fixing her broken shoe] Darn this thing! [struggles to fix]

    Unidentified man: Excuse me ma’am. [strides forward but camera only shows his back and legs]. Do you need any help?

    Lucy: No, I’ve got this, but I kind of lost my husband and friends with the tour group. This place is quite winding. [laughs]

    Man: [chuckles] Yeah, that happened to me the first time I got here too.

    Lucy: [Stands] Can you give me directions to the Red Room?

    Man: Of course. [gives directions]

    Lucy: Thank you so much!

    [camera changes angle to reveal the man as Richard Nixon]

    President Nixon: It was no trouble at all Ma’am. Give my best to your companions.

    [Lucy nods and walks several paces before her eyes bug out, realizing who she just talked to]


    In an interview in 1981, former First Lady Pat Nixon would state that her husband considered the cameo appearance (shot in the White House) was his personal favorite moment in the three years as President.

    While some critics decades after would lament the fact the show tackled none of the major issues plaguing American society, the show’s airy and chipper plotline proved enduring even to the present day.

    John F. Kennedy was the perfect President to represent the optimism and indefatigable spirit of the fifties and early sixties. Handsome, charismatic, and eloquent, the cultural output in the first year of his presidency reflected that: the winner of the 37th Academy Awards being Mary Poppins, the Walt Disney musical. Great emphasis was placed on American military triumphs (the third season of the Andy Griffith Show spinoff comedy Gomer Pyle: USMC, even being set in Vietnam) as well as a sudden interest in the inner workings of the Soviet Union – reflecting the influence of the Third Red Scare following the assassination of President Nixon. The blockbuster Dr. Zhivago, winner of the 1966 Oscar for Best Picture, led the pack with an in depth storyline regarding the formation of Communist Party rule in the USSR.

    However, as social conditions deteriorated with the rise of the counterculture and racial unrest, the tone of the media culture changed as the years went by. Hit shows such as Bonanza and the Andy Griffith Showmorphed into more sullen programs such as Objective: Impossible and All in the Family which spotlighted the social and foreign policy problems of the times.

    On film, nothing captured the public mood’s decent into the abyss more than that of world-famous starlet Norma Jean Mortenson – known by far under her stage name Marilyn Monroe. An international sex symbol since the early fifties (rumors, denied by the parties involved, persisted of an affair between her and then-Senator John F. Kennedy), her starring roles in the sunny romances and comedies that so characterized the times elevated her to one of Hollywood’s leading ladies.

    Just as the sixties began to take a turn for the worse, her personal life deteriorated in a similar way. Her still short marriage to playwright Arthur Miller began to fall apart in 1962 – the couple finally divorcing three years later – and she began to abuse prescription barbiturates. A hushed up overdose at the time dramatically changed the increasingly depressed Monroe, her happy air fading.

    Chain smoking, Monroe began to seek out darker and more cerebral roles, a dramatic change of venue for the actress that turned many heads in Hollywood. Ironically, the new roles were often well received by both the public and the critical elite as the taste for both evolved with the changes in American society.

    Monroe’s shining moment came in 1968 with her starring role in Stanly Kubrick’s science fiction space opera 2001: A Space Odyssey. Hitting on fears of destructive technology and the innate fallibility of the human race, what was considered a niche film ended up breaking box office records – aided by perfect timing by coordinating its premier for three weeks before the scheduled launch of the Prometheus Ten lunar mission. The film, along with Monroe and male co-star Keir Dullea, was nominated for seven Academy Awards.

    Sadly, months before the awards were announced Monroe was found dead in her home in Los Angeles. Chronically depressed, the investigation determined that she had been self-medicating with heroin and suffered an overdose. In her honor, the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role was bequeathed posthumously to her.

    [​IMG]
    The tragic death of a national icon hit the nation hard, especially considering the deteriorating national psyche due to the escalating war in Vietnam, fear of the new Soviet militarism, the counterculture, racial tensions, and the spiking crime rate. Calls for elected officials on the state and national level to deal with the developing epidemic of illegal drugs reached a fever pitch, ultimately culminating in the Controlled Substances Act signed into law by President Wallace – it established the Narcotics Control Agency (NCA) as a branch of the Department of Justice, directing it and the FBI to investigate and prosecute the traffickers of illegal drugs specified in the language.

    At the state level, reactions following Marilyn Monroe’s death ultimately resulted in the adoption of the ‘Kennedy-Reagan Plan.’ Dubbed after Governors Ronald Reagan of California and Bobby Kennedy of New York – who despite their political differences had ended up close friends – the plan drafted by them and their staffs (though descended from legislation sponsored by Kennedy’s predecessor, Malcolm Wilson) to focus criminal penalties on the traffickers and suppliers of illegal drugs while users and addicts were relegated to treatment programs and rehabilitation sentences.

    Such was a large overlap of the ‘Root Cause Doctrine’ between the Progressive Liberal and Liberty Conservative factions of the respective parties. Certain criminal actions were seen by both as not that of a depraved mind, but directly caused by societal decay and poverty (while both disagreed about how to address poverty and its elimination). Politics made strange bedfellows, but as a result of such policies the War on Drugs made slow but extensive strides in reducing the scourge of illegal drugs – until the cocaine epidemic a decade later.

    One aspect of the culture that remained unchanged since the late fifties was America’s fascination with space. Since Sputnik and Eisenhower’s “Secure the Moon” Speech, science-fiction had slowly blossomed from a niche category of rather cheap productions into the sphere of public media.

    After the 1965 release of the Charles Bronson/Vanessa Redgrave sleeper hit Queen of Mars (based off of an obscure 1920s Soviet movie where two American explorers try to heed off a Communist takeover of a hypothetical Martian civilization), senior executives at NBC decided to get in on the science fiction bandwagon to head of other networks. In a contract with production mogul Desi Arnaz’s Desilu Productions, NBC teamed up with a then obscure writer named Gene Roddenberry to create a groundbreaking new sci-fi series – Star Trek.

    The unchanging nature of science fiction through the social upheaval of the sixties could be seen in their use as an allegory of the world and human nature. Star Trek was the perfect example. Mostly a cast of relatively unknown actors such as William Shatner, George Takei, and Leonard Nimoy, the series resolved around the starship USS Enterprise and its crew commanded by Captain James T. Kirk (Shatner) and alien First Officer Spock (Nimoy). It was set in the 23nd Century, where the Earth was part of a NATO-like alliance of several worlds formed after the defeat of the Romulan Empire in an interstellar war a century previously (an allegory for Nazi Germany and WWII). In a cold war with the alien Klingon Empire (standing in for the USSR), the Federation had dispatched the Enterprise on a mission to deep space to explore and form alliances with new worlds before the Klingons could.

    In short, it was an action adventure set in an outer space world not dissimilar to the real world. Audience reaction in the first season was… mixed to say the least.

    While some NBC executives wanted to scrap the series, the majority decided to double down and teamed Roddenberry with director/producer Francis Ford Coppola (and a team of filmmakers that would include George Lucas, Stephan Spielberg, and James Cameron). Rejuvenating the series with more dramatic plotlines, revolutionary special effects, and new antagonists such as a senior Klingon admiral (George C. Scott) and the return of one episode villain Ricardo Montalban as the superhuman Khan (reimagined as a space terrorist, an allegory to the various communist terror cells sprouting in Western Europe). One NBC executive remarked that the project would either “be an unmitigated success or drive NBC out of business.”

    [​IMG]
    Lasting nine seasons and ending in a four movie franchise (directed by George Lucas focusing on the cold war between the Federation and Klingons going hot) and a sequel series in the 1980s-1990s, the former proved to be overwhelmingly true. Considered the father of both contemporary science fiction and digital special effects, the show launched the careers of all the parties involved, many finding employment with further productions of the show’s producers – for example, William Shatner given the key role of Tom Hagen in Coppola’s 1971 hit The Godfather.

    Speaking of space travel, following Alan Shepard becoming the first man to leave the Earth’s atmosphere and journey into space in 1961, the United States and the Soviet Union began trading records and victories. The United States secured the first manned orbit of the Earth and the first true communications relay satellite while the Soviets engaged in the first spacewalk and the first probe visit to another planet when Sputnik 8 conducted a flyby of Venus the same year. Each superpowers’ space program was lavishly funded by their governments, resulting in more efficient designs and a manned mission every few months.

    As set by President Dwight Eisenhower’s “Secure the Moon” Speech in 1958, the ultimate goal for both nations was to put a man on Earth’s natural satellite before the other. For the United States, President Nixon made a special commitment to the project as he viewed it the ultimate display of America’s greatness. With the looming fight over civil rights tarnishing its image in his eyes, “Putting a man on the moon would cement the United States of America’s image as the shining light of humanity.” Such was his statement in the 1962 State of the Union Address.

    The Mercury Program continued to send missions into orbit following Shepard’s historic flight. John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth (the USSR’s Yuri Gagarin taking that record months before), each of the missions proceeding without a hitch.

    While Mercury focused on getting men into space, Project Gemini in 1964 was focused on more advanced actions to set up for the planned moon missions – such as docking, spacewalks, and suborbital maneuver. Overshadowed by the assassination of President Nixon two months before, President Nelson Rockefeller framed Gemini’s first launch as the nation’s catharsis, a means to both honor the fallen President and to reclaim the nation’s spirit. Though Gemini-5 experienced mechanical problems and Gemini-7 was lost with both astronauts losing their lives in October 1965, by the time the program ended NASA was feeling optimistic about the US possessing a commanding lead in the race to the Moon.

    After the testing of the mighty Saturn V rocket – considered a triumph of US industrial and engineering might – President Kennedy heralded the Prometheus Program (named after the ancient Greek god that provided fire for humanity) in December 1966. Prometheus One ascended to the heavens without complications to a cheering nation, joined later in tragedy as Prometheus Two immolated only twenty-four seconds off the launch pad. Several unmanned missions were made to further test the Saturn V before Neil Armstrong led the first journey to the Moon on Prometheus Six in January 1968.

    After several other lunar flybys, everything was set for history to be made – Prometheus Ten, the planned first manned landing on the Moon. Scheduled for departure on June 30th, 1968, Vice President Symington and former President Eisenhower journeyed personally to the Eisenhower Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida to see off Astronauts Michael Collins, Frank Haise, and Harrison Schmitt.

    The launch and journey proceeding as planned, virtually the whole world watched on baited breath as the Lunar Module Liberty detached from the Command Module Freedom with Collins and Schmitt aboard on July 4th, 1968, directed by Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. It was said a collective cheer boomed across the entire United States of America as Michael Collins broadcast these words live from the Moon itself.

    “Houston, uh… Tranquility Base here. Liberty has landed.”

    [​IMG]
    Harrison Schmitt would go down in history as he stepped off the Lunar Module to place the first ever human footprints on an extraterrestrial celestial body. In what a smiling President Kennedy stated to the two astronauts on a live phone call between the White House and the Liberty, Schmitt and Collins’ placing of the Stars and Stripes atop the Sea of Tranquility was the greatest Fourth of July celebration in the history of the United States.

    Schmitt put it best in his famous words uttered to millions of homes and dwellings across the world:

    “Gazing upon our blue world from afar, I know mankind has truly ascended into a new chapter of its destiny.”

    Schmitt, Collins, and Haise returned to a hero’s welcome, meeting with Presidents Kennedy, Eisenhower, Truman, Rockefeller, and a terminally ill Herbert Hoover (who would die only five weeks later at age ninety-four).

    The Prometheus Program would launch three further missions between 1968 and 1970:

    Prometheus Eleven; October 19th-27th, 1968:

    1. Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin

    2. Alan Shepard

    3. Stuart Roosa

    Prometheus Twelve; April 5th-13th, 1969:

    1. John Glenn

    2. David Scott

    3. James McDivitt

    Prometheus Thirteen; August 1th-9th, 1970:

    1. Ronald Evans

    2. Neil Armstrong

    3. Richard Gordon


    After the early triumphs, the Soviet Space Program started to run into a series of engineering and mechanical problems that greatly worried Premier Khrushchev and his deputy, Chairman of the Council of Ministers Alexei Kosygin. The three Voskhod proceeded as planned in 1964-65, but tragedy struck in September 1965 when the first spacecraft of the new Soyuz program detonated upon reentry, killing Cosmonauts Gherman Titov and Boris Yegorov – the government would hush it up, claiming the two were killed in a car accident at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The deaths and other disasters such as the immolation of two out of the first three N1 lunar rockets in test launches wouldn’t come to light until decades later.

    Once news reached the General Secretary of the numerous health problems plaguing Soviet Space Program director Sergei Korolev, private meetings between Khrushchev, Kosygin, and several other confidants of the two determined that the USSR was not going to be able to reach the Moon before the United States. By directive of the General Secretary, the funds were slowly redistributed and priorities changed. While no one in the hierarchy of the Soviet Union even suggested they were backing off, the Politburo found itself greatly divided on this fact.

    All changed upon the death of Khrushchev and the ascension of Vladimir Semichastny to the position of General Secretary, he and his allies Defense Industry Director Dmitry Ustinov, KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov, Gosplan Director Nikolai Podgorny, and Chairman of the Council of Ministers Viktor Grishin determined that unless the Soviet Union could resurrect a victory in space, then the loss of face caused by Prague Spring and the succession of defeats for Soviet-backed national liberation movements across the world could never be reversed.

    His identity kept as a state secret for much of the Cold War, Sergei Korolev could be considered the driving force behind the entire Soviet Space Program. Briefly imprisoned in the gulags during the Stalin era, after the war he had rapidly risen through the ranks as a premier rocket engineer, the mastermind behind Sputnik and the spate of early Soviet victories in the late fifties and early sixties. However, as the race to the Moon started to heat up a plethora of health problems began to emerge in the engineer – exacerbated by the chronic stress of almost singlehandedly managing the Soyuz Program. For six months in 1966 the Government placed him on mandatory recuperation at the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, greatly improving his health and gearing Korolev up for the grueling regimen when Semichastny called him back to work.

    The early design for the Soviet lunar module, the Soyuz LOK, was better on paper than it was once constructed. Testing conducted and whatever intelligence could be gathered on the Prometheus components in the US – espionage efforts doubled after Prometheus Ten finally won the space race – convinced Korolev that a major overhaul was needed. Reconfiguring the LOK by adding an extra crewmember, upgrading many systems, and doubling the amount of shielding for reentry (in addition to changes made to the unreliable N1 rocket), the Lenin One unmanned test flight ascended into orbit five months following Prometheus Ten.

    Two manned flights were conducted in the following year, one managing to circle to the moon and back before all was set up for Lenin Four – scheduled to be launched on November 3rd, 1970. The government gambled heavily on the mission, all citizens of the Soviet Union and allied nations required to watch the launch (joined by millions in the free world as well). Semichastny knew that if Lenin Four failed, he would likely be forced out, and his secretary later said in an interview that he found the General Secretary praying to the God he officially denied existed alone in the Kremlin office. Korolev, ever the Russian, merely kept a bottle of vodka by his side at Baikonur, steadily emptying as the day wore on.

    Crewed by Yuri Gagarin, Vladimir Komarov, and Aleksei Yeliseyev, Lenin Four’s modified N1 rocket took off with only minor mechanical problems, as near to a perfect launch as Soviet engineering could allow.

    On the fifty-third anniversary of the October Revolution, the LK lunar lander October descended to the Fra Mauro formation on the lunar surface to a waiting world. Yeliseyev exited first, followed by the flag-bearer Yuri Gagarin only moments later. Glasses of vodka were said to have been hoisted all across the USSR as the live TV cameras captured the moment.

    [​IMG]

    “Look upon our world, comrades. Beautiful. Simply beautiful!”

    -Yuri Gagarin-

    Semichastny welcomed the three Cosmonauts and Sergei Korolev to the Kremlin, presenting each of them with the Hero of the Soviet Union a day before a parade in their honor in Red Square – the entire Communist bloc in celebration at the triumph of socialist engineering. When asked by Bob Woodward, the young White House correspondent for the Washington Post, to comment on Lenin Four’s landing, President Wallace responded in an uncharacteristically muted quip.

    “Well obviously I wish to congratulate our Russian friends. After all, we saw with our own eyes how welcome the Moon was, why would we begrudge others from wanting to share such an experience?”

    Before his death of a brain aneurysm in 1974, Sergei Korolev would oversee three further lunar landings for the Soyuz Program, a cumulative four compared to America’s eleven Prometheus missions. Following Prometheus Twenty’s landing on July 4th, 1976 to commemorate America’s Bicentennial, both programs then gave way to the next stage in the great game in space between the superpowers, soon to be joined by several other nations eager to seek a piece of the pie.

    --------------------------​
    The parliamentary Labour Party of Great Britain was divided into two wings, the socialist Bevanites and the more moderate Gaitskellites. With Harold Wilson’s close loss to Iain Macleod in 1964, the Bevinites lost credibility with much of the caucus and Gaitskellite George Brown won the leadership nod and the subsequent general election in 1967.

    Despite this, the first year of Brown’s premiership was fairly leftist in nature. Funding for social services were raised by nearly ten percent, new regulations of working conditions and workplace liability implemented to the delight of the trade unions – the traditional Labour/Gaitskellite base. The Social Security Act of 1967 greatly expanded unemployment insurance as well as raising the Universal Family Allowance for the first time since Anthony Eden was Prime Minister. In order to prevent a ballooning of the deficit, Brown and Chancellor of the Exchequer Harold Wilson instituted both a devaluation of the pound and a small cut in the defence budget (deactivation of several infantry units and the retirement of the Vickers Valiant strategic bomber to name two, leading to the expulsion and resignation of right-wing Labour MP Desmond Donnelly) that didn’t hamper strategic projection or Commonwealth defence.

    As per the Lab-Lib pact, criminal justice reform was tackled as well as anti-discrimination measures – earning the denunciation of Conservative Shadow Cabinet member Peter Griffiths, who dubbed it a “Violation of every Briton’s natural rights.” Newly elected Liberal leader Eric Lubbock replied pithily, “In the honorable member’s viewpoint, that only extends to white Britons.” Fulfilling one of the Liberal Party’s core election promises, Brown pushed through legislation creating proportional elections for town council seats (large cities were exempted from this).

    However, by 1969 the two coalition partners were beginning to sour on each other. The socially conservative Brown refused to consider Liberal efforts to abolish the death penalty, decriminalize homosexuality, and support a loosening of abortion laws (a free vote on abortion legalization conducted and defeated under Macleod), all of which angered the Liberal caucus. Ultimately, when an effort to institute proportional representation to Westminster and reform the House of Lords was blocked, Lubbock and Deputy Leader Jeremy Thorpe broke the coalition and joined with the Tories to conduct a vote of no confidence – Brown was subsequently forced to call an election for June, 1969.

    After the defeat of the Macleod Government, the Conservatives had gone through a major soul searching between the main wings of the party. On one side were the fiscally conservative socially moderate One Nation Tories lead by Edward Heath, and on the other were the Conservative Monday Club who’s standard bearer emerged to be club founder Julian Amery – a smaller third “Populist” faction also emerged, modeling themselves as less liberal Gaitskellites or George Wallace Democrats led by two term Smethwick MP Peter Griffiths. Since Macleod had been a member of the One Nation faction, a desire for a breath of fresh air allowed Amery to win the subsequent leadership election 161 votes to Heath’s 111 and Griffiths’ 33. Appointing several One Nation moderates such as Heath, Robert Carr, and James Prior to the Shadow Cabinet along with Griffiths, Amery nonetheless made sure the major positions were taken by his allies such as J. Enoch Powell, Geoffrey Rippon, John Peyton, Edward du Cann, and a young up-and-comer by the name of Margaret Thatcher.

    The election of 1969 was as hard fought as the two previous ones, both the Conservatives and Labour seeking to win a majority government. Charges were lobbed left and right, Brown calling Amery a regressive extremist while Amery shot back that Brown was an incompetent that couldn’t even hold his government together. Surrogates were even more dirty, Labour charging that the Monday Club led opposition was plotting to implement “Serfdom-like labour conditions” while Shadow Secretary Griffiths stated that Labour wished to flood the nation with “The collected dregs of the Third World.”

    Only two weeks before the election, Prime Minister Brown arrived at an interview for the BBC visibly intoxicated (similar to an interview from the 67 election, but without doubt of his intoxication), mouth reeking of gin and speech slurred. When confronted, he lambasted the reporter as a “Barmy Sod” and other choice words. The scandal was plastered on all the papers the next day, Amery and Powell gleefully trumpeting the charges about the “Alcoholic controlling our Kingdom’s atomic arsenal.” While not much of a charge in the working class Labour strongholds, it was quite potent in the marginal electorates.

    [​IMG]
    A strong swing against Labour in outer London and the countryside delivered the Conservatives back into government after just two years in opposition. While Labour managed to hold in the industrial cities in the north of England, they took a drubbing in Scotland and Wales – half to the steadily growing Liberals, and the rest to the regional Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru, all three taking advantage of Brown’s perceived betrayal on devolution.

    In Northern Ireland, the Ulster Unionists lost their stranglehold on the region’s seats even while the Republican SDLP lost the electorate of Londonderry after what had been considered a fluke in 1967. Despite vicious instances of fraud and voter intimidation on the side of the unionists – though the republicans weren’t innocent of such sins, far from it – West Belfast fell to the SDLP after several recounts, preserving the party’s one seat in Westminster.

    The most humiliating result for Labour was Prime Minister Brown losing his own constituency of Belper to the little known journalist and Monday Club member Geoffrey Stewart-Smith, his name soon catapulted into the national dialogue and drafted by Amery to be fast tracked within the Tory leadership. Brown would be granted a life peerage by the Queen, and the loss would cause him to seek out treatment for his alcoholism. “One good thing to come out of this, I should say,” he later recounted.

    In addition, Desmond Donnelly was returned to his constituency in a landslide, this time as a Monday Club Tory.

    Following his visit to Buckingham Palace for Her Majesty’s assent to form Government, Amery and his Monday Club allies wasted no time in instituting their right-wing agenda. First was the Industrial Relations Act of 1969, abolishing closed shop workplaces and creating a Royal Commission to negotiate union contracts on the behalf of the Government. While not Amery’s signature legislation, its quick passage proved to observers of the direction and governing strategy of the newly-elected Tory government. Full speed ahead.

    As part of Amery’s pledge to maintain Commonwealth influence and global military reach, a dramatic reworking of diplomatic policy was instituted by Foreign Secretary William Whitelaw and Defence Secretary J. Enoch Powell. Relations with the United States, Israel, NATO allies, and commonwealth realms were strengthened, and a pragmatic attitude toward the more independent states was seen from the Foreign Office. For Amery and Whitelaw, maximizing the UK’s influence was the order of the day.

    The most prominent example was in the former dominion of Nigeria, now an independent republic. A loose conglomeration of various ethnic groups, at the time of Amery’s ascension to 10 Downing Street the Abuja regime was in the middle of a two year civil war against the self-declared Republic of Biafra. An independent state for the Igbo people, widespread famine had taken hold since the state was declared in 1967.

    While Brown had maintained a slight lean to the Federal Government, robust military aid from the Soviets and Gamal Abdel Nasser’s regime in Cairo for the Nigerians swung Amery toward Biafra. Determining that a victorious Biafra would possess a greater gain for the Commonwealth (oil sales, military basing rights, favorable economic treaties) than a victorious Nigeria. As such, multi-millions of pounds of economic aid was approved by Westminster for Port Harcourt.

    [​IMG]
    Fully equipped with a glut of military equipment from the UK, Portugal, the French Community, and South Africa, Biafrian President C. Odumegwu Ojukwu ordered the commencement of the Benin City offensive. Tens of thousands of Biafrian troops overwhelmed the Nigerian forces opposing them over a five month period between February-June 1970. While the Federal Government had nearly reached the rebel capitol of Port Harcourt before the commencement of the offensive, by the end the Biafrian Army had captured Benin City in an overwhelming victory.

    Six months later in the Accra Conference, the Republic of Biafra was recognized as an independent state (including the newly conquered territory up to Benin City), ending the war and earning the British Commonwealth a new member. British prestige had also increased considerably – if not a superpower, a world one nonetheless.
    ----------------------​

    In power since toppling Louis St. Laurent in a close election in 1957, the Progressive Conservative government of John Diefenbaker had been re-elected three times, Canadian voters giving their confidence in them for eleven years. Originally a minority government, residual gains from his landslide re-election at over 210 seats in 1958 and a near hero status in Canada’s central heartland and northern reaches maintained the Tory hold into the sixties. As such Diefenbaker had never won less than 160 seats since the decade before.

    Keeping his popularity high thanks to anti-communism, a Nixonian civil rights policy (such as appointing the first indigenous Canadian to the Senate and fighting against Commonwealth status for South Africa, clashing with President Rockefeller and Prime Minister Macleod), civil liberties protections in the Canadian Bill of Rights, robust defence policy (such as his strong stand in favor of the Bomarc nuclear missiles and the Avro Arrow interceptor), and a booming economy, by the late sixties said popularity had started to wane. The high crime rate and counterculture disruptions from their southern neighbor had begun to seep into Canada, and Diefenbaker struggled to control it. In addition, several fiscal choices to balance the budget shortfall of 1967 angered far-right members of the Progressive Conservative caucus, leading to nine defections to the as yet dead Social Credit Party. Rejuvenated by these defections, leader Alexander Bell Patterson hoped to expand the party into the culturally conservative west and Quebec (one of the party’s former strongholds until the 1966 election wiped their numbers down to two).

    While the counterculture had hurt the Tories, for the Liberals it was a shot in the arm. Out of power and electorally crippled since 1958, the shifting mood of the Canadian electorate seemed perfect for current Liberal leader Pierre Trudeau. Having only been elected one year before being made party leader following the 1966 election, Trudeau had shifted the party considerably to the left since. Well versed in the dynamics of the social changes of the late sixties, Diefenbaker and other Tory Ministers watched with shaking heads as mobs of youths (including many pretty young women) would mob Trudeau as one would expect for a celebrity following his nationwide speaking tour in September 1966. Though his avocation for the same socially liberal policies as his close friend Gough Whitlam was instituting in Australia, the increase in Liberal fortunes in 1967-68 were carried on the back of their charismatic, hip, handsome, and nonconformist leader. The people adored him.

    Many in America would laugh at and mock incessantly (including a particularly scathing comedy routine by Johnny Carson) at the reason for Diefenbaker calling the 1968 election – the Great Flag Debate. While the Prime Minister favored the red backgrounded Union Jack dominion ensign, Trudeau and Quebec MPs from all parties favored the Maple Leaf flag. While mocked in America, in Canada it was a bitter dispute. Seeing an opportunity to secure a victory before “Trudeaumania” grew too large to beat, the Prime Minister called an election on the issue, both the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives campaigning like one would if a challenger, the former attacking the Tories as out of touch and torpid after eleven years in power while the latter attempted to use Trudeau’s charisma against him by painting him as personally immoral (the charge had some credence due to the Leader of the Official Opposition’s questionable sexual relationships).

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    In hindsight, the move would be seen by the Prime Minister as a miscalculation. Trudeau’s popularity was too tough to overcome, urban areas and university towns pulling in massive margins for the new majority government. Quebec – due to the Flag Debate and Trudeau’s push for recognition of French as an official language alongside English – cast nearly Eastern Bloc margins for the Liberal Party, the Tories winning only one seat and the So Creds five. Popularity for Trudeau among the left nearly destroyed the New Democrats, the social democracy third party going from 29 seats to a mere 8.

    The Progressive Conservatives were crushed, but maintained a strong base of support against Trudeaumania and the right wing challenge by Social Credit. Now though it was the Liberals who would celebrate. Pierre Trudeau had heralded the lone liberal triumph in a period dominated by conservatives and populists.
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    After the close election of 1967, as with their ideological colleagues in the mother country, the Whitlam Labor Government wasted no time in enacting the finer points of its leftist agenda. Australia’s commitment to Military Assistance Command Vietnam was withdrawn, conscription ended, a nationwide legal aid established for indigent criminals (a nationalized version of the state level organizations established following the US Supreme Court decision Gideon vs. Wainright), the enacting of no fault divorce laws, and direct grants for infrastructure projects to the states. By large the most popular policy was the establishment of the Department of Urban Development – the goal of expanding sewage facilities to all homes and apartments in urban, suburban, and small city Australia. It was a personal goal of his, having lived in the underdeveloped neighborhood of Cabramatta.

    Much more sweeping leftist reforms such as universal healthcare and free college tuition were blocked by the Coalition/DLP alliance in the senate. Leader of the Opposition Billy Snedden – who despite nearly losing in 1961 had made his seat of Bruce safe in the two subsequent elections – used every procedural technique to oppose Whitlam’s legislation, causing tension within the Lodge. Frustrated, Whitlam called a double dissolution election for 1969 in order to seek the nation’s vote of confidence in his government.

    The gamble grew more and more ill-advised as the campaign continued, the Coalition and ALP neck and neck. Whitlam’s domestic policies were rather popular, but the more socialist elements were mistrusted by the marginal voters in the “mortgage belt” middle class suburbs of the major cities. A feud with newly elected Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Peterson over the status of Australian Papua (Whitlam pushing for independence while Bjelke-Peterson wished for it to remain a dependency of Queensland) didn’t help the Prime Minister in the Sunshine State. Snedden focused on Vietnam, proclaiming that unless it was secured that the Communist menace would reach Darwin by the end of the following decade, Whitlam being reckless in removing Australia’s commitment. Financial problems with the Tasmanian ALP state government brought bad headlines for Whitlam just as the election was rounding down, but observers proclaimed it could go either way.

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    In reality, the election was basically a redux of 1967 only with the seat totals reversed. However, while 1967 provided Labor’s first government since Ben Chifley was defeated by Robert Menzies in 1949, a Coalition win was gained by a swing in Victoria (two seats gained plus the division of Herbert in Queensland) and Tasmania (all five seats falling to the Liberal Party) against the remainder of the nation (two seats in New South Wales and one in South Australia gained by Labor) and the national result. Regardless of the tight outcome, as did Whitlam two years previously, Snedden and his cabinet proclaimed a mandate from the electorate. A strong result despite the loss, Whitlam would be retained as Labor leader by unanimous acclimation.

    With the new Prime Minister promising President Wallace that seven brigades of the Australian Army, air support, and the Royal Australian Navy’s two light aircraft carriers would be deployed to Vietnam with all due haste, the mettle of the new Coalition government would soon be tested.
    -------------------------​

    Since its founding in 1948, the State of Israel had been controlled by the left-wing political party Mapai. Boosted by the latent socialism of the vast pool of eastern European Jews that formed the wave of immigration to the Palestine Mandate and Israel following WWII and Independence, Mapai (under David Ben-Gurion, Yigal Allon, and Levi Eshkol respectively) had consistently triumphed over the heavily fractured right-wing with hefty electoral pluralities and coalition agreements with the Orthodox religious parties in the proportionally representative Knesset.

    Levi Eshkol was riding high in public support after negotiating the Treaty of Amman with the Jordanians and British Prime Minister Iain Macleod – immortalized in the famous photo of the IDF paratrooper detachment arriving to garrison the Western Wall. Surprisingly, he subsequently announced his intention to retire, the subsequent leadership contest won by Minister of Foreign Affairs Golda Meir in early 1968 – one of the few female leaders of any nation at the time. Balancing the coalition government between Mapai, the National Religious Party (representing Orthodox and religious Jews), and Rafi (a center-left party founded by former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion after political differences caused him to leave Mapai) was shaky but vastly easier than the problems regarding the fractured Israeli right. Until 1969 that is.

    The secular right-wing parties had been divided into various blocks since Independence, the Herut party led by former Irgun commander Menachem Begin always placing first but kept at a mere fraction of Mapai due to vote splitting by the Liberal and Agudat Yisrael parties. As the Israeli economy began to slump slightly at the end of the decade, Begin negotiated a merger between Herut and the Liberals into a party renamed Gahal (short for Gush Herut-Liberalim, or Herut-Liberals Bloc). Surging in the opinion polls over economic and national defense concerns, Meir tactically called a general election in 1970 before Gahal could build a polling lead.

    The campaign was tough, the right and the left clashing over quality of life issues and the mechanisms of Meir’s foreign policy regarding Israel’s Arab enemies. The minor coalition partner Rafi had split right before the campaign, the main bloc of Shimon Peres facing the centrist National List of David Ben-Gurion, who quit the party to support a constituency-based Knesset. Debuting in 1970 was the United Arab List, formed to give a voice to Arab Israeli’s seeking the right of return for exiled Palestinians. With the vast number of them in the West Bank now citizens of Jordan, the party immediately began to fall under radicalized UAR influence.

    The right found the perfect foil in the UAR and UAL, dubbing them threats to Israel and the need to keep a powerful military front against the former. Mapai attacked Begin as an extremist and warmonger, while Gahal countered the charges by sending the extremely pious party leader to communities across Israel, winning over much of the Mizrahi working class and economically threatened suburbanites.

    However, the deciding issue was Meir’s controversial December 1968 visit to the Soviet Union. Seeking General Secretary Semichastny’s mediation of a peace treaty with the United Arab Republic (as Macleod did with Jordan), the move was positively regarded until the Israeli press discovered that the Soviets were funding Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization even after the Moscow visit – though no one knows for sure, it was speculated that anti-Israeli groups in the UAR or even Arafat himself ordered the leaking of the information. Gahal having made anti-Communist rhetoric a major plank of its campaign, Begin and his right-wing allies surged several points in the week before election day.

    As early returns began to pour in, Gahal pulled into a modest lead over Mapai that lasted most of the night. Even with the possibility of the result having been discussed, it was still shocking to many political and media figures in Israel so used to the dominance of the left in the Jewish State. As Channel 1 anchor Haim Yavin (then a junior figure, but would soon become known as “Mr. Television” to Israelis) proclaimed when 75% of the vote had been counted “Gvirotai veRabotai - Mahapakh!” Ladies and Gentlemen, a Revolution! Menachem Begin was said to have been smiling as he heard this.

    However, the right had celebrated too early. As the last returns trickled in a surge in votes for the National List among Tel Aviv suburbanites pushed Gahal’s numbers down several points.

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    As the dust cleared, Mahapakh was still evident if not as decisive. Meir had placed first with Begin only one seat behind, followed by the National Religious Party and the National List in a close third and fourth. Peres’ Rafi had suffered the worst, arguably due to centrist voters abandoning them to follow Ben-Gurion. The final tally were 47 seats for the left, 48 for the right – the first time the Israeli right had ever outpolled the left.

    Coalition talks immediately began as Meir and Begin scrambled to form a government. Rafi immediately renewed its agreement with Mapai while the two smaller right-wing parties attached themselves to Gahal as expected. Negotiations would center on the National Religious Party and National List (the former long allied with Mapai but a free agent now).

    Having taken a decidedly right-wing turn in the last few years – coupled with anger from their Orthodox voting base over Meir’s negotiations with the Soviets – the National Religious Party announced on May 23rd that they would be governing with Gahal and the right. Putting Begin with 60 votes, he needed at least one more to be able to form government. Talks begun in earnest with Ben-Gurion, Begin offering him the position of Foreign Minister and other key posts to National List members – as well as the backing of his constituency plan for the Knesset.

    On May 26th, the leaders of Gahal, Agudat Yisrael, Poalei Agudat Yisrael, and the National Religious Party announced with the white-haired Ben-Gurion of the National List backing of the Gahal government – with a surprise. Mapai Knesset member Moshe Dayan, his eyepatched face instantly recognizable, stated that he would buck his party and serve as Begin’s Defence Minister. A vengeful Mapai would subsequently kick him out of the party, leading to Dayan officially joining Gahal in June (flipping the numbers and giving Begin’s party the largest block of seats in the Knesset).

    For the first time in the nation’s history, Israel had a right-wing government,

    While several moves by Begin were initiated for domsetic services (including privatising several minor state industries) and internal security (warrented after a series of PLO aircraft hijackings and the attempted murder of the Israeli ambassador to Turkey by the Soviet/UAR-funded Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), the most visible policy was the military expansion. Pushing hard for a degree of self-sufficency to reduce Israel’s dependence on lengthy supply lines from the UK and US – in case of war since Begin was overall a pro-western Prime Minister – Begin and Moshe Dayan oversaw a huge overhaul of the domestic defence industry, including obtaining the rights to manufacture F-4 Phantoms and Cheiftian tanks from President Wallace and Prime Minister Amery.

    Such changes were viewed positively by Washington and London, but with scowls and worried faces by Cairo and Damascus.

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    Having engineered a personal union into a single government – a wet dream of Arab nationalists – UAR President Gamal Abdel Nasser viewed the election of the Gahal-led government as a setback on top of the disaster that was the Treaty of Amman. Swapping the Presidency and Premiership with Syrian strongman Salah Jadid, it had been a miracle by 1970 that the unitary government (and a vast expenditure of Soviet aid from Khrushchev and Semichastny) had survived. Both Nasser and Jadid knew that to preserve their standing in the region amid rumblings of discontent in Egypt and Syria, but especially the latter, a convincing political or military win against a foreign foe was needed.

    With no one willing to challenge the military might of the US, UK, or the French Community, Israel was the only choice left open to the two men and their military commanders.
    ----------------------------​

    On a chilly, sunny day in late January, a large crowd gathered on the east face of the United States Capitol Building to observe the inauguration of George Wallace, the first President from the Deep South since Zachary Taylor in 1848. Flanked by Vice President McNamara, President Kennedy, Vice President Symington, and former President Rockefeller. First Lady Lurleen Wallace – a survivor of uterine cancer (she underwent a preventative hysterectomy in 1961) whom the public would come to adore in spite of her husband’s controversial reputation – held open the Wallace family bible while Chief Justice Nicholas Katzenbach recited the oath of office:

    “I, George Corley Wallace, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States. And will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God.
    Standing straight in pride, Wallace mounted the podium to deliver his inaugural address.

    “President Kennedy, President Rockefeller, President Eisenhower, Vice President McNamara, Vice President Symington, members of Congress, and my fellow Americans. As the son of a farmer in rural Alabama, it says a lot that I am able to address you as the President of this great country.”

    “We stand at a precipitous time in our nation’s history. Thugs and malcontents threaten our liberty and safety in their quest to remake America with a philosophy more connected to the Kremlin than to Independence Hall. Tens of millions of Americans away from the centers of power, the seats of culture, in middle America believe them to be as dangerous to us as those Communists killing our boys in the jungles of Southeast Asia – and my fellow Americans, they are right.”

    “With the Soviet war machine climbing higher and higher in their quest for the ultimate triumph of power – the ability to wipe out more of our beloved earth than any other nation – America cannot shirk our responsibilities. As an ancient warrior couldn’t allow his sword to rust, we cannot allow our atomic arsenal to fall behind our foes across the Iron Curtain.”

    “As the heirs to Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, nothing pains me more to see hardworking families to languish in poverty. These are the welders of our buildings, the stokers of our power plants, the miners of our resources, the builders of our cities. The backbone of America. To all members of Congress and the Executive Branch, fighting for these people will be the prime focus of my Administration, and one that I will wear with pride!”

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    The polyglot nature of Wallace’s cabinet was obvious from the outset, members selected from all across the spectrum of the Democratic Party (aside from the far progressive left, embodied by the counterculture and the McGovernites that backed the Progressive Party in 1968). In victory, the divisive Wallace that had triumphed in the Democratic Party civil war sought benevolence rather than further divide the party – fears of losing the moderate left to a Rockefeller or Liberty Conservative GOP a very real possibility.

    As outlined in his first State of the Union address, George Wallace illustrated the four pillars that his presidency would seek to address: social order, economic nationalism, governmental assistance for the working poor, and a rejuvenation of the United States’ nuclear arsenal to deter the new militarism from Semichastny’s Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.

    Having been an ardent proponent of state’s rights during the civil rights debates of the late fifties and early sixties, in a special address to the nation following a broadening of abortion rights in California (Governor Ronald Reagan signing a bill that legalized abortions for rape, incest, fetal abnormality, and for the first eight weeks of pregnancy – a move he would later regret) Wallace completely renounced his earlier policy. Claiming that there was a “Concentrated effort to undermine the moral foundations that made our nation strong, the buck for halting and rolling back these efforts stops right here, on my shoulders.” It was soon followed by the Stennis Amendment, a move to prohibit any federal funds from going to pay for abortions or fund abortion practitioners, which passed Congress by overwhelming margins.

    “While I am as against the brutal practice of abortion as the esteemed gentleman from Mississippi, it seems to me that President Wallace only follows the doctrine of state’s rights as to the effective enslavement of the black man in America. He is no more righteous as a slaveowner who attends church services in the morning only to whip his slave to death in the afternoon for his own amusement.”

    Senator Eugene McCarthy (D-MN) during the debate for the Stennis Amendment. Majority Whip Strom Thurmond (D-SC) would introduce a motion to censure him, which would be defeated 39-59.
    The first true test of Wallace’s commitment to fighting the counterculture and the liberalization of America’s social policy came when FDR-appointee Justice Hugo Black announced his resignation from the Supreme Court due to health problems. The great dislike held by the new Administration with the landmark liberal decisions of the Warren Court was well known – the popularity of ‘Impeach Earl Warren’ signs never wavering in Appalachia and the Deep South even after his retirement.

    Vowing to “Apply a strict litmus test to find Judges that will preserve the Constitution and basic morality after the chaos of the last two decades,” President Wallace announced his appointment of Chief Judge of the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida G. Harrold Carswell to Black’s seat. A fury of criticism descended from the left and liberty conservatives over his originalist record and what was considered a history of discriminatory statements respectively. However, political pressure on Majority Leader Humphrey and division among the GOP (most agreeing with Carswell’s judicial record), a filibuster by Pete McCloskey and James Buckley was defeated and Carswell confirmed by a vote of 59-40 – Nebraska Senator Roman Hruska having been hospitalized in a vehicle accident in Omaha.

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    For the longest time, mainstream Keynesian economics had stipulated that there was a negative correlation between inflation and unemployment. When one went up the other went down and vice versa, the doctrinaire economic rule for most of the middle of the 20th Century. However, starting in the late sixties and continuing into the next decade the United States (and all of the Western world for the most part) experienced a befuddlement that was coined “Stagflation” by former Prime Minister Iain Macleod in 1968 in his last major speech before leaving Parliament – a combination of stagnation and inflation. Causes were attributed to many events such as an increase in foreign monetary supplies due to a boom in the Japanese and German economies and steadily rising oil prices brought on by the UAR and Saudi Arabia over anger at the Treaty of Amman (and later Western support over the Begin Government).

    With the unemployment rate rising steadily from the low of 4.1 during April 1965 to 6.1 and an inflation rate of 5.24%, calls on President Wallace to act were loud and fierce.

    “The proper Government is a government that works for you! The Silent Majority. Previous regimes run by coastal elites didn’t, which is why patriotic administrations in the states had to take up the slack, but mine does and will continue doing so as long as I have breath in my body!”

    -Excerpt of President Wallace’s speech at the Reverend Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA-


    “That little f##k stole my line!”

    -FBI audio recording of Governor Spiro T. Agnew, Maryland Governor’s residence-

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    Wallace’s approach was three fold. Echoing the past traditions of populists such as William Jennings Bryan, he unilaterally abolished the gold standard as a measure of propping up the US Dollar, establishing a fiat currency instead. Second, a series of wage and price controls was established via a congressionally-authorized FDR-style government board to ensure the rate of inflation was slowed. Third, to rejuvenate American manufacturing – on a steady decline thanks to cheaper goods from the booming German and Japanese sectors – the ardently protectionist and economically nationalist Wallace pushed for a new bill that would serve as a “Shield and a Kitchen” for embattled US industry. The Industrial Protection and Investment Act (IPIA) passed the House by a margin of 234-197 and the Senate 52-45 to be signed on Labor Day 1969.

    Combining a series of government subsidies to struggling industries (including generous concessions to labor unions) that was implemented by Secretary of Public Works George P. Mahoney with a repeal of the largely pro-trade policies of the last four decades with a general tariff levy on foreign manufactured goods such as vehicles, electronics, and steel to name three, despite dire warnings of economic pitfalls from economists like Friedman and officials such as Senator George H. W. Bush and NYC Mayoral Candidate William F. Buckley the effects seemed positive. Inflation and unemployment stabilized by the fourth quarter of 1970, and it seemed as if the United States had ridden out the storm better than the monetarist governments in Australia and Britain.

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    While domestic policy remained in the realm of the post-New Deal consensus with a bit of a populist flair, on the matters of national defense the Wallace Administration took a massive turn from the inevitable progression of the past decade. Within academic and liberal circles of the diplomatic corps and other elites, the discussions in the late sixties had centered on the idea of a series of treaties limiting the growth of atomic arms. The Kennedy Administration – especially then-SecState McNamara – was sympathetic to the idea, finding common ground with influential Republicans such as Alan Dulles, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr, and former President Nelson Rockefeller. Feelers had been sent out to the Soviet regimes of Nikita Khrushchev and Vladimir Semichastny to discuss a potential summit regarding the issue.

    All efforts for such a treaty came to a screeching halt upon George Wallace taking the Oath of Office. Unlike the Kennedy Administration, Wallace had no sympathy toward the dovish wing of the Democratic Party. After beating it fair and square (both at the Chicago convention and in the general election, where they had run in the Progressive Party), the hawkish Wallace insured that the State and Defense Departments were controlled by leading hawks: SecState Richard Helms, National Security Advisor Felix Hébert, and Secretary of Defense Curtis LeMay – the latter of which would be considered the brainchild of the Wallace national security strategy.

    On the campaign trail Wallace had lambasted the military strategies of the Nixon, Rockefeller, and Kennedy Presidencies, accusing them of “pouring money down a rathole” in deployments to quiet sectors in Germany, Japan, and other foreign bases. This was done, according to Wallace, “While leaving America’s fighting men to rot in the jungle conflicts the world over.” Journeying to London on his first foreign state visit of his Presidency, Wallace, Helms, and LeMay were set to fulfill the promises of the campaign into decisive action.

    British Prime Minister Julian Amery and French President of the Council François Mitterrand both had much to dislike in President Wallace (the former calling him a “Pompous bag of hot air” in a conversation with Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Margaret Thatcher, a close friend of his). However, on defense policy their objectives – keeping the military power of the Commonwealth and the Community intact – meshed nicely with the Alabaman’s.

    In order to free up American manpower and wealth for other actions, Wallace and Helms proposed in London the 35-35-30 Plan. In effect, the numbers were the percentages of total NATO defense spending provided by the United States, the British Commonwealth/French Community, and other allied nations respectively. In Wallace’s words, “I would rather teach our civilized allies to defend themselves and provide the needed resources for them to do so than expend American children to do so.” Amery and Mitterrand both signed on to the plan, resulting in a massive shuffle of military forces and spending over the early 1970s. Minor NATO nations would see their militaries expand massively as LeMay reduced US land strength in Europe and East Asia by nearly fifty percent, bloating their budgets and leading to austerity programs (governments having already leveraged US military aid to lower defense spending and increasing social spending). The consequences of this would soon be felt.

    While favoring the military independence of many of America’s first world allies, Wallace’s rationale to the third world was far different. By shuttling troops out of Europe and East Asia, Wallace, Helms, Hébert, and LeMay envisioned the US Military acting as a crutch for friendly regimes fighting internal or external conflicts against Communist “National Liberation” movements. Vietnam was the clear example, referred to by all Wallace’s speeches on the matter. “Our South Asian ally must be guaranteed their existence by American arms until they can stand on their own. This is America’s duty against the forces of Communism.” LeMay’s reorganization of the peacetime military was conducted to reflect this.

    To provide a deterrence against the Soviet Union, engaged in a massive expansion of strategic arsenals under General Secretary Semichastny, what became known as the LeMay Doctrine would be established. Effectively, the conventional military would be out of the deterrence business, its role taken over by a large buildup of nuclear arms to keep up with the Soviets.

    “What country is this if we can’t even keep up our atomic arsenal with the icebox of the world?”

    -SecDef Curtis LeMay, press conference October, 1969-

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    Angering many liberals – Senator Pete McCloskey (R-CA), Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME), and Frank Church (D-ID) serving as a bipartisan triumvirate to support a so-called Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) – the United States and the Soviet Union would plunge themselves into a new arms race, the American Boone missile competing directly with the Soviet SS-18 ‘Satan.’
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    Historians largely cannot agree to a single event that precipitated what was dubbed the “counterculture” which took off in the mid-sixties in the US and UK. Largely a product of the post-war baby boom and mass affluence that began to emerge from the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations, free from the problems of subsistence that so worried their Depression-era elders, many youths found themselves with wandering minds and dissatisfaction with the established order. New and potent ideas spread by the Civil Rights movement and Second Wave Feminism began to seep in, as did Third World ideologies and religions gobbled up by the greedy populace.

    Three events could be broadly considered to be the start of the counterculture era. Firstly, the discovery of the “Happy” Scandal during the 1964 Presidential Election and the Profumo Affair in Britain exposed a certain hypocrisy young people saw in their leaders – stuffy old men preaching morality but not living it. Combined with the second event, the simultaneous production of the oral contraceptive pill, “OCP” and the Supreme Court Decision Matthews vs. Connecticut that established the Harm Standard for the state regulation of private acts kick started the Sexual Revolution.

    Lastly, the revelations by French journalists in 1966 of abuses conducted by the CIA and CIA-backed Cuban DRF forces in the Cuban Civil War greatly damaged the image of America as the benevolent liberator against Communist tyranny. With SRC President Che Guevara trotting out witness after witness (some real, some fabricated) to these abuses to humble the great northern enemy, a massive anti-war sentiment spewed forth into massive protests against the Vietnam War. Just as the war began to escalate, it was seen by the activists and many in the counterculture as nothing different than Soviet actions in Yugoslavia or South Yemen.

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    The campus protests shocked the nation, left-wing academics and professors praising them while politicians rallied against their disruptions and increasing militant nature. Reactions varied from Bobby Kennedy, “Passionate young men and women that seem to be misguided,” Ronald Reagan, “Keep the fire, but get a haircut and get back into the classroom,” and Spiro Agnew, “Treasonous nabobs, no worse than a Klan mob.”

    All descriptions had merit – early on the protestors adopted the tactics of Martin Luther King’s SCLC, several 1966 demonstrations quite peaceful in nature with police officers being greeted with bouquets of flowers. However, the increasing tension after the 1966 Birmingham Riots (denounced as a tool of imperialist oppression by many leading counterculture leaders) brought persons such as Tom Hayden, Huey Newton, and William Ayers to the movement’s forefront, violent clashes being all too common – such as the deaths of one police officer and five protestors in a chaotic melee during the Berkeley Peace Park Protests in June 1967, causing Governor Reagan to call in the National Guard and fire UC Chancellor Clark Kerr.

    Having been elected championing law and order and cultural conservatism as part of his platform, it was clear from the start that George Wallace wouldn’t be a friend of the counterculture movement. Decrying them as “filthy, drug-addled malcontents” in his first State of the Union, with the prospect of further unrest considered likely considering his national security policies and Vietnam initiatives, Wallace was not about to take a light hand with them as was done in the Kennedy Administration. He authorized Attorney General Frank Lausche and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover with wide latitude to monitor such radical groups from the SDS to the Black Jaguars – Administration opponents like Dr. King’s SCLC, the rump Progressive Party (having hemorrhaged all but the most liberal of Democrats following McCarthy’s loss in 1968), and Malcom X were thrown in just for thoroughness, Hoover compiling a firm dossier of information on them for a rainy day.

    Much of the various groups and organizations popping up were radically varied in their level of action against the “Established order.” A vast percentage were harmless, groups of students and wayward young people exploring the sexual revolution and the wave of new psychotropic drugs rapidly becoming available. New music forms popularized by the Beatles, Jimmy Hendrix, and other groundbreaking musicians were seen as a representation of the new culture forming itself.

    As the Wallace-signed Controlled Substances Act and the order to greatly expand airstrikes into North Vietnam took effect, the second group of well-organized organizations began to expand their reach, staging a new wave of demonstrations including a massive march on Washington sponsored by the Students for a Democratic Society – formed in the Sheboygan Conference in 1963 after the Cuban Civil War and Bethel Baptist Church Bombings, and guided in 1969 by Chairman Tom Hayden and Field Secretary William Ayers. Hayden, in a widely covered incident in the media – personally delivered the “Statement of Reform” to Senate Majority Leader Hubert Humphrey on the steps of the Capitol Building. Included statements were calls for an abolition of the electoral college, a congressional amendment banning discrimination on the bases of race, sex, and national origin (amended in 1973 to include sexual orientation), redistribution of wealth through taxation of corporations and the wealthy, a renunciation of offensive war, and universal nuclear disarmament.

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    The SDS had formed a general alliance with the African-American fundamentalist Black Jaguar party, formed by activists Elbert "Big Man" Howard, Huey P. Newton, Sherwin Forte, Bobby Seale, Reggie Forte, and Little Bobby Hutton thanks to the influences of Malcom X and Stokley Carmichael – both of whom felt that the backlash from anti-civil rights forces (emphasized by the election of George Wallace) had rendered the nonviolent efforts of the NAACP and SCLC were becoming impotent to further eliminate racial injustice in the United States. Conducting actions in California of a nonviolent but provocative nature, the Jaguars spent their early years building up their ranks through speaking tours and building connections with other African nationalist groups such as Rhodesia’s ZANU, Angola’s MPLA, and South Africa’s Umkhonto we Sizwe.

    After a murder was reported in Los Angeles to be a possible case of racial profiling by the police (it would later be determined to be a dirty cop killing a mule selling drugs for him), civil rights leader Malcolm X and the Black Jaguars would end up holding a demonstration in late April of 1970 that ended in a small scale riot in Richard Nixon Park between the protestors and the police resulting in a dozen injuries. While the Jaguars were calling for ‘Direct Action’ against the LAPD, Malcolm X pleaded with Martin Luther King (the two had been close before a very public rift following the Birmingham Riots) to visit Los Angeles to calm down the tension before the Watts Riots replicated themselves.

    King would arrive on May 12th to huge fanfare, addressing a crowd of demonstrators outside City Hall and moderating a meeting between city black leaders and Governor Ronald Reagan and Mayor Sam Yorty. Talking with media following the discussion, King expressed hope that the resolution would be quick and civil, Reagan and even Mayor Yorty willing to draft major reforms to the LAPD structure (on top of reforms Reagan had passed two years previously).

    The next day King took it easy, spending the day at Santa Monica with his wife and young children before heading back to their motel on Normandie Avenue. While speaking with his friend and fellow activist Fred Shuttlesworth, two sharp cracks rung out across the Los Angeles neighborhood. Shuttlesworth collapsed dead, a bullet hole through his skull. King would be badly wounded, the round tearing through his gut and leaving him bleeding in the parking lot.

    He would be rushed to the hospital, where after five hours of emergency surgery the doctors would be able to stabilize him.

    [​IMG]
    An immediate investigation into the attempt on King’s life focused first on a Remington bolt-action rifle found in a dumpster on Normandie Avenue – fingerprints identified by the FBI and LAPD drew back to Charles Manson, an indigent drug addict and petty thief living in an abandoned building near San Pedro. Apprehended by police, three girls living with him (described by psychiatrists later as enthralled by Manson) attacked police and had to be restrained.

    In a deal to avoid the death penalty (reinstated in California by Governor Reagan in 1969 after the public backlash regarding the defendant of the Zodiac murders was sentenced to life in prison), Manson confessed and provided information that led the police to a restaurant owner in Memphis, Tennessee named Lloyd Jowers and John Kasper, a former Dixiecrat congressional candidate and anti-integration activist. Masterminded and funded by Kasper (and Jesse Stoner according to allegations, but never proven), Jowers acted as the bagman by paying the insane Manson to assassinate King in order to fuel the radical “Black Power” movements and delegitimize the civil rights cause. Both were then charged with murder conspiracy in California and sentenced to death – for the murder of Fred Shuttlesworth – Jowers being executed first in 1979 and followed by Kasper in 1982.

    Previous to the attempt on King’s life, the Action Directorate of the SDS – created upon William Ayers becoming Field Secretary of the organization – had been planning a massive wave of demonstrations during the summer to “Take the war to Amerikkka” following George Wallace’s 200,000 man troop surge to Vietnam.

    However, following the shooting he opportunistically took advantage, proclaiming the ‘Days of Rage’ to “Avenge the plot to murder a great representative of mankind by the racist forces of America,” along with the planned anti-war message. Mostly fueled by King still recuperating, cities across the United States burned.

    [​IMG]

    White House audio transcript, May 26th, 1970

    Meeting between President Wallace, Chief of Staff McKeithen, Attorney General Lausche, and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover

    Wallace: F#####g Swine! [fist slamming] How dare those spoiled brats and ungrateful niggers…

    McKeithen: Calm down Mr. President. [silence] The damage is extensive, and the DOW Jones is already down two hundred points from this time last week. The economy can recover, but we’ll need emergency disaster funds to cover the ruined cities.

    Wallace: They’ll have em. I don’t care how much Humphrey, Udall, Ford and… what’s his name, uh, Cooper hate my guts. Neither will say no or they’ll face their careers gone!

    McKeithen: Without a doubt Mr. President. But we need to address the problem these demonstrations cause us.

    Wallace: String the bastards up! Edgar, we have enough to hang Malcolm X, Hayden and the rest of those anarchist shitheads, right?

    Hoover: A criminal case can be made against anyone if we dig deep enough Mr. President, but that would be going too far.

    Wallace: Excuse me?

    Lausche: This isn’t Alabama Mr. President. Granted they are culpable, but with the midterms coming up and Vietnam the way it is we cannot antagonize the Negro or white urban population any further. Any backlash against these riots would only turn against us if we come down too hard.

    [Silence]

    Wallace: [sighs] You may be right. Well, King has called for peace, perhaps he can serve as a bridge.

    McKeithen: Senator Brooke and Congressmen Evers and Rangel are traveling to Los Angeles to visit him while he is recovering. Perhaps if you’d join them to pay your respects to King…

    Lausche: An apology for his jailing in 66 and statements promoting racial healing would go a long way to detach reasonable public support for the militants.

    Wallace: I knew one day it would be time. We squeezed the fruit for as long as we could, and by God Dixie will still be voting Democratic for the next century as it did the last. [inaudible] Call Brooke, tell him that he can ride on Air Force One.

    Lausche: Now with regards to the militants…

    Wallace: The gloves come off!

    (end transcript)
    President Wallace, officially declaring a state of insurrection in a half dozen cities upon the request of their mayors or state governors, received positive headlines for his surprising visit to Martin Luther King in Los Angeles to pay his respects, proclaiming that it was time for the nation to turn away from the racial injustice that had infected it – a turnaround from his previous stance, largely owing to political calculations.

    Upon returning to Washington, Wallace indicated to Senate Majority Leader Humphrey, Minority Leader John Sherman Cooper (Everett Dirksen having died earlier in the year), Speaker Morris Udall (Rivers having retired), and Minority Leader Ford that the gloves would be coming off against the militants.
     
  7. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Location:
    Good ol' USA
    While the election of George Wallace had secured the dominance of the Democratic Party’s populist wing, the two successive losses had created a battle for the soul of the GOP. Since the Great Depression – though a case could be made from the time of Teddy Roosevelt and Robert M. La Follette – two wings had battled themselves for control of the party. On one side was the conservative, individualist wing of the party embodied by Calvin Coolidge, Robert Taft Sr (his son having been elected to the Senate in 1968), and Barry Goldwater. On the other stood the so-called “Eastern Establishment” of progressive, pro-New Deal moderates such as Thomas Dewey, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Nelson Rockefeller.

    As the sixties headed to a close a third wing had appeared, the Liberty Conservatives. Conservatives on most policies but strongly progressive on civil rights issues, seeking an appeal to suburbanites, African-Americans, Midwestern farmers, and younger voters idealistic but not radicalized. The movement started by William F. Buckley’s speech at the Tuskegee Institute had already catapulted itself into a dominant position for the Republican Party at large. In a series of races held as the Wallace Administration closed a controversial first year, perfect test cases for the broader appeal of Liberty Conservatism in the face of a polar opposite in the populist Democrats affronted itself.

    Rockefeller and Goldwater’s losses, regardless of the various circumstances regarding their elections, had done much to create skeptical feelings within the Republican base toward their respective wings as to national appeal. In the face of a powerful Democratic juggernaut that actually elected George Wallace, the presence of the significant chunk of votes for the Progressive Party in 1968 really affected the leadership of the Grand Old Party. Thusly, a push emerged for the party to appeal to many of the more gettable voters (moderates turned off by Goldwater’s purist individualism and Wallace’s national conservative populism) that had been drawn in by Eugene McCarthy – one of the few Democrats that had adopted parts of Liberty Conservative rhetoric. George Romney’s conduct as Goldwater’s VP nominee and the successes of Liberty Conservative officials such as Ronald Reagan, Spiro Agnew, and James Buckley overcame resistance from the two other wings during the primary elections for the 1969 races. It remained to be seen whether they could succeed in engaging the Wallace Administration more efficiently than the others could.

    In hindsight, William F. Buckley and his allies had been preparing his second attempt at Gracie Mansion from the moment of his 1965 concession speech. Institutionally, the addition of such staunch backers from four years before as Roy Cohn, Charlie Rangel, and Buckley’s brother James into public office provided a meteoric launching pad. The hierarchy of the Conservative Party of New York were gleeful in challenging Mayor John Lindsay, but Buckley surprised them all by declaring his run for the Republican nomination as well as the Conservative one. “James’ race could have easily gone the other way. I mean to prevent that with every breath in my body,” Buckley said after the announcement.

    Strategically, the primary was considered a shoo in for the conservative commentator. While incumbents usually were renominated, Mayor Lindsay was no ordinary incumbent. Elected over Buckley and Tammany Hall with his charm and good looks, those assets proved useless as the city saw crisis after crisis. Strikes, fiscal shortfalls, and a rapid rise in crime widely attributed to Lindsey’s strict limitations on the NYPD consumed the news, residents feeling by a two to one margin in a NYT poll that the city was on the wrong track. Several major race riots occurred in his tenure, and Lindsay’s proactive apologies were seen as both disingenuous by the black population (racism still prevalent in the NYPD despite Lindsay’s civilian review board) and as weak by suburban Republicans in Queens and Staten Island.

    With all these facts, Buckley’s sweeping 61%-39% victory over Lindsay in the primary wasn’t a major surprise. Hands raised triumphantly, one clasped with his brother and one clasped with Cohn’s, Buckley proclaimed it was time for party unity for the sake of the city. Nominated by the Conservative and Right to Life parties as well, even the liberal wing of the GOP came into the fold – Buckley receiving the endorsements of Senator Kenneth Keating and former President Nelson Rockefeller. “The people have spoken,” Rockefeller said.

