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

    Oct 2, 2015
    Good ol' USA
    Having returned to power following a nonconsecutive two year term, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam sat on a caucus ready to enact its left-wing policies after being largely stymied before by a much smaller majority. First to be tackled was healthcare. The Medibank system of government health insurance, modeled after the American Amcare proposals, met massive contention from the right-wing Liberal/National Coalition but was much easier to stomach by moderate Labor MPs than single-payer. It passed after an arduous year of negotiations with a skeptical Senate, dominated by crossbenchers, and served as a massive legislative victory for Whitlam. It led to his victory in the upcoming general election against opposition leader John Gorton with a small swing against him.

    Gorton’s loss against a government weakened by rising oil prices, increased unemployment, and out of control inflation hurt his standing among the parliamentary Liberal caucus. One of the key bases of support he could count on was the rural-populist National Party – which was nominally led by the Premier of Queensland, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, their most successful member though the leadership was a more informal role – and they couldn’t vote in the Liberal Party elections. Tensions reached a boiling point in September 1976, where opponents of Gorton managed to force a spill. The opposition leader was deposed in a short vote in favor of moderate Shadow Treasurer and Snedden Ministry rival Don Chipp. The Coalition frontbench was reorganized, the populists out and the more socially liberal/liberty conservative faction taking the reins. Joh Bjelke-Petersen, no fan of Chipp, nearly caused the Queensland Nationals to break from the Coalition but was convinced not to by Nationals Leader Doug Anthony and Gorton himself. Nevertheless, the divisions in the Coalition wouldn’t be easy to repair for Chipp.

    With a much friendlier Senate, Whitlam had freer rein to pass his agenda. Papua New Guinea was admitted as a state with equal representation to the rest of Australia, resulting in three new seats proportioned for it during the next general election and serving as a big win for Whitlam’s election promises. The effects of the oil crisis had largely disappeared, and an uptick in economic growth by 1977 largely ended the inflationary crises that plagued Snedden and the Second Whitlam Ministry. The Government used this to shore up the Medibank program, which proved popular with the Australian public.

    The majority of the summer months of 1978 were occupied with the debate over the national anthem. Feeling that “God Save the King” was a bit anachronistic, Whitlam proposed that it be changed to something more Australian in nature. Monarchists opposed, but Liberal leader Chipp was also in favor of the proposal so the backlash was neutralized largely at both parties. What would end up the contentious battle was what the new anthem would be. Chipp favored the bland and more traditional “Advance Australia Fair” while Whitlam, in a move that would surprise many, backed the famous bush ballad “Waltzing Matilda.” With Parliament evenly divided on this and his capital gains tax proposal, the Prime Minister called an election for August to obtain a mandate.

    In his fourth election victory, Gough Whitlam procured his mandate. Voters who were skeptical of new taxes nevertheless trusted Whitlam’s judgement, Coalition economic arguments against capital gains taxes not persuasive in the marginal “Mortgage Belt” seats that decided the election – the tax would mostly fall on the rich, which was the centerpiece of the Labor campaign. Additionally, Labor performed its best result in rural Australia in a generation. Rural voters flocked to Whitlam for his backing of Waltzing Matilda as the national anthem, picking off seven of their net gain of nine seats in the Outback and rural east (including the seat of Lyons in central Tasmania, the state a Coalition stronghold since 1969). Both Independent Papuan MP’s were defeated, the Coalition gaining Port Moresby while Labor acquired the two rural seats. Chipp, facing the Coalition’s worst showing of the post-war era in his first election, barely survived a challenge on his right as Whitlam put together his Fourth Ministry.

    No discussion of the Australian Labor Party of the 1970s and 1980s could be made without a rather sizable portion of it devoted to Robert “Bob” Hawke. A minister’s son, his family was quite well connected in the federal Labor Party – his uncle being the Labor Premier of Western Australia. Joining the Australian Council of Trade Unions after receiving his law degree, Hawke rose through the ranks rather quickly and was elected President of the ACTU on a reformist platform (rumor was that several communist-leaning elements supported his candidacy).

    Hawke blazed a pragmatic course at the helm of the union, opposing Australian involvement in the Vietnam War and campaigning hard for the leftist economic policies of Gough Whitlam (it was argued that the ACTU became the driving force in the Labor Party under Hawke’s tenure), but coupled that with a firm support for the ANZUS alliance and Israel. In 1971, Hawke muscled through a resolution through the ACTU designed to identify and purge all elements within it that were in any way connected to Communism. The move led to demonstrations and an assassination attempt but dramatically raised Hawke’s stature, even the most conservative and anti-labor of Australians siding with Hawke in the dispute. A battle with alcoholism and the candid nature in which he portrayed his successful attempt to defeat it only increased his popularity as an honest man in the public eye. After nine years, the larger-than life South Australian felt it was time for him to try elected office, and what better place than his home state?

    Incumbent five-year Liberal Premier David Tonkin was reasonably popular after the landslide election in 1976. Combining an agenda of fiscal conservatism and social minaprogressivism, the South Australian Liberal Party was one of the few conservative parties in the world that held a sizable minaprogressive faction. The Labor Party had been out of power since the 1968 election, coming close in 1972 but significantly weakened by the minaprogressive Social Progressive movement that took two seats and a significant chunk of the left-wing vote in 1974 and 1976. Thus, the party welcomed Bob Hawke with open arms, clearing the way for him to be easily elected leader and clearing a seat in the working-class Adelaide suburbs for him to run in. Tonkin, knowing that the charismatic Hawke would only gain in the polls when time went on, called an election soon after to capitalize on his still sizable popularity.

    Liberal fears about the charismatic Hawke were well grounded. With union dissatisfaction at Tonkin considerable due to a large series of public sector cuts in 1977, Hawke was the perfect vehicle to direct them to the election effort. The ACTU and other trade unions poured resources into the election, Hawke using his considerable pull to cajole the Whitlam Government and Federal Labor to make the race a priority.

    The effort and investment paid off. Hawke and Labor roared into a decisive victory, ending eleven years of Liberal control and securing Labor’s third state government (the other two were New South Wales and Northern Territory). Banking on his high-profile effort to fight communism and his culturally conservative roots, Hawke portrayed himself as the antithesis to the progressive social policies of Tonkin and made significant ironroads into traditionally Liberal rural areas. The rurals and middle-class suburbs recorded a large swing to Labor, which swept away the two Social Progressive incumbents to a nine seat gain.

    Very much a “reform communonationalist,” Hawke’s efforts to combat cost of living increases and provide robust public services and well-funded education secured his popularity within South Australia – enabling him and his allies to construct a powerful Labor machine which effectively controlled South Australian Labor politics. This would soon bring Hawke in direct conflict with Whitlam and the Federal Labor establishment, a fight the Premier was ready for.

    Tired after nine nonconsecutive years as Prime Minister and four as Leader of the Opposition, Gough Whitlam decided after a long talk with his family and allies to resign from his position in June 1979 – ending on a high note as the capital gains tax and tariff reform passed the Senate to become law. He left with high popularity among the Labor Party, which he had delivered to government after a long period of opposition for nearly twenty years during the Menzies era, and was seen positively by most of the public. In the resulting Labor leadership spill, the party selected Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Industry, and MP for Melbourne Ports Frank Crean to be their new leader

    Foreign policy soon moved to the forefront of Crean’s early tenure. Due to the Wallace and Reagan foreign policy guidelines, America’s foreign allies were increasingly encouraged to develop their own military and intelligence strength to combat the spread of the Soviet Empire. Australia was no exception. Though Whitlam, an ardent opponent of the Vietnam War, didn’t seek to commit any Australian troops abroad he did increase Australian military aid and keep the defence budget at a decent level. The major fight facing the nation was the Moro insurgency in the Philippines, where communist-aligned Moro tribesmen on Mindanao were fighting for independence from Manila with Chinese and Soviet backing. Whitlam had been providing aid, but Crean – having called a general election to take advantage of the government poll numbers – increased the aid and made helping fight communism the centerpiece of his election strategy.

    As with their British counterpart a year later, Labor held onto power with a reduced majority. About half of the rural seats that were won on the Whitlam landslide the year before passed back into the Coalition’s grasp (Labor turned National MP Bob Katter Sr. winning his old seat back after losing it in 1978), while four seats in the inner suburbs of traditionally Liberal Melbourne fell into Chipp’s column. It wasn’t enough though, for enough rural and Mortgage Belt seats survived the modest swing against the government to provide Crean a decent margin in Parliament.

    However, problems began to arise rather quickly for the reelected Prime Minister. The Moro insurgency on Mindanao was growing worse, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos pursuing a scorched earth strategy with the communists rather than attempt a hearts and minds campaign. This move led to a massive increase in violence, a series of high profile terrorist attacks in Manila, and the Australian Government forced to triple military aid while refusing to send troops to placate the Labor left (Marcos would be defeated in the 1981 Presidential election by Gerry Roxas). A small economic downturn due to rising inflation hurt the government’s poll numbers, and commitments to fund expansions of Gough Whitlam’s programs prevented Crean from truly stimulating the economy.

    All of Crean’s problems were smack in the middle of his high profile squabble with Bob Hawke. The Federal Labor Party fumed at the independent machine under Hawke’s control, which had resulted in two incumbent Whitlam and Crean allies in the state defeated for preselection by ACTU stalwarts in the 1979 election. Hawke was not seen as a team player, and this was reinforced by the public comments Hawke had made to the press about the federal government’s policies. He viewed Crean’s economic efforts as “out of touch” and “unbelievably daft” in an interview with the Age, saying that the government was more concerned with badly-planned foreign adventurism – Crean’s move to both offer aid and prevent sending troops – and economic orthodoxy than combatting inflation and increasing the quality of life for average Australians. Crean’s deal with the leftist faction of the party and appeasement practice with several major unions was criticized by Hawke, who had entered into the Accord of Cooperation with the unions in South Australia for them to restrict demands for wage and benefit increases for firm commitments on certain issues from the government. When asked who was getting it right, Hawke smiled and stated “Joh,” referring to the Queensland National Premier and Hawke’s unlikely friend (who had also entered into an accord with the ACTU).

    This comment exacerbated the feud between Crean and Hawke partisans, eclipsing Coalition infighting which had been the staple of the past decade. In fact, after Chipp stepped down as leader in 1981, the Coalition had pushed through a compromise leader in Victorian MP and former Foreign Minister Andrew Peacock, demonstrating a show of unity to take advantage of the Crean-Hawke feud. Unable to delay for more time, the Government was forced to call for an October 1982 federal election. They campaigned hard, but there was a sense of despondency against what was developing to be a Peacock juggernaut.

    After four consecutive Labor victories (five victories out of the last six elections), The Coalition was swept back into power on a massive swing. Every single seat in Queensland toppled into its column thanks to Joh’s efforts, joining Tasmania and the single Northern Territory seat as fully held by the Coalition. The swing was large enough to pull in an unendorsed Liberal candidate as an independent in the western Adelaide seat of Hindmarsh, largely due to Bob Hawke cutting off support from the state apparatus due to his dislike of the Labor incumbent. Ten years of Labor and the increasing interest rates and the worsening situation had crippled Crean’s government, and the infighting with Hawke hurt confidence as to the disciplined Peacock campaign, which ruthlessly put down any inkling of factionalism. The margin was the largest for any government since Robert Menzies, Peacock leading the Liberal and National parties in a joyous celebration after ten years in the wilderness.

    Taking residence in both the Lodge and Kirribilli House, Peacock wasted no time in directing the sizable majority to implement his agenda. A large series of individual tax cuts were passed – the largest in Australian history and modeled after the tax cuts of Ronald Reagan and New Zealand Prime Minister John Anderton – and drastic action was taken by the Departments of Treasury and Finance to slash the high interest rates. Further aid was provided to the Philippines, Foreign Minister Malcolm Fraser meeting with President Roxas to announce a small Australian military force to deploy to Mindanao to help fight the rebels. An attempt was made to nix the Australia Card legislation before it was implemented, but the move failed in the Senate and was abandoned in a huge loss for Peacock. It had been one of his key campaign promises. Still, his poll numbers were high and confidence in the economy was rising steadily.

    Tragedy soon struck, however. On June 2nd, 1983, while visiting his constituents in Kooyong, Peacock was heading to a meet-and-greet session with voters about the tax cuts in the official limousine from Melbourne Airport. Waiting near the secondary school – where the meeting was held – were two individuals, George Samuels and Federico Rojas (one a white Australian and the other a Filipino immigrant). Both were committed Communists, and angry about the Australian military mission to the Philippines. When the Prime Minister arrived, they removed two AK-47 assault rifles smuggled into Australia by the MNLF and opened fire on the limousine. Police would wound and capture the two when they stopped to reload, but not before they killed two of the Prime Minister’s detail and caused the vehicle to crash into the side of the school. Prime Minister Peacock was badly wounded in the altercation, put in a coma for nearly two weeks and hospitalized for over four months.

    The terrorist attack shocked and horrified Australians, who had been largely isolated from major conflict for nearly their entire history. Calls to bring back the death penalty (it had been abolished by the Second Whitlam Ministry in 1973) reached a fever pitch, as did further action against the Moro insurgents. Peacock, looking at months of difficult rehabilitation, made a choice. On June 18th he tendered his resignation, citing his inability to serve the office properly in his condition – he’d return to the Cabinet after his discharge, only in a less strenuous position.

    Peacock’s resignation left the Coalition in an untenable position. Peacock had been a compromise choice in the feud between the Gorton/National wing and the Chipp wing of the party, a member of the latter while running on the platform of the former. Most thought Finance Minister Philip Lynch was the perfect option, but Lynch died of a stroke only a month after the Kooyong Attack. Jockeying continued again, the nominal frontrunner Foreign Minister Malcolm Fraser opposed by the populist conservatives led by Joh Bjelke-Petersen, who was sick of small L liberal leaders from Victoria and demanded National leader Ian Sinclair be made PM. Finally, Industry and Commerce Minister John Hewson proposed a compromise, one both pleased the moderates and Joh. Treasurer and Member of Parliament from Bennelong John Howard, a liberty conservative from New South Wales.

    Howard was a bit of a boy wonder in the Liberal Party, elected in 1972 to the north Sydney seat of Bennelong with a modest swing to him while the Snedden Government was getting creamed in NSW. He rapidly rose to Shadow Treasurer when Don Chipp took over from John Gorton as leader, gaining a reputation as a solid liberty conservative in the Reagan school, as well as a foreign hawk and social conservative. He had close ties to the parliamentary National Party, who extolled his attributes to party boss Joh. Howard drew wide support for his work on the tax cuts and battling inflation, and despite his lack of charisma he was quickly selected as Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Party by the caucus.

    All Australians now looked to John Howard, all of forty-four and tied with Robert Menzies to be the third youngest Prime Minister in Australia’s history, to lead them through the new phase of the Island’s destiny.
    As 1980 shifted into 1981, and people across the nation celebrated the New Year, the federal government released the 1980 Census. The results signaled a new era in the American republic. The population had increased by a significant thirteen percent to a cumulative total of 247,782,135 persons. New York was the largest city, while Los Angeles overtook Chicago as the second largest and Houston barely edged out Detroit as the fifth largest (Detroit grew thanks to the Reagan boom, but most of the massive growth that compared to Houston was concentrated in the suburbs). According to racial demographics – the census created a new category, Spanish-American – the results were staggering to demographic observers, the outcome of the Indian Diaspora and the Cultural Revolution/Jiang Qing’s expulsions becoming known:

    · White: 80.0%

    · Black: 10.7%

    · Spanish-American: 4.2%

    · Asian/South Asian: 4.0%

    · Other: 1.1%

    Ronald Wilson Reagan was a man with a mandate. Reelected in the largest landslide since FDR in 1936, equipped with massive congressional majorities and a strong approval rating, the President possessed immense political capital for his second term and was determined to use it before he inevitably lost it. In a pre-swearing in meeting of the senior cabinet, Reagan and Vice President Ford reiterated their desire to “go big” in terms of legislation. They would seek consensus across the aisle, but informed Speaker Brock and Majority Leader Murphy that they were expecting to play hardball if need be. Congressional leadership understood, and planned accordingly.

    First on the list were the staff shakeups. Much of the foreign policy team was retained, SecDef Teller, SecState McCarthy, and NSA Webb kept on to limit changes to the Reagan Doctrine’s full steam ahead. Reagan was very close to Attorney General Brooke, so he was retained along with Chief of Staff Cheney, and Charles Percy was a new addition to SecTreas and doing a good job. However, the departure of Charles Rangel to run for Mayor of New York opened up HUD. Sensing that Caspar Weinburger was itching for a change of scenery, Reagan transferred him to HUD and asked Undersecretary of Treasury and close friend George Schultz to take HEW, which he accepted. Reagan appointed William Westmoreland to VA, starting a tradition of putting retired Generals into the position, while reorganizing the White House Staff to accommodate the confidants of Vice President Ford.

    To avoid major fights and public relations defeats (even with the GOP supermajorities), Reagan, Ford, and the rest of his team decided to pursue the bipartisan and consensus legislation first. Talks between Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ), Senator Larry MacDonald (D-GA), and Representative George W. Bush (R, TX-18) had resulted in a proposal to reorganize the United States Military and Defense Department according to recommendations made by the Webb Commission after problems and military SNAFUs during the Nicaraguan Civil War – the legislation would have created a Joint General Staff Council headed by one Five Star officer and comprised of him and the other service heads, designated to develop military strategy and advise the President and SecDef on war policy. Actual command would trickle down from the National Command Authority to the actual Army and Fleet commanders in the field. The bill was endorsed by Secretary Teller and the Service Chiefs, and the house and senate leadership of both parties were committed to its passing. It passed the House 349-21 and the Senate 95-2, Reagan signing it into law in March 1981.

    Efforts were also made on a broad reform of tax rates. Meeting with leaders of both parties (including inviting Progressives like Senator Leahy and Congressman John Anderson), Reagan sought a consensus compromise on the issue that could please a wide majority of congress rather than forcing through a bill on Republican votes alone – though all knew he and the leadership were willing to do it. With that threat hanging over everyone, progress on the reform was promising and officials were confident it would be ready by June.

    With these bipartisan victories on his belt, Reagan hoped to use the momentum to push for the legislative holy grail, amending the constitution with several priorities of his. He had the will, had the popular support – most likely – and was confident in having the votes. However, national attention and political focus would soon shift to the Supreme Court, halting any further legislative action for the time being.

    California’s Briggs initiative had a long and complicated judicial history following its passage in 1978. Banning the hiring of homosexuals in public schools, numerous challenges were filed in both state and federal courts to both restrict it and outright eliminate it. The first major challenges to reach their conclusions were two decisions by the California Supreme Court. In one decision Chief Justice Roger Traynor limited the Briggs Initiative (a constitutional amendment) to “Positions that are involved in teaching or that involve educational contact with students.” Administrative or non-educational jobs weren’t affected by the Initiative. Second, another ruling by Justice Dan Lungren extended the Initiative’s reach to both sexes.

    The federal suits were far more watched by the general public, sought to strike the Initiative down on 14th Amendment grounds. Additionally, while most proponents in other states were waiting for the court cases to conclude, the state of Georgia had passed an even more wide ranging ban regarding several different government positions. As a result, two major lawsuits proceeded to the Circuit courts: Klein v. Fowler in the 4th and Milk v. Deukmejian in the 9th. The result was a split decision, the 9th Circuit striking down California’s law while the 4th Circuit affirmed Georgia’s. Granting certorai, the Supreme Court decided to argue both cases.


    First announced was the decision in Klein v. Fowler. In a majority opinion written by Justice Marshall and joined by Justices Meredith, Dewey, Brennen, White, Stewart, Kennedy, and Chief Justice Bork, the Court struck down Georgia’s ban as a due process violation under the 14th Amendment. Applying the same justification as the decision in Brown v. Board of Education, Marshall wrote on how the ban was far too broad in scope and acted as governmental violation of the rights of homosexual citizens. Justice White filed a concurrence, as did Justice Meredith (who referenced his experience under Jim Crow to attack Georgia’s broad ban as the same government discrimination that the Constitution prohibited). Justice Burger, joined by Carswell and Baxley, dissented on the same grounds as he did in Henry v. Minnesota.

    The victory for gay rights groups was coupled with a stinging defeat. Announced right after was the decision in Milk v. Deukmejian. After his concurrence in Klein, Justice Meredith took the opposite approach in Milk, writing for the majority including Dewey, White, Carswell, Baxley, and Burger. The California Briggs Initiative, unlike that in Georgia, was not discriminatory under the 14th Amendment due to its narrowed scope. Meredith stated that the focus on “one specific profession in the Government platter of offered employment” did not show a broad pattern of discrimination. “A gay or lesbian individual could still find employment in any other government employment, and the law of California would protect him from being asked about his or her sexual predilections.” The restrictions imposed by the law counted as something concerning fitness for the job, and although he disagreed with legislation he believed the state had the power to decide the opposite for reasoning not grounded in arbitrary notions. “One cannot call it discrimination to prevent a person bound in a wheelchair from taking a job as a construction worker. I disagree with the conclusion that a homosexual individual is not fit for teaching impressionable minds, but this is a decision best left to the democratic process.” Justice Dewey, joined by Chief Justice Bork, wrote a concurrence stating that the California’s Supreme Court limitation of the Initiative convinced him to vote to uphold. Had the law applied to all jobs in schools rather than just to teachers, he might have gone the other way. Justice Marshall and Stewart’s dissents went with the same reasoning in the majority in Klein.

    The backlash was swift. Social conservatives saw this as a massive win despite the Georgia statute’s defeat (most of them weren’t thrilled at the scope of that law). Televangelist Pat Robertson, the son of a Democratic Senator himself, praised the decision in announcing his run for Senate as a Democrat against freshman John Warner (R-VA). Sam Yorty and Barry Goldwater Jr. claimed “Democracy won” and George Wallace stated “The will of the Court must be respected.” However, liberal groups were even more vociferous in their opposition. Jerry Brown was “greatly disappointed,” while Ramsay Clark called it a “Black stain upon the republic.” Protests took to the streets, with many justices burned in effigy. Justice Dewey got much of the heat – previously a gay rights icon for the decision striking down sodomy laws in Henry, he was called a turncoat, Benedict Arnold, or Hanoi Jane by many, activist Gloria Steinem labeling him “Worse than Hitler.”

    His health not being the best for the past few years – and considered the most likely retirement prospect of all the members of the court since John Marshall Harlan died nearly a decade before – Dewey took a three week sabbatical to his resort home in Palm Beach, Florida to recuperate with his second wife. Justices Brennen, Stewart, and Burger, whom he was closest to on the Court, all wished him well and recommended he retire. Dewey demurred, promising to think it over while resting in the Florida sun. His wife would later say he planned to wait until the current case load was completed before finally retiring after a life in the spotlight.

    Reagan was faced with his third vacancy to fill, and unlike the other two he was boxed in by a campaign promise – to appoint the first woman to the Supreme Court. There weren’t many candidates, unfortunately due to the cadre of woman lawyers being appointed to high courts being rather sparse until recently. The President’s advisors were split on who to choose. Gerald Ford suggested Deputy Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole, White House Counsel Edwin Meese pushed for District Judge Carol Mansmann, and Attorney General Brooke thought Arizona Attorney General Sandra Day O’Connor was the best choice. Reagan assessed his options at Camp David.

    In the end, Chief of Staff Dick Cheney came up with who Reagan would eventually choose, given to him from his friend Illinois Governor Donald Rumsfeld. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Phyllis Schlafly.

    Upon the announcement in the White House, the nomination caused quite a stir. Schlafly wasn’t the normal judicial nominee, someone with legal and judicial experience that most people hadn’t heard of. For the past two decades she had been at the forefront of the latest social and political battles of the day as a commentator, activist, and organizer. She had risen to national prominence fighting the Equal Rights Amendment, but when it failed to pass the House of Representatives in 1973 she shifted her gears to focus on fighting “Judicial Activism” in the courts. As a pro bono lawyer she had ended up arguing several major cases in front of the Supreme Court, and as a result of her prominence and conservative views Reagan had appointed her to the 7th Circuit. Her previous fire had cooled massively, and despite expectations she took to her new judicial career with calm and methodical reserve, a record not similar to jurists such as Peirce Butler or Willis Van Devanter but without the controversy of her earlier activism.

    Aside from the nomination of John Rarick – which was opposed strenuously due to the special circumstances of his divisiveness and the Wallace Court expansion scheme, Bill Baxley seen as more consensus choice – judicial nominees had a longstanding tradition of presidential deference attached to them. They weren’t politicized, and the Senate largely only inquired into the temperament and qualifications of the nominees. Opposition to Schlafly from many interest groups and advocates, however, was fierce. Feminist organization, still seething over the defeat of the ERA, attacked her nomination intensely. They were joined by the ACLU and other liberal groups, who put immense pressure on them. The Eastern Establishment, noting her advocacy against President Rockefeller during the 1964 primaries, also opposed her and managed to convince many moderate Republicans (and Independent Joe Biden) to oppose her nomination.

    However, the sheer size or the Republican majority and the support of Strom Thurmond and the right-wing of the Democratic caucus in the senate killed the opposition before it could form. Schlafly’s hearings were contentious, the nominee calmly debating judicial theory with the Senators in a move breaking with that of previous nominees (though James Meredith had been famously acerbic toward his critics). Senator Medgar Evers, who had been given a plum spot on the Judiciary Committee, defended her nomination, convincing a skeptical NAACP to endorse Schlafly’s confirmation. Even with the opposition, she managed to pass the senate 63-33 and make history as the first woman on the Supreme Court of the United States.

    Conservatives and southerners hailing Schlafly’s appointment as the final cementing of the first judicially restrained SCOTUS since Willis van Devanter had retired and broke up the Four Horsemen opposing FDR’s policies. Bill Baxley always had been moderate on economic regulatory issues, but the replacement of Dewey gave a solid six vote majority: Bork, Stewart, Burger, Carswell, Meredith, and now Schlafly. However, the Democratic support of Schlafly (mostly by Minority Leader Thurmond, Helms, Stennis, Maddox, and Exon) had been the final straw for many on the left of both parties. It was increasingly obvious that the minaprogressives and social liberals had no home in either major party. It was not a question of if it would boil over any more, but now when it would boil over.

    One of the stranger and more unique ideologies to emerge in the chaos of the seventies was Freyism, named after its ideological father Gerhard Frey – a notorious German nationalist and far-right writer. Combined with others such as Hans-Ulrich Rudel and Austrian émigré Kurt Waldheim, the initial ideology of the promotion of human freedom had morphed into the “Prussian School,” an application of the various proscriptions in Frey’s bestseller Das Freiheitreich to a coherent governing strategy. The Prussian School’s doctrines followed the book’s guidelines faithfully, advocating the creation of a nation-state dedicated to the securing of human rights and exportation of human freedom across the globe. To the German people this was an attractive move, given their… sketchy history on the subject to say the least. What Frey, Rudel, and Waldheim (along with many foreign Prussian School adherents) felt was that such a state was inherently vulnerable to falling. To overcome this, a single person or institution needed to be given immense prestige and soft power while remaining nothing more than a figurehead in regards to actual political power. Was this to be a monarch, a religion, or something else the philosophers didn’t say, but Frey was committed to applying his theory to the political sphere. And late 1970s Germany had just the vehicle for him to do so.

    The NDP following the 1974 election was a party at the verge of a crossroads. The collapse of Kurt-Georg Keisinger’s government and the CDU bled nationalist voters to the ultranationalist party, many finding it the best of bad options. Now that they were expected to govern the inherent problems with the leadership began to move to the forefront. Founded by far-right nationalists, the party initially was nothing more than neo-Nazis and German expansionist diehards that were toxic in the post-WWII Germany. The large collection of new members acquired from the CDU hoped to remove the current leadership and displace the old guard of the party, and in their desperation Gerhard Frey emerged. In Germany, where nationalism was frowned upon at best, the nature of Freyism and its focus on human freedom were seen by the new voters as a perfect middle ground between merging the NDP with one of the older parties and keeping the toxic old guard in charge. At the annual party conference in 1977, the party faithful booted out the old leadership and brought Frey and his disciples in. Just as the election season was heating up.

    Chancellor Helmut Schmidt was at the height of his popularity. The economy had improved, and the German counterterrorism and police forces had largely stamped out the Rotkampferbund militancy. Many West German voters saw him as a moderate and practical manager and doer, who focused on getting concrete political and economic results more than on political rhetoric – a leading indicator that put him above more charismatic party leaders that sought to inspire the populace. This hurt new CSU and CDU leaders Helmut Kohl and Manfred Woerner in the opinion polls, both struggling to hurt Schmidt’s advantage on competency. This was joined by the spike in the NDP’s numbers after Frey took control. Attacks on him, deputy leader Waldheim, and shadow defense minister Rudel for alleged “Neo-nazism” (true for Rudel, but long repudiated) was largely rejected by the German people due to the well-known nature of Frey’s views and rhetoric, and the desperation of many to atone for the past while still keeping Germany strong. Slowly but surely the party began to gain more and more right-leaning voters.

    The chaos and realignment that the collapse of the CDU injected into the German political system began to recede in 1978 to a new paradigm. Helmut Schmidt and the SPD government was retained but losing its absolute majority – which was considered a given anyway due to the extraordinary circumstances as to it being obtained four years before. The government had planned accordingly, and were able to strike a coalition agreement with the increasingly pro-business minaprogressive FDP to maintain governance. On the right-wing, the CSU was displaced as the main opposition party by Gerhard Frey’s NPD. The abandonment of the traditional nationalistic elements for Freyism had resonated far and wide among the German right, spiking the party’s vote share by nearly 13 points and placing it 100 seats behind the dominant SPD.

    Not willing to rest on his laurels, Frey began negotiations with Kohl and Woerner to consolidate the right-wing into a single party, grounded in Freyist principles. The task was considered difficult by most insiders, but Frey was confident he could pull it off. For the sake of his cause he hoped to pull it off.

    The NDP wasn’t the sole major party that espoused the principles of Freyism as their main ideology. Two parties that possessed political control of their respective nations had significant Freyist tendencies, the Spanish National Democratic Party and Japan’s Minseito. A large portion of the Spanish Falangists were explicitly Freyist, while Prime Minister Yukio Mishima sought to create Freyist guidelines to conform the Japanese military to the post-WWII Japanese Constitution. The other main parties that established the ideology were smaller ones, popping up across Europe and former authoritarian nations (including the growing Solidarity movement in Poland, led by Trade Union President Lech Walesa).

    One of the most intriguing was the Party of the Free Democratic Left, the junior coalition partner of the Italian coalition government, led by the current Minister for Industry Enrico Berlinguer. A former Communist and contender for the leadership of that party – instead losing to the Soviet-aligned Giangiacomo Feltrinelli – Berlinguer left in disgust with its explicitly pro-Moscow and pro-Focoist stance. Knowing that the initial desire for liberation from oppressive interests was what began the Communist movement, Berlinguer felt that the current movement was mired in authoritarian and tyrannical elements. As such, he and several members of the party abandoned it to form the Free Democratic Left, combining Freyist ideology with “Eurocommunism.” It would be a key part in forming the coalition government of Italy to keep the Communists out, managing to secure several major priorities, including the democratization of the trade unions and expansive rights for women in Italian society.

    Though a rightist in his ideology, Frey held no qualms of allying with whatever persons that he could find common ground with in the movement, be they far-right nationalists or disillusioned communists. He and Berlinguer would end up close friends, the former serving as the latter’s best man at Burlinguer’s second wedding in 1981. Leftist and rightist Freyism, despite the other ideological differences, were joined at the hip – after the first International Congress of Human Freedom held in West Berlin in 1979, Frey and the other party leaders charted a path to ensure that continued to be the case.