    In what was initially a tight race between Buckley and Democratic Congressman Hugh Carey (the first non-Tammany Hall approved nominee in decades), a wrench was thrown into the calculus by Lindsay’s nomination by the Liberal Party of New York, dropping many conservative pretexts and running on a fully progressive campaign. The race that followed was considered the nasty even in the context of New York politics. Lindsey dropped his charming personality in many cases, raining fire and brimstone against the “Reactionary” Buckley who would “Turn the city into some Hooverian nightmare.” Buckley refused to take the bait, campaigning hard all across New York City with his Liberty Conservative message of direct relief grants to private welfare organizations (in lieu of expanding welfare), robust policing, a firm line on the “bloated municipal sector,” and aggressive measures to desegregate schools and root out racism within the city government. Carey, often lost in the middle of two larger than life figures, embraced the role – hence his slogan “Had Enough Charisma?” Stating he would run the city better than Lindsay did, he hoped his technocratic appeal would resonate with Democrats and working class voters sick of the high-stakes drama New York was immersed in.

    [​IMG]
    On that Tuesday night, city voters had given a decisive vote of confidence in William F. Buckley, the third place finisher four years before triumphant with over a million votes. While only winning two boroughs (Queens and Staten Island), the dominating nature of which he carried the two combined with strong second place showings in the other three. Proclaiming a triumph of ideas, the newly elected mayor would soon deploy the powers of his office to tackle the cities’ problems with utmost speed.

    Buckley’s Liberty Conservative message resounded with Black and suburban voters, netting him the six and a half percent plurality over Carey, who posted an impressive showing among the Democratic working class ethnics and Spanish American communities – the city showing an influx in Puerto Rican migration in the previous decade, immortalized in the musical drama and 1961 Academy Award Winner for Best Picture West Side Story. The coalition would prove fortuitous for him eight years later.

    Lindsay, posting an anemic third place showing, only carried Manhattan by way of massive margins in the Upper West Side and Upper East Side. Retiring in disgrace, he would have to watch as his arch rival became “America’s Mayor” in the following eight years.
    ----------------------------​

    Having emerged as a swing state following the Great Depression, after the FDR tsunami had began to recede, New Jersey emerged as a state with a slight GOP lean coming into the fifties and sixties. Republicans controlled both senate seats throughout the decades with Robert Kean and Clifford Case and its electoral votes in every presidential election since 1948, it was largely considered the white whale for northeastern Democrats.

    In 1965 however, two time congressman and failed 1958 senatorial candidate Harrison Williams (losing the seat to Senator Kean by twenty thousand votes during the Eisenhower six year itch) rode a dissatisfaction with GOP governance and the Kennedy flirtation of the Democratic Party by African-Americans to win the Governorship of the Garden state by a hefty ten point margin – New Jersey being one of five states that held their elections in off years.

    Fast forward four years, and Williams was in a much more precarious position. The Kennedy coalition had fallen apart for the Democrats, the rise of George Wallace pushing black and upper-income suburbanites into the GOP once more. In preparation to face the usual Rockefeller Republican that New Jersey was so famous for, Williams pushed in his final year several pieces of populist legislation, seeking to increase collective bargaining rights and welfare programs for the working poor against the vetoes of the GOP legislature.

    Surprisingly, the crowded GOP primary nominated progressive, Liberty Conservative Republican Federal Civil Rights Commission member and former City Councilwoman Millicent Fenwick. Unknown for the most part, she immediately came out swinging against Williams and attracted significant support from New Jersey’s black and high-income suburban communities, along with the growing retirement areas along the Shore. Undaunted, Williams countered by running to her right on cultural issues, descending into traditionally Republican areas of the state to cast her Liberty Conservatism as a betrayal of “commonsense values.” Coalitions began to shift as the race became neck to neck.

    A week before the election, an allegation surfaced in the New York Times that Williams had accepted bribes from federal and state contractors while a Congressman between 1961 and 1965. The governor fully denounced the allegations, calling it a hatchet job by a newspaper supporting his “Liberal” opponent. Relatively late in the cycle, the allegations created a stir but wasn’t widely believed in much of the state.

    [​IMG]
    The bribery allegations ultimately did play a role, but looking at the final results it was clear that Fenwick had won the election beforehand on the strength of her policies. The wealthy suburbs of Bergen and Morris County along with majority black wards in Camden and Newark were her best regions, counteracting the strength Williams had among working class voters, government employees in and around Trenton, and the surprisingly good showing in culturally conservative northwest Jersey. Possessing bolstered majorities in the state legislature, Fenwick’s brand of progressive Liberty Conservatism such as Buckleyite welfare reform and school busing would be quickly implemented (the first state to do so).

    Two months after leaving office, Williams would be subsequently indicted by the Justice Department on ten counts of bribe receiving and official corruption, vindicating the Times story.
    ----------------------------​

    In the second gubernatorial election of 1969, the gradual coalition shifting in New Jersey contrasted by a massive political realignment in the Old Dominion.

    For the last several decades, Virginia had been under the control of the Byrd organization, a segregationist Democratic machine controlled by former Senator Harry Byrd Sr. Most elected officials from the state were Democrats approved by this organization such as Senator Absalom Robertson and the founder’s son Harry Byrd Jr. By the mid-sixties cracks had started to appear, mostly due to the influx of more cosmopolitan northern transplants into the rapidly growing DC suburbs that made the state competitive for Republicans (Nixon and Rockefeller having won the state) and splits within the Democratic Party. In 1965, Roanoke lawyer A. Linwood Holton became the first Republican to be elected Governor since Reconstruction due to Kennedy-ally Henry Howell’s successful primary challenge of Bryd Democrat Mills Godwin.

    Virginia law only allowed governors one four year term, so the popular Holton (netting strong approval due to his reformist attitude on issues such as education and state services, even placing his children in majority black Richmond Schools) was barred from running for re-election. Mills Godwin or Senator William Spong had been considered the frontrunners for the Democratic nod, but Godwin ruled himself out upon taking a position in the Wallace Cabinet and Spong declined to run.

    In the end, the primary was a bloody affair – trying once again, Howell was this time defeated by former Governor and Byrd Democrat Albertis Harrison (Virginia not barring non-consecutive terms), one of the architects of the Byrd Organization’s campaign of Massive Resistance against the Supreme Court desegregation mandate in Brown v. Board of Education. Republicans unanimously nominated Congressman William Scott, elected in 1964 on Rockefeller’s strong performance in the state. Attempting his second serious bid for public office as an Independent was founder and former leader of the American Nazi Party George Lincoln Rockwell. As journalist and future Pulitzer Prize winner Hunter S. Thompson would write in his coverage of the election, “The race for Fuhrer has begun. God, we’re all F-ed up.”

    The election wasn’t a contest between different ideas more than it was a political realignment. Harrison and his history of segregation representing the old guard while Scott and the Republicans reflected the newer elements of the state. Campaigning on increasing the Holton infrastructure developments and an aggressive pattern of desegregation (it was a great source of contention as to whether Scott believed the Liberty Conservative rhetoric he adopted, especially among his black supporters), Scott campaigned hard across the state with Republican heavyweights such as Barry Goldwater and Medgar Evers. Harrison and the Democrats banked hard on the lean of the state and the lingering dominance of the Byrd Organization – Byrd Jr. having won 67-33 in the 1966 special). Holton having only won in 1965 due to vote splitting between Kennedy Democrat Howell and Rockwell, they were confident the state would reassert itself.

    Rockwell, already dogged by the charges of his Nazi past, hit upon a unique campaign strategy that raised eyebrows across the nation. He claimed the Wallace Administration – and by association the Byrd Organization – had betrayed the persons they claimed to fight for. Sold them and the traditions of the south out to appease the “Progressive Lobby” (Rockwell was very careful to avoid the hint of racial animus lest his former Nazi leadership be rehashed). While originally laughed at, the reluctance by the federal government to push back against the Nixon, Rockefeller, and Kennedy civil rights initiatives only reinforced Rockwell’s claims. Harrison’s build began to falter, the more radical segregationists abandoning him for the quixotic Independent candidate.

    [​IMG]
    Scott’s majority win was widely considered the beginning of Republican dominance of Virginia, the Old Dominion the archetype of the “New South” where a more cosmopolitan blend of northern transplants and black voters overcame the old segregationist coalition that controlled the state for so long. While Holton had been hampered by a massively Democratic legislature, Scott’s win provided the Republicans with a combined forty percent in both houses, ensuring legislation a simpler time at passage.

    The 69 election would be the end of Rockwell’s attempt at statewide office, though the former Nazi wasn’t quite done with electoral politics.
    ---------------------------------​

    While not considered part of the Liberty Conservative sweep in the 1969 elections, a developing slugfest outside the continental US would loom large with regards to the precarious political situation as a whole.

    The beginning of the 91st Congress would see two deaths in the senate, that of GOP Minority Leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois and Democrat Bob Bartlett of Alaska. The Republican Governor of Illinois would appoint a fellow party member to succeed the departed Dirksen, thusly creating no change in the Senate composition. However, the traditionally Democratic state of Alaska had elected Republican Ted Stevens to the governorship in 1966. Exercising his power, he appointed at-large congressman Wally Hickel to the seat of Bartlett – the most popular politician in the state. Having only had a 51-49 majority, Majority Leader Humphrey only retained his position by the tiebreaking vote of Vice President McNamara.

    Alaska at the time was a Democratic leaning state, the only Republican statewide official in previous to Stevens and Hickel was Senator Mike Stepovich (elected in 1958 and 1962 but defeated in 1968 by Clark Gruening). Both Stevens and Hickel were considered fluke wins in the backlash against the Kennedy Administrations – Hickel being narrowly reelected as Goldwater won the state narrowly. Given that Alaska was one of the most socially democratic states in the nation, with a welfare state that rivaled Scandinavia, common knowledge dictated Hickel’s loss to Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives Mike Gravel.

    [​IMG]
    Since no one bothered to poll the frigid state, Hickel’s landslide win shocked the nation, reaffirming the tie in the senate and narrowing the path for Wallace to pass friendly legislation. While jubilant Republicans proclaimed an intense backlash against Wallace even in Democratic states, the cause would be determined to be more local in nature. A maverick Democrat with countless libertarian views that only won the primary due to a three-way divide of the opposing candidates, Gravel alienated a considerable part of the culturally conservative base that kept Alaska so Democratic over the years, something that Hickel maneuvered to his advantage. Gravel would remain broadly popular to Alaskans, just not the ones that determined the senate race.

    In the year following the elections, the political landscape would undergo a seismic shift.
    ------------------------
    The breakup of Czechoslovakia following the events of Prague Spring served to destroy the fragile balance of power that had existed since the end of the Second World War. A general boundary between the USSR and its allies in the Warsaw Pact and the Anglo-American NATO bloc – famously dubbed by Winston Churchill as “An Iron Curtain descending across Europe” – had been blown apart in the aftermath of the establishment of a functioning democratic government in the former communist state in Prague. Only the quick ascension to the Kremlin by General Secretary Vladimir Semichastny, never one to hesitate to heavy-handed tactics to preserve Soviet influence, and a general reluctance by President Kennedy to push his luck after securing their Czech allies allowed the new Iron Curtain to solidify. The map of Europe hadn’t changed aside from Bohemia and Moravia shifting from the Warsaw Pact to NATO.

    Ironically the mastermind of the Prague Spring, current interim Czech Prime Minister Alexander Dubcek, hadn’t intended for any of this to happen. A committed communist, the intention to reform the fragile Czechoslovak state had been in the hopes of securing the stagnant economy for the foreseeable future. However, by 1968 events had transpired beyond his control and the communist government had fallen. Despite his Slovakian ancestry, Dubcek knew only execution awaited him if he set foot in the new Socialist Republic of Slovakia – therefore, doubling down ended up being his only option.

    Politically, the creation of democracy in the new Czech Federal Republic didn’t see the widespread confusion and multiple parties that one would normally see. In the vacuum emerged three main political parties seeking a stake in governing the young nation. Dubcek and his various reformist allies, having been expelled by the hardline-controlled Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, created the Front for Social Democracy (or Social Front). Ideologically rooted in the values of Prague Spring, it maintained a socialist economic platform in consort with conservative social policy and a commitment to free expression. The Communists stood steadfast as a committed Moscow aligned party, putting forward anti-Dubcek official Jozef Lenart as their leader. A third party, the Civic Democrats, joined the scene on the right-wing of the spectrum. Founded by influential Czech leaders arriving back from exile, young playwright and Prague Spring activist Vaclav Havel won the ensuing leadership contest. While the party would struggle initially, Havel’s eloquence and bravery would make him the most popular Czech politician after Dubcek.

    In the summer of 1969, voters across the nation headed to the polls for the first free election since the 1930s – the Chamber of Deputies arranged in a first-past-the-post constituency based system modeled after the British House of Commons. Dubcek and the Social Front ran on a standard social democracy platform, countered by the heavily regressive Communist policies. Nipping at their heels were the Civic Democrats, arguing for further liberalization than even Dubcek was planning to institute.

    [​IMG]
    A grateful Czech and Slovak expat community rewarded Dubcek for their newfound freedom. Fears of a Communist takeover were shattered as the Social Front secured a majority government, joining with Havel (who won his Prague based constituency by a landslide) and the Civic Democrats – winning an impressive near quarter of the vote – to guarantee the continued liberalization program. The Communists retained some loyalty, forming the official opposition but were in effect largely irrelevant to roll back the nation’s NATO commitment or the liberal reforms.

    As the newest full signatory of the NATO charter, Dubcek understood the hostility held by the Soviets and the other Warsaw Pact nations to the Federal Republic. Denounced by Semichastny as a “Poison dagger pointed at the heart of socialism, ready to be driven in by the traitors and their imperialist puppetmasters,” it became a tenet of Czech foreign policy for both a well-armed and equipped military and close defense cooperation with their NATO allies. Under President Kennedy and Prime Minister Brown, US and UK military personnel established powerful bases within Czech territory – their presence joined by French forces at the direction of President of the Council François Mitterrand, a close friend of Dubcek, at the behest of President Wallace.

    In what Secretary of State Richard Helms called the “Unified Forward Defense” doctrine, a late 1969 coup for the Wallace Administration was secured in the admission of Austria into the NATO alliance. What had been a precarious salient into East Germany and communist Poland had now turned into an unshakable forward spur.

    Such NATO successes greatly worried the Politburo, finding their sphere of influence slowly receding within Eastern Europe. Designed as both a forward operating base and as a shield to protect the Rodina from foreign invaders, the spur created by the Czech Federal Republic and Austria exposed Poland and East Germany greatly to a potential NATO attack. With deteriorating relations with China and Soviet morale in tatters following the setbacks abroad and in space, General Secretary Semichastny and his allies needed to equalize the situation and reverse the tide.

    The answer arrived in later 1969, Yugoslavia. Established as a Kingdom ruling over a wide gathering of South Slavic ethnic groups after the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, following the Second World War the communists had controlled the state. However, unlike other European communist powers, President Josip Broz Tito – a national hero from his time coordinating the anti-Nazi resistance – insisted on a more neutral course. He resisted efforts to join the Warsaw Pact, and maintained relations with the west as well as his socialist comrades (sort of like how Dubcek wished to make Czechoslovakia).

    This course had always been a thorn in Moscow’s hide, but following the disaster of Prague Spring Yugoslavia’s existence outside the Soviet orbit had become a personal pain to Semichastny. In his personal memoirs the General Secretary confessed his deep hatred for the Yugoslav leader, recollecting him as a “Pompous mudak,” that “Sought personal power over the cause of socialism.” To the ideologue the former KGB Chairman was, the independent status of the Slavic state – blocking land access to the Adriatic, Italy, western Greece, and southern Austria as well as the matter of prestige – was blot on the Soviet Union’s honor that needed to be rectified.

    Attempts to negotiate with Tito proved fruitless, the Yugoslav leader sticking firmly to his neutral status. A unilateral invasion was off the table from the start, Chairman of the Council of Ministers Viktor Grishin, Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, Party Secretary Konstantin Chernenko, and Defence Minister Leonid Brezhnev all convincing Semichastny that it was a needlessly bad idea – President Wallace would not take it lying down, and they needed a pretense to head off foreign response as with Hungary.

    However, within the multi-ethnic state it wasn’t hard to find those willing to stab their leader in the back. Being a Croat-Slovene in a Serb/Croat dominated nation, Tito had made many enemies within the Yugoslav apparatus and the KGB quickly identified groups of Communist Party officials that would do Moscow’s bidding if needed. By September 1969, both Gromyko and KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov had secured a deal with Croatian Party Chairman Vladimir Bakaric to join the Warsaw Pact upon assuming control of the country.

    All that was needed was for Tito to be overthrown. A confident Andropov assured the Politburo – himself only a candidate rather than a full member – that the KGB was up to the task. All that was needed was cooperation from the Army, given immediately.

    In the wee morning hours of January 11th, 1970, Operation Grom-111 (Thunder-111) commenced in earnest. Smuggled into Yugoslavia over the proceeding weeks by anti-Tito elements within the Yugoslav military at the direction of Bakaric, the elite KGB Alpha and Zenith Groups – roughly equivalent to the US Delta Force – used the cover of a massive blizzard to assault the Novi dvor Palace in Belgrade. Orders were simple, eliminate President Tito by any means necessary.

    [​IMG]
    Utilizing aid from airborne forces and specially trained “South Slavic” infiltration units within the GRU (the military intelligence agency of the Red Army), the Alpha and Zenith Groups engaged in an orgy of slaughter within the palace. Josip Tito was dragged out of bed in his pajamas and riddled with half a clip from a Kalashnikov, joining over 200 others as the KGB carried out their orders with ruthless efficiency.

    The Serbian commander of the main military units within and near Belgrade being a supporter of the Coup, Bakaric secured the safety of the KGB forces and quickly assumed power in the vacuum following Tito’s death. Most of the military falling in line over the next twenty-four hours, the new President sent an official message through the Yugoslav Embassy in Moscow for Soviet Military assistance “To protect and safeguard the Yugoslav workers and peasants from imperialist aggression.”

    With this, over 300,000 Warsaw Pact forces – half of the Red Army, with the rest comprising of Albanian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, and Romanian forces – crossed the border into Yugoslavia, joining up with allied Yugoslav military units to secure the country from Tito loyalists.

    White House audio transcript, January 15th, 1970
    Meeting between President Wallace, SecDef LeMay, and SecState Helms

    LeMay: Mr. President, all American forces in Europe are at DEFCON Three as you requested.

    Wallace: Good, good. Our nuclear deterrence?

    LeMay: At DEFCON Three as well. If the Russkis even peek out of Yugoslavia or the Berlin Wall we’ll be ready to force them back. They would be insane to antagonize us.

    Wallace: They were supposed to be insane to invade Yugoslavia, and they went ahead and did it! [inaudible muttering]. Richard, is there any form of support we can give Tito?

    Helms: Um, first of all sir, Tito is undoubtedly dead at this point.

    Wallace: Bah! The f###ing communists lie every time they open their mouths. Khrushchev biting the dust by a “Heart attack.” They must think we’re brainless gits!

    Helms: That may be so, but from the way the Soviets operated, there is no chance they would leave Tito alive. He’s too much of a threat.

    LeMay: I agree Mr. President.

    Wallace: Fine. If we assume he is dead, what are our options?

    Helms: In the short term, next to nil. Semichastny needs a victory here to reclaim a strong image lost after Prague Spring. He’s like a starving dog with a bone…

    Wallace: He’ll hold onto it by whatever means necessary. [Sighs] That precludes actual military aid. What about covert?

    Helms: That could be a possibility, but it would have to be over the long term.

    LeMay: With our commitment in Vietnam, we don’t have the margin of error to antagonize anything in Europe, at least unilaterally.

    Wallace: Just my luck it happens in an election year.

    (end transcript)

    Two weeks of confused fighting would follow, but by February all meaningful resistance to the new regime had been wiped out. Semichastny and the other Warsaw Pact leaders would make a state visit to Belgrade in April, a newly secure President Bakaric signing his nation into the Warsaw Pact. Combined with the successful landing of Lenin Four on the moon later in the year, Semichastny had effectively reversed the perilous position in Eastern Europe that Khrushchev had left after Prague Spring. An allied Yugoslavia secured the USSR’s hold on the Balkans (only Greece and Turkey standing firm against them). Now attention could be shifted back to supporting pro-Communist movements around the world, the Iron Curtain solidifying once more.

    As President, Tito had navigated the vast undercurrent of ethnic tensions within the nation by a deft maneuvering and balancing of power between the various groups. Following the coup however, Bakaric’s regime was almost exclusively Serb/Croat in composition. This greatly angered the minority Slovenes, Bosniaks, Albanians, Macedonians, and Montenegrins within Yugoslavia, but with the Red Army so recently installed as an occupying force the enthusiasm for any action was quite low (at least at the time).

    Such was quite fortunate for Semichastny, for he was subsequently embroiled in a second crisis halfway across the world at the other end of the Soviet empire.

    Having been united under one government for the first time since the fall of the Qing Dynasty (though that was up for argument considering the disputed status of Taiwan), the People’s Republic of China still hadn’t put political upheaval into the past. After the mass collectivization and industrialization of the “Great Leap Forward” had arguably caused the tens of millions of deaths in the Great Chinese Famine, an increasingly paranoid Mao Tse-Tung had instituted what was called the Cultural Revolution. In short, it was a Chinese version of the Stalinist purges, Mao and his allies cleansing the Communist party of impure influences and intellectual voices.

    By the late sixties, the Great Chairman was starting to slip into the delirium of old age, largely kept sheltered by his wife and a cadre of advisors called the “Gang of Four.” Largely isolated on the world stage (all NATO and NATO-allied nations adhering to the One-China strategy by recognizing the Republic of China on Taiwan as the only legitimate China), Mao was easily persuaded by the Gang to give his support to a hardline strategy, largely ignoring moderates such as Chou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping. Policies were put in place for a massive expansion and modernization of the People’s Liberation Army, initially with Soviet aid and continuing even when the tap was cut off, the Gang using it as a method of industrialization without damaging the country’s agricultural output.

    Nominally allied with the Soviets since the years following Japan’s defeat in the Second World War, as China built up its power and geopolitical influences the greater the two communist states began to drift apart. Even with the replacement of Khrushchev with the hardcore ideologue Semichastny didn’t diffuse the tension, traditional Marxism-Leninism contrasting with Maoist agrarianism for the heart and soul of world communism (such as the conflict between the USSR-backed ZAPU and Chinese-backed ZANU in the Rhodesian Bush War). The reluctance for the Soviets to allow China a sphere of influence as an emerging nation loomed as the largest factor in the emerging Sino-Soviet split however, relations reaching their nadir by 1969.

    The tension would boil over following the crash of an official Chinese diplomatic aircraft in Mongolia in September 1969. The plane, carrying Mao and Gang of Four confidant Lin Biao aboard to a state visit with General Secretary Semichastny, was claimed by the Chinese Government to have been shot down by Mongolian air defenses. The Mongols, backed up by their Soviet allies, claimed it was mechanical failure backed up by the examination of the aircraft. However, they wouldn’t allow Chinese teams or even a neutral UN arbiter access to the crash site or the wreckage. Mao, advised by his wife Jiang Qing and Premier of the State Council Zhang Chunqiao – effectively the two rulers of China – in response to the outrage ordered a show of force to be demonstrated against the parties.

    In October elements of the People’s Liberation Army advanced into Omnogovi, Dornogovi, and Sukhbaatar provinces in Outer Mongolia, demanding that Mongolian People’s Republic effectively become a Chinese vassal state in return for an evacuation. Sharp fighting ensued, the tiny Mongolian Army assisted with Soviet airpower and military aid. This would result in an escalation of the conflict in the following months to the Amur and Ussuri rivers separating Chinese Manchuria with Russian Siberia. Furious battled would ensue over several river islands, a PLA drive to capture Khabarovsk and a subsequent Russian crossing from Vladivostok beaten back with heavy losses to both sides.

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    Cooler heads finally prevailed, and by March the two nations had agreed to a ceasefire, Chinese forces withdrawing from Mongolia while still maintaining an occupation of Yinlong Island. The borders would remain mobilized however, all traffic between the two nations heavily restricted as diplomats from both sides squabbled over finding a resolution.

    Finally meeting in Ulanbataar in May 1973, Chunquiao and Semichastny managed to hammer out a negotiated settlement that formally ended the Sino-Soviet Split (relations warming further upon Mao’s death and the ascension of his widow Jiang Qing to the position of General Secretary, who would subsequently betray the Gang of Four and ally with Hua Guofeng’s faction). The de facto border agreed to since the ceasefire was made official, and China wrangled favorable mineral and economic concessions from Mongolia along with reparations for the death of Lin Biao.

    The main takeaway from the Ulanbataar Conference wasn’t the resolution to the border crisis, but mainly the new cooperation agreement between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the People’s Republic of China. While both allied to each other, China had more or less asserted itself as a semi-equal to the Soviet Union, gaining a sphere of influence over communist movements and allies in East Asia (Laos, Burma, North Korea, Indonesia, and national liberation movements within that sphere). A doctrine of joint assistance would be directed for other movements, both sides relieved that the split had been healed. All were eager to shift the focus to other battlegrounds.

    The ferocious fighting during the Algerian War had sent chills down the spines of the European and White minority governments across the African continent. Soviet aid under the Khrushchev program had propped up the FLN long after when they would have been annihilated if left to their own devices. In the great game between the superpowers, both the United States and the Soviet Union sent vital support to their allies and ideological similar regimes.

    For the most part, the governments most fearful of the spectre of Soviet-backed African liberation movements weren’t the colonial governments but rather the white minority regimes in South Africa, Bechuanaland, and Rhodesia. While European settlers were usually quite sparse in the vast majority of the colonies, as with Algeria these three states were quite densely populated with whites – albeit vastly outnumbered by black Africans. Already, segregation policies such as South Africa’s Apartheid had been instituted to preserve minority rule, but the increasing radicalization of the natives by such Soviet and Chinese backed organizations such as the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Rhodesia), the Zimbabwe African National Union (Rhodesia), South West Africa People's Organization (South Africa and Bechuanaland), and uMkhonto we Sizwe (South Africa) greatly worried Pretoria, Gaberone, and Salisbury.

    Each of these were connected to the British Commonwealth as dominions or colonies, South Africa under self-rule while the other two were subject to London’s control. Following the lead of France, Colonial Secretary Iain Macleod had arranged a plan of decolonization for Britain’s African Empire. Each would be given independence and majority rule, subsequently entering a security and economic alliance with the former colonial power – as a result both the Commonwealth and the French Community would maintain extensive strength in the Dark Continent.
    In the southern African white dominions, this policy was ultimately one of the most unpopular directives that London could ever promulgate. As a result, South Africa would undergo a successful referendum to declare it a Republic while both Rhodesia and Bechuanaland would unilaterally declare independence from the UK – Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith and Bechuanan President Seretse Khama (while an African, he had evolved into a strong ally of Smith and South African Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd) would make it known that they did seek to be members of the Commonwealth alliance.

    Initially, all three states seemed destined to international isolation and eventual pariah status, but the Assassination of Richard Nixon completely changed the dynamic. The new calculus of the Rockefeller (later Kennedy) Administration and the Macleod Ministry was that anti-Communism was the overarching concern. Deeming that it would be easier to promote human rights once the Soviet-backed groups were defeated, the NATO, SEATO, and ANZUS nations each recognized the white minority states and began friendly trade relations with them, greatly boosting their already impressive advantages against the native militant groups.

    One colonial power that refused to give in to the spate of decolonization declarations was Portugal. Ruled by the formerly fascist turned republican authoritarian Estado Novo regime of António de Oliveira Salazar, the well-established colonies of Guinea-Bissau, Angola, and Mozambique were as part of Portugal as the Metropole was. And the government and military were willing to fight to keep it that way.

    The Angola colony had been in Portuguese hands for nearly four centuries, the city of Luanda founded by Paulo Dias de Novais in 1576. Colonization of the inland would have to wait for the discovery of proper anti-malarial drugs in the late nineteenth century, but afterwards Angola had provided Portugal with a massive supply of mineral and agricultural wealth as well as a huge influx of white settlers (only to increase in the economic hardship years of the late sixties). Something the Estado Novo regime was willing to expend massive amounts of men and treasure to protect.

    Initially begun as a push of civil disobedience in the Gandhi mold, lack of any headway ended in a transition to more violent means, the Portuguese government and the native rebels engaging in several tit for tat terror raids that only inflamed the situation further. The start of the war was ultimately deemed to be the 1961 attempting storming of a Luanda police station, in retaliation the Portuguese military committing reprisals in the black slums of the capitol. Things deteriorated quickly and soon the entire country was ablaze with rebellion.

    Initially, Portuguese commanders – culminating in General António de Spínola by 1966 – utilized military aid from the United States, United Kingdom, and South Africa to great effect against the underequipped rebels. The fact the native forces were divided into the communist MPLA, the centrist FNLA, and the right-wing UNITA served to the Portuguese advantage, the colonial forces practicing the age old military strategy of divide and conquer.

    However, by the time Spinola left to take the position of Defence Minister in 1967, Soviet Military aid funneled through neighboring nations – including the pro-Western President Mobutu Seke Seso, anti-colonialist to the core, though he ensured most of the aid went to UNITA – many within the Estado Novo leadership felt that he combined weight of the colonial wars was leading to ruin. Newly appointed General Kaúlza de Arriaga, taking command in Luanda, instituted a new strategy of holding the line in the countryside and concentrating on securing the capitol and the regions around it. The successes of Operation Vimeiro heartened Lisbon, but Spinola’s warnings of a dire future convinced Salazar that they needed a new way forward.

    Taking a lesson from the French, Salazar and President Francisco da Costa Gomes sought talks in 1967 with the rebel group most amenable to them, UNITA and its larger than life leader Jonas Savimbi. A committed anti-Communist, he traveled to Kinshasa in a summit hosted by his friend Mobutu between him and the Portuguese – representatives from the United States, Britain, and South Africa were in attendance as well. After five days of heated discussion, a deal was reached. UNITA would stab the other rebel groups in the back by allying with Portugal and assisting them toward a military victory. In return, once the countryside was in joint Portuguese/UNITA control, Portugal would retreat to the “Luanda districts” and leave the rest of the country as an independent republic with Savimbi as President.

    Sensing little choice, Salazar, Costa Gomes, and Spinola decided that keeping part was better than potentially losing all and accepted, establishing the Portuguese-UNITA alliance.

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    Now allied with UNITA, the Portuguese security forces launched a combined offensive out of the coastal towns and the Luanda perimeter. MPLA and FNLA forces suffered defeat after defeat, Savimbi’s fighters proving a priceless aid to the colonial military. With Mobutu doubling his efforts to stomp out supply routes for the rebels through Zaire, the amount and effectiveness of Soviet aid diminished as the years ticked by. By 1970, Semichastny had written off Angola, shifting the supplies to the better investments in Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique.

    For UNITA, Portugal, South Africa, and NATO, the denying of the Soviet-backed rebels of friendly regimes from which to operate or train was vital for both victory and the long-term security of the region. One such government was that of Milton Obote in Uganda. Fearing the increasing socialistic tendency of Obote and his strident support of the MPLA (along with FRELMO in Mozambique and anti-Mobutu forces in Zaire), a collection of western nations joined with the Ugandan military to overthrow the government while Obote was at a trade conference in British Singapore.

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    Quickly securing the country, the military junta quickly installed Commander-in-Chief Idi Amin as President, establishing a pro-Western regime with massive aid from Israel and South Africa.

    Finally in November 1970, General Arriaga achieved what had been a goal of the Portuguese Military since the beginning of the war. In a routine sweep and clear mission in a remote eastern provincial village, Portuguese Special Forces captured MPLA General Secretary José Eduardo dos Santos attempting to flee – declared dead by the colonial administration in Luanda two days later. It was said that Arriaga put a bullet in his head personally.

    Following dos Santos’ death the MPLA and FNLA resistance effectively began to collapse, surrendering or melting away into the countryside to fight another day. As per the deal brokered between Salazar and Savimbi, the Angolan leader traveled to Portugal on February 2nd, 1971 where they signed the Alvor Agreement, dividing the country into the overseas province of Portuguese Angola and the UNITA-ruled Republic of Angola.

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    Partitioned Angola - Red: Portugal; Green: Republic of Angola

    All across Portugal church bells rang as people took to the streets in celebration of the victory. President Savimbi would return on February 7th (now a national holiday in Angola) to the new national capital of Benguela to the exulting crowds of a hero’s welcome – and the beginning of a Civil War against the remnants of the MPLA and FNLA, rejuvenated as Zambia fell to a communist insurgency. Arriaga would be transferred to Mozambique, where the rebel forces were still going strong. And where the victorious nation would soon tear itself apart.

    Aid to anti-communist groups wasn’t merely contained to Africa or to nations fighting off communist insurgencies or controlled by communists. One particular target of American, Commonwealth, and Community support was that of Cambodia. Given its independence following the breakup of French Indochina, the ethnically Khmer nation was ruled as a monarchy under Prince Norodom Shianouk. Nominally allied with the west, Shianouk quickly proved himself to be a weak and ineffectual ruler. American and South Vietnamese officials watched with dismay as a waffling on his part allowed Le Duan and General Giap to establish massive logistical hubs and supply lines through eastern Cambodia – both via land in the famous “Ho Chi Minh Trail” and via sea through the smuggling of material through the port city of Shianoukville.

    More concerned with petty domestic concerns, Shianouk was quickly dismissed by then CIA Drector Richard Helms as an incompetent and liability to American presence in Vietnam. Thusly, under his advice President Kennedy authorized CIA and State Department funding of the newly formed Social Republican Party of Minister of Defense Field Marshall Lon Nol. An ardent anti-communist and advocate for a republic, Nol began engaging the NVA and their allied Khmer Rouge guerillas in a series of battles taken unilaterally by the military. As a result, the more populated region of western Cambodia was largely clear of communist influence.

    As the new year dawned, the stubbornness of Prince Shianouk to authorize Nol to assault the Ho Chi Minh Trail directly, allow American intervention forces, or to properly police Shianoukville for smuggling had convinced President Wallace that a regime change was needed to secure a victory in Vietnam (coming to the same view held by President Tho of South Vietnam). Through the CIA pipeline, Nol was basically authorized to engage in what he had wished for so long – a republican coup against the Royal Government.

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    The September Coup went rather bloodlessly, the tanks and soldiers meeting next to no resistance Prince Shianouk being disliked by most of the populace. Even in areas where the military hero Nol wasn’t popular, these were controlled by the communist Khmer Rouge, not exactly pro-Monarchy. In a deal brokered by the State Department, Shianouk and his family were allowed into exile in Paris, while Nol and his military Junta established the Khmer Republic – legitimized by a vote in the national assembly, though with Phnom Penh being in a near state of occupation there wasn’t much incentive for the legislators to vote against the junta.

    Almost immediately the Khmer Rouge guerillas began an escalation of their campaign against the government out of their strongholds in the east. Setting off vehicle bombs throughout urban areas and slaughtering several loyalist villages, public support greatly turned against the Khmer Rouge and in favor of President Nol. Aid pouring in from the US, Japan, and Australia greatly strengthened the Khmer military as they prepared for a widening of the war into the eastern regions of the republic.

    Appointing himself President in November, Nol would rule by decree until overseeing the establishment of free elections eleven years after the coup. By the time of his death in 1985, Cambodia was one of the most politically stable nations within Southeast Asia – although that statement was relative.

    Besides Europe, the number one battlefield for CIA Director James Jesus Angleton (appointed by President Wallace following Richard Helms’ elevation to Secretary of State) was Latin America. The traditional backyard of the United States since the institution of the Monroe Doctrine, it was common knowledge that the KGB and other Warsaw Pact intelligence agencies were funneling money and aid via Che Guevara’s Socialist Republic of Cuba to communist and left-wing political parties within the continent. Insurgencies in Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia dogged their respective governments, and political parties in Ecuador and Argentina threatened to depose the incumbent regimes.

    However, the pro-American regime most threatened by left-wing elements was Chile. A republic since its founding during the 1840s, the fifties and sixties saw a successive series of center right governments headed by the Christian Democratic party. Propped up by the CIA during the Eisenhower, Nixon, Rockefeller, and Kennedy administrations, sluggish growth and rising inequality within the republic spurred rising discontent with Eduardo Frei Montalva’s government. Fearful that Socialist Party leader Salvador Allende would win the 1970 election, CIA/State Department officials turned to the staunchly right-wing Chilean Military.

    Formerly commanded by benign General Rene Schneider, an opponent of military interference in political matters, his mysterious death by alcohol poisoning in 1969 resulted in the far more politically active General Roberto Viaux taking command. Deeming CD candidate Radomiro Tomic not likely to defeat Allende, the military Chiefs of Staff formed an alliance with the right-wing National Party to run a third candidate in the upcoming elections. In the subsequent conference, the charismatic General Commander of the Santiago Army Garrison Augusto Pinochet was accepted to lead the National Alliance into the election against Allende and Tomic.

    Almost immediately the race boiled down to one between the National and Socialist camps, political violence breaking out in many instances across the nation. CIA Director Angleton and KGB Director Andropov (the latter aided in all capacities by Guevara’s government) funneled a total of fifteen million in funds to assist their allies, a record of any amount spent on a foreign election.

    Freeing themselves of any of the “wetwork” so to speak – conducted by the Army on the National side and by Guevaran “Foco” paramilitary organizations on the Socialist side – Pinochet and Allende campaigned hard for every single vote. The General promoted the “Shock Strategy,” in which the government would use any method necessary in creating a robust capitalistic economic growth pattern that would raise the cost of living, while Allende favored mass nationalization and redistribution of wealth in between that of the Bevanite Labour Party and that of the deceased Fidel Castro.

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    One month of two ordered recounts and furious court battles that ended in three separate rulings by the Chilean Supreme Court, the final certified total put Allende atop Pinochet by 317 votes, with neither of them reaching the majority threshold needed for an outright win. As per the Chilean constitution, the Chamber of Deputies would vote between the top two vote getters.

    Pinochet wasn’t confident in the chamber – the sentiment proved in recently unearthed audio transcripts taken by the CIA between the general and the military Chiefs of Staff. His bid had ruffled many feathers among the centrist members, and quite a few would likely vote for Allende only due to his slight plurality in the popular vote. The general quickly ruled out a military coup however, promulgated by the Army and Navy commanders. Instead, Army Intelligence and the sympathetic Director General of the Carabineros de Chile devised a more covert strategy aimed at securing the vote against the Socialists. After heated wrangling between Valparaiso and Washington, President Wallace assured Pinochet that the United States would stand by him “Come hell or high water.”

    In the two weeks preceding the election, a fair number of socialist and Allende-allied members of the Chilean Parliament found themselves subjected to a series of unfortunate “incidents.” One was discovered stabbed to death in what police called a mugging called wrong. One from Valparaiso perished in a drunk driving hit and run, while two others were ruled having committed suicide after falling from buildings. A fifth was arrested on corruption charges, while two others caught debilitating illnesses and were hospitalized. After four other members suddenly found their accounts flush with cash payments via CIA front organizations, the deputies gathered for the confirmation vote.

    By a 98-95 margin, despite losing the popular vote Augusto Pinochet had legally been confirmed as President of Chile. Fearing for his safety, Allende would subsequently flee to the SRC, being given a warm reception by President Guevara. Several dozen of his staunchest allies weren’t so lucky, finding themselves arrested on charges of espionage and treason (many were connected in some level to the KGB and GRU, but others were only lumped in due to their ideology).

    Overall, the country was content. Dirty tricks or not the nation was still a democracy, the socialist takeover had been thwarted, and Pinochet immediately went to work at jumpstarting the Chilean economy – which would see massive spikes in growth over the course of the 1970s till the nation sported the highest GDP rating for any South American nation in 1988.

    However, South America hadn’t seen the last of Guevara and Semichastny’s meddling.
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    The influx of new manpower into Vietnam after the election of the Snedden Government, Amery Government, and George Wallace only hastened the military situation as it was beginning to develop. Le Duan and General Giap’s strategy to deal with the situation General Lansdale had left them with – the use of the regular NVA divisions advancing into South Vietnam via the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Laos and Cambodia – initially experienced a wide range of gains against the Saigon government and their American allies. Large concentrations of troops in the Central Highlands coupled with the attrition strategy of MACV commander Gen. William Westmoreland allowed the NVA to reestablish destroyed Viet Cong connections with the South Vietnamese populace.

    By 1969 however, the situation on the ground was deteriorating for Duan and Giap. A combination of factors began to take their toll on the communist war effort. Firstly the new influx of troops by a series of hawkish western governments prevented the North from effectively implementing their political strategy of sowing war-weariness among the western populace. Secondly, the skillful administration of the fledgling nation by President Tho (removing the repressive measures of the Diem regime and building goodwill with the rural regions) joined with the counterinsurgency policies implemented by General Thieu and Lansdale to deny the communists a true connection with the rural citizens that had given Mao his victory.

    Most effectively hampering Hanoi was the Sino-Soviet Split. Beijing was under no circumstances going to allow a Soviet allied state on their southern border, even if it fell to the west. The increasingly paranoid Mao and the Gang of Four effectively cut off all Soviet aid by prohibiting overflights by the Red Air Force – along with cutting off their own aid to their neighbor. Duan and his regime had found themselves the casualty of the massive dick-measuring contest developing between the communist powers, and it was paying for it on the battlefield as the Westmoreland attrition strategy began to pay dividends.

    While planning for an offensive to turn the tide of the war had been in the cards for months previously, the Cambodian Coup only hastened the timeline. Giap had counted on the ineffectual Shianouk government allowing them safe haven in eastern Cambodia, but with the American-allied Lon Nol commanding from Phnom Peth that haven was in serious jeopardy. A visibly angry Duan, growing increasingly emaciated from chronic stress (according to some sources addicted to amphetamines and cocaine lozenges), intervened and scheduled the offensive to be launched in late January 1970. Specifically, during the Vietnamese Tet New Year.

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    As the Vietnamese people began to ring in the New Year, hundreds of thousands of NVA and Khmer Rouge soldiers struck in a series of over three-dozen separate attacks across South Vietnam and the Khmer Republic. The attacks didn’t follow any set pattern – many of them being small, battalion size actions – merely Giap’s strategy of creating apparent overwhelming force for the news cameras of NBC, CBS, ABC, ABC (Australia), and the BBC.

    The assaults into Cambodia by Pol Pot and the NVA represented a dramatic escalation of the conflict into the Khmer nation, intent on achieving a discernable military objective in toppling Lon Nol’s regime. Over thirty-thousand soldiers and guerillas (including three battalions of NVA armor) advanced into the heart of Phnom Peth in a furious battle with the Cambodian military for nearly a month before withdrawing, leaving the majority of the city pulverized into rubble. Pol Pot had exacted terrible vengeance on the citizens. Official Khmer government sources put the death toll at eight thousand “imperialist, traitorous elements” as the Khmer Rouge called them. Widely documented, it only served to strengthen Nol’s popularity.

    Much of the early press coverage focusing on Saigon, the archetype battle of the Tet Offensive would instead be centered in the city of Hue. Nestled on the Perfume River, it had once been the old imperial capitol of the nation prior to French colonization. In addition to the symbolic nature, the city also was a significant administrative hub for the Saigon government, all prompting Hanoi to deem it worthy of a full scale assault – joined by Saigon itself, Phnom Peth, and the massive American military base at Da Nang.

    Ten NVA battalions – a further eight waiting in reserve – swarmed in, taking the underequipped ARVN garrison by complete surprise. Objectives on the northern bank in the Imperial City were taken the after three days (including the Citadel and the Mang Ca Garrison fortress) while USMC reinforcements made the assault on the more modern districts south of the river into a far more difficult fight. However, with MACV facing more pressing concerns elsewhere, the Marines and ARVN commanded by General Foster LaHue were forced to retake the southern districts by themselves under heavy fire and intense casualties.

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    After a week of furious urban combat not seen since WWII, LaHue’s men had recaptured the southern suburbs of the city. Jubilant Marines and ARVN soldiers raising the Stars and Stripes and RVN flag over the administration building. Jeers and profane taunts were lobbed along with mortar fire to the communist positions on the other bank across the Perfume, the Devil Dogs proclaiming they would soon finish the job.

    It wouldn’t be so. Having sustained terrible casualties, the Marines were ordered to maintain their positions while a force of five US Army battalions under the command of one Lt. Colonel Colin Powell was brought in from Da Nang through nearby Phu Bai airbase. On February 11th, the assault on the Imperial City began with concentrated airstrikes from USAF and Navy strike aircraft and offshore bombardment via the battleship USS New Jersey and cruisers USS California and USS Long Beach. Powell’s forces – is leadership gaining him the Distinguished Service Cross during the heavy fighting – coordinated their assault with ARVN forces pinned down in Mang Ca to force the NVA back, joined by a renewed Marine assault across the Perfume on the 17th.

    On the 21st, the flag of South Vietnam was rising atop the Citadel once more. Hue would captivate the nation, and the discovery of massacres of civilians by the NVA similarly to the brutality of the Khmer Rouge would outrage the world over and stir sympathy for Saigon. But the actions weeks before in the capitol itself would prove the beginning of the end of the Vietnam War.

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    Being both the economic and governmental center of the Republic of Vietnam, there was no operational plan where Saigon wouldn’t be hit in a major offensive by the NVA. However, gathering that the city would be the most heavily defended of any city or region in the south, Giap refused Duan’s requests to throw precious armored forces into the assault. Instead, the planned attack utilized light infantry units and irregular formations to conduct a series of mass raids into the city, the goal to destroy and wreak havoc rather than hold territory as was being done elsewhere in the country. Initiating on the 31st of January, the resulting attacks succeeded in their goals. Supply depots, airfields, and civil buildings were all rendered inoperable under a wave of gunfire and explosives. However, all attention was directed on one specific attack in particular.

    Travelling inconspicuously from a safe house in two Mitsubishi trucks and a Volkswagen van, at five AM on the 31st around forty NVA sappers assaulted the United State Embassy in Saigon after a series of car bombings blasted three holes in the compound’s walls. Facing determined fire from the marine guards (one of whom would posthumously receive the Medal of Honor for single handedly engaging over fifteen attackers so that the ambassador and two dozen other staff members could flee), the force was eventually overpowered as the sappers swarmed the building.

    Initially planning to capture the Ambassador – or if that failed to torch the place and retreat – a startling discovery was made that the various communist intelligence services hadn’t picked up on. On a secret diplomatic mission to meet with President Tho and General Thieu (to be joined by Australian Prime Minister Snedden in two days) was Vice President Robert McNamara. In the confusion – though many speculate it was intentional – an NVA soldier riddled the Vice President with half a dozen rounds, leaving him to bleed to death over the course of ten agonizing minutes.

    Most of the sappers being Viet Cong remnants, their hatred for the Americans and the Saigon Government soon reached a frenzied bloodlust. Captured by a brave, amateur Saigonese cameraman, the NVA dragged McNamara’s body behind their vehicles as they escaped the compound – attempting to take advantage of the chaos around them.

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    A mechanized ARVN patrol would act with all due haste and capture the irregulars after about an hour following McNamara’s death, taking custody of the body and rounding up the perpetrators. In the iconic photograph of the entire Tet Offensive taken by Time photographer Eddie Adams, Brigadier General Nguyễn Ngọc Loan (later President of Vietnam) drew his pistol and assassinated NVA irregular Nguyễn Văn Lém, who was later to be determined as the man who personally killed McNamara. The New York Post ran the photo on February 2nd with the famous headline: JUSTICE SERVED!

    Fighting in the capitol would continue for a little over a week as ARVN and American troops mopped up the isolated pockets of communist resistance inside and around Saigon utilizing armor and the newly introduced AH-1 Adder helicopter gunship (also called the HueyAdder). However, the dominating still of the Tet Offensive would remain that of McNamara’s mutilated, broken body. By this action alone – regardless of any other criteria of success the NVA could point to – the Tet Offensive would fail decisively at its true goal.

    All across America, a sense of infuriating gloom descended upon its citizens at the killing of the Vice President. According to Chief of Staff John McKeithen, President Wallace was said to have gone mute, staring at the Resolute Desk with a murderous scowl. Even anti-war senator Paul Hatfield (R-OR) was heard saying that he wished he could put a bullet in Le Duan’s head himself. Far from convincing the American people that the war was unwinnable, the Tet Offensive by that one act left them with a thirst for vengeance not seen since Pearl Harbor.

    Having been a surprise pick for Vice President at the 1968 Democratic Convention (not being a politician and a Republican when Kennedy tapped him as SecState in 1965), it was no secret to those in the White House inner circle that Wallace truly disliked McNamara. Chosen to both placate the Kennedy faction and as a counterweight to Wallace’s bombast, he and the President had never truly gotten along.

    Gracious to his Vice President in death, Wallace nevertheless wasted no time in choosing a replacement under the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution – the first time such a mechanism was used. Wishing for a VP to give both balance but to be from the populist faction, the President introduced Washington Senator and Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Henry M. Jackson to the Rose Garden in the nomination press conference. Impressing all with his poise and adroit knowledge of the issues, the House and the Senate would confirm him after only one week of hearings by margins of 401-12 and 95-2 respectively on March 17th, 1970.

    Four days later, the nation would see off one of its most distinguished public servants – flags at half-mast across the Free World.

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    “My heart aches, aches. Robert was a good friend. He didn’t deserve this… infamy.”

    -Former President John F. Kennedy-

    “Our collective hearts go out to our American brethren. Australia stands shoulder to shoulder with them in our shared fight”

    -Prime Minister Billy Snedden-

    “He was a good man, despite our differences. Vice President McNamara is with the Angels now, looking down on us in peace.”

    -CA Gov. Ronald Reagan-

    “The tragic death… no, this despicable murder of Robert McNamara will not go unpunished. The murderers in Hanoi think they are safe, but they will feel America’s response quite soon.”

    -Vice President Henry Jackson-

    “Why couldn’t Henry be President? At least we could trust him not to overreact.”

    -Senator Eugene McCarthy (D-MN) to Senator James Buckley (C-NY)

    A Gallup Poll would be conducted in mid-February:

    Support further action in Vietnam: 57%

    Oppose further action in Vietnam: 29%

    Stay the same: 12%

    Don’t know: 2%

    As the smoke and dust cleared over the gutted and damaged cities of South Vietnam, the whole world waited in baited breath for the Wallace Administration’s response. For weeks the White House was filled with scrambling for military strategies, Generals moving to and fro from the Pentagon and Ambassadors visiting the Oval Office from their respective nations. All knew President Wallace would respond and respond with aggression, but the specifics were consistently disputed.

    Vice President Henry Jackson would later recount the issues faced in his autobiography published in 1982. Logistical problems were a major concern, any real ground campaign against North Vietnam itself requiring at least a nine months’ preparation. The presence of major NVA forces in Cambodia was a real time threat, though Jackson stated that getting Lon Nol’s cooperation to an allied incursion was a foregone conclusion. What concerned the Administration most was the possibility that China would open up the aid pipeline to Hanoi – and it was this issue that Jackson recalled tipped Wallace’s hand. It was better that they take the opportunity before them, Wallace basically said in a cabinet meeting, before the Chinese do change their minds.

    General Westmoreland promoted out following the Tet Offensive, the new commanders directly involved with coordinating the administration’s new strategy was CINC-Pac Admiral John Sydney McCain Jr., and MACV commander General Alexander Haig (a rising star within the military). Facing them was an arduous task that had stumped three previous Administrations and two previous commanders. The elimination of opposition to the Saigon regime. As before with the South Koreans after the first liberation of Seoul, Tho and Thieu were gunning to invade the north, Wallace and LeMay sharing their wishes.

    Haig and McCain knew it wasn’t that simple. Previous contingency plans drawn up in the Pentagon established three separate actions: crippling of North Vietnamese defense infrastructure and the interdiction of the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos from the air, destruction of NVA forces in Cambodia, and finally the invasion of the north. Previous bombings such as the wave authorized by Kennedy following the Battle of the Ia Drang had been inconclusive – but with China overtly hostile to Hanoi the restrictions imposed before could be greatly loosened, and the two commanders planned accordingly.

    The country would have its answer on April 2nd, 1970, President Wallace taking the speaker’s box to a joint session of Congress – Vice President Jackson and Speaker Morris Udall behind him. Authorization was not enough in Wallace’s eyes, the war effort proceeding legally under the Eastland-Ford resolution passed during the Rockefeller Administration to authorize further action in Vietnam. No, with the death of McNamara considered an attack on America itself, Wallace requested a formal declaration of war on the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, to loud applause in the chamber.

    While a bipartisan anti-war coalition was opposed to the widening of the conflict, America’s bloodlust was up and all remembered what happened to then-Rep Janene Rankin after she voted against the post-Pearl Harbor declaration of war. The motion passed unanimously in both houses of congress. The United States was now formally at War with North Vietnam.

    Despite the war not officially starting until April 2nd, the air campaign had already begun over a week before. Dubbed Operation Reciprocity by Secretary LeMay himself, it would ultimately fulfill Wallace’s campaign promise to “Bomb them into the Stone Age.” While tactical and strategic bombing – comprising mostly of sorties by USAF F-104 Thunderchiefs and USN A-4 Skyhawks and A-6 Intruders –had continued intermittently since the Kennedy Administration, for Reciprocity the USAF greenlit the use of massive B-52 Stratofortress and B-70 Valkyrie bombers to “Rock and Roll” the North Vietnamese.

    What posed a problem was the nature of the air defenses of the north. The Soviets having decided to use Vietnam as a testing ground for their latest Surface to Air Missiles (SAMs), an intricate network of interconnected missile and radar defenses had been built up by the NVA to rival the massive belts surrounding Moscow, East Germany, and Leningrad. Nearly four hundred aircraft had been shot down or heavily damaged since Kennedy ramped up the bombing in 1967.

    Before the heavy bombing could begin, the SAMs would have to be suppressed as much as possible. Thusly, thousands of tactical aircraft began their assault on the 25th of March, utilizing their massive numbers and swarm tactics to blast the NVA air defenses to rubble. Vaunted MiG squadrons were gutted and Wild Weasel anti-SAM F-104s engaged the missile batteries head on with anti-radiation missiles and cluster bombs.

    Once the declaration of war was voted on, the strategic bombers charged in from Guam, Okinawa, and the Philippines to smash Hanoi, Haiphong, and the other industrial centers of the north. Care was made to avoid residential centers and the networks of dykes and canals crisscrossing the countryside, focusing instead on the modern infrastructure and factories. It would begin over two years of sustained bombing to rival the allied campaign against Germany in later WWII.

    [​IMG]
    The North Vietnamese fought back bravely, their ferocious air defenses proving as tough a nut to crack as that of the British in 1940. However, George Wallace and Curtis LeMay weren’t Hitler or Goering. Despite taking grievous losses (when compared to what a layperson could expect in a war between a superpower and a backwards, tinpot dictatorship), the USAF and USN refused to heel, nor did Wallace allow it during the political turmoil of the latter half of his term.

    One by one the airfields were hit by the inbound Phantom MiG killers, the SAM installations wiped out by the F-104 Wild Weasels. Ho Chi Minh had once so praised the ability of the Vietnamese to win a war of attrition in the face of brutal losses. Feeling the ground shake from the bombs and the sky roar from the hundreds of jets, Le Duan watched as his country shattered around him the B-52s raining death on previously untouched districts.

    An apt metaphor for the Vietnam War as a whole.

    -------------------------------

    Not far behind in the air campaign was the interdiction of the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Laos and northeast Cambodia. With Laos being an effective Communist ally – though neutral – Wallace and LeMay didn’t feel much apprehension in shifting the interdiction campaign to the southern jungles. Tactical aircraft and the massive AC-130 Spectre gunships rained death on the supply convoys pinpointed by inserted Navy SEALs (one being Medal of Honor winner and future Secretary of Defense Bob Kerrey) and Green Berets. The actions would be immortalized in the prequel to the 1982 classic action movie First Blood, First Blood: The Beginning.

    The assaults on Laos, large enough as to not be concealed, sparked a new wave of protests in the west. Attacks on a ‘neutral’ nation had begun the breaking of the surge in support felt after the death of McNamara, but only begun. The immense political capitol would instead live to face what would come next. Haig had dubbed it Operation Dropkick, something that had been banded about for years in the Pentagon but never truly found to be viable politically or diplomatically. Now, with the Khmer Republic fully on board, Wallace and Thieu both gave their green light.

    A truly multinational force (comprising mostly American, South Vietnamese, and Australian military units), threw themselves across the Cambodian border, joined by a similar strike by Khmer Republican forces under Lon Nol from Phnom Peth. Having been preparing for this since the Tet Offensive, NVA and Khmer Rouge forces were nevertheless stunned at the sheer ferocity and scope of the assault. Great priority was given to the capture of the senior leadership, US Special Forces and Australian SAS tasked with both the capture of Khmer Rouge General Secretary Pol Pot and the discovery of the Central Office for South Vietnam (COSVN), the military HQ for the entire southern command of the NVA. Each was eventually tracked down and captured, the former tried for war crimes in the Cambodian capital and executed in 1971.

    [​IMG]
    The fighting was considered the fiercest of the entire war, acts of atrocity conducted by both sides (such as the Binh Long and Snuol Massacres conducted by the Khmer Rouge and ARVN respectively) were contrasted with extraordinary acts of heroism. One such example was exhibited by John Sidney McCain III, the CINC-Pac commander’s son and a USN Skyhawk pilot.

    McCain’s official Medal of Honor Citation:

    The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to McCain, John S. III. Rank and Organization: Commander U.S. Navy, USS Oriskany. Pilot of an A-4 Skyhawk aircraft. Place and Date: Khmer Republic, 9 July, 1970. Entered service at: Annapolis, Maryland. Born: 29 August, 1936, Panama Canal Zone, U.S.
    For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while naval officer and pilot aboard USS Oriskany. Flying nonstop combat sorties in support of American and Allied ground forces in the Khmer Republic Cdr. McCain repeatedly assaulted enemy positions to protect a ground force of the 82nd Airborne Division with the utmost fortitude. On his final run enemy flak damaged his craft, causing him to eject from his disabled aircraft. He successfully evaded capture for more than 2 weeks. During this time, he was seriously injured and suffered from shock and extreme weight loss due to lack of food. After being captured by North Vietnamese soldiers, Cdr. McCain was taken to a holding point for subsequent transfer to a prisoner of war camp with a grievously injured Army Lieutenant already held there. In his emaciated and crippled condition, he overpowered 1 of his guards and crawled into the jungle, dragging the Lt. with him. Bracing him upright with his body despite his grievous injuries, Cdr. McCain evaded enemy patrols for five days until being rescued by a South Vietnamese mechanized company. Cdr. McCain’s valiant leadership and extraordinary courage in a hostile environment sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.


    When an armored column of ARVN forces sliced across just south of the Laotian border in September, finishing the job of cutting off the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the Cambodian jungles that had so sheltered the NVA armies subsequently became their tomb. The following months would find the US/ARVN/KRA/AUS armies mopping up the remaining resistance. Meanwhile, Haig, McCain, and Thieu began planning for the final stage of the war. One that would end the cursed conflict once and for all.
     
  8. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Location:
    Good ol' USA
    By the time the 1970 midterm elections arrived, the spike President Wallace had seen following the assassination of Vice President McNamara had dissipated for the most part. Instead, the Democratic Party faced a public largely alienated against it over a multitude of foreign and domestic concerns. While the nationalist economic programs were broadly popular, suburban professionals that had backed Wallace over law and order issues were turned off by them. The economy did remain sluggish, further hurting the administration. In addition, African-American and youth anger was bolstered after the attempt on Martin Luther King’s life – bolstered by the rising casualty levels in Vietnam.

    Republican leaders, sensing an opportunity to capitalize on the downturn against the Wallace administration. Drafted by what was called the “Oligarchy,” Minority Leader Gerald Ford, Senate Minority Whip J. Caleb Boggs, Conference Chairman Donald Rumsfeld, and Campaign Committee Chairmen Roy Cohn and George Murphy, an argument was made against the “Congressional Cartel” of New Deal stalwarts and Southern Democrats that controlled Congress for all but four years following the Great Depression. Rumsfeld headed the drive, criticizing the Wallace agenda in several widely publicized speeches along with a varied assortment of popular Republicans. Cohn and Murphy traveled across the country to recruit the best and brightest candidates against the vast pool of vulnerable Democrats, an effort more robust than any before it. If any were up to the task, it was those two.
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    After his landslide loss in the special election for Bob Bartlett’s seat earlier in the year, Democrat Mike Gravel was quite bitter. Not at Republicans, who seemed as the natural target, but the national Democrats. Largely a maverick who held many unorthodox positions during his Senate run, it caused many on both wings of the party to sabotage his candidacy, Gravel only able to win his last primary with a plurality against divided opposition.

    The bad blood reached its boiling point when the Speaker of the Alaska House announced his run for the Republican nomination for now-Senator Wally Hickel’s house seat. It shocked many, but the exhausted Alaska GOP – having expended their best candidates over the last four years – largely fell in line behind the maverick Gravel, running on a platform of local issues, libertarian social views, and environmentalism. The Democratic primary was equally sleepy, going to former Governor William Egan.

    Polling initially showed an Egan landslide over Gravel, his party switching seen as a massive negative by many voters. However, the running of a thirty minute documentary on Gravel’s life, Man for Alaska, caused a surge of support for him as he built a brand independent of party. Egan, who had largely been running a front porch campaign till then, scrambled to overcome the narrow Gravel lead two weeks before the election.

    [​IMG]
    The last of the many Republican house gains to be called on November 3rd, Gravel’s political comeback also served as the final nail in the now competitive Alaska Republican Party apparatus – now able to win elections on their own without the advantage of incumbency. Heading to Washington, Gravel would build a reputation as both a lone wolf on many of his pet projects and as a consistent bipartisan wrangler, earning the amity of both the Republican and Democratic leadership.

    Fate would be kind to him in the future.
    ------------------------​

    Numbering in at least the top five of Republican targets in 1970 was Maine. One of the two states not to vote for Franklin Roosevelt in any of his four landslides, the Democrats had finally broken through in 1958 when Edmund Muskie was elected Senator. A popular figure for much of his career alongside his colleague and Maine legend Margaret Chase Smith, Muskie was known for his blunt wit and appeal among youthful voters. Famously in 1966, while speaking about his pet environmental project to preserve the Maine state forests from over-logging, a student shouted, "You have a chance, we don't!" He stopped speaking instantly, looked directly at him, and called for the student to come to the stage to an uproar of applause and gasps.