    Outside mainland Europe and formerly authoritarian nations that now permitted some degree of free expression, Freyism was slow to develop. Tony Benn and Paul Hellyer seemed to dabble in the ideology, but given their personalities it was seen more as an eccentricity rather than a change in their outlook. For the most part, the Anglosphere largely rejected the Prussian School of the movement – nowhere was this more prominent in the United States. The doctrines of communonationalism, liberty conservatism, and minaprogressivism were established for the most part in each side of the debate, and the nature of individual liberty and the Bill of Rights (as well as the success of the African-American Civil Rights Movement) prevented the widespread historical totalitarianism and repression that made Freyism so attractive in places like Germany and Japan. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, the basic structure of the Prussian School was rejected. Americans’ distrust of royalty, state religion, and largely undemocratic bodies serving as a symbol of national greatness really hurt the spread of the ideology. Many wondered if it would ever be established in the United States.

    Those predictions were put to rest by the actions of one man – a shocking, yet at the same time predictable choice. John G. Schmitz.

    Universally hated in the seventies an associate of Dixiecrats, segregationists, and George Lincoln Rockwell, following his gubernatorial campaign Schmitz had left such associations and famously repudiated them every chance he got. He endured several assassination attempts from disgruntled white supremacists, once having to draw his permitted Colt .45 and mow one down in 1977, making national headlines. The biggest benefit to his career was Evan Mecham’s selection of him to be his running mate in the 1976 election, a decision Mecham would rue for the rest of his life. Not that he was a liability, but because Schmitz outshone Mecham in the spotlight.

    It was in 1976 that Schmitz publically aired his Freyist views, but it had been building since he had read Das Freiheitreich for the first time, finding an outlet for the extensive self-loathing of what he had done in his past. American to the core however, Schmitz sided with the rest of his countrymen in dislike for the Prussian School ideas. The application of state religion or a monarch – powerless as they may be – was an anathema and a nonstarter. Freyism was the solution, but the means had to be changed for the American people to swallow it.

    In 1977, Schmitz capitalized on his newfound nationwide notoriety and published a semi-biographical book on his philosophical journey and ideas. His critics, of which there were many, condemned the idea as “Dred Scott volume two” after an infamous comment when Schmitz said he couldn't find any legal problems with the case. He cleverly decided to one up the critics and embraced the role, naming his book Not-Dred Scott and marketing it as the complete refutation of bigotry. He detailed, in complete chronological order, how he had become a Nazi and how he repudiated the ideology. William F. Buckley would refer to it as “To American Racism what Whittiker Chambers was to American Communism.” Several criminal conspiracy convictions would later result from Schmitz’s accounts, he himself testifying for the prosecution in all of their trials.

    What would contribute to the very ideological fabric of America was the second and third sections of the book, which detailed Schmitz’s Freyist theory – hereafter known to the world as the Virginia School of Freyism (after a speaking engagement at the University of Virginia where he first outlined it). The base doctrines that were illustrated in Das Freiheitreich were kept, too universal to be done away with. However, Schmitz expressly criticized the Prussian School’s hope for a single figurehead person or organization to rally the populace around and to deploy soft power to maintain human freedom. Instead, he argued, “The very nature of human freedom itself is what the populace will rally for. A government formed in the defense of liberty and emancipation will provide the perfect banner to join side by side in its defense. A nation fully committed to these beliefs and universal teachings, as ordained by God, will persevere and form an unstoppable juggernaut free from localized despots and religious organizations inclined to sow division between the different cultures of the world rather than the needed unity.” Schmitz would later go on to argue that the United States of America – minus a few issues that could be fixed – served as the archetype of a free nation that could liberate the world in the Befreiungskrieg. Some in the Prussian School criticized the book, but overall the Freyist community praised Schmitz for his well-written points.

    Not-Dred Scott would be an international bestseller, topping the New York Times bestseller list for seven weeks running and made Schmitz a multimillionaire. It would be translated into over fifty languages, and Gerhard Frey himself would invite the Californian to Bonn to discuss ideology – along with a shared laugh over the title. Back in Schmitz’s home in San Diego, manager and rising radio star Rush Limbaugh finally completed negotiations to create a syndicated talk radio program with Schmitz as the host. New Day with Congressman John G. Schmitz would premier on July 2, 1978, Martin Luther King Jr. providing the first ever guest interview following the opening theme, the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

    Schmitz laughing at protestors outside one of his many speaking engagements.
    Initially confined to Southern California, Schmitz’s home turf, the increase in radio syndication brought numerous wealthy investors and media moguls to capitalize on the controversial host’s charisma and fire. He had a national profile, and controversy always sold. In 1981, Schmitz would be given a contract to extend his audience to the San Francisco Bay Area. This would eventually reach the whole country by 1985, and extend to Canada in 1988. In the 1990s New Day would be the most listened to radio program in the entire nation, Schmitz becoming one of the most influential people in the United States. His success would bolster the talk radio industry, which largely started expanding with the signing on of Hunter S. Thompson (Schmitz’s most loyal rival, though the two would largely get along) for his own talk program based in Denver.

    Freyism had a start in the United States, and though it remained small, the mainstreaming moves by Schmitz began to win several major converts. Some would soon make their mark on history such as Bobby Fisher, Andrew Breitbart, and Mariska Hargitay.
    Widely expected to be a caretaker pope, John XXIII had shocked and excited the world by calling the Second Vatican Council. The move resulted in one of the largest reformations of the Church since the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century, including the renewal of consecrated life with a revised charism, ecumenical efforts towards dialogue with other religions, and the universal call to holiness. Unfortunately, Pope John wouldn’t live to see the results. Plagued with stomach cancer for nearly a year, the pope finally succumbed to it in early June 1963 to a mourning world.

    With the backdrop of the Second Council, the College of Cardinals gathered at the Sistine Chapel to elect the new Bishop of Rome. The initial favorite and alluded as the deceased John’s successor was Giovanni Battista Montini, the Archbishop of Milan. A moderate conservative that would stick by the reforms of the council, it was hoped he would gain considerable support from both the pro-reform and anti-reform portions of the College as a compromise. However, he unexpectedly declined for reasons he never fully stated. Two more days of balloting and a scramble for votes from both blocs ended in the pro-reform Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel Leo Joseph Suenens. Belgian-born, he would be the first non-Italian pope in centuries.

    Ascending to the papacy, Sunenes took the name of the last French-speaking pope, styling himself Gregory XVII. Pledging to implement the reforms of the Second Council, hopes were high that the new pope would lead the Catholic Church into the new era. No one, however, would truly predict what happened next during the course of Gregory’s Papacy. And – somewhat ironically – the main driver would be a child of the reformation, not of St. Peter.

    If there was anyone that represented the face of American Christianity, it was William Franklin “Billy” Graham Jr. A Southern Baptist minister since 1947, the North Carolinian had made his mark through mass revival meetings across the nation – dubbed by him as “Crusades” in direct reference to the Medieval Era campaigns to preserve the Holy Land for Christendom. Eventually televised by major networks and branching out to be held around the world, they followed a set pattern. Graham would rent a large venue, such as a stadium, park, or street. As the sessions became larger, he arranged a group of up to 5,000 people to sing in a choir. He would preach the gospel and invite people to come forward and were given the chance to speak one-on-one with a counselor, to clarify questions and pray together.

    Focusing on growing the evangelical movement within the United States – including a major role in the Civil Rights demonstrations due to his close friendship with Martin Luther King, whom he would invite to deliver a sermon alongside him at the Atlanta Crusade of 1967 – world developments drew Graham’s interest to a greater cause. Upon the Soviet-backed assassination of Josip Tito and the radical communist takeover of Yugoslavia, the new government began increased pogroms and purges directed at the established clergy. Churches across the nation had been strong supporters of Tito in the final years of his reign, when the pressure from Semichastny to take a hardline communist stance was at its highest. Refugees streamed out of the nation in boats, often telling stories of recalcitrant priests getting carted away to parts unknown, or shot by communist security forces.

    As anti-communist as any American, the experiences of managing several refugee assistance centers in Italy greatly affected Graham. Opinions about the dangers of focoist communism hardened, and as the Soviet Empire began to expand into the Christian nations of Africa and South America he felt something had to be done.

    Teaming up with a series of evangelistic and similar-minded clergymen and activists across the world (including but not limited to Ian Paisley, Trevor Huddleston, Jerry Falwell Sr., Martin Luther King Jr. – willing to come out of semi-retirement to take part in a new venture – Fred Nile, and Reinhard Bonnke), Graham transformed the Billy Graham Evangelical Association into one with a far larger worldwide reach. Speaking at a mega-Crusade in London on Easter Sunday 1971, the first of the new venture which would be called by future social and religious scholars as the “Third Great Awakening,” the Reverend and his fellow “Crusaders” pointed to a new mission statement. While still focusing on the same issues as characterized the past Crusades, Festivals of Light (which were the applicable evangelistic movements in the British Commonwealth), and the Versammlung zum Erwachen (Assembly for Awakening, a neo-Freyist Christian movement in West Germany led by young pastor Reinhard Bonnke), the goal was to combat the worldwide spread of communism through the introduction of “Faith to fill the wanting soul of our human brethren enslaved under godless communism.” Something that the people under communism – especially after the Focoist Coups – were seen by Graham as desiring greatly and that more traditional churches were ill equipped to provide them.

    The actions by the Crusaders would take nearly a decade to truly take effect, the newly rejuvenated Evangelical movement – disheartened by the counterculture, wars, and advance of communism in the early and mid-seventies – would breathe needed air into worldwide Christianity. A breath that it desperately needed in the post-modern world.

    The newfound evangelism and revival that characterized the Third Great Awakening wasn’t simply limited to Protestantism. Due to the rapid spread of communist governments thanks to revolutionary Focoism, a large percentage of Catholics the world over found themselves subjugated to regimes that were completely hostile to religion in any form (while some governments were more tolerant such as, surprisingly, Che Guevara in West Cuba due to an uncanny ability to placate the masses, others such as the Argentinians or the Polish military Junta conducted mass suppression of the Catholic Church in revolutionary zeal). A large contingent of the College of Cardinals, mainly from the United States, Eastern Europe, or South America, were increasingly mimicking the rhetoric of Billy Graham and the other Crusaders, called by the press the “Defenders of Rome” in an editorial by the New York Times. They favored a more hardline approach against communism through the use of an evangelistic approach to the faith, and grew in strength as the years passed following the Focoist coups.

    Much of what the Papacy dealt with as the seventies progressed involved frantic lobbying and rendering assistance for the faithful, taking a great toll on Pope Gregory – especially after Brazil fell, the Goulart Government unable to stem the radical moves the Communists in the cabinet were ramming through the legislature. Suffering from chronic stress and several infections, he decided in 1978 to voluntarily retire back to Belgium, the first pope in centuries to voluntarily resigning on his own accord.

    On September 4th, the College of Cardinals gathered at the Sistine Chapel at the behest of Pope Gregory, headed by Franz Kӧnig, the Archbishop of Vienna. As with before, many split between the conservative candidate Giuseppe Siri – Archbishop of Genoa – while the liberals backed Patriarch of Venice Albino Luciani. The Defender bloc (comprising the communist nation cardinals and most of the American delegation) initially tried to nominate their most outspoken member, Archbishop of Krakow Karol Wojtyła. However, after a series of assassination attempts concerning his outspoken advocacy against the Polish Communist junta (a hardline government), the Cardinal bowed out. The defenders then kept their options open as another compromise choice was likely in the offering, no one else among their members likely to win.

    The conclave was rocked on the 5th due to a burst of international news. The Communist government of Argentina – the lone non-European signatory of the Warsaw Pact since West Cuba fell – had been waging a small scale insurgency against anti-communist forces (both democratic and Peronist) since they took power in the mid-Seventies. After a series of Jesuit priests were reported as giving aid and comfort to groups of the rebels, the Security Service arrested Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus for Argentina Jorge Mario Bergoglio without bond for “counterrevolutionary activities.” The news sent shockwaves throughout the world, especially among the Catholic community. Gregory sent a formal request on behalf of the Papacy for Bergoglio’s release and offered to grant him stay in Rome in exchange for his deportation, but Buenos Aires refused (General Secretary Grishin, under pressure from the hardliners in the Politburo, declined to intervene despite Semichastny’s lobbying and his personal disagreement with the move).

    In the Sistine Chapel, the news of Bergoglio’s arrest swung the pendulum decidedly in favor of the defender bloc in the College. Calls for Cardinal Wojtyła to reconsider were deafening, but the Pole remained adamant that he would stay a Cardinal. Afterwards, a new name emerged on Wojtyła’s suggestion, one that hadn’t yet been considered. Cardinal John Krol, the Archbishop of Philadelphia and the de facto leader of the American representatives to the Conclave. Facing pressure from his bloc and high ranking Cardinals, Krol accepted and Wojtyła officially nominated him. Stalwart among the defender bloc and a conservative on doctrinaire issues while a reformer in general, traditional aversion to a non-European Pope was swept aside by the desire to heal divisions and the fear following Bergoglio’s arrest, Cardinals of all factions rallying around Krol.

    On the night of September 6th, the white smoke left the Sistine Chapel to herald John Krol’s elevation to the papacy, the first ever pope not originating from Europe since the Dark Ages – and the first from the Western Hemisphere. Taking to the balcony at St. Peter’s Basilica, Krol announced his intention to take the name Leo XIV, after Pope Leo the Great. Associating himself with the pope that had faced down Attila the Hun and emerged victorious, the humble Cleveland native sent a symbolic message through the heart of the world that the Catholic Church was not going to back down from the communist/focoist threat.

    As Stalin had once said, “What armies does the pope have?” Pope Leo couldn’t marshal any direct threat to the Soviet Empire – or its more militaristic allies and satellites now that the USSR was following the neo-Semichastny policies of détente – but as with Billy Graham and the Crusades (even more so considering the Catholic Church’s even greater reach) the soft power possessed by the Bishop of Rome matched the power of even the most massive armies. Leo would, within a month, take a world tour of nations with a significant Catholic population that culminated with a much heralded visit to the Pope’s native United States with huge crowds and an address to a joint session of Congress. Overseen by Cardinal Wojtyła, the Church would pour funds and manpower into spreading and maintaining the faith deep within the heart of the communist bloc, often at great cost to the clergy and missionaries sent.

    Christianity wasn’t going down without a fight, another batch of worries plaguing the hardliners in Moscow, Buenos Aires, East Berlin, and Tehran.
    The second Mitterrand Ministry found France recovering from the doldrums of the Stagflation of the mid-70s. The massive spurt of growth from before didn't return, but the Socialist President of the Council saw his popularity remain high for the return of modest prosperity. Social reform was the primary goal of the Four-Party Coalition, Mitterrand instituting the French version of the American GMI and passing a strong hate-speech law to protect Jews and other religious minorities. He made fighting income inequality one of his signature goals, cutting back on foreign interventionism by promoting soft power and economic aid to help French Community allies develop themselves. Initially favored to win reelection, the passage of an act allowing for Algeria-Littoral to be a trilingual province (French, Arabic, and Berber) caused a great stir among voters in Metropolitan France (Pied-Noirs being nearly 80% National Front to begin with) and contributed to the Four-Party coalition's defeat in 1980.


    Once again, the jostling of the parties had produced the third election in a row where the government had changed. Increasing it's plurality position, Massu's National Front shared a bare majority with it's coalition partners, the center-right UDF. Under a new leader since D'Estaing retired after the defeat in 1975, Jacques Chirac nonetheless presided over yet another loss of seats as right-wing voters tactically voted for the popular Massu (the UDF's biggest vote share was in metropolitan Paris, where the rural communonationalism of the FN wasn't as popular among the upscale conservatives). Mitterrand's socialists suffered the largest drop in seats, left-wing voters cannibalized by the resurgent communists, who ran a strong campaign focusing on arms reduction and increased worker's rights.

    Despite a robust schedule as leader of the opposition in the Assemblee Nationale, Massu was in failing health and merely wanted to retire in 1981. However, the former paratrooper wished to force through the final piece of his legacy in running the National Front, which under his tenure had gone from a minor party in the shadow of Bidault to the largest party on the French right. Namely, his goal was to solidify France's honor as a military power (it couldn't claim superpower status, but the Fourth Republic boasted the third largest military among the NATO powers). A massive naval expansion was passed through the Assembly - putting the Marine Nationale to be larger than the Soviet Navy by 1992 - while the army and air force had their equipment modernized the same way the US and Britain were pursuing. Further mutual defense treaties were signed between France and Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands, creating a suborganization within NATO (some say Massu was thinking far beyond his time when he sent Foreign Minister Chirac to Madrid for the negotiations). And in his proudest moment, Massu presided over the recreating of the Colonial Paratroopers, tasked with defending France's Community allies from insurgencies.

    Tired and with his legacy in check, Massu announced his retirement in February 1982. The announcement sent shockwaves through France. The general had been one of the three titans of the new era in the Fourth Republic, along with Georges Bidault and Francois Mitterrand. He would leave a large void in the consciousness of the Republic. One at least a dozen different leaders of the National Front scrambled to fill. The result of the leadership race was... surprising to say the least. After a jockeying process that was far more acrimonious than leadership elections or presidential primaries in other western nations, the winner was a compromise choice. Science and Technology Minister Jacques Cousteau.

    Already world famous as an oceanographer - pioneering underwater color filming, a revolutionary concept in teaching the world about the sea - Cousteau was an unlikely choice for Prime Minister of the French Fourth Republic. A former naval diver and a strong defender of Bidault's stabilizing reforms following the Constitutional Crisis of the late 1950s, the political bug had gotten to Cousteau following a move by the First Mitterrand Ministry to cute scientific research grants to bolster spending on other areas of the budget. Speaking out against it and in favor of strong governmental funding of scientific discovery (while still preserving scientific autonomy), Cousteau took the plunge and stood as a candidate in a by-election for an Assembly seat in the conservative 16th Arrondissement. Normally a UDF stronghold in an area the National Front didn't fare well in, Cousteau wished to be in the larger party, and won the election by a large margin. Massu quickly put him in the cabinet as Minister of Science and Technology, owing his public profile. His press conferences calling attention to important scientific research being conducted in the Community were quite popular with the French people, given the simple and endearing manner of speaking in which he was famous for.

    Taking office as President of the Council largely as a compromise between the different factions of the party, he was advised by Personal Council Nicholas Sarkozy (a young lawyer whom Cousteau had taken a liking to for representing a business suing his Ministry a year earlier) to take charge quickly or be eaten alive by the more bombastic personalities in the National front such as Defense Minister Helie de Saint Marc and Interior Minister Jean Royer. This Cousteau did, announcing a massive cabinet reshuffle that placed the more moderate wing of the National Front - politicians that weren't part of Massu's clique during the Algerian War - in the dominant position. Some complained to the retired Massu to speak out, but the content man resting under the trees of his countryside villa actually seemed impressed by the oceanographer's fortitude. New leadership had come to the right, and it was just as decisive as the old.

    The Cousteau agenda was a striking contrast to the previous policies of the National Front. Of course the primary pillars of nationalism, high defense spending, infrastructure funding, social conservatism. and increased French involvement in the world was kept - doing away with those would mean the extinction of the party. However, Cousteau was far more moderate and fiscally-minded than the "Algiers Clique" which had controlled the party since its inception in the early 1960s, and he charted such a course as President of the Council. In addition to his pet project of broad funding to research and development in the sciences (Cousteau dreamed of France being the leading innovator in this regard), he cut back on several big infrastructure projects he deemed not necessary and passed a modest tax cut. Several state owned businesses were privatized, which he managed to get the public to accept with his friendly and simple speaking style but causing great uproar among the far-right of the National Front.

    Knowing his programs would be divisive in the party, Cousteau had set his sights on an ambitions project, to merge the right-wing parties under the National Front banner. doing so would give him a lot more breathing room and moderate the party, drowning out the fringe voices with more metropolitan voters. In a smart move, Cousteau got the blessing of Massu first, basically forcing the Algiers Clique to accede to the merger and giving Chirac cover to do so as well. The UDF was formally absorbed into the National Front in June 1984, giving the sole right-wing party an absolute majority in the National Assembly. However, this had been too much for a few on the right of the party. A group of breakaway local officials led by a Paris Councillor named Jean-Marie Le Pen - and outspoken rightist who often was a thorn in Cousteau and even Massu's side, made famous by a failed hate-speech indictment for a public rant that many said was Holocaust Denial - formed their own party, the Movement for France, to challenge Cousteau in the next elections. Once thought unassailable due to their leader's popularity, the National Front faced it's first ever base problem and the SFIO smelled blood.

    The lofty projections for Le Pen's new party did not come to fruition, but many on the right felt that if not for the distraction then Cousteau would have led a united right-wing to victory. The National Front held up well, all things considered. They held onto the vast majority of the former UDF vote under Cousteau's more moderate profile, while only bleeding a small amount of the rural nationalists to Le Pen, who barely cracked .5% in metropolitan Paris. The party merger was one of Cousteau's lasting legacies, cementing the National Front as France's main center-right party and one of the most prominent ones that did not end up adopting Liberty Conservatism as their premier ideology.

    Mitterrand had defied the political odds and would take his third non-consecutive term as President of the Council. The Four-party coalition was swept into office, the only party among them to lose seats being the Communists. They had taken a far-left turn due to their opposition to the new government in the USSR, and had been hurt greatly by that stance. Marchais resigned as leader and was replaced by a more Eurocommunist leadership, making Mitterrand's governance far easier as he prepared his cabinet and his agenda for the second half of the decade.

    What would be one of the most consequential times in the history of modern France.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  2. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Oct 2, 2015
    Good ol' USA
    Following the failure of the Iranian Islamists to supplant the Tudeh Party during the Iranian Revolution, the cause of Islamism had begun to wane in the following years. A failed assassination attempt on Anwar Sadat by one Ayman al-Zawahiri – a member of the Muslim Brotherhood – led to the Egyptian police to crack down on the Islamist group, jailing many key officials and exiling others. Pakistan, in an attempt by the ruling government to shore its flank against more religious hardliners, banned several organizations within its borders. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, going through several modernization initiatives under Kings Faisal and Khalid, was another that cracked down on them. While not as much of a threat as compared to the communists in Iran, Sudan, and Ethiopia or the communist allies in Syria and Libya, they were a major nuisance.

    One such Wahabist was Juhayman al-Otaybi. A member of an influential family in Najd, he had established a cult following to promote hardline Islamist thought: namely a return to the original ways of Islam, a repudiation of the West, abolition of television, and expulsion of non-Muslims. The pro-American and Israeli-allied nations were no worse than Communist Iran in their eyes, and they had made common cause with a group of Iranian exiles called the Defenders of the Islamic Revolution – led by a young paramilitary named Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Together, they plotted an ambitious, symbolic move to draw attention to their cause by seizing the most holy site in all of Islam – the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

    Al-Otaybi and Ahmadinejad initially planned to strike later in December, but the plan was moved up when knowledge came of King Khalid’s intention to invite Saddam Hussein to Mecca for a week to discuss economic issues and mutual defense concerns against Iran. The chance to eliminate both leaders was too good to pass up, and an additional operation was hastily put together to take advantage of it. On November 30, 1982, the die was cast. As the imam of the Grand Mosque, Sheikh Mohammed al-Subayil, was preparing to lead prayers for the fifty thousand worshippers at around 5:00 am, he was interrupted by the insurgents and Islamist revolutionaries. They produced weapons from under their robes, chained the gates shut, and killed two policemen who were armed with only wooden clubs for disciplining unruly pilgrims. While the word had quickly gone out, after an hour the Grand Mosque was in al-Otaybi’s hands.

    Meanwhile, at the hotel where Saddam and the King were holding their meeting, a militant drove a truck bomb directly into the wall where the hotel’s ballroom was located, detonating nearly two tons of TNT and killing all but two inside – King Khalid was one of them, as was the Crown Prince. Saddam Hussein escaped death though, not even being on the premises. After getting a case of food poisoning, he was confined to his bathroom with a bad bout of nausea and thusly missed the meeting, an extraordinary stroke of luck. Rumors would later emerge that Saddam originally planned to kill the chef that prepared the spoilt meal, but after the near escape he promoted him.

    Command of the situation spread to Second Deputy Prime Minister Sultan, who was in Jeddah when informed of the developments. With the National Guard Commander, Prince Abdullah, abroad in London for a meeting with UK Defence Secretary James Callaghan, Sultan passed tactical command to the Defence Minister, Prince Nayaf. The National Guard rolled into Mecca in full battle formation, but by the time they surrounded the Grand Mosque the insurgents had already taken defensive positions in the upper levels of the mosque. Snipers held the minarets, from which they commanded the grounds. Tens of thousands of hostages were released, but no one outside the mosque knew how many hostages remained, or any information about the militants themselves. When a group of soldiers attempted to retake the mosque, they were forced back with heavy losses. Sultan and Nayaf immediately ordered all forces to stand down and prepare for a long siege.

    Friendly governments from across the Islamic world banded together in solidarity for Saudi Arabia. Anwar Sadat stated that “These heretics will burn in eternal hellfire for their actions.” The King of Jordan gave orders to execute all Islamist political prisoners held in its jails. President Yahya Khan of Pakistan, through the Pakistani ISI, began spreading propaganda through the Islamic world as to how the USSR and Iran were behind the action, some rumors saying it was to punish Islam while others said it was a false flag attack to blame Israel. Additionally, he sent 50 elite counterinsurgency fighters to supplement the Saudi National Guard. The Benn Government also provided invaluable assistance. High-altitude reconnaissance aircraft out of Aden sent vital intel to the Saudis, and three officers of the Parachute Regiment (Paras) were dispatched to give the Saudi’s aid in their mission – one of these was a young Leftenant named John Roland, who history would see more of.

    The siege lasted over two weeks, the newly crowned King Sultan determining it was more important to hunt down the Wahabist network still operating outside the Mosque – coordinated with Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Pakistan, Israel, and other allied nations. Over 3,000 arrests were made, most being executed or thrown into prison for life. Then, in the wee morning hours of December 4th, Sultan had enough and sent the military in. After a bloody fight in which nearly 200 were killed, the Mosque was finally retaken. Al-Otaybi, Ahmadinejad, and the main leadership structure were captured, and executed for murder, treason, and apostasy by the Saudi government two months later.

    King Sultan – along with Saddam, Sadat, and the other pro-western rulers – was adamant about wiping out the Wahabist movement in their entirety, but saw the Pakistani Intelligence actions as an opportunity to cast their side as the defenders of the faith against the communist bloc. Starting with Iraq, laws increasing the Islamic presence in their nation’s justice were promulgated. Modernization wasn’t halted, but a strict network of morality statutes appeared, “Increasing the piety of our citizens” in the words of the King. Official government media outlets trumpeted the role of the Islamic world to stand with “the people of the book against the Godless Heathens.” Most of it was a ploy to avoid antagonizing the allies in which they depended on the bulk of their military aid and hard currency trade, but with communism so close to their borders it was rather effective.

    “To the north, are the enemies of the faith!” shouted the Imam of the Grand Mosque in a widely seen broadcast in the Islamic world. “An evil force, one that knows not God or Heaven. One that seeks to extinguish the servants of Allah!” In a flux for decades, many different ideological schools finding their way into the Middle East, the Islamic world had finally found their bogeyman,

    Yitzhak Rabin’s tenure as Prime Minister had seen a whirlwind of change sweep across the Middle East, and he took the term of energetic leader to heart. Despite massive strides in liberalizing social policy in Israel, it was in the foreign policy realm where Rabin hit his stride. While earlier Israeli Mapai Governments had sought neutrality with the Soviet Union – part of a general isolationist sense in world affairs and the desire to protect Soviet Jewish citizens – the Soviet’s support of the UAR, Syria, and the anti-Israel terrorist groups like the PFLP and PLO had largely turned all but the most left-wing of Israelis against communism. With Syria, Iran, and the Sudan all within the Communist orbit, Rabin felt it vital that relationships with their Arab neighbors were improved. It was a difficult endeavor, given the predisposition of Arab governments to use Israel and the Jews as scapegoats for internal problems. But, given the ominous presence of Soviet tanks and ships in Iran, the Saudis, Egyptians, and Saddam Hussein had bigger fish to worry about. The perfect time to seek a de-escalation of tensions, especially with Wahabist Islam discredited by the Grand Mosque Siege and Jordanian occupation of the Dome of the Rock. Jordanian-Israeli relations quite warm since the Treaty of Amman, the King hosted a summit between Rabin and Arab leaders, culminating in the first major normalization of relations not brought on by war or outside mediation.

    However, Rabin’s high poll numbers masked a growing concern among the populace: the economy. Having escaped much of the worldwide Stagflation of the mid-1970s, the high growth and speculation that came from the post-Yom Kippur War boom (the massive development of the Sinai and Golan Strip plus renewed trade with Egypt stimulating the economy) had ground to a halt. The Begin Government tax cuts and deregulation – kept in place by Rabin for the most part – had helped keep it going, but all good things had to come to an end. Inflation began to rise, and despite both the Dayan and Rabin’s governments attacking it with whatever means they could, the rate could only be slowed. Finally, disaster happened at the worst possible time for Rabin. Four of Israel’s largest banks collapsed in stock price caused by the soaring inflation, and repeated efforts by Finance Minister Shimon Peres to devalue the currency failed to stop the economic recession. Though Rabin was still popular overall, public confidence in the government wavered and Moshe Dayan and Gahal spiked in the polls on their message of drastic reform just as the country geared for an election.

    In a first for Israel, the plurality winner of the constituencies was not the plurality winner of the popular vote, a result impossible in the former proportional system but possible in the new UK-model instituted by the Begin Government. Holding the urban core and much of the rural gains from the 1979 election on foreign policy and social victories, Rabin was nevertheless knocked from his majority position in several suburban and small town electorates on concerns over the economy and inflation. Dayan’s promises to institute drastic monetary reform and fond days of a 1970s spared of much of the pain of Stagflation caused many to give Gahal and its still popular leader a chance to pull this off. On foreign policy, Gahal’s winning message had been of praising Rabin’s diplomatic work while also focusing on a preparation of war against Syria, especially to help the Gemayel Government in Lebanon – Rabin had cut aid and troop strength there dramatically. The former Prime Minister returned to the position he had lost four years earlier in another coalition with Mafdal, Mapai licking its wounds looking at yet another stint in the minority.
    President Ronald Reagan was arguably one of the most successful Republican Presidents in history. Despite massive congressional majorities, charisma, and good working relationships with much of the opposition many were still stunned at the legislative and foreign policy breakthroughs he had achieved in his first five years in the Oval Office. Taxes had been cut, energy production expanded, a large scale arms reduction treaty with the Soviet Union ratified, anti-Communist governments and movements bankrolled, a huge reduction in the federal workforce achieved thanks to civil service reform, Cuba reunified, an overhaul of the military passed, and three textualist conservatives had been appointed to the Supreme Court (James Meredith, Robert Bork, and Phyllis Schlafly). And, with tax reform legislation on its way to becoming law – which it would be in September 1981 – the President wanted to use the Republican Party’s half-century high to do what even FDR had been unable to largely do. Amend the United States Constitution.

    Many different proposed amendments had been introduced in the last few decades. Three had been passed since 1960, all of them in the 1960s. The 23rd Amendment gave DC electoral votes, the 24th Amendment abolished the poll tax, and the 25th Amendment cleared up presidential succession. Others languished in forgotten corners of the House and Senate, including but not limited to an amendment outlawing abortion or repealing the 22nd Amendment (two term presidential limit). However, Reagan and his personal staff (Lyn Nofziger, Dick Cheney, Martin Anderson, John Sears, and Art Laffer) had identified four amendments or proposed amendments along with Republican Leadership in congress that would be a fitting use of the GOP’s immense political leverage.