    By 1970 however, Muskie found himself greatly endangered. Though Wallace had won Maine in 1968, it had been on a 44% plurality with McCarthy gaining double digits. After two years of populist governance, much of the state had further soured on him, only the historically blue collar north remaining behind the President. Muskie was a far better fit, but with the political climate being as it was, he was considered an underdog to historian John Eisenhower, son of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

    Against the national and name-recognition campaign by Eisenhower, Muskie was nonetheless thrown a vital lifeline with the independent bid of Maine Management and Cost Survey Commission Chairman James Longley. A maverick, “Good-Government Democrat,” Longley’s campaign quickly changed the calculus of the race, Muskie exploiting it. Deploying his likability advantage, he ran a hyper-localized campaign against Eisenhower’s nationalized one, treating the election as one of a dozen county executive races rather than one for the Senate. Despite this, most pundits and party officials predicted the General’s son turning Maine ruby red once more.

    [​IMG]
    The pundits were wrong. Scraping by at a 1,055 margin, Muskie rode a wave of populist support in the blue collar north and a strong showing for a Democrat amongst the liberal south to victory. The grousing of many Republicans regarding the Longley bid was mostly accurate though, undoubtedly sucking up a large component of liberals and moderate Republicans that would have likely gone to Eisenhower (especially considering how the Republicans won the governor’s race in a landslide).

    Ambitions kept alive, Muskie’s come from behind victory was a bright light in an otherwise dark election year for the Democratic Party.
    ----------------------​

    Michigan was, all things considered, a state tailor made to elect Wallace-type Democrats. Chock full of working-class whites and whole sections practically owned by the United Auto Workers, in theory they should have been able to out-vote the rather rock-ribbed Republican rural and western regions of the state. This was how former Governor John Swainson was elected to the senate in the Kennedy landslide in spite of being turfed out of office two years previously.

    However, these calculations missed one salient portion of the state: Detroit. The city Republican machine had been established rather intricately by the state’s other Senator and former Mayor Louis Miriani. Majority black, it combined with the outer suburbs of Oakland County to vote a combined two thirds Republican – cancelling out the white working class vote rather well.

    With the backlash against the Wallace Administration hitting firmly among three crucial voting blocs: blacks, suburbanites, and western rural voters, Swainson was likely the underdog against whomever GOPer that would challenge him – at the early stages looking to be either Governor William Milliken or anti-war Congressman Don Riegle. However, the field was instantly cleared by the candidacy of former Governor and 1968 Vice Presidential nominee George W. Romney – one of Murphy’s strongest recruits. Beloved by many swing voters and seen as an indefatigable champion by Detroit’s African-American community for his sweeping laws against housing discrimination (Romney signing the first fair housing law of any state in 1963).

    Originally facing an uphill climb, said climb was looking to be more a mountain for Senator Swainson. And it only became steeper and steeper as the race wore on. Dissatisfaction with the war and the civil unrest of the Wallace Administration (Detroit blacks throwing themselves into Romney’s candidacy after the attempted killing of Dr. King) played its part, but the August revelation that the Senator had engaged in providing state services for campaign contributors while governor and senator effectively ended the campaign before it began.

    [​IMG]
    Swainson would end up losing once again to the man that defeated him for Governor. Romney carried all demographics of the state except the Democratic bases of union households and Spanish-Americans, handing the GOP a Senate seat in a momentous result for them. The multi-millionaire would head to Washington as a well-known member of the Liberty Conservative faction, further bolstering their numbers in the undeclared fight for the soul of the GOP
    ------------------------​

    For many pro-Civil Rights Democrats, the election of George Wallace created a major crisis of political faith. Could they put aside their sincere beliefs and back him regardless that he was the face of the segregationist south? For most it was possible, especially following the President’s major flip-flop on issues of racial prejudice upon his visit to the recuperating Martin Luther King.

    Some couldn’t, however. One of these was actor – recognizable the world over from his roles in epic films such as The Ten Commandments – Charlton Heston. A longtime supporter of Democrats such as Adlai Stevenson and John F. Kennedy, he had made his first break with the Party by endorsing Ronald Reagan in 1966 and George Romney in 1968. Having marched in the 1963 March on Washington, George Wallace was just too much of a pill to swallow, and he switched his party affiliation to the GOP in late 1969.

    It wasn’t long before Heston was courted by Roy Cohn – himself an acquaintance due to Heston’s friendship with actress Elizabeth Taylor, who was rumored to be in a relationship with Cohn – to run for political office. The actor was originally hesitant, but the assassination attempt on King and the riots that followed contributed to his accepting Cohn’s offer. While the Michigan Senate race and congressional district that Heston resided in were already filled with candidates, the actor’s birthplace wasn’t.

    [​IMG]
    The North Shore of Chicago (Evansville, Winnetka, Glencoe, etc.) was the perfect region to emphasize the backlash against Wallace. Having gone for Kennedy in 1964 and split even in 1968 – McCarthy netting double his nationwide percentage – the upper middle class suburbanites deserted the Democrats in droves. Congressman Abner Mikva never stood a chance, especially against both Heston’s celebrity and the immense financial backing Cohn and Rumsfeld (the latter’s district adjacent to the 10th) sent his way.

    Not seeking advancement past the House, Heston saw his position as more of a philanthropic act, giving back to the country that gave him everything. Famous for his six term pledge, he would dutifully retire in 1982, content with his contributions (including the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1979).
    -------------------------​

    Another member of the Democratic Class of 1958, Senator Stephen M. Young was no stranger to a tough race. Having been in and out of office since FDR’s first term, he had dispatched GOP heavyweights John W. Bricker 51-48 in 1958 and Robert M. Taft Jr. 50-49 in 1964 (Taft subsequently being elected in 1968). There was no doubt to his political chops, but as he turned 80 everyone expected that he retire. The state party had two strong candidates lined up in Representative John Gilligan and US Attorney Howard Metzenbaum. Whichever prevailed in the primary would face GOP star recruit Governor Jim Rhodes.

    All of this was for naught when the aging Young declared that he would seek reelection – despite pleas to the contrary from national Democrats. Gilligan backed out, choosing instead to seek reelection while Metzenbaum went ahead with his challenge of Young, the primary growing heated as accusations of disloyalty and lack of experience thrown about. Young would prevail by a modest margin in the end, charging head first to the general election.

    Barely able to defeat Metzenbaum, defeating the popular Rhodes (considered the Governor with the highest approval rating in the nation following George Romney’s retirement to run for President) was a whole different ballgame. The Governor had earned plaudits from across the state for his handling of the anti-war protests and race riots of the past years, holding them accountable while restraining the National Guard to avoid a Watts situation.

    Parallels were drawn to Lyndon Johnson’s final race in 1966, Young’s age substituted Johnson’s fatigue. Rhodes recycled many of Metzenbaum’s attacks, especially to disaffected Kennedy Democrats put off by the bloody primary. Young conceded no ground and was generally untainted by scandal, keeping the race much closer than in Michigan.

    [​IMG]
    Rhodes ended up triumphant in what turned out to be a quite predictable result. Young’s ironroads in traditionally Republican central Ohio couldn’t overcome the GOP margins in the rural west, the Cincinnati metro region, and among African-American voters in Cleveland.
    ------------------------​

    As had much of the mountain west following the 1960 election, the Roosevelt and Truman Democratic coalitions had reasserted themselves in Wyoming – at least downballot. In spite of Barry Goldwater’s modest margin of victory in 1968, he was an exceptionally good fit for the state. The only major statewide office still in GOP hands was that of Senator Milward Simpson. All others had fallen into the hands of the Democratic Party, eagerly building hegemony in the state as they had in neighboring Montana.

    Rebounding from his failed senatorial run in 1958, Gale McGee had been the state’s lone Congressman since 1960, winning the formally GOP despite the national Nixon headwind. He had built up a generally conservative record in Congress for a Democrat, though economically he often voted the same way as other Wallace populists. With the coming of the 1970 midterms, he watched with worried glances as to whom the Republicans would nominate.

    Out of a crowded field, eyebrows were raised at the winner. Coming out on top with a mere 28% of the vote was Vietnam veteran and former Chief of Staff for Donald Rumsfeld, Richard B. “Dick” Cheney. Only 29 years old, Cheney shrugged off attacks on his age by stomping around the state in his pickup truck, proclaiming his working class roots and military service to largely receptive audiences. Rumsfeld ensured national support, many Republican leaders curious to see as if the young Cheney could pull it off.

    [​IMG]
    Despite Senator Teno Roncalio and Governor John Hickey’s landslide reelections against the national tide, McGee fell victim to his youthful challenger by less than a thousand votes. Cheney was by far the perfect embodiment of the national Republican strategy of pushing new blood against the Democrats. The overall trend of Wyoming was still set, but Rumsfeld would welcome his former Chief of Staff as his new House colleague. Such would mark the start of Dick Cheney’s promising career.
    -----------------------​

    As the night progressed, Cohn and Rumsfeld’s hard work paid off. Having gained massively in the last two elections, the 28 seats tumbling into the GOP column were enough to secure them a solid majority in the House. The gains were largely in the northern suburbs and rural swing districts, though a substantial portion came from the Upper South (Republicans netting a majority of congressional districts in Florida, Kentucky, and Tennessee).

    Black voters turning out heavily in the Deep South, Republicans netted small scale gains here and there. Republican Jack Edwards toppled the Democratic incumbent in the Mobile-based AL-01, while Republican Civil Rights hero John Lewis took the black-majority GA-05 – largely on AA backlash. Democrat Lt. Governor James “Jimmy” Carter also benefited from this, taking away the lone Dixiecrat congressman in GA-03, the one-term Jesse Stoner.

    The lone third party representative remained California’s Don Edwards of the Progressive Party, reelected narrowly over a McCloskey Republican even as George Murphy carried the Santa Clara-based district in his successful reelection bid.

    [​IMG]
    Ending sixteen successive years of Democratic control, Gerald Ford had finally achieved his personal dream of being Speaker of the House.

    It became apparent quite early that incumbent Alabama Governor Bill Baxley wasn’t running for reelection. Reaching the office after Governor Wallace was elected President and Lt. Gov James Allen was elected to the Senate, he stated that he instead would seek another term as Attorney General. While done mostly for reasons more related to certain prosecutions he was committed to resolving, one could not discount the for-certain candidacy of Birmingham Mayor Eugene “Bull” Connor that convinced Baxley not to seek a full term.

    A household name in America – more infamous that well-known – Connor was the public face of the far-segregationist wing of the Alabama Democratic Party, as yet undefeated in a statewide primary. Drawing several primary challengers from a wide stripe of Democrats, both Connor and his opponents weren’t worried that he would lose. Popular with all the right groups that were allowed to vote in primaries (Governor Wallace having instituted closed primaries and voter registration by party to prevent African-American Republicans from meddling in Democratic nominations), the populist Mayor sailed to a comfortable 63% win and expected an easy general election.

    However, the Connor opponents cobbled up a last ditched attempt to stop him. Running on the “National Democratic Party of Alabama” line was defeated Wallace opponent and Kennedy Democrat Albert Brewer. Having been humiliated in his primary challenge to the current President, despite all opposition parties throwing their backing behind the NDPA Brewer was not given a serious shot.

    While enthusiasm and the popularity of Connor among the primary electorate not translating to the general electorate so to speak, the real turning point in the race was President Wallace. Approached by the Connor campaign and state Democrats to help put away his former nemesis when he was starting to rise in the polls, Wallace demurred. It was no secret among those that knew him that Wallace disliked Connor, feeling the Mayor was a loose cannon that threatened the moderation on civil rights that he was carefully creating. In a hushed September meeting with Chief of Staff McKeithen and DNC chairman Carmine DeSapio, it was determined that Brewer winning was the best option for the Democratic Party as a whole.

    Subsequently, Brewer received large donations to his campaign from Democratic bigwigs in the north and the west, earning the endorsements of Bobby Kennedy, Sam Yorty, and Jimmy Hoffa.

    [​IMG]
    In the end, massive black turnout combined with a revolt of liberal and moderate whites (mostly upscale, educated urbanites and suburbanites tired of the intense racial battles in the South) to finally give Brewer the political victory he so desired after his blowout 1966 primary loss. Connor’s loss (joined by that of Jesse Stoner’s in Georgia), marked a turning point in the Deep South coinciding with Wallace’s marked shift from the face of segregation to a more reserved figure on the problems of civil rights – not a friend but not as intractable a foe.

    The President and national Democrats of all stripes could still be content. Aside from the concentrated minority-majority regions and certain populations of high-income voters, the Deep South remained a Democratic stronghold.
    --------------------​

    If any incumbent was to face a primary challenger in 1970, it was Eugene McCarthy. Having pissed off practically every Democratic powerbroker with his run as part of the Progressive ticket in 1968, the Senator had begun stocking his warchest since the loss two years earlier. However, no amount of spending could prevent his 59-41 loss in the DFL (Democratic-Farmer Labor, the state affiliate of the national Democratic Party) to one term governor Karl Rolvaag.

    McCarthy wasn’t finished that year, far from it. The opportunity presented itself with the sorry state of the Minnesota Republican Party. Crippled since Hubert Humphrey established the powerful DFL machine in the late fifties, the challenger selected in a primary of relative no names – Businessman Rudy Boschwitz – was considered to have little shot against McCarthy or Rolvaag. The Senator took this opportunity to approach state GOP officials and George Murphy with an intriguing proposal. In what would be consigned to political lore, Boschwitz stepped aside (he would later run for and win a house seat in 1974) and Eugene McCarthy was appointed by the state Republican Committee as the GOP nominee.

    Rolvaag and the DFL made the “ratting” and “sore loser” montras the centerpiece of the campaign, Wallace directing a deluge of out of state spending toward defeating McCarthy. Clean Gene shrugged off the attacks, going on all local radio and television stations (including the now famous “Decisions” ad run for most of September) explaining why he switched parties – how the Democratic Party left people like him and why the GOP was the better choice in the election. Among the Scandinavian cultured Minnesotans, who had overwhelmingly backed their home state senator two years previously, McCarthy’s explanation was increasingly seen as the right one.

    [​IMG]
    Buoyed by his personal popularity and the desire by Republicans and former Progressives to rebuke the Wallace Administration, Eugene McCarthy had pulled off the unthinkable – being reelected on the opposing party’s line. Taking the greater Twin Cities metro and the southern farmland/small towns by large margins, he overcame Rolvaag’s strength in the rural north and working class suburbs of Anoka and St. Cloud. It was said as the great comeback of the Minnesota Republicans, taking the Governorship and the State House of Representatives that year.

    Having been wholly embraced by Republicans during the campaign (especially other moderate/Liberty Conservatives such as Ronald Reagan, Pete McCloskey, George Romney, Roy Cohn, Mark Hatfield, and the Buckleys), McCarthy would be handed the gavel of the Foreign Relations Committee upon his return to the Senate. He would later recount that he felt more at home in his new caucus than he had in his entire second term. While a large liberal element would remain, the defeat and exodus of McCarthy would confirm what was already thought after Wallace’s election: The transformation of the Democratic Party into a liberal populist vessel was practically fait accompli.

    It only needed one last event to make complete, but that was still a decade away.
    --------------------------​

    To Arizona Republicans and Democrats alike, Evan Mecham was like a recurring sore that never truly went away. Equipped with a loyal voter base of Mormons, rural whites, and populist Wallace Democrats, the feisty former Senator had largely set his sights on winning another statewide race in 1970. With Barry Goldwater practically unbeatable sitting in the Class One Senate seat, he announced his run for the Governor’s mansion.

    After an amendment to the state constitution was passed the year before, the governor’s term in office was extended from two to four years. Having replaced Paul Fannin in 1968, Republican Jack Williams was considered a modest favorite over Secretary of State Raul Hector Castro. However, the announcement by Mecham threw the calculus of the race out of the window.

    Castro – deprived of his most logical voter base in rural white populists – was largely sidelined as the Governor and former Senator battled it out for the top prize. Williams called Mecham a “National Embarrassment” that would “Be impeached after only one year, mark my words.” Mecham’s reply was too profane to repeat in most publications. The official campaign statement cited his “Opposition to socialism in all forms, even those disguised as phony ‘conservatism.’”

    A late campaign push to crack down on illegal Mexican migrant workers earned Mecham a last minute surge in support. The issue had been boiling for a while (due to many spilling over the border to escape an economic recession in Mexico), but neither the Republicans nor the Democrats had been willing to address it – the former too concerned with appeasing businesses and cost-conscious suburbanites and Democrats with their Spanish-American base. Mecham, condemning the “Gang of cactus-nigger rapists and job-stealers,” announced to cheering working class whites that he would fight to keep their jobs against the migrants.

    [​IMG]
    Once again Mecham hadn’t cracked forty in a three way race. This time however, his coalition had been large enough to secure him a victory against Williams’ suburban Phoenix/Tucson base and Castro’s coalition of liberals and Spanish-Americans. To those that sighed in relief when Mecham lost two years before felt the peptic ulcers returning with a vengeance. Would the Arizona Rattlesnake (the nickname he was dubbed in the press) fly to a national audience? Many hoped not, but dreaded that it could be true.
    ------------------------------​

    In the Solid South Democratic stronghold, John Tower had made Texas history upon being elected the first Republican Governor since the 1870s in 1966 – joined by Sen George Bush and three Republican congressmen. His initial task was daunting considering that there were only eleven total Republicans in the combined 182 state legislators. Tower navigated it cautiously, wheeling and dealing to push his priorities while siphoning money into the state Republican Party. The efforts worked, a strong reelection for the Governor netting the GOP 42 new legislative seats, giving them a much more substantial minority position against the still dominant Democrats to push his classically liberal economic agenda.

    Democrats were mindful of how the liberal State House member Francis “Sissy” Farenthold lost to Tower two years previously, and subsequently nominated populist conservative Lloyd Bentsen over a crowded field to challenge Tower. Conceding black and high income suburbs, Bentsen hoped his Wallace-style economic programs and socially conservative views would entice rural West Texas and small town East Texas back into the Democratic fold – especially against Tower’s record of rolling back much of the long-standing regulatory policies in place since the turn of the century.

    Having won 58% of the vote in 1968 on his strong cultural conservatism (earning the support from the socially conservative East Texas Democratic Base), Tower hoped to continue this even against the more conservative Bentsen. Then, a Midland DUI arrest of one of his campaign volunteers nearly derailed this. Only twenty-two years old, what would normally have been discredited became state news upon the discovery that the defendant was Senator Bush’s eldest son George W. Bush. Bentsen wisely didn’t push the issue, calling it “Unfortunate,” and that the younger Bush “Seeks treatment for his conduct.” Tower wasn’t culpable in the least, but “W’s” DUI convinced many culturally mindful voters why they were Democrats.

    But was it enough?

    [​IMG]
    The conservative Bentsen performed better than Tower’s liberal 1968 Democratic opponent, but the defections from the liberal wing to the less culturally focused Republicans doomed him. Tower, despite losing much of the gains he had made in East Texas, continued the winning Bush coalition of urban/suburban and West Texas voters. The 1970 election season was a disaster for the Texas Democrats, the GOP gaining four house seats, over forty percent of both houses of the legislature, and Ralph Yarborough’s senate seat with the successful candidacy of Rep. Bruce Alger. Bentsen was not out of the fight though, gearing for a second bite at the apple in 1972.

    With three reelections under his belt and a strong record of implementing conservative economics, John Tower shifted his sights to the Republican Primary race starting to develop.

    ----------------------------​

    It was rumored that President Wallace had shut himself into his Alabama country home, alone as he watched the election returns came in. Selected as a compromise choice to prevent a heated floor fight between the eastern-establishment backed Hugh Scott (R-PA) and conservative/liberty conservative George Murphy (R-CA), veteran Kentucky Senator John Sherman Cooper switched positions with Hubert Humphrey as the red tide swept the East Coast and Upper Midwest.

    [​IMG]
    Two Democratic gains with the open seat of the retiring NY Senator Kenneth Keating (electing Kennedy Deputy Attorney General Ramsay Clark, a noted liberal and anti-Wallace Democrat) and Adlai Stevenson III defeating the appointed incumbent of Everett Dirksen’s seat in IL were cancelled out by six Dem incumbents falling across the nation – in addition to the now Republican McCarthy. Joining Yarborough, Swainson, and Young were Maryland’s Joseph Tydings, Missouri’s John Dalton, and Massachusetts’ Foster Furcolo defeated by Republicans John Glenn Beall, John Danforth, and Silvio Conte respectively.

    The only GOP hold that was remotely competitive was that of the retiring Thomas Kean of New Jersey, retained by Nicholas Brady. Vice President Jackson’s WA seat was held by former governor Albert Rossellini, appointed due to Washington law that the Governor (in this case Republican Dan Evans, had to appoint someone of the same party).

    [​IMG]

    The GOP’s top targets, Bobby Kennedy in New York and Milton Shapp in Pennsylvania, were both reelected – a large margin for the former and a modest one in the latter. All of the GOP class of 1966 (Ronald Reagan, 12% margin; Spiro Agnew, 20% margin; John Volpe, 18% margin; etc.) survived except for Lowell Weicker of Connecticut, defeated by a Democrat in a three way contest featuring a Progressive challenger.

    Republican gains were varied for the most part, securing most of New England and the final targets in the upper Midwest. Aside from Colorado and South Dakota, the Democratic hold on the plains and Rocky Mountain States remained ominous to the GOP, fearful for the large class of senate races up for election in 1972.

    For now, George Wallace and the Democratic Party were set to deal with a GOP congress opposing their hold on the Executive Branch for the first time since Truman in 1946, problematic for the President’s planned pivot to a lasting domestic legacy.

    President George Wallace was facing a GOP Congress, for the first time since the Truman Administration that a Democratic President did so. As documented by Vice President Jackson in his bestselling memoirs (Wallace’s untimely death before penning his leaving it as the most revealing source on the Administration’s inner workings), Wallace was supremely concerned with his legacy. “Determined to do whatever it took to ensure he wasn’t remembered only as the man that stood in the schoolhouse door.”

    As such, much as it pained him, President George Wallace was resigned to work with the newly elected Republican congressional majorities ahead of his reelection campaign.

    Fresh to implement their ideas free of the domineering presence of a Democratic Majority, the seasoned legislators that were Gerald Ford, Bill Brock, John Sherman Cooper, and J. Caleb Boggs nevertheless knew that any legislation would still need to pass “Dixie” (Wallace’s Secret Service Codename) in the Oval Office.

    First on the agenda was a small series of tax cuts. The economy sluggish, many Republicans (especially the Liberty Conservative wing) felt that an easing of the tax burden – expanded during the 91st Congress to include the Alternative Minimum Tax and setting up a firm corporate tax rate – for middle class families and on certain excise goods would stimulate the private sector. The idea had been tried by Governor Ronald Reagan of CA and Roger McBride of VT and on a smaller scale by Governors John Tower of Texas and Bobby Kennedy of NY, and was seen as a success in those cases.

    The tax cuts faced opposition from the Wallace Administration, which decried them as “Breaks for the fatcats” and threatened a veto. Only quick work from Vice President Jackson and Senate Finance Committee Chair Clifford Case prevented a showdown, a bipartisan tax cut passed and signed by the President.

    However, the power of the “Supply-Side” economic theorists was yet to truly form. Most Republicans at the time, led by Congressmen John Anderson of Illinois and Del Latta of Ohio (and Senator George Bush of Texas), were more concerned with the increasing size of the Federal budget deficit. Having been basically nil during the lean Republican Administrations of the 1920s, the deficit would spike after the deficit spending of the New Deal, WWII, and the New Horizons legislation to create a large amount of national debt. Traditionally the party of fiscal responsibility, the GOP was set in the most part to deal with this issue.

    Wallace, largely the biggest spender of all the Presidents since FDR, knew that this issue needed to be resolved as close to his favor as possible. Thusly, he dispatched Vice President Jackson (largely the go to man at this point for negotiating with Congress) and Treasury Secretary John Connally to negotiate with the Republican Leadership. Massive spending cuts were thus deemed impossible, ditched in favor of smaller cuts and the issuance of special budget caps and the concept of a “debt ceiling,” in addition to creating institutional budget organizations solely for Congress’ use.

    [​IMG]
    The budget deficit would continue to exist (the national debt increasing considerably as all the Wallace-era entitlements were fully implemented). However, budget hawks such as Latta, Jack Kemp (a freshman congressman at the time), and Senator Ernest Hollings would later state that it both stemmed out of control spending to more manageable levels. Establishing the CBO and permanent budget committees in both the House and Senate would help dramatically in that regard.

    Further compromise legislation would tumble out of Congress to be signed by the President. Most were well received, such as the Organized Crime Control Act, a bill establishing the Environmental Protection Agency (due to several high profile environmental disasters), the Endangered Species Act, consumer safety legislation, and the Nuclear Energy Act.
    --------------------------​

    Few people would become as associated with the Wallace Administration’s domestic policy as Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Graduating with a distinguished academic record from such higher education establishments like the London School of Economics and Tufts University, his first stint in politics came from serving on the staff of New York Governor Averell Harriman. Following Harriman’s loss to Nelson Rockefeller in 1958, he served as a delegate and domestic policy advisor for John F. Kennedy’s Presidential run in 1960 before being tapped by Malcolm Wilson (Rockefeller’s successor) to advise a program for governmental assistance in the state – such subordinates of Moynihan’s included Paul Barton, Ellen Broderick, and Ralph Nader.

    Kennedy would rehire Moynihan upon his inauguration in 1965, creating the position of Domestic Affairs Advisor to utilize the same skills that formed the bedrock of NY’s welfare system (reformed and expanded when Bobby Kennedy became governor). While both sought a broad program of federal welfare to combat poverty, Moynihan and Kennedy would often clash about specifics, the former disagreeing with some of the latter’s “New Horizon’s” policies – believing many would only hurt and not help. When George Wallace was elected, he saw someone that he could see eye to eye at least on this issue. He appointed the liberal Moynihan as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, one of the most coveted and powerful positions in the cabinet due to the rapid expansion of new entitlement programs.

    Tasked with finishing the implementation of Medicare and other Kennedy-era entitlement programs, despite campaign promises Wallace made Moynihan wasn’t able to put many of his proposals into law for Congress due to the more pressing concerns about the economy, defense reorganization, and the Tet Offensive sucking up most of the Administration’s time and capital. However, as stated in his 1967 book The Negro Family: The Case For National Action (also known the Moynihan Report), he had begun devising a comprehensive strategy for a single welfare program to supplant most of the other hodgepodge programs currently in place.

    [​IMG]
    Attacked by many on the right and left for its scope and “blaming the victim” mentality used by some liberals and civil rights leaders, the Moynihan Report found a champion in George Wallace, who believed the more controversial aspects it addressed regarding the black family would actually help it sway undecided Southern Democrats normally loathe to help the traditional Republican voting bloc.

    One of the main concepts in the Moynihan Report that Wallace adopted as his own was the idea of Basic Income. Broken down, it was the assurance that every citizen was in possession of a minimum income for general sustenance, guaranteed by the Government in the same manner as Social Security. Insisting on the addition of certain criteria to early draft proposals, Moynihan began in 1970 to work with Democrats Wilbur Mills and William Proxmire, along with Republican George Aiken to draft a piece of legislation based on his report.

    Unfortunately for the Wallace Administration, the 1970 midterms occurred before Moynihan and Democratic legislators could write and pass a working plan. Thusly, any bill would need the support of Republican leadership for it to become law. Most Democrats were generally glum about the bill’s chances, but Moynihan wasn’t deterred. After talking with moderate Rs Donald Rumsfeld (the new Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee) and Eugene McCarthy, both agreed to serve as liaison with Republican leaders Cooper and Ford.

    The talks dragged on for nearly two months. Conservative, Goldwater Republicans refused to budge, citing the Buckley example in New York City – direct grants to private organizations to provide local welfare – as the proper way of doing things. Cooper and Ford, long-serving legislators and moderate pragmatists, weren’t as uncompromising. Seeing this as a wedge issue that could be used against Republicans in the 1972 elections, Republican negotiators presented a series of demands to any final bill: strict means testing, work requirements, the removal of any and all language that could possibly penalize mother-father households (Moynihan had already insisted on this beforehand), and a requirement that a person be either a citizen or have permanent residency/worked in the US for a period of ten years – changing the plan from one of basic income to one of Guaranteed Minimum Income.

    After deliberating on the proposals over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, George Wallace accepted.

    [​IMG]
    Introduced to the House by Roy Cohn – the lead Republican negotiator, who would be given immense credit for the final bill – the Poverty Relief and Work Ethic Empowerment Act passed with overwhelming margins. The final version was only opposed by conservatives and those on the far-left (such as Ramsay Clark and Don Edwards) felt it didn’t go far enough. Scheduled for implementation after two years, the Guaranteed Minimum Income became the law of the land. Nearly a dozen separate welfare programs (dating as far back as FDR’s Presidency) were consolidated in the single GMI program, a smiling President Wallace signing one of his most significant legislative achievements.

    Leaving the Federal Government following the end of Wallace’s second term, Moynihan would bounce around several academic positions before being appointed as the President of Harvard University, a position he would hold for two decades. He would retire in 2001, passing away two years later.
    ------------------------​

    Even Wallace’s desire to ensure a non-confrontational relationship with Ford and Cooper couldn’t mediate certain disagreements. Especially in the latter third of 1971 and first half of 1972, the President dusted off his veto pen quite often against the flurry of Republican legislation leaving congress. Further attempts at tax and budget cuts were immediately vetoed. Congressional mandates on school desegregation were also vetoed, as were any attempt to repeal the tariffs of the 91st Congress.

    Anti-war congressmen having been elected in droves during the midterms (including Ron Dellums of California, the sole African-American Democrat in congress), there wasn’t a doubt that legislation curbing Wallace’s ruthless prosecution of the war effort would be introduced. Being hawks themselves, the Republican leadership joined with the majority of Democrats to block the most radical attempts from reaching a vote – including one to strip all funding for it. Binding resolutions condemning the war passed the house but was filibustered in the senate, while the War Powers Act – an attempt to restrict the President’s authority – was vetoed by Wallace.

    The most contentious legislation of the 92nd Congress were the ones subject to successful veto overrides. A veto for a bill pushing for campaign finance limits was overridden by the skin of its teeth, joined with another to establish the Equal Opportunity Commission to fight discrimination. After a series of Postal strikes, Wallace heeded union efforts to prevent the partial privatization of the Postal Department with his veto, but Republicans joined with Democrats to override it.

    Tension regarding non-discrimination laws weren’t focused solely on race. With the counterculture and the Second Feminist Movement going strong, immense pressure was on the federal government to address sex discrimination as well. An influential bipartisan group headed by Republican Margaret Chase Smith and Democrat Birch Bayh subsequently introduced the Education Non-Discrimination Act. It basically banned discrimination by gender in federally funded educational establishments.

    Wallace heeded the opposition by several anti-feminist groups – largely coalescing around the Traditional Rights League of activist Phyllis Schlafly – and announced he would veto the measure if it reached his desk, largely over concerns about the bill’s unforeseen effects (such as the banning of men-only football teams). Republican House cosponsors Robert Stafford and Shirley Temple Black drafted an amended bill exempting activities such as these, and the bill moved forward for considerations.

    The hearings were contentious, the low roar of outside demonstrators being heard from within the Capitol Building. Anti-bill protestors shouted down Betty Freidan on more than one occasion, while activists hurled eggs at Schlafly and anti-bill commentator George Lincoln Rockwell during a Senate hearing.

    [​IMG]
    In what had to be the most infamous veto override of the 92nd Congress, a vast majority of Republicans joined with extensive Democratic support (including both Humphrey and Udall) voted the Education Non-Discrimination Act into law over Wallace’s objections. Smith and Bayh, flanked by members of both parties, hailed the vote – as did feminist groups across America, though a minority of them decried it as not nearly enough. While Wallace demurred from commenting, Schlafly released a statement decrying the bill and reaffirming her campaign to prevent the broader Equal Rights Amendment currently being considered from being voted on or ratified.

    After the passage of Smith-Bayh, most legislative activity petered out. Nothing but rather mundane matters would be considered as the Presidential campaign season truly began.

    Reforms to the Presidential selection process had been discussed for decades, but they didn’t truly begin to matter until the chaos that was the Democratic National Convention of 1968. Wallace’s successful challenge of Kennedy proved a major push for change, along with the Progressive split that nearly delivered the election to Barry Goldwater. Unless the Party of the People could be seen as truly of the people, then they would be vulnerable.

    Thusly, Democratic National Committee Chairman Gov. Jimmy Hoffa – newly appointed after the 1970 midterm disaster – greenlit a nomination commission to hammer out a solution. The GOP, not wanting the Democrats to out democratize them, accepted the invitation to join. It would be chaired by two members from each party, the Democrats choosing former CA Governor Pat Brown while Republicans – widely considered the RNC’s move to needle the Democrats – selected Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota.

    After three months of deliberation, the committee released its findings in May 1971, most of which were adopted by both parties for a 50-state primary system to serve as a selector for delegates in the nomination process. Reflecting its natural status, New Hampshire was granted an early date. Other states drew their primaries by lot. The winner for the first slot in 1972, coordinated by both parties, was Minnesota.

    What was initially an exhaustive list of candidates and potential candidates had narrowed significantly in the year since the 1970 midterms. GOP heavyweights Ronald Reagan and George Romney immediately bowed out, and the remainder split down the middle. By the time the New Year arrived there were six running:

    · Governor John Tower of Texas

    · Representative Roy M. Cohn of New York

    · Senator Peter Dominick of Colorado

    · Senator Pete McCloskey of California

    · Governor John Volpe of Massachusetts

    · Senator Louie B. Nunn of Kentucky.

    Coalitions behind the candidates hardened quickly, though strategies to deal with the new system of primaries themselves proved… chaotic to say the least. Many of the experienced campaign teams focused on the convention itself, hoping to build solid support from blocks of delegates to utilize in the case of a contested convention. Thusly, many regions of the nation developed into battleground between pairs or trios of candidates.

    Minnesota was such a state, and being first meant a lot of attention was drawn its way. The Goldwater conservative choice, Governor Tower was the early favorite among the GOP base of suburbanites around the Twin Cities, hoping to run well in the Upper Midwest and catapult that into barnstorming the South. Senator Peter Dominick also emerged as a strong early contender, winning endorsements from the state’s rural representatives. Most others chose to campaign elsewhere.

    The wild card, however, was Pete McCloskey. The California GOP establishment of Governor Ronald Reagan, Senator George Murphy, and Rep. Augustus Hawkins was fully behind him, allowing the Senator to nab veteran campaign operative John Sears to manage the operation. Meeting with the candidate, Sears charted a new strategy focused on building momentum that would result in “A domino effect that would topple one state after the other,” as he later recalled to the press. Key to this would be winning Minnesota, so McCloskey concentrated his efforts there.

    Deploying Congressman Clark McGregor and the rhetorical heavyweight Ronald Reagan on the stump, McCloskey furiously targeted both Tower and Dominick voters to add to the moderates already on his side. Famously liberal for a Republican, he shifted without shifting, doubling down on liberty conservatism while positioning himself as a reformer. His increasing chances were crystalized when MN GOP saint Eugene McCarthy endorsed him, praising McCloskey as a fighter for the cause of peace and liberty. The California Senator coined in the same event the term “Projectionism,” when discussing how he would focus on peace while also keeping the country safe. Primary voters would soon hear much more about this, a plan that would reshape the foreign policy of the GOP.

    By the time Tower and Dominick realized McCloskey’s surge, it was too late.

    [​IMG]
    When the results were tabulated and the Associated Press made its call, the political world were stunned. Sure, the signs had pointed to McCloskey rocketing into contention in the first primary state, but for him to win by over seven points over Tower was never seriously considered. The Californian’s charismatic campaign, a less hawkish foreign policy, and classical liberalism resonated with the McCarthyite Republicans and liberty conservatives in the south of the state and in the urban centers to pull off an upset over Tower.

    Dominick, banking on rural appeal, dramatically underperformed as McCloskey pulled much of his constituency. His campaign was effectively hamstringed out of the starting gate. Cohn and Nunn campaigned there sparingly, moving to make a showing but focusing elsewhere,

    Governor Volpe never seriously contested MN, garnering barely two percent of the vote. His efforts, instead, were concentrated on New Hampshire – his backyard.

    No one had considered Minnesota to have much of an impact, so when it did the political class paid attention. McCloskey’s win effectively setting him up as a frontrunner, Minnesota Republicans pushed for their state to hold a permanent position as first in the nation along with New Hampshire. The RNC (joined later by the DNC) not disagreeing, the committees would rule in time for the 1976 election to grant MN first in the nation status.

    From the start, New Hampshire looked to be the battleground between Northeasterners John Volpe and Roy Cohn. Each started off with a solid base, Volpe among the traditional “Yankee Republican” moderates that dominated the region as a whole – embodied by past Republicans such as Henry Cabot Lodge, Dwight Eisenhower, Thomas Dewey, and Nelson Rockefeller. Cohn meanwhile was the darling of the more conservative voters in the southern cities such as Manchester and Nashua. Campaigning on a moderate conservative message with a dash of populism, along with the skillful use of his photogenic and eminently popular wife Elizabeth Taylor, Cohn consistently ran neck-and-neck with the more or less favorite son Volpe. The others were basic non-factors, state conservatives lining up behind Tower for the most part.

    McCloskey’s surprise win in Minnesota upset the entire dynamic. Having previously only really earned the support of wayward Republicans and Independents that had voted for Eugene McCarthy in 1968, his victory ten days before galvanized serious momentum into his candidacy as voters began to seriously take a closer look. Nunn and Dominick being irrelevant at this point, McCloskey’s rise came to the detriment of Cohn and Tower, moderate conservatives and liberty conservatives starting to coalesce around the California Senator. Volpe suffered as well, but the conventional wisdom maintained his possession of a commanding lead.

    [​IMG]
    The result was tighter than expected, Cohn proving to have remarkable resilience (dubbed the ‘Taylor Factor’ due to the popularity of the candidate’s wife) in the face of the McCloskey surge. However, what should have been contention for the top turning into a rather underwhelming second place largely stole the wind out of Cohn’s sails. McCloskey had largely eclipsed the momentum, thrust into contention for the office after being written as an afterthought and practical Progressive beforehand.

    Tower was largely unhurt since this wasn’t his region, and it was determined that he, Volpe, and McCloskey were the favorites going into the remaining primaries.

    On the Democratic side, the appointment of Robert Kennedy to the Supreme Court and the failure of any prominent liberal to realistically form an apparatus sealed President George Wallace’s status within his party. Buoyed by his legislative achievements, he cruised to success with 81.03% in MN and 88.76% in NH against former Secretary of Public Works Adam Clayton Powell (one of the few significant African Americans in the Democratic Party) and former Dixiecrat Congressman J. B. Stoner.
     
  9. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Location:
    Good ol' USA
    Elected with the largest percentage of any California governor post-1946 (a record he still holds to this day), Ronald Reagan had swept in GOP majorities to both houses of the state legislature. The power of Democratic machine politicians such as Bob Moretti and Jesse “Big Daddy” Unruh, were severely weakened, providing the charismatic actor-turned-politician the means to exercise his mandate.

    The first legislation to his desk was a measure by Republican state legislators to reform the National Guard (in response to the Watts Riots) which he gladly signed. However, the next crisis was not as simple. A massive deficit in the state budget being left over from the last years of the Brown administration, Reagan was faced with an impossible dilemma. Republicans pushed for a massive series of spending cuts to balance the budget, while Democrats joined with some moderate and African-American Rs to pass a bill that increased taxes to make up the shortfall – a bill that Reagan promptly vetoed. Loathing any tax hike, the governor nevertheless saw the intense opposition to many of the proposed cuts from his inner city black constituency. Convening Senate and Assembly leaders to the Governor’s mansion, Reagan used his negotiating prowess learned as President of the Screen Actors Guild to wrangle a compromise bill, a mix of spending cuts and “revenue projects” distributed to where they would cause the least harm. The measure passed, and the budget was balanced.

    These early doldrums were replaced with massive successes, Reagan successful in passing anti-housing discrimination ordinances, a government cost-cutting commission, judicial reform, and a series of tax cuts to stimulate the moribund economy (Reagan one of the first executives to implement what was called “Supply-side economics” by economist Milton Friedman). While initially hampered by Democrats retaking the state senate – under the master of parliamentary procedure Majority Leader Bob Moretti – Reagan managed to negotiate a series of tax rebates by applying pressure on vulnerable legislators with their constituents. Free of scandals and the economy picking up, Reagan’s popularity skyrocketed.

    Judging the popular Reagan was unbeatable, the dominant Yorty faction of the Democratic Party declined to seriously challenge the incumbent, seeking instead to focus on securing downballot offices (Sam Yorty himself solidifying his control of Los Angeles in preparation for a gubernatorial run four years later). Thus, the lone serious name in a collection of “some dudes” and regional candidates in the Democratic primary was liberal former US Senator Alan Cranston, who won in a landslide. On the GOP side Reagan overcame Bill Shearer in a similar landslide. The election was largely the last gasp of the liberal wing of the CA Democrats, Cranston running on a Brownite platform while Reagan banked on his record and popularity.

    [​IMG]
    Ironically, Cranston’s best regions weren’t the more liberal areas (losing San Francisco to Reagan, which Brown had won four years earlier), but rather the “Yorty Belt” of populist northerners, Sacramento-area government employees, and Central Valley Spanish-Americans and cultural conservatives. Coupled with Reagan’s strength among the base of his 1966 race, the 1968 McCloskey-Unruh coalitions had largely set.

    Yorty Democrats won two statewide offices however, and liberal Democrat Edmund “Jerry” Brown (Pat Brown’s son) took the position of Secretary of State. Still, Reagan, Lt. Governor Robert Finch, and Assembly Speaker Carlos Moorhead possessed the initiative going into 1971.

    Reagan’s second term was dominated by three issues: education, taxes, and welfare. The growing counterculture movement earned a formidable opponent in Ronald Reagan. While other hated enemies such as George Wallace, Henry M. Jackson, and Spiro Agnew, Reagan confounded many moderate radicals by being just too likable. Answering anti-war jabs with good natured yet biting quips, he insisted on reaching out to the disaffected youth rather than simply condemn them, earning many plaudits – however grudgingly. It was here his friendship with Bobby Kennedy paid dividends.

    He was strict when he had to be though, moving in to sack UC President Clark Kerr for waffling on cracking down on the campus riots (replacing him with San Francisco State President S.I. Hayakawa). When an anti-war protest erupted into civil unrest in 1967, he called in the National Guard to restore order, Hayakawa standing firm against the student demands. Such measures were contrasted with further education funding, Reagan signing legislation to improve academic standards and create a statewide scholarship program boosted by private funds (a program especially popular with African American students.

    On taxes, the successful Proposition 1 to impose tax limitations passed with a hefty eleven point margin, and on welfare Reagan’s battles with President Wallace over the funding were legendary. Establishing a Buckleyite state system (a basic safety net with significant grants to private welfare groups), he often fought with the Wallace Administration for more leeway to tailor the federal grants to suit California’s specific needs.

    These fights would spur the governor on rather than wear him down, and as his second term ended Reagan set his eyes on a far larger prize.
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    When Kansas Governor Robert Docking was elevated to a cabinet position with the Wallace Administration, the Governorship of the traditional GOP plains stronghold was Lt. Governor William Roy. A practicing doctor in Topeka for nearly two decades and a Democratic party activist, he had won the normally meaningless office on the strength of Docking’s performance, the Governor ensuring his nomination in order to placate the state’s liberals.

    Largely considered a placeholder by the state establishment of both parties, it was shocking when Roy ran for and won the Democratic nomination. The GOP was pleased, thinking him easy pickings for their nominee, Nancy Landon (daughter of former Governor Alf Landon).

    [​IMG]
    Once again Roy shocked the state establishment, topping Landon by a modest margin. Nominally a liberal, he utilized the popularity of President Wallace in the traditionally Republican state and his record of continuing Docking’s populist policies (which would dominate his second term agenda as well) that had great approval in the rural regions. Such was the beginning of a fundamental transformation underway in the nation’s breadbasket.

    While this would make William Roy’s name, his signature legislation would ensure his place in the history books. The issue of the legalization of abortion had been bubbling up in the national consciousness as the culturally liberal wing of the national discourse began gaining power. Boosted greatly by determinations such as the sexual revolution and the invention of the oral contraceptive pill, a powerful lobby soon pressured many state legislatures across the country to address legalization.

    The going was very slow initially, the most expansive bills being the New York and California laws (legalizing abortion for cases of rape, incest, and danger to the mother’s life) signed by Governor’s Malcolm Wilson and Ronald Reagan. Measures for further legalization were blocked, the alliance of conservatives and cultural populists generally united. Many proponents of legalization began to push for a judicial remedy to the deadlock.

    William Roy wasn’t among them. A longtime proponent of abortion legalization, he felt that legislation was the best means to do so, and vowed in his 1971 state of the state address to do so. While most considered it unfeasible, Kansas possessed a particular quirk that Roy – and Docking before him – used to their advantage. The state possessed a large faction of moderate Republicans of the Rockefeller vintage, often joining with the state’s Democrats to pass watered down New Deal-type legislation. With both GOP majority leadership in the legislature being these moderates, Roy went to work negotiating a legalization bill.

    After nearly a month, the final product – the first of its kind in the nation – would be unveiled for Topeka to vote on. Abortions would be legalized for cases of rape, incest, and danger to the mother’s life, as well as for the first and second trimesters (remaining illegal for the third trimester). Abortion clinics would be heavily regulated to ensure for safety, and parental consent for minors was included on the insistence of the GOP negotiators. Put to a vote, the conservative coalition voting against, the bill nevertheless was signed by Governor Roy in a nationally reported ceremony in April of 1971, earning him liberal plaudits and a denunciation from the Catholic Church, conservative groups, and President Wallace.

    Over a dozen states would soon pass what was called “Roy’s Law,” while the judicial efforts continued to their ultimate conclusion.
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    When Spiro “Ted” Agnew first ran for Baltimore County Executive, Maryland had been a Democratic stronghold since the beginning of the Republican Party, dominated by the same southerners and labor populists that governed the Border States. Agnew overcame that to be elected to the position even with Maryland Republicans losing nearly all the other major races that year. Initially an abrasive official that “Smelled of Corruption” according to later FBI probes, not a year into office he was wounded by Lee Harvey Oswald in the same venue where President Nixon died – friends of Agnew’s would describe him a “changed man” as a result.

    The newly humbled Agnew blazed a conservative and pro-civil rights record, smoothening the county finances and banning public discrimination ordinances. Becoming famous in the state for this, former Senator John Butler recruited him to run for Governor. Riding a disastrous split between the urban liberals allied with Senator Joseph Tydings and rural populists allied with Senator George Mahoney, Agnew collected suburban professionals, central farmers, and African-American support to win with 46.2% of the vote.

    Agnew would surprisingly work well with the Democratic controlled legislature, joining with liberal Democrats to push for civil rights and anti-corruption laws while joining with conservative Democrats for culturally conservative bills and economic reforms. Early victories for Agnew’s African-American supporters included a massive open housing law, the establishment of an affirmative-hiring program for state services, and the repeal of the anti-miscegenation law. He championed middle-class tax cuts and economic programs to lower the cost of living and expand infrastructure for the rapidly growing suburbs. These would turn the Maryland economy around, Agnew’s approval rating spiking to 70%.

    The FBI would launch several corruption investigations into Agnew, but fail to find any evidence against him. The Governor would add the passage of strict anti-corruption laws to his list of accomplishments with the Democratic legislature, him getting along well with the majority leadership despite his reputation as a partisan.

    With these accomplishments under his belt, Agnew was considered the overwhelming favorite for reelection against the Democratic nominee, Congressman Daniel Brewster. Brewster was a strong candidate, but Maryland was a different state from the one that the Democrats had dominated. The growth in the Washington-Baltimore metro area (ironically, due to a massive spike in government jobs by the expansion of the Federal Government under Kennedy and Wallace) and the voting rates of the formerly moribund African-American block – Prince George’s County hosting one of the largest populations of middle class blacks in the nation – doomed Brewster before the campaign had even begun. Agnew’s likely victory was sealed after his crackdown on rioters during the Days of Rage, comments he made to Civil Rights leaders about purging racists within their ranks echoed by the recovering Martin Luther King.

    [​IMG]
    While diehard liberals and the old Dixie Democrats stayed loyal to the party of the people, the central metropolitan “BosWash” belt delivered Agnew a landslide victory, winning regions as different as Chevy Chase, Baltimore City, and Frederick. It netted the GOP both houses of the state legislature as well, expanding Agnew’s political clout.

    While sporting the civil-rights profile of a Liberty Conservative, Agnew had the remaining profile of an arch, noncompromising conservative – in the words of William F. Buckley, “The policies of Barry Goldwater, the style of Evan Mecham, and tactics of George Wallace.” Famous for his speeches, constantly denouncing federal politicians he disliked as “Dithering nabobs” and "Hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history," they were composed by future political stars Pat Buchanan and William Safire.

    In Maryland however, Agnew routinely posted approval ratings normally found in South American authoritarian republics. Blacks loved him for dismantling the segregationist institutions, suburbanites loved policies that lowered the cost of living, and the normally Democratic Dixie voters in the south and Eastern Shore supported his cultural conservatism. Once a reliable Democratic state, George Mahoney would later remark how it had become “That bastard Agnew’s personal fiefdom.”
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    Robert Francis Kennedy’s election wasn’t as big an ideological change that one would have expected, considering both previous Governors had been Malcolm Wilson and Nelson Rockefeller. However, unlike the bombastic patrician Rockefeller and the staid Wilson, Kennedy was the polar opposite in style. Called the “Democratic Reagan” (Reagan would often call himself the “Republican Bobby” during press conferences where the two would appear; having both been elected in 1966, the two made an unlikely duo of best friends), the younger Kennedy’s charisma and youth made him a darling of both the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and the less radical young Americans.

    Largely continuing and expanding the Rockefeller/Wilson agenda of increased social programs – often bringing him in conflict with the conservative mayoralty of William F. Buckley in NYC – Kennedy’s biggest goals proved perfect examples of the term “Dream big.” In the state that gave birth to Tammany Hall and was still controlled by machine politics, anti-corruption legislation and cooperation between Kennedy and Republican Attorney General Louis K. Lefkowitz made the Governor many enemies in Albany, bolstered once several members of the state legislature found themselves in handcuffs under the new laws. On issues of racial integration the Governor and the Mayor found themselves in agreement, New York instituting a housing subsidy legislation and tightened anti-bigotry positions for state agencies.

    On social issues Kennedy succeeded in many respects, including decriminalizing homosexuality, expanding the state’s compulsory rehabilitation program for drug offenses, and prison reform after the Attica Prison Riot in 1971, an event that drew national attention. However, Republicans and populist Democrats balked and defeated attempts to expand abortion access (New York’s law already the most liberal in the nation before Kansas passed Roy’s Law) and abolish the death penalty.

    After his decisive reelection win over former Lt. Governor Charles Goodell – a member of the Rockefeller/Keating wing – many of both parties began considering Kennedy as a potential challenger to President George Wallace in the Democratic primaries, them being expanded nationwide in reforms to both parties for the 1972 election. No one was more invested in this line of thinking than Wallace himself, Kennedy miles ahead of the smattering of left-wing opponents and diehard segregationists that were likely to challenge the President. While Democrats were largely united, rumblings of the Kennedy wing indicated that they still had bad blood with Wallace, and Bobby being the one candidate that could marshal them in a successful challenge.

    In a hushed meeting between Wallace, Chief of Staff John McKiethen, and Campaign Manager Gary Hart, it was determined that a RFK 72 bid had to be eliminated as a possibility in the face of a strong GOP challenge. The means arrived when Eisenhower-appointed Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan suddenly died just after Christmas, 1971, leaving a vacancy on the Supreme Court.

    When feelers from the White House began reaching Albany regarding a possible appointment, Kennedy initially rejected them – his intention to not challenge Wallace but to remain Governor for at least one more term. However, over the next few days he was convinced by both his wife Ethel and his brother John, both advising him to take the less stressful lifetime appointment over the rigors of a longer political life (the prematurely aged JFK being particularly persuasive). Thusly, in mid-January Wallace announced his nomination of Robert Francis Kennedy for Harlan’s seat on the Supreme Court.

    A coalition of conservative Rs and Southern Ds joined to oppose the nomination while the Democratic leadership pushed in favor. Majority Leader Cooper and Whip Boggs were convinced that despite Kennedy’s liberalism, the payoffs by not making judicial appointments partisan fights and removing RFK from the political sphere outweighed the drawbacks. Thusly, the confirmation sailed through with a 68-30 vote in favor. Kennedy would enter the court as part of its liberal wing (joining William Brennen and Thurgood Marshall).

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    While most insiders did see Bobby’s nomination for what it was, it did accomplish what Wallace wished it to. What started with Scoop Jackson becoming VP ended with the Kennedy’s confirmation. The rift that had existed since Wallace’s challenge and defeat of JFK between him and the liberal wing of the Democratic Party had largely been healed. Quite haphazardly, but healed nonetheless.
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    Extreme upheaval was the order of the day as the new decade dawned on the African continent. War raged across nation after nation, governments toppling multiple times in many cases (the worst hit was Libya, which after the fall of the monarchy in 1967 endured five separate military and civilian governments before a Soviet-backed army triumvirate of Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr, Muammar al-Gaddafi, and Abdullah Senussi seized power in 1978). Anti-colonial conflicts and national liberation movements continued unabated in many former colonies. United Nations statistics by 1971 stated the only legitimately stable regions were the UAR, French Algeria, portions of South Africa, Haile Selassie’s Ethiopia – until a communist coup would topple the government in 1975 – and Portuguese Angola.

    The constant fighting that pitted colonial powers against natives, proxies of the west against those of the USSR, nearly tore apart the African continent in famine. Combined with a series of dry years in the Sahel, the agricultural output of the 1971-1974 harvests collapsed. Countries with even a semblance of stability such as Mobutu’s Zaire and Idi Amin’s Uganda weathered the storm – harshly and with strain on their economies but without mass starvation – but others had to declare martial law in many instances to prevent food riots. The Communist government of Zambia was especially notorious for this, the famine claiming a hundred thousand souls before a combination of Chinese aid and appropriation of cash crop plots stabilized things.

    Recovering from the devastation of the Biafran War for Independence, Nigeria had the worst of it. The famines hit especially hard, crop yield collapsing to a fourth of the previous year in 1971. The political situation was arguably the worst. With aid from the west (mainly Britain) focused on rebuilding the Commonwealth state of Biafra, Nigeria was dependent from its own sources, what little aid the UAR could provide, and buying food on the open market. Stocks of hard currency depleted from the war, the loss of Biafra had devastated the economy.

    Over two million would perish in the final tally, the central government in Abuja finding itself unable to properly police the country after its military defeat. The unraveling of the nation was crystalized in AP correspondent Horst Faas’ Pulitzer-winning photograph Carrion, showing a Nigerian child dead from starvation, a vulture in the background waiting to feast on the corpse. Attempts for a negotiated trade settlement with the French Community (Secretary of State Richard Helms and Foreign Secretary William Whitelaw refusing to negotiate unless it cut off ties with the UAR and USSR) collapsed when the still vindictive central government blocked any conciliation with the west.

    This proved to be the final straw amongst several junior officers in the Nigerian military. Establishing connections with Semichastny’s USSR through the underground Nigerian Communist Party, the officers gained control of several military commands outside the capitol to finally end the mess that had descended on the country.

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    The coup lasted five days, the capitol subjected to intense firefights between loyalist military forces and rebels (mutinied units and communist fighters armed with Soviet weaponry smuggled from the Democratic Social Republic of Cameroon). Half the city ended up leveled before the rebels stormed the presidential palace, executing President Gowon and installing NCP General Secretary Tunji Otegbeye as head of state.

    Weakened by famine, the rest of the government and military quickly fell in line behind the new communist central government after Otegbeye promised general amnesty for all. In the first action by the communists, the country’s agriculture was nationalized. Forced labor and the conversion of every plot of arable land into food crops (yams, wheat, corn, and barley) and pastureland combined with a massive spike in Soviet aid to end the famine by the time the bountiful harvest of 1975.

    Receiving bags of grain stenciled with the hammer and sickle completely changed the public opinion of the Nigerian people. Communism was in, having fed their bellies. Nigeria was now a firm ally of the Soviet Union.

    Nigeria was simply the most visible tip of the iceberg of Communist regimes taking over across Africa: Zambia, Liberia, Somalia, Ethiopia, Congo-Brazzaville, Cameroon, and the Sudan. With both the British Commonwealth and French Community closing ranks around themselves, independent rightist governments in Sub-Saharan Africa would be forced to do the same.
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    When health problems forced Jawaharlal Nehru to resign as Prime Minister in 1959 (he would go on to serve as UN Secretary General until his death), his institution of socialist mixed economics, agrarian reform, abolition of the caste system, and a nonaligned foreign policy had paid dividends for India. Once a largely poor colony, it had rapidly industrialized into a regional power. However, this goodwill was squandered in a mid-level economic stagnation as the ruling Indian National Congress began to bicker amongst itself, minister after minister sacked to fill the void left by Nehru.

    As a result, the INC (which had ruled India since Independence) was defeated by the center-right Bharatiya Jana Sangh and its coalition of regional and rightist parties. INC defector Jayaprakesh Narayan was elevated to Panchavati, immediately instituting policies of privatization of state industries and lowering of trade barriers to rejuvenate the economy. While these proved successful and popular, his policy of détente with Pakistan – the regional foe of India since Independence – in order to lower religious tensions overall spelled doom for his government when Karachi began undertaking harsh measures to suppress Bengali independence forces.

    The peaceful détente between the two nations was shattered by the newly elected government of Lal Bahadur Shastri. Defeating Narayan and the BJS to elevate the INC back to power after five years in the minority, a large component of that win had been a promise to take a larger stand on Pakistani aggression in Kashmir and East Bengal. This determination, along with the boastful confidence of the Indian Military, lead to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1967 – and effective disaster. Military setbacks and the unexpected entrance of Pahlavi Iran on the Pakistani side was a political disaster for the INC, Shastri taking much of the flak.

    After the Treaty of Kabul was finalized, India was left with the worst of both worlds. Having entered with a promise to “liberate” East Pakistan from the Karachi’s control, the Indian annexation only led to riots and civil unrest among the unruly – overwhelmingly Muslim populace – as reality set in that one occupier had been traded for another. With this “gain,” both Kashmir and Gujarat had been torn away from the weight of the Pakistani/Iranian juggernaut. Anger against the Shastri Government had reached an all-time high, and many within the INC leadership was worried that a military Junta or rightist rebels could overthrow them from power. Several plotted on removing him and installing someone stronger.

    Broken and depressed from the mess he had subjected his nation to, on October 13th Shastri used a personal revolver to commit suicide in his office, thus removing the need for any action to depose him. In the resulting power squabble within the INC, the eventual winner emerging was Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi (no relation to Mahatma). Dubbed “Iron Indira” by the international press for the actions she would subsequently take, Gandhi immediately used the INC majority and her executive power to make sweeping changes. The entire military leadership that had resulted in the 1967 War was sacked, replaced by officers that she personally vetted. The occupied zones of East Pakistan were subjected to the dual assaults of expanded martial law and massive development funds, while an economic and cooperative alliance was made with the USSR.

    Calling a general election only a year and a half after the previous one, the INC campaign was far and beyond the most nationalistic, jingoist campaign in Indian history. Diatribes against “subversive” elements and foreign rivals was commonplace, Indira personally calling for a “Nation united in the pursuance of the grand struggle of nations.” The calls for normalcy, greater economic reform, independence for East Bengal into an Indian puppet, and engagement with all power blocks by Narayan was drowned out by the surge in anger and nationalism by the Indian people, the INC ironically benefiting from the war they had lost.

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    Flipping the usual dynamic, much of Gandhi’s victory margin had to do with the cooption of Hindu nationalism while Narayan and the BJS pursued religious reconciliation. The Communists tripled their position in the Lok Sabha, winning support across the war-ravaged areas of the west of the nation and West Bengal. However, the only one for real cause for celebration was Indira Gandhi, her position strengthened greatly. The INC’s strong hold on power would enable her to put in place her policies of socialist corporatism, better known as Indiraism.

    Pakistan meanwhile had easily come out the better of the two. The only territory lost had been the unreliable security nightmare and expenditure black hole that was East Pakistan, while the gains were in regions contiguous to the heart of the country. President Ayub Khan immediately sought reconstruction and actively brought in foreign investment to the occupied territories, a maze of Iranian and western companies setting up shop in Ahmadabad and Gandhinagar. However, the jubilation quickly morphed into headaches as the ability for Pakistan to incorporate millions of people that saw their nation as an oppressor soon made themselves apparent.

    In Kashmir the problem wasn’t major. Expected to be a battleground, most of the Hindu residents had fled before the offensive that captured it while the Muslim population viewed the Pakistani Army as liberators. Gujarat, on the other hand, was the primary source of Islamabad’s concern (the capitol moving there after the war). The enthusiastic cooperation of the Muslim population was tempered by the outright hostility from a majority of Hindus, riots and civil disturbances common and putting a strain on military resources. Something had to be done, but newly installed President Yahya Khan knew that the nation couldn’t afford to give India a casus belli for another war – Iranian foreign minister Ismael Shafae informing them in no uncertain terms that the IIA wouldn’t intervene a second time.

    Thusly, Yahya announced the “Assisted Emigration” policy. From the period of 1968-1969, the Pakistani Government would allow and pay for the emigration of any person that wished to move. Millions took advantage of the plan, packing up their bags and heading to the ports, airports, and border crossings while Muslim settlers streamed in to take their place.

    In India, Gandhi was facing civil unrest and mass discontent over the implementation of her policies. The transition to the tenets of Indiraism and the government’s rhetoric made many fearful, and on the advice of her cabinet a bilateral agreement was reached with Yahya Khan for a reciprocal emigration agreement. Reminiscent of when India and Pakistan were first formed, throngs of people covered the border checkpoints at Gujarat seeking a better home for their families. The emigrations weren’t just between the two. Many felt that opportunity was better elsewhere, especially in landlocked Bengal. Millions would brave the Bay of Bengal in a maze of craft, the “Boat People” fleeing the heavy-handed tactics and economic stagnation even after Indira instituted travel restrictions following the end of the 1968-1969 bilateral agreement.

    Cumulatively, the Indian Diaspora had reshaped the ethnic and religious composition of the subcontinent. Over thirty-five million had simply left, the US, UK, white minority republics in Africa, and the Anzac nations being the most popular destinations. These exile communities would create a sea of demographic changes in the coming decades, arguably the largest human migration since the wave of eastern European immigrants into the US during the turn of the century.