    On July 5th, 1981, President Reagan spoke directly to the nation from the Oval Office announcing his request for Congress to consider four Constitutional Amendments to send to the states for ratification. First, was a proposed amendment by Republican Senator Pete McCloskey to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 (which had almost passed congress during the Wallace Administration, but died in the House). Second, was Rep. David Stockman (R-MI) and Rep. Jack Kemp’s Balanced Budget Amendment, which sought to institute a requirement – with some exceptions baked in – for the federal budget to be deficit-neutral. Third, was a Line-Item Veto Amendment, allowing the President to veto individual appropriations from any budget bill. Reagan had initially wanted Congress to pass it, but Majority Leader Roy Cohn (who authored the Amendment) said it would likely be overturned by the courts and needed to be in Amendment form. Lastly, was James Madison’s Congressional Pay Raise Amendment which had languished since the 1790s, one that Reagan had personally found and advocated for.

    The battle lines were soon drawn, members of Congress preparing for one of the most arduous processes in the entire United States.


    McGovern’s third party candidacy in 1980 had done little to relieve the tension between the minaprogressives and the respective majorities in both parties. In fact, the tension had only increased. Anger that had been leveled at the defectors from the Democratic Party (and the Republican Party, but to a lesser extent due to Reagan’s landslide victory) was demonstrated, senior defectors stripped of committee assignments and national party funding. Additionally, the conduct of the Reagan Administration and the minority leadership over the Amendment processes and the appointment of Phyllis Schlafly to the Supreme Court – many minaprogressives had never forgiven her for her work against the ERA – fanned the flames. It was a badly kept secret to political reporters and congressional pages that certain members of congress weren’t on speaking terms.

    Finally, the hammer blow fell on September 7th, 1981. After announcing his opposition to the nomination of US Attorney Jeff B. Sessions to the US District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. The move was highly supported by Minority Leader Strom Thurmond, Sessions a friend of his from his work on an interstate kidnapping case involving one of Thurmond’s extended family members, and he indicated that all Democrats were going to vote yes or face the repercussions. When McGovern carried out his threat to vote no, Thurmond responded by stripping the Senator of his coveted Ranking Member position on the Senate Agriculture Committee (Sessions would be confirmed with a vote of 91-8).

    McGovern took the news with grace, merely expressing disappointment in his message to the press. His colleagues weren’t as forgiving. Pushed to the limit by the retribution of the Democratic leadership, two days later Senator Ramsay Clark (D-NY) and Congressman Frank Serpico (D, NY-14) announced at a press conference that they were switching to the Progressive Party (rather their NY affiliate, the Liberal Party).

    The move by Clark and Serpico opened the floodgates, and once they were open there was no stopping the onrushing torrent. In the next few weeks more members that had been hanging on by a thread to their respective parties ratted, stampeding towards the open arms of the Progressive Party. Press conferences were organized hastily, some states finding themselves with a massive new infrastructure developing overnight. In North Dakota and Minnesota, members revived the Non Partisan League and the Farmer-Labor Party, splitting with the Democrats decades after they had merged. The last major defection was George McGovern himself, taking the position as the Senate Progressive Leader.

    Previously, the only Progressive Congressmen, Senators, and Governors were the following:

    · Senator Patrick Leahy (VT)

    · Governor Tom Salmon (VT)

    · Congressman Don Edwards (CA-10)

    · Congressman Jim McDermott (WA-06)

    · Congressman Paul Soglin (WI-02)

    · Congressman John Anderson (IL-16)

    · Congresswoman Bella Abzug (NY-12)

    · Congressman Pete Stark (CA-09)

    · Congressman Paul Wellstone (MN-02)

    · Congressman Les AuCoin (OR-01)

    As such, the following high-profile individuals had switched sides:

    · Senator George McGovern (SD); Democrat

    · Senator Ramsey Clark (NY); Democrat

    · Senator Dick Lamm (CO); Democrat

    · Senator Bill Bradley (NJ); Democrat

    · Senator Lowell P. Weicker (CT); Republican

    · Governor Bob Packwood (OR); Republican

    · Governor Arliss Sturgulewski (AK); Republican

    · Congressman Leo Ryan (CA-11); Democrat

    · Congressman Martin Olav Sabo (MN-04); Democrat

    · Congressman Arne Carlson (MN-05); Republican

    · Congressman Jim Jeffords (VT-At Large); Republican

    · Congressman Steve Gunderson (WI-03); Republican

    · Congresswoman Barbra Jordan (TX-18); Republican

    · Congresswoman Eunice Groark (CT-01); Republican

    · Congressman Paul Tsongas (MA-05); Democrat

    · Congressman Jim Leach (IA-01); Republican

    · Congressman Tom Harkin (IA-04); Democrat

    · Congressman Byron Dorgan (ND-At Large); Democrat

    · Congressman Tom Bates (CA-06); Democrat

    · Congressman Henry Waxman (CA-24); Democrat

    · Congressman James Oberstar (MN-08); Democrat

    · Congressman Daniel Kemmis (MT-02); Democrat

    · Congressman Frank Serpico (NY-14); Democrat

    · Congresswoman Ruth Bader Ginsburg (NJ-08); Democrat

    Old-guard Progressives such as Jerry Brown, Paul Wellstone, Pat Leahy, and Jim Jones integrated the new arrivals into the party, proclaimed to the nation as the “Return of the Bull Moose” in reference to Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive Party in 1912. Once an empty vessel outside of Vermont, the mass exodus had given the party the needed boost to begin a nationwide and state-level organizations, a move that would take most of a decade to accomplish. With the tension blown, both major parties and the new third party began to settle. The internal pressure had been greatly alleviated, but the electoral implications were still unknown and causing great anxiety among many members.

    With the nation still shaking from the torrent of defections and the swelling of the Progressive Party into a sizable national force, it took an almost herculean effort by Roy Cohn and George Murphy (who was retiring in 1982 after an eventful three terms) to prevent the derailment of the Amendment processes. It took until the March 1982, but finally each amendment was brought up for a vote. First was the Voting Age Amendment, which passed easily in the house and narrowly in the Senate with tripartisan support. Next up was the Balanced Budget Amendment, which cleared the House but failed in the Senate to the dismay of President Reagan and the GOP. The Line-Item Veto Amendment passed by the skin of its teeth, Roy Cohn personally cajoling, convincing, and coercing Representatives with promises of pork and loss of committee assignments to get it through. After the Balanced-Budget Amendment failed, the Reagan White House staked everything on the Line-Item Veto, telling Cohn he had the President’s full backing on any commitment (which was used lavishly in the form of pork commitments and intense threats that everyone knew Cohn would see through). And lastly, James Madison’s Congressional Pay Amendment sailed through with a unanimous vote, no one willing to antagonize the voters.

    Now it was up to the state legislatures, Reagan, Vice President Ford, and former President’s Kennedy and Rockefeller (George Wallace was ill at this time and had been semi-retired for over a year) joining to convince many. Popular with the American people, the Congressional Pay Amendment was ratified first in February 1982, becoming the 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Line-Item Veto Amendment was far trickier, many states concerned that Presidents would strike away state funding. However, enough Republican and Progressive controlled legislatures managed to band together to get 35 states to ratify it. It only needed three more, and after much cajoling, Alabama, Iowa, and Idaho cast their votes for ratification, sealing the deal for the 27th Amendment to the Constitution. As for the Voting Age Amendment, it initially saw a large surge of states, but a coalition of 17 southern and industrial Midwestern states banded together to deny enough votes for ratification. Congress would extend the deadline, but the damage was done. The amendment would fail.

    Though only two out of four would be ratified, both of them constituted a lasting achievement of President Reagan, who pointed it out upon exercising his first line-item vetoes in the budget for FY1985.

    Unlike the charismatic Lindsay and the flamboyant yet straitlaced Bill Buckley, Mayor Hugh Carey held a distinct lack of charisma or flair. It didn’t fit his style, that of the competent manager of the city. While the Buckley Administration had largely repaired the worst of the city’s problems, with the economic growth of the late seventies and early eighties, the newly peaceful and prosperous New York City was ground zero for a flurry of growth and development. Carey dove into the management of these projects hands first, using municipal funds as carrots to keep development costs down and personally negotiating with the municipal unions to avoid labor disputes – unlike Buckley, who saw breaking the strikes as a necessary evil to end the city’s stagnation, Carey viewed preventing them as a goal to allow for greater development. He also took a hard line on “quality of life" issues, such as giving police broader powers in dealing with the homeless and signing legislation banning the playing of radios on subways and buses. Though his popularity was high as a result, what should have been an easy reelection was dashed when former-HUD Secretary Charlie Rangel announced his intention to seek the GOP nomination. Rangel was a top tier candidate with a solid base in the black neighborhoods of NYC, and immediately took a modest lead over Carey and Liberal candidate Councilman Bernard “Bernie” Sanders.

    All of this changed with the Return of the Bull Moose. The Progressive Party didn’t need to open up a state-level chapter in New York, relying on the existing Liberal Party of New York to serve as their in-state organization. With the national Progressives riding high, opportunity was seen to make a significant dent in the Big Apple – money and resources poured into Sanders’ campaign, the little-known councilman making a big splash in the October mayoral debate. All eyes previously on Carey and Rangel, Sanders brought a folksy populist charm to the mix, decrying the maze of special interests behind the two frontrunners in a fiery performance that turned eyeballs. His poll numbers doubled from an anemic 8% to 16% after the debate, taken from both leading candidates. The final poll had Rangel up narrowly, though it was complete jump ball.

    Initially favored as a landslide winner on par with Bill Buckley only a year before, after months of trials and tribulations Mayor Carey was reelected by a narrow 25,000 vote margin against Rangel. His campaign was dubbed the best in the city’s history, combining the normal left-wing and populist working-class base of the Democratic Party with a large amount of traditionally conservative voters turned off by Rangel’s social views (Carey’s unabashed pro-life stance greatly helped in this regard). This undercut Rangel in usually 70% GOP Staten Island – at least for municipal races – garnering a mere 61%. Rangel held most of the other components of the GOP base, namely black voters and suburbanites. While he attempted to use his social liberalism to graft more left-wing voters to supplement Carey’s appeal to social conservatives, Sanders’ dashed this strategy by drawing an underwhelming (based on expectations) yet strong (based on historical precedent) 15% of the vote.

    Not the best start for the new Progressive Party, finding themselves in a third place here and in the New Jersey Gubernatorial race (and not even registering in Virginia, where Republican John Dalton replaced outgoing Democrat William Spong), but one tidbit did emerge. The conventional wisdom had been that the great exodus had hurt the Democrats, but Rangel lost partly due to Sanders. Perhaps the Republicans weren’t home free after all?

    If there was a fertile territory for the Progressives, it was the Upper Midwest. This had been a progressive Republican stronghold for decades, only straying from the GOP during the Third Party challenges of Teddy Roosevelt and Robert M. LaFollette (aptly running on the Progressive line). The Democrats made massive gains during the New Deal that threatened the continued GOP control, but these were promptly lost after George Wallace and the communonationalists took over the party. Wisconsin, Minnesota, and rural Iowa were some of Pete McCloskey’s best areas in the 1972 election, and aside from Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin the Republicans controlled every statewide office.

    This all changed with the Return of the Bull Moose. The stampede of elected officials caused the Democrats to be virtually wiped out in the region, while the once plentiful progressive Republican ranks to take a serious thinning. Seeking to bolster the historical context that the “Return of the Bull Moose” label represented, the defectors used a series of procedural moves to sever the Democratic/Farmer-Labor merger that so characterized Minnesota politics during the aftermath of the New Deal. The new Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota was the state affiliate (similar actions were taken with the North Dakotan Non-Partisan League), and it licked its lips at ending the streak of Republican statewide dominance in the North Star State – namely defeating Senator Clark McGregor and Governor Al Quie.

    Quie faced a difficult four years as Governor. A series of massive budget deficits and labor disputes had left him exhausted, and he was initially planning retirement until Republican leaders in the state convinced him to reconsider. The state GOP was terrified, seeing the vast majority of the Democrats join a quarter of Republicans in bolting to Farmer-Labor, including two of the three GOP lower statewide officials. The Farmer-Labor Party, convening in its first state convention since 1942, unanimously endorsed former Democratic Governor – defeated by Quie in 1978 – Rudy Perpich. In a show of unity, Perpich would select former Republican State Senator David Durenburger as his running mate. The beleaguered Democrats nominated former state solicitor general Warren Spannaus. The race would be contentious, often called the “Brother against Brother” election due to many of the candidates and surrogates having been party comrades not one year before. Perpich attacked Quie from the left on economics, claiming the budget cuts were merely “window dressing” for the special interests, while Quie focused on Perpich’s embrace of social liberalism as a reason to not trust him with another turn at the helm of the state.

    The results were as close as expected, but in the end the now-stabilized fiscal picture and a decent state economy had saved Quie in his rematch with Perpich. Spannaus and the Democrats were an also-ran by the end of the campaign, though they took enough votes to be accused of running a spoiler campaign. Even with the loss – as well as that of Senate nominee Walter Mondale – Farmer-Labor had become a force to be reckoned with once more. They held all of their house seats, picked up all lower statewide offices, and defeated the 12-year incumbent Republican majority in the state House of Representatives. A new party dynamic had inserted itself into the Upper Midwest, joining Vermont as a grouping of states where Republican dominance was now threatened, not by the Democrats but from the Bull Moose.

    Winning the senate seat of the long-time incumbent Senator Roman Hruska in 1976, Senator and former Mayor of Omaha Edward Zorinsky had compiled a relatively moderate voting record in the senate. Though George Murphy and John Chaffee could usually count on him, he would often vote with a slight populist lean on economics and moderate on social issues. He had seriously considered running as a Democrat in 1976 due to a highly competitive primary, but ultimately demurred and won by a mere 172 votes. Strom Thurmond would talk with him about switching parties often throughout his first term, but Zorinsky rebuffed the offers – regardless of policy or loyalty, he wasn’t about to serve in the minority.

    He was beloved in his home city for the way he had handled a series of tornadoes in 1975, and was known for a good working relationship with his state’s Senior Senator, Democrat J. James Exon. However, the resurgent Democratic Party (having a strong presence in the Cornhusker State since George Wallace’s rural breakthrough in 1972) and the Return of the Bull Moose complicated Zorinsky’s efforts. A series of conservative votes for Phyllis Schlafly’s confirmation and a need to straddle positions on social issues so as not to bleed voters led to a well-funded Democratic challenge in longtime congressman Clair Armstrong Callan, who’s campaign blended Wallace-era rural populism with reform-communonationalism.

    The race was far closer than Zorinsky was used to as a popular mayor and his open seat victory by thirty points six years before. He was basically annihilated in Lincoln and underperformed in the GOP strongholds in the western plains, but the Senator’s hefty margin in Omaha contributed to the underwhelming but solid margin of victory. Unlike the Dakotas and Iowa to the north and east, the Progressives and their candidate Bill Hoppner failed to make much of a dent. The state’s electorate was far closer to the classic Wallace Democratic/Reagan Republican divide (the old progressive Republicans like George Norris and Silver Bryan Democrats largely replaced), hurting the Progs and preserving much of the old partisan structure. The Progressive Party would thusly direct resources elsewhere, leaving Nebraska with two-way elections for the most part.

    After a popular two terms, Governor Kermit Roosevelt had accomplished significant reforms as the soft-spoken yet hard-charging chief executive of the Empire State. The legislative “Prize Patrol” of a Democratic-controlled Assembly and Republican-controlled Senate opposed his pushes for further reforms (to expand that passed under Bobby Kennedy’s tenure), but were forced to bow to public pressure after both Ramsay Clark, James Buckley, and Nelson Rockefeller endorsed a compromise law. Roosevelt largely avoided social issues, blocking efforts to pass a Briggs statute in the state while also signing a further restriction of the Kennedy-era abortion law when it appeared on his desk. After failing to pass a term-limits law limiting the Governor to two, four-year terms, he decided to put his money where his mouth was and retire on his laurels just as the Return of the Bull Moose reared its head.

    Both the Buckley/Cohn and Rockefeller factions knew it would be a tough race to run, especially with even machine Democrats lining up behind 1974 nominee Mayor James Griffin of Buffalo. Already owing extensive name recognition, his Stalinist reelections were owed to high popularity among even GOP-leaning blacks. He additionally obtained praise for the way he had handled a series of massive, unseasonable blizzards in 1979 and 1980 – famously saying that Buffalo residents should "go home, buy a six pack of beer, and watch a good football game," while city emergency services cleaned up the streets. This earned him the affable nickname "Jimmy Six Pack,” which stuck across the state. He was a formidable adversary, which caused the factions to approach youthful business magnet Donald J. Trump. A well-known real estate developer known for his charismatic style and taking on many public projects as an independent contractor, he was a prolific ally of President Reagan, Roy Cohn, and Senator Buckley. However, the Donald wasn’t interested and turned down the offers to run. Efforts then focused on businessman and former Reagan Administration aide John “Jay” Rockefeller IV, the nephew of former President Nelson Rockefeller. A member of one of New York’s premier political families, his moderate profile and youthful charisma gave him a ten point lead on Griffin right after announcing.

    Griffin campaigned hard, appeasing the liberal wing of the party by picking liberal State Senator Mario Cuomo as his running mate and hitting the campaign trail hard, contrasting his working class demeanor with the patrician Rockefeller. Rockefeller used his name as a positive, tying him to his popular uncle while self-funding his campaign. The race was, however, complicated by the Liberal Party of New York – the Progressive state affiliate. Looking to capitalize on Senator Ramsay Clark’s strong reelection campaign, the far more liberal-minded minaprogressive party ran celebrity activist Gloria Steinem and New York City Councilman Chuck Schumer as their candidates. Running on a very liberal platform, they drew a lot of socially-liberal minded Republicans that were turned off by Rockefeller’s selection of Mario Biaggi as his running mate, while Griffin made up for it by getting a lot of socially conservative upstaters behind him. Rockefeller’s ten point lead was whittled away to a tie by election day.

    The race was as close as the polls suggested, but Griffin pulled off a decent win by just under 200,000 votes. While the map didn’t show it at first glance, much of Rockefeller’s upstate victories were quite narrow, and he lost the urban core of Buffalo, Albany, and Rochester by 2-1 margins. Griffin was strong among social conservatives, and won 25% of blacks – unheard of for a Democratic candidate. Rockefeller (who many Republicans suggested not to leave elected politics) was hurt by Steinem, who despite her very liberal nature rode the Return of the Bull Moose for all that it was worth, getting a decent 23.7 percent of the vote and coming a strong second place in many counties. Many observers thought that a less controversial candidate may have made a stronger showing. With Ramsey Clark reelected, New York became a peculiar state. Each one of its top statewide elected officials were of a different party.

    Historically as deep blue as blue could be, the state of Texas had taken a hard turn to the Republican Party in the last fifteen years. The last Democrat to win a top-ticket statewide race had been Lloyd Bentsen winning a single term as Governor in 1972, only to be defeated by John Tower in 1974. The state had been the cornerstone of the Reagan Coalition in the Senate and the House, the narrow Republican majority in the congressional delegation joining with conservative Democrats to deliver strong margins for many Reagan programs. For the first time in generations, the governorship was not on the ballot (Governor Antonin Scalia securing an Amendment to the Texas Constitution to have four year terms to be up for election in Presidential years). Therefore, as the Democrats were zeroing in on the state for their comeback, the highest-profile race was the Senate seat held by incumbent Alan Steelman.

    The Republicans were united behind their incumbent, who sported underwhelming approval ratings as opposed to the popular George H. W. Bush. He was vulnerable, caught in a general southern backlash against the GOP during Reagan’s Six Year Itch, and a large cluster of Democrats gathered to take on Steelman. The winner was Lubbock-based, conservative State Senator Kent Hance, who defeated the more liberal Lt. Governor Ann Richards in a tight runoff election decided only after a protracted recount. A member of the right wing of the party, Hance reached out to the liberal wing of the party by adopting several populist stances on economics, vowing to “Protect Amcare and the social safety net from any wayward wrecking balls.” With the endorsements of Richards, Senator William Proxmire, and former President George Wallace (who campaigned for Hance in massive rallies in Houston and San Antonio in September), he proceeded with a fairly united base into the general election.

    Steelman had never been that popular of a senator, brought in on the Reagan landslide in 1976 after incumbent Republican Bruce Alger (who had defeated Democrat Ralph Yarborough in a very tight race in 1970) inexplicably retired. The advantage of his relative youth was countered by Hance’s youth as well, pitting the change candidate who backed the popular Reagan initiatives against the incumbent who voted down the line GOP. His urban Dallas base was likely to stick with him against the rural Hance, but Republicans needed huge margins in Greater Houston as well if they were to defeat the Democrats. Normally they’d got it in recent years, but the race was upended by the entrance of Republican turned Progressive Barbara Jordan. Normally, blacks were as conservative a voting bloc as the rest of the GOP (though liberal in many areas, and with a large moderate faction such as John Lewis or Charlie Rangel). Not so with Jordan, who many considered a RINO – Republican in name only. With a large following among many blacks as Texas’ first African-American representative, Jordan’s entry threw a wrench into the campaign against Hance before it even really began.

    Solidifying its status as a purple swing state, after several red cycles the Lone Star State was painted blue as Kent Hance was elected by a hefty margin of 160,000 votes, sweeping Democrats into hefty state legislature margins and gaining five house seats from GOP incumbents. He cleaned up in the Democrat strongholds of rural east Texas and in the Spanish-American Rio Grande Valley and far west, while taking much of reliably Republican West Texas, his home region. He would reward them with a strong conservative Democratic voting record in the senate, becoming fast friends with both George Bushes while remaining a stalwart ally of his party’s leadership. Steelman carried the hill country and the GOP’s suburban base in the DFW area, but was dealt a narrow defeat in Houston due to a larger than expected showing for Barbara Jordan. Her performance was an anomaly though, mostly securing the percentage she did due to a sense of favorite daughter support by blacks in Greater Houston – rural libertarians, part of the Progressive base in the west, were turned off by her intense social liberalism.

    The Progressive effort in Texas wasn’t all for naught. In a tight three-way race, local physician and former congressional candidate Ron Paul won a rural seat on the Bull Moose ticket, running as a member of the libertarian Dick Lamm/Ed Clark wing of the party. It was a green beachhead in the normally solid blue/spotty red state, and few were in agreement over what it would mean as the state grew.

    A popular Governor, John Warner had no trouble getting elected to the senate seat of the retiring Harry F. Byrd in a 60% landslide in 1976. He had blazed a middle of the road Republican record in congress. On fiscal issues he held the main Liberty Conservative mantle, voting for all of Reagan’s limited government laws and amendments (as opposed to his home state colleague A. Linwood Holton, who voted against the Balanced Budget Amendment and the repeal of the Pendleton Act, the only Republican to do so on the latter). On social issues, he was generally pro-life but generally in favor of gun control and against Briggs Statutes – but Warner’s biggest project was on foreign policy. Appointed to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he had been instrumental in pushing the Reagan IBM Treaty and several of the other projectionist initiatives through the Senate along with Committee Chair Pete McCloskey.

    Such would have been perfect for an Upper Midwestern or Northeastern state, but in the still Dixie at heart Virginia – in addition to the conservative bent of Republican base – it opened up even the popular Warner to a tossup race during a good Democratic year. With Progressive presence so anemic they couldn’t even bother running a candidate, the good Democratic year was arriving. Initially thought to be jam packed with candidates, the field coalesced around a familiar name. Pat Robertson had wide name recognition for being both a famous television evangelist minister and for being the son of late Senator Absalom Willis Robertson. The remnants of the Byrd Organization rallied around him, as did the Wallace Democrats to give him a massive primary win against a Some Dude Kennedy liberal.

    Though very conservative in even his fiscal policy (like his friend to the south Senator Jesse Helms), Robertson chose to run as a Democrat due his father’s legacy and Warner’s more moderate record on both foreign policy and social issues. In what Roy Cohn called the platform of denouncing “Soviets, Sodomy, and Sin,” Robertson whipped up a conservative frenzy against Warner, especially in the rural heartland that found itself fighting the growing urban cores of Richmond and Arlington. With economic liberals having nowhere to go with Warner touting his Liberty Conservative bona fides, Robertson largely kept the party together as he pushed for more traditionally Republican votes.

    Warner’s loss marked an excruciating setback for the Republican Party. Having won back the Governorship in 1981, the hope was to anchor the Old Dominion as the GOP base for the former Confederacy, but Robertson had dashed those plans by an impressive showing amongst the old Byrd Democrats and many religious conservatives, winning Richmond by the skin of his teeth. It also marked a shift in the Democratic Party to embrace religious voters, integrating them to the communonationalist tent while the ACLU wing defected to the Progressives.

    Rapidly considered a rising star in the GOP, Warner immediately plotted his return to public office. His former colleague, Senator A. Linwood Holton, was up for election in 1984 – and the liberal Senator was greatly unpopular in GOP circles.

    Third time was the charm, or at least that’s what former Congressman Dave Obey hoped. The two-time loser to Senator William Dyke (or one time loser according to the most activist of the Bull Moose supporters) had been one of many former Democrats in the Upper Midwest to decamp to the Progressives, gearing up for one final run for the seat of the retiring legend William Proxmire. Democrats had largely triaged the race to focus on other targets in the West, Midwest, and South – their candidate largely swinging in the wind – while the Republicans charged forward under standard bearer Governor Bob Kasten, Obey’s foe during the Dyke recall.

    The need for Obey – or the GOP – to appeal to opposing wings of their party was no more. The race descended into a purely base election, Obey and Kasten pandering to their core constituencies (though Kasten repeatedly sought entities to socially conservative Democrats and Obey to Kennedy liberals that hadn’t yet embraced the Bull Moose Party). Senator Dyke campaigned in earnest for Kasten, given his personal dislike for Obey, and it seemed that the traditional GOP dominance of the state would assert itself in the waning weeks.

    By 10,000 votes, Dave Obey had been elected to the Class I senate seat for the state of Wisconsin, defeating Kasten by 10,000 votes by sweeping Madison and western WI. The GOP kept its heartland in the east, while Democrat Patrick Lucey was swamped everywhere but the industrial mill towns and working-class Milwaukee. It was one of two Bull Moose gains that year, the other being in North Dakota where the open seat of Republican Clarence Brunsdale was taken by Democrat turned Progressive Congressman Byron Dorgan (his house seat taken by Republican Mark Andrews) in a close three-way race.

    Reportedly, Senator William Dyke was not too keen on serving with Obey in the Senate, this being the man who ran against him twice in acrimonious races. Tired of it all, he planned on retiring the next time his seat was up. Dyke hoped a federal judgeship was in the cards, and kept his eyes peeled for when one appeared.

    After two successive landslides under the senate map, the GOP was always going to be on the defensive. The Democratic targets, aside from Wisconsin, were pretty much nonexistent. Longtime Senator Al Gore Sr. finally retired in Tennessee, being replaced by his son Al Gore Jr. in a strong ten point victory, while strong incumbents in West Virginia and Mississippi had no trouble. The overstretched Republicans did well all things considered, holding on to several of their seats by narrow margins (Indiana was the closest, Dick Lugar holding the D-leaning state by a mere 2,000 votes, while California elected Ed Meese to replace the retiring George Murphy in a tight three-way race that found Progressive Jerry Brown get second place even while Democrat Governor Sam Yorty was healthily reelected). However, they still took heavy losses. In addition to Texas and Virginia, Reagan wave babies in RI, MT, and WY fell pretty easily to the Democrats while Jim Rhodes and President Pro Tempore Barry Goldwater retired and were replaced by Congressman Tom Lukin and 1980 VP nominee Cesar Chavez respectively. It wasn’t enough to deny incoming Majority Leader John Chaffee a majority though.

    The Progressives made a strong showing. Both Pat Leahy and Ramsay Clark held on, the latter combining strong margins among Kennedy Liberals in NYC and on rural minaprogressives upstate to hold against a strong GOP and Democratic challengers. In addition, Dave Obey and Byron bolstered the Bull Moose caucus from six seats to eight. In the House of Representatives, Progressive caucus leader John Anderson saw most of the defectors reelected – though several of the incumbents were defeated and Barbra Jordan’s open seat was won by Republican Mickey Leland – and gained extensively in the west, and Upper Midwest, scoring outright majorities in the delegations of MN and OR.

    Even with the Progs serving as spoilers in many close races, the Democrats recorded strong gains that saw them recover from their record lows in the house. Bill Brock retiring to run for Governor of Tennessee (a race he would narrowly win), incoming Speaker Roy Cohn found his once massive majority evaporated. The GOP still had a plurality, but with no coalitions feasible they were seven votes shy – unthinkable even a year before. Eventually, the rules were amended to allow for the speakership to be elected in a first past the post fashion, but Cohn would need to make every vote count if Reagan were to get anything done in his last two years. A task he was completely suited for.
    When John F. Kennedy took the oath of office on January 20th, 1965, he had never expected that one title he would receive would be that of being the first President to ever lose renomination by his party for a second term. Yet, Kennedy didn’t begrudge anyone for his loss at the 1968 convention in Chicago. Not his party, and definitely not George Wallace – whom he campaigned for in 1972. His health having deteriorated considerably due to the stress of the mid-sixties and his worsening Addison’s disease, many within the Kennedy Family would consider his loss a blessing in disguise. For a year the former President would hunker down in Hyannis Port, recuperating, regaining his strength, and journeying to Boston for the latest treatments for his disease. By 1970, Kennedy had made a considerable recovery.

    As 1980 rolled around, the 63 year old JFK was a new man despite his once boyish good looks greyed and wrinkled with age. Kennedy would forge a partnership with former President Nelson Rockefeller – the man he defeated in 1964 – and undertake extensive philanthropic projects that he would be associated with for the rest of his life such as Meals on Wheels and the Peace Corps. A strained relationship with Jackie was rekindled (persistent rumors of extramarital affairs that dogged him for years virtually non-existent after 1967), the couple using his philanthropic travels as romantic getaways. He enjoyed watching his young family grow up, including his youngest Patrick, who had been touch and go for two weeks after his birth while he was a senator. Even with this happiness, the still active Kennedy itched to get back into public service. Something to do to pad his legacy and end his career on a triumphant note.

    Kennedy would have his chance following the 1980 election. Journeying to Washington, he congratulated President Reagan on his victory despite supporting McKeithen’s candidacy. The two Presidents had become chummy over the years due to Reagan’s friendship with JFK’s younger brother Bobby (both he and Reagan were elected governors in the same year), and the meeting went warmly. However, the President sprang an interesting offer on the former President. With relations with the Soviet Union warming up, one black hole in the Administration’s foreign policy remained: Asia. With the maze of competing alliances and new governments, Reagan knew he had an opportunity to build American influence in the region or risk losing it, and he needed a high-profile mission to the region. However, sending administration officials to certain countries could be problematic politically. Therefore, both Eugene McCarthy and Dick Cheney suggested sending a former President to do it as an official envoy – especially one as respected as John F. Kennedy.

    Initially taken aback by the offer, Kennedy would demur and talk about it with Jackie and his family. When they and his doctor gave him the go ahead, Kennedy informed Reagan that the President had his man. The trip was scheduled for the summer of 1981 to much fanfare.

    Prime Minister Yukio Mishima was a man with vision, and with the zeal and electoral charisma to see it through. Upon the election of the Minseito government in 1972, he had largely consolidated the party’s hold upon Japan in two further landslides, securing a coveted two thirds majority and largely marginalizing the once dominant Liberal Democratic Party (half its remaining members would defect to Minseito, while the rest would fracture into a conglomeration of splinter parties). Efforts to ban the Communist Party were successful, and after discoveries were made about an espionage ring connected to Communist China, a series of arrests and prosecutions destroyed what little sympathy the banning of their party had. Finally in 1977, Mishima had his most coveted victories. Emperor Hirohito finally acceded to reclaim his godhead and the efforts to repeal the Article 9 pacifistic provision of the Constitution succeeded. The Prime Minister’s nationalistic policies for the newly dubbed “Federal Empire of Japan” now had no limits other than what was right and what was practical.