    The plan would largely work in the case of Pakistan – by the 1971 census Gujarat would be 64% Muslim, fully integrated and participatory in that year’s general election (the first free elections in the nation’s history) where Yahya Khan rode the successes of the war and the peace into a landslide victory. Meanwhile, in Bengal the exodus of nearly ten million was complemented with an influx of fifteen million Hindu settlers by 1985, the occupation ending in 1978 with the formation of three federal states out of the former East Pakistan.

    As the common joke went among those who observed the Zhonggou – middle kingdom – the “Great Leap Forward” implemented between 1958-1961 by the Communist Government of China was rather two leaps backward. A brainchild of Chairman Mao Zedong to effect the modernization of the largely backward nation, it comprised a combination of reallocation of labor, mass collectivization, government efforts to build heavy industry in urban areas, and the creation of tens of thousands backyard furnaces to aggregate the industrialization of the nation in all aspects.

    The process would end in massive failure and largely create the Great Chinese Famine, anywhere from between twenty-five and fifty million Chinese dying and tens of millions of births prevented. Officials would have their careers disgraced, the elevation of major moderates accomplished and the start of Mao’s increasing paranoia. As well as manifesting in the coming dick-measuring contest with the Soviet Union that would become the Sino-Soviet split, his fears would be drawn increasingly inward.

    These fears would only magnify when a bloodless movement among the central leadership forced Mao to give up much of his power in the party, given the disaster that was the Great Leap Forward. Feeling assailed on all sides, Mao disappeared from the public spotlight for most of 1963-1965, a triumvirate of Zhou Enlai, Peng Dehuai, and Liu Shaoqi governing the country and repairing much of the damage of the Great Leap Forward. In his seclusion, Mao would come under the influence of his wife Jiang Qing (famously known as “Madame Mao”) and a group of four intellectuals known as the Gang of Four - Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, Wang Hongwen, and Mao’s own nephew Mao Yuanxin. Convincing him that a hardline stance was needed to “secure the nation against foreign and domestic usurpers,” they stroked Mao’s increasing paranoia to the natural conclusion.

    In 1966 Mao struck. Taking back his mantle at Zhongnanhai, Mao purged and arrested the members of the triumvirate, replacing them in the Politburo with the Gang of Four. What would follow was the Cultural Revolution, a mass dissident sweep of subversive elements fitting with Mao’s fears – exasperated with the Sino-Soviet Split and the election of George Wallace as President of the United States. Nearly two million would die in the eight year span while eleven would flee the country.

    Wracked by stress, Mao would die in 1974, the massive state funeral held for him in Beijing with over ten million attending. Behind the coffin, alone with her hair tied up and dressed in the ubiquitous Mao suit, was Jiang Qing. Her stoic nature would become famous all throughout China, celebrated in the state media organs.

    In fact, Jiang had been plotting on her own since her husband’s health began to fail. Knowing the Gang of Four was destroying the nation (Mao actually a moderating influence on them) and could be ousted by ultra-moderate elements, she saw her position the strongest it ever would be. A deal was made with senior Politburo Member Hua Guofeng and Chairman of the Central Military Commission Marshall Ye Jianying for their support in what was about to follow. Right after her husband’s death, she seized power, backed up by state security forces and PLA tanks.

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    The takeover elevated Jiang quickly to the position held by her late husband, the backing of Guofeng and the PLA proving the assent unassailable from either the Gang of Four or the larger faction of moderates. Looking back, the process seems even more remarkable that a woman – one that held no official position nor a seat on the Politburo – had established herself as the unchallenged ruler over a great nation, especially one as traditional and male-dominated as China. Guofeng’s support was considered crucial to this, but many unconfirmed rumors stated that once Jiang was able to stand on her own two feet rather quickly afterward, her would-be puppetmaster’s personal loyalty would wane.

    Jiang’s appointment as Chairwoman of the Central Committee would begin the four year period known as the “Consolidation.” A committed Communist, Jiang also lacked the paranoia and dogmatic thinking of her husband and many of his personal hierarchy in his later years – a consummate realist. Her overarching goal was the prosperity and the continued prominence of a Communist China, no matter the cost. First, Jiang moved to fully cement her control over the party apparatus. Each of the Gang of Four was arrested and sent to confinement in the western deserts, joined by many of the most hardline elements of the CPC. Moderate members were quietly pensioned out or demoted to positions where they would hold less influence (Deng Xiaoping, the undisputed leader of this faction, held the highest position of all of them as Deputy Party Secretary; the only moderate on the Politburo Standing Committee).

    Domestically, the massive population boom pushed by Mao was swiftly curtailed by Jiang, attempting to prevent the increase to over a billion souls from the 1970 census of eight-hundred sixty-eight million. The generalized population controls wouldn’t prevent the nation from passing one billion in 1988 (estimated), but would taper off the growth considerably with their “two-child policy” and the forced expulsion of dissidents, most heading to either the Anglosphere, the white republics of Africa, or as guest workers in the Soviet Union. The excesses of the economic basket case that was the Mao economy was curtailed but Communist economics reigned supreme. Jiang would leave the door open for general reform at a later date.

    The Consolidation had its greatest effect in the realm of foreign policy. Jiang’s belief was that China must cooperate with their socialist brethren in the USSR (no Sino-Soviet conflicts that could lead to the west exploiting the rift), but that the People’s Republic must also chart a different course in case Soviet militarism lead to a war between the power blocs. Such was her development of Comintern-China, the Chinese bloc of socialist nations recognized by Semichastny in the resolution of the border conflict. Including North Korea, Laos, Nepal, Burma (a communist coup taking over similar to Nigeria), and the socialist government in Indonesia, Jiang ensured that if the USSR would fall – which she privately expressed that it would in her lifetime – China would continue as the true home of Communism.
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    Technology was a wonderful thing in the 1960s and 1970s, expanding the frontier of human potential in was that one could never have imagined even two decades earlier. Men had been put on the moon, events could be watched in millions of homes as if they were happening right next door, and the spectre of starvation was considered by many experts to be on the way to being eliminated.

    However, the advent of mass media, cheap explosives, rapid international travel, and automatic weapons had ushered in a new horror upon the world. That of terrorism.

    Terrorism and its ancestors had been around since the beginning of mankind. The first real wave of terrorism had been around the late 1800s and early 1900s, where actions such as the anarchist wave, the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, the killing of Franz Ferdinand, and the Irish War for Independence passing into lore. This second wave would begin as “National Liberation Movements” were spreading across the world, most of them communist or socialist in nature.

    Each of these would end up being supported by the same state actors: Semichastny’s USSR, Ulbricht’s East Germany, Mao’s China, Nasser’s UAR, and Guevara’s Cuba. They would be spread far across the globe, some in full scale insurgencies against governments, some toppling governments, some waiting for the right moment, and every shade of grey in between.

    Due to the backdrop of the Iron Curtain, the groups in Europe received the most attention by the international press. With the landward pipeline from the east, weapons and materiel flowed rather well to them from the Warsaw Pact (as well as monetary aid to political groups such as the Spanish and Portuguese socialist opposition and Giangiacomo Feltrinelli’s Italian Communist Party), leading many to grow bolder and ever willing to hit against the capitalist governments they so despised.

    With the Soviet Union occupied for most of the late sixties in solidifying their control after Prague Spring, the terrorists such as the French Action Directe, Italian Red Brigades, and the West German Rotfrontkampferbund were keeping a low profile as opposed to their allies in Africa, Asia, and South America. This would all change in the fall of 1971.

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    Utilizing the existing institutional strength of the allied Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the German RFB (the name taken from the Communist analogue to the Nazi SD during the Weimar Republic) executed a wave of bombings, kidnappings, and murders across the Federal Republic. Less than 150 died, but the millions of marks in property damage and the massive wave of panic spreading through the German public put immense pressure on the incumbent CSU/CDU/FDP coalition government of Franz Josef Strauss (CSU-Bavaria). Instituting a massive series of martial law declarations and terrorist sweeps following der Deutschen Herbst, the stress of the ordeal was largely cited for why Strauss suffered a fatal heart attack in 1973. He was replaced by CDU politician Kurt Georg Kiesinger, leading a far weaker government than before 1971.

    The German Autumn had sounded the horn for terrorists across Europe, France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain being the hardest hit. Unfortunately, the worst was yet to come.

    As the fiftieth anniversary of the failed Easter Rising was being celebrated across the Emerald Isle on 24th April, 1966, tensions over the status of Unionist Ulster began to boil up after simmering for decades. Unionist anger in the cities of the north grew against the overwhelmingly Catholic Republicans after a group in Dublin bombed Nelson’s Pillar – a famous remnant of British rule in Ireland – along with a series of random violent attacks by groups calling themselves the Irish Republican Army in a homage to the Irish Civil War. Though these attacks were minor in scope, many in Ulster were panicked that the violence would spread. Cheered on by politicians such as Northern Irish Cabinet Minister Bill Craig, groups of Protestants formed paramilitary defense groups such as the Ulster Volunteer Force as a defence against the IRA. Throughout 1967 they attacked civilian areas in Republican neighborhoods, including the petrol bombing of several houses in which families were burned alive.

    This burning led to riots and protests across Ireland, the Taoiseach himself condemning the Northern Irish Government of Terrence O’Neill (despite the patrician O’Neill being a moderate in the Ulster Unionist Party). As a result, the once moribund Sein Fein and its military wing – the Provisional wing of the Irish Republican Army or PIRA – began to surge in membership and support. Before, the group’s leaders had kept up a steady policy of building networks and importing weapons from Soviet-influenced retailers in East Germany and the UAR. Now, newly installed Chief of Staff Martin McGuinness felt it prudent to take the fight to the British. Starting on New Year’s Day 1969, a wave of protests and attacks touched off in Ulster, PIRA forces targeting government buildings and Royal Ulster Constabulary barracks. Dozens would be killed.

    O’Neill’s government quickly collapsed, the Stormont parliament electing Bill Craig as the NI Premier over the more moderate James Chichester-Clark (many moderates would then leave the UUP for the emerging Alliance party led by the charismatic Oliver Napier). Craig and Prime Minister Julian Amery were both hardliners against Republican sentiment. Wishing to integrate Northern Ireland in the same manner as Scotland and Wales, 10 Downing Street agreed with Craig that the PIRA couldn’t be coddled. As a result, Parliament passed the Terrorism Act, effectively declaring terrorism a capital crime and allowing the Prime Minister to use the military to enforce it if need be. In early 1970 the first military units arrived in Belfast and Derry, leading to a series of violent confrontations with the PIRA and Republican protestors.

    Initially, the PIRA leadership was united in strategy, basically a redux of Michael Collins’ during the Irish War of Independence – only focused on Ulster. McGuinness would lead the armed campaign restricted to Northern Ireland while Sein Fein spokesman Gerry Adams built international support for the Republican cause. However, as 1971 dawned tension between the leadership and a group of young commanders reached the boiling point. Believing that attacks needed to be made into Britain itself to convince the Amery Government to relent, a large faction of the PIRA broke off in what they called the Renegade Branch.

    The Renegades quickly asserted themselves, setting off a string of major bombings across England and Scotland. However, retaliation by Amery and MI6 was fierce, convincing the renegades that something bigger was needed. The target was deemed Mr. Monday Club himself, widely seen as the most hardline of all the Unionists. Calls to negotiate from even members of his own party were beaten back, the Prime Minister constantly seen on media vowing to “Break the back of these malcontents,” and that “Britannia will never be intimidated.” For the Renegades, this was merely a challenge. Killing Amery, in their minds, would serve as a message that no Briton was safe. Since it had worked with the killing of Tito in Yugoslavia, why couldn’t it be applied here?

    Upon intelligence reports that Amery always made a weekly journey to Buckingham Palace to meet with Her Majesty, the Renegades planned to assassinate him on his return to Downing Street. The plan was scheduled for 8 August, 1972.

    The assault team had appropriated several civilian vehicles, including a taxi, while some melded into the ever-present crowd of tourists gawking at the palace. Waiting for Amery’s limousine to leave the palace so they could ambush it, the plan was thrown awry when two escorted limos pulled out of the palace gates. Two limos. Their intelligence hadn’t planned on this, and which one was Amery in? Nevertheless, the leader on point – youthful Renegade Faction member Ronnie Bunting – made a judgement call. They would just attack both.

    The square in front of the palace erupted in gunfire and explosions, one of the escorting Metropolitan Police Service vehicles blasted with an RPG as gunmen raced on foot toward the limos. The driver of the first, a former military driver from WWII, ripped out at high speed, escaping despite Kalashnikov fire slamming into them from behind. Fuming, the Irish “Patriots” concentrated on the second, raking it with fire and grenades.

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    Unfortunately, the collection of palace guards weren’t the gaudy decorations that many assumed, but hardened veterans of Her Majesty’s military. FN FAL assault rifles leveled, they furiously engaged with the Renegade forces. Sensing this was unraveling, Bunting ordered his seven surviving men to disengage. They fled from the square – leaving it to the palace guards.

    Unknown to Bunting, they had just made a fatal miscalculation for both the Renegade and Provo cause. The first limousine had been Amery’s, his driver’s quick action saving the Prime Minister with only a small flesh wound to his personal secretary. As for the second… it had been the chartered vehicle for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Normally traveling in the ceremonial carriage, she and her husband Prince Phillip had insisted on an impromptu visit to 10 Downing Street for further conference with Amery about the Troubles. As the horrified guards called for ambulances, the Queen was grievously wounded, Phillip and the others in the vehicle dead from the Renegade fusillade.

    Upon the knowledge of the attack hitting the world press circuit – virtually unavoidable considering the victims – PIRA spokesman Gerry Adams immediately denounced the attack to the Boston Globe (as well as other US and Irish media) and brought up how the Renegade Faction had been excommunicated from the PIRA the year before. Unionist paramilitaries such as the UVF went on rampages in Catholic and Republican neighborhoods in a frenzy of retribution and bloodlust. Belfast collapsed into anarchy for nearly two days as Bill Craig was forced to call in specialized police units and the 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment in to restore order against people who had once been his allies.

    For the IRA leadership, the wounding of the Queen was a disaster of epic proportions. Martin McGuinness was reported to have gone into a fury, ranting for nearly an hour in the headquarters in the northern Republic of Ireland. If they didn’t act fast then even their supporters in the Republic wouldn’t be enough to prevent the coming Tommy hammer upon them. Soon, an execution order went out from the top. The Provos were declaring war against the Renegades, a bounty set for Bunting’s head especially. Three months later, the Renegade commander was tracked down to a farmhouse in County Cork. After nearly a week of torture, McGuinness would put a bullet into his brain.

    Only time would tell if this would save the Provisional Irish Republican cause.

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    Battling both her grievous wounds (she would walk with a limp and never regain the full use of her left arm), Queen Elizabeth had come to the conclusion that she could no longer effectively serve as the monarch of the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth. In a downright grim press conference that was said to lead to a moment of silence across the British Empire, Her Majesty – head held high with the continence of a monarch – announced that she would be abdicating her throne as of the 23rd of October, 1972.

    Such left Charles, Prince of Wales – having only just married Julie Nixon (Julie, Princess of Wales) in the beginning of the year – and Prime Minister Amery to lead the nation through the coming crisis.
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    Following the Treaty of Amman, only the vital support of the KGB and the UAR government kept the Palestinian cause from collapsing. A vast portion of the Palestinian indemnity against Israel had been eliminated with a stroke of a pen, vast majorities of the West Bank and Jordanian refugee population joined by a third of Israeli Arabs in assuming Jordanian citizenship. No longer were they displaced persons. And all knew that displaced persons made up all of Yasser Arafat’s support for the PLO.

    As a result of the setback the Palestine Liberation Organization found itself feuding (just as with the PIRA). As opposed to the generally Islamic-secular Arafat core, a hardline communist faction supported by Walter Ulbricht’s East Germany and Mao’s China split and formed the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Allying with the maze of communist terrorist groups in Europe and with aid from the various Libyan military juntas that would pop up every now and again, they branched in a different direction from the traditional guerilla (similar to the North Vietnamese but with an exclusively political target list and focused on Israel in the vein of the PIRA) approach favored by Arafat and the PLO.

    The PLO would not take its battleplans lightly, making life within Israel hell – dubbed the Years of Fire by the newspaper Haaretz – and inflicting large casualties among the IDF. However, these would be dramatically overshadowed by the PFLP. Modeling themselves after the PIRA Renegades, they specialized in spectacular attacks that would draw worldwide attention to their cause. Several jetliners such as Luftansa flight 181, Pan American flight 1789, and a series of five aircraft that were later stormed by Israeli special forces on the tarmac in Athens Airport began a massive scrambling to amp up airline safety – while also putting the PFLP on the map.

    What had to be the most signature action by them was the capture of the Israeli Embassy in London. Conducted by a mere eight gunmen who had entered the UK on stolen passports, several hostages were killed before the standoff developed which would last four days, the terrorists holed up inside while the Metropolitan Police surrounded the Embassy from the outside.

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    With the Amery Government a close ally of the Israelis (while the UK had once been pro-Arab due to colonial ties, the work of the pro-Zionist Iain Macleod for the Conservatives and Richard Crossman for Labour had largely shifted both major parties to a pro-Israel stance, the anti-Israel voters either voting Liberal, regional parties, or for the National Front), a team of Israeli special forces under a young Captain named Benjamin Netanyahu were allowed to participate in the storming of the embassy alongside the SAS. Tear gas and smoke rounds preceding the assault, the Anglo-Israeli force entered without any deaths among themselves or the hostages, taking out five terrorists and capturing three. After much debate between Begin, Ben Gurion, Amery, and Whitelaw, it was agreed that the three living PFLP members would stand trial in England. They would be sentenced to death and subsequently executed in 1978.

    Problematic for Israel, the series of attacks, bombings, and hijackings weren’t isolated in the sense of being planned and carried out by the PLO and PFLP alone. While Arafat and his cronies served as the proximate planners and operational commanders of the various operations, ultimate direction was uniformly out of Cairo and Damascus. Gamal Nasser and General Jadid were in a precarious position trying to keep the United Arab Republic together in the face of internal tensions, regionalism, and political rivalry. Sensing the united front against Israel was their best bet, the coordination with Arafat’s Palestinian terrorist groups served as a feint to draw Israeli attention away from the UAR itself. Concerned about the security of its international holdings, the Mossad and the Begin Government (busy applying its massive domestic reform policies as well) took the bait.

    Nearly a year after the siege, further bombings and the attempted hijacking of an El Al aircraft – foiled by attentive passengers and safely landed in Idi Amin’s Uganda, an Israeli ally – Nasser and Jadid formally put their seal of approval on Operation Saladin, marked for October 1971.

    In the wee morning hours of October 6, 1971 – right in the middle of the Jewish Yom Kippur holiday – IDF border defenses facing the United Arab Republic in the Sinai and North Galilee woke to a sheet of artillery fire racing towards their positions. The skies were swarming with UAR planes, throwing themselves in single massive wave to overwhelm the vaunted Israeli Air Force and gain air superiority for the remainder of the night. These actions were followed up by the largest ground offensive in the history of the Middle East, nearly a million Arab forces advancing against the unprepared forces of the Jewish State. Gamal Abdel Nasser and Salah Jadid’s desperate gamble to eliminate their main enemy and rejuvenate the pan-Arab cause had begun.

    Possessed with a vaunted intelligence system, could the Israeli’s have predicted the attack? It certainly could have, but the lack of preparation drew from two factors. First, a grave misunderstanding of the United Arab Republic’s political situation in Cairo and Damascus completely denied to the Israelis the opportunity to identify how vulnerable Nasser and Jadid were to Egyptian pro-Western factions and the emerging Ba’ath Party faction in Syria – and how vital defeating Israel was to their cause. Secondly, what information did come in had persuaded Menachem Begin to launch a preemptive strike, but was advised against it by Moshe Dayan and David ben Gurion. They successfully persuaded the normally hawkish Begin that Israel could only survive if it were seen as defending itself. And so Israel lost any opportunity to get the tactical advantage before the UAR struck.

    Along the widely spaced out Negev border between the two nations, the UAR armored thrust quickly punched through the Israeli lines. Outnumbering the Israeli armor and equipped with the latest in anti-tank weaponry from the Soviet Union (Semichastny and Brezhnev utilizing the Middle East as a proving ground for their weaponry), the dashes in the desert turned into the UAR’s favor as a flanking thrust from Gaza forced the Israelis to retreat to Be’er-sheva.

    Lacking in artillery – both rocket and tube – the IDF had made the choice to focus more on air power in the days following the War of Independence. A vaunted force, Israeli planners believed that a wave of airstrikes could turn the tide in the desert. None expected the vast maze of UAR surface to air missiles kept in border emplacements and mobile launchers. IAF strikes on the first three days were beaten back with heavy losses.

    Taking advantage of this, UAR General Saad el-Shazly consolidated their hold over the Negev regions and prepared to advance and encircle Be’er-sheva. Opposed was the Israeli Southern Command under General Avraham Adan, fortifying the town and gearing for the assault. Two days of brutal fighting would ensue, the UAR feinting into the city itself while armored pincers launched to break through both flanks and encircle the city. Adan, under orders to preserve as many of his forces as possible, evacuated the city before he could be encircled.

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    The UAR had the worst of it, but they had carried the field in forcing Israel to withdraw from an excellent defensive line. Their bases in Gaza secure from Israeli counterattack, the route to Hebron (a formerly Jordanian city sold to Israel in the Treaty of Amman) wide open.

    Having fortified the Golan Heights since at least the early 1950s, the Syrian portion of the UAR struck with an even larger intensity than the Egyptians to the south. The reason was determined post-war to be the fact that Jadid wished for Damascus to be prevented from being threatened by Israeli attack, being close to the front. While Israel had expected an attack all along the line, the UAR instead underwent a massive disinformation campaign, culminating in an armored thrust from the southern portion of the border around the Sea of Galilee. Fears of being encircled, the Israelis withdrew from the border after the UAR broke through.

    Fighting wouldn’t die down though, the entire offensive becoming a series of massive battles over the lowlands of north Galilee that would later earn the nickname Valley of Iron. Jadid and UAR commander Salim Hatum threw all their armored forces in a massive armored fist right at the Israeli secondary line centered at the city of Safed. Beating back IAF assaults, the Arab host descended on the city as Israelis from Haifa to the smallest frontline kibbutz prepared for the fist of iron to drive them into the sea.

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    Israel had an ace in the whole however, and his name was Lt. General Ariel Sharon. With reserve forces trickling in, he marshaled his greatly outnumbered armored force (aided by the furious digging and preparing of defenses by the civilian population) and deployed them in what could only be described as tactical brilliance. The Israeli forces fought like tigers amongst their homes, veterans taking on the UAR conscripts as aircraft screamed in regardless of the SAM threat. The petrified General Staff in Jerusalem sent whatever reinforcements they had to Sharon (giving up Be’er-sheva to the UAR) to stop the attack in the north, the farmland of the North Galilee as deep back as Nazareth filled with furious tank on tank combat.

    After seven days, the Valley of Iron was Israel’s. Hatum had been killed in the fighting, UAR Defence Minister Hafez al-Assad taking personal command to withdraw back to the Golan – leaving a landscape littered with the burnt out husks of destroyed tanks.

    Ariel Sharon was immediately hailed as a hero across Israel, but the fight was not over. Begin and Dayan authorizing Sharon to take the offensive into the Golan Heights, the focus of the fighting was therefore shifted to the south, where the UAR continued to advance toward Hebron. The “Hue of the Middle East” was absolutely vital to hold, for if it didn’t then all of the southern reaches would be lost.

    International reaction to the crisis was swift. Led by American President George Wallace and French President of the Council Jacques Massu, the NATO nations threw their weight behind Israel. Large amounts of military equipment were airlifted and sealifted into Israeli ports to make up for the massive losses taken at Be’er-sheva and the Valley of Iron, Wallace stating in no uncertain terms that the United States would stand with its ally.

    The Eastern Bloc proclaimed that they were behind the United Arab Republic, but General Secretary Semichastny was personally ambivalent toward the Arab cause. If they did eliminate Israel, then the independent Nassir/Jadid regime would likely take over the rest of the Middle East and threaten Soviet interests, and so there was considerable disagreement in the Kremlin over what needed to be done. Benevolent neutrality was what they picked, joined by the fellow Arab nations in the Middle East (as solid allies of the United States, Pakistan and Iran dissented with their Muslim brothers and backed Israel).

    One nation that broke from the international consensus to aid one side or the other but let the forces duke it out was the United Kingdom. Nominally pro-Arab from the beginning of Israeli Independence, since the Macleod Ministry and the Treaty of Amman the consensus in Westminster and Whitehall was in favor of Zionism and Israel. Though this would likely necessitate a stance similar to America or France in any normal time, the fact that 10 Downing Street was occupied by the Honourable Julian Amery changed the calculus. A noted Imperialist stalwart, maintaining British interests worldwide was a priority for him. As such, avenging the disastrous Suez Crisis never strayed far from his mind.

    Since President Wallace allowed for significant British leeway to handle crises in Europe and the Mediterranean, Amery had already deployed significant numbers at British bases in Aden and Cyprus, strategic Royal Air Force and Royal Navy forces waiting to deploy up to 30,000 British ground troops. When the war began Amery and Defence Secretary J. Enoch Powell coordinated to deploy an additional thirty thousand to Cyprus in case the war widened. However, within conference rooms at 10 Downing Street, ideas were beginning to be banded about for how Britain could take a more active role in the conflict.

    It was then, the 15th of October, that UAR and Israeli forces met at Hebron. Three days of furious urban fighting left the city destroyed, casualties heavy on both sides. Unlike Be’er-sheva it was the UAR that withdrew though, Israel emerging victorious and on the strategic advantage following the massive American and NATO aid flooding into the nation. Nasser would sack el-Shazly and replace him with Air Force General Hosni Mubarak as commander of the Southern Front.

    After Hebron, the tide had clearly turned in favor of the Jewish State. It would go down in history as Israel’s Saratoga, because it would end in convincing a foreign power to join them. And join them they would, in the form of Julian Amery. On the morning of 19th October, UAR naval security forces at Port Said spotted dozens of ships on the horizon. On came the Royal Navy, backed up by air squadrons from the carrier HMS Hood and RAF bombers and fighter-bombers from Cyprus and Aden as they bracketed the northern portion of the Suez Canal in a wave of firepower. The day would see nearly ten thousand Royal Marines and mechanized forces land as Amery addressed a session of Parliament for Britain to intervene, both the Tories and Labour joining in support of intervening against the UAR. And unlike Eisenhower a decade and a half before, President Wallace was supportive of the move. Less he needed to divert from the fresh offensives in Vietnam.

    With the British victorious at the Battle of Port Said, Nasser and Jadid would withdraw significant numbers from Israel to defend the canal against the British, who were bringing in tens of thousands of troops from Cyprus to the beachhead at Port Said, RAF slowly wearing down UAR air defenses in the Nile Delta and Canal region. Bar-Lev and Adan would exploit this, launching Operation Barak – lightning. Combining all reserves at Israeli disposal, after a day the beleaguered UAR lines disintegrated as the race across the Sinai began.

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    The IDF spearhead would join with a British breakout attempt from Port Said (coupled with airborne drops by the British Army) to face the cream of the UAR Army in the four day Battle of the Canal. What had to be the largest battle of the entire War, each side committed everything they had into the fight, the British Army plunging into its largest battle since World War II and a redemption for the disaster that was the Suez Crisis. UAR forces fought valiantly, extolled by Nasser to fight for the Arab cause against the Zionist devil. However, once RAF anti-SAM units (trained by American Wild Weasel squadrons) knocked out the Arab SAM net, it was over. Open to RAF and IAF airstrikes and their own air force basically nonexistent by this time, the UAR broke. Anglo-Israeli forces captured Suez on the 29th, and crossed to the east bank (using high pressure water hoses to smash through the UAR sand dunes) on the 30th.

    In the north, Sharon deployed his armored forces in a brilliant series of offensive maneuvers that rivaled that of Heinz Guderien, George Patton, or Erwin Rommel. The UAR was driven back and back again out of Israel and into the Golan Heights, and then into Syria itself. An Israeli paratrooper strike deep behind enemy lines clinched the northern front, wiping out UAR infrastructure and allowing Sharon to deliver a decisive defeat at Khan Alsheh on the outskirts of Damascus the same time Adan and British Expeditionary Force commander Lt. General Walter Walker crossed the Suez Canal. Both front commanders prepared to finish off their enemy by driving to Damascus and Cairo but the end of the month brought a whirlwind to the region.

    Internal dissent against the Nasser-Jadid axis building for some time, much of it had dissipated with the patriotic, ethnic, and religious fervor that the beginning of the war provided. As the war effort turned against the UAR, the tension came back with a vengeance, and they struck right after the Battle of Khan Alsheh. Gathering military units loyal to them, officers secretly members of the Syrian branch of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party led by Minister of Defence Hafez al-Assad stormed the Presidential Palace and arrested Jadid. They subsequently proclaimed the UAR dissolved, requesting the UK and Israel for terms via the Soviet Embassies in both nations.

    Egypt would have suffered such a coup as well, but just as the Battle of the Canal ended his secretaries found Gamal Abdel Nasser dead from a massive heart attack in his office. Chairman of the General Staff Anwar Sadat assumed temporary power (which he would solidify following the war) and requested a cease fire on the 31st with the Anglo-Israeli forces. The Yom Kippur War had ended.

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    A month passed as the former constituents of the UAR moved to solidify their governments, but the parties to the conflict met on December 1st at Nicosia, Cyprus along with the Soviet Union and United States as observers and mediators. The following negotiations would see Israel annex the Golan Heights and the entire Sinai, deemed as vital buffers for the Jewish State. Egypt and Syria would be forced to extend diplomatic recognition to Israel as well. Amery and the UK took away much as well, earning naval bases at Alexandria and Port Said. Their greatest victory in the war – one that would lead to Amery’s approval rating spike – was the creation of the Suez Canal Authority. Humbly beaten, Sadat sought to preserve whatever control of the Canal they could leverage, and did manage to prevent outright British annexation. The three parties (Egypt, UK, and Israel) agreed to split control, each nation granted free passage and a third of the revenues of shipping traffic. Gaza, unwanted by Israel due to its large Arab population, was kept by Egypt as an official province while completely demilitarized and with a joint Anglo/Israeli naval base.

    The former nations of the UAR – pan-Arabism officially dead – would struggle to find their national identity. Sadat would send feelers to the US, French Community, and Iran, while al-Assad’s Syria would gravitate toward the USSR, social corporatist India, and the other Arab states.

    Britannia had flexed its muscles and righted the wrongs of the Suez Crisis, but the winner was undoubtedly Israel. They had taken on their foe and triumphed, the UAR no more. Begin and Dayan (along with Bar-Lev, Adan, and Sharon) would be greeted as heroes that had more than doubled the State of Israel in a month, proving themselves a power in their own right on the International stage.
    --------------------------
    With casualties mounting and a nation quickly exhausting itself, the powers to be in Washington were keen to end the War in Vietnam as quickly and decisively as possible. By Wallace and LeMay’s order the Navy and Air Force stepped up the strategic bombing campaign, turning the military and governmental portions of the city into rubble.

    As a result, senior governmental officials (led by Chairman Le Duan) of the Communist Party fled the city, holing up in a bunker complex about five miles south of Hanoi’s outskirts. Following a tip from one of their moles in the party apparatus, the CIA found out in March of 1971 where the bunker was located.

    At this point Le Duan, Chairman of the Central Committee, was a wreck. What hair he had left was completely grey, body practically emaciated, and addicted to heroin and cocaine lozenges. Mind largely shot, he would take to railing for hours against the Americans, Chinese, and South Vietnamese in tirades that former colleagues would describe as almost Hitlerian – complete delusions. Nevertheless, Duan and his Politburo controlled the nation and thusly refused to give in.

    All changed in March 1971. Guided in by a SEAL team led by Lt. Robert Kerrey, two F-111 Armadillo strike aircraft dropped two Paveway 2,000 pound bombs right on top of Duan’s bunker. The resulting blast immolated the structure and killed all present.


    White House audio transcript, March 3rd, 1971
    Meeting between President Wallace, SecDef LeMay, Chief of Staff McKeithen, and SecState Helms

    Wallace: Is this it? Did we get ‘im?

    LeMay: We’ve picked up the SEAL observing the bunker along with conducting SR-71 recon flights over the area. The complex is completely gutted.

    Wallace: But is he dead? Is the fucker dead?

    Helms: North Vietnamese state media is silent, but the Chicom Ambassador in Paris informed us of what Hanoi told them. Duan is dead.

    [Momentary silence]

    Wallace: [whooping] Burn in hell you commie bastard!

    McKeithen: Well Richard, that’d the famous Rebel Yell.

    Helms: Quite. Now Mr. President, we still need to move cautiously here. Duan may be dead but this doesn’t mean the North will fold.

    Wallace: Can’t let me have my moment of triumph can you. [sighs] Very well, who’s likely to take over?

    Helms: At this point I can’t be sure. Duan dying will throw the entire party apparatus into chaos.

    Wallace: Can we take advantage of this?

    LeMay: I wouldn’t advise it Mr. President. We still have mopping up to do in the South and Cambodia.

    McKeithen: I’m not sure the public will stand for more casualties than we’ve been getting. Whatever major attack we make next has to end the war.

    Helms: I’ve gotten some feelers from Laos that could be promising.

    Wallace: Fine, give Haig notice that his plans have my approval. We’ll fuck these commie bastards to the wall yet – and in time for the election!

    (end transcript)


    The death of Le Duan began a furious scramble among the senior leadership of the Vietnamese Communists. Several, ones that knew that the South would not treat them with kindness, fled to the Soviet Embassy and sought political asylum. Many others simply fled the country, procuring fake passports from the underworld and escaping through Laos. The remainder rallied around General Vo Nguyen Giap. If the country was doomed, they would go down fighting like good communists.

    Strung out and in disarray after Dropkick, the US and its allies were in no shape to continue the offensive in 1971. Efforts were directed to mop up whatever was left of communist presence in South Vietnam, additionally securing the approval of the Laotian government – persuaded to acquiesce by Mao Yuanxin in order to stab the Soviet-supported DRV in the back – to mop up NVA presence in southern Laos. Most of 1971 was spent in preparation however. Supplies and manpower were stockpiled, readying for what General Haig called the “Endgame.”

    In April 1972 the Endgame began as US and ARVN artillery opened up all along the DMZ, armored forces taking advantage of the barrage to smash across the border and advance on the fortress city of Dong Hoi. Giap commanding the battle personally, he had made sure the city and the areas north of the DMZ were fortified to levels not seen since Kursk in WW2. If they could bleed the Americans dry and stall until November, then George Wallace could lose the election and a pro-peace Republican could (conceivably) end the war with at least some independence for Hanoi.

    Haig was determined not to let that happen. Commanded by the hero of the Ia Drang Valley Lt. General Hal Moore, the US/ARVN advance was directed in two directions. The ARVN/Army prong would feint directly at Dong Hoi, while the Marines and mechanized components of 1st Cav would flank from the west and surround the city. A week would pass before Moore launched the flank attack, but probing attacks discovered the near approach was too fortified to be able to truly surround the city before Giap could withdraw. He opted for a schwehrpunkt twenty miles west of the city. Surprised, Giap threw all his reserves into stopping the advance, but it soon approached the final defensive line only seven miles from the beach.

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    Devastatingly accurate naval artillery fire from two US Navy battleships and three nuclear-powered cruisers and furious napalm and high explosive airstrikes from F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bombers proved the deciding factor. Flanking armor breaking through the NVA defenses, the US forces sliced through and encircled the city – trapping nearly twenty thousand communist troops inside, who would surrender after two further days of bombardment. DMZ fortifications overcame with the capture of Dong Hoi, ARVN mechanized forces had a clear shot at the north, the NVA units that faced them little more than a panicked mob.

    Northern reinforcements were raced to the southern theater, but this was exactly what Haig wanted. Over the objections of Jackson, LeMay, and Helms but with the enthusiastic backing of President Wallace – arguably the only one whose opinion mattered – the General had made the entire assault across the DMZ into his Calais. His goal was to distract the communists, taking their eyes away from his actual objective. The one the United States had been preparing for during most of 1971. Operation Normandy, the largest planned amphibious assault since Inchon, collecting nearly half of the entire US Navy’s strength to pull off.

    Waiting for Dong Hoi to fall before attempting, the victory there led Haig to give the green light. Under the cover of a coordinated air offensive and furious naval gunfire from all four Iowa-class battleships and seven of the navy’s eleven nuclear-powered cruisers, landing craft carrying eleven thousand Marines and GIs landed in and around the Vietnamese port of Haiphong southeast of Hanoi. Units of the 82nd and 101st Airborne parachuted inland in what was called Operation Pegasus, proceeding to seize bridges, road junctions, and set up strongpoints to interdict enemy reinforcements marching for the coast.

    In a daring gamble that was greenlit personally by President Wallace – and subject to clandestine preparation via CIA and anti-communist resistance for nearly a month – Army Special Forces and Navy SEALs assaulted via helicopter the Lo Hoa Prison “Hanoi Hilton” to free the thousands of American and Allied POWs held there. In what was nearly thirty-six hours of pitched combat that required two battalions of Air Cavalry and bombing runs by the vaunted B-70 Valkyrie strategic bomber, in the end almost all of the prisoners were safely evacuated from their hellish dungeons. Another day of leapfrogging from hidden jungle bases to the USS Enterprise and Forrestal in the Gulf of Tonkin would see them finally free to cheering crowds all over America. The raid would still be discussed in military academies the world over as a textbook example.

    The fighting was clearly the most vicious of the war, US forces advancing into urban and well-built areas far from their bases of support. Naval crews worked around the clock hurling shells landward, aircrews out of Thailand, Clark Airbase in the Philippines, and from the six fleet carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin launching attack run after attack run. Analysis post-war would discover that the US used more munitions in Normandy and Pegasus than the Soviets in taking Berlin in 1945.

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    Realizing this to be their last stand, the NVA and General Giap fought like cornered rats for every bit of ground contested. Casualties for the assaulting US forces advancing on the capitol – Haiphong falling after eight days – ballooned in the face of the extensive fortifications, especially after the advance left the protective range of American naval artillery. However, the abysmal Vietnamese morale had taken its toll. Knowing the cause was lost, desertions and mutinies skyrocketed despite draconian attempts to quash them and the drafting of old men and young boys to fight. By July Hanoi was on the front lines.

    Called McNamara’s revenge, the US spared no bit of munitions in their pounding of the city. Wallace wanted to “Send a message not to mess with American might,” and Haig did not disappoint. In a “Belated fourth of July present to the American people,” on the eighth a special contingent of South Vietnamese tanks smashed through the gates of the Palace in Hanoi just as Giap acquiesced to MACV demands for unconditional surrender. To jubilant crowds across the US and South Vietnam, President Wallace declared the Vietnam War won.

    Vietnam, wracked by war and bloodshed for over a quarter of a century, was finally united under a democratic banner.
     
  10. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

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    With the fall of Hanoi and the unconditional surrender of General Giap and the communist junta controlling the north since Duan’s death, Wallace’s commitment of American and other MACV troops were to be gradually withdrawn within a year’s time frame. That left the responsibility for maintaining the battered and flattened Republic of Vietnam to the Saigon Government. Suffering from what would later be disclosed as terminal pancreatic cancer, President Nguyen Ngoc Tho wished to pass the baton as quickly as possible to a democratically elected successor. Such would provide firm legitimacy for the Vietnamese state as it rebuilt itself and integrated the conquered north.

    After the 1967 ‘election’ provided a vote of confidence in the Tho government, all other elections had been suspended since the bloodless takeover following the death of President Diem until the fall of Hanoi. Ratifying a new Constitution creating an American system of government (except for the executive being elected by direct popular vote), the Presidential election was scheduled for January of 1973.

    The frontrunner, and only serious contender to many observers, was Military Chief of Staff and the other half of the wartime government Nguyen Van Thieu. Announcing his run for the Presidency by resigning his military commission, Thieu campaigned on a platform of economic reform and considerable investment into infrastructure – including aggressive anti-communist efforts to root out NVA and NLF sympathizers in the government. However, an exceptionally strong challenge was made against him by the newly formed Liberal Party. It’s candidate, retired General Nguyen Khanh, ran on almost the same policies as Thieu but with the added platforms of amending the constitution to establish limits on the executive branch. The nation’s fragile democracy was threatened by potential executive outreach according to the Liberals. While Thieu had nearly Stalinist popularity in most of the country, the campaign message resonated greatly in the vote-heavy Saigon metro region and the devastated northern cities of Hue and Da Nang.

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    Since Thieu was basically the President in waiting, once the results were tabulated everyone waited with baited breath at the post-election developments in Saigon. Would Thieu just invalidate the election and use his control of the military to prevent Khanh from taking power. One couldn’t count the number of once promising democratic elections turned tinpot dictatorships by such developments. Many in the world press considered it quite likely.

    However, in a development that many said rivaled the 1800 American Presidential Election, five days following the vote Thieu conceded to Khanh, announcing to the nation that he respected the election results and would not seek to remain in his position as military Chief of Staff either. A grateful Vietnamese people watched as Nguyen Khanh was sworn in as their first truly democratically-elected President on the Ides of March, reaching out across the aisle and appointing Thieu as the civilian administrator of occupied North Vietnam (which would be integrated peacefully into the unified Republic of Vietnam in 1979). While a true party system wouldn’t be finalized for several years, Vietnam had passed its first test as Khanh and the now ruling Liberal Party government set to rebuild following the devastating war.

    While Vietnam embodied the chorus of Asian nations that were discovering Democracy, Indonesia on the other hand embodied those that descended the opposite direction. Having won independence from their Dutch colonial masters in the aftermath of World War Two – while forming his government in 1945, the Dutch wouldn’t recognize it until 1949 – the archipelago nation had been ruled under former national liberation figure and authoritarian executive Sukarno. An unassuming man at first glance, he had rapidly built up a cult of personality, being beloved by the people anyways, and a firm grasp on the nation for most of his three decade tenure.

    However, near the end of his tenure his mismanagement of the nation’s economy and the increasing corruption of his rule began to take its toll on the level of support he had among both the military and the masses. Sukarno was widely known to have a distaste for economic policy, pushing instead for a more dogmatic version of Indian brand socialism designed to make the country self-sufficient. While well favored in the nation’s intellectual and hierarchical centers such as Jakarta, among the people stagnation was the order of the day. Largely, two competing influences formed – the anti-communist military under General Suharto, and the Communist Party under Dipa N. Aidit. Both jockeyed for power as the sixties passed into the seventies and Sukarno began to fall under ill health.

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    As the Vietnam War began to enter its final phase, in the hopes that the British in Singapore or the Australians to the south would intervene. Suharto used a pretext of an ill-fated move by left-wing army officers to kill Sukarno to launch a coup of his own. However, the Communists were ready and furiously contested the attempt with the backing of China and Sukarno himself – neither Amery nor Snedden would commit support despite unsubstantiated agreements that they would, and the coup plotters were forced to seek asylum in the American Embassy.

    In the aftermath, the Communists were in de-facto control, but Aidit knew that unless he could provide at least some distance between himself and Marxism-Maoism then British, Australian, and American involvement would bracket his country once Sukarno kicked the bucket. Therefore, the Communist Party and Sukarno’s own political allies would merge in 1972 to form the Socialist Unity Party with Chinese (read Madame Mao’s) blessing, which would select Aidit to rule the nation once Sukarno did die three years later.

    Living in exile in Sydney, Indonesia hadn’t seen the last of Suharto and his anti-communist plotters, but for now Indonesia remained the southern bastion of the Chinese sphere of influence.
    ------------------------------​

    Ever since the dust cleared from the 1969 election, all had known that the Snedden Government wouldn’t have been able to take over had the Tasmanian state Labor Government not collapsed spectacularly amid financial scandal. Each of the five net seats gained had been on the southern isle, bringing the Liberal/Country Coalition back to power after a mere two years in the opposition benches.
    Billy Snedden was considered a liberal within the Liberal Party, but his government began its tenure strong despite the close election results and his reputation as a parliamentary lightweight. Building a reputation as a quiet and aloof Prime Minister – though without the statesman-like air that Robert Menzies was able to pull off – the heavy-hitting duties were taken over by Minister for Defence and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party John Gorton and by Deputy PM and Country Party leader John McEwan. Gorton especially became the face of the Snedden Government, his popularity among the working class Australians and friendly persona leading many to dub him the Co-Premier among the Australian press, which would come to bite Snedden in the ass later on.

    On foreign policy the Snedden Government did not dawdle. Immediately troops were committed to Vietnam just in time for the Tet Offensive, the Australian Expeditionary Force performing admirably in Operation Dropkick later in 1970 – eight Australians winning the Victoria Cross in the vicious jungle fighting. The spate of victories and jubilation at Australia’s emerging nature as the free world’s “Defender of Oceania” won the government record approval ratings not seen since the final Menzies Government.

    However, domestic concerns began to overwhelm the initial burst in popularity. Snedden, who ended up miring himself in the events abroad – having been Minister of Immigration in the final Menzies and Holt Governments, the Indian Diaspora had consumed much of his time and worry – he was unable to prevent his cabinet from descending into infighting. The battle lines quickly hardened into a struggle between the liberal faction of Treasurer Don Chipp (favoring a fiscally conservative, social moderate agenda) and the conservatives led by Gorton and the Country Party (charting a more populist nature). Though favoring Chipp for the most part, Snedden would often be forced to play the tiebreaker between the two factions, pushing for greater monetarist policies backed by Chipp while largely giving Gorton and the Country Party free reign on defence and social policy.

    As casualties mounted in Vietnam, the splits within the Coalition erupted into the public eye over the Indian Diaspora. Snedden favored a welcoming attitude toward the former Commonwealth brethren, while Gorton was vehemently against. Debating a new immigration bill concerning them especially – which ironically had firm support among the Labor frontbench – Gorton rose and gave a speech would be world famous, the “Rivers of Blood Speech,” decrying the immigration changes. Though the bill would pass (over a quarter of a million Indians settling in Australia by 1980), the growing factionalism within the Coalition became public knowledge despite Snedden, Chipp, McEwan, and even Gorton’s efforts to keep it quiet.

    Meanwhile, the Labor Opposition had avoided turning on each other as one would assume would happen following an election loss. Untainted by the pitfalls given by the Tasmanian Labor Government’s fall, Gough Whitlam hadn’t had to really change the party, mostly the addition of moderate Labor shadow ministers Bill Hayden and Paul Keating to the frontbench and acquiescing to the Gorton rearmament. With Snedden reluctantly forced to call an election after three years, Whitlam and his party were salivating at the chance to exploit the Coalition’s splits and reclaim Parliament.

    The Government wouldn’t make it easy for them. Snedden broke out of his lethargy and campaigned hard, joined by Gorton whose folksy appeal reminded rural Australians why they voted Liberal/Country. In the face of Whitlam attacks over the Vietnam War, Snedden played up anti-Communism and the need to stand shoulder to shoulder with George Wallace and Julian Amery to fight for freedom and democracy. Whitlam countered by praising strong relations with the Commonwealth, but labeling Wallace as a brute and a racist.

    Three events in the final two weeks of campaigning swung the tight contest to Labor’s favor. First, Snedden made a critical gaffe that alienated cosmopolitan voters by saying that anti-war protestors and marchers were "political bikies pack-raping democracy." It was universally considered in bad taste, and Snedden didn’t have Gorton’s folksy charm to pull off talk like that. Second, Whitlam’s announcement that a Labor Government wouldn’t offer Independence to Australian Papua, instead making it a state in the Commonwealth, earned grudging praise from Queensland Country party leader Joh Bjelke-Petersen and helped Labor north of the Darling. Lastly, a leak to the Australian press concerning a statement made by President Wallace at a reception in the Australian Embassy in Manila, where he said “Australia, that’s my vassal in the Pacific. No commie bastard’ll mess with us cause I’ll get them to dance to my string and crush them if need be,” greatly damaged Australian-American relations. Wallace was denounced in the press (a picture of a man in rural NSW raising a middle finger to a picture of Wallace on the television appearing on every newspaper front page in the country), and Snedden was affected due to his making Wallace a centerpiece in the campaign.

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    Supporters jubilant, Whitlam was voted back to the Premiership with a solid majority, gaining seats in every state except Tasmania (the Liberals retaining ever seat once more, as part of its realignment into a conservative stronghold). The DLP won its first seat since 1967 – Maribyrnong in Victoria – gaining parliamentary representation in the House as the sole crossbencher. Proclaiming a new dawn in the nation, Whitlam was ready to complete the unfinished promises from his first Government.

    Humbled and wanting peace, Snedden resigned as Liberal leader, the title passing to John Gorton after a heated contest between him and Don Chipp.
    ---------------------------​

    Most expected Prime Minister Sydney Holland to resign following the deterioration of his health following his tireless work to resolve the Suez Crisis. However, after taking a six month sabbatical on South Island to recuperate, Holland returned to Parliament in apparently better health and won the subsequent 1957 election. For the next three years he and his allies in the National Party would continue the same course as they had for his decade as PM.

    However, by 1960 Holland’s health had deteriorated to the point of no return. Personally popular, the issue was put at the forefront by the Labour Party in their election manifesto, questioning the National Party’s competence if they could allow someone who was so obviously in ill health to lead their party. Despite Holland’s strenuous denial to the Press – “I am in excellent health” – the PM would famously keel over at two different campaign events and have to be rushed to the hospital. As expected, Labour swept into Government. Holland would later die on the day he was set to leave office, ending what was an illustrious career in the far but not forgotten corner of the British Commonwealth.

    The new Labour Prime Minister was the former Shadow Secretary for Defence Phillip Connolly. Representing the South Island seat of Dunedin Central, the WWII naval veteran entered office quite popular and well-liked by the average citizen. In the first three years the Labour caucus passed several key pieces of legislation, notably increases in social security and safety net spending and directed subsidies to improve the country’s conversion from an economy primarily exporting raw materials to one that contained an effective industrial base as well. The abolition of conscription was also viewed well by the public, and it seemed after three years that Connolly was a lock for another term against National leader Keith Holyoake.

    What was set to be an easy win was undone by the rising tide of the Social Credit Party, which found a base among culturally conservative populist voters that took issue with Labour’s perceived social liberalism. Led by the enigmatic and outspoken Vernon Cracknell, experts widely considered that a skillful campaign saw it surge in the last few days to contend for parliamentary representation.

    [​IMG]
    Chaos immediately followed the results, both Connolly and Holyoake in possession of 39 seats in the legislature and with Social Credit as the kingmaker. Holding a personal grudge against the National’s leader for dismissive comments said on the campaign trail, Cracknell never considered giving his support to Holyoake. But he didn’t state this outright to wrangle concessions from Connolly. The Second Labour Government was formed with a coalition with Social Credit, Cracknell getting the post as Minister of Justice and a commitment toward Social Credit policies regarding certain cultural issues.

    The coalition government sputtered along for the most part, Connolly getting much of his agenda passed with only limited squabbles between Labour and Social Credit. New Zealand rejected sending troops to Vietnam on Cracknell’s insistence, which was denounced by Holyoake as “Coddling of Communism.” A move by Connolly to deliver a sharp rebuke to Hendrik Verwoerd over a Rugby championship in South Africa – the South African government prohibiting two Maori players from competing – that challenge the Apartheid Government until it relented was well received by the New Zealand media.

    All of the goodwill brought on over five years in government was undone when Finance Minister Arnold Nordmeyer pushed a budget through Parliament on a party line vote (Labour and Social Credit voting yea, National voting nay) that increased taxes extensively on commodities such as petrol, alcohol, and cigarettes. Dubbed the “Black Budget” by the youthful Shadow Finance Minister Robert Muldoon, Connolly defended it as necessary to prevent the budget calamities inherited from Sydney Holland’s final years – kept back by the booming and diversifying economy increasing tax revenues – the long timespan since 1960 negated the argument for the most part.

    Just as the nation gathered for a General Election.

    [​IMG]
    Hurtling itself back into power with a one and a half point swing in its favor, Keith Holyoake finally took his seat as Prime Minister after Holland’s stubbornness kept it away a decade prior. Having campaigned hard against the National manifesto of anti-union policies and using Connolly’s home turf advantage, South Island remained firmly Labour (all National gains from North Island) but it wasn’t enough. Cracknell retained Hobson by seventy-eight votes but lost his colleague, becoming the only Social Credit Member of Parliament.

    Known as a suave politician with a diplomatic air about him, ‘Kiwi Keith’ inherited a New Zealand at a crossroads between the colonial raw material backwater of before and an emerging economy in its own right. Some decisions by him, such as the ending of compulsory unionization and the dispatch of the New Zealand Navy and military to assist the United States in Vietnam were quickly made, but Holyoake wanted something bigger to give the nation a bigger share of the Commonwealth pie. Deeming that there was little in the way of industrial expansion and the natural resource sectors were tapped out (they could only grow so much and both Holyoake and Robert Muldoon wanted to diversify so as not to risk the economy to global wool prices).

    The new Treasurer and having grown to be one of Holyoake’s trusted advisors wile in opposition, Muldoon had once been a committed Keynesian but changed his mind after a meeting with California Governor Ronald Reagan at a trade conference in Los Angeles. Willing to experiment with untested efforts at deregulation that he pointed at several US state governments as trying, Muldoon convinced Holyoake to sign aboard. The hope was to make New Zealand a trade, processing, and investment hub, the forefront of the growing service economy in order to break the dependence on the wool and mineral markets (additionally, to diversify as a refiner of raw materials as well as an exporter of them) and provide a more secure economy. The government dubbed it New New Zealand, and while Labour and Social Credit derided and denounced “Muldoonomics” as crackpot theories and dangerous to the working class, the charming Holyoake and the folksy Muldoon managed to co-opt public sentiment to their side.

    [​IMG]
    The popularity of Holyoake’s proposed “New New Zealand” initiatives and promising early results provided the party with strong gains in the expanded parliament. The moribund Labour campaign was rewarded with the lowest percentage of seats since 1931, while the backlash against the Government’s fiscal conservatism and social liberalism (the government abolishing the death penalty in 1968) rejuvenated the Social Credit Party which gained five seats. As the National Government prepared the continuation of its agenda, many wondered if New Zealand was heading towards a true three party system.

    The early sixties would be seen as a time of upheaval in the Republic of Korea. On its face a democracy, it was largely ruled by near-dictatorial President Syngman Rhee until his ouster by a pro-Democracy student uprising in 1960. Only a year later, the new government would be overthrown by a military coup which elevated Army General Park Chung-Hee to the Presidency in what was a reinstated dictatorship. It was largely accepted that any reforms to liberalize the governmental structure of the state was futile.

    Largely a benevolent dictator, Park negated any ill will of human rights violations with the implementation of robust economic growth policies that were popular with the populace. However, calls for democracy and in intense wave of demonstrations that threatened to paralyze the state in the spring and summer 1962 forced Park to acquiesce to a presidential election for October 1963. He and his advisors weren’t worried. They were confident that the people would reward them with a strong victory against former President and noted opponent of the government Yun Bo-seon, who was running on a platform of continued democracy and liberalization of the authoritarian constitution.

    [​IMG]
    Koreans – no one more than Yun himself – were stunned when the initial count and two successive recounts found that he had beaten out Park by less than 60,000 votes, South Korea choosing democracy over the appeal of a strongman. Many expected Park to dismiss the results (which he had expected to be a mandate for him) and remain President under the support of the military, but President Nixon and Secretary of State Lodge issued a statement that any US aid would be withdrawn if such an action occurred. Park subsequently conceded and accepted the results.

    While victorious, Yun knew from past experience that his government was precarious. Thusly, he adopted a flexible, gracious approach of appointing his rivals into important positions in his government (Park nabbing the Defense Ministry). While continuing democratic reforms (culmination in the adoption of the Posun Constitution in 1970), he largely coopted the policies of the military government in social and economic policy. The first Five Year Plan was authorized by the national assembly in 1964, ushering in the transformation of South Korea to a Japan-esque export economy and utilizing the trade revenue modernizing the impoverished nation.

    In what would be known as the “Miracle of the Han River,” Yun’s robust economic initiatives would launch South Korea’s almost exponential economic growth from an impoverished third world nation into a powerhouse. Termed the first of the Asian “Tiger” economies, South Korea’s policies would shamelessly be copied by Kuomintang Taiwan, Ferdinand Marcos’ Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and post-war Vietnam – all of which would see similar, if not as spectacular, returns as the region would see a spike in the average standard of living.

    While it would experience something reminiscent of its democratic neighbors, the circumstances that would surround Japan’s entrance as a first rate nation once more couldn’t be categorized as a proper Asian Tiger.

    After the political chaos of the post-war rebuilding, the ruling party soon emerged as the big-tent conservative Liberal Democratic Party. An amalgamation of populists, nationalist conservatives, and classical liberals, successive LDP prime ministers oversaw Japan’s post-war miracle as its export economy rapidly rebuilt the shattered country into one with significant economic muscle.

    The fall of the LDP could be witnessed in the struggles of the Ikeda Ministry. Taking over Japan at the tail-end of the post-war growth, Hayato Ikeda had the dream to transform the still developing nation into a modern powerhouse with both economic and social reform. Allying with the populist faction of the LDP, significant social reform including infrastructure developments, national pensions, and unemployment insurance saw themselves passed by the Diet.

    However, his economic plans to maneuver the nation from a consumer export economy to a high-tech innovation one was stymied from political developments. Growing factionalism within the LDP blocked most economic bills from passing, and the unified opposition from the emerging Japan Socialist Party under the popular leader Inejiro Asanuma resulted in large electoral losses in the 1963 elections. Ikeda was replaced by the party elders with the less committed (to economic reform at least) Eisaku Sato.

    It was then that the party splits shifted from cracks into divides, cabinet ministers beginning to squabble as Sato was unable to govern in any manner besides foreign policy (though his acquisition of a repatriation of Okinawa from President Rockefeller was widely celebrated). The signing of a security deal with the United States destroyed any support from both the left and the far right, leading to the LDP finally being toppled in the 1965 election.

    Asanuma having retired years before, the victorious Socialist Party (having entered into a Coalition with the smaller Komeito party) was led by the leftist Mosaburo Suzuki. A committed pacifist and Atlee/Bevanite socialist, he began by terminating Japanese aid in the Vietnam War and signing a generous deal with the trade unions. Economic reform was abandoned, Suzuki’s goal being the elevation of the lower classes rather than economic growth – Japan’s economy still growing significantly. Ikeda and Sato’s social reforms were continued and expanded on, universal medical care in the vein of Britain’s NHS being legislated.

    While the economy would begin to falter in 1968, the popularity of the Suzuki government made them confident even with the strong LDP effort to oust the Socialists in the ensuing general election.

    [​IMG]
    Reports of the LDP comeback were completely overblown, the party’s determined effort floundering on the shoals with yet another second place showing. However, the Socialist/Komeito coalition faltered. Suzuki and the JSP lost nearly forty seats, most of the gains being to the smattering of third parties (including, ironically, their Komeito partners) rather than the LDP. With the coalition taking a combined 237 seats they were short of a majority. With the only hope being a government with the Democratic Socialists and Communists, Suzuki’s government turned far left and dropped Komeito in exchange for the support of the others. JCP leader Kenji Miyamoto appointed to head the powerful Ministry of International Trade and Industry, socialist policies of expanding the welfare state and nationalizing key industries were doubled down and expanded to the delight of the left but to the virulent protests of leading economists.

    The second term wouldn’t be as popular as the first. Emboldened, the trade unions began to demand greater and greater concessions that even the Communists weren’t willing to accept. Strikes paralyzed the nation, public utilities and economically essential industries grinding to a halt in what was considered the “Hard Winter.” Eventually the government would begin cracking down, Suzuki not willing to jeopardize Japan’s infrastructure or the vital consumer goods industry that supplied most of Japan’s export muscle. Even still, the economy would experience a general decline as the labor disputes intensified and inflation rose.

    With the LDP leadership sluggish and still shell-shocked from their second consecutive defeat (plus a large portion of their faction agreeing with the statist economic policy), the core bases of classical liberals and traditional social conservatives began to chafe in their desire to oppose Suzuki’s government. Such created the opportunity for a fresh face to fill the void, and it would come from an unlikely source.

    Emerging out of what was clearly a destroyed nation, Yukio Mishima established himself as one of the prominent artists of post-war Japan. Starting out with short stories and novellas, his critically acclaimed novels such as Tōzoku and Utage no ato served as a launching pad for the young author to build celebrity in modern Japan. His star would alight with his 1961 epic drama Waves of the Sun, a historical novel about a farmer’s son that journeyed from an almost medieval existence to a position as an officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Battle of Tsushima. The international bestseller would win him the Nobel Prize for Literature and turn him into a household name in Japan. Mishima would later act in several films and marry famous film actress Kyōko Kagawa to bolster his name.

    As the political turmoil following the 1965 election began to truly materialize, Mishima suddenly experienced a great change in personality. While always being a black sheep in the intellectual post-war artistic community in Tokyo – a master martial artist and swordsman, he was widely known for deploring the emphasis given by intellectuals to the mind over the body – as 1966 dawned he began to become quite religious, prominently visiting the Yasukuni Shrine and writing overly nationalistic works glorifying Japan. Suddenly, in 1968 he packed his bags and took his wife on a solitary journey across all of the Home Islands and Japanese dependencies overseas.

    The journey into every facet of the society of Japanese life, using his celebrity to gain access to factories, farms, corporate boardrooms, Shinto shrines, military facilities, and everything in between. Mishima would put together a profile as to what was wrong and what would be wrong with Japanese society in the future. He grew greatly concerned with overregulation, as well as with the sordid state of women’s rights in the still traditional minded society. Though in love with traditional Japanese culture (Mishima would never wear anything but traditional garb unless the situation necessitated it ever again), his journey and previous trips to the United States and Europe would convince him that the lack of civil liberties, equality, and economic freedom was dooming Japan to material and demographic decline. His writings concerned the need for a national pride in their Emperor – who he determined needed to resume his renounced divinity – and their nation combined with a military buildup and economic revitalization modeled after monetarist policy still in its infancy across the world

    Finishing his journey just as the Suzuki coalition government began to unravel, in mid-1970 Mishima began to pursue taking his finely tuned ideas and turning them into political policy. Hiring a young LDP party activist named Junichiro Koizumi as his personal secretary, the author turned activist journeyed through Tokyo searching for like-minded political allies within the LDP and other parties. It would have looked to an outsider that the kimono-clad Mishima shifting from office to office with the similarly kimono-clad Koizumi following with a briefcase full of papers in hand was a humorous sight, more a comedic lampoon than the birth of a political movement. However, those observers would underestimate two factors: the sheer force of Mishima’s will and the collapsing nature of the Japanese political scene.

    If the Socialist/Communist/Democratic Socialist coalition was in rocky seas, the Liberal Democrats were in the middle of a roaring typhoon. The chaos of the Five Years/Five Prime Ministers period combined with five years in opposition to bring the factions of the big tent party to all out conflict. Two consecutive losses to the Socialists had convinced the party leadership to deem populist, statist policies as the way to cleave the working class from the Suzuki government, leading to the selection of Kakuei Tanaka by the party elders. As such, both the nationalist and classically liberal wings were close to open revolt – a sentiment ripe for Yukio Mishima. As Koizumi would later recall, “His voice, it had an almost magnetic quality. No one with even one point of agreement with the great author could come out of a one-on-one meeting with him without fully signing on to his cause.” After four months, Mishima had assembled a coalition of nationalists and monetarists comprising such notables as Minoru Genda, Yasuhiro Nakasone, Shintaro Abe, Takeo Fukuda, Shintaro Ishihara, and former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi.

    In February 1971, these men led a total of 23 LDP Diet members and 5 LDP executive councilors in leaving their party and forming the new Rikken Minseitō – Constitutional Democratic Party. Itself the name of the former liberal party in pre-WWII Japan, it was led by Mishima and espoused the same doctrine that was codified in the author’s Blueprint for National Restoration which became an instant bestseller in Japan upon publication just one month later.

    Initially, the left was jubilant at seeing the right fracture so thoroughly. Many within the government called on Suzuki to schedule a general election to finish off their opponents but the aging Prime Minister refrained. No one could gather from him why, and as 1971 passed into 1972 Minseito had significantly grown in popularity amongst the Japanese people. Rallies headlined by Mishima drew hundreds of thousands, cheers of “Banzai!” being heard for the first time since the end of the war as the movement swept the nation.

    A dispute over the nationalization of the nation’s steel industry caused the Democratic Socialists to break off the coalition, forcing Suzuki to call a general election for the end of the year. With Minseito competing in its first election, the resulting campaign was iconic in the nation’s history. The leader of the party went far and wide to get even the minutest of support. In a nation ruled by elderly, patrician men, the young (Mishima would turn forty-seven that year) and physically fit Mishima became a larger national sensation than he already was. His oratorical prowess directed itself at Japan’s foreign foes, the collapsing government, and the moribund and corrupt LDP, joined by the imposing figures of military hero Minoru Genda and the still popular Nobusuke Kishi. Never going anywhere without a Shinto-headband and steel katana clipped to his hip, young idealists, suburban/urban middle class, and elderly nationalists pining for the time when Japan was an emerging power flocked to the Minseito banner.

    Suzuki and the LDP opposition weren’t about to make it easy for the new party. Waging the dirtiest campaign in modern history, trade union organizers and communist gangs denounced Mishima as a dangerous war criminal, evoking the memory of the Rape of Nanking and nuclear fire to fear monger against the “dangerous reactionary” that was the author. The LDP labeled Mishima as a moral degenerate and closet homosexual (rumors of which would dog him for the rest of his life) hell bent on bringing western immorality to Japan, charges that were refuted by Mishima’s wife and Minoru Genda but that struck with traditional-minded rural voters weary of the urban intellectual.

    Looming on voter’s minds were the spectre of China and the alliance with the United States. Suzuki and the coalition favored a neutral loosening of relations with the mainland, joined in this by the LDP. Both were reasonably anti-American by now, though the Socialists more than the LDP. Minseito on the other hand was firmly pro-American, wishing to form a bulwark against communist influence that increased in support as the Cultural Revolution continued. Advised by American friends of his, Mishima had harangued and forced by popular demand the creation of a televised debate between the three party leaders. In front of a nationwide audience, the passionate, youthful energy that Mishima displayed swept aside the tired Suzuki and the ineffective Tanaka, bolstering the already substantial lead.

    As the election drew to a close, the question on everyone’s mind was whether Minseito would have the seats to form a majority government. None of the minor parties were willing to form a coalition, so talk of a “Grand Opposition” were banded about as the day arrived.

    [​IMG]
    Concerns of coalition building were moot as the two-year old new party swept into a firm and decisive majority, carrying all but two prefectures in terms of total votes and netting a majority in half. Mineito’s largest margins were from the middle-class, elderly nationalists, youth voters, and the working poor, those that were hurt the most by the faltering economy. While apocalyptic fears hadn’t materialized, the Socialists were forced back into the substantial minority of before their sixties gains. The greatest loser though would be the LDP, collapsing over a hundred seats (on top of the defections to Minseito) into near third party status – they would be relegated to populist rural voters for the most part, losing their right wing, economic conservative base to Minseito.

    Going from a private citizen to Prime Minister overnight, Mishima didn’t waste time implementing his agenda. The economic reform, deregulation, and denationalization (the creation of a service/high tech economy) were handled by the new Minister of Trade, Industry, and Resources Toshiwo Doko, the combatting of inflation and conversion to a monetarist policy aptly managed by Finance Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, free trade agreements and renewed western alliances with the US, British Commonwealth, Republic of China, and normalized relations with South Korea negotiated by Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe, and the dramatic military buildup overseen by Defence Minister Minoru Genda. Bills were introduced to amend the Constitution to restore the divinity of the Emperor, Mishima and his cabinet journeying multiple times in 1973 alone to beseech Hirohito to assume the mantle of God-Emperor once more. It would take four years of wrangling before Hirohito would accept his godhead and Minseito obtained the necessary votes to amend the Constitution accordingly.

    The Rising Sun was staking its claim to the pantheon of powers once more.
    ----------------------------------
    Governor Jimmy Hoffa: "My brothers in labor, fellow Hoosiers, and all Americans watching, we have made great strides in the last four years, putting morality and security back in government and providing the men and women of this great nation with the tools to endure. To fight back against the obscenity of poverty. However, our fight isn't finished.

    "It is my honor as Governor of the State of Indiana to introduce my personal friend, President George C. Wallace!"


    [[Loud applause as Wallace walks on stage, hugs Hoffa, and takes the podium; waves at crowd until cheering dies down]]

    President Wallace: "Well, thank you very much ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for your gracious and kind reception here in Indianapolis. I'm sure that the media took note of the reception that we've received here, and I'm very grateful to the people of this city, this state, and this nation for the opportunity to serve you as your President these last few years. I have witnessed the best of America. The vast Silent Majority that works hard every day to build and preserve this great land. That Silent Majority is you, ladies and gentlemen, and over the last three years you made your voice heard!

    "When I first ran, they dismissed our movement as a sectional one. One of bigots and hopeless anachronisms from the days of the War Between the states. But we proved the hotshot elites and corrupt plutocrats wrong. This is not a sectional movement. It's a national movement, and I am sure that those who are in attendance here tonight, especially of the press, know that our movement is a national movement and that we have an excellent chance to carry the great Hoosier State of Indiana. Not once, but twice, come November.

    “My fellow Americans, we have made great strides in continuing and expanding the vision of the great Franklin Roosevelt. A vision where all Americans are afforded not just their basic rights, but a basic standard of living where no one must go poor, or hungry, or untreated. The last four years, as well as the four years before that, have seen amazing progress, but I assure you the cause is not yet complete.


    “There is a growing scourge upon our people. One that the Guaranteed Minimum Income, that Social Security, that any of the “New Deal” or “New Horizons” or the proposed “Great Society” programs haven’t or wouldn’t fix. I’m speaking of our broken healthcare system, where millions of Americans suffer or allow their children to suffer in illness simply because they have no way to pay for treatment. This is unacceptable!

    "During my campaigns for Governor of my home state - God, those were so long ago, but they seem like yesterday to me - I met an older gentleman after a rally in Tuscaloosa. He was a simple farmer, only a little older than I am now. He was not a bigot, not a 'redneck' as the 'cultured' elites like to say. He never owned slaves, his family farming the same patch of land in Rural Alabama for the last hundred and twenty years. And he told me he was making arrangements to pass it on to his children pretty soon.


    "'Why?' I asked. 'You seem to have many years left in your life.' My fellow Americans, that hard-working man suffered from a deadly disease, the scourge of cancer, yet was unable to seek treatment. Not that it wasn't treatable, but that he just couldn't afford it. I am sad to say that he is now long dead, the victim of his untreated illness.

    "Now this, my fellow Americans, cannot be allowed to continue! I have seen the same across this great land, the same stories as that man's. Of people enduring the worst illnesses simply because their wallets aren't fat or their bank accounts aren't full! Our nation has the greatest medical care in the history of mankind, but it is out of reach to all of us. Perhaps in the days of the pioneer that was acceptable, but with the New Deal behind us it is profanity to allow any longer. The late President Harry Truman, may God rest his soul, knew so and so do I! Health care is a basic human right, one that America needs to accept in this new age.


    “The Republicans may seek to block it; the plutocrats may seek to block it; the tycoons lording over the average American from their thrones in Manhattan or Hollywood may seek to block it. The pseudo-intellectuals and the theoreticians and some professors and some newspaper editors and some judges and some preachers have looked down their nose long enough at the average man on the street: the pipe-fitter, the communications worker, the fireman, the policeman, the barber, the white collar worker, and said we must endure this scourge while they shill out from their fat wallets to cure a stubbed toe. But they aren’t those that George Corley Wallace works for. I work for you! The American people! And as your faithful servant I call for congress to work with me to pass universal health care for all!”

    [​IMG]

    -President George Wallace, AFL-CIO annual conference, Indianapolis, Indiana, April 5th, 1972-
    With Minnesota and New Hampshire out of the way, the different factions of the Republican Party had largely settled on their candidates. The Goldwater conservative wing had lined up behind John Tower, John Volpe backed by the Rockefeller (indeed, the former President would endorse Volpe) wing, and the Liberty conservatives and civil rights wing trumpeting Pete McCloskey. Roy Cohn would round out the top four on a campaign largely on his record of legislative activity and on the celebrity of his wife – Elizabeth Taylor would be a popular addition to his campaign events, drawing large crowds. Nunn and Dominick would be restricted to running as regional candidates.

    Largely running the same style campaigns as Goldwater and Keating respectively, Tower (though touched with less libertarianism that the Arizona Senator) and Volpe’s campaigns would be unremarkable policy-wise. Tower favored smaller government that kept the budget balanced, state’s rights (except in civil rights cases) intact, and spending trimmed, while Volpe favored the Eisenhower/Rockefeller watered-down New Deal consensus that was espoused by most New England Republicans. McCloskey, however, assumed a novel interpretation of the issues to blaze a new pathway through the GOP field. After Eugene McCarthy’s defection two years before, the Republican Party had largely absorbed the reasonable anti-war movement, a coalition of general pacifists and Taftite isolationists (those that wished not to go to war rather the radical SDS/Jane Fonda wing that openly rooted for the other side). A natural confrontation between them and the hawkish mainstream was considered inevitable.

    McCloksey’s message, ably articulated by the campaign team led by the eminently able Campaign Manager John Sears, remarkably fused the two issues. Famously an opponent of the war, McCloskey changed his rhetoric from decrying offensive actions into Vietnam (political poison after the Assassination of Vice President McNamara) to condemning Wallace’s conduct of the war. “How does it seem to you,” he stated to a crowd in Chicago, “When it takes more bombs than we unloaded on Germany to defeat a third world nation barely able to provide its citizens with electricity?” The LaMay Doctrine was a particularly common target for McCloskey and his surrogates, the Senator haranguing it as dangerous and overly provocative.

    In what the Senator coined ‘Projectionism’ in an interview with broadcast journalist David Brinkley, the emphasis on the conventional guerrilla wars and continuation of the draft that Wallace favored was ill-conceived. “American boys shouldn’t be engaged in a fight that Asian boys should be fighting,” he told Brinkley, favoring a robust policy of military aid and advisors, while only sending in troops for “quick and clean” campaigns as Amery did with the Yom Kippur War. Such would prevent the draining of blood and treasure in the swamps and jungles of Southeast Asia while keeping the United States strong against communism.

    Projectionism, as championed by the youthful and articulate McCloskey, would more or less fuse the McCarthyite newcomers with traditional Liberty Conservatism, drawing together McCarthy, Ronald Reagan, Mark Hatfield, and George Romney. Student leaders all delivered high-profile endorsements of McCloskey, as did Medgar Evers and the civil rights establishment. Martin Luther King would break his silence – him having been in practical retirement after the failed 1970 assassination attempt – to praise McCloskey and say “The ending of the draft is the civil rights issue of the day, something that must be done!” When the West Coast and Upper South voted in late March, the tide was clear.

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    When all was said and done, the map was rather predictable in some factors. Tower dominated in the South, losing only Mississippi – due to the Evers’ endorsement – and Florida to McCloskey. Nunn won his home state and Tennessee as a favorite son, as did Roy Cohn in the New York metro region, but both underperformed greatly. Dominick was largely eclipsed outside the Mountain West.

    The two surprises were Volpe, who failed to meet his lofty expectations, and the overperformance of McCloskey’s campaign. The West Coast being his base, McCloskey succeeded in keeping the Massachusetts Governor out of the Upper Midwest while Cohn’s New York strength kneecapped Volpe in the mid-Atlantic.

    Sears’ brilliant maneuvering and Tower’s regional dominance aside, most campaigns had fought regionally to secure blocks of loyal delegates at the convention in Baltimore (presided over by Spiro Agnew). None had truly realized what the new system had created, factors that were exploited ruthlessly by McCloskey’s campaign. Dispatching its top tier surrogates to blocks of delegates undecided or loyal to other candidates, the plurality of contests won by him weighed heavily in his favor. After the first ballot, which the California Senator won over Tower and Volpe. Nunn, Dominick, and Cohn all dropped out afterwards, publically endorsing McCloskey – Ronald Reagan having personally met with Cohn (being a former actor, Sears felt Reagan would be best to persuade Elizabeth Taylor to bring Cohn to McCloskey’s side) who held the key to the vital New York delegation.

    [​IMG]

    Buoyed by the withdrawal and support of the minor candidates, McCloskey surged on the second ballot to clinch a bare majority of the delegates – 53% to Tower’s 31% and Volpe’s 16%. Both would graciously and enthusiastically endorse the California Senator as the platform committee pushed forward a platform calling for robust civil rights laws, free enterprise policies, the reinvestment into conventional military forces, and a criticism of Wallace foreign policy brinksmanship.

    To properly appeal to the Upper South – vital swing areas – McCloskey selected Virginia Governor William L. Scott as his running mate to a cheering crowd. Youthful charm was set to clash with garrulous passion in the fall race that would set the GOP foreign policy consensus for decades.

    -----------------------------------

    [​IMG]
    Once Bobby Kennedy passed on a potential bid to accept John Marshall Harlan’s seat on the Supreme Court, George Wallace’s renomination by the Democratic Party electorate was fait accompli. The only opposition came from the two extremes of the party. McGovernite progressives that couldn’t, even after four years of rather liberal governance, stomach Wallace’s national populism cast their vote for former Kennedy Cabinet Secretary Adam Clayton Powell – who ran on a traditional leftist campaign. Diehard segregationists in the south latched onto former Dixiecrat Congressman Jesse B. Stoner, a gadfly and master of creating controversy. Good friends with former gubernatorial candidate and local VA radio personality George Lincoln Rockwell, he denounced Wallace as a race traitor and beholden to the “Jews and Niggers” rather than “White, Christian America.” Both went nowhere, Wallace cleaning up in the low turnout primaries.

    The only newsworthy item in the Democratic primaries was Wallace’s surprise call for universal healthcare, one that caused many former McCarthy 68 voters to flock back to the Democratic Party – McCloskey was considered to have strong appeal with a majority of them beforehand – and kneecapped any third party bid before it began.

    [​IMG]

    Wallace and Vice President Jackson were dutifully nominated at the Convention in Atlanta, Georgia to little resistance, the Democratic platform calling for holding the line on social issues, combating communism “both abroad and at home,” and robust domestic programs including “an effective system of nationwide healthcare.” Both candidates having staked out their general positions, the first true two-person race since Nixon v. Johnson was on.

    Gallup pegged the race out of the conventions:

    Wallace/Jackson: 49%
    McCloskey/Scott: 45%


    Practically polar opposites, the socially conservative, populist Alabaman George Wallace and the moderate, classically liberal Californian McCloskey wasted no time in attacking the other. Each well-funded and equipped with the institutional support of their parties’ infrastructure, as Labor Day passed each candidate started off their campaigns by leveling broadsides at the other – Wallace attacking McCloskey as a “Hippie-coddling radical” in Nashville, Tennessee while McCloskey lambasted Wallace as a “Trigger happy warmonger” in Chicago, Illinois.

    Both campaigns were led by who were considered the best in their fields, Wallace’s campaign by the youthful Coloradan Gary Hart and McCloskey’s by media maven John Sears. Each choreographed differing strategies for their candidates, largely mirroring the 1948 election. Sears framed McCloskey as a unifying figure, a magnanimous leader with broad appeal – while it didn’t work for Dewey, the youthful vigor that McCloskey and Scott displayed made the strategy both possible and probable.

    Wallace on the other hand went the Truman route, Hart focusing the campaign’s energy on galvanizing the New Deal Coalition. Proceeding a base-centric strategy, Wallace and Jackson crisscrossed the nation castigating McCloskey and Republicans as those that wished to coddle the various enemies of the Silent Majority of Americans – Spiro Agnew would never forgive Wallace for stealing his quote, being cited as saying “If only the days of Burr and Hamilton were still around” with regards to the President. Projectionism – Republicans were soft on the Communists. Liberty Conservatism – Republicans were soft on the racial radicals. Civil liberties – Republicans were soft on crime and the anarchists. Monetarist economic policy – Republicans wanted to gut the safety net. George Corley Wallace wasn’t going to go soft, being the man who protected the economy, destroyed North Vietnam, would bring America universal healthcare, stood firm against the USSR, and fought the radicals. While McCloskey pushed a unified vision for America, Wallace and Jackson hurled red meat targeted for the same base that elected Harry Truman in 1948 (only including the south).

    [​IMG]

    As October arrived, McCloskey and Sears reversed course. Wallace’s charges hurting them, they pivoted to a flurry of assaults on Wallace. The middling economy was one charge, McCloskey denouncing the Wallace-era tariffs as “Bloated failures,” and that “Wallace likes to compare himself to FDR. Not on trade policy though.” A national television ad prominently featured his military service in the Korean War, McCloskey bringing the fellow soldiers he served with to attest to his bravery. Endlessly mocked by Democrats, Ronald Reagan famously quipped “I prefer when they make fun of you. It means you have them by the lapel.”

    While the economy and civil rights were crucial issues, the true battles were fought over foreign and defense policy. A favorite of McCloskey’s attacks was the LeMay Doctrine, which he famously ranted as “A choice between Red Europe and Oblivion,” and pivoted to criticism of the conventional readiness of the US military against the Red Army. French head of government Jaques Massu interjected himself into the campaign, criticizing McCloskey for impugning French honor in implying Europe needed the US to defend itself (Wallace’s 35-35-30 Plan leaving much of the European defense to French responsibility). Gleeful Democrats pounced but the attack was a wash once Republicans countered with Wallace’s famous gaffe regarding the Australians. The Republicans would then step back into the hot seat when Governor Scott made an infamous gaffe where he confused the Suez Canal with the Straits of Gibraltar.

    [​IMG]

    The race would culminate in the single Presidential debate. Wallace appeared ever the fiery defender of the little guy while McCloskey largely succeeded in acting charming and gracious, though Wallace would get under his skin at times. Barbs were traded left and right, Wallace sending forth a barrage of attacks to which McCloskey calmly refuted or sent right back with angry counterattacks. One famous exchange developed when Wallace attacked McCloskey for spitting on the name of Vice President McNamara.

    Wallace: You opposed the war Senator, you opposed…

    McCloskey: I voted for the Declaration of War Mr. President

    Wallace: You opposed our efforts at every turn to defeat the Communists.

    McCloskey: Wrong, sir. I simply wanted Asian boys to stand on their own two feet, that and not wasting our military resources taking out a third world country. Vice President McNamara would have agreed with me…

    Wallace: Senator! I knew Robert McNamara. I campaigned with Robert McNamara and served with Robert McNamara. I’dve consider Robert McNamara my friend. You, sir, are not worth McNamara’s bootlace if you wouldn’t do everything necessary to defeat the scourge of Communism!

    Betting markets put Wallace as a modest favorite following the debate, but most considered that it was very much in the balance. All feared a too close to call result or winning candidate losing the popular vote after 1968.

    [​IMG]
    The election was in doubt for much of the night, but the result was set in stone after Massachusetts was called at two AM eastern time. By a modest yet solid majority in both the popular and electoral college (heartening to a country that had to endure such a close and nail-biting result four years before), George Corley Wallace had been reelected as President of the United States of America.

    Unlike previous elections, the results of 1972 showed an obvious dichotomy between the two regions of America. With only a smattering of oddities, Wallace predominated in the south, industrial Midwest, and the west while McCloskey took the northeast, West Coast, and Upper Midwest.

    The New Deal Coalition had largely held firm, working class whites and western farmers and miners staying with Wallace. With only the majority African-American counties in the south Republican red, Wallace swept his home region with a cumulative 62% of the vote, McCloskey coming closest in VA with forty-seven percent to Wallace’s forty-nine (embarrassing for Governor Scott, who failed to swing any Upper South state for the top of the ticket despite Goldwater winning two four years previously). The trio of Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan fell in his lap by just above the national average – mostly due to Hoffa’s influence in the former – and netting most of the Mountain West due to the strength of his populist message. His narrow, 2,000 vote win in MA was credited for giving him the election, the only state in New England that favored the President.

    In his loss (the third consecutive race lost by the GOP), McCloskey kept it respectable. Middle-class white collar voters went hard for the Republicans that year. African-Americans cast over 93% of their votes for him, bucking other minorities that were with Wallace. The bleeding in New England seen since Eisenhower left office was reversed, as was the catapulting of the Upper Midwest into the GOP column – Wisconsin would clock in as the second most Republican state that year giving McCloskey 61% of the vote, only eclipsed by his 74% win in Vermont. The only aberrations were a victory in Missouri and losses in Washington (applicable to Henry Jackson as Wallace’s running mate) and Hawaii to the President.

    It just wasn’t the GOP’s year. McCloskey had blazed a new path for them, but it would be left to a different candidate to carry the banner in 1976 and hopefully a victory. For now, Wallace and the New Deal Coalition had achieved yet another victory, their eighth in eleven consecutive elections. A solid mandate heading into his second term.
     
  11. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Location:
    Good ol' USA
    Aside from George Wallace’s 1968 win (more applicable to McCarthy splitting the liberal Republican vote than any Democratic strength), Delaware had morphed into a Republican base state since Richard Nixon’s presidential victory. Every statewide office and both houses of the state legislature belonged to the Grand Old Party, universally heralded as being led by incoming Republican Caucus leader, Senator J. Caleb Boggs. Margins were gained in the populous New Castle County in the north of the state (home to Wilmington). Suburbanites and blacks outvoted the government workers and traditional southerners (considered the same as heavily Democratic Eastern Shore of Maryland) in the southern counties of Kent and Sussex – though the latter would begin to trend GOP with Baltimore retirees settling into newly developed retirement communities there.

    Elected in 1968, no one expected Governor and former Congressman William V. Roth to be seriously challenged. Generally successful, the tax cuts and pro-business policies he put in place had dramatically protected the state’s economy as the national picture remained moribund. However, his approval ratings hid deep issues, mostly concerned with budget deficits and a glaring problem with how the Delaware executive branch was run. Unlike the cabinet departments of almost all other states, a maze of boards and commissions ran government operation, a move criticized by many but with Roth unwilling to change it. A series of corruption charges increased the call for changes, and Democrats smelled an opening.

    However, with the base so decimated, the only candidate willing to make the leap was New Castle County Councilman Joseph Biden – all of twenty-nine years old. DNC chairman Jimmy Hoffa was reported to chuckle at the news, national democrats writing off the race as they did with Boggs’ Senate seat and Harry Haskell’s at-large House seat.

    Biden surprised everyone. The virtually broke campaign (he’d only receive the assistance of the AFL-CIO, and that mere lip service) was managed by Biden’s sister Olivia Biden Owens and campaign manager/pollster Pat Caddell. Taking a page from now-Congressman Medgar Evers’ 1966 Senate run, Biden crisscrossed the state and simply talked to voters. The young candidate showed a surprising ability to connect with them, especially African-American voters (normally a Republican staple). He hammered home on the commissions/boards issue, along with the need for new blood in the complex switcharoo of positions that Delaware Republicans availed themselves to. A far cry from the patrician campaign of Governor Roth, largely absent from the state as a surrogate for McCloskey’s Presidential campaign.

    When a poll showed that Biden had cut a thirty point deficit to only an eight point one in two months, both state Republicans and national Democrats finally took interest. Roth planted himself back in Delaware for the rest of the campaign, but Biden had already struck a chord with the state electorate.

    By election day, prognosticators considered it jump ball between Roth and Biden.

    [​IMG]
    As the results came in, the race was called for Pete McCloskey, Senator Boggs, and Congressman Haskell minutes after the polls closed (56%, 61%, and 63% respectively). However, in an ominous sign for Republicans, the Governor’s race was too close to call. While the lead changed constantly, neither Biden nor Roth ever pulled ahead more than 2,000 votes ahead of the other. Kent County maintained a strong Biden lead all night – Sussex doing the same for the Governor. New Castle was seen as the decider. Having kept Roth ahead, at eleven PM a sudden dump of votes netted Biden a 200 vote margin, pushing him ahead in the statewide count.

    A recanvassing and a recount – and resulting legal challenges – took up most of two months. Finally, just two days before the new Governor would be sworn in, Joseph Biden was declared the winner by a mere forty-six votes. A dramatic upset, strong minorities of suburban and black voters (Biden winning nearly 38% of the latter) largely propelled the councilman’s victory. For the youthful Governor, only time would tell if he was the real deal or a one-shot wonder.
    -----------------------​

    Delaware wasn’t the only close gubernatorial race that year. While the state of Missouri had shifted widely in the last decade for national offices (senate seats switching parties three times in since 1960), Democrats maintained a strong hold on the state-level offices. Elected in 1968, Governor Edward Long had middling approval ratings. His infrastructure policies and social safety net legislation were reasonably popular, but the Days of Rage riots and a series of environmental scandals concerning industrial pollution into the Missouri River from Kansas City factories necessitated a strong GOP challenge in the form of Missouri Secretary of State Kit Bond.

    Empowered by tax-conscious suburbanites, civil rights-conscious blacks in St. Louis and Kansas City, and poor rural Republicans in the southwest of the state, Bond was nevertheless running against the light blue nature of the state, having gone for the Democrat in every election since the Great Depression (except for Dwight Eisenhower’s 1952 landslide). Long banked on Wallace’s popularity among the very swing voters that were needed to win the state, the President stumping for him on more than one occasion, while popular Senator John Danforth stumped for Bond as well.

    Unlike Delaware, all signs had pointed to a close race, and the needle hadn’t budged that much once election day arrived.

    [​IMG]
    No recount ended up necessary for Missouri, but the voters had cut it pretty close. Dominating in the traditionally Republican Ozarks, northern plains (basically an extension of Iowa), and the St. Louis metro (Long winning St. Louis itself only by dominating among the white ethnics that made up a majority at the time), Bond overcame crushing Democratic margins in the Dixie regions and the Harry Truman legacy machine in Kansas City. Largely helped by Pete McCloskey’s surprise 4,700 vote top of the ticket triumph, he would go on to be the first Republican governor in decades.

    Despite other close races in differing parts of the country (including a strong Progressive Party challenge to Governor McBride of Vermont), the only other governor’s race to switch that year would be Illinois, won by Democrat Allan J. Dixon in a tight contest in the cloud of the Daley corruption scandal, and the open seat in Texas where Democrat Lloyd Bentsen would finally win. Others would remain in their party’s hands, the main action found in congressional races.
    -------------------------​

    1960 had been a landmark year for North Carolina politics, being only the second election in the 20th Century where the Tarheel state had cast it’s ballot for a Republican nominee (the first being Herbert Hoover’s landslide in 1928). However, Richard Nixon’s narrow win hadn’t extended downballot at a statewide level. Governors elected in Presidential years, Democrats posted three consecutive wins in the three elections in and after 1960 – keeping their hold on the state’s senate seats as well. Barry Goldwater had come close to winning the state in 1968, so Republicans planned to contest the senate seat of the retiring segregationist B. Everett Jordan.

    Republicans selected Congressman John Broyhill (elected into the house on Nixon’s coattails in 1960) by a wide margin in their primary. The Democratic nomination would be far more contested, with the electorate ending in choosing local radio host Jesse Helms. A well-known celebrity in the state, Helms had been approached by Jimmy Hoffa to mount a bid on the Democratic ticket. The fact that Republicans nominated Pete McCloskey, someone Helms hated, sealed the deal for him. A traditional conservative in most aspects – the allegations in the primary calling him a Goldwater Republican in all but name – Helms possessed a colorful reputation that earned him a diehard base among the old segregationist wing of the Democratic Party. Some famous, or rather infamous, comments made on his radio program included "The negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that's thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men's rights," about the Civil Rights Act and "Crime rates and irresponsibility among negroes are a fact of life which must be faced."

    These charges were seized by Republicans to juice up turnout among black voters, seen as critical for their prospects. Helms countered by nationalizing the race, banking on President Wallace’s popularity, McCloskey’s unpopularity, and his own set of policy issues. Helms campaigned slogans included: "McCloskey/Broyhill – one and the same", "Vote for Jesse. Wallace Needs Him" and "Jesse: He's One of Us." He was largely considered the favorite for most of the campaign.

    [​IMG]
    At the vanguard of a banner year for state Democrats – Governor Nick Galifianakis winning reelection by five points and all but two congressional districts falling into the GOP column – Helms struck a hammer blow to what was a coordinated and well-funded effort to finally net a senate seat in North Carolina. The radio host posted strong margins among rural and small town whites in the east of the state and among Appalachian whites. Republicans did well among traditionally GOP areas and among urban black populations, but it wasn’t enough.

    The Broyhill campaign and other Republicans, after several counties with large African-American populations going for Helms, leveled allegations about voter suppression that were joined by civil rights groups. Despite being a Democrat, Governor Galifianakis was supportive of efforts to investigate the matter. However, the state Attorney General refused to pursue the charges, and the Wallace Justice Department wouldn’t budge either. Lead counsel for the NCGOP/NAACP plaintiffs James Meredith would then challenge the state’s voter regulations in Federal Court, leading to a massive legal challenge going all the way up to the Supreme Court in NAACP vs. Morgan striking the regulations down. The notorious and nationally known case would negate any appeal Wallace and the Democrats had with African-American voters over their fiscal policies.
    -----------------------------​

    A congressional conservative stalwart since the anti-New Deal backlash of 1938 (first in the House and then the Senate), Nebraska Senator Carl Curtis entered the year facing the strongest challenge of his career. While Nebraska was one of the strongest Republican states in the Union, President George Wallace’s brand of fiscal populism and cultural conservatism was a good fit for the high plains states. Once the GOP started to turn to the social left with the introduction of the McCarthyite Progressive wing after 1970, much of its strength in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain States began to waver.

    Unfortunately for Curtis, the Democrats had wrangled a strong candidate to challenge the normally unopposed Senator (him and his senate colleague Roman Hruska only drawing subpar opponents). First term Governor J. James Exon – being elected to the office in the GOP landslide of 1970 – was a proven entity, and rather popular among the Cornhusker electorate. Known as a fiscal and social conservative, though far less so than the Goldwateresque Curtis, the campaign ended up hinging on personality and length of service. Curtis alleged that his years of seniority would serve Nebraska quite well, while Exon turned it against the senator by arguing for new blood.

    [​IMG]
    Once all the votes were counted, Governor Exon had emerged victorious over Senator Curtis – widely considered 1972’s Lyndon Johnson – in what would be one of the Democrats’ five gains in the plains and the mountain west. The titan of the plains falling that year, Nebraska’s class II seat turning as blue as the state did on the presidential level. Having not voted Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt’s 1936 reelection, the development suggested a seismic shift in the national landscape. Before, the Great Plains had always possessed a distinct Republican tilt while the upper Midwest resisted such efforts. However, in recent elections, the mantle had seemed to turn. Wisconsin and Minnesota went for McCloskey and downballot Rs, while Kansas and Nebraska went the opposite.
    --------------------------​

    After a single six-year term, Senator Harrison Thyng grew tired of serving in the legislature and chose not to seek reelection, putting into play the one northeast Senate seat that didn’t have an incumbent running. Almost immediately former Senator Thomas McIntyre announced he would seek his old seat back – Thyng having defeated him by three percentage points in 1966 in the anti-Kennedy backlash – Democratic officials aggressively clearing the field. Such heavy handed actions caused one would-be primary challenger, Congressman Norman D’Amours (one of the few Democrats left in the upper Northeast after the 1970 GOP wave), to mount a third party bid on the Progressive line. Initially only used as a vessel for anti-Wallace liberals to make an impact on the 1968 election, the party never dissolved, merely a weak third party (except in Vermont, where it was the official opposition party to the GOP).

    After a bruising GOP primary, early favorite Rep. Louis C. Wyman was defeated by a political star recruit: NASA Astronaut and Prometheus Program member Alan Shepard. Recently retired after his journey on the second mission to the moon, Shepard found the quiet life on his New Hampshire farmhouse as quite unappealing. Bit by the political bug, he threw himself into the Senate race, drawing large crowds and the endorsements of powerful surrogates such as Ronald Reagan, the Buckleys, Roy Cohn, and Congressman Carleton Heston. While the more generic Wyman could have been defeated, Shepard’s charisma and celebrity caused most national funds to dry up for McIntyre’s campaign.

    [​IMG]
    While Republicans were never seriously threatened after D’Amours split the liberal vote, the Progressive/Democrat split masked Shepard’s strength as a candidate. The Astronaut turned politician won over the notoriously fickle Granite State voters to a strong majority – including all counties. In a terrible cycle for Republicans overall, Leader Boggs and Whip George Murphy were ecstatic to welcome a potential star as Shepard, who would make amusing headlines by keeping a moonrock he had collected aboard Prometheus 11 on the desk of his senate office.
    ------------------------​

    McCloskey’s narrow loss in the Presidential race was matched in gloom by downballot Republicans. Having won the Senate for the first time since Eisenhower’s first term, incoming Republican Leader J. Caleb Boggs watched as it all slipped away once more in the Wallace tide. Kentucky was expected, Republican Marlow Cook defeated by Democrat Walter “Dee” Huddleston in a close race for retiring Majority Leader John Sherman Cooper – New Jersey wasn’t, what was thought to be a safe GOP seat turning into a Democratic gain when Republican Clifford Case was defeated by NBA player Bill Bradley in a stunning upset. All of the Republican 1966 winners such as George Bush, John Chafee, Chuck Percy, and Howard Baker winning tight races against strong challengers, while the lone gain was recorded in Virginia with Senator William Spong defeated by former Governor A. Linwood Holton.

    What was the surprise of the night was the Democratic dominance in the Midwest and Mountain west. Only longtime Colorado Senator Gordon Allot and Alaska Senator Wally Hickel survived the blue tide that swept incumbents and open seats alike, winning Hubert Humphrey back his title as Majority Leader (though the Hube would only clinch his race in MN by three points against Republican Clark McGregor).

    [​IMG]
    In the house, the Democrats took a scythe to Republican gains in the Upper South and longtime seats in the plains and mountain states. The sole Republican to hold in the upper Rockies was Dick Cheney of Wyoming, other losses catapulting Morris Udall back to the speakership he had lost to Gerald Ford. The GOP held on to a significant minority, and were at a near lock on the Northeast and Upper Midwest, but such was the limits of their optimism.

    [​IMG]
    Wallace had what he couldn’t gain in 1968, a decisive mandate. Hopes were high in the White House that the next four years would be as generous as the last four.
    -----------------------
    As the fifties gave way to the sixties, what had to have been the most intriguing years in legal history had been entered into the nation’s case law. When Dwight Eisenhower appointed former Governor of California Earl Warren to the Supreme Court for political reasons, he never in his wildest imaginations figured the ramifications. On issues from Civil Rights (mostly beloved by Republicans), to law enforcement and civil liberties (not so loved by the same), the fundamental nature of the Warren Court sought to expand the scope of personal liberty farther than even the liberal New Deal Court was willing to acknowledge.

    [​IMG]

    Such sweeping actions were tampered slightly with President Richard Nixon’s appointments of Thomas Dewey and Warren Burger to the court (both considered largely conservative in their outlook, though Dewey held a slight social libertarian streak). They joined with Eisenhower-appointed Justices Potter Stewart and John Marshall Harlan to form a decidedly conservative block – acting as a major veto of highly liberal proposals in concert with the FDR-appointed Hugo Black.

    These examples could be seen as to how the justices applied the key avenues of change that the early Warren Court had concerned itself over. With the major Civil Rights decisions having mostly been ruled on, concern was passed on to more civil liberties concerns. Mandatory Bible readings were declared unconstitutional (except if it could be proven to have a secular reason), while the court demurred in Schell v. Bensalem Township to prohibit school directed prayer as long as it was 1) completely voluntary, 2) did not pressure non-conforming students to convert, and 3) allowed students to substitute their own prayers or customs. Free speech was expanded with regards to libel laws, but the Court upheld anti-incitation statutes under Brandenburg v. Ohio. Redistricting shenanigans were kyboshed in Baker v. Carr.

    Largely, the latter half of the Warren Court was busiest in the term of criminal justice, liberal organizations such as the ACLU seeing an opening to dramatically expand criminal rights after the landmark 1963 decision Gideon v. Wainwright. Teller v. Indiana established the exclusionary rule regarding the 4th Amendment, Benitez v. California struck down status crime statutes, Witt v. Chicago established disclosure rules, and Tomlin v. Utah created the “Tomlin Warning” standard about informing criminals of their rights to remain silent and have access to a lawyer under Gideon. However, Justice Warren Burger would draw the line in his two majority opinions (decided by the conservative block of him, Black, Harlan, Stewart, and Dewey) in Kim v. Arends, upholding the revocation of citizenship as a punishment, and Dogger v. United States, which strictly defined a person’s area of protection from unreasonable search and seizure to his “current residence or domicile.”

    [​IMG]
    Having contracted pneumonia in the winter of 1966 and generally tired, Chief Justice Warren retired in 1967 and President John F. Kennedy nominated Solicitor General Nicholas Katzenbach to replace him. While the first two years would be largely the same as the Warren Court, President Wallace’s selection of Harold Carswell to replace Hugo Black would dramatically shift the Court to the right, causing the Katzenbach court to be far less sweeping in its judicial rulings.

    Still, many landmark cases were decided. Orange v. Florida Department of Education established the “Orange test” as to whether a law is constitutional under the Establishment Clause. Carson v. Californiaestablished the test for obscenity in Potter Stewart’s majority opinion. One of the most infamous decisions was New York Times v. United States. Made an issue when the New York Times newspaper received a collection of documents known as the “Pentagon Papers,” the Wallace Administration sought to get an injunction to block it being published. First, on prior restraint (of classified documents) and second, on executive privilege (the documents containing several memos between President Wallace and SecDef LeMay).

    [​IMG]

    In the 1972 opinion written by Chief Justice Katzenbach, the Court made history by acknowledging Executive Privilege as a governmental right – however, it denied that portion of the argument. As for prior restraint, the Court ruled 5-4 that the First Amendment did not allow for the publishing of classified documents, but that the government needed to prove in a court of law that if the materials published would cause a “Clear and present danger” to American military or intelligence interests. The Pentagon Papers would later be allowed to publish subsequent to the Wallace Administration’s indictment of Daniel Ellsberg (he would later be convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison for mishandling and disclosure of classified documents).
    -------------------------​

    What had to be the most influential legal development in the early years of the Katzenbach Court concerned the right to privacy. Although it wasn’t enumerated as a right in the Constitution, the Warren Court had declared it a right in Griswold v. Connecticut, where they struck down a CT law prohibiting the sale of contraceptives. It was the first acknowledgement of the right legal scholars had been debating, but for the rest of the decade there wasn’t any further action on the subject, Warren and Katzenbach leading the other justices to deny acceptance of other privacy cases. That was until the end of the decade, and on a surprising cause.

    In 1969, Elias Henry was arrested by police in St. Cloud, Minnesota under the state’s sodomy law for consensual, homosexual intercourse. His partner managed to get immunity for testifying against a local narcotics dealer, but Henry wasn’t so lucky. He appealed his conviction in the Federal System by claiming that the sodomy statute violated the Fourteenth Amendment and the right to privacy under Griswold. The District Court upheld his conviction, as did the three-justice panel of the Eight Circuit, but an en banc decision by the Eight Circuit written by Judge Harry Blackmun reversed the prior decisions and struck down the law. Minnesota appealed, and the Supreme Court decided to hear the case.

    In what would be Byron White’s first case after his confirmation, the Supreme Court split. It would be Justice Thomas E. Dewey who wrote the majority opinion in Henry v. Minnesota, (considered to be one of the most famous actions of his entire career), joined by Katzenbach, Brennen, Marshall, and White – Harlan, Stewart, Burger, and Carswell dissenting. “The Defendant is entitled to, at the very least, privacy for his private life,” Dewey wrote. “The State cannot demean his existence or control their destiny by making his private sexual conduct a crime.” However, he hedged on the broader issue of privacy, stating that “This ruling is merely to conform to the narrow aspect of whether it is constitutional to regulate the sexual conduct of consenting adults. Absent vital state interests such as preventing prostitution (among others), there exists no greater reason to apply the right to privacy than to one of the most emotional and intimate acts in human existence.”

    Public outcry was fierce, protests held across the nation against what radio host George Lincoln Rockwell called the “Agenda of Homosexual Perversion.” Riots would later break out between them and pro-Henry counter-protestors in San Francisco and New York, the Henry Riots largely credited with the birth of the gay-rights movement in the United States (Thomas Dewey would be considered a hero to LGB advocates the world over for his ruling, which even he considered “far ahead of his time”).

    Still, the right to privacy was still very much in limbo. Griswold had entered it into the record, and Henry extended it to certain sexual matters that Harvard Professor Archibald Cox would famously write “Was so blurred that no one knew where arraignment court ended and privacy began.” No one could tell what the right to privacy entailed as a whole. That was until Jenna Hanson was denied an abortion in Bowling Green, Kentucky right after Bobby Kennedy was sworn onto the Court.

    Arguing that the right to privacy applied in this case, Hanson’s ACLU lawyers appealed to SCOTUS after the District Court and 6th Circuit denied most of her arguments. In late 1973, willing to finally put the issue to bed after nearly a decade of judicial limbo, certiorari was granted and the case was heard in December of that year.

    [​IMG]
    Justice Harold Carswell wrote the majority opinion of the Court, in which he was joined by Justices Stewart, Dewey, Burger, and White. Though having dissented on the latter, Carswell used the case before them to clarify the semi-conflicting opinions in Griswold and Henry into a general rule on privacy and the promulgation of laws that interfered with human behavior. “Given the previous rulings of this Court,” he wrote, “The fundamental nature of the privacy doctrine is the preservation of the old common law rule of ‘A man’s home is his castle.’ Therefore, it should in due course extend to all consenting and benign matters that a person or persons wish to engage in within his private dwelling.” It was then he interjected his reasoning as to uphold the Kentucky law. “However, for matters concerning life and limb, the state has every right to prevent such action from taking hold. If we declare a constitutional right to abortion for the sake of privacy, then where does it end? Does the sale or possession of illegal narcotics constitute as legal simply due to privacy? How about the crime of statutory rape, or prostitution?”

    Justice Byron White, in which he was joined by Justice Burger, wrote a concurring opinion on the matter that illustrated that if the Court reversed the 6th Circuit, it would not be expanding privacy but be creating a whole new right. “I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the judgment of reversing the lower court’s decision. The Court would then simply fashion and announce a new constitutional right for pregnant women and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invest that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes.” He also inveighed on the problem of juggling the right of the fetus over that of the mother, writing "The plaintiff in her argument values the convenience of the pregnant mother more than the continued existence and development of the life or potential life that she carries."

    Justice Robert F. Kennedy wrote a unilateral concurrence, beginning with the disclaimer that “I do believe that a woman should be able to have access to such a procedure denied her under the Kentucky statute.” He continued to state that he wouldn’t vote to overturn the law, writing that "Such a ruling would rob the people of Kentucky the very the freedom to govern themselves. Over an issue as divisive and problematic as I believe this would be, it best be decided not by judicial fiat and instead by the process of democratic government our country holds so near and dear."

    Justice William Brennen, joined by Chief Justice Katzenbach and Justice Marshall, wrote a scathing dissent. “In a line of decisions …. the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution,” Brennen wrote, continuing to say “This right of privacy …. is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. The detriment that the State would impose upon the pregnant woman by denying this choice altogether is apparent.”

    Social conservatives across the nation hailed the ruling. Liberals denounced it, but were heartened by the fact that the right to privacy had basically unanimous support from the Justices. What was called the “Carswell Test” was instituted to decide right to privacy cases regarding the state’s authority under the 10th Amendment: “benign effect” = unconstitutional while “life and limb regulation” = constitutional. Many observers felt that the broad-ranging decisions of the Warren and Katzenbach courts to expand the breadth of personal rights and liberties beyond where many considered proper was beginning to come to a halt. A welcome development from the countless decisions of the Warren Court and Dewey’s opinion in Henry.

    However, President Wallace knew that Hanson could have easily gone the other way. Worried about his legacy, political expediency forcing the White and Kennedy nominations when in reality he wished for justices similar to Carswell, the President began to scheme of a way to secure a proper legacy to preserve the moral and traditional fabric of America.
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    The morning of October 24th, 1972 was a chilly one for England. A harsh autumn wind blew south from Scotland, blanketing the burgeoning capitol city of the British Empire in unseasonable cold. However, the people were abuzz with activity and excitement. Over two million people from all across the Commonwealth crowded the streets and Trafalgar Square to witness what was transpiring. After the tragedy that hit the House of Windsor and the entire United Kingdom in the summer, all were hoping that the renewed optimism showcased with the coronation of Charles, Prince of Wales as King Charles III would lift the Kingdom from the abyss of 1972 and back into the greatness of the previous years.

    King Charles III was barely twenty-four upon his coronation, having just completed his tour of duty in the Parachute Regiment when his father, Prince Philip, was assassinated and his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, wounded by the Irish Renegades. Considered somewhat naïve by those around him, the new king would be greatly influenced by the three persons closest to him. First was his uncle, war hero of the Indian Front Lord Louis Mountbatten. Having been instrumental in Charles’ upbringing, following the Coronation he was often seen whipping the young monarch into shape and ensuring the transition from a largely laid back life into that of a statesman. Second was his wife, the Lady Julie Nixon. Daughter of the late American President Richard M. Nixon, her and the then-Prince had met while she was studying in the UK and subsequently married in what was well known as a love match. Having mostly withdrawn from the public light after a bout of depression following her father’s assassination, the soft-spoken Nixon thrust herself into being the Queen-Consort with a regal dignity that surprised many in both the UK and the United States. The people would come to adore her, as did the variety magazines in the US and most foreign leaders. Providing a softer touch along with Lord Mountbatten’s tough love, both would drag the new King into his reign rather well.

    Politically, Charles would receive his crash course in tutelage under Prime Minister Julian Amery (and his subsequent successor). Shaping a largely conservative bent, though he made sure to be completely impartial to the nation’s political leadership, by 1975 it was largely acknowledged that the King had taken to his title – vital, for Great Britain at the time had reached a major crossroads in its destiny.
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    One of the founding members of the right-wing Monday Club – which had been elevated to a position of control in the Conservative Party following Amery’s election as party leader – Julian Amery had the reputation as one of the imperialist stalwarts in Parliament. He had formed the main opposition against Harold McMillan’s plan to rush through decolonialization of the vast majority of the British Colonial Empire, and a huge proponent of Macleod’s solidifying of the Commonwealth Alliances

    Upon the victory in the 1969 election, Amery set upon fulfilling his campaign promise – and longtime policy objective – to solidify British strength as a worldwide power. Relations with the fellow Commonwealth nations were greatly strengthened, as were those with NATO Defence spending was increased by 50% from the Brown Government’s budget, three new aircraft carriers greenlit to join HMS Hood and HMS Queen Elizabeth II. Three new Army divisions were created and strategic air power expanded, largely considered to be the reason that the UK was able to fight and win in the Yom Kippur War.

    As for the issue of the colonies, even imperialists such as Amery knew that ruling the remnants of the vast empire – the Crown Colonies such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and the like – would be next to impossible in the current atmosphere. Portugal’s many problems in Angola and Mozambique loomed large in the government’s minds, no one willing to risk their political capital on a devastating counterinsurgency. As such, Amery and Margaret Thatcher – a junior cabinet member but one of Amery’s protégés – found a solution in copying parts of America’s experience in Puerto Rico.

    [​IMG]
    What emerged only months after the Conservative election victory was the Commonwealth Dominions Act. Changing the status of the entirety of the remaining Crown Colonies into “Commonwealth Dominions,” the following colonies were given full domestic autonomy under elected governments with a Parliament appointed Governor-General:

    · Hong Kong
    · Singapore
    · Honduras
    · Aden
    · Guiana
    · Gambia
    · Malta
    · North Borneo
    · Mauritius

    Each would have their foreign, defence, and trade policy controlled by Britain and be given representation within the House of Lords, but would possess colonial parliaments that governed domestic affairs free from influence from Westminster. The bill, opposed by the Liberals and all regional parties (aside from the Tory-aligned Ulster Unionists), however had the support of the leader of the opposition and most in the Labour ranks. Thusly, it sailed through Parliament in what Amery called his “early Christmas gift to the British people” and was given Royal assent not long after.

    Some hard-right members of the Monday Club or populist wings of the party fumed that other territories such as Sawarek (sold to Malaysia), Sierra Leone (given independence), or the entirety of the Aden Protectorate (all but Adan, Lahji, and Abyan governates were sold to the Yemeni Arab Republic) weren’t coopted into Commonwealth Dominions, but Amery knew not to bite off more than he could chew. He was realistic, learning from the French and Portuguese experiences (and Francoist Spain’s rather simple time holding the far less troublesome Spanish Morocco) that vast swaths of territory and resources didn’t matter. “The Commonwealth Alliance preserves our influence in those former holdings,” he famously said at a press conference. For the Government, the overarching goal was to preserve British global reach and to hold on to the most productive and least troublesome parts of the Empire, which the CDA had largely achieved.

    Sanding astride the crossroads of decolonialism and shouting halt, the Amery Ministry had preserved the British Empire. While the main issue of the day as the decade came to a close, as the 1970s continued it would be eclipsed by a crisis far closer to home.
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    Ironically, while the violence between the Republicans and Unionists in Northern Ireland was steadily increasing in tempo, it was initially thought that the 1969 election in the Republic of Ireland would be decided on more mundane matters. Elected in a large upset four years before, the incumbent Fianna Fáil government had straddled a fine line on the issues of Republicanism and relations with Britain. Taoiseach Jack Lynch saw his initially strong leadership sour over divisions within his government - largely centered between hardcore Republican Neil Blaney and anti-PIRA and social moderate Desmond O'Malley. Lynch would see some unity in domestic policy to increase social programs, but these would be panned by the O'Malley moderates. Nationalist rhetoric against harsh measures against Catholic insurgents and militias in Northern Ireland drew condemnation from Fine Gael leader Liam Cosgrave (the son of former Taoiseach W.T. Cosgrave). The main opposition party adopted an uncompromising stance on the PIRA, Blaney condemning Cosgrave as a “Peeler” and “Closet Unionist.”

    The campaign would find itself vicious. Lynch came out swinging at Cosgrave and his allies in the Labour Party (led by the popular Brendan Cornish), attacking them as soft on nationalism and dangerous economically. Wearing his leadership mantle proudly, the government cast itself as the only sane choice in the election, warning the people not to give Julian Amery any advantages as "Our brothers in Ulster prepare for the hammer to fall." Cosgrave and Cornish on the other hand targeted the government infighting of their opponents, highlighting every bit of chaos and misdirection between the different factions. Feeling that with the current problems facing Lynch it was their best time as any, Fine Gael and Labour decided to run as a team on the issues that they agreed on, creating a platform that combined a mish-mash of different policies. They would get a boost in the final month of the campaign, where both factions of the Fianna Fáil government were discredited. Blaney and the Republicans were found out to be providing secret funds to PIRA front groups through government ministries while the moderates were bound by a statement by O'Malley that implied he wished to permit regulated contraception and abortion, political poison for the socially conservative Irish electorate.

    On election day, the Opposition Coalition became the Majority Coalition, Cosgrave replacing Lynch as Taoiseach with a three vote majority.

    [​IMG]

    Cosgrave remained true to his word, socially liberal attempts to decriminalize homosexuality, remove abortion restrictions, and institute secular schooling were all rebuffed by the new government, while Labour social welfare policies were enacted among a generally fiscal conservative budget. The new Taoiseach’s pet project, a single member constituency system, sailed through despite opposition from all opposition parties and many within the Government. Cries would break out against the government's full throat dennunciation of the PIRA, new Justice Minister Cornish taking the lead in bringing many terrorists to justice for crimes against the state. With the economy improving though, Cosgrave’s popularity remained sky high.

    Abroad, the nationalism of the new government drew ire from the newly elected Amery Government. Relations between the UK and its former dominion not being the best already, Cosgrave felt that a more engaged Ireland in world affairs could temper the tension caused over the Troubles, reaching a fever pitch as the 1960s morphed into the 1970s. Cosgrave would begin his world tour, visiting the United States and the western European nations to massive goodwill. Discussions between the Taoiseach, George Wallace, and Jacques Massu led to Ireland to apply for acceptance into NATO – only for Amery and Foreign Secretary William Whitelaw to block the entry over the lack of Irish assistance in combating Republican terrorism.

    As it turned out, tension over the developing Troubles were even worse than a cursory look would’ve figured. More and more Army units deployed into Ulster – leading to greater and greater pitched battles and bloodshed – the Amery Government rushed through the passage of the Northern Ireland Act through Parliament on a party line vote. The position of Northern Ireland Executive was created to be chosen by the devolved Northern Ireland Assembly. The Executive would share executive power with the new Cabinet position of Secretary of State of Northern Ireland, Amery appointing Margaret Thatcher as the inaugural holder.

    [​IMG]
    In the first truly devolved election, the Ulster Unionist Party won a bare majority of the seats, elevating staunch-Unionist William Craig to the position of Executive. In a close second place (vote wise at least) came the nominally Unionist (though center-left on most issues) Alliance, the skillful campaigning of Oliver Napier placed them considerably ahead of the moderately Republican SDLP.

    Bill Craig brought a lightning rod of controversy to the Stormont. Loved by the diehard Unionists and Protestant working class, his garrulous demeanor and rhetorical flourishes included calling the counterculture a Soviet plot and the Civil Rights movement a political front for the IRA. Saving a particular hatred for the Republican terrorist groups, he famously stated in a speech to Stormont: "We are prepared to come out and shoot and kill. I am prepared to come out and shoot and kill, let's put the bluff aside. I am prepared to kill, and those behind me will have my full support." The statement would galvanize Unionist action against the terrorists, while Thatcher advised him to take a less belligerent front.

    Eventually, the emergence of the Renegades and the Ulster Liberation Army (another Marxist offshoot of the PIRA, though the only one to attack targets within the Republic as well as Ulster) led to further crackdowns directed by Craig and Thatcher. Amery granting direct control of the military forces there to his female protégé, the “Iron Lady,” as Jack Lynch would call her marshaled them and the Royal Ulster Constabulary in a bloody counterinsurgency campaign that sapped the strength of both sides, damaged Amery’s massive approval ratings after the Yom Kippur War, and frayed relations between the Kingdom and Republic.

    Any recalcitrance from the Irish Government in taking a stand against the PIRA, Renegades, and ULA were dashed upon the attempted assassination of the Queen. Julian Amery, knowing he had been the intended target, nevertheless lashed out in a furious floor speech in Parliament against the “Terrorist scum across the gulf.” Joined in a show of unity by all other parliamentary parties, the death of Prince Phillip and wounding of the Queen had killed all sympathy with the Republican cause in the UK and most of the United States (the main source of funding for the PIRA). Pope Paul VI denounced the move, while all other NATO nations demanded that Cosgrave deal with the Republican terror groups – only the Warsaw Pact would stay with them, which didn’t help.

    With public opinion turning against them even within Ireland itself, both Fine Gael and Labour taking up the anti-PIRA cause with relish, Lynch finally caved shortly after the coronation of King Charles. Sending the Irish Foreign Minister to London to inform Prime Minister Amery of his intention to negotiate a joint counterterrorist operation. The prospective conference hit a snag regarding where to hold it, Amery not wishing to enter Dublin due to security concerns while Cosgrave wasn’t keen on the political suicide of being seen as subservient by traveling to London. Quick thinking by US Secretary of State Richard Helms rescued the prospective summit, the two leaders meeting each other in Boston on Good Friday weekend.

    [​IMG]
    In between shared services, Cosgrave attending a Good Friday ceremony with Amery in a protestant church while Amery joined Cosgraveh for Catholic Mass on Easter, the Good Friday Agreement was hammered out between the Irish Republic, the United Kingdom, the Stormont Government, and Irish Republican leaders. In exchange for access to the Republic for British SAS, Paras, and counterterrorist units, the Irish Republic would compensate by providing intelligence and its own military and law enforcement strength to a combined effort against the Republican paramilitaries. In exchange, the rights of Catholics within Ulster would be guaranteed and the Stormont government would crack down on the Unionist paramilitaries. Ireland would also be allowed acceptance into NATO.

    With Amery and Lynch shaking hands, Richard Helms smiling in the background, the end was near for the Republican terrorist groups. Anglo-Irish forces descended on the Emerald Isle, Cosgrave’s words and influence dramatically opening up the tongues of the normally republican-aligned Irish populace. Shootouts and vicious guerrilla fighting broke out both in Ulster and the Republic, newspapers printing the latest bloody incident on their pages every day – civilians and military forces alike were targeted, Belfast, Londonderry, Cork, and Dublin all battlegrounds.

    By the end, only the East Germans and Romanians stood with the Republican terrorists after the Buckingham Palace Attack. One by one the cells withered and died – or were shipped off to prisons in County Cork or the Isle of Wight. Gerry Adams was sentenced to death for terrorism and conspiracy to commit murder, as was Billy McKee. The Renegades had largely been decapitated by the civil war between then and the Provos, while the ULA immolated themselves in vicious suicide attacks against the British and Irish authorities (once only just missing killing Taoiseach Cosgrave when he unexpectedly ducked out of the way of a sniper’s bullet; the incident would be immortalized in Frederick Forsyth’s novel Night of the Emerald). Martin McGuinness would be the only one of the leadership to survive, escaping to Libya where he would live the rest of his life. The Ulster paramilitaries would suffer too. While not the main targets of the sweeps, any atrocity committed by them was prosecuted fully – two dozen were sentenced to life imprisonment or death in the UK, while five were extradited to the Republic to face trial.

    As the last British troops rolled out of Belfast in July 1976, Operation Bombardier was considered a complete success. While the ULA would continue fighting with several low key attacks, the Troubles had largely subsided into the political sphere of the Northern Irish Parliament. When asked, Julian Amery would consider Bombardier to be his greatest achievement aside from the Commonwealth Dominions Act, both leaving Britain undisputed as a world power.

    One wouldn’t be exaggerating by describing the mood in the Labour Party as chaotic following the 1969 election disaster. Prime Minister Brown not only booted out of 10 Downing Street but also out of his constituency of Belper, the party had endured the ignominy of losing five out of the last six elections and merely spending two years out of the last eighteen in power. A grim record for any political party, Brown’s decision to stay interim leader until a leadership election would take place (after which he would enter an alcohol rehabilitation program) would keep the splits from completely engulfing the party.

    As such, the Bevanite left-wing of the party resumed its feud with the Gaitskellite right-wing of the party. Brown having straddled the divide tenuously during his time as leader, the election loss only reopened the wounds of the fifties and early sixties. The Bevanites proclaimed their belief that the party was in dire straits due to its abandoning of the rapidly changing electorate, seeking to engage with the newer socially liberal ideologies of youth and stop the slow bleeding of these voters to Eric Lubbock’s Liberals. On the other side were the Gaitskellites, believing that the flirtation with the social liberals were destroying Labour among their working-class base – Wallace-style populism was the way to go in their minds.

    Bevanites quickly rallied around Party Whip Michael Foot, an old-style socialist stalwart and well-liked by the party left. Some votes were cleaved off by the bid of former Trade Secretary Tony Benn, an economic socialist and social liberal but a proud patriot and interventionist (decrying Foot as someone that would drag Labour into “the same old Tory trap” of claiming they were soft on defence), but the left mostly rallied around Foot. On the right however, the Gaitskellites were left in the wind when prospective contender James Callaghan (not a Gaitskellite but who often made common cause with them) begged off, opting instead to continue as Shadow Foreign Secretary. No other standard bearer was forthcoming – Anthony Crosland considered too rightist while former Defence Secretary Peter Shore was a non-started due to his economic leftism and anti-NATO stance, while he would still continue his bid.

    All was rescued in the Gaistkellite camp when an unexpected name was thrown in the ring. Former Social Services Secretary Richard Crossman was a rather unique character in the Labour Party. Famous for his penchant for arguing with opposing MPs simply for the sake of arguing, Crossman fell on the Bevanite camp when it came to both economic and social issues, but couldn’t find a passion for them – thus, he was very flexible and shrewdly put together a platform that could appeal to both wings of the party based on his pet projects.

    Simply put, to many MPs, his was a refreshing take on the direction that the Labour Party needed to go. Deeming that the losses to Macleod and Amery were due not to domestic but international issues, Crossman stated in a speech at the party conference that it was time for Labour to get behind the idea of Britain as a world power, blaming Atlee’s cuts in the military as the reason the Tories had won back to back elections in the past two decades. The party instead needed to drill down to its base in domestic issues. Back socialist economics, social conservatism, and cultural liberalism (most of these would be firmly associated with Crossman, though many historians would later dispute whether he held some of those views or not). Such would engage the perfect contrast with the Amery Government (divided between Monday Club conservatives and One Nation moderates) and prevent bleeding of immigrants to the Liberals.

    [​IMG]
    Electrifying the members, Crossman rode the coattails of the Gaitskellites to a second place showing against Foot, eliminating Benn and Shore. Both throwing their weight behind Crossman, he defeated Foot in the second round and assumed the role of Leader of the Opposition. A unity shadow cabinet was appointed, Crossman reconciling with the Bevanites by appointing Benn as Shadow Chancellor – the two would develop a working friendship over the years. Labour members prayed that the newfound unity would last… and deliver them to victory.