    By 1981, the full force of the Minseito program had been initiated and saw results. The overall goal in the implementation of actual policy for the country was a mix of communonationalist social policy, pseudo-Freyist nationalism (the greatness of Japan and its culture without the hyperimperalism of the past; Mishima would make a highly publicized trip to South Korea to heal wounds from Japan’s rule of Korea), and a watered-down version of Reaganite economic policy. Major public industries were privatized, while tax dollars were redirected to building up the military and shore up the country’s infrastructure and social services. Trade barriers were knocked down, allowing for a glut of inexpensive foodstuffs and raw materials into Japan to lower the cost of living – Japanese farmers would shift their focus to profitable cash crops under government initiatives. Mishima took personal responsibility of the newly created Families Ministry to increase marriage rates (coupled with a focus on women’s rights by the Prime Minister) and foster a large number of births, which largely succeeded in keeping Japan above the replacement rate. When Kennedy arrived to immense fanfare from the Japanese people, he saw a country roaring back to life from the horrors of WWII.

    Japan was Kennedy’s third stop, the former President visiting Australia – where he met with Prime Minister Crean – and New Zealand – where he met with Prime Minister John Anderton. On the list of discussion was a facet of issues, namely concerning foreign policy but with considerable economic concerns. The massive engine of Japan’s export economy (Mishima felt this to be a priority, needing funds to pour into Japan to bankroll the military and social programs he, Defense Minister Genda, Finance Minister Nakasone, and Industry Minister Abe put together) dumped hundreds of thousands of cheap goods such as electronics and cars into the United States. Fuel efficient and affordable, they threatened to greatly hurt the American auto and manufacturing industries that were just beginning to roar once more after the mid-70s stagflation. Democrats were chomping at the bit to install tariffs on Japanese goods, and with it a winning issue in the swing states Reagan instructed Kennedy to figure out a solution for the good of all the parties involved.

    In spite of the warm welcome given the former President, Kennedy had arrived in the midst of the most martial time in Japan since Pearl Harbor. The rebuilding of Japan’s military had drawn condemnation from both the USSR and China, Premier Jiang Qing using it as a means to secure her hold on power (several major opponents of Qing’s regime in the CPC would find themselves denounced as Japanese agents and executed). However, contact between the two was limited, Mishima deliberately keeping the Japanese Self Defense Force away from any Chinese formations. Instead, the greatest increase of tensions was with the Soviet Union, where the two countries shared a close water border between Hokkaido and Sakhalin. A policy of brinksmanship ensued, military and civilian flights shadowed by aircraft of the other or painted by SAM batteries. Many a headache was induced in Moscow and Tokyo due to the situation.

    Just before Kennedy arrived, the dick measuring contest in the Sea of Japan would take a tragic and terrifying turn. Flying aboard a JAL Boeing 747, Industry Minister Noboru Takeshita and his retinue – a delegation of Japanese engineers that had been in Los Angeles for a conference – were killed when a Soviet MiG-25 interceptor mistook it for an American spy plane and shot it down off Atlasov Island. Tokyo responded furiously, dispatching air and naval units into the Sea of Japan and the Kuril Islands. General Secretary Viktor Grishin countered by warning Japan that any incursion into Soviet waters would result in a state of war (one Japan wasn’t yet prepared for). JFK was immediately immersed in another major foreign policy crisis as the senior American in the region, told by both Reagan and Eugene McCarthy to stand in with both Mishima and the Soviet Ambassador to deescalate the situation – Reagan himself would speak with Ambassador Gorbachev and General Secretary Grishin as well. With Kennedy’s mediation and realism on Mishima’s part, the two Governments agreed to lower to peacetime readiness and allow a neutral party (in this case the Swiss) to investigate the incident – an indemnity would end up being paid nearly fifteen years later. Not a bad start for JFK.

    Meeting with Mishima, Nakasone, and Shintaro Abe outside Tokyo, Kennedy held a candid series of talks that largely resolved the growing issues that Japan’s rapid militarization was having with American presence in the region. Mishima sought a more equal relationship with America, and said "President Reagan is the pitcher and I'm the catcher. When the pitcher gives the signs, I'll co-operate unsparingly, but if he doesn't sometimes follow the catcher's signs, the game can't be won.” Additionally, he candidly said at a press conference that Japan would be "America's unsinkable aircraft carrier" in the Pacific and that Japan would "keep complete control of the four straits that go through to Japanese islands, to prevent the passage of Soviet submarines,” as well as acting as the main conventional deterrence against Soviet aggression in the Sea of Japan. Reagan’s economic requests – especially considering Jesse Helms’ Protecting American Vehicles Act – were a hard sell for the singular economic focus on growth that the Minseito government had, but Kennedy’s candid rendition of the President’s dilemma managed to convince Mishima to personally restrict Japanese exports of cars and electronic goods to the US for a period of three years.

    Following his visit to Japan, former President Kennedy set his sights on one of the most interesting regions of the Orient. It was considered a miracle by some political scientists and diplomats. The so-called “Tiger economies” of Asia, each going through massive spates of economic growth from backwards nations into players on the global sphere had successfully resisted the impulse of authoritarianism. Granted, they were far from the free Democracies of the west. Taiwan, Vietnam, and especially the Philippines had powerful executives dominated by one party for the most part, though the latter exercised a bit of democratic muscle by voting out President Ferdinand Marcos in favor of Gerry Roxas in 1981.

    In South Korea, such a strong Executive had been limited thanks to the Pusan Constitution that President Yun Bo-seon championed and a constitutional amendment pushed by President Kim Dae-jung that limited all future Presidents to two six year terms in office (modeled after the American Constitution). Thusly, when former Army General, Defense Minister, and Interim Leader Park Chung-hee was finally elected at his third try for the position in 1971 on a conservative backlash against the more socially liberal Dae-jung regime, his authoritarian tendencies were both restricted by the law and a political liability. Any hope of carrying out the schemes of before lost, he adapted to the new reality and ran on a plank of social conservatism, hawkishness on North Korea, and speeding up the economic growth programs that Bo-seon pushed but Dae-jung curtailed to focus on social reform. This renewed focus on economic growth – plus normalization of relations with Minseito Japan leading to increased trade – caused a second boom in the South Korean economy and caused Park to cruise to reelection in 1977.

    Kennedy had his work cut out for him upon arriving in Seoul. As Park had massively expanded the South Korean military (Dae-jung had left the hawkish Wallace Administration the responsibility of deterrence of the North), tensions with Kim il-Sung were on the rise and every few months saw a border skirmish erupt. After a failed assassination attempt in 1980, Park knew that Kim was too much of a coward to try anything – unless he sensed weakness. Upon hearing of Kennedy’s itinerary to travel to China (and meet Kim there), he grew worried. His entire government depended on anti-communism, and any change of that policy from South Korea's allies (such as the IBM treaty removing the nuclear deterrence from Korea) threatened the very basis of his rule. Park informed Kennedy that if the Reagan White House couldn’t confirm the strength of the alliance then he would seek options to further cement his hold on the country to demonstrate strength to the North.

    Urgent telexes were sent back and forth between the embassy and Washington, and the two sides managed to secure a state visit from Park to Washington in 1982 – the visit would lead to a lucrative arms trade deal of the latest in aircraft and armor, along with a promise by Reagan. When Kim ordered a protracted artillery bombardment across the DMZ in August 1982, US aircraft bombed a series of airfields in North Korea. Kim backed down, especially after China condemned the attack.

    Ronald Reagan was a complicated man in his foreign policy views. He was a strident anti-communist, but also committed to securing a peaceful coexistence that removed the threat of nuclear war (he felt that causing the USSR to reject communism and embrace liberalizing reforms was the key to this). On how to achieve the latter, he was greatly flexible, and found an idea of former CIA Director Henry Kissinger’s – shared by SecState McCarthy – to be intriguing: the normalizing of relations with the People’s Republic of China. Despite being an ideological hardline ally for the USSR, Kissinger and McCarthy felt that Premier Jiang Qing and her Politburo of both the conservative and moderate factions (led by Deputy Premier Li Peng and Trade Minister Deng Xiaoping respectively) felt that the Soviet Union was a rival. Thinking it over, Reagan agreed with them that the US could play the two against each other to gain more leverage in the new round of arms-reduction talks that were scheduled for 1983.

    In his meeting with Kennedy prior to the trip being announced, the former President agreed with the reasoning. China-US relations had been frosty since the PRC was created, America not even recognizing the Beijing government. However, with Japan militarizing once again and the ambitions of the pro-Soviet Indian government nipping at the heels of the Chinese Sphere, both Reagan and Kennedy felt Madame Mao would accept the invitation to talk. And it was a surprise to the world when she did while Kennedy was in Japan (giving him the perfect opportunity to reassure Prime Minister Mishima, who was an ardent Sinophobe in his beliefs).

    Kennedy and Jackie were the toast of the Beijing elite. The two of them were shuttled around from one state-sponsored performance to another, tasting both the great modernization efforts and highlights of the rich Chinese culture. Deng Xiaoping, now the Minister of Industry and back in favor with Premier Qing, would converse candidly with Kennedy about economics and the ideas he had about diversifying the Chinese economy. While as stubborn a foe of the west as her late husband, Jiang Qing was far more pragmatic. Getting diplomatic relations with the United Sates would open China up to lucrative trade deals and representation at the UN (even if they wouldn’t be able to get the coveted permanent seat on the Security Council), especially with the continued fear over Minseito Japan. For this, she would tolerate continued US support for the ROC – though ROC President Chiang Ching-kuo would slowly shift the ROC from US to Australian orbit following the visit.

    In private meetings with Madam Mao, Kennedy convinced her of Reagan’s intention to pursue more normalized relations with the PRC. Neither nation would be friends or even partners in most things – neither made the mistake to believe that – but lessening their antipathy and promoting a basic level of understanding was mutually beneficial. The talks proved promising, and greenlighted Reagan’s groundbreaking visit to Beijing in 1984 to announce the United States’ formal recognition of the People’s Republic of China and the lowering of trade barriers, breaking the previous One China Policy of the US Government.

    As the official aircraft descended from the skies for the last time in Asia, the last stop on John F. Kennedy’s mission to the Orient was arguably the most important for the Reagan foreign policy agenda. The Republic of India, though not quite the level of discord experienced during the height of the Indian Diaspora in the late sixties and early seventies, was in the midst of a major domestic transformation. Having spent the first few years of her rule consolidating the hold her party had and maintaining a strong military front against Pakistan (which Kennedy had visited beforehand, meeting with the immensely popular President Yahya Khan in the newly created capitol city of Islamabad), Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had shifted to a largely domestic agenda by the mid-1970s. Under her direction, the ruling Indian National Congress party had remolded itself into one of social corporatism. Socialism was a huge component of it, including the July 1973 nationalization of several major banks and the September 1975 abolition of the Privy Purse; these were often done suddenly, via ordinance, to the universal shock of the opposition in the Lok Sabha. The leftist turns were combined with corporatist policies involving the growth of state/big business pacts that were often used to reward Indira’s cronies and friendly foreign governments.

    Subsequently, unlike the Syndicate and other opponents, Indira was seen as standing for socialism in economics and secularism in matters of religion, as being pro-poor and for the development of the greater Indian nation in a spirit of nationalistic fervor. The prime minister was especially adored by the disadvantaged sections—the poor, Dalits, women and minorities. For them, she was their Indira Amma, a personification of Mother India. The nationalistic platforms of her social corporatist agenda kept her popular, leading to several thumping election victories and the concentrating the central government's power within the Prime Minister's Secretariat, rather than the Cabinet, whose elected members she saw as a threat. One of these trusted advisors was her son, Sanjay, who was reportedly being groomed to succeed Indira.

    However, as the 1980s approached the government was approaching a major crossroads. The economy was slowing, and no matter what expenditures the Lok Sabha approved (largely a rubber stamp at this point) the leading prosperity indicators wouldn’t budge. A series of scandals also came to light regarding Sanjay, who had basically become the second most powerful person in India. Programs providing for forced sterilization (to control India’s growing population) and the testing of the procedures among Bengali Muslims and regime opponents greatly hurt the perception of the Government, as well as the arrest of several prominent critics of Indira’s policies – the fallout would serve to greatly humble Sanjay, something that would be of great consequence in India’s future. Most of the opposition to the INC consolidated under the banner of the Janata Party, which bounced back in the standing of the people against the scandals of the Gandhi government. Additionally, a group of nationalist minded religious politicians formed a new political party based in Bombay, Shiv Sena – led by a political cartoonist named Bal Thackeray, they began to gain a large following among the Hindu Nationalists that had always been powerful since Independence, but grew following the Indo-Pakistani War of 1967.

    And all of this happened just before an election.

    The surge in Hindutva votes for Thackeray and Shiv Sena largely served as the reason for the INC losing its majority in the Lok Sabha. With the Janata Party largely adopting a more internationalist and trade focused stance since it held power under former leader and Prime Minister Jayaprakesh Naryan, the largely secular Indira Gandhi nevertheless procured the Hindu nationalists on the basis of the lesser of two evils. With the fiery Thackeray, this was no longer the case. Though most observers felt that Gandhi would cut a coalition agreement with the Communists – who were currently rudderless after the loss of their party leader in a complete Shiv Sena sweep of Bombay – Sanjay Gandhi managed to convince his mother to seek the agreement with Thackeray instead, creating an interesting hybrid secular social corporatist/religious far-right coalition government.

    By the time of Kennedy’s visit (the first visit of an American President or former President to India since Richard Nixon in 1962), the coalition had managed to keep its tenuous grasp to power. Thackeray’s influence was felt greatly, the policies turning more corporatist in macroeconomics and an emphasis on the Hindu religion increasing (causing many ethnic minority religions to flee to the Janata Party). Such a situation with competing agendas and cults of personality was tricky for Kennedy to navigate, but the former President had steeled himself prior to the visit on the advice of Yahya Khan.

    Relations with India had warmed recently due to hosting a summit between US and Soviet leaders, and the influence Thackeray and Shiv Sena had – with the blessing of Sanjay Gandhi – only pulled them further from the Soviet orbit. The economy still struggling, and looking for any means to solve the mass starvation that still plagued the poorest citizens, the hope was even among the most left-wing members of the INC that increased trade with the US would pay off. Touring the historical capitol city with his government retinue, Kennedy and newly-appointed Ambassador Alan Keyes negotiated opportunities with trade and a possible means for increased civil liberties. The negotiations were partially successful, Prime Minister Gandhi agreeing to lower tensions on the Pakistani border and eliminate many trade barriers with the US, but the pro-Soviet bent of the government was here to stay, at least for now. Still a pretty good ending for President Kennedy’s last hurrah at government service.

    On his deathbed only twelve years later, Kennedy would recollect at the Asian trip to be the most worthwhile achievement of his life, after raising three children to adulthood.
  3. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Oct 2, 2015
    Good ol' USA
    The Conservative Party of the United Kingdom was at a crossroads. Once the “Natural Governing Party,” three successive losses to Labour under Richard Crossman and Tony Benn had been of a large shock. Infighting had reigned between the two factions of the party, no compromise leader such as Iain Macleod forthcoming to ease the tensions and unite the party to defeat Benn. Five years was an eternity in politics, and the triumphant Benn of the 1978 Membership Referendum – arguably his finest hour – was mired in deep, lasting problems. His international reputation had taken a beating after the USSR rejected addition of the UK in the START I talks, even after he had cut two planned ballistic missile submarines to win the Soviets over (not a good move in the eyes of the British People). Paces of strikes picked up as the Trade Unions angled for more power, and a small slump in the London SE caused a pause in the UK’s growth rate. Nevertheless, the Tories couldn’t gain an advantage over Labour.

    In the Party Room, the same situation that faced the Australian Liberal Party following Don Chipp’s resignation as leader was brewing. Party leader Edward Heath was facing calls for his resignation from the more conservative wing of the caucus, his moderate policies an anathema to the Monday Club members that had been purged from the frontbench after Heath replaced Keith Joseph during Crossman’s tenure. Normally, there would be no leadership race unless a leader resigned or died, but a commission chaired by former Prime Minister Julian Amery in regards to revamping the party rules (antiquated selection methods being one of the reasons Iain Macleod nearly lost the 1964 election). They now followed Australian rules after the normal leadership campaign, and many members were itching to trigger one to topple Heath. Which in fact they did following the opposition’s disastrous defeat in the 1983 Ealing by-election – which required a 2.1% swing against Labour, but it couldn’t be done despite a five point Tory lead in the polls. Heath was still considered the favorite, but was losing ground to former NI Secretary Margaret Thatcher and Industry Secretary Peter Griffiths.

    When the ballots were counted, Heath had come first, but with only 41% of the caucus to Thatcher’s 32% and Griffiths’ 27% - Griffiths then endorsed Thatcher, and the party leadership met to avoid further embarrassment. Heath knew he was done for, and all but the most rabid of One Nation Tories wished to avoid more splits that would give the Benn Government another victory even with the struggling numbers. Thatcher was a strong candidate, but several untenable policy positions she had taken while being Julian Amery’s protégée made some moderates uncomfortable, and joined with Griffiths and other Monday Club members (it rapidly taking over the right-wing of the Tory caucus) to support a sufficient compromise candidate. Eventually, one came up – Aberdeenshire West MP and shadow Defence Secretary Colin “Mad Mitch” Mitchell, former Para and a distinguished war hero. He was on the right wing of the Tory caucus and a “No” voter on the membership referendum, but well respected enough by all sides to gain unanimous support to lead the party – Desmond Donnelly would return to the Conservative fold from his minor party affiliation as well. At once, the Tories shot up to a 10-point lead.

    Benn, in a cheery mood, announced that he was looking forward to make this the time where he defeated two Tory leaders in one swoop, and in March 1984 called a general election for May. Starting his campaign as an underdog due to the spate of strikes and military cuts, he crisscrossed the country hard, acting like the challenger rather than the Prime Minister – a role Benn played well, given that he was well liked if Labour itself wasn’t. The problem for them was two-fold. First, Mitchell structured the Conservative campaign as he would one of his former combat units. Tightly disciplined while also bold and innovative, they exploited their advantages by maintaining a steady drumbeat on the issues that were strong for them while dismissing the Labour wedge issues such as the NHS and full employment. Additionally, the Liberals had dumped their leader David Steel for the popular former leader Eric Lubbock, cancer free and ready for the party’s comeback. Microtargeting seats, they lured many minaprogressive and social liberal voters that Benn needed to keep his strong majority.

    Ten years of large Labour Governments were ended, the media recording a strong swing to the Conservatives. Labour-Tory marginals across the country fell to the blue juggernaut (including Ealing), the Benn Government holding on to much of its working class base but getting wiped out in the exurbs and rural areas. Mad Mitch’s hometown coattails allowed the Tories to secure a plurality of the vote and a majority of the seats in Scotland, the first time since Anthony Eden in 1955 that the Conservatives had done so – which gave the Tories a more lopsided margin of seats than the overall swing might have accorded them. Glasgow remained too tough a nut to crack completely but the rural areas to the north and south went hard blue and Edinburgh was evenly split. Meanwhile, the Liberals posted their best showing since the 1920s, nearly reaching 20% of the vote. Back under the well-known and liked Lubbock, the increasingly minaprogressive party combined a coalition of rural populists, young social liberals, and upscale formerly moderate Tories/Labourites (including Roy Jenkins, who was returned to Parliament as a Liberal) to win 46 seats, a pretty significant bloc.

    Mitchell, after getting the blessing from King Charles to form his government, formed an all-star Tory cabinet of the various heavyweights in the party – a veritable cabinet of rivals. Former Prime Minister Julian Amery was recruited back from the backbenches to be Defence Secretary. Heath was made Chancellor and Thatcher got the Foreign Ministry, while Griffiths was made Home Secretary. The other various positions were filled with members of the Monday Club (Alan Clark, Nigel Lawson, and Desmond Donnelly) and the moderates (James Prior, Geoffrey Rippon, and William Whitelaw). Immediately reversing the defence cuts, Mad Mitch prepared to go into the next round of arms limitation talks from a position of strength.

    No one expected the minority government of Paul Hellyer to last. Eccentric to the core, if the tentative alliance with the Social Credit Party didn’t fall through then one would have expected the Red Tory moderates to rebel against the increasingly conservative ministry that he had put together. Hellyer and his government had been under attack for its perceived inexperience, especially considering the Prime Minister’s problematic tenure as a Liberal cabinet minister during Trudeau’s first ministry (Hellyer was rather Wallaceite in dealing with the press, not getting along with the “Media fools” as he called them; press coverage was thusly very negative). Bets were taken as to how long he would last before new elections were called, most put on about a year.

    However, the government miraculously survived its first year and chugged along through the late seventies. Fear of losing again to Trudeau, who stayed leader of the Liberal Party and was chomping on the bit for a comeback, kept the Red Tories in line. As for the Social Credit Party, Hellyer was a match made in heaven for them. Distinctly populist in his outlook, the Prime Minister made the anti-Globalist, pro “Made in Canada” policies the forefront of his government, putting in place several priorities for So Cred leader Ken Campbell that kept the informal alliance alive and flourishing. The budget was trimmed down and Reaganite bureaucratic reforms were instituted (though not as massive a scale as what Reagan signed into law), while Hellyer finally managed to get his housing program put into place from when he was a Liberal Minister. He was a close friend of President Reagan, and saw a spike in popularity due to his involvement in Cuban Reunification. To great international fanfare, he dedicated a chunk of appropriations to fund the “Canadian Deep Space Initiative,” a collection of several astronomical telescopes and research centers that would partner with NASA and the British Space Program to explore deep space. The media ran wild with the extraterrestrial jokes.

    Eventually, the good luck for the popular Hellyer ran out. The Minister of Finance, John Crosbie, introduced in response to a shortfall in revenue proposed the creation of a Goods and Services tax to lessen the federal government's deficit after the 1977 tax cut. Hellyer was skeptical but ended up being convinced by Crosbie that this was the better solution – Canada’s debt having skyrocketed under Trudeau and by the tax cut, though it had largely protected the Canadian economy from collapse during Stagflation. This created an uproar among the NDP caucus, Ed Broadbent speaking in opposition for over ten hours. While the government was confident it would pass, disaster struck when two PC MPs fell ill and couldn’t make it, plus ten So Cred MPs from Quebec refused to vote for the tax over local concerns. A subamendment by NDP finance spokesman Bob Rae passed the House of Commons by the skin of its teeth, embarrassing Hellyer and forcing him to call a general election that Trudeau pounced on.

    Trudeau was victorious once again, staging the once thought of as impossible political comeback and a fitting addition to the legend of Trudeaumania. The Liberals dominated eastern Canada, reduced to a mere 10 seats west of Ontario thanks to Hellyer’s popularity there. The losses were actually kept reasonable by the Prime Minister, embarrassing Trudeau by denying him a majority government.

    After about a year as leader of opposition, Paul Hellyer was sufficiently certain of the durability of the PC-So Cred alliance to resign the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party. Feeling that a new leader would be best to lead against the still dominant Trudeau-run Liberal Party, his resignation to take over as shadow Foreign Minister left the field wide open. Such luminaries included former leader Joe Clark, anti-Communist MP John Gamble, former Finance Minister Brian Mulroney, former Justice Minister Alan Eagleson, John Crosbie, Alberta deputy PM Preston Manning, and longtime MP Robert Stanfield. The field jockeyed for most of the summer of 1983, the entire race being rocked when the So Creds vowed to break the alliance if Crosbie, Stanfield, or Clark were elected. Of the rest, Manning was too young, Eagleson too shady from his time in the Hellyer Ministry, and Mulroney too pro-business to maintain the alliance. Then, a white knight appeared – one that no one expected.

    A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Leslie Nielsen was an accomplished actor since the 1950s. A close friend of Ronald Reagan since appearing as a guest on I Love Lucy in 1960, he had made a splash starring in films such as The Forbidden Planet and Poseidon, earning an Academy Award for Best Actor for playing Consul Gaius Marius in the 1975 Ancient Rome epic First Man in Rome. However, his claim to fame was starring in the 1980 blockbuster comedy Airplane, bringing Nielsen international recognition. At the height of his career, Nielsen began thinking of a possible political career after being convinced by his brother Erik, the Progressive Conservative MP for the Yukon. Debating it for a few weeks, Nielsen announced to great fanfare that he was seeking the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party one month before the vote. His celebrity and overarching liberty conservative vision swept the race, many candidates dropping out and endorsing him. Some derided him as an untested joke, but the vouching of the long serving Erik Nielsen and several strong policy speeches across Canada solidified Nielsen’s lead – he would win on the first ballot over Joe Clark and John Crosbie, catapulting him to instant fame.

    Meanwhile, the Trudeau Government was struggling to chug forward after the comeback of 1981. The Prime Minister’s first experience with a minority government, he was forced to rely on the NDP to pass anything of note – this would be difficult, Ed Broadbent and his increasingly minaprogressive party were not easy subjects to deal with. Little was done compared to the triumphs of the 1970s, and Trudeau suddenly found himself viewed unfavorably by the majority of the Canadian people for the first time since rising to be leader of the opposition. Stressed and fatigued, especially after the Beefgate fiasco (where the Trudeau-allied Agriculture Minister authorized the sale of tainted beef to the Canadian public in a clerical error), after 12 years as Prime Minister and 16 as leader of the Liberal Party, Pierre E. Trudeau would resign from both his office and his seat – the end of an era. After a sleepy race, the party would select Ontario MP and Trudeau Cabinet official Herb Grey as their leader and new Prime Minister.

    Grey was immediately forced to deal with a bevy of scandals that killed whatever honeymoon period he might have had. Such things had been hidden since the Liberal Party returned to power, even dating to while Hellyer had taken over from Trudeau in 1977, but the Liberals took all the blame given their position as the dominant party. Still leading, just barely, in the polls, Grey called an election for March 1984 before things could collapse. It began badly upon a gaffe made by Minister of Education Bennett Campbell that seemed to dismiss western Canadians. PC MP Rafael Cruz – a Crusader preacher elected to a riding in Calgary – delivered the Party’s response, harshly condemning the “Divisive and mean-spirited sentiment that Prime Minister Grey apparently condones.” Grey apologized for the entire government, but the damage was done.

    On top of the Liberal woes was the near flawless campaign by Leslie Nielsen. The actor, long mocked and underestimated by his foes, had already done the unthinkable and brought the Social Credit Party within the federal Progressive Conservative Party in a merger (while they agreed that the state-level PC parties in Alberta and British Columbia were to merge under the Social Credit banner). Campaigning across the nation in the run up to the election, he used that underestimation and the blank slate provided by his previously unknown political views to his advantage. He could be anything to anyone, and drew massive crowds with his charisma and considerable humor. Each member of the PC leadership team (Mulroney, Hellyer, Clark, Eagleson, Erik Nielsen, and Stanfield) were used as attack dogs on Grey and the Liberals, while Nielsen maintained his positive favorability to push pro-business, generally social conservative, and patriotic values to a wide swath of Canada.

    The leader’s debate marked the real climax of the campaign. Grey, down in the opinion polling, needed to make a serious blow against Nielsen and remind the Country why they supported the Liberal Party for so long (it largely being the dominant party since the 1930s except for Diefenbaker and Hellyer’s tenure). The goal was to defend the Liberals as the party of competent government and paint the PC leader as a lightweight and a punchline, which Grey did in an uncharacteristically pugilistic attitude on the night of the debate. Nielsen, far from being flustered, took the criticism in stride and refused to drop his charismatic aura. The comedic flair he was so famous for lightened his answers and made them relatable, but he made sure they were still serious. What made the night a decisive win for the Progressive Conservatives was when Nielsen attacked Grey over the Liberal appointments scandal, to which Grey countered with how could the public trust Nielsen with managing the government. “Well, when the Canadian people look to their leaders and say ‘Good luck, we’re all counting on you,’ they have been quite disappointed by the likes of professional politicians. It’s time for a change.” In a twist of Nielsen’s famous line from Airplane, he had turned the entire line of attack against Grey.

    Right after the leader’s debate, another blow struck the Liberals. Justice Minister Colin Thatcher of Saskatchewan, son of the former Premier of the province, was arrested sensationally for the contract murder of his ex-wife. Rumors had been prevalent since the killing in the early fall of 1983, but police had taken till the 1st of March before they felt they had enough evidence to charge Thatcher. The arrest shocked the nation, and dominated the headlines for the entire week – the week before the election, ending any real chance for the parties to make any other impressions on the public.

    The true scope of the Progressive Conservative landslide became more and more apparent as the night wore on. Nielsen’s victory was just under the record set by John Diefenbaker in 1958, cutting the liberal caucus in half. Every Liberal seat west of Ontario fell to the Tories (Colin Thatcher’s recording the largest swing for obvious reasons), them winning a majority in every province – even Pierre Trudeau’s seat of Mount Royal was taken by the Progressive Conservatives, Nielsen’s coalition of Liberty Conservatives, western populists, and Quebecois social conservative nationalists bringing them gains they never imagined before. An afterthought for the election, Ed Broadbent and the NDP found themselves reduced to near record lows, but the old social democratic guard was gone. Instead was left the new minaprogressive core to take over the party, and they would soon rise as a massive feature in Canadian politics even as Leslie Nielsen triumphantly took residence at 24 Sussex Drive.

    The attempted assassination of Prime Minister Andrew Peacock and his subsequent resignation had largely sapped the strength of the Australian people. A sense of gloom had settled over them, contrasting with the sense of pride at the nation’s development into a regional power. The focoist terrorism and civil strife afflicting other countries had for the most part stayed out of the Land Down Under – but it had arrived with a vengeance right as John Howard took the reins at the Lodge. The first NSW Coalition leader since the foundation of the Liberal Party, the Bennelong MP dove right in to show the people that the government was still working. His first major decision was the approval of the Franklin Dam Project, which was highly supported by the dominant Tasmanian Liberal Party and brought an image of decisiveness despite general opposition by environmentalists (Crean had opposed it and Peacock was wavering despite promising to greenlight the project during the campaign). The Peacock programs were continued, and the defence spending increases were doubled. A major crisis almost occurred when the waterfront unions threatened a strike, but quick negotiation between Howard and Bob Hawke prevented the strike when it became known that the Prime Minister was ready to fire all of them as Reagan had to PATCO.

    What continued to dominate conversation was the response to the Philippine Crisis. While Andrew Peacock had started the Australian military mission to the country to assist it in fighting the Islamic Socialist rebels on Mindanao, in a speech to Parliament Howard pledged to raise the commitment to actual fighting forces, wishing to crush them once and for all. President Gerry Roxas of the Philippines, having been elected in a massive upset not long before over incumbent Ferdinand Marcos, was suffering from low approval ratings due to the increased level of violence from the insurgents. Thanks to Kennedy’s mission to China, Beijing made the calculated decision to redirect overseas aid funds from supplying the rebels to backing the Burmese Government against ethnic rebels of their own – better to consolidate their own sphere of influence and accept the bounty of trade with the US than have the chance of gaining the Philippines. With Chinese aid cut off, Howard and Roxas knew that if there was any time to crush the insurgents, it was now. The first of the Australian Army brigades arrived in March 1984 to a total of five by August of that year. Pitched combat reminiscent of Operation Dropkick in the Vietnam War ensued, the insurgents clearly on the losing side of the war of attrition developing on Mindanao.