    After the leftward shift in the UK during Clement Atlee’s six years in 10 Downing Street, many within the Conservative Party increasingly acquiesced to what was called the post-war consensus. Falling in line behind many of the policies expanding government, the goal became not rolling them back but instead managing them in a far more efficient manner. Such were the policies of the One Nation wing of the party that controlled policy discourse under Harold McMillan and Iain Macleod.

    However, Julian Amery and his Monday Club conservatives looked to repudiate such beliefs. While there was lively disagreement over the degree of fiscal conservatism to be implemented (many in the Monday Club such as J. Enoch Powell, Keith Joseph, Peter Griffiths, or a rising MP by the name of Alan Clark), Amery exploited the innate fiscal conservatism of the One Nation wing to cobble a powerful set of policies to roll back the post-war consensus. The tax burden was cut and expansive social programs and industrial subsidies that the Atlee Government implemented – to try and prop up the dying industrial towns – phased out.

    Immigration, a particular priority for the Monday Club Tories that predominated the cabinet, was capped at a very low level – prioritized for immigrants from the white dominions and Western Europe. Crossman and the Labour frontbench all opposed the measure, but the real condemnation was from Eric Lubbock and the liberals, decrying Amery and Home Secretary Peter Griffiths as racists seeking to keep non-whites as “second-class citizens.” Amery merely laughed off the accusations, replying “And so it is racist to control who comes into our borders? I had not heard.” Technology Minister Geoffrey Rippon put together plans to diversify the nation’s industry, to keep it competitive against cheaper goods coming out of Asia and West Germany. One notable decision was a move by Social Services Secretary Edward Heath to eliminate free grade school milk as a cost saving measure, many Labour and Liberal MPs decrying him as “Ted Heath, the milk thief.”

    [​IMG]
    The white whale for many in the Monday Club was the NHS. Largely considered as unassailable by previous Tory governments, Amery and Heath were determined to pare it down to size by the institution of market based reforms. Changes such as “Internal Markets,” increasing efficiency standards by repealing massive blocks of regulation and red tape, and the introduction of means testing – a graduated surcharge was instituted for those making above certain set amounts. The changes weren’t the massive gutting of the service that many conservative Tories wanted, but it was the best Amery could do given political considerations.

    His desire to avoid major controversy was dashed upon the “Winter of Discontent,” a series of massive labour and trade union strikes that devastated the nation’s essential utility services. The traditional Labour Party constituency had been frosty towards Amery since the immediate labour laws in 1969, and efforts to lower energy costs by shutting down many facilities in favor of newly built nuclear plants and other anti-labour policies had led to a debilitating series of strikes.

    [​IMG]
    Unlike with the NHS, the strikes and the subsequent economic contraction it had created drove Amery to the same level of anger and determination that governed his foreign and defence initiatives. Out of it came the Labour Freedom Act, the scope of which shocked even the most hardline Monday Club members. Private sources documenting how Amery drafted it to cripple the trade unions, it combined restrictions on strike policy with something borrowed from the American Taft-Hartley Act. Compulsory unionization would be prohibited under the act, giving all workers in the nation the ability to decide whether they wanted to join a trade union (and subsequently pay union dues).

    Spun by the government as a means to ensure individual liberty and lower costs for the working man, Labour and the trade unions went ballistic. Strikes and protests wracked the nation from Glasgow to Portsmouth in opposition to the nation. “This Government seeks nothing but the destruction of the working man in the Kingdom,” railed Richard Crossman during the parliamentary debate on the act. Despite this, the Conservatives passed the bill in mid-January to jeers and catcalls from the opposition benches. “Just wait for March!” famously shouted young Labour MP Robin Cook. The shout reflected a major worry for the Tory ranks, for there was a general election scheduled for two months later.

    With the political roller coaster that the previous five years of the Amery Government had been, high marks on foreign policy and defence were combined with unease with the hard-right turn the Tories had taken on economic issues. The Conservatives were greatly concerned that the rural and working-class voters that had voted for them due to the Macleod/Amery arguments on continued British strength would balk at the chaos following the Winter of Discontent. The NHS, labour policy, and cuts in social services actually saw the rebound of the Government’s numbers in the upper middle class areas of London, Edinburgh, and other cities where they had struggled to Labour and the Liberals. Under the leadership of Party Chairman and former Chancellor Reginald Maudling, the strategy highlighted Tory achievements on the foreign front – the Yom Kippur War, the Good Friday Agreement with Ireland, the Commonwealth Dominions Act, the establishment of a Commonwealth Joint Aerospace Facility at Alice Springs, Australia that had sent the Kingdom’s first satellite into orbit, and Britain’s continued dominance – and immigration to appeal to the heartland while only playing the major domestic policies in the well-to-do suburbs in an effort at offense.

    This strategy would have likely worked, even with the common accusations of campaign hypocrisy, had the opponent been the Labour Party of Atlee, Gaitskell, Wilson, and Brown. Instead, the party of Richard Crossman ended as a whole different animal. Selected as leader in part due to his zeroing in of national defence as a wedge issue that was destroying Labour in an increasingly nationalistic Britain, Crossman had ruthlessly pursued his strategy upon taking the reins. Every major defence expansion act had Labour making arguments in favor of it (as was the entrance into the Yom Kippur War, Crossman a strong supporter of Israel). All treaties had Crossman right alongside the Prime Minister as they were signed. Many a British soldier both at home and in combat found themselves meeting the Opposition Leader in official visits, photos appearing on the front page of the papers at home. Positioning himself as Amery’s twin on foreign and defence issues, Crossman’s strategy allowed the issue to be taken off the table and the Government’s flank on domestic concerns to be wide open. The Labour campaign attacked Amery on his anti-labour and anti-immigration policies, accusing him of stabbing the average Briton in the back. After realizing that their main wedge issue was neutralized, the Prime Minister waded into the fight head on to defend his policies.

    Caught in the middle were the Liberals. Positioned by leader Eric Lubbock as the main party for social liberals concerned about the state of the nation, Lubbock’s attacks on both Amery and Crossman drew in many disaffected voters from both parties – however, the main defectors were the social left defecting from Labour. With the Liberals rising, Crossman seemed to be betting the farm that gains among the working-class would offset these losses.

    On election night, it took about an hour before David Butler could safely call both the general swing and the election.

    [​IMG]

    For the third election in a row, the British people had cast out an incumbent government in favor of the opposition.

    As the results solidified, the Tories knew that this wasn’t the middling defeat George Brown had delivered. Losing sixty seats, Richard Crossman had instead wiped out their over two decade dominance over British politics. Gaining a dozen seats in the wealthy metropolitan areas, the rural heartland and marginal working-class neighborhoods a Tory blue since Macleod were awash in a wave of Labour red. Labour won places they had no place winning on their new strategy. Their new majority government was bedrocked on the wide crescent of the central industrial belt. Amery, gracious in defeat, could be content in the fact he had cemented the new consensus on defence and foreign policy.

    The Liberals had continued their steady gain, picking up two seats and increasing their popular vote total on the backs of leftist voters (beginning to coopt the counterculture in their ranks). However, the curtain had been lowered on Monday in Albion. Labour MPs and activists had finally achieved their goals as Richard Crossman moved into 10 Downing Street at the helm of a majority government.
     
  12. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Location:
    Good ol' USA
    [​IMG]
    Fresh off his successful reelection bid, George Wallace entered his second term with newly elected Democratic majorities in congress (narrow in the Senate, while modest in the House). After some cabinet reshuffling due to departing members – Richard Docking to the Senate, John McKiethen back to his old job as Governor of Louisiana, and John Melcher to the Governorship of Montana – what many observers felt would be a quick burst of legislative activity.

    However, the first few months were actually quite bare of major pushes in the 93rd Congress. While the Senate and House leadership was strong in the guise of Humphrey and Udall, the two merely hid the growing rift between the liberals and the populists. Liberals such as Ed Muskie and Ramsey Clark and national conservatives such as Jesse Helms and John Stennis were rather hard to corral together as the Wallace Administration was focused on a round of foreign trips – visiting Southeast Asia, East Asia, Pakistan, Iran, the White Minority Republics of Africa, Zaire, Uganda, Egypt, Israel, and all over Western Europe in barely three months – and the Republicans avoided major partisan fights while licking their wounds. Much of the legislation passed was noncontroversial and bipartisan in nature.

    Quite a strange sight after a turbulent first term of George Wallace.

    The President did not disappoint, however. In secret, Wallace had created a three-man team of Vice President Henry Jackson, HEW Secretary Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Commerce Secretary Mills Godwin to address an issue that he had rather famously promised on the campaign trail. Universal health care.

    Ever since Harry Truman, the drafting of a national health care system had been one of great priority to the left. Democratic Presidential nominees from Adlai Stevenson to Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy had their own plans. Johnson’s “Great Society” was the most expansive of them, but had been calculated to avoid being considered “socialism.” Kennedy was the first to get something passed in a deal with Republicans, Medicare, which extended government health insurance to senior citizens in a semi-privatized nature. None could make headway with anything more, mostly due to the reflexive anti-socialism from the American people and the Republican/Yellow Dog Southern bloc in the Senate and House.

    If any Democrat could succeed where the others failed, it was George Corley Wallace. Since much of the opposition was from blue collar anti-communists and conservative southerners, Wallace being one of them would go a long way to convincing them of universal healthcare. No one (except perhaps Evan Mecham, J.B. Stoner, or George Lincoln Rockwell) could accuse President Wallace of being a socialist, which was a coup for universal health care advocates. Liberals were fully on board with Wallace’s plan as could be seen with a large number of them backing him in the 1972 election – a surge in Wallace’s numbers in liberal Boston suburbs such as Cambridge, Brookline, and Newton largely considered to have given him Massachusetts and the election.

    Banding about ideas, a government-run health service such as the UK’s NHS was scrapped almost immediately. Even with Wallace’s support, it was a nonstarter among moderate Republicans and Southern conservatives – being too close to socialist/communist policies for comfort. Instead, Jackson, Moynihan, and Godwin turned to the proposed “Medicaid” policy being introduced in Australia by the reinstated Gough Whitlam and the Labor Party. Instead of a nationalized healthcare system, the practice of insurance would be nationalized. The plan conceived (with input from select members of Congress) was to subsidize treatment from medical practitioners, eligible midwives, nurse practitioners, and allied health professionals who have been issued a provider number, and create a system of public insurance that could be used in all hospitals and doctor’s visits. This would be funded via a payroll tax just like social security, and be open to all Americans. The plan was met with wide approval among the commission.

    Its unveiling would be delayed due to tragedy. On February 25th, 1973, First Lady Lurleen Wallace passed away from breast cancer, the President directly by her side in Johns Hopkins Medical Center. The nation plunged into mourning of the beloved First Lady, Wallace’s grief manifested into a fiery determination to see what would be his greatest achievement a reality. On coordination between the President, the three-man idea team, and congressional Democrats came to fruition when Senator John O. Pastore (D-RI) introduced the American Healthcare Act in April 1973.

    Reaction was immediate as it was harsh. Ronald Reagan called it “A bloated, big government mistake.” Barry Goldwater went further in stating it was the “Beginning of a slow descent into socialism.” Rather hyperbolically, James Buckley said “President Wallace should just roll up the red carpet for the Red Army tanks and get it over with.” In a speech to the nation, joined by the affable Henry Jackson, Wallace rebutted the Republican claims by calling “Amcare” a “National salvation to the scourge of unaffordability” and that those who opposed it favored the plan of “Don’t get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.” Classic George Wallace, the speech earning a famous parody by Johnny Carson and Rich Little on the Tonight Show.

    Even with the change from national health care to national health insurance, the sell to southern Democrats was a tough sale. Initially planning to seek moderate Republican votes (hoping that the northeastern Rockefeller Wing would be amenable), the outreach was shut down immediately. Not only did Ford and Boggs shut it down, but former President Nelson Rockefeller announced in a press conference that he was “100% against this headache in the making,” leading to an exodus of moderate support. Therefore, Humphrey, Thurmond, Udall, and Inouye shifted their outreach to a similarly skeptical southern caucus.

    The going was tough. What was the once formidable Solid South was in many cases only holding on by a thread, Republicans waiting for the right moment to sweep in. Such stalwart administration defenders James Eastland, Orval Faubus, Jesse Helms, Herman Talmadge, Lester Maddox, and Harry F. Byrd Jr. among others were not fond of the direction Wallace was headed – mostly for political reasons. Governor and DNC Chairman Jimmy Hoffa was tasked by the President to draft a campaign together to sell Amcare in the South. Knowing how these voters ticked from his time as President of the Teamsters Union, Hoffa’s blueprint focused on offering the saving grace of health care to the poor, the downtrodden workers who struggled to earn a living – let alone buy health insurance. Now able to sell the bill, many southern Senators now felt comfortable to jump on board.

    After months of negotiations, pressure, and several national “Health Care Tours” by Wallace and Jackson, the House finally passed Amcare in a narrow vote with several Democratic defections and zero Republican support (the single Progressive, Don Edwards, voting yea). The Senate, managing to wrangle cloture due to pork barrel sops thrown to the GOP, passed a different version on a party-line vote. After conference committee, the new bill passed the house on a smaller margin due to two Georgia Democrats balking. All was left was the Senate.

    This was looking less and less likely when Senators James Eastland (D-MS) and J. James Exon (D-NE) both declared they were changing their votes due to pressure from their home states. With fifty-one senators now opposed, Republican leaders gleefully prepared to allow cloture and defeat the bill on a regular vote.

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    It would end up being a huge miscalculation by the Republicans.

    Despite the defections of Eastland and Exon, a chorus of boos descended upon Republican Senator George Aiken (R-VT) as he cast the fiftieth vote for Amcare. The sense betrayal were obvious, conservatives such as Roman Hruska, William Dyke, and Edward Gurney heaping vitriol on Aiken’s decision to break party unity in such a massive manner. Aiken, as liberal a Republican as one could find, had been swayed by a last minute appeal by Humphrey and Jackson, his current and former senatorial colleagues. Reminded of the Progressive tradition of Teddy Roosevelt and Robert M. La Follette, he simply couldn’t vote no. With Governor Roger McBride announcing a primary challenge of him the next day, Aiken stated his intention to retire after Christmas, ending a long and distinguished career with the lasting infamy of his party. “He’s no better than Benedict Arnold or Jane Fonda,” stated Spiro Agnew, pithily capturing the consensus.

    Face a picture of relief Vice President Jackson would deploy his Constitutional role as a tiebreaker to cast the deciding vote. Amcare passed by the skin of its teeth, sent to George Wallace’s desk. The United States, after decades of work and advocacy by liberals, finally had universal health care. Applauded by the Democratic base and much of the country, Wallace was riding high. The New Deal Coalition had achieved yet another triumph, doctrine dominant for over forty years and with no one predicting such would change. The Democratic Party was secure, and it was all thanks to George Corley Wallace.

    Reality had a tendency to destroy even the loftiest of beliefs, however.

    For decades, Chicago was controlled by the powerful Daley Machine. Headed by Mayor Richard J. Daley, it had kept the city firmly in the Democratic column (netting Lyndon Johnson the state despite the national trend in the Midwest towards Richard Nixon). Even the city’s black voters were in many cases kept in line behind the machine, an extensive network of patronage, favors, and political back scratching branching out from the Mayoral Mansion to the lowest of government jobs.

    However, all of this ran smack into a brick wall in 1972. James Thompson had joined the Justice Department under the Rockefeller Administration, rising to become an Assistant US Attorney even through two terms of Democratic White Houses and known for his zealous opposition to corruption. While only conducting prosecutions of low-level individuals and public officials, Thompson blew the entire Illinois political class wide open by dropping an indictment of Mayor Daley on a plethora of charges ranging from official misuse of funds to bribe receiving. The photo of Daley screaming abuse on the FBI agents leading him in handcuffs to the waiting car made front pages across the nation.

    Republicans, sensing their chance to deal the Daley Machine a death blow (watched over by equally pensive Democrats, White House officials privately expressing a wish that Daley would just resign, which he refused to do), scrambled to find their own candidate. Such was a difficult matter, Republicans being thin on the ground in Chicago – finally, one decided to take the plunge. Two-term Congressman and star recruit Harold Washington announced his intention to run for Mayor, pledging to fight discrimination, root out corruption, cut crime rates, and improve the city’s fiscal outlook in a ten point policy agenda. He would face token opposition in the Republican Primary.

    Daley on the other hand would merely take 67% percent of the vote in the Democratic Primary, the remainder going to City Alderman Fraser Robinson (who would later switch parties following the election). A solid win without the context, but it was underwhelming compared to the god-like margins Daley was used to. The Mayor was in trouble, though in his arrogance he didn’t care as he took to the campaign trail with the same bluster he used at crushing the 1968 DNC protests. Washington stayed above the fray for most of the election, leveling snipes at Daley but allowing the indictment to speak for itself – and for surrogates like Ronald Reagan, Roy Cohn, Donald Rumsfeld, Charlton Heston, Medgar Evers, and the Buckley Brothers to handle the attacks – while he focused on a message of unity. Meanwhile, a small fry candidate who nevertheless drew considerable attention was SDS chairman and political radical William Ayers. Having secured the nomination of the Socialist Workers Party, he railed against both candidates as hacks and oppressors, and that only he could truly be counted on to have the back of the people.

    An October Surprise (in late March) dropped when the federal jury convicted Daley of ten of the twelve counts of the federal indictment. His poll numbers dropped almost immediately… into a dead heat with Washington. Such was the power of the Daley Machine. Ayers began to gain in the polls alongside Washington, netting ten percent in one by the Chicago Tribune, but he collapsed down to earth only two days before voting began after the FBI arrested him on suspicion of a series of letter bombs sent to the Pentagon. “Looks like I’m the only candidate not under criminal investigation,” Washington quipped in an interview on April 16th.

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    A titan had fallen, brought down by his own greed and hubris. Daley appealed his conviction but it was to no avail, the former Mayor sentenced to fifteen years (he would serve two before dying of a heart attack). The machine that had so dominated politics in the Windy City was crushed, Democrats scrambling to preserve what they could in the face of the election results.

    Republicans were jubilant, netting yet another big city mayoralty and earning yet another African-American success story in their column. Washington’s win largely fell on ethnic and class lines, him carrying African-Americans almost unanimously while barely getting fifteen percent of white ethnics or Spanish-Americans. Upper class voters proved the deciding vote, Midtown and the north of the city falling in his column. The political class of Chicago trembled, for a storm was coming to the Windy City. Only time would tell if Washington could finish what James Thompson started.
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    If there was ever the strangest person that could possibly be selected to tame the sheer mess that was New York City in the late sixties and early seventies, it was William F. Buckley. His only previous experience in any administrative role was as the founder of National Review. After four years where Mr. Liberty Conservative had completely revamped the nature of the Republican Party, he had been thrust into one of the most demanding and daunting positions in the entire nation. As he told his brother-in-law, L. Brent Bozell Jr., his brother James, and Roy Cohn one night at Gracie Mansion, “Sink or swim time guys. No lifeboats on this ship.”

    The outspoken and erudite commentator and intellectual began swimming and swimming hard. One of the most diverse cities in America, the tensions stoked by the Civil Rights Movement, the rise of George Wallace, and the counterculture hit New York City like the hammer of Thor. Years of cronyism during DeSapio’s tenure and further years of mismanagement by the Lindsay Administration left the city rocked with racial unrest, crippling strikes, and a municipal budget so far in the red as to “Mimic a Communist Party rally” in the words of the Mayor. The Auditor had subsequently told Buckley and the city council that the Big Apple was one year away from bankruptcy.

    Buckley wasted no time in implementing his measures. Teaming up with a coalition of councilors across the spectrum, he slashed spending across the board in near-draconian austerity measures. His main target was the city bureaucracy, which he considered “bloated and ineffectual relics” from the DeSapio and Lindsay years. One of the most infamous was his gutting of the city Department of Welfare, firing over eighty percent of the workforce – it was replaced by a far smaller department that was mainly tasked with distributing Buckley’s “Directed Charitable Investment” funds to private organizations. To head off liberal attacks, he went on local television to state that the only funds cut were overhead. The actual amount spent on welfare was the same as before. Instituting firm policies of rooting out racist views in the NYPD and an aggressive minority hiring and community policing program, blacks never wavered in their support for him – and crime rates plateaued in 1970 and steadily decreased.

    Striking municipal workers found that the gloves were off. While DeSapio was their friend, and Lindsay caved to them like a limp sock, Buckley simply fired them all if they didn’t accept reasonable compromises. Calling the union leaders “babies” he walked the pickets himself to urge the workers back to their jobs, willing to talk to anyone about the crises the city faced. Such earned him great respect among all New Yorkers, especially his giving back as good as he got in the New York City tradition of trading insults. In a rather famous television debate, Buckley nearly got in a fistfight with Jimmy Hoffa; this was repeated a year later on ABC, where he said “If you call me a Nazi again I will pop you a new one you goddamned queer,” to French philosopher Michel Foucault. New Yorkers loved him taking on a “faggot frog,” according to one community leader from Staten Island, and this being from the patrician Buckley went a long way to humanizing him from the common Democratic smear of him as an out of touch intellectual.

    While the quality of many municipal services had declined due to Buckley’s austerity measures, the economy and budget of the Big Apple had improved enough for Buckley to announce he was increasing funding steadily in 1972. Such was a welcome development to New Yorkers, and his approval ratings skyrocketed even among normally Democratic interest groups. The favorite of the African-American, Cohn, and Rockefeller machines, Buckley batted away a collection of weak challengers to claim the Republican nomination, which was joined by that of the Conservative, Independence, and Right to Life parties by unanimous acclaim. Most strong Democrats (including Congressman Hugh Carey) shying away from a kamikaze run against Buckley, the winner of the low turnout primary was Bronx Borough President Herman Badillo, the first Puerto Rican politician to win a borough-wide office in New York.

    Ignoring Badillo for the most part, Buckley focused instead on selling his policies and winning more city council seats for the Republicans. Largely shut out from the non-African American or Staten Island council seats due to gerrymandering and patronage, Buckley campaigned hard for candidates handpicked by the Buckley/Cohn-controlled Republican, Independence, and Conservative apparatuses. Meanwhile, Badillo also campaigned hard despite his long chances, attacking Buckley’s hard-handed measures while galvanizing Spanish-American turnout. In a shady move that Buckley would later say was the most shameful act of his mayoralty, Campaign Manager Roger Stone orchestrated a whisper campaign among black and white working class neighborhoods in mention of Badillo’s race without Buckley’s knowledge or approval. Nothing illegal was done, but it would only cement the Spanish-American communities as a new Democratic base in the city.

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    Buoyed by his popularity among the wealthy, middle class, Jews, and near Stalinist margins among African-American voters, William F. Buckley had acquired one of the strongest wins ever for a Republican in the Big Apple. He even did well with working class whites, the Wallace Coalition barely going for the Dems. His coattails were so extensive, that the GOP/Conservative/Independence/Right to Life/Liberal coalition took a 28-seat majority on the City Council for the first time since 1953. Largely on Spanish-American turnout, Badillo did manage to carry the Bronx with 54% of the vote, but lost every other borough to the Buckley juggernaut.

    New York City voters had placed their stamp of approval for four more years of Liberty Conservatism, and “America’s Mayor” was prepared to deliver it.
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    After the hard fought election, Governor William Scott was ready for retirement. Once considered a potential star, being raked over the coals by Wallace’s machine made him long for private life and a cushy job once more. Thus it suited him that Virginia Governors were term limited after one stint in office. As such, a competitive race was brewing.

    Virginia had a modest Republican bent as of late. GOP candidates had triumphed in every presidential race there from 1952 till 1968, taking the governorship in 1965 and 1969 while former Governor A. Linwood Holton secured the class three senate seat in 1972. However, George Wallace’s win that same year and the trend of Democrats to win all senate races previous to Holton weighed heavily, and there were no shortage of challengers to snatch the open seat of the former capitol state of the old Confederacy. Given the term limits imposed on the governor, one wouldn’t be surprised to see the two downballot elected offices of Attorney General and Lt. Governor jockeying for the nomination. In a close primary, Lt. Governor Henry Howell pulled a squeaker over Attorney General Andrew Miller for the Democratic nomination.

    Out of six candidates that ran in the Republican primary, a 27% plurality went to Virginia Supreme Court Justice John Warner. A surprising entry and even more surprising winner considering his low key nature, Warner matched the fire of the populist crusader Howell as the campaign heated up. Howell was a well-known entity, championing labor, civil rights, and economic populism while making enemies of the Byrd Organization that still controlled the Democratic Party in the state. To contrast this, Warner aimed his campaign at the growing regions of the state, the Washington suburbs, Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, and Richmond. He championed infrastructure, investment, and a series of tax cuts in what amounted to a “New Deal for Virginia” in a clever filching of FDR’s signature line. While Howell excited the rural and culturally southern voters (while earning little gratitude from the Byrd Organization, which hurt his ground game), the new transplants to the state weren’t as open to him. How were populist economics and repeal of right to work laws going to help them? Ironically, Wallace’s expansion of the federal government with the GMI and Amcare drastically increased the suburban growth.

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    The Old Dominion had provided the GOP with its third consecutive gubernatorial victory. Warner’s win was modest, a much smaller margin of victory than Scott four years earlier. However, the coattails were strong, netting Republicans the State House of Delegates by a seven seat majority (largely provided by a breakthrough in the Richmond and Hampton Roads areas in addition to the R base in the Piedmont, inner cities, and the growing Washington suburbs in NoVA).

    When looked nationwide, the off-year elections had been a promising sign for the Grand Old Party after a disappointing election cycle in 1972. Warner’s win was joined by Millicent Fenwick’s landslide reelection in New Jersey, while the major northern and western mayoral races were swept by Republicans except from the highly popular Sam Yorty in Los Angeles. Despite his victory in passing Amcare, Wallace hadn’t yet put away the opposition. If he couldn’t do it in New York and Virginia, Democrats were increasingly worried that 1972 could turn out to have been a pyrrhic victory.
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    Within the United States, United Kingdom, and the western world, three main ideological schools of thought have emerged to root themselves deeply in the political structure of said nations:

    Communonationalism: The term is a combination of "communitarianism" and "nationalism" coined by Harvard University Economist James R. Schlesinger in 1966 in his bestselling novel A New New Deal. Schlesinger would be one of the ideologies chief intellectual founders, joining Friedrich Lutz, Peter Mahon, Archibald Cox, James Dobson, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. The ideology drew its roots in both the New Deal and in the Frieburg School of ordoliberalism coming out of West Germany during the Adenauer government. It emerged in the developing schism in the United States and United Kingdom between the populist/labor factions and the social liberal factions of the Democratic and Labour Parties, a way to reconcile the two into something workable.

    Namely, communonationalists root their beliefs in the notion that humanity is generally flawed and when left to their own devices chaos, greed, deceit, and "tyranny of the strong" (to quote Schlesinger's book) are inevitable. Therefore, the people invest through democracy their interests in public officials to appoint and manage an expansive government that "serves as a proctor/warden to curb these baser instincts." Communonationalists believe in governmental regulation of the economic sector to better conform the output of free markets to an end that would benefit all, not just those on the top, while social regulation is crucial as well. Though many of the liberal-leaning holdovers disagree, the works of young evangelist Dr. James Dobson push the social regulatory aspect of communonationalism, applying the same justifications to why a great need for government to prop up and promote social morality. The nationalistic aspects of this ideology involve not just the stridendly pro-domestic/pro-allied economic mentality (economic nationalism), but extend to the foreign aspect as well. Anti-Communism is a large prong of the ideology, and Schlesinger devotes two chapters in his book to this. Echoing the policies of Defense Secretary Curtis LeMay, communonationalists believe in a robust nuclear deterrent and in a proactive foreign policy of "forward containment" by committing American troops to prop up anti-communist forces while using the nuclear deterrent to keep the Soviet Union in check. Such actions, Schlesinger wrote, would not only preserve western civilization from Marxism but also promote a sense of national identity that would bring people together.

    Such communonationalist beliefs would take root in the Anglosphere left and the European right-wing such as the French National Front, German CDU, and Japanese Liberal Democrats. Politicians would include George Wallace, Scoop Jackson, Richard Crossman, Jacques Massu, Kurt Georg Keisinger, Jimmy Hoffa, Lynn Yeakel, Lee Iacocca, John J. McKeithen, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Pat Robertson, James Callaghan, Alexander Dubcek, Jerry Falwell Jr, and Hubert Humphrey.


    Liberty Conservatism: On its way to becoming the dominant ideology of the Republican Party and Anglosphere right, Liberty Conservatism was coined in the famous Tuskegee Address by commentator and philosopher William F. Buckley. A means to reconcile traditional individualistic conservatism with the civil rights movement's expansive goals, Buckley and fellow National Review alums James Buckley, L. Brent Bozell Jr., Harry Jaffa, and Russel Kirk would be joined by other conservative thinkers John McLaughlin, Nigel Lawson, Ed Crane, Thomas Sowell, and Roger MacBride to be the intellectual godfathers of the ideology.

    Rooted in the theories of John Locke and pre-New Deal individualistic conservatism (Calvin Coolidge became a well cited figure in Buckley and Crane's novels), Liberty Conservatism takes the opposite track from the base philosophy of Communonationalism. Namely people, despite their flaws, hold an innate goodness that tempers original sin with the social underpinnings of "family, faith, and fecundity." Only when glut with power over their fellow man does a person grow truly corrupted, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely." Citing Nazism, Marxism, and Jim Crow as examples of this, Buckley and the other liberty conservatives link expansive, uncontrolled government at the root cause of pervasive corruption and oppression in society - only human liberty and robust non-governmental morality and society could truly suppress people's inner demons.

    Liberty conservatives never went as far to reject governmental power in its entirety. Obeying the Aristotle Golden Mean theory, most liberty conservative scholars felt that social regulation was a must while economic regulation should be practiced firmly but sparingly to avoid squelching the free market. The bedrock New Deal safety net was endorsed but in a semi-privatized manner to encourage competition and efficiency. Anti-communism was a bedrock, but liberty conservatives saw conventional military strength as a deterrence rather than something that should be actively used in all but serious situations Socially, they are generally socially conservative but don't like the government to be involved except in the preservation and protection of civil rights (though many right-wing advocates such as Roger MacBride feel that the government should set an example of racial equality and let society catch up).

    Largely absent in Mainland Europe apart from elements of the German CSU, Liberty Conservatism would take root in such parties as the Republican Party, Conservative Party, the Irish Fine Gael, the Australian Liberals, Canadian Progressive Conservatives, Israel's Gahal, and the political class of anti-Communist Latin America. Such politicians would include Ronald Reagan, Colin Mitchell, Pete McCloskey, Donald Rumsfeld, Margaret Thatcher, John Howard, Menachem Begin, Leslie Nielson, George Murphy, George and W. Mitt Romney, Thomas Clancy, Desmond Donnelly, Jack Kemp, and Donald Trump.


    Minaprogressivism: The term is a combination of "Minarchism" and "Progressivism." It owes its name to future Harvard University President Noam Chomsky (joining other luminaries as Normon Mailer, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Cornelius Castorides) and finds its roots in the "Bull Moose Progressivism" of Teddy Roosevelt and Robert M. La Follette Sr., non-interventionism of Robert Taft and William Langer, and the counterculture of the late 1960s and early 1970s. After the death of Robert McNamara and the high profile incidents of radical terrorism during the counterculture, the far-left found itself in an ideological crisis of purpose that Minaprogressivism filled. Dubbed as traitors and terrorists by both Liberty Conservatives and Communonationalists, they latched on to the new doctrine as a means to avoid taints of radicalism and to serve their ideological convictions.

    Embracing a non-invasive government, the underlying belief of Minaprogressivism is that government control over a person's soul (namely social and cultural conservatism championed by Communoinationalism and Liberty Conservatism) is the quickest form to destroying human identity. A person's sexual, personal, and mental faculties are inviolate, they say, and government must be as little involved as necessary in such fields. This extended to defense issues - Minaprogressivism was innately pacifist, most adherents to this philosophy acknowledging the need for a strong military but believing the isolationist tendencies of Robert Taft and their Upper Midwest base. Economically - unlike Liberty Conservatives, who felt the greatest degree of government threat in the economic sphere - Minaprogressives felt that a government committed to the pursuit of social justice in the economic sphere was admirable. Thus, many advocated a Roosevelt-style economic progressivism but one not near as expansive as those of the Communonationalists.

    Although it would be a while before the new-left established itself, Minaprogressives had already taken over the rump Progressive Party in the United States, and were gaining adherents among the British Liberals, the French Radical Party, the German FDP, the East Asian left, and the Canadian New Democrats. Adherents included George McGovern, Eric Lubbock, Dick Lamm, John Anderson, Paddy Ashdown, Edmund "Jerry" Brown, Ban ki-Moon, Paul Wellstone, and William Maher.


    One of the more novel ideologies to emerge from the west began in West Germany. The cloud of the Nazi atrocities hanging over every German in the BRD, a sense of national shame and gloom could be seen in the faces of its people. Weeping for the state of his nation and people, though knowing in his heart that they deserved it, one Gerhard Frey proposed a solution. Publishing a novel entitled Das Freiheitreich: Eine Republik Wiedergeboren (The Empire of Liberty: A Republic Reborn), he postulated that all of humanity was burdened with the evil of tyranny. Tyranny was not a specific evil shouldered by one group or the other, but a collective shame that all people bore. Through this, humanity shared a solidarity - no one group could be hung with blame because all shared it. In their desire for safety and stability, all mankind was guilty with looking towards Big Brother to grant it to them in exchange for selling their souls and freedoms.
    Tyranny, Frey wrote, was the greatest evil on earth. The only way to extinguish it and to atone for humanity's acceptance of tyranny was the creation of a state (Ein Freireich) founded and committed to preserving individual liberty and spreading freedom as "The Communist virus propagates and replicates itself in its malevolent mission."

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    Upon its publication, the novel became a worldwide bestseller and rocked the entire philosophical and political establishment to its core. It was outright banned in all Eastern Bloc nations while many European states tried to do the same thing on grounds it was neo-Nazi in origin. Such actions would fail, and help sink the Keisinger Government in Germany and only bolster Frey's profile.

    Adherents of Frey's teachings would cement themselves in the German right-wing (many in former tyrannical nations eager readers of what they believed was their atonement), the Japanese Minseito Party, elements of the Spanish Falange, a group of young Italian Communists, led by Enrico Berlinguer, and a certain young girl in the United States - in the grief after the death of her beloved father, she would pick up Frey's novel and in the process change the very destiny of the United States of America.
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    Largely began due to longstanding tensions over civil rights for minorities and women, the backlash caused by the escalation of the war in Vietnam and the election of President George Wallace (Barry Goldwater would likely have gotten much of the same problems, though decreased in ire due to his civil libertarian posture on many social issues) morphed into an explosion of leftist backlash known as the counterculture. Traditional groups such as the successors to female suffrage and the SCLC were supplanted in strength – largely due to the amount of noise made – by the “New Wave Feminist” groups, Black Jaguars, and the SDS. New figures such as Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, Huey Newton, Malcom X, and Tom Hayden. Anger against President Wallace and the increasing deaths in Vietnam.

    All came to a crashing halt with the death of Vice President McNamara during the Tet Offensive led to the final act in the Third Red Scare. After the lull in America’s fear of Communism since Joseph McCarthy’s censure, the assassination of Richard Nixon caused it to steadily build up until McNamara’s death. Anger and paranoia boiled over, leading to massive backlash against the radical groups. This resulted in a three-way splinter of the counterculture (many of which were merely anti-authoritarian youths protesting for fun and living ‘New Age’ cultures imported from the Orient). Most of the leadership stayed the course, choosing to wait out the backlash while modifying their standing – such would begin the gradual shift from radical anti-imperialism to Christian pacifism and Taftite Isolationism which were both picked up by many liberal leaders such as George McGovern and, eventually, Malcom X. A significant group followed Eugene McCarthy in an exodus of the movement for the Republican Party.

    Lastly, the most radical group chose to double down on the policies, following the lead of the European radical-left into a near paramilitary stance. Some, like the Black Jaguars or the SDS would stockpile weapons and hold protests that were a fair approximation of riots (the Days of Rage following the attempt on Martin Luther King’s life). Others would adopt a far more militant approach.

    One of these groups was the Weather Underground, popularly known as the Weathermen. Organized in secret by former SDS official William Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn, the shadowy group of loosly organized radicals issued a declaration of war upon the United States which coincided with a series of letter bombs to government offices – they killed none but wounded several.

    Such hit-and-run bombings and attacks would continue, the Capitol, FBI HQ, and Gracie Mansion being targeted especially by the organization as the FBI began to piece together the nature of the organization they faced. George Wallace, the self-declared destroyer of the radicals, stated in the 1973 State of the Union that the government would “Hunt them like the dogs they are and put them down.” And hunt them down they did, with the arrest of William Ayers for plotting to send more letter bombs to the Pentagon. Angered by the arrest of their leader, Theodore Gold, Diana Oughton, and Terry Robbins put together a plan to strike back at the government, by driving a massive truck bomb to the center of the American military – the Pentagon.

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    The sheer size and strength of the Pentagon had immunized it from much damage aside from the general vicinity of the blast area, but seventeen men and women perished and nearly 200 more were wounded. One of the dead, leading to a national day of mourning, was General Alexander Haig, the victor in Vietnam. Largely in the area by coincidence, he would suffer from a vicious belly wound from a piece of shrapnel and die six days later of liver failure. Many in the military would later recall as if the DoD had “its heart ripped out following ‘Hellfire’ Haig’s death.”

    Making headlines as the single most damaging terrorist attack on American soil to date, President Wallace authorized FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (who had by this time contracted pancreatic cancer and was only a year away from death) full latitude to destroy the Weathermen by any means necessary. In what would be documented in later Judiciary Committee hearings on Capitol Hill (and lead to over half a dozen careers ending but no arrests; the Supreme Court would refuse to throw out the convictions, punting with the assertion of “Inevitable Discovery” and “Imminent and Present Danger to the Public” authorizing police to engage in normally unauthorized conduct when lives were in imminent danger of harm, thought they would face consequences and not the investigation), FBI investigators ran a network of extrajudicial wiretaps and searches to ferret out the culprits behind the bombing and their associates. Gold, Oughton, and Robbins would be captured a month later at an apartment in Richmond, and were executed by gas chamber in 1980. The others, including Bill Ayers, would mostly be convicted of conspiracy charges and sentenced to life without parole – although Bernardine Dohrn and two others would manage escape to Che Guevara’s West Cuba and earn political asylum.

    The Weathermen weren’t the only radical group in the United States to make headlines. However, aside from Bill Ayers’ mayoral run in 1973 the only item of note they accomplished was the Pentagon bombing (blowing up a chunk of America’s Military HQ and killing Alexander Haig were significant accomplishments for a radical terrorist group, but an isolated act in the middle of half-baked idiocies and failed plots). What took the cake as the most iconic radical group – joining such luminaries as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the French Action Directe, Italian Red Brigades, and the West German Rotfrontkampferbund – was the Synergese Liberation Army or SLA.

    Defined in Webster’s dictionary as the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects, synergy was chosen as the perfect representation of the SLA’s ideology. Formed by Donald Defreeze – an escaped convict – and several other radicals in 1972, their belief was in the utilization of Foco Theory as it was conceived by Cuban General Secretary Che Guevara to foment left-wing revolution within the United States. Soon after a loose coalition of angry black militants and radical whites from among the counterculture had rallied around Defreeze. By five months after their leader’s escape from California State Prison, the group began one of the most infamous criminal rampages in American history with the robbery of a Chase Manhattan armored car in Philadelphia where a police officer and two bystanders were killed in a shootout.

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    The robbery put them in the sights of the law, but for the most part Defreeze and deputy William Harris laid low afterwards. While known to be in league with the Weathermen and militant elements of the Black Jaguars and SDS, rumors remain persistent to this day of ties between them and the San Francisco counterculture haven People’s Temple; as well as to that of the Soviet KGB and East German Stasi (this would be given extra credence by their weapons being of Warsaw Pact manufacture). Several smaller crimes to raise money and establish their clout with other paramilitary groups in the US were undertaken in the year and a half between the Chase Robbery and the next front page action – one that put the SLA on the map.

    Having immigrated to the United States from Hungary shortly after the end of the Second World War, by the early 70s Miklós "Mickey" Hargitay had become a household name in America. Known for a prominent bodybuilding and film career, his passionate and stormy marriage to renowned actress Jayne Mansfield (world famous for her starring role in the James Bond film Nautilus alongside Patrick McGoohan) earned him consistent coverage in the variety sections. Following the Hungarian contribution to the invasion of Yugoslavia, in which a childhood friend of his was killed, Hargitay began to delve into politics as an outspoken critic of Communism and the Warsaw Pact. This devotion would often lead him to conflict with his more easygoing wife, his two sons mostly agreeing with their mother while his young daughter Mariska would gravitate towards him. She would accompany Hargitay to a highly covered mission to Austria where he would meet with Hungarian dissidents in a PR move against the communist government.

    Being in September 1973, just as the SLA was beginning to search for new targets, Defreeze famously read about Hargitay’s trip in the New York Times and decided he was the perfect counter-revolutionary to make an example of. On November 6th, as Hargitay and Mansfield arrived at a restaurant in Beverly Hills, a Pontiac swerved up and an SLA solider blasted away with an Israeli Uzi submachine gun. Mansfield would be unhurt, but Hargitay would die instantly from a round through his heart. A tape containing a message from Defreeze had been released to CBS News, an ashen-face Walter Cronkite playing the SLA message to the world. Young Mariska, who idolized her father, would sink into a deep depression. Finding solace in her faith she would later state that her passion and drive began upon picking up Gerhard Frey’s Das Freiheitreich. This and the memories of her father’s causes after his death would lead her hate radicalism and communism with a fiery passion.

    Mickey Hargitay’s death would be made to look like a playground brawl with what Defreeze had cooked up next. On a cold winter’s day in February, SLA soldiers led by the General Field Marshall himself brazenly kidnapped Patricia Buckley Bozell – sister of Mayor William F. Buckley and Senator James Buckley – from outside Macy’s in New York City leading to a high speed chase in which three NYPD officers and two pedestrians were killed. On top of Harigtay’s murder, the kidnapping of the Buckleys’ sister sent shockwaves throughout America. President Wallace met with the brothers – and Brent Bozell Jr. – personally to assure them that Hoover was on the task.

    What would follow was a cat and mouse game of violence and shooting that left over a dozen SLA members dead, five in police custody, and a further trail of thirty civilian and law enforcement bodies before Defreeze was cornered in an apartment complex in Los Angeles. LAPD and FBI stormed the place and killed the seven SLA inside. Defreeze was saved for last, shot by a uniform while attempting to light a fuse for a thousand pound bomb in the basement. Patricia Buckley was rescued, appearing in a press conference in DC alongside her brothers, Director Hoover, and President Wallace.

    The SLA, reduced to about ten members under the command of General William Harris, would launch one final act of revenge. On April 25th, 1975, the team would attack President George Corley Wallace while the latter was leaving a rally in Kentucky for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendell Ford. The ten were eventually cut down by police and the Secret Service, but not before Ford was dead and Wallace was seriously wounded. He would be confined to a wheelchair for six months, arguably the period where his psyche began to deteriorate with the events of 1975 rolling in one bit at a time.

    When George Wallace insisted the gloves would come off with regards to the radicals, he meant it. Having watched the developing situations across the Atlantic in Europe, the consequences of a less than firm stance was self-evident. The Strauss Government in Germany was greatly unpopular, while the Italian Christian Democracy Government was a dead man walking. On the other side of the coin, the Amery government rode high in public opinion on its no holds barred response to the Irish Republican terrorists, managing to convince the Labour Party to join them. Wallace took from this that unless he brought the hammer down, the public would turn on him greatly.

    Thus, the gloves came off. Existing laws were prosecuted to the hilt, radical militants rooted out by the use of whatever means necessary and shipped off to the death chamber or life behind bars. The death penalty movement was reinvigorated, convincing the Supreme Court to uphold the practice in Simons v. South Carolina in 1974 and for each state in the union to pass a capital punishment law by 1977 when Michigan finally caved. Infamous groups such as the SLA or the Weathermen were ruthlessly prosecuted, while the Black Jaguars and SDS became mere shadows of what they once were.

    The single most prominent feature of the anti-radical backlash from both the Wallace Administration and the American people was the trial of actress Jane Fonda. A noted anti-war activist, she had paid a visit to North Vietnam not long after the death of Vice President McNamara and was given a gracious reception by the communist government. After delivering a propaganda address to the world, she returned to the United States and was subsequently indicted for treason by the Justice Department. While a cause celebre among the left, poll after poll showed her absolutely hated by the American people. Spiro Agnew, always the eminent barometer for the Silent Majority, put it rather bluntly: “We didn’t get to make Benedict Arnold pay for his treason. At least now we get to make Hanoi Jane pay for hers.”

    It became obvious in the trial that Fonda would be convicted, but the sentence was still very much in doubt. While the Constitution prescribed death, no one had been put to death in the US for treason or related crimes since the Rosenbergs, and even that was an anomaly. Legal commentators predicted a ten year sentence at the most. However, the discovery of new evidence tipped the scales in a way that brought the United States of America to collective rage and destroyed any bit of sympathy Fonda had with the public. While visiting Hanoi (as testified by released POWs and a former NVA Colonel flown to DC by President Khanh) Fonda had been presented to the POWs themselves. Wanting to get messages to their families out, they each palmed her a sliver of paper with such messages. She took them all without missing a beat. At the end of the line and once the camera stopped rolling, to the shocked disbelief of the POWs, she turned to the officer in charge ... and handed him the little pile of notes.

    At this point in the war, Duan’s growing insanity and brutality had led to orders at the Hanoi Hilton to take no liberties with the prisoners. Three men would subsequently die from the beatings by their captors after the incident.

    The jury soon spoke. Guilty, the sentence being death.

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    George Wallace was a man of many contradictions. Brash yet eloquent, racist yet reconciliatory, petty yet shrewd, by the end of his Presidency he was ready to hang up the highs and lows and return to a farmhouse in rural Alabama with his new wife Cornelia in cozy retirement. The one thing he hoped for, as Gary Hart recalled, was “Making sure that bitch Hanoi Jane burns in hell before I leave.” Of all the enemies he had made, Wallace hated Fonda the most, often ranting about how she was the “anti-him” to family and cabinet members alike. Henry Jackson once remarked to Richard Helms about how concerned he was regarding the President’s obsession.

    He would get his wish though. As the country prepared for the inauguration of the new President, the thirty-eight year old Jane Fonda was put to death by electric chair in the Federal Correctional Facility in Terre Haute, Indiana, name ingrained in American lore alongside Benedict Arnold. And with her in death went the radical movement. Broken and battered, many hardliners such as Tom Hayden would emigrate to West Cuba or the USSR, while others would hang up their beliefs and join their pacifist and Taftite Isolationist brethren in the steadily growing Progressive Party.

    The American left had underwent a fundamental shift toward a doctrine of libertarian socialism which what liberal thinker Noam Chomsky dubbed “Minaprogressivism,” the ramifications of which were still unknown.
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    Following the military defeat and implosion of the United Arab Republic during the October War, the only regional power – sans Israel – left in the Middle East was Imperial Iran. Ruled over by Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, Shahanshah Aryamehr Bozorg Arteštārān, the nation’s vaunted oil wealth allowed it to import all manners of western technology and advisors. Modernization was underway, building a former backwater into a regional power once more. President George Wallace would often say that Iran and Israel (with their powerful armies) were his “Unsinkable aircraft carriers right up against the Soviet underbelly.”

    However, the industrializing nation and its modern army and navy hid what was a fair amount of rot that plaugued the Iranian Monarchy and the western-style bureaucracy that managed it for them. Patronage and corruption infected the entire system like a cancer, military and domestic programs ran as massive graft schemes that funneled money into Swiss bank accounts for the senior-most officials – one famous story involved the Empress Farah declining to purchase a necklace due to the excessive price, only to hear it had been purchased subsequently by the wife of the Commander of the Imperial Navy. The following investigation resulted in rooting out eighty percent of the naval hierarchy for gross corruption, only for most of the replacements to be just as corrupt as their predecessors.

    The Shah, viewed as a strong autocrat by the West, was in reality quite a weak and middling man (unlike his father). He was persistently fearful of losing his title and uniquely unqualified to running a major country, despite the strong powers that the throne itself possessed. Advice was given by the crop of yes-men that he surrounded himself with, most of them as manipulative as snakes which only continued the corruption around him.

    As such, it was quite the shock when after the death of longtime Prime Minister Amir-Abbas Hoveyda from malaria during a state visit to Brazil when the Shah appointed Ismael Shafae to the position. A Russian Cossack rather than an Iranian (born in the former Russian Empire and a well-decorated cavalryman during WWI for the Tsar), he had been the longtime childhood companion of the Shah’s father – Reza Khan having been raised in Shafae’s father’s household. Minister of Court for nearly fifteen years, he had resisted the influence of the corrupt faction led by the Shah’s twin sister Ashraf to be appointed Foreign Minister. He would distinguish himself in that position with the promulgation of the mutual defense treaty with Pakistan and the victory in the 1967 Indo-Pakistani War. A father figure to the Shah, he would often seek out Shafae’s counsel, him being the one person who would state the unfiltered truth.

    It was into this world that he assumed the title of Prime Minister in April 1970.

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    Hated by the corrupt faction, especially Ashraf, he would keep close friends with the commander of the Imperial intelligence agency, or Savak. Assassination attempts were protected against, the Prime Minister employing his own detachment of intelligence officers headed by his nephew. While he could never truly eliminate the rot, corruption arrests rose significantly under the aegis of his handpicked military prosecutor and competent veterans of the Indo-Pakistani War were placed in positions of power within the military.

    Shafae was beloved by the people for his caring nature and devotion to their wellbeing, the Prime Minister greenlighting large expenditures to improving infrastructure and schooling for the common folk. A nationwide system for social security was established, academics brought in from the United States to assist in its establishment. However, Shafae was a diehard Monarchist and resisted any form of liberalization of the nation. Power was retained with the Shah, whose approval was needed for any of the Prime Minister’s projects.

    The alliance with the United States, renewed and even expanded under Shafae (his son-in-law being the military attaché to Washington), brought out new enemies to the crown. Not the Monarchy’s strongest allies to begin with, the Islamic clerics under the leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for a general strike in 1973 against the Government in response to the American alliances and the continued secularization of the government. The Prime Minister would have none of it, ensuring that the normally weak Shah would give the order to send in the army. The strikers were put down, usually without a shot but with several firefights breaking out. Khomeini and his associates were arrested and convicted of treason. All except for Khomeini were exiled to France (Massu agreeing to take them), the holy man executed by firing squad on Shafae’s orders. Islamist thinking in Iran had been squelched, Shafae earning the moniker Ghazaak, loosely translated as “the strong Cossack.”

    Imperial Iran at this time would be known as the “Bully of the Middle East.”

    Pan-Arabism had been dealt a terrible – some would argue a fatal blow – with the collapse of the UAR and the death of Gamal Abdel Nasser and Salah Jadid. Israel and the United Kingdom leaving in their wake what was once a hopeful movement a charred corpse, the various kingdoms and military republics that rushed in like the rising tide began the inevitable jockeying for power in the vacuum. Iran, undergoing its own internal reforms, was unwilling to meddle, and the UK and US were content as long as Israel was left alone, oil continued to flow, and the Soviets were kept out of the region. Therefore, the various governments were left to their own devices. The Arab world seemed destined to return to the days of old before the postwar revolutions.

    All of this was changed with the rise of Ba’athism. Developed largely by the writings of Syrian intellectual Michel Aflaq, the ideology dictated that the Arab people needed to be united into a socialist state founded on principles of nationalization (though no mass collectivization as seen in Stalinist USSR) and the overthrow of the old ruling classes, and supported the creation of a secular society by separating Islam from the state. The ideology presented itself as representing the "Arab spirit against materialistic communism" and "Arab history against dead reaction." After the destruction of the UAR, many Ba’athists would retool the doctrine to call for a federation of states rather than one unified state, bowing to the reality of the times.

    Ba’athism found its first test case in Syria, where it was adopted by Hafez al-Assad as the governing ideology of the post-UAR successor state. Though the intellectual founders would wish distance from either of the superpower blocs, Assad would strengthen ties with Semichastny’s Soviet Union, Jiang Qing’s China, and Indira Gandhi’s India in his move to consolidate the battered nation (Israel having nearly reached Damascus) and spread Ba’athism to the Middle East. Movements would develop in Libya, Yemen, Kuwait, Sudan, and Qatar, though the next jumping off point was undoubtedly Iraq.

    Since put under British protection since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the moribund Hashemite dynasty (related to the Jordanian Royal Family) had ruled over Iraq. Their rule, currently under King Faisal II, had not been stable. The Hashemite Kings were weak and the steady succession of coup attempts had taken their toll. Iraq in the early 1970s was mostly propped up by aid from the Anglo-American bloc, Iran, and Jordan – ripe pickings for the Ba’athists. Exiled by the Kingdom’s security forces in 1964, the Iraqi Regional Affiliate of the Ba’ath Party had squabbled for years in Damascus on who to select as a leader. Eventually, young party member and Tikrit street urchin turned revolutionary Saddam Hussein emerged out of the crowded field. Secure in his position, by late 1973 he, Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr, and Sa’dun Hammadi (allies and members of the party membership) began to plot a move to return to Iraq and overthrow the Kingdom in favor of a Ba’athist state.

    The plan was set in motion in the wee morning hours of May 27th, 1973. Having entered Iraq secretly on a diplomatic flight chartered by President Assad and the Syrian Foreign Ministry, Saddam, al-Bakr, and the others were picked up by sympathetic Iraqi Army officer, Field Marshal Abdul Araf and whisked away to a base in central Baghdad where they would wait out the day. As dusk began to set, the coup was set in motion. A battalion of mechanized infantry converged on the Royal Palace and stormed it. Bodies of the Royal Guard left in their wake, the Major in command personally executed King Faisal and the Queen, both of them sitting at dinner alone in their residence.

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    Baghdad crackling with the noises of small arms fire throughout the night of the 27th, Saddam and his allies quickly moved to seize the mantle of legitimacy after the King was proven dead. With the Crown Prince safely in Amman on a state visit, it was imperative that they establish a ‘stable’ government apparatus before he could return and marshal forces in a Civil War that the plotters knew they couldn’t win. Television and radio stations were appropriated by the plotters to control news dissemination to the public. One by one, the Arab nations of Syria, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon, Sudan, and even Egypt recognized the Ba’thist government. In the wee hours of the morning Turkey, Uganda, Angola, Zaire, and the entire Soviet/Chinese bloc joined them.

    Once the majority of the military followed within the week, the writing was on the wall. Crown Prince Abd al-Ilah never left Amman, later moving to London where he would assert his claim for the remainder of his life. Saddam was accepted as the rightful Head of State of the newly-proclaimed Republic of Iraq. Dozens of world leaders would be invited to Baghdad for his swearing in ceremony and inaugural ball, Iraq joining the ranks of the new Ba’athist movement solidifying itself on the ashes of the UAR and Nasserism.

    Saddam Hussein would inaugurate his ascension to power with a flourish. A great admirer of Stalin, the lead ranks of the party that had brought him to the Presidency were rounded up by loyal forces in a lighting purge in July. Al-Bakr, Hammadi, Talib Shabib and a dozen others were all shot on personal orders from Saddam, their ranks replaced with tribal associates from Tikrit and personal allies. The move would backfire one day, but for now, Saddam Hussein was the undisputed dictator of Iraq. The world would see far more of him.
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    Largely eclipsed by his foreign policy and governmental structural reforms, Menachem Begin’s first term as Prime Minister had accomplished quite a lot for the State of Israel. As the nation’s first rightist government, the coalition had gone a long way to liberalizing the socialist policies of the previous two decades of Mapai governments. Following these reforms and the massive victories brought by the military in the Yom Kippur War (including one third of all the custom duties of the Suez Canal), the economy boomed as Begin pushed for greater investment in infrastructure and pro-growth policies out of the Knesset. His favorability with the public skyrocketed as a result.

    With such ratings, Begin and coalition leader David Ben Gurion (former leftist and the first Prime Minister of Israel) had enough clout to push the latter’s political reform plan through the famously fractured legislature in 1972. As such, the entire landscape of the Israeli political scene had changed. Whereas a proportional system had once been, now rested a constituency first-past-the-post system modeled after the UK House of Commons. Ben Gurion had argued it for years as a means to increase governmental stability, and had gotten his wish.

    Scrambling to adjust, the clusters of political parties (mostly narrowly tailored to specific blocs of voters to take advantage of the proportional elections) began to coalesce into large consensus parties as was the hallmark in the US and UK. Gahal, Begin’s party, absorbed the National Front, Agudat Yisrael, and Poalei Agudat Yisrael while Mapai – having selected Yitzhak Rabin as its leader following Golda Meir’s election as UN Secretary General – merged with the center-left Rafi. Once the National Religious Party broke its coalition with Gahal due to the latter’s move to further deregulate the economy and eliminate consumer subsidies with the increased economic growth, Begin was forced to call a general election for 1973.

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    Standing in the exurban Jerusalem constituency of Beit Zayit, Begin led Gahal to a thumping election win in Israel’s first ever majority single-party government. Carrying all constituencies in Jerusalem and the rural regions (apart from the majority Orthodox and Hasidim constituencies), the voters had delivered a clear mandate for Begin’s proactive self-defense policy and economic/social reforms. Mapai, despite gaining seats, was greatly reduced to only a hair above a third of the Knesset. Rabin’s only saving grace was holding the line in his native Tel Aviv, the city a Mapai base as Boston was a Democratic one or Manchester was a Labour one. The National Religious Party didn’t perform as badly as expected given the change in systems, while only one of the United Arab List entered the Knesset along with an independent.

    Barely a year after the election, new defense issues began to rear their ugly head once more. While Jordan had been at peace with Israel since 1967, and Egypt was focused internally under the friendly regime of Anwar Sadat, Syria and Lebanon were another story entirely. While having muddled along under a Maronite Christian/Sunni Muslim coalition government since the French Fourth Republic left its former colony, the arrival of Yasser Arafat and the PLO from their exile from Jordan (with UAR backing) caused the government to topple into an uneasy anarchy between Christian militias and the PLO/Syrian-backed puppet rulers that controlled Beirut but little else. The Palestinians owned the entire southern third of the nation, launching rockets and periodic terrorist raids into Israel.

    Not wanting to plunge Israel into another conflict so soon after the Yom Kippur War (concentrating on settling the Sinai and Golan to turn them fully Israeli), by fall 1974 Begin had had enough. The aging and frail Ben Gurion, still soldiering on, was sent to Damascus and Beirut to try and hammer out a diplomatic solution but was rebuffed. Assad was trying to prove himself, while in Lebanon the PLO controlled the strength. After a terse phone conversation with President Wallace and Prime Minister Crossman – the US and UK being Israel’s top allies – in which their support was affirmed, Begin instructed Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and Northern Front Commander Ariel Sharon to launch Operation Cedar.

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    After IAF Phantoms and Cyclones annihilated whatever aircraft and air defenses the Lebanese, PLO, and Syrians had in Lebanon, Sharon and three divisions coordinated with the Christian Phalange militias to scythe through the Bekka Valley. PLO forces put up a dogged fight, but the outnumbered Syrians and Lebanese levies were routed at Yater and Bint Jbeil as the Israeli tank columns gunned for Beirut itself. Begin and Dayan were uncompromising in their goal: the killing of Yasser Arafat and the destruction of the PLO.

    Unlike in the Yom Kippur War, where immense US/UK/French pressure and hatred of the Nasserist, Jadidist UAR kept them neutral (plus many had their pro-western regimes replaced in coups such as Iraq and Libya), the Arab countries weren’t staying silent at this. All except Egypt and Jordan jointly sent messages to Richard Helms and James Callaghan to pressure Israel to withdraw. When these were rebuffed, the gloves came off. Five days following the invasion of Lebanon, OPEC artificially raised the price of oil to $4.50 a barrel. The 1974 Energy Crisis had begun.
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    After eight successful and widely popular years as Governor, the California economy booming well beyond the national average, Governor Ronald Wilson Reagan surprised observers by announcing he wouldn’t seek a third term as Pat Brown tried to. All expected him to try for President in 1976, but to seek it from retirement rather than from the bully pulpit of Sacramento wasn’t thought to be Reagan’s most likely option. Favored to win in a landslide, his bowing out set off a furious scramble to succeed him. Republicans rallied around his chosen successor, Congressman Barry M. Goldwater Jr. Worried about his legacy, the tax cuts, the spending reductions, the strides on civil rights, Reagan and his allies cleared the field for Goldwater – the Congressman a solid liberty conservative and strident supporter of Reagan’s agenda. One term was needed to solidify it and prevent any successor from overturning the key aspects.

    Meanwhile, the Democrats had been engaging in field clearing of their own. After the realignments and silent purging of Pat Brown loyalists between 1966 and Jesse Unruh’s Senate bid in 1968, the populist wing had largely inherited the Democratic Party from the liberal wing – granting undisputed the title of party leader to Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty. Having come within a hair of toppling Brown in the 66 primary, he begged off running four years later out of personal respect and friendship with Reagan (and the calculation that no one could defeat the Gipper). However, the colorful and socially Conservative Mayor had set up the foundation for a gubernatorial run for the last six years and took the plunge not one week after Reagan announced his retirement.

    For those on the liberal wings of both parties, the two leading candidates were as unacceptable as they were unbeatable in the primaries. Goldwater was just as purist as his Senator father – without Reagan’s pragmatic streak – while in some ways Yorty was even more conservative than the Gipper. His fiscal populism was practically Hooverian in comparison to Wallace and other national Democrats, though he tempered it with a pro-union record. As a result, immense pressure was brought to bear to find an acceptable choice for wayward liberals in search for someone they could support. Not wishing to back a hopeless challenger like in 1968, all seemed resigned to Goldwater v. Yorty until the giant in the room threw his hat in the ring for the nomination of the Progressive Party. Secretary of State Edmund Gerald "Jerry" Brown Jr.