    While the Labor Party settled on its own compromise leader in former Crean Ministry official John Button to avoid the supporters of Paul Keating and those of Bob Hawke from tearing the party apart, Howard had to deal with several interparty struggles of his own. As he moved to pass a Value Added Tax and GST as part of a series of cuts and increases to simplify the complex Whitlam-era code, problems arose in the form of Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen. After a deal that saw the state-level Liberal Party be absorbed into the larger National Party (the only state where the Nationals would form a majority, or be the sole member of the Coalition there), Bjelke-Petersen was at the height of his popularity and was hyped by many as a prime contender to be Prime Minister by those that saw Howard as a mere placeholder. Joh played coy with the rumors, and they threatened to consume the Coalition as their three-year term was soon up. However, the Queensland Premier and Howard hashed out an agreement the terms of which wouldn’t be known until months later. Joh proclaimed his confidence in Howard, and the election was announced.

    With Parliament expanding by twenty seats overall, John Howard built on Andrew Peacock’s mandate and delivered one of his own. The Australian voters took the upswinging economy and the victories in the Philippines and rewarded the Prime Minister accordingly. The massive victories delivered in the Peacock landslide three years previously were held, every seat in Queensland, Northern Territory, and Tasmania being a Coalition victory. Premier Joh entered Parliament for the newly created safe seat of Groom, immediately becoming Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister – positions he had coveted and demanded. Many Labor working-class voters that normally were only won over in landslides crossed over to vote for Howard and Joh, the Coalition having the best record of attracting those voters long term of any liberty conservative party. The Labor Party under Button managed to prevent an even worse disaster, gaining thirteen seats largely in Sydney and Melbourne. Victoria, longtime a Liberal stronghold, saw the Coalition only narrowly retain a majority of the seats there thanks to the backlash against Howard’s dealings with the trade unions. South Australia remained the sole state with a Labor majority in the seat count, Bob Hawke’s organization as powerful as ever.

    Howard had his mandate to implement his reforms, and every seat would count as the eighties progressed – unforeseen developments were on the horizon for the Commonwealth.
    Upon leaving Gracie Mansion, William F. Buckley was itching to get to his next project. Immediately jumping back into managing National Review, which had grown into an international magazine in the hands of his brother-in-law L. Brent Bozell Jr, he felt that the larger media sphere was quite… monopolized in a certain way. Though each in nominal competition with each other, the Big Three – CBS, NBC, and ABC – were very similar in most respects and operated within the same elite cliques. Anchors, TV personalities, writers, and executives were often exchanged between the networks. Buckley found himself disgusted at this, especially the bias many of the networks presented. They had largely lost most senses of impartiality, many having rushed to defend Alger Hiss and oppose McCarthy in the 1940s and 1950s while making it no secret that they had a distaste for the populist/insurgent Presidencies of George Wallace and Ronald Reagan. Despite being the archetype of an intellectual, Buckley hated snobbery.

    The great man himself had a hope following his departure from Gracie Mansion to create a fourth, independent series of media networks that could serve as a proper competition to the Big Three. In the late seventies, he would find two others who shared the same goals and desires – the Australian business magnate Rupert Murdoch and former NBC broadcasting executive Roger Ailes (who had left the network to get a job in the Reagan campaign in 1976). Murdoch had long sought to use his 20th Century Fox holdings to invest in the American media market as he had in the Commonwealth, and he had recruited Ailes to lead the as yet to be created organization. Ailes for his part felt that there was untapped potential in catering to the yearning of conservative and populist audiences that felt the elites in the Big Three and Hollywood were abandoning them, to tap into the same populist sentiment that fueled George Wallace and Ronald Reagan. All they needed was a face, a well-known one to serve as the persona of the new network.

    Enter Will Buckley, one of the most recognizable politicians of the times.

    TBN would take the media market by storm, opening up the first major new dimension in the Big Three domination of the marketplace since it was formed in the 1930s. Connected with the Rupert Murdoch-owned media empire that the magnet would soon acquire, William F. Buckley inaugurated it with the premier of his nightly news show, Our World Today, with Bill Buckley. The former Mayor of NYC would host the recap of the news of the day, his first guests including President Reagan, Paul Erlich, and Buckley’s own brother Senator James Buckley. However, the Buckley vision wouldn’t just stay to news. The goal shared by Buckley, Ailes, Murdoch, and Bozell was to create a full competitor to CBS or NBC, and the Buckley Network would branch off into news, comedy, and drama programs as well as sponsoring three cable programs: Buckley News, Buckley Economic News, and the National Review Television Network. Cable was still a new medium, but it was the Buckley team’s innovation that helped stake the new claim and drive it forward.

    Though the credit or cause of which would be highly disputed by future historians (the overall consensus would be that the protection of American industry by Wallace allowed the pro-growth policies of his successor to take off), the Reagan Presidency marked a time of immense prosperity for Americans. Tight control of inflation rates by Reagan-appointed Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and a massive cut in both taxes and regulation saw an infusion of cash capital into the American market. Reagan’s increase of the Wallace defense budget – which was also credited with keeping Stagflation from being as problematic as it could have been – helped bolster key portions of the American economy while the new opportunities in Southeast Asia and Africa invited intense investment.

    The boom in infrastructure was one of the key elements in the Reagan Era. Many in the American business elite saw an even larger economic boom as technology began to evolve (several major discoveries in France in regards to computer tech helped boost the newfound optimism). George Wallace, his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development George Mahoney, and Secretary of Transportation Sargent Shriver focused on jumpstarting infrastructure development, a favorite of the New Deal economic left to lower unemployment. This policy was tweaked by Mahoney and Shriver’s successors, Charlie Rangel/Caspar Weinberger and Jim Lovell, Reagan supporting infrastructure development in a different conceptual framework – more in a public/private partnership rather than that of a purely public sector development. Rangel, Weinberger, and Lovell were given the authority to assist the state governments in meting out the different contracts in the backdrop of the building campaign in the United States.

    While the vast majority of the very wealthy investors and developers in the United States (and from abroad, Japanese, German, African, and Pakistani millionaires and billionaires funneling massive capital into American investments), the most prolific and well-known was one Donald J. Trump. The son of prominent developer and Rockefeller-administration advisor Fred Trump, after a stint in Vietnam during the invasion of the north – in which he would get wounded, always walking with a slight limp after that, and a Bronze Star – he set up shop outside his father’s business in Manhattan. Though making most of his money on restoring old buildings such as the Commodore Hotel, what made Donald Trump a household name was his taking on countless high profile public/private infrastructure contracts. He had gotten the idea when taking the Wollman Ice Rink in Central Park off the hands of Mayor Hugh Carey and finishing it under-budget and two months ahead of schedule after it had been such a headache for the Mayor going into his reelection bid against Charlie Rangel. In his usual bombastic swagger, “The Donald” as he would soon be known announced his partnership with federal and state officials flanking him in developing project after project. None were failures, and while most were of satisfactory quality some very high profile jobs were completed to huge media fanfare, earning Trump the moniker “America’s Builder” by the press. For the consummate showman that he was, Trump would take the wealth and reputation earned here and move on to even grander things.

    The Reagan Economy produced yet another “favorite son” that would play such a massive role in the nation’s future, though he couldn’t have been more different than the bombastic Trump. During the period of stagflation, the energy crisis and rising costs of living had directly impacted the American auto industry. Consumer attitudes about cars were changing, seeking economy and fuel efficiency over the larger vehicles that were normally produced prior to that. Foreign car models such as the German Volkswagen, Japanese Toyota (though the development of the Japanese auto industry powerhouse occurred at least five years later than it could have been due to the political turmoil of the 1960s and early 1970s, only righted after the Minseito Government finally solidified itself), and French Renault began to bring foreign competition to the Big Three automakers for the first time in American history. The Wallace era tariff protections and industrial subsidies saved the Big Three’s bacon for a while, but as the Reagan Administration prepared to take over a change was needed.

    One of the giants, Chrysler, pioneered this new period of innovation. Since it was the smallest of the Big Three, it had difficulty adjusting to the new market and relied more and more on Wallace-era government aid to retool. Seeing Reagan coming in – his hostility to corporate welfare well known – the board of directors underwent a management shakeup that saw most of its top executives retired. Who was promoted? An enterprising former middle executive at Ford by the name of Lee Iacocca. Only fifty-two at the time he was made CEO and President of Chrysler, Iacocca was already somewhat of a legend for his development of the Ford Pinto and Ford Mustang, both of which foresaw the eventual demand for economy and efficiency and allowed Ford to weather the storm with the best cost returns (the Pinto being the largest individual seller on the market in 1975). If anyone could turn Chrysler around, it was Lee Iacocca.


    Immediately after taking the helm, Iacocca began a massive consolidation and contraction of Chrysler, closing many factories and shedding the company of many troublesome or risky ventures and vehicle lines. The move hurt in the eyes of public opinion, many in the labor unions dubbing him a “Job Killer” but it worked for the most part, preventing a serious depletion of the massive cash reserves that the Wallace Administration loans had provided. He then went into serious negotiations with the UAW, playing hardball for at least a year to win salary cuts and benefit limitations to ease costs for the company. By 1978, the company was beginning to turn itself around with the introduction of the Endurance, a durable yet fuel efficient car perfectly made for the appetites of the American consumer of the day. Just as the Japanese cars began flooding the market, the Endurance narrowly beat out the Volkswagen Jetta as the most popular vehicle in the United States for 1980.

    Iacocca was not done, and planned to put the still held loan money to good use. With American Motors Company nearing bankruptcy, Chrysler saw an opportunity to swoop in and massively build up its share of the market. After nearly two years of back and forth, including five times where negotiations were nearly suspended and killed, Iacocca had succeeded in his planned merger. Chrysler had become Chrysler-American Eagle, the latter name added on as a PR move to brand the company as the “All-American Car Manufacturer.” A rollout of new vehicle brands were introduced with full patriotic names, all popular in both the domestic market and international, the new company rocketing to second of the Big Three just behind Ford. Lee Iacocca would become just as much a household name as Donald Trump for his innovation, many considering him the man that single handedly saved the American Auto Industry. The American people would remember this, especially when he began to set his sights on something far greater.

    One of the biggest new schools of thought coming out during the 1970s was the environmentalist movement. Over a century of industrial development – especially after the post-war boom – had left pretty serious pollution and environmental disasters that rose into the public’s consciousness in sensationalist ways. The Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire three times in the summer of 1971 due to chemicals in the water, triggering international headlines. Cities such as Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Atlanta were covered in massive clouds of hazy smog from industrial factories and the overabundance of cars. A sensational report by a group of conservationists with the Sierra Club and one Rachel Carlson brought to the public eye the devastation of the Florida Everglades and bird populations across America due to overdevelopment and pesticide use respectively.

    With public opinion in favor of something being done, a series of legislative acts during both the Kennedy Administration and during the Republican-controlled 92nd Congress caused President George Wallace to create the Natural Conservation Bureau within the Interior Department. It was tasked with enforcing the sets of basic standards that the Republican Congress had mandated, though there was a lack of political will – due to the Wallace Administration’s alliance with labor unions – to go further than increased conservation of wilderness lands and cleaning up pollution.

    The Reagan Administration saw a change in the NCB’s function. Interior Secretary William P. Clements shared the views of Presidents Wallace and Reagan that economic growth and the concerns of industry and energy production weren’t mutually exclusive with conservation. The right balance needed to be found, and he was determined to see it happen. The NCB tightened pollutant standards under Clements’ watch, bringing in experts to conduct research studies into the effects of certain chemicals and banning them as necessary. Congress passed a series of appropriations that Clements employed to help ease the burden of conversion to more environmentally-friendly. Emissions rates would decrease under the Reagan Administration, especially with the actions of the states. Reagan believing in the principles of Federalism, he would rarely interfere with the actions of many Progressive-controlled state legislatures in the West and Midwest, who implemented even more expansive state environmental protections. In Illinois, Governor Donald Rumsfeld would do the same, state funding into research and development modeled after that of French Science and Technology Minister, and later Prime Minister, Jacques Cousteau’s.

    One of the most influential minds of the Sustainability movement as it was called was biologist Paul Erlich. A professor of Population Studies of the Department of Biology of Stanford University, he conducted various research projects regarding the sustainability of massive populations. After a lecture that Ehrlich gave on the topic of overpopulation at the Commonwealth Club of California was broadcast by radio in April 1967, the resulting publicity caused the Sierra Club to sponsor him for a book contract – to put his theories into an easy to read manuscript. What followed was The Population Bomb, a collaborative effort between him and his wife. Ehrlich argued that the human population was too great, and that while the extent of disaster could be mitigated, humanity could not prevent severe famines, the spread of disease, social unrest, and other negative consequences of overpopulation. Thus, societies needed to take strong action to decrease or halt population growth in order to mitigate future disasters, both ecological and social.

    The Population Bomb would take the world by storm at its publication in 1970. Fresh off the increased famines in Africa, food shortages in India, the increasing calls due to lowering temperatures that there was a global cooling period, and the beginning of the highly publicized environmental disasters, it fit the growing market for environmental theories. Academics and many prominent European, African, and South American socialists would love Erlich’s theories due to the historical evidence and it’s advocating of massive government regulation to stunt overpopulation. However, he would run into massive opposition from anti-Communists, the Catholic Church, and especially the Crusader movement, who would compare The Population Bomb to Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia.

    Prominently opposing Erlich – including in a famous wager about population statistics in which he would sue to get collected after Erlich’s theories would not pan out – was Iowa biologist and humanitarian Norman Borlaug. Working for various projects under both private, military, and joint funding, he had become a pioneer in agriculture research in developing high-yield food crops. He had taken a job at Texas A&M University in 1962, instrumental in establishing one of the premier ecological research facilities there (turning it into a world class university) which would develop dozens of different strains of durable genetic variants of various grains and other food crops. After President Luis Alvarez was elected President of Mexico in 1976, he would be hired by the PAN government to help implement the high-efficiency farming techniques that allowed the country to be a net exporter of many different food and cash crops – helping jumpstart the 1980s Mexican Miracle where it would become the third largest economy in Latin America (after Chile and reunified Cuba).

    Borlaug would become involved in the philosophical movement against the Erlich school (which he and allies Barry Commoner, Ronald Bailey, and Julian Simon would disparagingly dub neo-Malthusianism) after the Population Bomb was published. Erlich included a mention of Borlaug’s research, refuting his contention that the development of high-yield crops would stop any mass starvation due to overpopulation. Borlaug would issue a scathing response in his 1972 novel A Green Revolution. In it, he detailed the precepts of what would be the cornerstone of the Developmentalist movement. The answer to continued human development while preserving the environment was technology, coupled with efficient land use practices. Technology and R&D was the key, Borlaug wrote, building on the writings and policies of Jacques Cousteau for the most part into a coherent set of policies that would influence much of the academic and political communities on the subject. Both President George Wallace and President Ronald Reagan would praise the book, and Developmentalism would be the more mainstream ideology.

    One major friendship that Borlaug would make during his extensive work in the mid-1970s and early 1980s was with Governor Donald Rumsfeld. Seeking expert advice in legislation to jumpstart Illinois lagging agriculture sector, the Governor would speak with Borlaug for hours on every topic of biology and agriculture under the sun. The friendship would end up affecting both the United States and the world as a whole in the future.

    No political story was more interesting than that of Roy Marcus Cohn. As a young attorney he had been hired by the one and only Joseph McCarthy to be his counsel, and soon became nationally famous as his boss launched the anti-communist crusade from his seat in the Senate. No headline was complete without showing the baby-faced Cohn chatting with his boss during a Senate hearing or a press conference. Following McCarthy’s censure and later death, Cohn bounced around as a lawyer to the rich and famous of NYC, including several mob bosses and celebrities before being elected to Congress as a Republican in 1966. His brass knuckles style was easily malleable toward that of a consummate political insider, and Cohn rapidly rose through the GOP leadership until becoming Speaker of the House in 1983 – just as the GOP majority turned into a plurality 8 seats short.

    Senate Majority Leader John Chafee had his own problems in whipping votes from liberal Republicans and Independent Joe Biden, but those paled in comparison to Roy Cohn’s dilemma. Even if all the Republicans bloc voted (and that was a big if considering the still wide rift between the Rockefeller liberals, old-school conservatives, and liberty conservatives), a united opposition could defeat any measure that came before the body if they voted together. From his time as Majority Leader Cohn was known for his ruthless tactics as forcing legislation through the House to Reagan’s desk, his shepherding of the Line-Item Veto Amendment being textbook Cohn, through means of withholding campaign cash and committee seats to key Republican votes. But that was when the GOP had 260+ seat majorities. He could still use them to compel unity, but the tactics needed change.
    The pugilistic Cohn and the patrician House Majority Leader James Baker were the textbook definition of the hit TV series The Odd Couple, but the team worked as a powerful force within the House to get legislation passed. In The Art of the Deal, written by Cohn’s friend and mentee Donald J. Trump, Trump would document how Cohn’s maneuvering had made the 1983-1985 Congress still productive despite the partisan rancor. First was the prolific use of “Pork Barrel Spending” that was reluctantly greenlit by President Reagan (to avoid any line-item vetoes) to win over Democrats looking to curry favor in their districts – for freshmen elected in 1982, it was an attractive offer. Second was to coordinate with the President to put political pressure on vulnerable members through Oval Office addresses and rallying in swing districts. Third was a variation of the second plan, but much less direct. A means to use popular provisions to bills to cleave off moderate Democrats and Progs in conservative or traditionally GOP Districts. As Cohn said in an interview, “There’s principle, and then there’s winning another term.”

    In all fairness Reagan, Cohn, and Chafee decided to end the President’s second term on a high note – avoiding the partisan rancor and massive sea changes of the previous two years what with amending the Constitution and the Return of the Bull Moose a crucial priority. Several laws to gain support of the Democrats (Amcare fixes and support for American industry) and the Progressives (the first serious campaign finance legislation in decades). However, Cohn insured that further Reagan-pushed trimmings of the budget and cuts to the bureaucracy were forced through. Not a single bill that Roy Cohn supported failed to pass the House.

    Possessing the highest proportion of African-Americans than any state in the union, Mississippi would naturally be one of the most GOP states in the Deep South. Making history with the election of Medgar Evers as both the first Republican and black Senator from the Deep South since reconstruction, in the Reagan era the party of Lincoln had taken two lower statewide offices, a majority in the state’s congressional delegation (which had survived the 1982 midterms, the only state in the South besides Virginia that retained a GOP majority delegation), and – amazingly enough – control of the State House of Representatives by a narrow margin. With the off-year elections approaching, Republicans were salivating at making history by taking the Governorship. It would both secure their hope that the state would be a bastion in the southern south, and to turn the narrative around that they were in trouble for 1984. Democratic governors in Louisiana and Kentucky were popular, so this was their only chance

    Popular Democratic Governor William Winter, a moderate with a strong record of civil rights that acquired massive favorability numbers among African-Americans (he’d won with 74% of the vote in 1979) was term-limited and left an open seat. Despite the newfound Republican strength, the GOP’s bench in the state was still pretty thin, glutted with young legislators that didn’t yet have the necessary experience compared to the longtime, experienced pols on the Democratic side. In a primary runoff in a race of seven candidates, Congressman Wayne Dowdy defeated Attorney General William Allain after the latter was tarred by a transvestite sex scandal (which would later be proven completely false). Meanwhile, the Republican primary featured only three candidates. Congressman Thad Cochran triumphed over two African-American state representatives with a powerful majority, setting up a race between two sitting members of the house.

    Cochran was an anomaly, being one of the three Deep South white Republican representatives elected before the 1976 Reagan wave (the others being Jack Edwards of Alabama and Bo Callaway of Georgia). He had been elected in 1972 by a razor thin margin of 7 votes after a protracted recount, even as George Wallace carried his district by 23 points, and was reelected easily on a coalition of blacks and suburban whites in every election since. Armed with a conservative, pro-civil rights record, he laid out an ambitious program for the state that capitalized on poor conditions in regards to education and infrastructure. The Democratic establishment machine was too concerned with holding on power, he said, and only a strong change of leadership in Jackson could bring about the necessary reforms. The goal was to recreate the same African-American/suburban white/conservative working class white coalition that enabled Medgar Evers to become Senator, and with the polls tightening at the final stretch to a one point Cochran lead the GOP was optimistic.

    Riding high black turnout, Cochran rode the Evers Coalition to a thumping five point victory over Dowdy. Though securing the vast percentage of his votes from the African-American heavy Jackson-area and the counties near the Mississippi River, his strong campaigning won over many suburban and small city whites near Memphis, in the east Jackson suburbs, and in the Gulf Coast – a heartening sign for Republicans itching to hold the state’s electoral votes in 1984. Despite the worrisome midterm results a year before, the GOP was still in a strong position. It would be a competitive year coming up.

    One of President Reagan’s overarching visions was of a world free of the scourge of nuclear weapons. Apart from some of the most hawkish of Democrats and a certain grouping of academia that felt arms reduction would lead to certain war with the Soviet Union, this was a sentiment that had vast public support across all three political parties. Although he counted the IBM treaty as one of his signature accomplishments, he longed for something far grander. In a commencement address at his alma mater, Eureka College on May 9, 1979, Reagan proposed a dramatic reduction in strategic forces. Namely, the specific plan outlined later by SecDef Teller would reduce overall warhead counts on any missile type to 5,000, with an additional limit of 2,500 on ICBMs. Additionally, a total of 850 ICBMs would be allowed, with a limit of 110 "heavy throw" missiles and additional limits on the total "throw weight" of the missiles as well. Such a thing would have been laughed out of the Kremlin in the past, but under the post-airline crash Semichastny regime shift – and especially after the IBM Treaty – there was hope that Reagan and Grishin could figure out a way to make it work.

    Effectively, the massive headway the United States and NATO made in the development of the Strategic Defense Initiative (and the setup of a rudimentary but extensive network of anti-ballistic missile SAMs in the US and Western Europe) made much of the non-hardline Soviet political and military leadership weary of the costs a massive nuclear arsenal would entail. The sheer size of the Soviet Empire and Communist sphere’s would discourage outside attack it was argued, and if a decrease in tension could be made to ease the burdens on the fragile Soviet economy – kept going largely due to trade within the bloc and the selling of arms and raw materials – could be acquired it was worth the risk. Political pressure on Viktor Grishin from the Semichastny faction within the Politburo largely forced his hand over the objection of the hardliners to request another meeting with American negotiators.

    Although the Soviet insistence on mere bilateral talks rankled the American delegation (and greatly embarrassed Prime Minister Tony Benn), neither Eugene McCarthy nor Mikhail Gorbachev were discouraged and continued to hammer out compromise after compromise. Finally, the Strategic and Tactical Arms Reduction Treaty was drafted, eliminating a total of one third of each side’s nuclear arsenal (warheads and reentry vehicles) and half of all intercontinental launchers – items not covered in the IBM Treaty. To worldwide acclaim, President Reagan and General Secretary Grishin would sign the treaty in Moscow in March 1984. One major provision of the treaty that greatly concerned Congress (it would be ratified narrowly) and heartened the Soviet Politburo was the provision to share SDI technology between the two nations. Talks of a unified network of missile defense were banded about by many on both sides, the destruction of the threat of nuclear Armageddon finally plausible after decades.

    Additionally, the Kremlin saw a shift as well. After suffering a debilitating stroke in April 1984 that would cripple him, Viktor Grishin announced to the world through his wife that he was resigning his post as General Secretary. Grishin, a compromise choice between the reform and hardline wings of the CPSU, created a firestorm with his resignation. Each side put forward its favored candidate, the moderates initially backing Foreign Minister Mikhail Gorbachev (though he would stand down due to the lack of support for someone so young) while the hardliners supported Chairman of the Presidium Pyotr Demichev. The Politburo was seething with tension between the factions, but with Semichastny’s considerable pull the swing votes rallied to the side of the moderate candidate. One that promised a program of reform and openness that would heal the torpid heart of the USSR. Gosplan Director Alexander Yakovlev, the new General Secretary of the Soviet Union.


    President Ronald Reagan was the victim of an assassination attempt earlier today. Meeting with several Argentine Dissidents at the Washington Hilton hotel, he was ambushed outside. The assailant was identified as one Lynnette Fromme, a political radical and former member of San Francisco's People's Temple Church. Mayor Jim Jones, former Pastor at People's Temple, has officially condemned Fromme and pledged to work with any investigation.

    President Reagan is currently in critical condition, though is expected to survive. Vice President Ford has already been sworn in as acting President, and assured the country that all is stable in the White House.
    With the popular Reagan term-limited, Democrats lined up to make the attempt to retake the White House. After eight years of continuous Republican rule, the country was in the mood for change and none of the serious GOP candidates had the same popularity and charisma of the President. A-list names such as Senator Frank Church of Idaho (of the Hoffa wing), Mayor Hugh Carey of New York, and the conservative Senator Larry McDonald of Georgia all were considered prime contenders. However, one name got a lot of press when he decided to enter for the chance to be President. Though out of the senate for the past two years, William Proxmire of Wisconsin was an icon in the Democratic Party. Circumstance had thrust him to the leadership of the non-progressive liberal wing of the party after Bobby Kennedy was appointed to the Supreme Court. It had been his work that kept many Democrats from leaving the party during the Return of the Bull Moose, and this goodwill plus his status as the lone Democrat statewide office holder in the upper Midwest gave him a massive leg up in the first primary of the cycle.

    Like McGovern’s win four years before, Proxmire’s win in the Minnesota primary wasn’t shocking. He was, after all, from the region and a liberal compared to the increasingly southern/union Democrat led party. However, the sheer scope of it was. The Wisconsin Senator carried all but five counties in the state, taking many voters that would have normally voted in the Progressive primary instead. While many thought Church would be in contention, he came in a disappointing third place behind Larry MacDonald, who didn’t even campaign. Proxmire, once thought as an underdog, immediately became a leading contender for the Democratic nomination.

    Displaying its contrarian ideology, the Hoffa coalition in New Hampshire took a bat to the Minnesota players and gave a convincing victory to Frank Church, Carey coming in a close second place – ironically, Proxmire and McDonald weren’t far behind. The union Democrats in the mill towns greatly favored the populist Idaho native, who staked out a classic middle of the road path as liberal on economics but moderate on social issues. Many observers felt that he could have won by more had not Carey and McDonald attacked him over his relative dovishness, the Senator being an opponent of the Vietnam War and the interventions into Nicaragua and Africa.

    Buoyed by the traditional Dixie voters – Robertson Democrats – the culturally conservative hawk McDonald notched his first win of the season in the Old Dominion. Positioning himself as the heir to the McKeithen primary campaign, his win was far smaller due to the more conservative positions he held. Previous showings in the north indicated he did not have the same reach as the 1980 nominee did, but the South still provided a massive chunk of the delegates. Church’s defeat here hurt his candidacy coming right after his New Hampshire triumph, and his underperformance only solidified McDonald as the candidate of the south.

    While the Republican field was initially crowded thanks to the open nature of the primary – Gerald Ford bowing out early on had paved the way for many credible candidates – by the new year only three viable contenders remained. The frontrunner was believed to be Illinois Governor Donald Rumsfeld, a well-known figure from his time in the House of Representatives and at the helm of his home state. Quite popular in the Land of Lincoln, his connections and name recognition put him leaps and bounds over the competition, Florida Senator Claude Kirk (the first Republican to really break through downballot in the deep south) and New York Representative and Reaganite conservative Jack Kemp.

    Minnesota was pretty much Rumsfeld’s backyard, his moderate, good government profile coming out on top of the southern Kirk and conservative Kemp. Even with the defection of part of the MNGOP’s liberal wing to the Progressive/Farmer-Labor Party, MN Republicans were still far more moderate than the rest, and Rumsfeld winning the primary wasn’t a shock to observers.

    Still, the win in the first contest of the year gave him strong momentum going forward into New Hampshire, in which Kemp had staked up shop (Kirk ignored the Granite State in favor of more hospitable Virginia). Owning a contrarian nature toward the first primary state, Rumsfeld faced several headwinds, but was boosted by a late endorsement from popular Senator Alan Shepard.

    Following New Hampshire, despite winning several caucus states that came before, the narrow 800 vote loss crippled Kemp’s candidacy. He had bet the farm on winning the Granite State big to hurt Rumsfeld, and came up short. To a gaggle of press two days following the primary, he officially suspended his campaign and endorsed the Illinois Governor – providing a massive boost to Rummy and making it possible for him to run the three major early contests and wrap up the nomination before the Ides of March.

    It was not to be. In the fight to beat Kemp in New Hampshire, Rumsfeld had neglected Virginia and allowed Senator Kirk to have a monopoly to the Old Dominion’s primary electorate. Kirk’s decision to abandon New Hampshire to focus on the first southern state to vote paid off in spades. While it had diversified greatly due to an influx of voters to the northern part of the state (around DC), the primary electorate was still dominated by conservatives and southern African-Americans – both strong supporters of Claude Kirk (they had allowed him to win the Governorship in 1964). This allowed him to overcome Rumsfeld’s momentum and block him from sweeping towards a sleepy primary in the next states. It would be a tight race from here on out.

    While the Progressive Party had ascended to the national scene as a force to be reckoned with, much of the party organization was still weak – especially at the state level. Most southern states barely had a functioning party apparatus, and therefore the party decided to forgo the nationwide series of primaries for the time being to focus party resources on candidates and ground game operations, instead scheduling the National Convention as was the case before the 1972 reforms. However, several primaries were still scheduled in order to act as a talent show for the candidates, and the field for the newly competitive party was actually quite competitive and heated.

    As always, Minnesota came first, and so it brought in frontrunner Jim Jones. The Mayor of San Francisco was one of the nationally recognizable faces of the Bull Moose Party, fiery populist rhetoric and a minor cult of celebrity from his time as the leader of the People’s Temple Church in the San Francisco area making the rounds. He initially led in the polls by a considerable margin, topping his closest opponent Congressman John Anderson by a whopping 15 points. However, the attempt by Lynnette Fromme at taking President Reagan’s life halted whatever momentum Jones had. Fromme’s former membership at People’s Temple was only tangentially related to Jones at that point in the primary process, but it opened up discussion into shady aspects of the Mayor’s record that caused MN primary voters to give the race a second look.

    In the end, the association – however remote and unfair – between Jones and Fromme was too much for the Progressive electorate. Weary for a strong candidate so as to properly promote their young party to the American public, Jones was narrowly defeated by an Anderson surge in the final weeks of the campaign. The Congressman’s performance as a solid and stalwart defender of the Progressive platform in contrast to the fiery Jones at the lone debate appealed to the upper Midwest audience, knocking the previous frontrunner of his perch and making for a competitive summer convention.
  4. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Oct 2, 2015
    Good ol' USA
    (July 11th, 1984; TV Coverage begins. Buckley News’ John McLaughlin takes the stage)
    McLaughlin: Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the White House on this lovely July night. Now I know it’s a bit late in the year for this dinner, given that it’s usually in March, but we wanted to make sure it was delayed so that our President could get better from his injuries. A sparring partner is only good if he can spar back, after all.

    Please give a warm correspondent’s association welcome to President Ronald Reagan.
    Reagan: Why thank you John, that was a lovely introduction. Bill Buckley is a good friend of mine, and I can safely say he is the conscience of America. Plus he’s always good for a well-placed one liner that gets the crowd going and such. Me… well, I’m good but not that good… Nancy, please don’t nod at that… I would think that getting married would get the girl on your side but I was mistaken.

    Anyway, my apologies for causing the delay in this fine night of fun and levity. The monotony of Washington life and the frayed tempers of politics deserve some light moments, but being indisposed it was quite touching for the Correspondent’s Association to postpone this until I was well enough. I’ll make sure to keep the revving of Marine One slightly less loud in gratitude.

    There’s something about this house, this office, that tends to cause even the most prideful and arrogant man to find humility – given the sheer weight of majesty and legend within these walls. The walls that John Adams walked through, that Teddy Roosevelt’s children played in, that Lincoln gazed outside as the union threatened to tear itself apart. I had an interesting conversation with President Wallace right before my inauguration so many years ago. In a candid moment, he grasped my hands and said, “Ron, always remember to never let them break you.”

    I never forgot those words. However, considering what happened with me a few months ago I wish he had added “And by the way, duck…”

    Being the President of the United States is an exclusive club. I am only joined by three others currently living: Nelson Rockefeller, George Wallace, and Jack Kennedy… why hello Jack. Nice to see your smiling face again. I met President Kennedy long ago, but never truly got to know him until I entered this prestigious club that we share membership in. His secret service name was Cavalier if I remember correctly, which I do. Mine is Wrangler, so one day after he came back from Asia, I suggested we should go to my ranch in Santa Barbara and get on the horses. Him as a knight, me as a cowboy, and see who’s faster. He remarked that we didn’t have a suit of armor, and I figured Jacques Cousteau would probably supply us one just for the laughs…

    Now in any presidential team, and Jack definitely can vouch for this, the Vice President is critical. Much has been made of its apparent uselessness – one political observer who shall remain nameless once remarked that in a machine where one critical, expensive part without which the machine couldn’t work, the Vice President is the spare of that part nestled in a cobweb covered box… Anywho, Gerry Ford isn’t like that. He’s a man of action, owing to his days as a quarterback during college. He loves football and I don’t blame him, especially that of his Alma Mater. One day, we were watching a game in the Oval Office with lunch when our aides rushed in to brief us on something or another… we get so many crises that they tend to blur in my mind unless I really think about them. So, afterwards, Gerry looks at his staff and remarks “Call the CIA, call the FBI, call the Pentagon. Find out who won the game!...”

    Oh dear, why are there two of… oh that’s right. Sorry about that Mr. Chase, and love your work by the way. I always have fun watching Saturday Night Live here and there, and you really do have a resemblance to our Gerry. I think Nancy should’ve made sure I got my glasses replaced… and now it looks like I’m in the doghouse again. I could really use some prayers at this moment.

    Everyone says that America is a land of builders, of innovators. Made in America isn’t just an advertising gimmick, it stands for something – the highest quality of goods in the world. We’re proud of our massive cities towering over all of us… oh hello Donald. Most of those skyscrapers are yours or owned by yours, so kudos. Congratulations on your international reputation – at the last arms control talks, the Soviets tried to put in a plank wanting Donald Trump to renovate the Leningrad skyline…

    Speaking of the Soviets, I shared a joke a while back with then-General Secretary Semichastny, who I hope I can consider a friend after everything we’ve been through. This joke almost made him spit out his drink, he was laughing so hard. It went:

    An American and a Soviet diplomat were having a drink together a few blocks from the United Nations. Now, as is common knowledge among those in Washington… alcohol makes you boastful. The American looked at his counterpart and said “There is so much freedom here. I could waltz into the White House, walk up to the President’s desk, slam on it and say ‘Mr. President, I disagree with the way you are running this country.’”

    Sounds like most of the press corps, but I digress…

    Anyway, the Soviet knocks back a vodka and looks at the American with a haughty expression. “I can do that too.”

    “You can?” The American is puzzled.

    Da, I can waltz into the Kremlin, walk up to the General Secretary’s desk, slam on it and say ‘Mr. General Secretary, I disagree with the way President Reagan is running his country.’”

    He appreciated that, said it was the best laugh he had in ages. Now, he insisted to repay the favor, and this one was actually a true story – or so he says anyhow. We were having a dinner of McDonalds – he fell in love with Chicken McNuggets, also a true story… – so he told me that he and the Soviet militia police began cracking down on traffic violators because “The great socialist revolutionary industries were supplying the proletariat with plentiful vehicles” or something like that, I’m not fluent in Marxist-Leninist thank the Lord. He was itching to show off his skills after his injury, so he ordered his chauffer to wait in the back of the car while he drove. A motorcycle traffic cop waiting with his comrade on the hill watched him drive erratically and went off to give him a ticket, only to come back ashen faced.

    “What happened?” his comrade asked.

    “Couldn’t give him a ticket, he’s a really big shot.”

    “Who was it?”

    “I don’t know, but Semichastny was driving…”

    It may be just the actor in me talking, but I find it a pleasure to see the new stars that emerge out of Hollywood. One of them is here tonight, along with her mother, whom I am delighted to call a friend. Welcome to the White House Mariska… I know your father would be proud of you today.

    To tell you the truth, I haven’t had much time for movies lately. The last one I’ve ever seen was Patton… oh this is quite embarrassing [hides his head in fake shame]. Lord knows that an old grizzled vet of Tinseltown should buy his tickets for the good of his friends and allies, but as many of you may have noticed I have been busy recently… for the last eight years… And when your whole life literally is a drama you have little patience for movies. Well… the way Washington works sometimes it’s more like a screwball comedy on occasion.

    Why are you laughing Mariska? Just remember, when you’re on this stage one day, think back to the last time you’ve seen a movie… what? If I could do it and Leslie Nielsen could do it, I’m sure an actor will lead a nation in the future. Mark my words, it’ll happen…

    Now, we are very welcoming to our foreign allies. Much as we would have liked, Leslie couldn’t be here. He’s a much better comedian than I am, but the dogs on his sled got tired and he didn’t want to risk it… But, from across the pond we have one of my good friends, Foreign Secretary Margaret Thatcher. I met dear old Margaret back while Julian Amery was Prime Minister and I was a lowly Governor on a trade mission. I remembered that the British love soccer – they call it football, which is one other reason I’m glad for the American Revolution – and that they lost a game to Germany in the World Cup. I decided, cheekily as she would call it, to tease her and mention it. Far from taking the bait, she responded with an iron voice, “I’m not bothered. We beat them twice at their national game.”

    I wish we had more of our allies from around the world here, but sadly, this isn’t as star studded as the one from last year. Well, the who’s who of American royalty have taken up the slack. No, we don’t have a set nobility and are proud of it, but it reminds me of an old joke that shows how much we value our political leaders.

    One POW in Vietnam had a mouth on him, and he always made sure to let his captors know what he thought. “Ho smells, Duan smells, Giap smells…” and the like. He didn’t really say smells, but I don’t use the words he did say in public. Anyway, this went on for months, and it rankled the guards. Finally, one of them got so mad he smacked the POW on the mouth and said. “Well let me tell you something, John Wayne smells!...”

    No Duke, we’re still friends, but double up on the deodorant. I’ve been in dressing rooms with you…

    And with that my friends, I shall leave the podium to more impressive speakers and comedians. Let’s hope they have more success than I do. Normally in Hollywood they’d fire my jokewriters but… well, I wrote them myself.


    “This way, Minister,” the guard said, an American Colt sidearm holstered to the hip of his mottled uniform. “The President is expecting you.”

    Clutching the valise under his arm, Nelson Mandela wiped a slight sheen of sweat from his forehead. Despite the best air conditioning, the lush palace built in the combined style of a British mansion and an American ranch house was still hot, the rays of the afternoon sun beating out the cooling breezes wafting from Lake Victoria. Also, there was always a sense of unease that the newly-appointed South African Foreign Minister felt when visiting the palaces and mansions of the Entebbe Pact leaders. It was the same unease that Mandela felt upon meeting the hardline Afrikaaners back home, those not backing Treurnicht’s Bewaringor more moderate than that (not that he would have imagined Treurnicht shaping up to be a close friend of his).

    Mandela remembered that end scene from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, where the men and pigs were indistinguishable from each other. Was it any different between the old Apartheid diehards and the Entebbe Pact? He had a hard time finding the difference.

    Amin’s personal aid was sitting at a desk outside the great man’s office – surprisingly to Mandela, he wasn’t a hulking, uniformed officer but a lanky, lighter skinned civilian that could have been a transplant from an American college campus (or from one of the top South African universities that were finally taking in black students). Looking up at him, the young aide gave Mandela a barely hidden glare. He had seen it before from some of his own race. The look one would give to a race traitor. Mandela brushed it aside, he had been put in an untenable situation between working with the outstretched hand that Truernicht gave him or submit to Soviet Imperialism, for that was the direction his movement was going. And if he chose the latter then Pretoria would undoubtedly choose a hardline status, bloodshed to follow. Despite the hatred of the young man and others like him, he regretted nothing.

    Garishly decorated in a blend of Versailles, Buckingham Palace, and African, the office of President Idi Amin trumpeted a mind dropped into fantastic power that didn’t treasure it or appreciate restraint. Mandela did not like working with people like this, but do so he must.


    Mandela found his hand clasped in a bone-crushing grip, the gregarious Idi Amin across from him. Not only briefed on this, he had met the man several times and his routine never changed. “It is good to see you, Mr. President,” he said, the lie rolling effortlessly off his tongue.

    “Come, sit.” A steward in a white uniform placed a piping hot cup of coffee in front of him, to which Mandela accepted. “Did you meet Barack’s son outside?”

    The pieces clicked in Mandela’s head. “Oh. That was Obama Jr? He’s risen high since leaving America.” The story of the poor child was well known in Africa, going from a middle class American to literal royalty within the Entebbe Pact.

    “Yes, we’re very proud of him. Barack’s allowing me to take him under my wing, in a way.” Amin laughed. “The boy’s a natural leader, fluent in several languages and has the charisma of… well… me.” He laughed again, a big, belly chuckle. Mandela chuckled politely, sipping his coffee. In Obama, he saw a man with the same naked ambition as the powerful men that ruled the Entebbe Pact, but with a sense of self-discipline that was common to many greats in the west. Someone else for his country to keep an eye on.

    “Now, what do the big bosses in Pretoria want from the people of Uganda?” Amin folded his hands together, fingers intertwining.

    Mandela set his coffee down, removing a stack of papers from his valise. “I trust you will handle this information with discretion. We’ve already traced the source to your country.” He smiled. “Prime Minister Treurnicht does not wish for this to become public.” He rather enjoyed watching Amin’s eyes bug out at the matter at hand, horrid the material may have been. It was just too amusing to be truly naughty.

    The click of the doorknob was quickly followed by the whoosh of the door. Sitting ramrod straight in the plush chair dotting the south wall of the antechamber, Director Cesar Mendoza of the Chilean National Intelligence Service watched as the olive-uniformed officer walked out of the office. The two locked eyes for a moment before the other man left, probably for the embassy. Mendoza had his suspicions as to why the Israeli Military Attaché was meeting with the President, but he kept them to himself. No need prying into places as sensitive as that. The current government wasn’t nearly as paranoid or authoritarian as Argentina or the dominant Communists in the Brazilian ruling coalition, but it was wise to exercise certain amounts of discretion.

    “Director, the President requests your presence,” said the aide, a full Army Colonel working from the large desk in the antechamber. Rising, Mendoza headed for the open door. In the middle of the large, austere office was the President of Chile.

    Taking office as the epitome of the dashing military officer, the last decade and a half had not been kind to Augusto Pinochet. The thick mane of dark hair had gone uniformly grey, eyes and mustache surrounded by deep lines. His face radiated the fatigue of watching his country slowly switch positions with Israel as a land surrounded by hostile powers. He had not fallen to paranoia like Stalin or addictions like many other despots, and for this Mendoza was glad. The President was still the competent warrior and leader, intelligent and honed with experience.

    “Your Excellency,” the Director stated, saluting. His was a military rank, after all.

    Looking up from the classified documents on his desk, Pinochet stood and returned the salute. ‘Always a military man.’ “Welcome Cesar. I wish I could have attempted to clean up this clutter,” he said, gesturing to the haphazard papers scattered about the massive desk imported from America.

    “My desk is similar,” Mendoza chuckled, sitting down across from his President. He slid across a file stamped with the classified seal. “Despite the increase in West German, Polish, and Iranian shipping activity in Buenos Aires, foreign troop levels don’t seem to have increased an iota above the previous advisory level. Relations between Moscow and the Argentinians are at the lowest level since the Focoists took over, at least according to our operatives.” No one except Mendoza and two of his most trusted intelligence handlers knew the identity of his source deep within the Argentine Government, and he hoped to keep it that way.

    Eyes rimmed red with exhaustion – the President had a habit of working eighteen hour days – Pinochet nodded. “Good, good.” He closed his eyes, sighing as he leaned back in his chair. “I hope it won’t come to war, but with all the threats we face from the north, and east, I fear we’ll need to resort to the ultimate solution to defend our nation.”

    Mendoza had a sinking feeling that this was why the Israeli Attaché had been meeting with the President, but he kept quiet. “Would you like anything else of me, Your Excellency?”

    Eyes opening, they narrowed as Pinochet bored into his intelligence Director. “I am concerned with the requested level of aid to the anti-communist forces in Peru.”

    Blinking, Mendoza swallowed. “The Shining Path communists are gaining ground. Nearly half of the eastern jungles and countless mountain towns are under their control, and terrorist acts are already rocking the major cities. President Reagan, Prime Minister Nielsen, President Matos, and the other free states are increasing their aid levels. We need to as well.”

    “Well of course we need to increase our aid!” bellowed Pinochet, coughing slightly – mucus hacking from his throat. “But I have issues with the tripled aid and arms shipments to the ‘Tawatinsuyu.’”

    Calmly exhaling, some part of Mendoza had expected this. Alone among the government, Pinochet had always been skeptical of using the neo-Incan zealots in the proxy war that was engulfing South America. “They are no threat to anyone but the communists. Their extremism is useful in fighting the Shining Path, and they have won major victories against the Brazilians.”

    “I know that Director, but there’s something off-putting about their leader. He scares me, him and his views.”

    “The only thing keeping them going is the fight against the communists. Once Shining Path is defeated or crippled they will melt away.”

    “Or they will take our aid and use it to bite us in the ass.” Mendoza wasn’t worried about Pinochet’s concerns. The President had read the intelligence reports, and how they dismissed Pachacuti and his followers as a future threat. This was his gut feeling, plain and simple. Pinochet sighed. “Very well, you’ll get your funding, but be careful with them. I want a contingency ready to crush the Tawatinsuyu if they even cross one centimeter over the line.”

    Mendoza smiled. “Of course sir.”
    The initial GOP field to succeed Reagan was wide, ambitious pols seeking to jockey for the first open seat nomination since 1952 (Reagan was the clear frontrunner in 1976). However, early money from both the establishment/liberty conservative wing and the conservative/African-American wing gravitated towards Donald Rumsfeld and Claude Kirk respectively. As a Senator and former Governor elected long before the south began to truly swing to the GOP, Kirk coalesced support in the sizable southern wing of the party quite easily, while Rumsfeld’s connections and largely six year under the surface campaign since 1977 made him the early frontrunner – as evidenced by his victories in Minnesota and New Hampshire. The Floridian, behind but still in contention due to his Virginia win, focused his strategy on a coalition of the GOP right-wing and blacks, who were largely in the corner of the old champion from the civil rights era.

    Unluckily for Kirk, his African-American turnout strategy was hampered by three main factors. First, the crucial Harold Washington Machine in Chicago was solidly behind native son Rumsfeld, denying Kirk that bloc of votes. Second, Charlie Rangel and the Buckley Machine in NYC – with the tacit backing of Speaker Cohn, who while neutral had a friendship with his former congressional leadership colleague – tossed its considerable weight behind Rummy, allowing him to win the NY primary by a sizable margin. And lastly, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi (states where the Republican Parties were basically run by black activists and officials) all were scheduled too late in the cycle to give Kirk a boost. The victories of Rumsfeld in the western and northeastern swing states took the sails out of the Kirk campaign, causing him to concede in early April after losing big in Arizona.

    It was then time for nominee Donald Rumsfeld to pick his running mate. Many suggested that he go for one of his defeated rivals, while many suggested Senator Slade Gorton of Washington, Governor Bill Brock of Tennessee, or Senator William Cohen of Maine for regional diversity. A large push at the convention was made for Senator Medgar Evers, the hope of shaking up the race and for the massive stride in civil rights by having the first black person on a major party ticket. However, Evers declined, not wishing to leave his senate seat. Rummy flirted with asking real estate tycoon Donald Trump to be on the ticket, but was advised against it by Roy Cohn. Bombarded by advice on all sides, Rumsfeld was finally advised by his close friend Dick Cheney on another out of the box idea. Something and someone no one was talking about.

    A silence descended on the convention as Rumsfeld announced his choice – Congressman Mike Gravel of Alaska. One of the few minaprogressive-inclined politicians who didn’t defect to the Progressive Party in 1981, Gravel always possessed a populist flair due to his representation of Alaska in Congress. Many didn’t consider him much of a Republican, given the fact he only joined the GOP as part of a blood feud with the Gruening-controlled state Democratic Party, but the cheers he soon received proved Rumsfeld’s choice wise. For someone who was often mocked as a stiff campaigner, Rumsfeld would be complimented by the folksy and charismatic Gravel, and it could bring back wayward Progs in the battleground western and upper Midwestern states.

    In his speech to the convention, Rumsfeld aligned himself firmly behind the President – who had made the previous night in his own speech, asking the GOP to “Win one for the Gipper” – claiming that the country should vote for “another four years of prosperity and liberty, to finish what we started in bringing peace to the world.” He relied heavily on his record in Illinois, casting himself as someone who had taken on the corrupt interests and won. Concluding, Rumsfeld ended with a pledge to America, “My word is my bond, no new taxes, no more burdens on our people.” To a country basking in the Reaganite tax reforms, it remained a potent weapon to level on the Democrats and Progressives.

    Change was brewing in the Democratic Party, and many saw it. The older order was being swept aside thanks to eight years of unanimous GOP control over the country, and after McKeithen’s disastrous loss to Reagan in 1980 and the Return of the Bull Moose gutting the Democratic ranks in many states, the party rank and file began to see that the only way forward was to break the paradigm. George Wallace was still beloved, but the conditions that precipitated his wins were gone now. For those that took up his mantle, such as Frank Church and Larry McDonald, it would not end well.

    William Proxmire instead was the beneficiary of this sea change. The liberal Lion of the Senate, one that single handedly kept the Kennedy Democrats from jumping ship to the Progressives the way Ramsey Clark and Leo Ryan did, had a new champion. And that was reform communonationalism. Seeing how successful and popular it was with governors that embraced it – such as Michigan Governor Ed Fitzgerald, New York Governor James Griffin, California Governor Sam Yorty, and Ohio Governor John Glenn – he embraced the planks, putting forth the proclamation that he would shy away from what he called the “Big Government relic” and instead focus on how the government could improve people’s standard of life. This was a winning message, and it hit the Democratic Party just when it needed to change the most.

    Having secured the votes of a majority of the border state delegates to give him a comfortable victory margin on the second ballot, Proxmire felt that to unify the party he had to choose a Vice President from the South. “We are the party of Wallace, and the Party of Kennedy, and the Party of FDR,” he proclaimed on the convention floor. Several names had been considered from Senator Kent Hance of Texas, Representative William J. Clinton of Arkansas, former Governor Henry Howell of Virginia, and Senator Lee Metcalf of Montana (a westerner but a favorite of the populist Southern wing). Ultimately, Proxmire went for the ‘Carolina Bulldog,’ Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina. Hoping to reassure the ‘Robertson Democrats’ about his candidacy, the liberal Proxmire felt that the conservative Helms would keep the New Deal coalition of liberals and conservative populists together within the big communonationalist basket.

    Following his running mate, Proxmire stuck to the themes of his primary campaign. Dropping several socially conservative planks to placate the Southern wing, he reiterated his support for reform communonationalism, proclaiming that “It is not the government’s job to continue to grow. The era of big government is over, and it is our duty as the descendants of FDR to focus on finding solutions to improve the lives of all Americans. Whether it be Social Security, the GMI, or Amcare, this is what the Democratic Party stands for and will always stand for.” It was a strong message, escaping the wedge issues of the past that hurt Democrats during the Reagan era. With the GOP under Rumsfeld doubling down on their tried and tested message, the Democrats under Proxmire charted a new and exciting direction for their party.

    Things had gotten steadily worse for San Francisco Mayor Jim Jones as the months of the election cycle ticked by. Once the odds on favorite to capture the nomination of the Progressive Party and assert the left-wing populist (and minaprogressive ex-radical) wing‘s control over the apparatus had largely run aground with Lynnette “Squeaky” Fromme’s bungled assassination attempt on President Reagan. Though no one in the investigation believed at first that she was given orders by Jones, Fromme’s former membership in People’s Temple fed into damaging newspaper headlines that blocked Jones’ victory in the Minnesota Primary to staid moderate Progressive John Anderson, the favorite of the Midwestern and mountain wings of the party.

    All went to hell for Jones when it was discovered that Fromme’s gun had been given to her by one Stanley “Tookie” Williams, a bodyguard in Jones’ private security detail as Mayor. The FBI, in conjunction with a state investigation launched by Democratic Governor Dan White – Jones’ former political rival having ascended to the Governorship when Sam Yorty died of a heart attack in February 1984 – indicted Williams for obstruction and violating firearms laws in giving the gun to Fromme. With the probe widening into People’s Temple and Jones’ Mayoral tenure, his campaign was crippled going into the convention in Denver.

    Going by the old system of doing things – that prior 1972 reforms due to the weakness of the state parties and a desire to focus on winning elections – the Convention was opened up by Senator Dick Lamm to a raucous floor fight. The party’s left wing was still behind Jones while the moderates backed Anderson, a smattering of regional blocs and minority Progs behind Governors Tom Salmon and Toney Anaya. In the middle were the Good Government liberals such as George McGovern and Ramsay Clark, to the left on social and fiscal issues but not of the former radical wing that Jones catered to. To them, Jones seemed like a charismatic figure that could strike a chord with Americans left behind under the current party system, but the headlines coming out of the investigation worried them. Association with a sub-par candidate who had a good chance of flaming out might doom the party, so they took the safe route and backed Anderson – who won easily on the first ballot.

    Edmund “Jerry” Brown had never held major political office aside from a term as CA Secretary of State. However, he was well regarded in the ranks of the Progressive Party for his 1974 and 1978 Gubernatorial runs (and that of his narrow loss to Ed Meese for George Murphy’s senate seat in 1982), largely building the California Progressive Party from a useless label into a powerhouse. All who met him and served with him were complimentary of his political skill and he was a national superstar among party activists as one of its founding fathers alongside McGovern, Jones, Don Edwards, and Pat Leahy. Though not friendly with Jones – Brown would later say that the People’s Temple founder rubbed him the wrong way – his social liberalism and left-wing populism put him as the favorite of the wing of the Progressive Party that Jones was undisputedly the leader of, and in an even better position by being more of a unifying figure with party moderates. Additionally, not being in elected office meant Brown had few enemies to cause internal division. Anderson couldn’t have picked a better running mate to unify the party.
    After a stirring speech by Brown aligning the Progressive Party as the heir to both the New Deal and the first movement of reform at the turn of the century – casting minaprogressive social liberalism as the “Effort to allow free people to control their own lives, their own destiny” – Anderson took the stage. Outlining how the country needed a new direction from the same old two-party duopoly of the past decades, he vowed to be the voice of the people sidelined as the Democrats and Republicans pandered to their bases, riding on a message of getting the government out of people’s bedrooms, reining in foreign adventurism (much of the party had drifted into a Taftite Isolationist standpoint to avoid being smeared with Jane Fonda anti-war rhetoric), and a balanced approach to fiscal spending that kept government “active but in line.”

    The first post-convention polling, after the bounces settled, showed the race in quite the position:

    Proxmire/Helms: 35%

    Rumsfeld/Gravel: 34%

    Anderson/Brown: 28%
    Game, set, match.

    There were no doubts among anyone that this would be a very close election. The conditions – apart from the presence of a third party in the Progressives – matched that of the 1960 election. Strong, evenly matched candidates, a popular President but middling numbers for his party, a significant rejection in the past midterm election, and an uneasy foreign situation. As they left their respective conventions, Senator William Proxmire, Governor Donald Rumsfeld, and Congressman John Anderson charged into the general election in a mad dash for victory.

    Bill Proxmire was a well-known figure in the Democratic Party solely due to being the symbolic figure of the liberal faction, which had dominated prior to George Wallace’s takeover of the party in 1968. The “Lion of the Senate” was a perfect fit to seek to lure back skeptical liberals that might have been persuaded to defect to the Progressives. His campaign strategy was to portray him as an incorruptible civil servant, documenting his crusade against government waste and for campaign finance reform. “The era of bloated government is over” Proxmire declared, seeking to get from under the common smear directed at the Democrats from the GOP.

    Anti-Proxmire strategies focused on his history of liberal causes, namely opposition to the Vietnam War (although he did vote for the declaration of war after McNamara’s death, Proxmire voted against all other bills) and his quixotic campaign against federal funding for NASA after Prometheus Ten landed on the moon. In response to a segment about space stations on 60 Minutes, Proxmire stated that "It's the best argument yet for chopping NASA's funding to the bone. I say not a penny for this nutty fantasy.” Rumsfeld ads referred to Proxmire’s introduction of an amendment into the 1982 NASA budget that effectively terminated NASA's nascent SETI efforts, remarking “Is it wise to cede the heavens to Communism?” Leading the countercharge against this effort was Jesse Helms, the outspoken Senator ruthlessly defending his former colleague against “Don Rummy’s brigade of assholes and slander.” Proxmire’s support for reform communonationalism was also used to buttress his credentials, painting him as someone that cared about the working people of America.

    Upon first meeting the then thirty year old Donald Rumsfeld on the campaign trail in 1962, Richard Nixon stated: “Rummy's a ruthless little bastard. You can be sure of that, and that makes him tough enough to last in this godforsaken business.” Headed by former Kentucky Republican Party Chair Mitch McConnell, feisty young South Carolinian Reagan Press Secretary Lee Atwater, and former Treasury Secretary William Casey, Governor Rumsfeld sought to prove the President’s prophecy right. His public persona was that of the congenial manager toiling away to competently run the Land of Lincoln, and his campaign trotted out the Nixon 1960 strategy to milk as much out of it as possible. Though the numbers were disputed by his opponents, the GOP made the state of the Illinois economy one of the front and center issues of the campaign, portraying Rumsfeld as the “steady hand on the wheel” to continue the Reagan prosperity. Reagan and Gerald Ford were often seen at Rumsfeld campaign events and ads, the Governor of Illinois proudly running as “Reagan’s Third Term.”

    Many within Rumsfeld’s campaign team, the pleas coming from Atwater especially, felt that competency wasn’t going to win the election on its own. The leader needed fire, to show culturally conservative voters in the south and rural areas turned off by Proxmire’s liberalism and the Progressives in general that he could stand strong against communism and for traditional values (opposed to his wealthy New Trier Township origins). Rummy relished his role as an attack dog, spending much of the month of September steadily heaping sharp and biting attacks on his rivals. Mike Gravel was prolifically used in this regard due to his “Frontier Everyman” persona and libertarian roots. He was a favorite among the rural swing states, and served as a strong draw to voters concerned with government ethics – usually a core Progressive talking point, Gravel worked Rumsfeld’s history of fighting corruption as Governor and sponsorship of the Freedom of Information Act to cut into Anderson’s dominance in this field.

    Upending the two-party system for the first real time since Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 was the campaign of John Anderson and Jerry Brown. Run by campaign manager and personal confidant Tom Wartowski, Anderson’s bid sought to transform the McGovernite party platform from 1980 to one that both broadened the appeal of the party and made it look more than a spoiler run as it did in 1968 and 1980. Armed with the support of the entire Party and much of Hollywood and the cultural icons of the day, Anderson rolled out an updated platform that added in more moderate economic policies, a “Well-rounded Budget,” and far better civil liberties protections including the Equal Rights Amendment. In what was being called the “Schmitz Effect” – after Evan Mecham was overshadowed by running mate John G. Schmitz in 1976 – Jerry Brown displayed his political talent on the campaign trail. His charisma and blending of old-school fiscal liberalism, McGovernite clean government policies, and minaprogressive social policies, allowed him to become the breakout star of the 1984 Progressive ticket despite his lack of major electoral victories.

    However, what dogged the Progressive campaign that year was Anderson himself – for all his strengths as someone with crossover appeal out of the Bull Moose heartland of prairie populists and cosmopolitan minaprogressives, he carried several major weaknesses that were emblazoned front and center by his opponents during the campaign. Much of Proxmire’s and Rumsfeld’s attacks against him focused on his deeply conservative past. Anderson had been one of the most right-wing members of the GOP caucus at the beginning of his career, famously introducing a constitutional amendment to attempt to "recognize the law and authority of Jesus Christ" over the United States three times. Anderson repudiated his earlier beliefs over the course of the campaign, but both the GOP and the Democrats recycled it to paint him as a flip-flopper and to separate him from his base. The criticism dogged him and Brown for months, hurting the Progressive cause.

    Much hinged on the final three events, the VP debate, the Presidential debate, and the TV infomercials. Taking to the stage four weeks before the election, a two hour debate found three top-tier political talents battling largely to a draw. Helms’ garrulous personality, Jerry Brown’s skill, and Mike Gravel’s eccentric charisma all intersected to no overall winner, each managing a decent performance defending their running mates and attacking the others – although most pundits would say Helms got the better of the exchange. The Presidential debate was a little more exciting in terms of determining who came out ahead. Anderson was widely held to have underperformed, fumbling an answer about the Christian Nation amendment and seeming emotionless. Rumsfeld was uncharacteristically fiery in his attacks, while Proxmire was declared the narrow winner for not making any major mistakes and sticking to his “Lion of the Senate” mantra. The infomercials were mostly performed without a hitch, Rumsfeld/Gravel, Proxmire/Helms, and Anderson/Brown focusing on their strengths and closing strong.

    The final Gallup poll predicated the uncertain final stage of the race:

    Rumsfeld/Gravel: 36%

    Proxmire/Helms: 36%

    Anderson/Brown: 23%
    Most were predicting no overall winner, to be thrown into the House of Representatives just like 1968.

    It became apparent early on to reporters and viewers that the night would not end early. State after state was decided by razor thin margins, the two leading candidates trading leads all night in both the state level counts and the overall popular vote – though when the Upper Midwest came in Proxmire managed to open up a solid lead in the latter metric. Soon, the three deciding states (assuming that Hawaii would vote solidly GOP as it usually did) were Arizona, Tennessee, and Texas. Each was decided by less than 5,000 votes, but by the morning they were called. Arizona: Proxmire by 1,257 votes; Tennessee: Rumsfeld by 692 votes; Texas: Rumsfeld by 3,659 votes.

    Despite losing the popular vote, Donald Henry Rumsfeld was elected the 40th President of the United States of America. Contrary to all expectations, there would be no deciding vote by the House of Representatives. The third consecutive term of Republican control of the executive branch, and the fourth President-elect to triumph without a popular vote win.

    It was apparent from the map that there was no real geographic pattern that could be parsed from the results, as the trends appeared spotty and sclerotic that even hardened political veterans would take months to parse through. Largely, most settled on the conclusion that the political realignment from a two-party system with the occasional third party protest vote had morphed into a three-party system between the Republicans, Democrats, and Progressives. The different coalitions and breakdowns of voters now that there was a viable third party option not merely consigned to a single region like the Dixiecrats, and the chaos of it being the first true election of the new Sixth Party System, produced the sclerotic results.