    Pat Brown Democrats and Pete McCloskey Republicans deserting their nominees for the charismatic and youthful Jerry, Goldwater and Yorty recalibrated their campaign strategies. Instead of tacking to the center, to come out on top in the volatile three-way race they’d play to their base. Goldwater crisscrossed the state defending Reagan’s record, announcing that he’d add on more tax cuts and speed up deregulation to generate further economic growth. The African-American areas of the state were peppered with how Yorty betrayed them while Mayor of LA and how Goldwater’s record in Congress compared to it. Yorty in the meantime never let the mantle of populist crusader slip from his grasp, condemning Goldwater – but never Reagan – for being out of touch and hostile to the working man “In the fields and the factories.” Any comment about Civil Rights was shot back as a dishonest attempt to “play the race card,” which riled up downscale whites angry at accusations of racism. Brown drilled to his base as well, but with a sunny demeanor. Eschewing attacks, he painted Barry Jr. and Sammy Y. as bitter and dirty campaigners. “A Candidate You Can be Proud Of!” became Jerry’s slogan, repeated ad nauseum in liberal strongholds.

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    In the end, even Jerry Brown’s significant chunk of the vote couldn’t dislodge the McCloskey/Unruh coalition blocs. Goldwater romped in the SoCal, black areas, and the East Bay suburbs, while Yorty’s strength among rural whites and Hispanics cleaned up in the Central Valley (winning every county except for Tulare and Stanislaus), LA proper, and the north of the state. Brown, underperforming the polls, really only made a dent in his native San Francisco Bay region – getting a majority in Frisco and pluralities in six other counties.

    By just over 170,000 votes, Barry Goldwater Jr. had sent the message that the Reagan Legacy was here to stay. However, what remained to be seen was whether Barry Junior’s intended legacy would hold the same popularity as his predecessor, Yorty ready to pounce at the slightest mistake or misstep.
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    Once a solid Republican Midwestern state, Indiana had gone through a massive realignment starting in the late fifties. Both Senate seats and the governorship had fallen into the hands of the Democratic Party, several good election cycles cementing these wins. After the election of Jimmy Hoffa in 1968, his handpicked party leaders had transformed the INDP into one of the strongest political organizations in the United States, defying Republican attempts at breaking through time and time again. The reelection of Senator Vance Hartke by a 61-37% margin during the GOP headwind of 1970 was indicative of that.

    Elected in 1962 during Richard Nixon’s midterm, Senator Birch Bayh was not considered vulnerable after his rather easy reelection six years afterward. Most of the Republican base had been wiped out by Hoffa’s campaigning, the GOP holding no statewide office and only three representatives. The lone bright spot was Indianapolis, the capitol city’s educated workforce and black population keeping Republican hopes afloat. Secure in his office, popular Mayor Richard Lugar threw his hat in the ring on the standard Liberty Conservative platform that had seen success in neighboring Ohio and Illinois – a large contrast to the Kennedy liberalism of Bayh.

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    Bayh rode his coattails in the blue collar north, traditionally southern south, and swingy small towns (such as Anderson, Muncie, and Kokomo) to a solid yet unimpressive six-point margin of victory. Underperforming the general Republican baseline in most of the state, Lugar’s 62% in Marion County and total 66% in the Indianapolis Metro region vaulted him into contention for a seat no one had previously thought competitive. Midwestern Republicans, wishing to break the Hoffa Machine’s lock on the Hoosier State, quickly took notice.
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    In the four years between the Goldwater sweep of 1968 and the general collapse of 1972, the Prairie and Mountain West had swung hard to the Democratic Party. As the Republicans largely shifted from the Goldwater and William Langer brands in favor of Liberty Conservatism, the economic leftist-inclined states (most of them had large union presences) began to shift from their Republican roots to the Wallace Democratic Party. On the national level many kept voting GOP due to the latent pacifist and isolationist German and Scandinavian Immigrants not taking to the LeMay Doctrine, on the state level politicians such as George McGovern combined the new-Taftite isolationism with economic liberalism to win in the states. It was in this environment that North Dakota Lt. Governor began his challenge of longtime Senator Milton Young.

    Young, worried about his chances, decided to bow out rather than seek another term. The Republican candidate for the open seat was Congressman Mark Andrews, challenging the populist Guy on a standard Goldwater-esque platform. It had usually been enough to win North Dakota on any given year, Goldwater and McCloskey winning the state by double digits.

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    The success of “Prairie Populism” in the age of George Wallace had claimed yet another Republican scalp in the Dakotas. Taking the more populated eastern half of the state (including Fargo) and the American Indian areas – their dependence on government programs giving them a powerful incentive to vote Democratic – Guy triumphed over Andrews by a fraction over 9,000 votes. Much commentary had been made on whether Young could have held the seat had he not retired in the face of Guy’s challenge, but in the end it mattered not. Currently, only newly christened Senior Senator Clarence Brunsdale remained of the Republican Dakota congressional representation.
    --------------------------​

    While Bobby Kennedy was practically a Governor for life if he so desired, his nomination by President Wallace to the Supreme Court left a vacuum in Albany that was… rather well received by the powers to be there. The old “Three men in a room” style of governance (the Governor, Speaker of the State Assembly, and President of the State Senate) had been upset by the boy scout that was Governor RFK, and Tammany Hall, the Griffin Machine, and the Cohnites were eager to reclaim their dominant position once more. Lt. Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr, while an opponent of the state machines, wasn’t the heavyweight that Kennedy had been. Disenchanted with Albany politics and unable to find his niche as his father had fifty years previously, he announced before 1973 was up that he would be retiring rather than seeking a second term.

    Oddly for an open seat, the Democratic primary were rather sleepy affairs. The two opposing Democratic machines largely settled on a compromise ticket, that of Buffalo area State Senator and noted conservative Democrat James Griffin and Tammany Hall favorite NYC City Councilman Paul O’Dwyer. Often cross-endorsed by the Republican and Conservative parties, Griffin was considered a strong choice. With his selection the Democrats hoped to both hold the Wallace coalition and make serious ironroads in Upstate NY.

    However, the political dynasties were not easily cowed. A maze of Republican Machine hacks, Rockefeller moderates, and ambitious pols were vanquished by as much an outsider as Bobby Kennedy was in 1966 – author and former CIA Operative Kermit Roosevelt Jr. Grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, the swashbuckling yet intellectual intelligence officer was an interesting choice by the Republicans. A good friend of Iranian Prime Minister Ismael Shafae from their work instigating the 1953 Coup against the Soviet-aligned government, his work had been mostly as a foreign policy advisor and commentator since leaving the CIA (his books on Third World policy being some of the most widely read texts in the Western world). It surprised everyone when he ran for Governor rather than wait to challenge Ramsey Clark in 1976, but the Republicans quickly coalesced behind him as the race descended into a hard-fought slugging match as was common in New York politics.

    [​IMG]
    The return of the “Three men in a room” would have to wait. Banking on fond memories of his grandfather and his powerful personal story, Kermit Roosevelt took the open seat by just a hair over three points. Griffin had overperformed the Democratic baseline upstate, carrying his home region with 61% of the vote, but bombed in the vital areas in the eastern Upstate and on non-working class Long Island. Roosevelt ran strongly in the suburbs, reclaiming Teddy’s seat and ensuring a Roosevelt to Roosevelt transition for the Empire State.

    New York was one of five large states that switched governors in 1974. It, Pennsylvania, and Texas were gained by the GOP with Roosevelt, John Heinz, and John Tower (defeating incumbent Lloyd Bentsen in a rematch after the latter adopted controversial regulation policies) while Ohio and Florida went Democratic with Astronaut John Glenn and elderly legend Claude Pepper coming out of retirement. As with the general tone of Wallace’s midterms, a collective wash overall.
    -------------------------​

    After the massive uproar following his crucial vote for Amcare, longtime Senator George Aiken decided to retire rather than face a challenge from popular Governor Roger MacBride – a primary he would be hard pressed to come close in, let alone win. As such, in deep-red Vermont the open seat race was MacBride’s to lose. After being elected in 1968 on a modest plurality, the heir to Laura Ingalls Wilder bulldozed the divided opposition in two 65+ percent reelections despite – as a Goldwater Republican with a conservative record – being out of the mainstream of the state. His relationship with the moderate Republican-controlled legislature was contentious to say the least, but his campaign and legislative team was one of the best in the business and his low tax, smaller government agenda passed with popular support. No other challenger stepped up to challenge him, and he sailed unopposed through the primary.

    With the Vermont Democrats in a very sorry state – barely even competitive with seven total legislators – the party forfeited the race in favor of throwing their backing behind the candidate of the VT Progressives. While the Progressive Party across most of the nation was a miniscule force or a vehicle for top-tier candidates to avoid primaries, in Vermont the Progs had established themselves as the chief opposition to the ruling Republicans. Economically liberal but culturally libertarian, the party was far more small government than the Progs of other states, owing more to Vermont’s nature of rugged individualism than anything else. Choosing Burlington City Attorney Patrick Leahy as its nominee at the state convention, initial hopes were for hitting 42% against MacBride.

    Without Democrat spoiler candidates, the race unexpectedly tightened as it neared the home stretch. Leahy focused his ire not on the popular state Republicans, but on MacBride and the national Republicans that he was allied with. Ads compared him to Barry Goldwater and Spiro Agnew, neither popular in the state. The Governor’s numbers began to sag, considering that what Vermonters enjoyed in Montpellier didn’t seem preferable in Washington.

    [​IMG]
    For nearly three weeks following Election Day, there was no call to the race. Initial results had MacBride up by twelve votes, but a recanvas had Leahy taking a seventeen vote lead. The GOP demanded a recount, which followed with the final margin of thirty votes in the Governor’s favor. Leahy, already positioning himself for another run in two years after the near upset, graciously conceded and shook MacBride’s hand at the statehouse, sending Vermont’s most conservative Senator in decades to Washington.

    The Progressives would make themselves into a potent force despite Leahy’s loss. Killing the longtime GOP supermajorities in the legislature, former gubernatorial candidate Thomas Salmon took the Governor’s mansion by three points to succeed MacBride. Two party rule was restored in the Green Mountain State, only the opposition to the Republicans not being the same as nationally. An anomaly only applicable to Vermont, or an ominous trend? Only time would tell.
    -------------------------​

    Contrary to Republican hopes and Democratic fears, the fabled “six year itch” never materialized. The elections were a wash, plain and simple. In the senate, Republican gains in Illinois (James Thompson defeating Adlai Stevenson III due to goodwill from his conviction of Richard Daley) and Dan Evans defeating longtime Senator Warren Magnuson in Washington state tempered by the Democratic victories in the open seats of ND (William Guy), SD (Richard F. Kneip), and NH (John Durkin). The one crucial factor that distinguished this election was the solidifying of the political coalitions around a central ideology: the Democrats around what was being called Communonationalism (the combination of communitarianism and nationalism; social conservatism, a robust nuclear and interventionist military might, and New Deal economics) while the vast majority of Republican candidates rallied around Projectionism and Liberty Conservatism (fiscal conservatism, the use of conventional military might as deterrence and foreign aid to fight communism, and a hybrid social conservatism/pro-civil rights platform). Most left-libertarians, diehard Kennedy liberals, pacifists, and social liberals began to feel shut out and disconnected from their party’s apparatuses.

    [​IMG]
    In the House, Republicans gained a modest number of seats in a recovery from the 1972 drubbing. The days of the New Deal or even the Kennedy years were long gone, the Democrats unable to build commanding majorities anymore. Still, as Speaker Udall would remark to those worriers in his caucus, “A majority is a majority.”

    [​IMG]
    Popularity with Wallace’s passage of Amcare had largely subsided into general malaise over the stalling economy, though his near assassination at the hands of the SLA and the October Surprise of the Lebanon War and the Oil Crisis sent Wallace’s numbers up just in time for the midterms – America was rallying around the flag, though the time frame would be rather short if the President didn’t fix things soon.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
  13. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Location:
    Good ol' USA
    “The tune stuck in Sloane’ ear, a goddamned earworm that refused to leave his head. Luckily for his perceived sanity, it wasn’t as if the others crowded into the dive bar sipping their beers weren’t deaf to the song, it having been played on the radio on a loop for the last thirty minutes. Weird, but the Portuguese people had gotten used to weird – such as the weird that was a life of waiting for the latest body bag to arrive from the colonies. A nation that had been at peace for so long now plunged into conflict. It had sapped whatever innocence they felt in the plains of Angola and the swamps of Mozambique… the consequences of which Sloane would soon fucking see.
    “As such, he was the only one in the bar who flinched when the clap of a field gun boomed from the direction of the Presidential Palace…”


    Above is an excerpt from Hunter J. Thompson’s bestselling semi-autobiography A Red Carnation, detailing his vacation turned Pulitzer Prize-winning junket into the middle of one of the Cold War’s hottest moments. It was through his writings that the West would get an inside look into what would become known as the “Carnation Revolution.”

    It started in Lisbon on April 25th, 1975 at 12:20 AM, when Rádio Renascença broadcast "Grândola, Vila Morena,” a banned-song in Estado Novo Portugal. This was the signal that the Armed Forces Movement gave to take over strategic points of power in the country and "announced" that the revolution had started and nothing would stop it except "the possibility of a regime's repression.” Tanks and other armored vehicles would take to the streets, what forces loyal to the government of António de Oliveira Salazar and his allies having been deployed to Mozambique and Portuguese Guinea to fight the communist-aligned rebels, darting towards important governmental and communication centers. Whatever loyal forces were sidelined by massive crowds of demonstrators, waving crimson flags of the outlawed Portuguese Communist Party – the leaders directing the demonstrators’ actions from the safety of the Soviet Embassy.

    By dawn the regime had fallen, Salazar and dozens of other government bigwigs fleeing to the single loyal military base remaining near the capitol – luckily for them, a naval one, hopping on a Navy cruiser bound for Luanda. The Armed Forces Movement and their Communist Allies in the “National Salvation Junta” had taken control of Portugal.

    [​IMG]
    The causes of the military coup all rested in the vast expanse of the Portuguese Colonial Empire – the economy actually doing well, though the prohibition of labor unions and lack of basic worker’s rights laws caused little of that growth to trickle down, it concentrated in the colonies and in the wealthy portions of the metropole. What had been a pervasive euphoria amongst the populace after the victory in Angola had largely dissipated by 1975. Triumph stiffening the resolve of the Estado Novo Government, Colonial Command under General Kaulza de Arriaga was given a blank check to destroy the guerilla forces in Portuguese Guinea and Mozambique. Men and material were thrown into Africa with wild abandon in Vietnam-esque attrition campaigns to break the back of the communist-backed insurgents FRELIMO (Mozambique) and PAIGC (Guinea).

    By 1975, it was clear that neither would collapse as had the MPLA in Angola. In neither colony did the rebel groups have rivals the Portuguese could ally with, and the Soviets had strong pipelines to the insurgents through friendly regimes on the borders. When Portugal strategically pulled out of Guinea in September 1974 after losing a total of 10,000 casualties since Angola was won, morale in the Metropole took a nose dive. Salazar, holding on to power despite a stroke early in 1972, and his ministers expanded conscription and began further crackdowns on civil liberties in response.

    Promises of liberal reforms promised as the Angola War was winding down were thusly reneged to shock and anger among much of the bureaucracy and exhausted military. A group of young army officers under the aegis of Chief of the General Staff Antonio de Spinola began to plot against the Estado Novo government. Desperate for outside aid (nations such as the US, UK, France, and Francoist Spain not options), the MFA turned, against Spinola’s advice, to the Soviet Union and the underground Communist Party led by the exiled Alvaro Cunhal – having grown popular among the working class on the strength of robust Soviet aid and the increasing radicalization of the nation’s labor force.

    With Spinola and Cunhal leading the National Salvation Junta, Portugal’s first free election was subsequently set for August and opposition parties scrambled for a seat at the table. The two leading candidates were that of the center-left Socialist Party and the pro-democracy rightist (most of the hardline rightists fleeing for the colonies after Salazar and the other governmental officials) Social Democrats. Other smaller parties were formed in the vacuum post-Carnation, one being the Radical Left Front under the young and charismatic Jeronimo de Sousa – basically a trade union party in the tradition of Bevanite Labour except for a fairly anti-American stance. However, the looming spectre remained the Communists. Buoyed by funds funneled to them by the KGB (Semichastny eager to secure a warm water port directly on the Atlantic), they quickly outmuscled the other parties in capturing the confidence of a public sick of a backbreaking tax burden funneled to the colonies and hungry for change.

    [​IMG]
    The election could not be considered free nor fair, the Communists and their allies in the radicalized trade unions engaging in what amounted to voter intimidation in many key constituencies. However, the result was kept somewhat believable with the Communists taking a plurality of the seats and de Sousa’s Radical Left winning enough seats to form a majority coalition with Cunhal in control. The opposition parties, realizing by now the dreams of democracy and liberty dying as one autocracy gave way to the other, began to fracture. Some hunkered down to wait it out. Some meekly tied themselves to the Communists, while still others fled along with the Estado Novo elite to Luanda, Goa, or Lourenço Marques via Francoist Spain.

    For the first time since the short-lived Spanish Republic, the Soviet Union had secured a friendly regime west of the Elbe. Cunhal’s gratefulness would be evident when the Portuguese Republic signed an economic and defense treaty with the USSR on the 62nd anniversary of the October Revolution, two Soviet Airborne Rifle Divisions entering the Iberian nation by year’s end.

    With the Portuguese government collapsing nearly overnight, the ongoing situations in the colonies were thrown into unsteadiness at best and chaos at worst. Portuguese Angola, protected by its treaties with Mobutu in Kinshasa and Savimbi in Benguela, flooded with refugees of the former regime such as Salazar and Costa Gomes – soon joined by a rout of democracy advocates fleeing the Communists. Luanda became the seat of the Government-in-Exile, Marcelo Caetano taking over as interim Prime Minister as the government scrambled to coordinate its existence without the Metropole to rely on. Hastily passed foreign aid packages requested by Wallace and Crossman greatly helped, but the lack of any functioning military was high on the worries of Caetano and his ministers.

    A large and elite army was available, but practically halfway around the world in Mozambique. Already struggling to fight against FRELIMO (lacking a UNITA ally to turn against the communist insurgents), General Arriaga now had a hopeless situation with the elimination of support from the Metropole. Receiving a message from Caetano requesting information as to how the military could handle protecting Angola, Goa, East Timor, and Macau while still holding on to even part of Mozambique, Arriaga replied that he could do one or the other – not both. Luanda subsequently authorized him to save what he could, but to get his divisions to the stable areas. Such led to the order to abandon all of the northern provinces, leaving FRELIMO in the position of consolidating more territory than it was prepared to.

    To the southwest, a regional giant was casting a worried glance at the events across its borders. Sensitive to even a whisper of regime shifts in its neighbors, the Apartheid government of South Africa had been rocked more than anyone of the swift collapse of the Estado Novo regime. Being in a state of panic and worry since April, Prime Minister B. J. Vorster and his Emergency Council had dusted off their contingency plans. One of the bedrocks of South African foreign policy had been the maintenance of nothing but friendly regimes on its borders to prevent any support being given to the maze of internal terrorist groups undeterred by the now-nuclear state. Lourenço Marques falling to FRELIMO was on the top of the list (as well as the list of Ian Smith and the Rhodesian government) of disasters. South Africa was not about to simply let things be without acting.

    Contacts were immediately made to Arriaga in Lourenço Marques, giving him an offer he couldn’t refuse (to borrow William Shatner’s famous phrase in The Godfather). Hard pressed, Arriaga and Caetano acquiesced with tacit approval from Washington and London. Orders were passed from Luanda and Pretoria to respective military commands while Machel and the other communist leaders were celebrating their good fortune.

    On the 14th of May, over twenty thousand mechanized infantry of the South African Defence Force raced across the border between South Africa and Portuguese East Africa. Under the command of Lt. General Magnus Malan, Portuguese forces rapidly joined the juggernaut while what FRELIMO irregulars inhabited the southern reaches were rapidly swept aside under the weight of SADF firepower. Arriaga received Malan a mere four days later in a confetti-filled ceremony in Lourenço Marques, while over a month would pass before Gaza and Inhambane provinces were fully secure. Machel feared that the juggernaut would be unstoppable and begged the Soviets for more aid. However, Malan halted at the Save River – ordered specifically not to cross.

    [​IMG]
    Vorster, State President Viljoen, and other South African officials breathed a sigh of relief – Operation Skerwe (Scissors in Afrikaans) had been a massive success. The deal with Caetano was carried out in full. Securing the rights for the Portuguese Citizens in the former colony, Luanda signed over the provinces of Lourenço Marques, Gaza, and Inhambane to Pretoria. In exchange, South Africa signed generous financial and material aid packages and allowed Arriaga’s forces and whomever civilian wished to leave safe passage to anywhere in the Portuguese colonial empire. Only two-fifths would choose to make the journey, though nearly all the native Assimilados would take up the opportunity (considering living in Apartheid South Africa wasn’t desired). Macau, Angola, and Goa would swell with the Portuguese diaspora, and the minority community in the new provinces of South Africa would exert an outsized influence on the country’s culture.

    Samora Michel and FRELIMO would secure the remainder of the country, creating the People’s Socialist Republic of Mozambique headquartered in Beira and allied with the Soviet Union and other Communist nations across Africa. In Moscow, Semichastny reportedly raised a glass of scotch to the portrait of Comrade Lenin hanging over his fireplace – the Soviet Empire was expanding. Slowly and methodically, but expanding.
    ----------------------------​

    Given that Estado Novo Portugal had been a founding member of NATO, the Carnation Revolution’s ties to the USSR had caused great upheaval in the Western World. Wallace and Crossman, both of whom commanded military units stationed within the country. Estado Novo had been an indispensable ally, especially since the Rockefeller Administration pushed for anti-Communist alliances regardless of authoritarianism within the governments following Nixon’s Assassination. The aftermath of the Carnation Revolution left Curtis LeMay and Peter Shore ordering naval vessels toward the Iberian Coast in combination for Francoist Spain entering full mobilization.

    The main concern for NATO was Lajes Air Base on the Island of Sao Miguel in the Azores island chain. Established as a Mid-Atlantic fighter base and a waystation for transport flights (the American Airlift to Israel during the Yom Kippur War often using it for refueling or emergency landings), over 1,200 American and other NATO personnel were subsequently trapped in the middle of Communist-controlled territory. The local Portuguese garrison had declared for the Revolution and Cunhal barely a day after Salazar and Caetano fled for Luanda, and it soon received a new commander in MFA logistical planner Colonel Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho.

    Having radicalized during the brutal fighting in Angola and Mozambique, de Carvalho was noted to despise the United States. Normally, the tense standoff developing between the Portuguese forces and the NATO defenders would have lasted until Helms and Callaghan negotiated a withdrawal with the National Salvation Junta. However, the matter was complicated when several dozen Portuguese military officers led by General de Spinola himself arrived seeking asylum. Knowing their plans for installing democracy had failed, they knew the only hope of not being shot for counterrevolutionary activity was to flee and pray the US/UK would give them asylum or for amnesty from Caetano. De Carvalho’s demands that they be returned for trial were rejected by Lajas Base CO Captain Jeremiah Denton, who decided afterward to unilaterally evacuate without clearance from Washington – over concerns the communication lines were compromised.

    Leaving several dozen volunteers behind to man the perimeter defenses, the remaining NATO personnel and Portuguese refugees packed wall-to-wall in five C-141 Starlifter transports which touched off the runway to shock and anger from the Portuguese troops. Defending them against the SAM and fighter support under de Carvalho’s command were four Texas Air National Guard F-102 Delta Dagger interceptors in Lajas for a training mission – led by Major George W. Bush, son of Senator George H. W. Bush and son-in-law to the late President Richard Nixon. Executing a series of maneuvers that would be forever taught at the USAF Academy, Bush’s command fended off whatever the Portuguese threw at them. Bush’s F-102 would later be shot down (he would often state afterwards that “It was five to one, I got four” regarding it). The flight commander would be one of sixty-five American prisoners taken by a furious de Carvalho.

    [​IMG]
    George W. Bush would later be awarded the Medal of Honor for his taking on five separate attack runs at the Portuguese to allow his men and the transports to escape, but for now – having a broken arm and leg from the ejection – he and the other hostages were on their way to Lisbon under guard by the Portuguese Navy.

    Old Hunter J. Thompson, ever the survivor, would be stuck in the country till September before finally being smuggled into Fascist Spain with three Estado Novo military officers aboard a donkey cart. He jokingly remarked afterwards in his article (which would be the basis for A Red Carnation) that the smugglers were “the most goddamned honorable, if smelly, people in the entire country. Made me wonder if the Liberty Conservatives weren’t right after all. Those rat bastards didn’t care if we were fascist, socialist, American, Sambo, or fucking Martian – only that we could fatten their wallets. If that ain’t anti-discrimination I don’t know what is.”

    With sixty-five Americans being held hostage in a military barracks in the middle of Lisbon itself, the United States and George Wallace were faced with a world situation that had rapidly gone to hell in a handbasket in mere months.

    With America’s refusal to persuade Israel to end the Invasion of Lebanon, which would reach Beirut and result in the capture of Yasser Arafat and the senior PLO leadership by the end of January, the Arab countries that dominated OPEC led to the hiking of the oil price by 70% per barrel. In the America of the 1950s, the oil producing giant wouldn’t have been affected. However, years of cheap imports and regulation-strapped domestic industry causing production hemorrhaging had made the US economy vulnerable to oil-shock. When the hammer blow fell, the economy felt it right where it hurt.

    [​IMG]
    The embargo had a negative influence on the US economy by causing immediate demands to address the threats to U.S. energy security. On an international level, the price increases changed competitive positions in many industries, such as automobiles. Macroeconomic problems consisted of both inflationary and deflationary impacts. The embargo left oil companies, encouraged by the Wallace Administration (while Republicans such as Ronald Reagan clambering for further deregulation to jumpstart further expansion) searching for new ways to increase oil supplies, even in rugged terrain such as the Arctic. Finding oil and developing new fields usually required five to ten years before significant production.

    Price controls exacerbated the crisis in the US. The system limited the price of "old oil" (that which had already been discovered) while allowing newly discovered oil to be sold at a higher price to encourage investment. Predictably, old oil was withdrawn from the market, creating greater scarcity. Odd–even rationing, among other strategies that were implemented state-by-state, allowed vehicles with license plates having an odd number as the last digit (or a vanity license plate) to buy gas only on odd-numbered days of the month, while others could buy only on even-numbered days. Americans, having supported the Wallace Administration’s push for price controls in the past, began to turn on them as the gas lines grew in length.

    OPEC ended the embargo after about five months when it became unsustainable. The crisis had abated but the economy still suffered, entering a downturn that persisted for over two years from the plateau of the Nixon, Kennedy, and Wallace years – introducing America to the term Stagflation, where inflation and unemployment defied Keynesian economic theory and rose simultaneously. Had it been the only crisis, Wallace could have shouldered through it owing to his stubbornness and the euphoria at getting remarried to his second wife Cornelia in the Rose Garden in February 1975. However, the world had other plans.

    Since the US left Nicaragua after the 1920s Banana Wars, the Central American country had been ruled under the authoritarian hold of Anastasio Somoza Sr. and his two sons, Luis and Anastasio Jr. ever since. Typical tinpot Latin American dictators, the regime was greatly corrupt and characterized by rising inequality and immense financial support from the American Government and multinational agriculture companies. In 1961 Carlos Fonseca Amador, Silvio Mayorga, and Tomás Borge Martínez formed the FSLN (Sandinista Liberation Front, named after left-wing Banana War guerilla Augusto Sandino) with aid from the Communist Governments of the USSR and West Cuba. At the direction of Che Guevara they bided their time and gathered support from peasants and anti-Somoza elements within Nicaraguan society, though their ties to the Soviet Union and Socialist Cuba turned off the backing of most of the pro-democracy forces such as National Guard commander Eden Pastora or Violeta Chamorro. By the 1970s the coalition of peasants and Marxist revolutionaries was strong enough to launch a military effort against the regime.

    Starting with a series of kidnappings of key Governmental officials and United Fruit executives in the mountainous central region – the Government strong in the urban centers and the eastern city of Bluefields – the effort escalated to all out rebellion in 1975 as vast swaths of the country fell to the FSLN. Pleading to the United States for assistance, Somoza received a large increase in military aid. As the National Guard was defeated in several battles barely thirty miles from Managua, Wallace upped the ante by sending in a collection of Marines and light brigades under the overall command of Admiral Stansfield Turner in the first test of the communonationalist LeMay Doctrine post-Vietnam.

    The maintenance of aid to the Somoza Government without a demand for liberal reforms was harshly criticized by Vice President Henry Jackson, who was eyeing a run for President in 1976 and didn’t want to antagonize the liberal wing of the Democratic Party supporting an authoritarian government would entail. Plus, while the patriotic zeal of the country for their boys heading off to defeat the communists (Nicaragua not the only one affected, though more on that later) infected America initially, the cost of the war in the middle of the economic crisis and the showdown with Portugal soon became a major concern. The combined American/National Guard force was unbeatable in open combat, but ground commander Brig. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. faced the headwinds of vicious guerrilla fighting and the unpopularity of Somoza with the people. In contrast, despite its cruelty to those that didn’t knuckle under (including amputation and summary execution of family members), the Sandinistas under Carlos Fonseca and Daniel Ortega were seen as the lesser of two evils to much of the population.

    [​IMG]
    Only the implementation of a new strategy following the election of the next President turned the tide for the anti- Sandinista forces. With the payment of nearly thirty million dollars in bribes to Somoza, the dictator acceded to reality and accepted voluntary exile to a seaside villa in Mexico along with his family. What followed was a broad alliance of the pro-democracy forces into the “National Unity Government” which marshaled public opinion against the increasingly brutal tactics of the Sandinsta. Convinced that the new government wouldn’t betray them or bring back American imperialism, support for the rebels plummeted as Pastora, Turner, and Schwarzkopf renewed offensive action against them.

    A combination of Lansdale-esque counterinsurgency strategies from the early phase of the Vietnam War and sheer attrition brought on by American firepower had steadily reduced the FSLN to a shadow of its former self by 1978. Fonseca and Ortega had perished in airstrikes and the popularity of the National Unity Government caused a steady exodus of support from the Sandinstas. Humberto Ortega, brother of the deceased Daniel and now leader of the FSLN, saw the writing on the wall and negotiated a surrender – leading them free passage to West Cuba in exchange for their weapons. Nicaragua had survived what the Communists had thrown at them, though the price had been pretty steep for both them and the United States.
    --------------------------​

    Portugal’s taking of Lajas Air Base and the capture of the “Lajas Sixty-Seven” plunged the crisis began by the Carnation Revolution into something akin to a game of nuclear chicken. A puissant country barely the size of Indiana holding citizens of one of the world’s superpowers at gunpoint – no President could let this stand. The US Military placed both of its airborne divisions on alert and airlift was marshaled to transport them and other mechanized units to Spain where the Falangists were readying their Army to contain the Portuguese threat. LeMay also deployed seven amphibious warfare craft with some 20,000 Marines in the east Atlantic for the order to be given. Helms gave America’s demands to Cunhal – surrender the hostages or face the wrath of the United States.

    Intervention would come in the form of Vladimir Semichastny. Advised by Viktor Grishin and Leonid Brezhnev to not give the US an inch, Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces were placed on the second-highest state of readiness. The Soviet Navy surged out of both the Black Sea and the Barents, European divisions mobilizing along the Iron Curtain. Wallace ordering American nuclear forces to DEFCON-2 in response, the world watched in baited breath for what would follow. Iconic images of “duck and cover” drills and family bomb shelters were common sights in late August of 1975, all waiting for the bombs to fall.

    [​IMG]
    While the missile standoff had largely dissipated after a few days after Wallace had Enterprise and Nixon withdrawn to two hundred miles off the Portuguese coast, the larger crisis continued through the Portuguese elections and into Autumn as the hostages languished in their prisons. Finally, a delegation of European socialists led by François Mitterrand and Enrico Berlinguer ironed out a negotiated settlement between Helms, Callaghan, Cunhal, and Dobrynin in October. In exchange for the release of the hostages and the prohibition of nuclear forces on Portuguese soil, America would recognize the legitimacy of Cunhal’s government and promise to refrain from an invasion in conjunction with Francoist Spain (along with removing IBM bases out of Turkey). It was a terrible deal, but the continuing burden of the economy and the commitment to Nicaragua forced the White House’s hand in a massive victory for Semichastny.

    The American public’s general reaction to this turn of events – after the general passing of immense relief and the welcoming of the hostages as heroes, especially the celebrated George W. Bush, the iconic picture of him embracing his wife Tricia while his parents watched entering American lore – was summarized once again by Spiro Agnew: “We had to be bailed out by the Frenchies?”

    Not the shining moment for President George Wallace, whose tough image from winning the Vietnam War had taken a huge beating.

    White House audio transcript, April 7th, 1975
    Meeting between President Wallace and Senate Majority Whip Thurmond

    Wallace: You see what I’m asking for Strom.

    Thurmond: I’m not sure it can be done Mr. President. What you are asking for… it just isn’t done.

    Wallace: Rubbish, there were originally six spots. How did three more get added? Magic?

    Thurmond: FDR tried, sir. Even with the massive majorities at his disposal it was impossible.

    Wallace: [snorts] Please, Franklin Roosevelt may have known what was what, but he had less patience than excited kinfolk at Thanksgiving dinner. You need subtlety. Six new additions, that’s far too much a pill to swallow. Two, that looks better.

    Thurmond: Not sure Hubert will go for it, given the Republicans have forty-eight seats and will block if necessary.

    Wallace: Let me tell you something even that motherf****r Agnew knows. The American people are sick of Goddamn activist judges. They want someone to protect their morals, and I’m going to give it to them! Tell Hubert that nothing gets through congress unless this does.

    Thurmond: I’ll do what I can.

    (end transcript)


    Wracked with the stress of the seeming collapse of America’s position in multiple regions of the world, the newly remarried George Wallace never let his thoughts stray far from his domestic legacy. One matter in particular, the Federal Courts, was always prominent in his mind. The past six years in office had seen him nominate a majority of communonationalist, Constitution-centric judges that respected states’ rights and the right of the nation to regulate morality while adhering to the rules promulgated by the various New Deal Courts – steadily halting or rolling back the liberal rulings of the Warren Court. However, political considerations had left him with appointing Byron White and Bobby Kennedy to the court, appointments he was fearful of. If the Republicans got the White House in 1976… what he felt was the only chance in generations to preserve the Supreme Court would be lost.

    Thus, he and his policy team turned to an idea of Franklin Roosevelt’s – court packing. Introduced to congress by Senator Strom Thurmond, the Supreme Court Reform Act of 1975 would add two additional justices to the Supreme Court in a mechanism to appear less a power grab rather than what Wallace stated it was in a press conference, one of preserving the Constitution and American morals against “radical interference.”

    Despite immediate Republican opposition, Democratic leadership’s strong arming and the luring of dozens of conservative Republicans to appointment of originalist justices led to the bill passing narrowly in both houses. No one could imagine how it happened, but the sheer force of will from “The Man in the High Castle” at 1600 Pennsylvania had much to do with it. Wallace had staked everything on this move, the increasingly bitter and pensive President believing his entire legacy was on the line. The move caused Wallace’s approval ratings to sink but a robust branding campaign managed to staunch the bleeding.

    Wallace, triumphant, announced jointly his two nominees. US District Judge for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and former Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley and Solicitor General and former Louisiana Congressman John Rarick. Taking on Baxley’s confirmation first, the nominee had bipartisan support due to his famous prosecution of the Ku Klux Klan and the desire for many Republicans to find Conservatives themselves. The Alabaman was confirmed as the Supreme Court’s 10th justice on August 7th, 1975, earning more votes against him from liberal Democrats than conservative Republicans.

    Debate over Rarick’s nomination was even more acrimonious, pressure from the White House causing Humphrey and Thurmond to refuse to adjourn the Senate until cloture could be obtained. While Baxley was a firm integrationist, Rarick was known as part of the informal southern coalition in defense of Jim Crow and against Civil Rights laws – one that the NAACP and other organization vowed to fight to the end. Whipped into an ideological zeal by George Murphy and James Buckley, the Republican caucus vowed to filibuster till their dying breath before a “Segregationist could serve on the Supreme Court.” The debate would drag far into the night, coffee and sugary foods piled high by aides as the Senators went over thirty-six hours without sleep – tempers frayed and anger built into the wee morning hours.

    The first act of political violence on the Senate floor since Preston Brooks attacked Charles Sumner in 1856 occurred at 6:00 AM on the 1st of October. Taking the podium to speak, a visibly tired Edward Brooke (R-MA) nevertheless boomed. “Let me tell you about John Rarick’s America. This is an America where I, a United States Senator elected by the people of my state both black and white, couldn’t sit at a lunch counter. Where I couldn’t marry my beloved wife, simply because I am black and she white. Where I, if having been accused with a crime, be convicted simply due to the color of my skin…”

    In response, an irate and manic Orval Faubus (D-AR) interrupted Brooke’s statement with an impromptu one of his own. “Who are you?! Who are you to demean and slander a great, patriotic American like that you Goddamn Coon! You aren’t fit to lick John Rarick’s boot, neither you nor your black Republican colleagues.” He then slammed his fist on the podium in front of him. “These Black Republicans! They are raping America on behalf of the Nigger Lobby! Yes, the Nigger Lobby! That’s who they goddamn work for and scurry to please!”

    Even partisan Democrats such as Frank Church and Russell Long were shocked at the ferocity of Faubus’ comments, and all expected Brooke or a hotheaded Republican like Barry Goldwater or James Buckley to storm up and confront him. No one would have expected who actually did.

    [​IMG]
    Pious Mormon that he was, George Romney was famous for his affable demeanor on Capitol Hill. Storming down the carpeted central aisle, none of this was apparent in the Michigan Senator. Face red with rage, eyes blazing, jaw square, and frame upright in an intimidating show of his height, Romney pushed his way past a scared Harry F. Byrd and got into Faubus’ face. “Tell me Faubus!” Romney roared. “You talk about us raping America for the ‘Niggers.’ How many ‘Nigger’ babies have you fathered in your life?!” The Senate chamber went completely silent, none of its members believing Romney brought that up – or that it was Romney who did so. Rumors of Faubus’ extramarital affairs were common but a taboo subject in both Arkansas and Washington political circles. There was no proof, but plenty of backroom talk had been spilled on the subject.

    At that moment, the collective rage, fear, and simple exhaustion that had engulfed the United States of America was let out in the perfect metaphor of how far the nation had reached the psychological breaking point. Two members of the nation’s most august body reduced to throwing punches at each other in blind anger. Faubus’ nose was gushing blood while Romney’s rib was cracked before Byrd, George H. W. Bush, Ernest Hollings, and Gordon Allot pulled the two men apart. Hustled to separate corners like boxers until leadership could figure out what to do with them, Humphrey and Boggs decided it was time to end this once and for all. Rarick’s nomination was brought before the Senate, and it was defeated by a vote of 47-53 (Democrats Ramsey Clark, Edmund Muskie, George McGovern, Birch Bayh, and William Proxmire joining all 48 Republicans to vote nay). Romney and Faubus wouldn’t be criminally charged, but were each censured by the Senate. Both had their approval ratings spike in their home states afterwards.

    Wallace gave an angry rebuke from the White House Press Room that day, but even he saw the writing on the wall. The 11th spot would remain open till Wallace left office, the avalanche of unfavorable media coverage from the hostile networks taking its toll on President George Corley Wallace. Having gone into 1975 with a 54% approval rating, it had collapsed down to 38% under the combined weight of Rarick, Central America, the Portuguese Crisis, and the Oil crisis.
    -----------------------------​

    (March 14th, 1975; TV Coverage begins. Walter Cronkite takes the stage)

    Cronkite: Greetings fellow journalists, distinguished guests. I must say, this is an honor to be given the task of hosting this gathering in the White Palace… I mean [grins], the White House. Sorry bout that.

    Anyway, when I was approached by Chief of Staff Hart on behalf of the President to host the event, I’ll have to admit I was a bit stunned. It isn’t that obscure a fact that I’m not the most well liked person in political circles… no, it’s true. A colleague of mine once said that my mentioning of certain politicians were the leading cause of peptic ulcers in Washington.

    I kid, I kid, but that’s the way it is…

    Seriously, whenever I meet anyone, that’s the second thing they say, “Please say the line!”… what’s the first? Well, it’s “Ain’t that the guy on the TV??”… Really? Is my name really that hard to pronounce? I remember a Cambodian General trying to curse me that completely botched it, but I digress, I digress.
    Thank you for this honor, but as the host on behalf of the journalists of America – gathering all of you in the People’s House for the purposes of good times and free booze on the government dime… I must resist the classic media personality move to seek applause and hog the spotlight.

    It’s true, believe me.

    And that's the way it is… Jesus, the first thing I said after hearing myself with that catchphrase was “Do I really sound like that?” followed by a few words that aren’t proper to say on live television.

    So, before I get too carried away, it is my honor to introduce the President of the United States, George Corley Wallace!

    (Wheeled in by the First Lady, Wallace reaches the adjustable podium and shakes hands with Cronkite)

    Wallace: Thank you, thank you. Jack Kennedy once told me, “If you lose Cronkite, you lose America.” Which is why I always send him a box of Libertad cigars straight from Santiago to him on his birthday, butter him up and all that.

    It is a privilege to speak to ya’ll this wonderful March night. However, some ominous signs outdoors with the nighttime rain and whatnot. Reminds me of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar – yes, we in Alabama do read the classics, much as it is a shock… So it reminds me of that play, and low and behold, tomorrow is an anniversary of Caesar’s murder. I’m not worried, or I wasn’t. Then I found out I had an aide named Cassius… He’s a good guy though. Really good guy. But if Cornelia has a dream tonight about my demise I may just head off to Camp David.

    [​IMG]
    Speaking of Cornelia, she’s an incredible woman, let’s give her a round [applause]. She really helped me through a dark time in my life, following Lurleen’s agonizing death. Brought me back from the brink, may God Bless her. With the chaos going on in both the world and my life right now – Cornelia made an astute observation. One that I think had affected this house since Richard Nixon was tragically taken from his family and his nation from a Communist thug over a decade ago. Laughter and joy are rare, and this is incomprehensible to me. While our nation is suffering, and I realize that, tonight will be a night of laughter and smiles, for this house needs it. And what better laughs to get than at the expense of myself and these illustrious guests… in good taste mind you, I promise.

    May I begin with a humorous anecdote? It was back in the day before my first run for President, and I was trying to secure Southern support for myself. Naturally, it brought me to my neighbors in Georgia to talk to Governor Maddox, but he insisted that we have it at his Lt. Governor’s home – as one can be aware, that Lt. Governor is now a Congressman, Mr. James Carter, though we all call him Jimmy. The peanuts on all the tables are curtesy of him… Thanks Jimmy!

    [​IMG]
    We were all having a wonderful dinner, but there turned out there was a leak in the ceiling. Lester and I wanted to call a repairman, but Jimmy was more in tune with his humble origins than the two of us. Hitching tool belts on our dinner jackets… by now our wives were rolling on the floor at this sight, which I’ll admit was pretty funny… we went up to the attic to fix the leak. Next thing you know Jimmy had fallen through the ceiling with his legs dangling… His colleagues are never going to live that down, will they?

    Jimmy isn’t the only member of the Great Confederacy I meet with on a regular basis, we have John Connally. He, as all but liberal arts students… know to be the Secretary of the Treasury, is the most important man in the financial sector – well, second most important man after Howard Hughes… sorry John, it’s the truth… Anyway, John always used to brag about how great he can duplicate the Rebel Yell of our ancestors. At cabinet meeting after cabinet meeting, he keeps bragging the same thing like a rooster that fell in a coffeepot… Really, John, like a couple of Yankees like Scoop and Sergent Shriver know a rebel yell from Daffy Duck’s screaming as he runs from Elmer Fudd?

    [​IMG]
    I’m being unfair to my friend here, who’s still a bit crabby after UT got clobbered by UA in the college football finals and I pocketed fifty bucks from his wallet… makes me worried, considering I don’t want him to handle America’s money as he did that $50… Ok, how about these two sons of the Confederacy settle this once and for all, best rebel yell of them all, what do you think ladies and gentlemen? [applause]

    (Connally, looking modest, walks from his table and onto the stage)

    Ok John, you first.

    [Connally screeches]

    Not bad, for a Longhorn fan… My turn.

    [Wallace screeches]

    So what do our illustrious guests think? [cheers] Well, how embarrassing. Seems to be a tie… This isn’t over John. [stares at Connally with faux determination].

    Speaking of Boston Yankees, we have the triple threat here tonight. Our illustrious President John. F Kennedy is here tonight, returning to the White House with Jackie, lovely as ever, and his brothers Bobby and Teddy. Great guys, all of them, though it is a bit hectic when visiting Hannisport. Try corralling all those kids and grandkids under one roof… I had trouble with just four… I don’t know how Jackie, Ethel, Rose, and Joan do it? Just goes to show, behind every successful man is a strong woman.

    [​IMG]
    I remember one time, back when John and I were trying to patch things up after the 1968 election – I did that with a lot of my former rivals, Barry, Albert, Gene – the only one I didn’t was Le Duan, but that wasn’t my fault… So, we were telling each other jokes, and I brought up a story my pappy used to tell me. A Bostonian had gotten depressed while staying in Birmingham and threatened to jump from his hotel window. A sheriff arrived and implored him not to jump, saying he must have had a family. The Yankee said his wife left him and he had no kids. “Then in the name of Jefferson Davis!” the sheriff shouted, “Don’t Jump.” “Who’s Jefferson Davis?” the man asked. To which the sheriff replied, “Jump Yankee!”

    John wasn’t amused, though Jackie was practically on the floor… To give him some credit though, being the President is hard work. He warned me about my hair growing grey, and I’m scared for when it does happen.

    [Cornelia holds up a jar of shoe polish]

    Honey? Why?... That’s marriage for you… doesn’t change even for the First Family.

    Now, you know a tradition Cornelia and I have had since our marriage. Every Friday night after work, and it really is convenient to live in the same building as your office… so, every Friday night she and I would watch a film in the White House cinema. Normally we watch old classics, but once in a while Cornelia insists on a contemporary Hollywood movie. Nothing with Jane Fonda, I assure you… One night early this year, we put on The Godfather Part II. Not as good as the first installment, but that Robert de Nero fellow made quite the performance. However, they say one of the characters was based off Governor James Hoffa.

    I’m serious, Francis Coppola has strongly hinted that. I don’t understand why though. That character is arrogant, eccentric, quite foul-mouthed, a consummate bare-knuckles politician from a Midwestern sta… Huh, that does remind me of someone.

    [​IMG]
    Come on James, no need for that, it’s all in good fun.

    Speaking of the hard-headed, we have our illustrious Secretary of Defense. He’s here with his lovely wife, sitting over with his former colleagues – well, actually current colleagues at the Pentagon… One of the few times I’ve seen him without that trademark cigar in his mouth.

    [​IMG]
    Curtis is a friend, and in an alternate universe I could see him as a potential running mate… oh please don’t look so frightened… I’m not that bad… He once told me a story of how hard it was to adapt to civilian life after decades in the military, which I can understand. Biggest problem in his opinion is, well, getting dressed… you laugh but we of the male sex don’t have the same fashion sense as women do. After years of knowing exactly what to wear, he found himself getting scolded by his wife on the issue of “those colors don’t go together.”… Come to think of it, why is it wrong to wear a sports jacket, summer shorts, and black socks?... I think it looks dashing.

    Speaking of Californians, there we have the Gipper himself back there. Good evening Governor, Mrs. Reagan. Though we may be political rivals, Governor Reagan and I do have an amicable relationship. Cornelia… why are you staring at me like that?... of course we do… That was a joke… That’s the thing about American politics, ladies and gentlemen. None of us are bitter about things said on the campaign trail. Following the election, we pick ourselves off and get to work for the American people. Together. Could have used more of that spirit for Amcare, but what can you do…

    [​IMG]
    I’m told this isn’t Governor Reagan’s first time at the White House, nor is it Mrs. Reagan’s. However, my sources tell me that the Governor has been here one time without the company of his lovely wife back in the early part of the previous decade. Please don’t tell me you’ve misplaced Lucille Ball again, Governor?

    Will we find her wandering the White House halls… oh, nevermind, there she is… I’m sure Dick Nixon is yukking it up right now in that big Plantation in the sky… I wish I knew the White House as well as he did, cause I still get lost sometimes.
    An honor for you to join us Ms. Ball, Mr. Arnaz. We have Nautilus set up on the movie projector for next Friday... Can’t stand anymore incredulous remarks from my son on the fact that I haven’t seen it yet... That’s the thing about youth these days, they complain about things that my generation paid for and their grandpappy’s generation invented.

    Thank you, thank you!
    ---------------------------​

    Unlike in the United States or United Kingdom, Liberty Conservatism proved a tougher sell on mainland Europe where statist policies were far more entrenched on the right. Aside from minor parties and elements in the German Christian Social Union (post-1973), communonationalism in the vein of George Wallace or Richard Crossman was the dominant ideology on the European right. Nowhere could this be better seen than in the French Fourth Republic.

    Surviving the Constitutional Crisis of the late fifties and early sixties under the 1963 amendments and the peace treaty ending the Algerian War, President of the Council Georges Bidault kept the disparate factions together until stability slowly returned. Despite the right wing nature of his coalition government, as the premier hero in a war that didn’t produce many for France, Bidault commanded respect and loyalty from even the Communists (a vast majority of which had renounced Soviet domination and were pursuing a more democratic form of it). It was through the sheer force of his will that the Fourth Republic survived and thrived as one of the premier minor powers of the world. Under his watch the French Community had formed, inflation was curbed, and the economy began to crawl back up with the end of the expensive colonial wars.

    Thus, it shook the nation to its core when Bidault was grievously wounded in a 1964 assassination attempt by Pierre Lamarck, a disgruntled Pied-Noir settler and Algerian War veteran sick at how the FLN was allowed representation in the Assembly. Bidault would survive, but chronic pain would cause him to resign – he would be unanimously elected as President and Co-Prince of Andorra by the Assembly, in which he would serve until 1980. Elections were called and the Gaullists were humbled greatly. A socialist-communist coalition under François Mitterrand assumed power while second place went to the right-wing communonationalist National Front under former General Jacques Massu.

    The Mitterrand Government inherited a France on the upswing. Economic growth was skyrocketing due to the post-war boom and trade within the Community – the French media would call the period between the end of the war an 1974 the Trente Glorieuses (Thirty Glorious Years). Utilizing this growth, the socialist-communist coalition implemented a series of expansive social programs including the mandate of all companies to provide five percent of their net income to their employees, regulations were made to industries in Algeria to prevent exploitation of Harki workers, cooperation with other members of the EEC was expanded, and a governmental quote system was established to mandate a certain percentage of women received government jobs. Military funds were cut by a quarter while Mitterrand invested in a more robust nuclear force.

    While his domestic reforms were popular, the crisis of confidence in Mitterrand’s foreign and defense policies in regards to Soviet Militarism, the ongoing terrorist insurgency in Algeria and Algeria-littoral, and the mainland communist terrorism led to the “Rose-cramoisi” coalition falling to an electoral surge by the National Front in 1970.

    [​IMG]
    Formed as an alliance between the various far-right parties (sort of like Israel’s Gahal), the National Front had largely adopted a less-statist form of communonationalism when compared to the Democrats or UK Labour. Mostly to serve a contrast with the SFIO, the FN and Massu triumphed with a gain of nearly ninety seats in the Assemblée Nationale. Defeating leftist parties across the spectrum, it nevertheless needed to form a working coalition with the Gaullist Union for Democracy – leader (and De Gaulle’s handpicked successor for the party) Valery d’Estaing secured the coveted Finance portfolio, returning France to conservative governance.

    Unlike Mitterrand, as the former Commander of French forces in Algeria Jacques Massu did not see his priority as promulgating domestic reform. With the economy chugging along quite well, he delivered a televised address to the nation proclaiming that there had been enough reform to ensure all French citizens were well cared for (d’Estaing would in fact repeal much of the more radical elements from the Rose-cramoisi government). Instead, his priority was making France one of the world’s premier powers – to do what Napoleon tried and failed to accomplish – “This time, the English are on our side,” he would mention to Foreign Minister Jean-Louis Tixier-Vignancour.

    Fully committing to the 35-35-30 plan promulgated by American President George Wallace (he, Massu, Amery, and later Richard Crossman would become close friends), Massu shifted funds into the defense budget. Defense Minister Raoul Salan and Chief of the General Staff Jean Bastien-Thiry oversaw the expansion, coordinated with massive French aid to building up the various armies of the French Community nations. After Cameroon withdrew after a Communist coup in 1968, quick thinking by Salan and Tixier-Vignancour foiled similar uprisings in Niger and Ubangi-Shari in 1971. France’s first ballistic missile submarine, FNS Napoleon Bonaparte, was launched in 1973 to much fanfare.

    Bolstered by these and the strong economy, Massu’s government was nevertheless weakened by the rise in Communist terrorism following the German Autumn. Heralding the new season, a French Army barracks in Oran was assaulted by a dozen armed men with RPGs and explosives, killing seventeen soldiers. The perpetrators were identified as nine members of the Algerian Communist Front, while the other three were female members of the French terrorist group Action Directe. Massu ordered martial law in Algeria-Littoral, leading to a vicious tirade from Saadi Yacef on the floor of the National Assembly. Further attacks began to sap the will of the war-weary French populace, none eager to plunge back into war.

    As the new elections approached, the Trente Glorieuses sputtered to an abrupt halt with the oil crisis and stagflation. Military spending could only prop up the economy for so long, and the fall of the export market due to the worldwide recession and the strengthened Franc only worsened the situation. Despite furious moves by d’Estaing to cauterize the bleeding with Keynesian moves, the French economy would slump at the worst possible time for the government.

    [​IMG]
    Thanks to near bloc voting by the Pied-Noir community in Algeria-Littoral, Massu’s FN only lost seven seats to command the largest share of the National Assembly. However, the mainland cosmopolitan base of the UDF suffered greatly, over thirty members of the coalition tossed out of marginal districts and forcing the Gaullists into fourth place. Nevertheless, President De Gaulle tasked Massu with forming a new government. Both the SFIO and the Communists were not an option, and allying with the FLN both was repugnant to Massu (he and Yacef hated each other ever since then-General Massu said he would pay a two million Franc reward personally to anyone that brought Yacef to him alive). Therefore, the only choice remaining was the increasingly minaprogressive Radical Party. However, with his former de Gaulle Government partner Pierre Mendes-France replaced with the more liberal Pierre Beregovoy, talks collapsed. De Gaulle then approached Mitterrand for the task. Despite requiring a four party rather than a three party coalition, SFIO was able to form government once more.

    The Fourth Republic’s knack for shaky coalitions held once more. However, the switcharoo between Massu and Mitterrand couldn’t compare to the political chaos occurring east of the Rhine.
    ---------------------------
    Only interrupted by four years under Erich Ollenhauer, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU)/Christian Social Union (CSU, the Bavarian branch) had controlled West Germany uninterruptedly since Allied occupation had been ended following the Second World War. First under Konrad Adenauer, then Ludwig Erhard, the ordoliberal economic policies – in which much of communonationalism would be based on – of the Freiburg School of economics would result in economic growth the scale of which was unprecedented for a nation so devastated. Erhard would retire in 1970 with approval ratings unmatched in Western Europe.

    Normally, the leader of the CDU would assume the position as Chancellor. However, a bruising battle for leadership between Minister President of Baden-Württemberg Kurt Georg Kiesinger and All-German Affairs Minister (a position that managed relations with East Germany and the Weimar territories ceded to Poland and the USSR) Rainer Barzel caused the federal party to accept a compromise. CSU leader and Foreign Minister Franz-Josef Strauss was elevated to the Chancellery, the first Chancellor from Bavaria in the new Bundesrepublik.

    [​IMG]
    Popular to the hilt in his native Bavaria and in the neighboring south German states, Strauss campaigned on the record of the Erhard Government and his continuation of the same robust policies of economic ordoliberalism and cultural conservatism that had so made Erhard popular. The voters rewarded him with a far-strengthened position, delivering a blow to Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Willy Brandt and allowing him to form a strong coalition with his erstwhile partners, the liberal Free Democrats (FDP).

    The strong start for Strauss and his government would continue into the first few years after the election. Refusing to compromise in regarding relations with the Communist regimes of East Germany or Poland, the German military was modernized in a similar manner to that of Massu in France to conform to the 35-35-30 strategy. In a popular move on the domestic front, the Coalition created a system of student education grants in order to increase university enrollment – part of his robust effort to modernize the German economy.

    All of this progress came to a screeching halt with Der Zweite Deutsche Herbst. The initial wave of terrorist activity by the Rotkampferbund, unlike that in other nations, did not let up as it had in the first attacks in 1971. In what seemed as yet more Soviet revenge for WWII, KGB and Stasi-directed militants renewed their signature kidnappings, bombings, and shootings in the most spectacular manner possible. Paul Lücke, the Interior Minister, was decapitated in a car bombing in Bonn in April 1973, followed only days later by Rainer Barzel, drilled through the head by an unapprehended sniper – the All-German Affairs Minister was particularly hated by the East Germans for his hardline stance. The death of two prominent ministers led to a general panic in the German economy, stock prices plummeting. The leaking of a secret report from the Bundeskriminalamt condemning lackluster security procedures only hurt the government further.

    The hammer blow would happen in October when the RKB staged a particularly daring kidnapping – combined with the SLA kidnapping of Patricia Buckley and murder of Mickey Hargitay as the crimes of the decade – of Strauss’ wife Marianne. Despite a nationwide effort to locate her, the East German government would announce on Halloween that they had discovered her body at a farmhouse in rural Thüringen, along with the corpses of five Hamburg businessmen kidnapped in August. After the funeral, at which most in the government and his family found him to be eerily stoic, Strauss’ Secretary discovered the Chancellor in his office – dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Suffering from acute stress and depression following the murder of his friend Barzel, the murder of his wife had tipped Strauss over the edge, and with it the entire Federal Republic.

    At a somber meeting, the CDU elected Kurt-Georg Kiesinger as Chancellor and party leader. Struggling to drag a fearful country back from the mental brink (the worst it had been since 1945), Kiesinger was forced to warm relations with East Germany and Poland in hopes that they would cool off terrorist activity. It worked, to an extent, but the populace viewed it as a capitulation. Additionally, tensions between the CDU and its Bavarian affiliate were reaching a boiling point. The CSU was increasingly adopting American-style Liberty Conservatism, causing tension with the communonationalist CDU. Strauss had kept the factions in his party in line, but with him gone a group of young CSU leaders under the direction of one Helmut Kohl approached Kiesinger with an idea to turn the economy around with free market reforms and he turned them down, a series of ever escalating squabbles led to the sundering of the longstanding electoral alliance between the two. Government in tatters, Kiesinger was forced to call for early elections.

    Assailed on the right by the CSU running outside of Bavaria for the first time and by the far-right nationalist National Democratic Party, the Kiesinger government was in danger from the resurgent SPD. Ditching Willy Brandt for the energetic and charismatic Helmut Schmidt, the Hamburg native crisscrossed the country with promises of instituting a government stimulus to get the economy going, broad social reform, and a noncompromising stance on left-wing terrorism. “Verbrennen sie! Zerstören sie!” Schmidt famously proclaimed at a rally in Cologne. The country, in the mood for blood, lapped it up.

    [​IMG]
    Absolute Mehrheit. Absolute majority. It had happened only once before in the history of democratic Germany, and it was the first one for the SPD. Taking the podium to cheering crowds, Schmidt proclaimed it was the dawn of a new period for the Republik, one where the terrorists would be crushed and the economic and social potential of the German people be realized. Unlike Obermuller’s government, there was no need to restrain themselves. The SPD had a clear mandate from the people to implement their policies – unfettered, unvarnished. A glorious day for the German left.

    As for the German right, the darkness that had begun with the CDU/CSU split only blossomed into complete hell. On the strength of their energetic campaign (Kohl on point for much of it) and latent strength among the south German Catholics, the CSU took most of the seats in the south to catapult into triple digits and second place to the SPD. The FPD benefitted greatly from the collapse of the old right – many of its members had begun to adopt American-style minaprogressivism, earning them huge vote totals from the counterculture in Germany. Unpopular and moribund, only the scale of the CDU’s fall shocked onlookers, Chancellor Kiesinger’s party collapsing to a mere thirty-six seats – falling behind the shocker of the night, the NPD which advanced into the Bundestag with forty-seven seats.

    In this new Germany, shaken by a political earthquake, one man looked upon the nation that he so loved and saw an opportunity. One that he felt was the chance it had to fully atone for the evils of the past – and to become great and honorable once more.
    ------------------------------​

    Francisco Franco was not a well man as the new decade dawned. Ruling Spain with an iron fist since the conclusion of the Civil War thirty-five years before, after Salazar’s fall in Portugal he was the last great Fascist leader remaining. Hitler, suicide. Mussolini, lynched. Tojo, tried for war crimes and hung. Only el Caudillo survived, and even he was on borrowed time. Riddled with cancer and slowly succumbing to Parkinson’s disease, the longtime dictator greatly worried that the resurgent kingdom he had built out of the ashes of the Civil War would crumble.

    By the days of the Carnation Revolution right across the border, Spain was at a crossroads. Robust economic growth following the institutions of major economic reforms had jumpstarted the economy to great lengths in the late fifties and sixties – aided by a flood of American military aid from the Rockefeller Administration. Spanish colonies in Africa (Western Sahara, Ifini, and Guinea) welcomed an influx of settlers seeking new starts and to exploit natural resource deposits – Franco would often speak to his confidants about retaking Spanish Morocco, though it was scrapped once the aforementioned nation joined the French Community. However, social reforms were not forthcoming for much of Franco’s later reign. For the most part it wasn’t too big an issue as the people were complacent with the economy and colonial inducements, but as Franco’s health declined his inner circle started to worry.

    Following a narrow brush with death in an attempted assassination by the Basque nationalist ETL, Prime Minister and Franco-advisor Luis Carrero Blanco joined the increasing cadre of Falange leadership desiring liberalization in order to save the system. Fear of communist takeover given the Carnation Revolution and Soviet garrisons in Portugal presented them with the opportunity of a lifetime, and none were willing to let it go. Thusly, a delegation headed by Blanco and Foreign Minister Carlos Arias Navarro met with the Caudillo to present him with the terms they had drawn up. On his sickbed, Franco was in no position to refuse the bloodless putsch – backed by leading elements of the Spanish Army.

    Originally planning to name King Juan Carlos I as his successor, in August 1975 Franco (through spokesmen, him being too sick for public appearances) announced the scheduling of elections for October under the auspices of the King. Blanco resigned as Prime Minister in favor of Navarro, who would lead the newly formed Falangist National Democratic Party into the elections. Navarro, a close friend of Estado Novo Prime Minister Caetano and an ally of Richard Helms and James Callaghan, had been a major proponent of liberalizing reforms even while Franco had been the one truly in charge. Together with Blanco and the King, they made a list of acceptable parties (African nationalist groups and Communists were obviously excluded) that could run in the elections free of interference from the government. To opposition parties that were barely allowed to exist, the short timeframe hurt them compared to the robust effort of the PDN.

    [​IMG]
    While a majority of votes went to the coalition of opposition parties, as expected the PDN won a majority in the Cortes Generales. Navarro’s platform of the Francoist nationalism, with a smile and with democracy, resonated with much of the Spanish people tired of authoritarianism but eager for both a stronger Spain and fearful of the Communists to their west. While underperforming their vote share, the opposition PSOE (democratic socialists) and AP (Christian Democrats) had solidified themselves into the Spanish political spectrum – the first time since the 1930s that the opposition managed to hold a substantial stake in the Spanish Government.

    Franco would continue to lead both the nation and the PDN until his death of pancreatic cancer in 1977, after which Carlos Navarro would take over as leader of his party. The entire Cortes Generales would band together to amend the Spanish Constitution, eliminating the post of Caudillo and installing Juan Carlos as head of state and the Prime Minister as head of government. The Falange had democratized, remaining intact.
     
  14. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Location:
    Good ol' USA
    [​IMG]
    "It has become obvious that our country is at a crossroads, a crossroads that will determined the future of not only our people, but the nature of liberty and tyranny in the free world. This is a fight that we cannot lose, for if we do then George Orwell's apocalyptic vision of a boot stamping on a human face forever will become a reality. If we lose then the very weapons of unparalleled destruction massed without countermeasure could very well bring about the end of life on earth. This is a struggle that liberty can and must win.

    "Therefore, with the grace of almighty God, I am announcing my candidacy for President of the United States of America."

    --Former Governor Ronald Reagan (R-CA), Los Angeles, California--

    --September 4th, 1975--
    Unlike 1972, with a cycle of experience in the new system of nationwide primaries, old methods of preparing for convention floor fights had evaporated. The gathering campaigns for the open seat of President George Corley Wallace all adopted what had turned from a wooing effort to build goodwill with state and local party organizations into a popularity and momentum contest from state to state. While crisis after crisis truly demoralized America as a whole, the party bases were fired up – the Democrats to take another four years to cement the Wallace agenda and the Republicans to take back the White House and set the nation to rights.

    Three heavyweights dominated the GOP primary race: New York Representative Roy M. Cohn (returning for his second try), Maryland Governor and harsh Wallace critic Spiro Agnew, and California Governor Ronald Reagan (finally pulling the trigger after turning down draft efforts in both 68 and 72). Each had consolidated support from various factions of the party, but for the most part they were merely regional and personal splits. Liberty Conservatism had largely taken over the Republican Party since Pete McCloskey’s hard won primary. Though Reagan would take the vast majority of the LC wing, him, Cohn, and Agnew were squarely within said wing – cementing its dominance of the Grand Old Party.

    Minnesota, decided by acclaim to be the set first primary state after it propelled Pete McCloskey to victory in 1972, was widely seen as a matchup between Reagan and Agnew. Roy Cohn, making a strategic decision to concentrate on New Hampshire, largely abandoned the state. Thus, it was a four way race with Reagan and Agnew as the frontrunners. Both held similar records and views, but were widely off in style and appeal.

    Reagan, inheriting the McCloskey organization along with his own formidable team and endorsed by Senator Eugene McCarthy, was the epitome of optimism and charisma. Always cracking a joke at his campaign rallies, he spoke of bringing happiness back to America and uniting people under Liberty Conservatism after the division of the Wallace years. Agnew on the other hand campaigned as the Republican Wallace, denouncing the President in fiery speeches that targeted “Liberal nabobs” and “Socialist bureaucratic boondoggles” that threatened the American economy – namely the tariffs, price controls, and Amcare. Reagan denounced them as well, but opined that “We have to say, as conservatives, what we are for, not what we’re against.”

    Campaigning hard, both Governors were upended by the insurgent campaign of Oregon Senator Mark Hatfield. Largely an also-ran for most of the campaign along with Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, his largely pacifist, isolationist campaign and moderate economic positions appealed to both Rockefeller liberals that still formed a large minority in the GOP and the McCarthyite voters that dominated the MN Republican electorate – those that put McCloskey over the top. His soft-spoken demeanor and handsome visage contrasted well against Reagan and Agnew, surging late in the game. Just at the right time.

    [​IMG]
    Conservatives largely stayed with Agnew, the Maryland Governor taking second and winning the populist rural regions. However, Reagan was humbled greatly in only taking the southeastern portion of the state against the late-breaking Hatfield tide. One of the most isolationist states, Minnesota turned against the strident anti-communism of Reagan (despite the beloved Clean Gene’s endorsement) and backed Hatfield, who promised “Détente, a clean and honorable peace.” Reagan’s stock was down, while Hatfield’s rose to challenge Agnew for the position as GOP frontrunner – earning the endorsements of key GOP moderates like Winston Prouty and William Milliken.

    On the Democratic side, the gallery of candidates was far narrower but no less heated. A seismic shift had occurred within the ranks of the party of the people, one that pitted communonationalist against communonationalist in a bitter personal rivalry. The longtime heir apparent to President Wallace was Vice President Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson. A long-time Senator and the leading voice in the Democratic Party on foreign policy and defense issues, though exhausted from having to keep the increasingly bitter and pensive Wallace from hurtling off the deep end from stress and anger, his desire to win still burned bright and seemed to only face token opposition in the coming primaries.

    However, it was not to be. An ardent foe of Jackson – at least personally, for their views aligned for the most part on all but certain fiscal issues – and fellow cabinet member felt his moment had arrived. Therefore, four months before the Minnesota primary Treasury Secretary John Connally announced his resignation and the desire to run for President on the Democratic line. Suddenly the unified Wallace, Communonationalist faction found itself split down the middle; northerners and Westerners going for the populist Jackson while the South and industrial heartland booked for the more socially conservative Connally. Meanwhile, a third candidate took the opportunity to take advantage of the split, California Congressman John McFall. With Connally and Jackson duking it out over the Wallace coalition, he hoped to nab the Kennedy liberal wing to place strong initially and win.

    Minnesota would provide the first test for the three candidates. Policies largely the same (except for Connally’s semi-fiscal conservatism and McFall’s social moderate views on certain issues), the disagreements largely centered on strategy and regional appeal. Jackson portrayed himself as the Chief Negotiator and foreign policy guru of Wallace’s presidency, appealing to the same suburban working class and professionals that formed his base back in Washington. Connally threw in a dose of his Texan populism, stumping the rural regions hard. McFall went for the Humphrey Democrats in the Twin Cities region, advocating an appeal to liberals that voted McCloskey (or Wallace but were disenchanted over the Rarick nomination).

    [​IMG]
    Margin of victory narrower than Hatfield’s, Scoop nevertheless had pulled off a triumph over Connally and McFall. His base of support in the more built up exurbs and smaller towns overcame the strong lead the Treasury Secretary had built in the rurals, while the inner metro region allowed McFall a decent third place. The fight had been largely amicable, animosity set aside as each candidate played a positive message aimed at targeting voters.

    After a garrulous concession speech from Connally that really proved the axiom “Nothing is more dangerous than a Texan scorned,” the amity that so characterized the Democratic race was soon to be broken.

    Following the embarrassment in Minnesota, Ronald Reagan huddled in the home of supporter Governor Meldrim Thomson of New Hampshire with his campaign team to reassess a new strategy. Some, such as deputy manager John Sears and Press Liaison Ed Meese wished to double down on Reagan’s innate ability to connect with people. Go door to door and talk to Granite Staters man to man. Others, such as manager Lynn Nofziger and strategists William Casey and Michael Deaver advocated for a change in rhetoric to appeal to the McCarthyite wing that had abandoned him in MN to Hatfield – Agnew being unbeatable in the far-right of the GOP and Reagan already having sown up the mainstream liberty conservatives. The swing voters were those voting for Cohn and Hatfield, and Nofziger argued that’s where Reagan should concentrate.

    The Gipper, discussing it with his wife Nancy and Senator George Murphy (his friend and early supporter, John the Baptist to his Jesus), remarked to his staff “Each sounds perfect, so why not both?” Entering a townhall with voters in Derry, NH, Reagan answered a question from an audience member about fear of provoking a war with a radical turn, condemning the Wallace/LeMay nuclear arms buildup. “We need to get away from that. It plays into the Russian hand, for one missile is far cheaper than a thousand tanks. Deterrence should be America’s fighting man, for he doesn’t threaten the world with annihilation.” From Hatfield or even Cohn, the rhetoric wouldn’t have raised eyebrows. From the avowed nemesis of the Hollywood Communists – one that bragged about it across Minnesota – it was a political earthquake. At the Republican debate at the Coolidge Presidential Library in Massachusetts (Calvin Coolidge having gotten a massive surge in popularity among liberty conservatives, his son bankrolling the expansion of his Presidential Library), Reagan fended off attacks from his fellow competitors. Laughing at a barb from Agnew calling his rhetoric dangerous, Reagan dispatched it with the memorable line “There you go again.”

    Moderate voters, largely relics from the Rockefeller wing of the party, began to slowly seep from Cohn’s campaign as Reagan crisscrossed the state shaking hands and invoking the memory of Calvin Coolidge in the late President’s stomping grounds.

    “They called him ‘Silent Cal,’ for he was a man of few words. Well, I’ve been told the opposite regarding myself.” Reagan would write that that line was a surefire hit in the Northeast.

    [​IMG]
    When the votes were all tallied, Ronald Wilson Reagan had crawled back from political purgatory. Earning the support of both rural “Coolidgervatives” in the north of the state and the more suburban/small town moderates in the south, his charisma and appeal to the average Republican overcome working-class support for Agnew and establishment support for Cohn. People didn’t just like Reagan, they liked his policies, but Granite State voters fell in love with the simple and direct manner in which he communicated them – always with a smile. This was the man who would bring the GOP back into the White House, who would implement Liberty Conservatism after eight years of George Wallace.

    Cohn’s defeat – not winning a single county – would destroy his campaign before the season even started. Momentum and apparent strength counting for everything, the New York Representative shocked no one by suspending his campaign the very next day. What did shock all was his prompt endorsement of Ronald Reagan. In hindsight, it didn’t seem such a surprising move. The congressman’s wife, Elizabeth Taylor, was a good friend of her former Hollywood colleague and the Buckley brothers were close political allies (though they deferred endorsements out of loyalty to Cohn). Appearing in a rally in Central Park, Reagan embraced Cohn as he announced “This year will truly be Morning in America, where we shake off the fear and pessimism of the past and look towards a golden tomorrow of prosperity and liberty.” Reagan’s campaign would be bolstered by battle hardened veterans of Cohn’s political circle such as Roger Stone and Theodore “Ted” Bundy, who would become the Governor’s Media Director and Deputy Press Spokesman respectively. The Cohn financial network chaired by young businessman Donald J. Trump would also join Reagan’s campaign, flushing it with cash at just the right time.

    A reliably Republican region once more following the shifts of the 1972 election, what remained of the Democratic base in New England rested solely upon the working class whites that inhabited the logging camps and mill towns scattered around the region. This was enough for solid floors in MA and RI while dooming the party in VT, which had none. For NH, it was about half-half despite John Durkin’s win in 1974 – though that was largely attributable to his crossover appeal with Progressive-minded voters. Scoop Jackson was considered a good fit with these voters, and his win in MN gave him a leg up in the week prior to the election.

    Connally didn’t allow the Vice President to rest on his laurels. Descending like a Texas Norther onto the Granite State, the dashing southerner launched a flurry of attacks upon Jackson and his record among the blue collar voters, arguing that he was far too liberal to defend their cultural interests. The charges were leveled at every campaign stop, Connally pressing every advantage as he mimicked Reagan in connecting with the retail-oriented New Hampshire voters. Jackson struggled to respond initially, mostly due to the fact he had been the positive candidate during the 1972 campaign – leaving the attacks to the pugilist Wallace. He found his footing, charging Connally with a “Near-Republican record,” but it was too late to stench the bleeding.

    [​IMG]
    While Jackson was certainly not out of the race, his disappointing third place showing (only carrying Strafford County) ended whatever chance he had to knock out Connally early and wrap up the nomination. If anything, his trying to seem more conservative to appeal to the working class voters that so backed Wallace bled Kennedy Democrats to McFall, always eager to play the mantle of the liberal warrior bringing wayward Progressives back into the fold. With Wallace unwilling to take sides against his ally Jackson or his friend Connally, the Democratic race would be just as much a pitched battle as the GOP one was.

    ----------------------

    With the twin victories for Hatfield and Reagan in Minnesota and New Hampshire respectively, the Republican race had reached a basic equilibrium. Hatfield was strong among the McCarthyite and western moderates, Reagan among the Liberty Conservative Coolidgervatives and moderate Conservatives, while Agnew took the Republican populists, Goldwater base, and a majority of African-Americans. Thus, the losses in the first two stated didn’t faze the Agnew campaign. The South was his chance at getting back into contention, and the Governor hadn’t made any major errors. Therefore, with the southern state of Virginia came up next on the queue Agnew’s campaign were confident in the beginning of his rise.

    [​IMG]
    A/N: I know it says NH on the bottom; Mea culpa
    The overconfidence proved to be his undoing. Campaigning in the Midwest while complacent that the endorsements of senior VA Republicans and his status as the governor of the neighboring state ended in Reagan’s team catching him napping and stealing the Old Dominion from his grasp. Credit largely rested on the advice of Roger Stone, who collaborated with Bill Casey and John Sears to hit his opponents in their base territory to throw them off guard. Victories in swing areas like PA or OH would look good, but winning home turf areas like the south and Pacific Northwest would deal a decisive blow against the Gipper’s rivals.

    Meanwhile, Virginia was not ignored by the two Democratic heavyweights. Connally, like Agnew, considered VA as part of his Southern firewall that would provide the rock-ribbed pedestal for his seizure of the nomination. Smarting from NH, Jackson publically made it known that he was letting the dice fly high and contesting the state with his entire campaign. Choosing instead to focus resources elsewhere, McFall wisely backed out of the clash of the titans developing in ground zero for the Civil War.

    Both communonationalists of the highest order, and both with high name recognition (Jackson as VP and Connally as a particularly active Treasury Secretary), the fight came to one between regions and obscure issues regarding social policy and experience. Connally cast himself as the favorite son and Wallace’s successor, a son of the Confederacy that could better represent southern interests more than the “Cascade Yankee” Jackson. Jackson fired back with his dutiful service in bringing about the Wallace agenda, and hit Connally in his lack of foreign policy experience. “To be effective on the world stage, you must be a steady hand on the tiller. Secretary Connally has not proven himself to be that, and we certainly can’t have one with reputations for bombast [Agnew] or wild solutions so outside the mainstream [Reagan],” he said in a debate in Arlington four days before the primary.

    [​IMG]
    As with the GOP race, the Old Dominion had voted against the regional son, giving Jackson a solid two point win over Connally and returning the VP to the frontrunner position so jeopardized after NH.

    Additionally, Virginia had cemented its new status as the third primary state after MH and NH.

    George Wallace had a dilemma in the primaries. It wasn’t as if he didn’t wield any influence. In fact, his influence, despite the collapse of his approval rating to a measly 35% – the lowest of his presidency – it remained that the Democratic Party of 1976 was largely a creation of his. No other individual aside from Andrew Jackson or FDR could claim as high a mantle as President George Corley Wallace. Democrats of all stripes (aside from the most hardcore liberals) adored him, and if he endorsed someone then that someone would be the massive frontrunner.

    However, the problem remained that Wallace had two dogs in the fight rather than one. Both Henry Jackson and John Connally were firm members of the communonationalist wing he had developed – and close allies of him in the administration. In private, the President would remark to Cornelia that “[McNamara was the Vice President I selected, while Henry [Jackson] was the Vice President I chose,” and that “I owe my entire economic policy to [Connally]. Without him the economy would be crippled.” Democrats shared their President’s love for both, having given them the greatest policy victories since FDR. With both running against each other, he couldn’t in good conscience endorse either.

    The resulting primaries ended up as a knife fight. Jackson and Connally battled for every state and every delegate, McFall nipping at their heels in a distant third place. It wasn’t a contest of differing ideas, more a contrast of style and regional coalitions. The Vice President portrayed himself as a consummate policy maker, one that knew the government and how to manage it in the proper manner of the Democratic Party. It fit in his slogan, “A New New Deal for America,” and friendly media coverage hammered home the comparison to FDR. The former Texas Governor and Treasury Secretary meanwhile campaigned as a hybrid of Reagan and Wallace, using his charm and charisma to convince Democrats that he was the proper choice to face the Republicans in the fall.

    [​IMG]
    With the liberal campaigning of McFall resulting in a mere two states (and overseas Democrats) voting for him, the effective elimination of the Kennedy wing of the party as a viable coalition had been complete – it would still be a strong minority and rule the roost in certain states, but the top two finish of both Jackson and Connally cemented communonationalism as the dominant ideology of the Democratic Party. Much of the white working class, Spanish-American, and urban New Deal base was opposed to the kind of social liberalism and government aid to the so-called ‘dependent class.’ “The purpose of welfare is not to supplant work,” Vice President Jackson stated in a speech to the AFL-CIO in Nashville, Tennessee. “It is to supplement it. To provide the working man with a scaffold for tough times and for the strivers of society with a ladder to raise themselves up.” Parts of the southern branch of the Party were advocates of this approach out of racism, for the vast majority of the urban non-working poor were black – however, Pat Moynihan and most of the architects of the modern welfare state acted out of sympathy and empathy for the black population.

    Narrowly prevailing over Connally, Jackson carried the vast majority of moderate liberals and the northern working-class. Still a primarily leftist party, the mainstream Democrats that swung the nomination to him were as skeptical of Connally’s southern conservatism as they were of McFall’s socially liberal campaign. The map reflected this, the states carried by the Vice President being in the cosmopolitan parts of the nation and the more populist plains states (being endorsed by all “Prairie Populist” leaders except for J. James Exon of Nebraska). Connally swamped in the south and the more conservative parts of the industrial Midwest, but it wasn’t enough.

    Jackson was very much aware of this, and it concerned him deeply. The south was the bedrock of the Democratic Party, and a Democrat that angered the southern states deeply enough to lose their votes would be geared up for a tough time in November. Consulting with Campaign Chairman Brock Adams and a cluster of close confidants of his such as Hubert Humphrey, Walter Reuther, and New York Comptroller Hugh Carey, Jackson came to the conclusion that a Southerner was needed to balance the ticket and prevent Wallace’s Dixie base from jumping ship. Most of the candidates either being too conservative or too hostile to civil rights for the Vice President, he eventually chose Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia (beating out fellow Senator Russell Long of Louisiana).

    [​IMG]

    (Excerpt, Henry Jackson Convention Address, 1976)

    That's what happens when you have a president who stands up for average working people. As President George Wallace stood up for us, for the native-born and newly arrived immigrants like my parents, I will also stand up for you. I know what it's like to drag yourself out of poverty, your struggles have been my struggles. They are our struggles as the majority of Americans. The builders and the strivers. The workers and the laborers. I share your values, for they are the values of America.

    Now, Ronald Reagan, he lives by a different code. To him, American workers are just numbers on a spreadsheet.

    To him, nothing matters but the bottom line. An out of touch, Hollywood Republican that seeks to take our nation back to the same Hooverian nightmare that we endured in the days of our youth. That's why California saw rising inequality. That’s why wages stagnated in his state. Our nation was built by pioneers—pioneers who accepted untold risks in pursuit of freedom, not by pioneers seeking to support the business bottom line at the expense of the American working man.

    In Matthew, chapter 6, verse 21, the scriptures teach us that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. My friends, any man who aspires to be our president should know the true treasure of the United States of America lies not in the studios of Hollywood or the mansions in Beverly Hills, but in the heartland. The men in the small town barbershops, the women shopping for discounts at the local Woolworths, the families striving to pay the bills. Working hard with George Wallace on great programs such as Amcare and the GMI, there is no one that understand this verse more than myself.

    With the specter of Communism gazing at us from both the Atlantic and the Pacific, their tentacles spreading to constrict around the freedoms of country after country, our leaders must be vigilant abroad and committed to building a powerful and prosperous America at home. These may be difficult times, but as a Democrat named Franklin Roosevelt once said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” My fellow Americans, do not give in to fear. Together, we can finally build the shining city on a hill our ancestors crossed oceans in search of.

    This I promise you.

    (End Transcript)
    The Democratic National Convention in Indianapolis, chaired by the ever eccentric Jimmy Hoffa, removed a lot of detritus and old language from the liberal eras of Stevenson and Lyndon Johnson. Rule changes in the communonationalist direction were brought up by former President Kennedy in a show of party unity. His, Wallace’s, Jackson’s, and Byrd’s speeches gave the moribund party a large shot in the arm. Only a renewed commitment to the ideals of Franklin Roosevelt could bring the country back as it had before. This election would be tough, but the party of Jackson and Roosevelt was ready to show that it remained the dominant political party in the United States.

    The Republican primaries of 1976 were truly a beginning of a new era in the Republican Party. Defeated in the worst manner possible following the disasters of the Great Depression and Franklin Roosevelt’s popularity, the party had careened from one political ideology to the other. New Deal consensus, Taftite Conservatism, the moderate path of Dwight Eisenhower, the civil rights New Freedom of Richard Nixon, Rockefeller Republicanism, Goldwater individualism. For the party that never forgot their irrelevancy in the aftermath of the New Deal it wasn’t so much ideology to the base, only what worked. And yet, their only three victories in the past forty-four years had been due to the immense personal appeal of Dwight Eisenhower (one that dragged a canny pol in Richard Nixon over the line).

    Barely in control of congress, the base wished for something more. To have their ideology win out for once. To truly allow their ideas to bring their hurting nation back from the brink. The dreams of William F. Buckley, Medgar Evers, and John McLaughlin finally had their standard bearer in Ronald Reagan. He was no George Wallace, the garrulous warrior for the people. He was no Richard Nixon, a consummate insider that knew how to run the Government better than his Cabinet. He was no Jack Kennedy, with his aristocratic charm. Reagan was a man of the people, but with a smile. He radiated optimism, eschewing the rough populism of Wallace and Agnew with a sunny demeanor and open faith in the American ideal.

    “Liberty is never more than one generation away from extinction, but in the American people it has found its most able champion. With the farmers of Kansas, the laborers of Michigan, the ranchers of Texas, the engineers of California, the bankers of New York, all Americans carrying the standard high, humanity will always have hope that the better tomorrow will never disappear.” (Speech in Detroit, Michigan).

    His opponents called him starry-eyed, inexperienced, and dangerous; a cowboy, dunce, and soft-hearted, but as Wallace did eight years before the Governor shrugged off the attacks. The Republican base loved him, and had no doubt that he cared for them as well.

    [​IMG]
    Aside from highly blue collar or African-American southern states and old moderate/progressive northern states that went for Agnew or Hatfield respectively (and two plains states that went to Dole in low turnout elections), Reagan’s broad-based coalition carried a strong majority of the delegates and states in every region of the Union. After losing the Texas primary in April Agnew dropped out, and the black wing of the party followed Medgar Evers, Harold Washington, and James Meredith to endorse Reagan and sealing victory for the Californian.

    Largely, the victory by Reagan solidified Liberty Conservative dominance of the Republican Party over the older and more established wings. Rockefellerism had failed in 1964, while Goldwaterism hadn’t defeated the communonationalist Democrats under George Wallace in an otherwise favorable cycle for the GOP. McCloskey had come close in 1972, and hopes were high that the charismatic Reagan would succeed where the others had failed.

    Many potential Vice Presidential candidates from across the United States were considered to provide regional or ideological balance to the ticket – among them were Agnew, Florida Senator Ed Gurney, Virginia Senator A. Linwood Holton, Tennessee Senator Howard Baker, Texas Governor John Tower, Michigan Representative Don Reigle, and New York Governor Kermit Roosevelt. However, Reagan personally wished for someone to compliment his advantages as a reformist governor, plus one he could get along with personally. Thus, without further consultation with his team (although he would speak with former rival Mark Hatfield for nearly an hour), Reagan announced the selection of Oregon Governor Tom McCall as his running mate to a cheering crowd. A noted moderate, civil rights advocate, and popular figure in his home state, McCall brought a lot of the Hatfield moderates back into the fold and solidified Reagan’s appeal as a reformer.

    Taking the stage at the Convention in Houston, after a series of boisterous speeches by surrogates emphasizing the Wallace Administration’s failures and the commitment to personal liberty and small government, Reagan surprised onlookers by eschewing the long winded speech with something brief instead:

    (Transcript, Ronald Reagan Convention Address, 1976)

    Thank you very much. Mr. Vice President to be, Mrs. Second Lady to be, President Rockefeller, Congressman Evers -- the distinguished guests here, and you ladies and gentlemen: I am going to say fellow Republicans here, but also those who are watching from a distance, all of those millions of Democrats and Independents who I know are looking for a cause around which to rally and which I believe we can give them.

    Before I arrived tonight, these wonderful people here when we came in gave Nancy and myself a welcome. That, plus this, and plus your kindness and generosity in honoring us by bringing us down here will give us a memory that will live in our hearts forever.

    Watching on television these last few nights, and I have seen you also with the warmth that you greeted Nancy, and you also filled my heart with joy when you did that.

    Normally, a nominee of a major party would give a long and stirring speech detailing what they would do as President and outlining the struggles of the times – but I believe that has already been done. Instead, may I just say some words? Words that I think will outline the premier struggle of our time.

    I had an assignment the other day. Someone asked me to write a letter for a time capsule that is going to be opened in Los Angeles a hundred years from now, on our Tricentennial.

    It sounded like an easy assignment. They suggested I write something about the problems and the issues today. I set out to do so, riding down the coast in an automobile, looking at the blue Pacific out on one side and the Santa Ynez Mountains on the other, and I couldn't help but wonder if it was going to be that beautiful a hundred years from now as it was on that summer day.

    Then as I tried to write -- let your own minds turn to that task. You are going to write for people a hundred years from now, who know all about us. We know nothing about them. We don't know what kind of a world they will be living in.

    And suddenly I thought to myself if I write of the problems, they will be the domestic problems Governor McCall, President Rockefeller, and Congressman Evers spoke of here tonight; the challenges confronting us, the erosion of freedom that has taken place under Democratic rule in this country, the invasion of private rights, the controls and restrictions on the vitality of the great free economy that we enjoy. These are our challenges that we must meet.

    And then again there is that challenge of which he spoke that we live in a world in which the great powers have poised and aimed at each other horrible missiles of destruction, nuclear weapons that can in a matter of minutes arrive at each other's country and destroy, virtually, the civilized world we live in. Half of these weapons may be controlled by us and our allies, the side of freedom and justice, yet the other half controlled by an alliance of tyranny. An Evil Empire poised to subjugate the entire world under the jackboot of totalitarianism.

    And suddenly it dawned on me, those who would read this letter a hundred years from now will know whether those missiles were fired. They will know whether we met our challenge. Whether they have the freedoms that we have known up until now will depend on what we do here.

    Will they look back with appreciation and say, "Thank God for those people in 1976 who headed off that loss of freedom, who kept us now 100 years later free, who kept our world from nuclear destruction?”

    And if we failed, they probably won't get to read the letter at all because it spoke of individual freedom, and they won't be allowed to talk of that or read of it.

    This is our challenge; and this is why here in this hall tonight, better than we have ever done before, we have got to quit talking to each other and about each other and go out and communicate to the world that we may be fewer in numbers than we have ever been, but we carry the message they are waiting for.

    We must go forth from here united, determined that what a great general said a few years ago is true: There is no substitute for victory, fellow Republicans. And from the bottom of my heart, I promise… no, I know that victory will be ours in November!

    (End Transcript)

    [​IMG]
    Transfixed, the crowd went wild, as did people across America. In his first address to the nation, Reagan had sounded like both an advocate of peace and a defender of the American people. A hawk and a dove. A reformer and a traditionalist. Henry Jackson was said to have knocked back a tumbler of whiskey, Wallace muttering a curse in his Dixie drawl, and Jimmy Hoffa raise a beer to toast “Governor Reagan, you magnificent bastard.” A DNC memo referred to him as the GOP’s strongest candidate since Dwight Eisenhower.

    One man found himself disgusted with both nominees. A former Republican that had supported George Wallace turned Independent that felt each party had compromised their beliefs in bringing forms of soft-socialism to the United States – the Republicans in the defense and social sphere and the Democrats in the economic sphere. And unlike the random assortment of quacks and nutjobs that always ran, he had a following. He had funds. And he was an elected official.

    Taking the podium in Phoenix outside the Governor’s Mansion, Arizona Governor Evan Mecham announced he would pursue and Independent bid for the presidency against Jackson and Reagan. “The time has come for a revolt of the true American!” Mecham announced to the cameras. “The slow slide to socialism and government control of our lives has to cease, yet both Vice President Jackson and Governor Reagan are unqualified and unwilling to partake in that task. This is why I’m running for President of the United States!” John Birch society conservatives such as Joe Shell or Bob Stump joined with Southern Democrats such as J.B. Stoner and Harry F. Byrd Jr. in supporting the Arizona Governor. In a controversial move that nonetheless drew overwhelming press coverage – later interviews with campaign staff would confirm this was what Mecham wanted – the Arizonan selected Virginia radio host and former gubernatorial candidate George Lincoln Rockwell as his running mate.

    “Damn them all,” Mecham responded to charges, “George Rockwell is a good man, and do you think I would share my stage with a goddamned Nazi?”

    And such, the race was baked into yet another three-way contest. Interestingly enough, each candidate was from the west (including Tom McCall, who completed a West Coast trifecta). The first all-west campaign in American history had begun.

    Dominating the rhetoric of the Reagan, Jackson, and Mecham campaigns were the issues of the faltering economy (rising unemployment and inflation simultaneously), the legacy of the crisis in Portugal, the remaining Supreme Court appointment left from Wallace’s creation of two new seats, and the wave of Focoist coups in Africa, Asia, and South America directed by Moscow and Havana. Given the three candidates, America was in a conservative mood – for the first time since the 1880s the liberals had no real horse in the race, and the support fractured. Economic liberals went for the most part to the communonationalism of the Jackson campaign. Social liberals and left-libertarians, the Progressive Party having nominated no one in hopes of contesting downballot races, went reluctantly for Reagan. The Californian earned the endorsements of luminaries like Jerry Brown, Thomas Salmon, and a very churlish Noam Chomsky. In response to the near-sarcastic column of support from the latter, Reagan quipped, “With supporters like that, why do we need Scoop Jackson anyway?”

    Despite the problems of the day, the Democrats had the edge initially. The New Deal Coalition of Roosevelt, Truman, and Wallace was hard to break, being the dominant political force for the past four decades. Wallace, John F. Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, Mo Udall, Jimmy Hoffa, and liberal luminary George McGovern stumped hard for the Vice President across the nation – hopes among Jackson’s campaign was that the candidate’s support for civil rights and less abrasive nature would expand the Wallace coalition (while the presence of Byrd would hold the Solid South). Firm and determined, Jackson strenuously called for the continuation of the Wallace program, even the expansion of it in the face of a stalling economy and a wave of communist expansionism in the Third World. Jackson in particular talked about expanding the projection power of the US Military, likening it to that of a rural fire brigade, rushing in to contain the fires with plane dropped water and foam:

    “America needs to be able to fight more than one brushfire war at once, and this is something that will be enshrined in my administration.”

    [​IMG]

    Jackson and Byrd were the steady hand. The consensus choice. The ones who would protect the welfare state. Push back against the communists. A ticket of experience and wisdom that would carry America through the latest troubles.

    However, the increasing jingoism of America since Richard Nixon’s assassination had reached the breaking point. The voters were still anti-communist, still anti-radical, but the constant warfare and nuclear brinksmanship were starting to affect the national psyche. Many wished for peace, for the Third World to pick up the slack of defending themselves and not rely on American bodies – that the threat of MAD were lessened and they need not fear annihilation every time Cold War tensions flared up.

    Enter Ronald Reagan. To a public skeptical of Liberty Conservatism, he brought two factors that McCloskey lacked. Firstly, he was the Ronald Reagan. People knew him, had opinions of him forged outside of politics. Everyone remembered his folksy comedy from I Love Lucy, his genteel amity from General Electric Theater. The Democratic machine couldn’t define him, for he was already defined.

    [​IMG]

    Most importantly however, Reagan’s working class background enabled him to take the Buckley intellectual arguments for Liberty Conservatism and outline them to the American people in a way they understood – from someone they could trust. He and Tom McCall, who was beloved in Oregon by people of all stripes, barnstormed the nation. They got among the people, shedding whatever aristocratic veneer that Republicans were associated with. Not one question was left unanswered, policies explained with a combination of relatable knowledge and pithy wit. For example, at a question on his opposition to Keynesian economics in Billings, Montana, Reagan said:

    “Government to me is like a pen of hogs. They’ll devour money like the hogs devour whatever slop is put in front of them. Only way to cut them down to size is to stop feeding em as much.”

    And so it went across the nation. “Ron and Tom” were the reformers. Crusaders for all Americans “Regardless of race or creed” against the “Bloated, inefficient failures of Big Government.” And the people believed them, flocked to them. In a mega event in New York City, the two candidates, former President Rockefeller, Senator Goldwater, Senator McCloskey, Mayor Buckley, Congressman Cohn, and Elizabeth Taylor drew eighty thousand people. Reagan being an actor, McCall a journalist, gaffes were avoided like the plague. Democrats tried to attack him as the killer of Amcare, but Reagan disarmed them by promising to “Protect and refine, not eliminate.” Democrats and unions tried to pull the anti-labor card, but Reagan responded with his tenure as Screen Actors Guild chairman in rebuttal. “How can a former union head be a scab?” McCall would say in Ohio.

    Running lengths behind the two major party candidates, Mecham just couldn’t break through. The fact he had an opening at all against the base-pleasing Reagan and Jackson was due to America’s conservative turn that year, and he harped on it. Both parties were bringing socialism and radicalism to the nation, the establishment selling the people down the river. But the controversial Mecham was outshined by his even more controversial running mate. Everywhere he went George Lincoln Rockwell was inundated with abuse. SNCC and feminist activists would follow him wherever he went, the radio host making “pieing” a phenomenon – he would always taste the pie afterwards and comment to laughs. One rally in Maryland turned into a riot between black protestors and KKK counterprotesters, to which Rockwell raised his two middle fingers as the police whisked him away. For the former leader of the American Nazi Party… it was to be expected. But he would raise eyebrows with his defense. Interviewed by ABC’s Hugh Downs that his experience as a Nazi made him equipped to:

    “…Understand the mind of a tyrant. These pathetic excuses we call leaders can’t deal with tyrannies because they can’t comprehend the mindset. What makes them click. One thing my foolishness in the past gives me, it is insight into the psyche and thought process of America’s enemies. Jesus, the only one who gets it is Gerhard Frey, in Germany.”

    [​IMG]

    Shocker of shockers, Rockwell’s popularity among the American populace at large would rise as the campaign went on, the ex-Nazi increasingly adopting Freyist rhetoric. For Rockwell and the Freyist cause, it was good. For Mecham, not so much – one shouldn’t be eclipsed by one’s own running mate.

    Culminating the race were the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates. Continuing the tradition of a single debate between the candidates, network interest in the enigma that was George Rockwell led to the creation of a single Vice Presidential debate held two weeks before the top of the ticket one. Because of this factor – most likely – more people than had seen the Nixon-Johnson debate (both raw population and percentage-wise) turned on their television sets to watch the fireworks. As promised, both McCall and Byrd came out swinging at each other (Byrd attacking McCall as out of touch and McCall dubbing Byrd as a consummate Washington insider and out of the American mainstream) and at Rockwell, each attempting to use the controversial radio host as a foil. Batting back attacks like a champ, a fact even his critics pointed out, Rockwell made the night in the middle of a tirade from Byrd at his Nazi past:

    “Senator, I have denounced the activity of my foolish youth. When have you denounced your association in the Ku Klux Klan, Exalted Cyclops?”

    Speechless, Byrd stuttered through a response until McCall chimed in to moderator Jon Breen:

    “I’ll have to say, with all due deference to Senator Byrd and Mr. Rockwell, you’ll find no skeletons in Governor McCall’s closet.”
    The Presidential Debate two weeks later, hosted by Dan Rather of CBS, had less in the way of fireworks. Though both Reagan and Jackson were tough on the other over policy issues – creating a rather substantive debate – the normally combative Mecham was subdued. One reporter would state that the Arizona Governor seemed to have taken a sedative prior to the debate. It hurt his image, and allowed Reagan and Jackson to be the focus. The consensus afterwards was that, while Jackson had a solid performance, Reagan shined. Direct in his answers, a winning smile and sharp recitation of the facts always leaving his lips, the former actor dispelled months of Democratic smears of him as a lightweight Hollywood showman. One particular exchange largely sealed the deal according to experts, ending any slide he may have had among working-class voters worried he wasn’t firm enough. When Dan Rather moved to cut him off (by mistake) during a rebuttal about the need for missile reduction, Reagan fumed:

    “I have one minute to… the Vice President… I helped pay for this microphone Mr. Rather, and I’ll be damned if I let you cut me off!”

    Owing to the practice that each campaign included in the debate pay for an equal share, Reagan’s dig brought out his tough, noncompromising side at just the right moment. And in a stunning PR move, Reagan cut all his campaign ads for the last week, instead booking a single hour of network air time for him and McCall to speak directly to the American people. To make their last case on the Friday prior to the election.

    Time had run out. All that was left to do for each of the candidates was to barnstorm the final days and wait for the results.

    [​IMG]
    CBS, NBC, and ABC called the race before the clock struck 9:00 PM. The American people had elected Ronald Wilson Reagan the 39th President of the United States of America.

    Being decidedly conservative, yet nonthreatening and innately optimistic, Reagan had kept the moderate Republicans within the coalition while bringing in socially moderate progressive voters and economically populist Wallace voters all across the nation. To working-class Americans weary after the social changes and cultural chaos since the Eisenhower years, the uplifting Reagan – with his preaching of a better tomorrow and the constant references to God and his faith – overcame their compunctions about not voting Republican. Democrat attacks on him being an out of touch Hollywood Republican floundered. Americans of all stripes saw Reagan as a man of the heartland, a happy warrior as opposed to the bombast of George Wallace.

    The Republican landslide had touched all corners of America. New England voted uniformly GOP for the first time since 1956. Democratic gains were reversed in the plains and mountain states, and the belt of populous Midwestern states from Pennsylvania through to Minnesota were colored red on Election Day. Black voters pouring out to vote for Reagan in large numbers gained him six states of the old Confederacy (along with middle-class whites in the growing suburbs). Only the defection of very conservative Americans (Birchers and the vociferously anti-communists angry at Wallace over the ‘capitulation’ with Portugal) to Mecham kept Reagan from crossing 50% of the popular vote, but Republicans had no reasons to be anything but ecstatic.

    Despite the lopsided margin in the electoral college (performing worse than Nelson Rockefeller’s disappointing campaign in 1964), Scoop Jackson performed rather well – all things considered. Forty-four years of Democratic dominance and twelve years of… divisive rule had brought their chicken’s home to roost. However, the political chops of the Vice President (most of Wallace’s skill without most of his detriments) prevented a complete Democratic collapse as the Republicans had with Herbert Hoover in 1932. The inner south stayed with its ancestral party despite Mecham getting significant support (Louisiana and South Carolina only falling to Reagan by less than one percent). Washington State voted strongly for its favorite son – the 19% margin Jackson’s largest, only slightly more than West Virginia’s 17% margin that Byrd delivered. The most shocking showing was New York, which tumbled back into the Democratic column by seventy thousand votes.

    Mecham underperformed compared to the level of hype he had gotten, generally due to the fact that both Reagan and Jackson were far better candidates than seemed on paper. His support was negligible in New England and the Upper Midwest, taking mostly southern Dixiecrats and ultra-hawkish northern whites. Pundits would, shockingly, say that Rockwell actually didn’t cost the Governor too many votes – the radio host acquitted himself quite well. Mecham’s gaffes and the electorate not wishing to abandon the two major parties did in his effort to build a lasting coalition on the right.

    Republicans had reclaimed the White House, but only time would tell if Ronald Reagan was up to the task – or that if this election was one the Republicans would have been better off losing.
     
  15. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Location:
    Good ol' USA
    Winning an open seat after three terms of Republican governance in the Land of Lincoln, Illinois Governor Paul Simon was a moderately popular figure in the generally GOP state. Not a member of the Daley Machine, he instituted broad based social reform popular among voters in the Chicago area, overhauled the college student loan program to allow students and their families to borrow directly from the state government, and largely followed a pay as you go policy regarding state spending.

    When his reelection arrived, the vulnerability he faced stemmed from circumstance rather than any personal animus the population felt for him. A combination of black voters and strong support for the GOP among the suburban middle-class in the Chicago metro region made Illinois a Republican-leaning state, always putting Simon in a tough spot. However, the biggest problem was the collapse of the Daley Machine due to the patriarch’s conviction for bribe receiving and political corruption. Not only did it destroy much of the Democratic ground game in Chicago, but it caused a deluge of additional corruption investigations to blossom out involving other state and local officials of both parties. Being connected to Richard Daley, Simon was inextricably damaged by the revelations.

    Luckily for the GOP – several officials also indicted along with the Democrats – the candidate that won the primary wasn’t in any way connected to the Party apparatus in Springfield. Representing the outer Northern suburbs of Chicago, Representative Donald Rumsfeld forgoed a promising career in the Republican House leadership to risk a run for the Governorship. Teaming up with Democrat-turned-Republican Chicago Alderman Fraser Robinson, he illustrated his congressional career as proof he was an effective leader. Campaigning with Charlton Heston, Ronald Reagan, Tom McCall, and both Senators Thompson and Percy, he promised to clean up Springfield of the maze of corruption scandals dominating the news. Simon countered by highlighting his own record, but the shadow of Daley refused to dissipate.

    Energized black voters propelled Rumsfeld to a polling lead, while traditional Democratic constituencies among Chicago ethnic voters famously suffered from low turnout in the aftermath of the machine’s implosion. By election day, the result was assured for the most part.

    [​IMG]
    The race largely settled into the regional voting patterns in post-Daley Illinois. Rumsfeld’s decisive win indicated the new political polarization of the state. For all areas north of Springfield the Republican ticket took a combined 57% of the vote while all areas south of it went for Simon with 64% of the vote. The strength in the City of Chicago (with the collapse of the Daley Machine) and the northern and western suburbs provided nearly all of Rumsfeld’s victory margin. Announcing the beginning of the end to the multi-party corruption, the Congressman proclaimed a new era in Illinois politics – many political observers viewed the election’s significance in a different manner. As with Abraham Lincoln, Illinois was looking to send a potential national figure to the top. Many viewed that Rumsfeld was more concerned with 1984 than 1976.
    -----------------------------​

    A rural, working-class communonationalist state that had voted Democratic in three of the past four elections (only going for Barry Goldwater by .4 points in 1968), the lone Republican statewide officeholder was Senator Paul Laxalt. Brother of famous writer Robert Laxalt, he had been one of the two Republican candidates to gain seats in the JFK landslide in 1964 – the other being California’s George Murphy, who had replaced J. Caleb Boggs as Republican Senate leader. A popular figure, his devotion to the sparsely populated state and robust and friendly constituent service operation secured him a relatively simple reelection in 1970. Elected by 41 votes in 64, it had increased to twenty thousand. Given the nature of the state, even the popular Laxalt prepared for a tough challenge.

    That challenge came in the form of State Senate President Harry Reid. A famous – some would say infamous – presence in the state, the Clark County native was a favorite of the gambling establishment and the plethora of unions that followed in their wake. Being from the growing part of the state in comparison to the Reno native Laxalt and known for his take-no-prisoners type of campaigning (it was said that the Nevada Democratic Party’s dominance was half Alan Bible pork, half Harry Reid’s campaign apparatus), the Republicans were weary and Laxalt considered retiring. However, being a close friend and ally of his, Ronald Reagan convinced him to run for another term. Roy Cohn, now co-chair of Reagan’s campaign with Pete McCloskey, further promised that the Nevada Senator would get the best the Republican Party could offer.

    Touching down at McCarran International Airport on a scorching hot June day, bushy eyebrows furrowed in concentration, that promise manifested itself in the form of Roger J. Stone Jr. On permanent loan from the Reagan campaign, the disciple of the hard edged Roy Cohn took charge of Laxalt’s campaign with swift alacrity. A strategy began to form in the New Yorker’s mind barely days into his arrival. After speaking with Laxalt and the top Nevada Republicans in the State Senate, he had identified a weakness in Reid’s armor. The State Senate President was, for all his strengths, a despicable human being. “Makes him perfect at his job,” Stone would chuckle, but something he could clearly work with.

    Starting in July, a deluge of ‘anonymous’ State Senate staffers began to appear in Nevada’s newspapers about Reid’s Machiavellian tactics and wicked temper. “One female page was in tears,” recalled one staffer interviewed by the Las Vegas Sun. Another described several racial slurs directed to the state’s growing Indian-American community, another vindictive acts toward fellow Democratic state legislatures for not toeing the Reid line. “He really is Hateful Harry,” quipped congressional candidate Robert List. Stone was reported to bawl over in his chair at the comment. “Hateful Harry” began to appear in billboards and signs across the state.

    Reid wasted no time in hitting back. He lobbed everything plus the kitchen sink at Laxalt, calling him a liar, a disgrace to Nevada, a do-nothing Senator, and every other name in the book. Ready for this – he had studied Reid in detail as a hunter would his quarry – Stone deployed counterattack ads pretaped for this eventuality. “Hateful Harry hopes that slinging mud at me will distract from his record of lies and vindictiveness,” the genteel Senator Laxalt said to the camera. “But I have consistently worked in a bipartisan way for Nevadans.” Documenting praise from both Scoop Jackson and Robert Byrd for Laxalt, Stone brought in both Ronald Reagan and Tom McCall to campaign for their friend on three separate occasions, hammering it home.

    [​IMG]
    What was supposed to be a close race, in the end… well, wasn’t. Carrying every county in the state, Laxalt won in a landslide – triple Reagan’s margin and dragging List and other state Republicans over the finish line. President Elect Reagan was noted by the media to not have gone to bed until this race was called, so devoted to one of his few close friends that he wished to offer his congratulations the moment Laxalt won. Roger Stone, who would go on to have quite the successful career, would call the race his most signature achievement for the simple fact that it destroyed Harry Reid’s career (he would lobby Governor Mike O'Callaghan for an appointed state position and slink out of the public spotlight in humiliation, “Hateful Harry” never going away). As he said in a 2007 interview with the New York Times, “Who knows where that son of a bitch would have gone if it wasn’t for us?”
    ----------------------------​

    A great divide existed in the GOP about the best manner to allocate resources. Many in the Rockefeller wing and more moderate Liberty Conservatives like Pete McCloskey and Roy Cohn felt that it was best to double down on the middle-class, Midwest/plains state conservatives, and African-Americans – to seek stronger numbers among them in order to elect more Republican congressmen and senators. Basically a rehash of the 1970 strategy. On the other side was William F. Buckley and Clean Gene McCarthy, who said that pushing for deep southern and working class voters would be worth the risk. Hearing out both sides, Reagan agreed with the latter, tasking George Murphy and Cohn to find strong candidates across the spectrum.

    Each performed admirably, finding new generations of candidates to contest races in all fifty states – dubbed the 50-state strategy by RNC Chairman Bo Calloway. Even such blue collar Democratic strongholds such as New Mexico and Rhode Island were contested. The former possessed a large Spanish-American population and in the Age of Wallace was thusly a Democratic stronghold.

    [​IMG]
    This mattered not when the Republican candidate was the first man on the moon, negating much of the Democratic advantage and putting a previously safe seat into play for the first time in ages. One of Murphy’s star recruits, Harrison Schmidt – upon his victory – was fast tracked for a leadership position given his celebrity status.

    [​IMG]
    In Rhode Island, the defeat of Amcare sponsor John Pastore was an additional shock for the Democratic Party, but even the working class state of Rhode Island couldn’t pass up only the second female Senator to the 95th Congress (joining Margaret Chase Smith of Maine) in moderate Republican Claudine Schneider.
    -------------------------​

    The home state of Scoop Jackson, aside from several blips here and there the state of Washington was a New Deal Democratic bastion since the Great Depression. Special kinds of Democrats like Jackson, Senator Warren Magnuson, and Governor-turned-Senator Albert Rosellini were known for their special brand of liberalism – communonationalist before communonationalism actually became a thing. National security hawks, generally socially conservative but pro civil rights, and fiscally liberal, they dominated the rural maritime state for decades. However, the influx of the aerospace industry and the growth of the Seattle and Tacoma suburbs began to pull in an increasingly Republican electorate. This culminated in the defeat of Senator Magnuson by Republican Governor Dan Evans in the 1974 midterms.

    Albert Rosellini had been a very popular governor, and this had allowed him to easily win Scoop Jackson’s Senate seat after his ascension to the Vice Presidency following the death of Robert McNamara. Democrats were feeling good about the race. Jackson was on the top of the ticket, the state was still a Democratic one, and the Dan Evans arrow had already been loosed by the GOP. The only Republican of note willing to challenge the incumbent was state Attorney General Slade Gorton, a relative unknown. Two factors would end up destroying whatever institutional advantage Rosellini had: the Progressive/Democrat split, and the acquisition of Cohn and Reagan campaign alum Theodore “Ted” Bundy as Gorton’s campaign manager.

    Given the national Democrat’s increasing turn into communonationalist populism, the liberal wing of the Washington Democrats concentrated in Seattle and the university towns began to grow weary of ordoliberal officials such as Rosellini. Anger culminating in fury after his votes for both of Wallace’s 1975 Supreme Court picks, in the Summer of 1976 the liberal wing finally had enough and drafted state Senator Jim McDermott to run on the Progressive line against the incumbent Senator. This was noticed by the youthful Gorton campaign manager Ted Bundy. Recommended by Dan Evans (who would later state “I just saw… something in the young man. I knew he was destined for great things and believed he deserved a shot”), Gorton hired him from Reagan’s campaign and entrusted him with immense responsibility.

    Bundy would not disappoint, orchestrating a rather Cohnite campaign of barnstorming the state and widening the split between the liberals and Rosellini’s campaign through carefully orchestrated rumors and smear campaigns – all while Gorton personally took the high ground and campaigned as a liberty conservative reformer. No Republican not named Dan Evans could reach fifty, but in a three-way race all that was needed was a plurality.

    [​IMG]
    While the race was far closer than the county results suggested, no one could doubt that Gorton and Bundy had pulled a miracle out of a hat. With Jackson winning his home state in a landslide, the Republican won a modest plurality and defeated a strong incumbent to notch the GOP’s tenth win in a previously Democratic seat. While the Governor’s seat flipped back to the Democrats, arguably the fact that both senate seats were now Republican indicated a fundamental shift had occurred in the Cascades.

    A grateful Gorton would offer Bundy a position as his Chief of Staff, a huge step up for him after being a lowly Cohn deputy press aide only six years before. However, he would respectfully turn Gorton down – Ted Bundy had his eyes set on a different position in the King County Prosecutor’s office, sealing the beginning of his own career in stone.
    -----------------------------​

    Given the trendlines of the Upper Midwest, Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin was considered one of the most endangered Democrats in the nation. Elected to the seat of the deceased Joe McCarthy in the mid-1950s, the Kennedy Democrat had been at the forefront of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, earning him the enmity of the communonationalists and social conservatives that dominated the party of Wallace. Remaining in the Democratic Party for practical reasons and for his economic liberalism that played well in blue collar Wisconsin (not a home for many liberal firebreathers), Proxmire knew the Republicans would challenge him strongly and stockpiled resources for that eventuality.

    Facing Republican State Senator Jim Sensenbrenner from the GOP base county of Waukesha (suburban Milwaukee), Proxmire pursued an unorthodox campaign strategy. Not only did he hit the Democratic base areas in the West and liberal regions in and around Madison, he targeted a strange demographic – black voters. Touting his civil rights credentials to the hilt, Proxmire hit African-American neighborhoods in Milwaukee hard. Unlike many other Democrats, he was known to be a friend, and many local black organizations gratefully chose him over the more conservative Sensenbrenner, quite a shock to the national political consensus.

    [​IMG]
    Coming back from the political brink, Proxmire outperformed Henry Jackson and the Democratic house candidates (all but one of which lost) by over twelve points to win by a solid 56,000 vote margin. Securing huge vote totals in the working class west and around the socially liberal Madison area, his steadfast support of civil rights and endorsement of the local NAACP undercut Sensenbrenner in the heavily GOP black neighborhoods of Milwaukee quite well. Heralded as the last great Kennedy Democrat, a throwback to a bygone age of a liberal Party of the People, the Wisconsinite nevertheless was an odd man out in the modern Democratic Party.

    Apart from Minnesota institution Hubert Humphrey and the critically endangered John Culver in Iowa, Proxmire was the last of his kind. Quite a lonely existence.
    -----------------------------​

    After uninterrupted Democratic control of Congress for all but six of the past forty-six years (two midterms and in the 1952 Eisenhower landslide), the dam finally burst against the party of Roosevelt, Truman, and Wallace. Republicans gained across the board, sweeping all but five Democratic-held senate seats – all but two were in southern states, the lone holdouts being Proxmire and Ramsey Clark of New York, who survived because of a Conservative Party challenger to the Rockefeller Republican nominee of the GOP. Reliably Democratic states such as Indiana, Wyoming, and Montana swung hard for the Republican Party, while strong candidates such as Florida’s Claude Kirk and Virginia’s John Warner secured those senate seats quite easily. Even Republican holds once thought competitive weren’t, one example being Nebraska where Omaha Mayor Edward Zorinsky held the seat of the retiring Roman Hruska by a comfortable seven point margin.

    [​IMG]
    Holding a record majority of 57 seats including Conservative Party Senator James Buckley (not seen since the Hoover Administration), newly installed Senate Majority Leader George Murphy entered the new senate with considerable power and voting clout. The only major loss was the Vermont Senate seat. Fresh off his excruciatingly close loss to Roger MacBride two years earlier, Pat Leahy defeated first term incumbent Robert Stafford by an equally close 879 votes to provide the Progressive Party with its first United States Senator. He would end up caucusing with the Democrats, but making it clear he was his own man and the Progressives were their own party.

    The Progressives had extended their gains to the House as well, picking up the Seattle-centric seat in Washington State in a three-way plurality on Jim McDermott’s coattails – joining two California area representatives and one from New Jersey. However, the story of the night were the Republicans. Hitching their wagons to the Reagan coattails, the GOP sailed forth to massive victories across the board. Maryland, Minnesota, and Oregon saw complete Republican sweeps, while districts in the Deep South had their first Republican representatives since Reconstruction (Texas, North Carolina, and Florida gaining Republican majority house delegations for the first time).

    [​IMG]
    Diversity increased as well, five new black members, two new Spanish-American members, seventeen new women members, and the first ever East Asian member not from Hawaii were elected from both parties. Armed with majorities reminiscent of the first terms of Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Liberty Conservatism had procured a mandate from the American people. Of this there was no doubt, and worried Democrats could only hope that items such as the GMI, Amcare, and Social Security were off the table as Reagan had said on the campaign trail.
    ------------------------
    Taking office as the first Liberal Government in a decade, Ottawa was subjected to a flurry of activity in the first few years of Pierre Trudeau’s ministry. The effective control of a parliamentary majority and the added cushion of the leftist New Democratic Party provided little in the way of roadblocks to widely agreed upon legislation. The Canada Pension Plan was passed in 1969 and widely popular. It was soon joined with the establishment of bilingualism. While the effort wasn’t a priority for Anglophone Canada, most were ambivalent to the marking of French as the nation’s second official language. In Quebec, the bill was met with near-universal public approval, curbing the growing sovereignty movement for some time.

    On the foreign policy front, Trudeau was highly pro-NATO but pulled back Canadian involvement in the various wars of the day. Military aid was curtailed, but relations with the jingoist governments of Wallace, Amery, Crossman, and Massu were kept decent through the continuation of non-military aid to anti-communist efforts across the globe. The Diefenbaker race-free immigration policy was expanded and reformed, just in time for the influx of South Asian immigrants pouring in thanks to the Indian diaspora. Canada wouldn’t ever dip below a white supermajority, but the racial composition would diversify greatly.

    Unfortunately for Trudeau, his efforts to pass universal health care were stymied by divisions within the Liberal Party itself. It had been a major part of the Liberal platform since Lester B. Pierson led the party, but the leftist and moderate wings were in disagreement over how to structure it. Trudeau fell decisively in the former camp but was willing to moderate slightly in order to see the bill pass, but any compromise would only see the New Democrats pull their support, making the issue of passing the bill against unified Tory and SoCred opposition (both had largely come out in favor of plans more like American Medicare) rather dodgy.

    Despite the Progressive Conservatives growing in popularity with their new leader Joe Clark – a member of the social moderate ‘Red Tory’ ideological school, which played well in Trudeaumania Canada – Trudeau was willing to take the risk of taking his plans to the public. Dissolving Parliament with the consent of the Governor-General, Trudeau hoped his bargaining position in-between the moderate Liberals and the NDP would be strengthened. Polls close, the Tories hoped the newfound social moderation would propel them to victory and reign in the “radical Trudeau agenda.”

    [​IMG]

    Though separated by only a little over a percentage point in the national vote, Trudeau had preserved his majority by the skin of his teeth. As a result of his failure to win in an election that had seemed so promising, Clark surprised many with his decision to step down as leader – thusly starting a tradition in the Progressive Conservative Party. Nevertheless, the bleeding from Diefenbaker’s loss had been staunched for the most part.

    Ironically, despite losing ground, Trudeau’s gambit had worked. Nearly all the Liberal losses had been in moderate areas where universal health care was unpopular, while the limited gains were by left-leaning candidates in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Additionally, the NDP gained three seats, further bolstering Trudeau in the ensuing negotiations. Tasked with the responsibility, Health Minister Lester B. Pearson (who would largely share credit along with Trudeau) spent all of October and November hammering out various details with crucial votes in Parliament. That December, in what Trudeau would call his Christmas gift to the Canadian People, the Medicaid Act was passed. Generous universal health care was the law of the land in Canada, joining Gough Whitlam in Australia in serving as the inspiration for George Wallace’s Amcare (though it was a more watered down version).

    With Clark out as leader, the Progressive Conservatives selected Saskatchewan MP Alvin Hamilton, a compromise choice between the Red and conservative “Blue” Tories. Largely selected to prevent infighting that threatened to tear the party apart following the 1971 loss, after the first year it was apparent that the Tories were stuck with weak leadership in the face of numerous internal squabbles. Many didn’t think an election would be far off, but as usual reality had a way of destroying perceptions.

    A debate over patriation, the official sundering of Canada to full independence, had been ongoing since Trudeau took office. Concerns among the left and many Red Tories about the neo-imperialistic Amery Government put this on the forefront, and by 1973 Trudeau had finally negotiated a deal that all provinces tentatively approved. Then it all fell apart so to speak when the Marxist Quebec Sovereignty group Front de libération du Québec kidnapped both Quebec Liberal Premier Pierre Laporte and the United Kingdom Ambassador to Canada in what became known as the February Crisis. Trudeau landed on the groups with full force, but the narrowness of his government and vulnerability to a potential vote of no confidence convinced him to call an early election.

    [​IMG]

    Trudeau’s strong stance against the Quebec separatists and successful patriation were rewarded by voters in one of the largest Liberal majority governments to date. All provinces except for Alberta recorded a Liberal raw vote victory, the Progressive Conservatives decimated to pre-Diefenbaker levels and Hamilton forced to abide by Clark’s precedent or be forced out. Despite Trudeau’s triumph, the Liberals actually went down percentagewise. The main reason for this was a surge in support for both the NDP and the previously moribund SoCreds – who had rejuvenated the party by selecting a Quebecois leader and appealing directly to Francophones in the province. The former took far-left votes that went for Trudeau in 1971 over health care, while the latter annihilated the Tories in Quebec.

    As a result of their terrible performance, the Tory shadow cabinet gathered at the Party headquarters to plan a course of action to bring their party back from the brink. Both minor parties had shaken up the field with their new leaders, the dynamic social democrat turned minaprogressive Ed Broadbent for the NDP and the soft-spoken Christian minister Ken Campbell for the SoCreds. The latter was increasingly worrisome for the Progressive Conservatives, given that the SoCreds were already eating into their share of the right considerably. However, the main question was Trudeau. How could one defeat the eccentric Liberal Prime Minister? Many Blue Tories demanded their shot after the Red Tories had delivered a loss and the compromise candidate had lost as well. The bickering went on for days until Shadow Finance Minister Alan Eagleson came up with a solution. “To defeat Trudeau, one must become him. One must adopt the same eccentricities and almost mind-boggling charisma as he has.” Deliberating further, only one candidate matched Eagleson’s description.

    A former Liberal MP, Paul Theodore Hellyer had been convinced by Joe Clark to defect to the Progressive Conservatives as Trudeau took his party on a leftward turn. Currently serving as shadow Transport Minister, his quixotic yet impassioned rhetoric against increasing globalization had put him on the political map. Making international headlines by pleading for funding to construct an “Extraterrestrial Landing Pad” in Manitoba in the run up to the 1971 election, many a Canadian turned out to hear him rail against the established interests on the campaign trail. Judging his righteous passion against Trudeau’s charisma and good looks, the Tory leadership liked what they saw and issued a unanimous endorsement for Hellyer to be party leader. He defeated a smattering of candidates in the ensuing leadership election.

    Facing the usual headwinds resulting from the stagnating economy and world crises, Trudeau’s main problems revolved around his crumbling personal life. Tabloid newspapers sent a barrage of stories regarding the prolonged failure of his marriage, covered in lurid detail on a day-by-day basis for much of his third term. Trudeau's reserve was seen as dignified by contemporaries and his poll numbers actually rose during the height of coverage, but the public began to feel the personal tensions left him uncharacteristically emotional and prone to outbursts. Warned by his cabinet and staff as to the rising poll numbers of the Tories, Trudeau called the 1977 election to head off a potential bloodbath.

    The election turned out to be one of the hardest fought and most acrimonious of Canadian history. Initially pursuing his trademark Trudeaumania campaign, the Prime Minister was increasingly flustered at the spate of attacks Hellyer threw his way. Trudeau had been attacked before, but not with the ferocity and kitchen-sink tactics of the eccentric Toronto native, hitting him on everything from the economy