    Rumsfeld carried some of the vital Republican base regions such as the Mid-Atlantic States and delivering a massive turnout among the African-American vote, which combined with the Progressives taking small but substantial portions of liberal whites to tip over the key southern states of Tennessee and Georgia into his column. California continued its since-1952 Republican streak, while a strong number among Mormons and rural populists (thanks to Mike Gravel) netted them several western states including a surprise win in New Mexico. Proxmire delivered an impressive showing in the Industrial Midwest thanks to his adopting of reform communonationalism, and his hometown roots netted MN and WI for the Democratic Party in what even Proxmire admitted would be the last time for the Democratic Party to be competitive there in the near future. Most of the Solid South held due to Helms’ influence, and the Party proved it had not been beaten in New England or the Pacific Northwest. As for the Progressives, Anderson and Brown made a powerful showing despite underperforming their poll numbers – largely felt due to Proxmire’s strength in the Bull Moose base in the Upper Midwest. They carried five states, including two upper New England states that usually went Republican (Rumsfeld became the first Republican to win without carrying either Vermont or Ohio), and came in second in California in a tight election that saw Rumsfeld only win with 36% of the vote. The Bull Moose was a force to be reckoned with.

    The tightness of the election and the fact that Rumsfeld lost the popular vote did not allow him to claim as much of a decisive mandate as if the vote totals were flipped. Protests would occur, casting “Rummy” as an illegitimate President, while calls to abolish the Electoral College began to circulate. However, both Proxmire and Anderson graciously conceded the election and went on all the major news networks to call for national unity behind the President-elect. Donald Rumsfeld had won by the rules in the Constitution, and he was inheriting a country in the midst of a new hope for peace and prosperity that had been absent since the Great Depression.


    If only America possessed a crystal ball.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  5. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Oct 2, 2015
    Good ol' USA
    The smallest state in the Union as of the 1980 census – though it was growing at a massive rate due to the energy exploration boom in the far north – politics in Alaska were still very localized affairs. Traditional campaign tactics such as TV ads were useless when many of the state’s voters lived in far off tundra locations, most politicians needing to shuttle around by bush plane to reach these isolated communities. Local issues in these harsh communities required large sums of money in investment, and in areas where the petroleum companies didn’t see a good return the state government had to step in. This bred a sort of big government that wasn’t seen in many other states, the state’s conservative nature taking a large populist bent that helped the Wallace Democratic Party.

    Despite native son Mike Gravel being Rumsfeld’s running mate, Senator Wally Hickel was in trouble for reelection. The state had gone decently Democratic in the years since Reagan won it in 1980, a significant portion of the state GOP defecting to the Progressives including incumbent Governor Arliss Sturgulewski, who quickly declared her interest in running for the seat. Democrats picked State Representative Steve Cowper, a populist Democrat that was known for several initiatives in statewide economic development that had bipartisan support from populist Republicans and Democrats. Hickel was vulnerable due to Reagan’s decision to use his line-item veto on several pork projects of popular Senator Clark Gruening, and this was magnified by the candidacy of the very socially conservative Joe Volger of the Alaskan Independence Party, turning it into an unpredictable four-way race.

    By a narrow margin of four thousand votes, Cowper used strength in Juneau, Anchorage, and the mostly native outer boroughs to pull off the win against the incumbent Hickel, securing a needed senate seat gain for the Democratic Party. What was thought to be a good chance for the Progressives didn’t materialize, their candidate only securing under 22% of the vote in a major disappointment, the state transforming into a tilt Democrat swing state filled with culturally conservative Democrats and populist Republicans.

    The Dakotas had been fertile territory for the original two iterations of the Progressive Party, and 1984 was no exception. Ending its decades-long association with the Democratic Party, the Non Partisan League – the state affiliate of the Progressive Party – sought to claim victory in the open gubernatorial seat of retiring Republican Allen I. Olson. A competitive primary developed, one that was won by a curious choice, former Democratic Governor Quentin Burdick. Having been out of office for over a decade, Burdick was one of the few current Progressive officials that didn’t migrate over by the time of the Return of the Bull Moose, only switching to run in the primary after knowing he’d lose the D primary to Earl Pomeroy. Known as a populist in the Governor’s office and a heavy porker when a congressman, Burdick was considered by many as a Progressive in name only, but he was a strong social liberal who fused his previous record of economic development, securing pork funds from the congressional delegation, and standard Progressive talking points on “let it alone” social policies to hold the base and populist Democrats to be the modest favorite.

    Though Anderson’s victory was slightly narrower, Burdick benefited from the strong Progressive showing in the region. The GOP was shut out of North Dakota for the first time in decades by the victory of the Non Partisan League, the Democrats at least sporting Senator William Guy and at-large Congressman George Sinner. It wasn’t necessary for the GOP majority, but could easily come back to bite the GOP if circumstances changed.

    As a well-funded incumbent and well established figure, Senator Norma Paulus was expected to have a fairly easy road to re-election and led by double digit margins in most early polls. The Democrats were under a significant candidate dearth in Oregon due to the Return of the Bull Moose, the only state won by George McGovern in 1980 a Progressive haven on the West Coast due to a combination of former counterculture enclaves, minaprogressive rural voters, and a socially liberal trend. Seen as one of the strongest chances for the Progressive Party to gain seats in a map that did not favor them, a lot of national interest was given to biotechnology executive Harry Lonsdale. Meanwhile, the Democratic nomination largely empty, went to one-term congressman Ron Wyden of Portland – pretty much the only Democrat willing to take up the race.

    Though Paulus led in the beginning, Lonsdale's self-financed campaign made heavy use of TV attack ads, criticizing the Senator as being out of step with Oregonians on every issue – primarily in terms of timber and abortion. He also made use of the classic Progressive issue of good government, tearing into Hatfield for being too closely tied to Washington special interests. Both were neck and neck with each other for much of the campaign, while Wyden was considered mostly an afterthought. However, the thirty-five year old wasn’t idle, spending time crisscrossing the state to shore up support. During the sole TV debate, while Paulus and Lonsdale focused much of their energy attacking the other, Wyden stayed above the fray and outlined a reform communonationalist agenda (with a modest portion of social liberalism) in a calm and concise manner that eschewed the mudslinging of the GOP and Progressives. Despite the interjection of RNC chair Lynn Nofziger and Progressive Senate campaign chairman Dick Lamm, neither Paulus nor Lonsdale seriously considered the youthful and inexperienced Wyden a threat even after the debate.

    Despite the three-way, evenly divided nature of the election, Senator Paulus’ hair over 30% of the vote was embarrassing for a sitting Senator – coming in third place after winning with 57% in 1978 was massive egg on her face. Youth beat experience, Wyden riding a strong showing in Portland, working-class Eugene, and even traditionally Republican eastern Oregon on reform communonationalism. The election largely matched that of the Presidential race, except Lonsdale managed to overperform Anderson by a single point to nudge into second place (Proxmire being victorious by 34-32-31 over Rumsfeld and Anderson respectively). Ron Wyden largely snuck through by avoiding the mudslinging between Paulus and Lonsdale, becoming the youngest member of the current Senate.

    Al Gore Jr. had ambitions, this being one of the worst kept secrets in Washington. The scion of the famous Tennessee name hoped to transfer his tenure in Washington towards a successful run for the Presidency at some point (1992 or 1988 if Rumsfeld won). Holding the senate seat of his father at such a young age was a start, but wooing Democratic bigwigs would be far easier if he could net them the Class 2 Senate seat of the retiring Howard Baker. Baker, an electoral powerhouse, left a juicy target for the Ds and Gore ally Harlan Matthews was the probative favorite when campaigning started in earnest.

    The Republican nominee was former two-time Gubernatorial loser Lamar Alexander, a once aide to Senator Baker and cabinet official for Governor Bill Brock. Most considered him B-list at best, but as the Volunteer State emerged as one of the pivotal swing states he began to inch up in the polls from his focus on one issue in particular – education. Having personally written Governor Brock’s education reform for the state, Alexander touted his desire to reform federal school funding to promote standardized basic skills for all students, and increase math, science, and computer education funding. The program drew the attention of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Normally staying out of political races, his attention was drawn to the subpar conditions of urban and rural schooling, especially among blacks. Liking Alexander’s proposals, he endorsed and campaigned for the candidate in several high profile rallies that drew last minute Republican spending to hold what had been deemed a lost race.

    While much of the rural heartland of the state went solid blue, along with much of the liberal core of Nashville, the unionist East, urban African-American, and suburban conservative red pockets that made up the Baker coalition pumped up enough votes to put Alexander and President-elect Rumsfeld over the top in what was still a Democratic leaning state. The last minute swing by Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, and the Rumsfeld campaign was considered the crucial event in delivering Alexander the needed votes to put him over the top – holding the vital seat for the GOP in an embarrassment to Senator Gore. Senator Baker, who was tapped by President-elect Rumsfeld to be Ambassador to Russia, would resign early to give Alexander a jumpstart on seniority. Something the freshman Senator would need if he was to get his education agenda a fair shot in the Senate.

    George H. W. Bush had made history with his jaw-dropping victory over Lyndon Johnson by being the first ever Republican Senator from the state of Texas. Over his years in the Senate, he had made a name for himself as a leading expert in defense and foreign policy, being the key factor in pushing the two arms reduction treaties through the ratification process. With the knowledge that he was being vetted for a cabinet position in a prospective Rumsfeld administration (and it would come to fruition, nabbing Secretary of Defense), Bush decided to retire after three terms – thus opening up what had to be the marquee Senate race that year. After Kent Hance’s victory two years before, Democrats salivated at taking the other Texas seat for themselves after over a decade in the electoral wilderness.

    Having arranged for statewide elections to coincide with Presidential election years, two term Governor Antonin Scalia was the obvious candidate for the Republican Party. Unlike the GOP – especially after Congressman Bob Krueger decided to run for Governor – the Democrats had a contentious primary before nominating Lt. Governor William P. Hobby Jr, a famous name due to his Lt. Governor father. The Texas Progressives, too busy protecting their only major officials in Congressman Ron Paul and Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower (who being a Democrat was still a strong ally of the Texas Progressives), didn’t contest the race much, leaving nominee Lloyd Doggett on his own for the most part. Money and resources were poured into the race, breaking spending records as the two main candidates tried to outdo each other over cultural and economic conservatism.

    Hopes for the Democrats to recreate the Hance coalition of rural populists, social conservatives, and Spanish-American voters was dashed by Scalia’s popularity in these same regions. The Governor won in an almost inverse showing of the 1982 election, securing a strong victory for the open seat. Despite Scalia’s outrunning Rumsfeld’s margin by nearly five points, the Democrats had a very good election night, taking all but two of the state constitutional offices and the open governorship with Bob Krueger – cementing the Lone Star State as the premier swing state in the nation.

    After a single term having to preside over the Return of the Bull Moose, the massive eruption of Mt. St. Helens, and with extensive fights with the Democrat controlled legislature – a legacy of the Scoop Jackson machine that once dominated the state – Governor John Spellman was tired of it all. Knowing that a line of ambitious Republican politicos were lining up to challenge him over the lack of results on his end, he announced his decision to stand down instead of running for reelection (he would later be appointed to the 9th Circuit by President Rumsfeld). As such, the both the Democrats and the Progressives saw opportunity to reassert their dominance or expand their breadth respectively with the GOP embroiled in a tough primary. However, all bets were off when the strongest possible Republican managed to win the primary by 91 votes.

    Coming from an impoverished and largely broken background, Theodore Robert “Ted” Bundy was the definition of a man that had made a success out of a crappy situation. Graduating fourth in his class at UC Berkeley Law School, he had cut his teeth working for Roy Cohn and on the 1976 Reagan campaign. Joining the King County Attorney’s office, he received nationwide attention with the prosecution of serial killer Kenneth Bianchi and was elected as King County Prosecutor in 1982. Ambitious to a fault, Bundy decided to toss his hat in the ring for the top statewide office, a grassroots campaign funded generously by Speaker Cohn’s network triumphing over the more established GOP candidates.

    While likely the strongest candidate the GOP could offer – an outsider with national connections after an underwhelming performance by Spellman – Bundy still faced significant headwinds in former Wallace Administration official Brock Adams and Pierce County Executive Booth Gardner. The Progressives made a large play for the seat, attacking Bundy for his social conservatism and Adams for his straddling of the issue to please both sides of the Democratic Party. However, Bundy turned the tables in a non-nonsense interview with the Seattle Times, stating “I don’t give a crap what you do in your bedroom, unless it’s a crime under Washington State law.” Twisting the issue toward law and order, Gardner was caught in a bind due to his unpopular opposition to the death penalty.

    As October arrived the race seemed to be a tossup between Bundy and Adams, who was running a Proxmire-esque campaign. However, the entire race shifted when several women brought allegations of sexual misconduct and assault against the Democrat. Though he denied the allegations, the subsequent opening of an investigation by the State Attorney General acted to siphon crucial votes toward Bundy and Gardner, law and order leaping to the premier issue in the campaign with Bundy vowing to “Take a stand against all criminals, regardless of their status.”

    The Progressive hopes failed to materialize, though Gardner did manage to leapfrog over Adams after steady drumbeat of allegations sunk the Democrat everywhere but the Party’s Cascades heartland. Gardner was severely hampered by his stances on law and order however. Such was Bundy’s wheelhouse, and it enabled him to nab progressives and suburban center-left voters in the Seattle area that normally would have voted Democrat or Bull Moose. The avoiding of the social issues trap worked, leading a man who had merely been a deputy press secretary ten years earlier to become the Governor of a major US State. Bundy instantly became a star in the GOP, and many were eyeing him for a run for higher office.

    Unlike the midterms, the 1984 elections didn’t see much of a change. The Republicans managed to hold most of their victories over the past years, even netting two seats in Oklahoma (Dewey F. Bartlett defeating incumbent Senator Ed Edmondson) and New Mexico (Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan defeating Democrat nominee Jeff Bingaman in an upset that featured a Progressive candidate sapping traditionally Democrat Spanish-American voters). Several seats were held in close races, including VA where former Senator John Warner returned to the senate after defeating liberal Republican Sen. A. Linwood Holton in the primary, who then ran as an Indy in the general. However, in addition to Oregon and Alaska the Democrats won back West Virginia after a six-year rental by the GOP and defeated Democrat-turned-Progressive Bill Bradley in his first run for reelection in his new party, knocking the Progressive caucus down by one as they inched above forty seats to be able to sustain filibusters by themselves.

    The House also didn’t see that many changes, though the changes were significant. The Republicans made a significant play for seats in the south that had never before elected anyone but a Democrat, banking on high black turnout plus the Ds nominating a liberal northerner to flip enough to take back the majority. Inouye managed to keep most of his northern and western gains from 1982 – though losing several seats in swing districts – but the undercutting in the South led to modest losses. The Progressives built on their total vote, but still struggled to gain votes overall due to the nature of the American First-Past-the-Post system. Incoming Opposition Leader Leo Ryan hoped to see a more micro-targeting strategy for the future, focusing on individual seats rather than national messaging.

    By two votes, the GOP had regained a bare majority. Speaker Cohn no longer needed bipartisan support to pass legislation, but he knew more than anyone that if the GOP didn’t play their cards right then they’d lose their hold on Congress in the next election. Unlike Reagan, Rummy had the weakest of all majorities since Dwight Eisenhower did after the 1952 elections, especially considering the fact that their Senate margin depended on Indy Joe Biden, who was re-elected in a landslide. Any major policy push would require a balancing act, for the opposition was always ready to turn the next midterms into a bloodbath.

    Buckley News/Washington Post/Rove Associates Poll of Registered Voters nationwide:
    "Do you favor a constitutional amendment allowing for the direct recall of senators?"

    Yes: 64%


    Don't Know: 7%

    December 5-9, 1985, 2,500 RV

    The restaurant was one of the premier eateries in the District of Columbia. For George McGovern, he didn't like the dark and secluded feel the low light and spaced out booths gave off, but that's why it was popular with the various Washington power players. Inconspicuous, a place secure from the prying eyes of the media - perfect for the meeting that was about to transpire.


    "Do you think that this move will work?" Ron Wyden had the decisiveness of youth - as well as a liberal populist bent close to that of Bill Proxmire, one of McGovern's closest friends - but the magnitude of what they were proposing could create doubt in even the most zealous of minds.

    McGovern nodded. "It would be dead on arrival in congress, while the various state legislators would be more amenable to a check on the federal power." Getting this to work would be a sweeping victory for the Progressive Party, but the only way the longtime Senator could make it work would be to gain support from the state level members of the other parties - hence today's meeting.

    A balding figure in an inexpensive suit approached the table. "Senators," William Rehnquist said graciously, the Governor taking his seat next to the two members of congress. "Forgive me for my tardiness, but I was waiting on our guest." Given the fact that the Arizonan was the only person at the table with more than a passing familiarity with their fourth guest, he was of vital importance.

    "So where is the new hotshot of the GOP?" asked Wyden, an ironic statement given that he was the even younger hotshot of his party. "You said you came in the same vehicle?"

    In lieu of answering, Rehnquist merely glanced over his shoulder at the entrance to the restaurant. Knowing yet exasperated snorts left McGovern and Wyden's lips. There was the fourth member of their little meeting, conversing with someone, a buxom blonde on his arm. "Why am I not surprised?" McGovern asked rhetorically. The soon to be newest member of the Republican Governor's Association was a noted womanizer. 'Part of his charm,' he figured to himself.

    "If I was twenty years younger and not married," Rehnquist mused quietly, still very much a man. The blonde was gorgeous, a slim red dress showing off her entire figure even if it did reach her ankles.

    Kissing her lips, she seemed to head for the bar while he made his way toward them. "Sorry about that," Ted Bundy said, flashing one of his toothy grins. "Had to attend to my companion for this evening."

    "Oh to be young," McGovern chuckled, defusing the tension - mostly for himself. Something about the Governor-elect of Washington made him nervous, but when Rehnquist informed him that Bundy could be persuaded to join their effort, any discomfort was outweighed by the help he could provide. They needed Bundy and the support he could provide.

    "Bill informed me that there was a particular cause that would pique my interest," Bundy noted, eyeing them all. "I presume that this isn't too well liked among the majority of my party?"

    "The congressional leadership of both the Republicans and Democrats, no. The American people, it appears so," Wyden stated, pushing a folder of papers over the table. "We know you're ambitious and are seeking an outsider label. This would help you."

    Leafing through the folder, Bundy raised an eyebrow. "An Article V convention has never once been done before. This is... radical to say the least."

    "It's the only way an amendment such as this could be submitted for ratification. I hope we can count on your support."

    Bundy blinked, smiling. "Tell me more."
    On the cold January morning, a crowd of hundreds of thousands gathered in front of Capitol to watch the inauguration of Donald Henry Rumsfeld as President of the United States. The first President from Illinois since Abraham Lincoln, he took a unified tone in his address, stating that it was time to “Keep America working with a government smaller, leaner, and more efficient than ever before. That we make the hard choices that may be difficult to make, but are necessary for the good of all Americans.” All were hopeful despite the tough and contentious election, and prepared to see the agenda that Rumsfeld would put forth.

    The cabinet was easily confirmed for the most part, sporting such A-listers like Dick Cheney, W. Wilson Goode, John Lewis, and George Bush. The two defeated primary candidates, Claude Kirk and Jack Kemp, were brought into the developing team of rivals at Treasury and HUD respectively. Rumsfeld brought some of his Illinois loyalists into key positions such as Henry Hyde, George Ryan, and Dennis Hastert, while campaign manager Mitch McConnell was given a senior position as Chief Strategist to the President. Another notable appointment was that of noted agricultural biologist Norman Borlaug to the position of Secretary of Agriculture, signaling that the Rumsfeld Administration was serious with revamping American agricultural policy – which was done as the Department began repealing many rules and issuing more grounded in sustainability doctrine.

    Presiding over a continuation of the economic boom of the Reagan years – increased conventional military spending and the opening up of China due to Kennedy’s visit and parts of the Soviet Bloc due to diplomatic efforts by SecStates McCarthy and Cheney adding to the boom – Rumsfeld felt it was time to finish tackling the deficit crisis. Ronald Reagan had been boxed in by his pledges not to touch entitlements, and while the repeal of the Pendleton Act and the Line-Item veto amendment helped, the deficits still ran around one hundred fifty billion for every year of Reagan’s second term. Rumsfeld wanted it cut by half in his first budget without touching essential services, and wanted a surplus by the end of his current term. He made liberal use of the line item veto, keeping in contact with congressional leadership to determine what pork was absolutely necessary and cutting the rest. Whole offices in the various cabinet agencies were either slashed or done away entirely, mostly New Deal holdovers that had no real use anymore or anachronistic relics that continued to exist only to bureaucratic sloth. Despite advice from many, Rumsfeld heeded the advice of Treasury Secretary Kirk to stick to his campaign promise to not raise taxes, instead pushing through a small scale tax reform to fully take advantage of new market conditions to raise revenue.

    These measures helped, but Rumsfeld was worried that the boom wouldn’t last forever. Once there was a slowdown or recession – or God forbid a war – then the budget deficit would balloon beyond the rational ability of culling discretionary spending to relax it. There was only way to fix the nation’s debt problems for good, informed OMB Director Tom DeLay, reform entitlements.

    Social Security had long been the third rail of politics. Popular since the day Franklin Roosevelt announced it, in the five decades since it had become as American as apple pie. Social scientists largely credited it with massive reductions in poverty among senior citizens, and the program had been chugging along without much hassle since. However, President Rumsfeld and his advisors were concerned with ominous warning signs. Due to medical advances people were living longer, and the American fertility rate (while still healthy) had declined with the availability of contraceptives and there no longer being the need for large families to work on the farm. Warned that even the smallest dip in the fertility rate would spell doom for Social Security in its current form, Rumsfeld felt it was his duty to at least attempt to fix the program. And one man in congress already had a vision of how to do so.

    Representing the heart of California’s Republican bastion, the suburban Orange County, Robert ‘Bob’ Dornan routinely topped charts as one of the most conservative members of congress. A Vietnam fighter ace that had won a solid GOP district in 1978 as a top proponent of the Briggs Initiative, he had become an early supporter of Roy Cohn and used the then-Majority Leader’s backing to rise up despite the moderate/Liberty Con alliance that controlled the House GOP. Though his main focus was on a plethora of socially conservative and hardline anti-communist issues (he opposed all attempts by President Reagan to impose arms reduction, instead backing SDI as a tool to neuter Soviet counterstrikes), one pet project of his was the partial privatization of social security. He represented one of the most rapidly growing, youngest districts in America, and was concerned with the program going bankrupt before his constituents would reach the retirement age. Therefore, he made common cause with White House officials to push two pieces of legislation – a bill that would prohibit legal aliens from collecting social security benefits until they lived in the US for ten years, and a bill that would partially privatize the program for cost savings.

    Dornan’s taking point on the House side of the Social Security negotiations caused massive outcry from the left. Even the most conservative of Democrats knew that Social Security had been engrained in the bedrock of American society, and any attempt to touch it would spark massive resistance. In the minority for ten years, they smelled blood in the water and prepared what would be a massive public campaign of resistance. Ads were aired, rallies were held, and throngs of people flocked to and called district offices of Republican members of Congress to beseech them to leave Social Security alone. An early blow was dealt after President Rumsfeld addressed the nation from the Oval Office about why the current pace of funding was unsustainable in the long run, and his proposed partial privatization of the program. Independent Senator Joseph Biden – elected as a Democrat but having caucused with the GOP since 1979 – announced that the GOP’s refusal to reconsider this decision was leading him to switch and caucus with the Democrats once again, narrowing the GOP’s already razor thin Senate majority. Rumsfeld, Cohn, and Chafee’s thin line was getting thinner by the day.

    In the middle of the negotiations between Republican leadership and whatever Democrats and Progressives would attempt to touch the Third Rail, a major scandal rocked the Rumsfeld Administration to the core. In a low key investigation into garden variety political corruption in Chicago – which after the fall of the Daley Machine had splintered into several competing machine organizations – investigators at the FBI uncovered a trail of evidence that implicated Deputy Chief of Staff George Ryan in several cases of bribery and awarding contracts in exchange for personal favors. Ryan was sensationally arrested in September 1985 to massive media attention, right in the middle of Rummycare negotiations. It was the worst time for Rumsfeld, his staff scrambling to clean house and bring in new advisors untainted of the stink of Ryan. Even worse, Attorney General O’Connor was forced by public pressure (and with the understanding of Rumsfeld himself) to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the Ryan probe and any tangential investigations out of it into higher ups that Ryan’s graft schemes could go. The pick was former Nixon-era legal counsel and Reagan-era FBI Director John Erlichman, though he was well respected, having been a member of the Wallace Justice Department. Erlichman would conduct the probe with professionalism, uncovering an extensive corruption network in Springfield and Chicago that led to the near impeachment of Governor Fraser Robinson (not directly connected but tarnished), but after two years of digging found no evidence in the slightest of a connection to the President.

    Nevertheless, the investigation was a nightmare for the Administration. Dornan’s partial privatization program, which was finally written and released to the public, was met with massive backlash from the opposition and the media. Daniel Inouye called it a “two-hundred page lie to the American people.” William Proxmire – a hero to the economic and populist left after his presidential campaign – expressed his “shame and disappointment at the attempt to scrap one of our greatest triumphs.” Joe Biden’s response was reportedly too profane to print. The backlash was so swift that many Republicans were spooked for their reelection prospects. When the bill was brought up for a vote – the immigrant restriction bill passing the day before to be signed by the President – Roy Cohn was humiliated when it went down 214-200. Chaffee informed President Rumsfeld the next day that it would never pass the senate. Egg on his face, the President informed leaders of all three parties that he was firmly moving on to other issues.
    With blood in the water after the Republican Party’s first major policy defeat since Reagan was first elected and the Ryan scandal, President Rumsfeld was desperate for a major domestic policy win to rally the GOP around him. He would get his chance in March 1986. Semi-retired for years – not having written a major opinion since 1981 – Justice Potter Stewart was found in his home in New Hampshire, dead of a massive stroke. A conservative icon since his appointment by President Eisenhower in 1958, the vacancy created by his death afforded President Rumsfeld with a chance to select someone who could appease conservatives in the party just as major cases including flag burning, federalism, and a second challenge to school sponsored prayer (since several decisions in the 1960s, bible readings were not allowed while a nondenominational prayer was constitutional as long as it was communicated to be completely voluntary and that other students would be allowed to recite their own prayers as well).

    Faced with his first vacancy on the Court, Rumsfeld, Chief of Staff Hyde, Attorney General Sandra Day O’Connor, and Counselor to the President Jim Ryan gathered together to debate the prospective candidates. The list included Governor William Rehnquist of Arizona, 4th Circuit Judge Donald Russell, 7th Circuit Judge John Paul Stevens, and District Judge Frank Easterbrook. All were exceptional candidates, but Rumsfeld wanted someone to break paradigms, someone that would give him powerful headlines to turn around his presidency. Sitting alone in the Oval Office, pouring over whole lists of jurists for the perfect name, the President finally found one ten days following Stewart’s death. Judge for the Western District of Texas Emilio M. Garza.

    Formerly a senior legal aid for then-Governor Scalia, the 39 year old Garza had been nominated by Reagan two years before to his seat as a prospective rising star. District Judges normally weren’t on the top of the list for SCOTUS, but Garza had gotten significant spotlight in the legal community for a series of rulings striking down local ordinances for violating the 14th Amendment concerning discrimination against Spanish-Americans – his opinions were considered brilliantly written even by Chief Justice Bork. Owning a textualist record overall, Rumsfeld was swayed by the fact that Garza would be the first Spanish-American appointed to the Court. This was a major Democratic voting group, and could only serve as massively good press for the President. An option he couldn’t pass up.

    To the flashing of press cameras in the White House, Rumsfeld officially nominated Garza to Stewart’s vacant seat. He won widespread praise from conservatives in the GOP, and agreement from most Democrats due to the jubilation in the Spanish-American community. Senator Cesar Chavez (D-AZ) hailed it as a “Moment of pride for our community,” and vowed to make sure Garza was pushed through the Senate. Some hiccups did occur, Garza’s young age causing a bit of controversy. The Progressive Party announced their united opposition due to Garza’s sketchy record on civil liberties, while he received some academic pushback over his lack of an Ivy League education (Garza a graduate of University of Texas Law School). Nevertheless, Majority Leader Chafee and Judiciary Committee Chairman John Danforth shepherded him through on a 78-20 confirmation vote. Emilo Garza was sworn in to the Supreme Court by Chief Justice Bork on May 16, 1986, bolstering the current conservative majority with someone who would likely last decades.

    What had begun with the sudden personality shift by General Secretary Semichastny – abruptly turning from a neo-Stalinist to a perplexing reformer and self-hating communist almost overnight – had reached its peak with the ascension of Alexander Yakovlev to the Kremlin. A noted critic of hardline Communism and the neotrotskyism and Focoism of post-Khruschev foreign policy, he was sacked from his major positions following Semichastny’s ascension and relegated to several ambassadorships across the mid-level NATO nations. During his assignment to Canada, he had a close relationship with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and rehabilitated much of his reputation by securing a multi-billion dollar grain deal with the North American country to supplement five years of bad harvests in the USSR. This had allowed Mikhail Gorbachev, one of Yakovlev’s main allies left in the hierarchy, to convince the new Semichastny to recall Yakovlev to a position in the Politburo.

    By the mid-eighties, the political situation within the Soviet Union had progressed enough for the reformist faction to make a full bid for the position of General Secretary rather than push for a compromise pick like Viktor Grishin. Yakovlev was the choice and was selected for the office in a comfortable victory over the hardliners. The sea change in Soviet doctrine was evident in Yakovlev, for even five years before any person bidding for a leadership with the number of deviations he had with traditional Soviet thinking would have been quietly purged.

    What Yakovlev inherited – being known to the ruling officials but not in the general knowledge – was a nation on the brink of economic stagnation. Years of crop failures, low productivity, and a command economic system which focused on heavy industry and raw materials to the exclusion of consumer goods had wreaked havoc on the Soviet Union. Innovation was almost nonexistent with the west ahead in almost every technological demographic, corruption and cheap cost-cutting rife (it wasn’t odd to find several regular citizens – or comrades rather – dead of treatable illnesses due to incompetent medical personnel or watered down antibiotics meant to meet a factory’s quota). Yakovlev’s private analysts informed him that much of what kept the economy going and the populace content were an abundance of trade in the post-focoism communist empire and the presence of a flourishing black market, which state authorities did not touch unless in cases of violence or drug/weapons smuggling. However, this was unsustainable, especially after falling oil prices cut off a crucial line of hard currency the worker’s state needed.

    The hardline faction within the Politburo advocated for further expansion, renewing ties with wayward allies and using coups and insurgencies to open up new markets. However, with the United States as hawkish as ever, Yakovlev dismissed this outright as Grishin did before him. In consultations with the moderates like Semichastny and Gorbachev, he decided that a furthering of what Jiang Qing had begun in China was necessary. Thusly, to great opposition to the hardline establishment, Yakovlev in 1985 rammed through the Supreme Soviet the Law on State Enterprise. State enterprises were allowed under the law great discretion to determine output levels based on demand from consumers and other enterprises, free from Gosplan central planners – rather they were managed by a combination of managers that were party members and local worker’s collectives. Enterprises had to fulfill state orders, but they could dispose of the remaining output as they saw fit. The state still held control over the means of production for these enterprises, but no longer was the government to rescue unprofitable enterprises that could face bankruptcy. A second prong to Yakovlev’s doctrine of Perestroika was the legalization of private property in crucial industries, namely that of electronics, medicine, consumer goods, and the like. Those allowed to own these businesses were required to be party members of good standing, but the most extensive change in law since Lenin still rocked the USSR.

    Another one of Yakovlev’s initiatives – championed publically by Eduard Shevardnadze but secretly more the brainchild of Semichastny and Cultural Affairs Bureau Chairman Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, working behind the scenes to avoid notoriety – was Glasnost, the opening of the anti-speech laws that had been around since Stalin. The hope was that if a commitment to getting Soviet citizens to discuss publicly the problems of their system and seek solutions was fostered, then a more productive and efficient workforce would arise. Yakovlev encouraged popular scrutiny and criticism of leaders, as well as the airing of mass media. This would also serve to hold down discontent among the populace. “A happy people, who are not afraid to call their General Secretary a khuy, will be less prone to sloth and rebellion,” he stated to the Politburo in March 1986. A disgusted Pyotr Demichev responded “You have far more trust in the people than I. Only absolute loyalty can allow world socialism to triumph.” But Solzhenitsyn’s concepts of greater transparency in government (Yakovlev would copy FDR’s Fireside Chat concept and speak directly to the Soviet people every week) and decreased censorship were put into place to the anger and consternation of the old guard.

    In 1986 things seemed to be working. Economic output, GDP, and average standard of living spiked, the trade deficit shrinking as the Soviet Union exported more goods. Not nearly close enough to repair the broken economy, but it was a start.

    Though began by the Semichastny and Grishin regimes, Yakovlev used the lessening of tensions brought on by the Reagan administration overtures and the IBM and START I treaties to address the massive problem of military spending. Given the USSR’s economic malaise, the extensive percentage of funds devoted to both maintaining the conventional/nuclear stockpile and funding foreign interventionism abroad greatly stressed the weak fabric of the Soviet economy. The arms reductions of the Reagan era were a godsend, allowing the Soviets to both eliminate costly older strategic forces and equipment while also utilizing the decrease in tensions to cut conventional costs. The decision by Semichastny – and continued by Grishin – to cut Soviet non-strategic forces deployed abroad by 20% over five years saved tens of billions of rubles alone.

    This was only accelerated under Yakovlev. According to the new General Secretary in an address to the Party Congress in early 1985, the Soviet Union and its ideological allies had advanced enough. Further advance would only bring it into contact with the west or nuclear armed regional powers such as Israel or South Africa – fights that he didn’t intend to start. The sheer size of the communist sphere would protect them from invasion, he proclaimed, so to preserve the continued existence of world socialism it was imperative to him that the “Bloated, corrupt vestige of the once great Red Army” needed to be trimmed and reformed. Several generals known for corruption and incompetence vanished into thin air, never to be seen again. This was the first of Yakovlev’s moves to wipe out the favoritism and political power plays that dominated the Red Army, moves that would improve its readiness despite the shuttering of bases and recall of more units back to the homeland. “It’s time for all the nations of World Socialism to undertake this burden,” stated Mikhail Gorbachev.

    Additionally pivotal to the USSR’s continued economic survival was the concept of open trade. Backed up by his allies in the Politburo, Yakovlev was convinced that duplicating Jiang Qing’s opening of markets to the west (heavily regulated of course) could pump new life into the consumer sector while also giving the products of the Rodina far wider a reach past the communist bloc. Western wheat could save the famine riddled Soviet food supplies and lower prices while raw materials and uniquely Russian products would pump vital hard cash into the economy. Though denounced by the hardliners – led by Demichev and KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov – Yakovlev’s plan to get open trade with the west rested on leveraging what he knew President Rumsfeld wanted. Arms reduction.

    Unlike the previous arms reduction negotiations, instead of a bilateral meeting between the US and USSR, Yakovlev and Rumsfeld invited the leaders of every nuclear-armed nation to Leningrad in June 1985 for the summit. At the opening celebration at the Winter Palace, Yakovlev welcomed President Rumsfeld, Prime Minister Mitchell, General Secretary Qing, Council President Mitterrand, Prime Minister Truernicht, and Prime Minister Gandhi (Prime Minister Dayan was invited but he declined to appear, the Israeli possession of nuclear weapons still unofficial). Already the mood had changed dramatically from past summits. Bombay had been tense, Stockholm cautiously optimistic, Washington actually optimistic, and now in the Winter Palace there was a hopeful air. That this was the beginning of the end for the Cold War tension that had existed since the Berlin Airlift forty years before.

    The western nations, banding together as a bloc, were after serious arms reduction to lower the fear of nuclear holocaust, and Rumsfeld, Mitchell, and Mitterrand had informed their negotiation teams that trade agreements and the sharing of SDI stopgap anti-missile technology (NASA and the Air Force preparing to send up the first anti-ballistic missile satellite by 1989) as leverage to wrangle out a deal. Such arrangements were what Yakovlev wanted, hoping to be able to dismantle Soviet ballistic missile submarines (not needed with the massive land spaces of the USSR) as well. Four days of negotiations – and the walkout of the Chinese, Indian, and South African delegations, all three nations’ nuclear arsenals small enough to leave them jealously protective of them – finally resulted in a deal to ban multiple independent return vehicles, cap nuclear warheads to one thousand each for the US and USSR and 200 for the UK and France, a delivery of specs for the Triton ABM (the US air force was already developing the more accurate Icarus ABM), and a more open trade agreement between the parties. The treaty would be ratified by the Senate in January 1986, Parliament in December 1985, the Assemble National in March 1986, and by the Supreme Soviet in November 1985 to great fanfare.

    To confirm compliance with the treaty, each side appointed a domestic and overseas observer for each of the countries party to the treaty. For the United States, it appointed former Senator Howard Baker as the domestic observer and former Secretary of State Richard Helms as the foreign observer for the USSR; the Soviet Union appointed Minister Without Portfolio Semichastny as domestic observer and Moscow Party Chairman Boris Yeltsin as foreign observer for the United States. By year’s end, a third of the warheads and missiles targeted for destruction would be completed, tensions between the superpowers lowering to the lowest levels since WWII.

    If there was any man that exemplified the opposition to communism from behind the Iron Curtin, it was Lech Walesa. A longtime activist within illegal trade unions within his native Poland, any communist leanings he may still have harbored were eradicated when the 1976 labor strikes were brutally crushed by the Polish military under orders from the hardline government. With over 150 deaths across the nation and over a thousand arrests – and subsequent sentences in prison camps – Walesa would become a disciple of the Freyist ideology spreading like wildfire out of Germany and under the Iron Curtain, it becoming the cry of the anti-communist forces. Grafting it to the larger cause of labor unionism, Walesa was propelled to international recognition with his scaling of the fence during the Lenin Shipyard Strike in 1980, inspiring the other workers. Rapidly rising to leadership, he coordinated several other strikes across the nation that forced the government to come to the negotiating table – Viktor Grishin refusing to authorize further harsh measures – with the Strike Coordinating Committee. Finally being legalized, Walesa renamed it the National Coordinating Committee of the Solidarność (Solidarity) Free Trade Union with himself as chairman, rising to be the face of Eastern European Freyism. The Solidarity trade union quickly grew, ultimately claiming over 10 million members—more than a quarter of Poland's population.

    As a result, the Polish military would depose the civilian leadership in a bloodless coup in 1981, General and the new General Secretary Wojciech Jaruzelski declaring martial law and arresting Walesa and the other leaders of Solidarity – they only escaped execution because the move wasn’t sanctioned by Moscow. Finally released under Soviet pressure as a gesture ahead of the START I talks, he continued his labor unionist and freyist activities clandestinely with considerable assistance from the CIA, MI6, the Vatican (under the leadership of Pope Leo and the Polish Cardinal Secretary of State Karol Wojtyła), and private funding sources in Germany and the US (John G. Schmitz personally collecting donations from his radio fanbase, a champion of Walesa). Upon Yakovlev’s ascension to the leadership of the USSR, Walesa seized the moment and Solidarity engaged in a massive series of strikes all throughout 1984 to force Jaruzelski’s hand.

    As the Soviet Union began embracing moderate communist governments, few of the satellite states of the Communist Empire followed suit. The Chinese bloc embraced the deescalating tensions in order to fully bring about their economic expansion. Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania, a leading moderate (having opposed the Soviet coup against Josip Tito in Yugoslavia) and close friend of both Semichastny and Yakovlev, was an enthusiastic supporter of the pivot. João Goulart of Brazil was highly in favor as well, but faced intense opposition by the communist-dominated Worker’s Coalition in the legislature until his sudden death of a brain aneurysm in 1984 – his replacement, Carlos Marighella, was a hardline communist and heralded the abandonment of any sense of neutrality in the South American nation. Moderation and détente had few friends among the Warsaw Pact and its allies, but the USSR was the top dog and where it went, the others followed.

    Given the high profile cause of Solidarity – especially with Pope Leo and Cardinal Wojtyła’s championing of the movement from the Vatican – the Jaruzelski regime began coming under immense pressure from the west and the USSR (seeking to improve its image ahead of the START II talks) to hold free elections. Yakovlev, under no assertions that Poland was to be let free from the Warsaw Pact, was nevertheless bombarded by Semichastny that with the increasing tension between the Junta and Solidarity that the latter be given the right to exist and some voice in the political system. Thusly, at the urging of the Politburo leadership, the two sides met in Round Table discussions moderated by President Ceausescu. The Polish communists, led by General Jaruzelski, hoped to co-opt prominent opposition leaders into the ruling group without making major changes in the political power structure. In reality, the talks radically altered the shape of the Polish government and society. In exchange for a guaranteed majority for themselves and their allies, the communists would allow partially free elections open to all candidates of all parties.

    Once the results were tallied by a neutral arbiter (a commission of Swiss and Swedish election observers), the entire world waited on baited breath. Solidarity had won a landslide of the seats up for election, the first time in the history of post-war Poland that the Communists didn’t triumph – though there had not ever been a free election before now. Every single seat in the reconstituted Senate was picked up by the party, the Polish people rallying around Walesa’s message. Due to the massive structural advantages Jaruzelski possessed regarding the seats guaranteed to it, PZPR managed to hold a one seat advantage over Solidarity, but the popular vote defeat and the fact that the communists were forced to seek a coalition government with the “controlled opposition” indicated the magnitude of Walesa’s victory. It was he that received congratulatory calls from across the free world, including a particularly warm one from his ideological kin in Germany, Gerhard Frey. The only question was whether Jaruzelski would abide by the results.

    Confidants close to the Polish Dictator indicated that his first inclination was to declare martial law and arrest the leading members of Solidarity. Much of the Warsaw Pact (the hardline nations led by East Germany, Argentina, Portugal, Iran, and Nigeria) had indicated that they would stand with Jaruzelski against any blowback, but none were the nation that actually mattered. After such a major international event such as the first free Polish elections, only the support of the Soviet Union would allow the Polish military to crackdown against Solidarity. The hope among many in the Warsaw Pact’s hardline faction was that, when confronted by the potential weakening of a vital nation in their strategic interest, Yakovlev would relent and give permission for the Poles to crush the opposition.

    However, the hopes of the hardliners were subjected to a crushing blow upon the arrival of Foreign Minister Gorbachev and Minister Without Portfolio Semichastny to Warsaw. Semichastny, one of the architects of the entire election, delivered a massive chewing out to the Polish leader. Guards and Presidential staff would recall the sort of enraged shouts of the former Soviet leader regarding “A betrayal of our entire alliance,” and “Handing the moral high ground to the Americans!” While that had been the gut reaction of the current Soviet leadership, a rather more politic follow up from Yakovlev himself left it clear that the USSR would intervene – if Jaruzelski attempted to annul the results. It therefore shocked the world when the Polish dictator announced he would let the results stand and barely clung to power in the newly divided Sejm.

    In the west, hope was in the air. When barely more than a decade before the tensions of the Portuguese Crisis seemed to approach nuclear war, the possibility of the Cold War ending in a peaceful resolution seemed on the cusp of happening. A reformist USSR, free elections, and a sweeping arms reduction treaty all targeted the heart of the totalitarian communist empire. Talking heads debated back and forth about when the remaining holdouts would collapse into reform, for it seemed only a matter of time.
    Heading into the 1980s, the German right continued to be fractured four ways. Small government, pro-business libertarian types joined with minaprogressives in the FDP (prohibiting the right from forming a ‘four party coalition’ as with the French left by allying with the government of Helmut Schmidt). Freiburg school populist social conservatives stayed with much reduced CDU, which had struggled to pull itself out of the electoral disaster suffered under Kurt Georg Keisinger. The formerly Bavaria-only CSU had morphed into a big tent party for liberty conservatives and fiscal conservatives. Each largely kept up the Adenauer/Erhard legacy in shaping the German right apart from the minaprogressives in the FDP.

    Lastly, the strangest of all, was the NPD – unlike the former three, they were something new entirely and their only connection to the right being their origins. Formerly the home of far-right nationalists, under the leadership of Gerhard Frey it had purged the old leadership and reconstituted itself as a purely Freyist party open to all ideologies. Having gotten a surprise second place in the 1978 election they moved to consolidate their position in the face of the still popular SPD. While some of the most rabid of the Freyist New Guard and old nationalist converts wanted to blitz the party into victory in the next elections, Frey and his two top advisors Austrian immigrant politician Kurt Waldheim and former SS officer turned anti-tyranny activist Jochen Peiper felt that e party was lacking in a solid base. The German public was open to Freyism, but sandwiched between the old right and the old left and it would be battered into submission thought Frey. They needed to find a base, and with the right-wing weak and divided Frey felt they were the first to be co-opted – matching the desire for many on the German right to see a united party once more after the 1973 split.

    In May 1981, the NDP leaders approached those of the CDU and CSU to discuss a possible merger. CSU leader Helmut Kohl and CDU leader Manfred Woerner would have balked at what Frey had been suggesting, but since the reelection of the Schmidt government in 1978 Frey and the NDP leaders had skillfully managed a three party informal alliance in opposition, enduring the former dominant center-right parties to the Freyist NDP. The divisions weren’t going away however, and Schmidt would continue to have dominance over the constituency vote so long as the right was divided. Additionally, the more the CDU/CSU voters learned of Freyism the more they approved. On 15 July 1981, after closed-door meetings were held Frey, Kohl, and Woerner announced the "Party Agreement-in-Principle", thereby merging their parties to create the new Freiheits Partei Deutchlands or FP – the Liberty Party. After several months of talks between two teams of "emissaries” the deal came to be. By 5 December 1981 the Agreement-in-Principle was ratified by the membership of the NDP by a margin of 96% to 4%, 90% to 10% among the CSU, and 85% to 14% among the CDU. On 7 December, the new party was officially registered with Frey remaining as leader. It had been done, right in the middle of Helmut Schmidt’s high point in popularity.

    The problematic and shaky coalition government of Erich Ollenhauer in the 1960s aside, Helmut Schmidt had led the SPD to its most powerful position in its history. Governing Germany since 1974 – with absolute majority for the first four – they had weathered the financial and political turmoil of the 1970s quite well while enacting a significant expansion of the social safety net: retirement pensions doubling between 1974 and 1982 and unemployment pay increased to 68% of previous earnings being two of the most prominent examples. However, the new union of the right-wing parties concerned Schmidt. Unlike most of his cabinet or former SPD leader and current German President Willy Brandt, the Chancellor saw Frey as the most dangerous adversary for the government, and reacted accordingly.

    Delaying the election for the last possible moment – 1983 – Schmidt oversaw a change in the government’s official policy. Adapting it officially as a reaction to a small stalling in the German economy (one seen as a hiccup to Reagan deregulatory policies enacted after his landslide reelection and a tumble in the stock market with the uncertainty of the Return of the Bull Moose), Schmidt announced a turn away from deficit spending, and a number of welfare cuts were carried out in the area of slowing the growth of child benefits and subsidies for the government run health insurance (modeled as a smaller scale version of Amcare and Medibank, only covering preventative care and prescription drug treatments). Famously, Schmidt paid a visit to French PC Cousteau which was covered greatly in the German media. His lavish praise for his French counterpart and criticism of policies from the previous four-party coalition government of François Mitterrand broke what had been a friendly relationship. The left of the SPD grumbled, but the move solidified the FDP’s support and attracted disenchanted CDU/CSU rightists just ahead of the election.

    As the results came in, it appeared that Frey and the FP had secured the vast majority of the German right-wing. While sizable groupings on the left and anti-Freyist wings of the party had defected to the SPD and FDP (allowing Schmidt to once again form a solid government in the current coalition) Frey’s holding together of the old CDU/CSU coalition and the siphoning of a modest but impressive collection of left-wing voters swayed by Freyism boded well for the future. Many within the party had been chomping at the bit to unleash a full slate across the ideological spectrum, but the caution of Kohl, Waldheim, and Kelly persuaded Frey to restrain himself. The time wasn’t right, and the Liberty Party had to consolidate its hold on the increasingly Freyist German right before expanding across the spectrum. With the rate the ideology was spreading amongst the youth and disenchanted elders recollecting a time when their nation had been great and the shame of the Nazi era, and future developments looming on the horizon, it was obvious that it was only a matter of time before Bonn was painted FP blue.

    The reelection of the Schmidt government – the Chancellor a noted hardliner in foreign and inter-German affairs – and the rise of the even more anti-communist Liberty Party sent massive shockwaves through East Berlin. Long the western outpost of the European communist empire, the general listlessness within the German Democratic Republic since the death of Walther Ulbricht in 1973 only accelerated the tenuous hold of General Secretary Erich Honecker. Disliked by many in the party due to his clashes with Ulbricht over economic policy, the fact that he was liked by the Soviets kept him high in the ranks of the Socialist Unity Party and later propelled him to rule over the GDR. Though his emphasis on “consumer socialism” (the development of decent quality economic goods for export within the communist empire) increased standards of living, his loyalty to the Soviet Union continued to rankle many. This came to a head especially when he renounced the GDR’s claim of a Germany unified under socialism and began normalization negotiations with West Germany after Semichastny’s policies changed. Many wished to be rid of him, but there was no one sufficiently appealing to all factions in the Party to lead afterwards – until one was found in the unlikeliest of places.

    Director of the Main Directorate for Reconnaissance – the East German espionage agency – Markus Wolf was not a politician. In fact, few outside of the GDR hierarchy and Communist bloc intelligence agencies had even known his name and general likeness. Famously dubbed "the man without a face" due to his elusiveness, Western intelligence agencies did not know what the East German spy chief looked like until 1978, when he was photographed by Säpo, Sweden's National Security Service. An East German defector then identified Wolf to West German counter-intelligence, but sightings or actions by him were rare as he shunned politics and the spotlight. Nevertheless, Wolf was a committed communist and had developed close ties with the KGB, Chinese MSS, Romanian Securitate, and other foreign intelligence agencies. Well regarded as the top spymaster in the entire Communist world (even western agencies would put him near the top overall), ever since the late seventies he had been salting away potential dirt on key officials in both East Germany and the rest of the Communist bloc on the advice of then KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov.

    After an incident in which three families were massacred trying to escape across the Inter-German Border (seventeen dead, including five small children) caused Chancellor Schmidt to shut down trade across the border, Honecker was forced under duress to push further liberalizing reforms by Yakovlev in exchange for continued Soviet economic aid. Furious at this manipulation, the hardliners in the Socialist Unity Party decided to strike. They felt they could engage in a bloodless coup, but needed someone both noncontroversial and close with the USSR. A Stasi underling drew them to Wolf. It took weeks of persuasion, but the spy chief was finally convinced to take the plunge and assume the mantle of leader – he would note the humor at the massive change in events in his personal diary. The blackmail material would come in handy, securing the loyalty and support of the vast majority of the military and Stasi. All in place, the coup was set for May 3, 1985.

    Effectively – with the approving noninterference of the Soviet KGB liaison and Commander of the Western Front, both very much conservative hardliners opposed to Yakovlev’s policies – the military and Stasi quickly consolidated control of the government. Curious observers, amateur photographers, and news cameras from across the world captured images of armed soldiers and armored personnel carriers dashing about the East German capitol from tall buildings in West Berlin. Honecker and most of his allies were quickly rounded up, ‘voluntary’ resignations quickly obtained and announced to the rest of the world by East German state media. The next day, Wolf declared to a press conference (the only question given to the Chinese Xhinua News Agency) his ascension to the leadership of both the GDR and the Socialist Unity Party. Most persons in the west outside top diplomats and intelligence agencies were forced to scour their records for any information on the newest communist leader.

    White House audio transcript, May 5th, 1985

    Meeting between President Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Cheney, NSA North, and CIA Director Kissinger.

    North: Well, Yakovlev’s enemies in the Politburo couldn’t have picked a better East German leader than this one if they tried.

    Rumsfeld: Who is this Wolf person? I’ve never heard this bastard’s name before.

    North: He’s one of the lowest profile but most powerful officials in the GDR, leading their foreign intelligence service.

    Kissinger: That force is the best out of all the Communist intelligence agencies besides the KGB and the defunct DGI of West Cuba. No known picture of him in our files until the West Germans got one in 1978.

    Rumsfeld: How the fuck did this guy get the leadership of the East Germans. He seems like a career spook. No offense Henry, but someone would need more than the CIA in their career to get elected President.

    Kissinger: None taken, Mr. President. Our sources – verified by the British and Japanese – indicate that Wolf is very close with KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov, while the West Germans speculate he has significant dirt on many within the Stasi and GDR military.

    North: So bottom line, he’s got powerful friends and a shit ton of blackmail.

    Rumsfeld: Just fucking perfect. What do the Soviets say about this, Dick?

    Cheney: Gorbachev told me personally that there was no Soviet involvement in this, but I doubt he or Yakovlev could reign in the KGB even if they wanted to. Semichastny could, but he’s involved with the compliance with START II. My gut shows that the factionalism between the old conservatives and the reformers is reaching a boiling point.

    Rumsfeld: And how will that manifest?

    North: To be honest sir, it could blow over or… [silence]

    Rumsfeld: [muffled curses]

    (end transcript)
    Yakovlev, reeling from what had happened, was furious and wanted Wolf’s head. However, a warning from Gorbachev and Romania’s Nicole Ceausescu dissuaded him. The Soviet Union couldn’t afford a cold civil war with its own allies, and China as a counter to them was too unreliable. The General Secretary settled with the removal of four more divisions out of the GDR as retaliation, but Wolf knew it to be a toothless response.

    Overall, the internal politics of the Warsaw Pact had taken a new turn. The Soviet Union still desired a path of détente and reform, while finding little support among its allies outside the Chinese bloc – which was distancing itself from the more pro-Soviet nations more and more. Among the Warsaw Pact nations now largely led by Mario Santucho of Argentina, Alvaro Cunhal of Portugal, Khosro Golsorkhi of Iran, and Wolf, the principles of Marxism-Leninism were to be doubled down. Any form of détente was out of the question, but without the USSR they were fighting a losing battle. With Yakovlev and Rumsfeld slowly but surely dismantling the Cold War tensions toward a largely peaceful end in the near future, the hope amongst the Communist allies was for a return of a hardline government in the Soviet Union.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  6. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Oct 2, 2015
    Good ol' USA
    Dealing with a Hutu Headache

    The former President of the Rwanda and now chief of Uganda's secret police, the Bureau of Public Welfare*, Juvénal Habyarimana walked down the hall of the Presidential Palace in Kampala to meet with his boss, President Idi Amin Dada. He was in a hurry as he had news to tell Amin about Uganda's southernmost provinces*. For the last year, a Hutu-dominated terrorist group called the Interahamwe had been launching terrorist attacks against Ugandan military bases in what was once Rwanda, killing Tutsis along with pro-Kampala Hutus, and spreading anti-Amin propaganda (the group also wanted Habyarimana's head on a pike for surrendering to Amin and Mobutu then joining Amin's government). However, the news Habyarimana was to tell Amin was very good. The man stopped when he reached the doors of the President's office and knocked.

    "Come in." said Amin. Habyarimana walked in and shut the door behind him. Amin turned away from the large extravagant bay window of his office to see who had entered and smiled once he saw who it was. "Ah, Juvénal! How's my favourite Ugandan Hutu?"

    "Good, your Excellency." said Habyarimana. "I'm good."

    "So I suspect you're here to give me some news?" asked Amin.

    "Yes, sir...and it is good news." said the Hutu.

    "Wonderful! I love good news!" exclaimed the Kakwa-Lugbara. "So what is it?"

    "We've captured the main Interahamwe leader, Georges Rutaganda." said Habyarimana.

    "Splendid! That man has been nothing but a headache ever since his crazies killed that former-Rwandan Army officer that I appointed mayor for Kigali back in '84." said Amin.

    "You mean Lieutenant-Colonel Augustin Bizimungu?" asked Habyarimana.

    "Yes him." said Amin. "So are you bringing him to the Bureau's headquarters for questioning?"

    Amin knew that despite now having Rutaganda, there was the Interahamwe's other leaders to deal with and those leaders still remained elusive. Therefore, 'questioning' Rutaganda would prove invaluable in finally getting rid of the thorn in his side that is the Interahamwe.

    "Yes, soon we'll know where the other leaders are and the Interahamwe will be no more." said Habyarimana.

    "Great! You're doing your country proud, Juvénal." said Amin with a smile and a jovial laugh.

    "Thank you, sir." said Habyarimana also sporting a smile.

    "Oh one more thing, Juvénal." said Amin.

    "Yes sir?" asked Habyarimana.

    "I have appointed a new director for the Ministry of External Affairs*." said Amin. Habyarimana raised an eyebrow in curiosity. There was another knock at the door. "Come in."

    The doors opened to reveal a Tutsi in military fatigues walking in. The Tutsi saluted Amin.


    "Ah, Paul. I'm glad to see you." said Amin happily. "How have you been?"

    "I've been well, thank you sir." said Kagame.

    "Settling into Kampala nicely?" asked Amin.

    "Yes, sir." said Kagame.

    "Good, good." said Amin. "I hope you're up to the task of keeping the nation safe from our enemies abroad."

    "I am, your excellency." said Kagame.

    "Fantastic!" boomed Amin smiling. The President turns his attention back to Habyarimana. "Juvénal, this is Paul Kagame. He is the new director for External Affairs."

    "I can see that, your excellency." said Habyarimana staring intensely at Kagame. Kagame did the same.

    "My friends, there won't be any problems between the two of you, right?" said Amin. Both the Hutu and Tutsi became very nervous.

    "Of course not, sir." said Kagame nervously.

    "Y-yes. What Kagame said, sir." said Habyarimana equally nervous. There were a few moments of silence which was then broken by Amin laughing jovially.

    "Great!" exclaimed Amin smiling.

    * = The Bureau of Public Welfare, or BPW, is the end result of the merging of the two Ugandan internal security services known as the State Research Bureau and the Public Safety Unit.

    * = Six months after Rwanda's surrender and subsequent absorption into Uganda in 1978, the former country's eleven provinces were reorganised into five provinces.

    * = The Ministry of External Affairs, or MEA, is the ITTL counterpart to the OTL Ugandan intelligence agency - the External Security Organisation (est. 1987).

    A furious Idi Amin Dada slammed his fists on the table in his office, making the two assembled men shutter.

    "Damn hardliner Communist bastards!" exclaimed Amin. "And to think I was going to make a state visit to Moscow to form a trade deal with Yakovlev."

    The Ugandan Minister of Defence, General Yoweri Museveni* spoke up.

    "There is another matter of a more immediate concern, your excellency." said Museveni.

    "And what is that?" asked Amin.

    "Well sir, External Affairs have reported that there are increasing border skirmishes between the Kenyan and Ethiopian armies." said Museveni. Amin turned his attention to the director of the Ministry of External Affairs, Paul Kagame.

    "Is this true, Paul?" asked Amin.

    "Yes sir. Addis Ababa seems to think that since there is now a hardliner regime in Moscow that they can move against their enemies." said Kagame.

    "What in the hell is Mengistu thinking?!?!" exclaimed Amin. "Does he want war with the Entebbe Pact?!"

    "It's a possiblity. He has been getting extremely paranoid since the Rwanda War." said Museveni. Amin sat back in his chair and sighed. He hesitated for a bit then spoke.

    "I'll call Mobutu and Savimbi...and Pretoria probably. See what they think before I contact Obama." said Amin. Uganda's strongman wanted to get Zairean, Angolan, and South African opinions on the matter before speaking with Obama Sr. who would be more likely to advocate for a full-scale war than the others would considering that these border skirmishes are happening right on his doorstep. Amin wasn't in the mood for conducting a war right now. "Well at least Samora Michel and Siad Barre are coming to their senses."

    "Yes sir, both the Mozambicans and Somalians seem to be sending a clear message of their intentions to outright join the Pact." said Kagame with a weak smile.

    * = Museveni was the founder of the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) rebels before he defected to the Ugandan Army during the Rwanda War of the late 1970s when it was apparent that Tanzania and the anti-Amin Ugandan rebels would lose the war. Since his defection, he has risen through the ranks of the army to become not just a general but Minister of Defence.
    Attracted by the tropical climate and generally laid back lifestyle, Hawaii had attracted a pretty steady level of growth since statehood. Thanks to the administrations of Governor William Quinn and John Leopold, Hawaii’s status as a tourist and business haven – thanks to a law signed by Governor John Leopold shamelessly copying the corporate tax laws of the state of Delaware – the influx of rich, white Haoles began to greatly shift the political landscape. In the Sunbelt South such as Virginia and Florida, these transplants greatly undermined the ruling Democrats in favor of the Republicans. However, with Hawaii basically under one party GOP rule thanks to the coalition between the Asian machine, cash crop business interests, and military voters, the influx instead largely benefitted the Progressive Party. And in 1986 they were ready to make their bid to defeat the incumbent power structure.

    Aside from Democratic House leader Daniel Inouye of the 2nd Congressional district, who was an undefeatable state institution at this point, the Democratic Party had largely been shut out of power due to the defection of the Asian machine to the GOP during the Nixon era. Such is what brought George Ariyoshi to the Senate following James Keoloha’s retirement in 1980. Formerly the Governor (and a Democrat), he exemplified the machine politics and cronyism that the Hawaii Progressive Party organized their campaign to oppose. When state legislator Patsy Mink won the primary over two mainland transplants, she immediately began attacking Ariyoshi for various schemes such as awarding family members and Japanese political allies key government jobs and contracts. Before, the Republican machine would paper over this without a sweat. Now… times had changed.

    Retaining the military-heavy islands of Oahu and Kauai, Aryoshi was swamped in the Haole-transplant and poor Asian regions of the eastern islands. These, Inouye-land, went hard for Mink, who used her liberal minaprogressivism to appeal to both the old and new constituencies and deliver a narrow win only confirmed after counting 30,000 absentee and military ballots. While Governor John Leopold was reelected by a fair-sized margin, the runner up was a Progressive, as were the challengers to Congresswoman Pat Sakai (R) and Inouye. As with Vermont, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, the Progressives had found another state where they were part of a two party system.

    Following the Great Depression (and even before that), Massachusetts Democrats once salivated at the thought of turning the formerly Yankee Republican stronghold a solid blue. A swing state throughout the 30s, 40s, and 50s, it seemed a done deal when John F. Kennedy swept in a resounding win up and down the ticket in 1964. However, this was all undone when Endicott Peabody commuted the death sentence of the Boston Strangler. Massachusetts stampeded right, the Democrats locked out of all statewide offices ever since. Elliot Richardson was a Republican of this mold, moderate in tone and policy as were his predecessors John Volpe and Margaret Heckler. His first term boasted many accomplishments such as environmental protections the introduction of no-fault auto insurance, his liberal Republicanism largely keeping the Progressive Party from reaching here as it did in neighboring Vermont and New York.

    However, backlash from cultural conservatives at this cosmopolitan governance had reached the boiling point. Finally ginned up due to a strict environmental law that would have hurt the state manufacturing industry – as well as the Rumsfeld Social Security reform initiative – a wave of populist sentiment caused several more traditional Democrats to lose out to Boston University President John Silber in the primary. Silber was a well-known figure in the Bay State, his combative nature with the students and faculty making state headlines year after year. A blunt campaigner, Silber was the perfect vessel for the populist turn of state Democrats, while Governor Richardson – a career public official from his positions in the Nixon and Reagan Administrations – was the archetype of establishment business as usual.

    With the Democratic advantage that year and Silber’s strength as a candidate contrasted against the GOP lean of the state and Richardson’s popularity, the race was considered a tight one. Poll leads changed every few weeks, mostly due to the latest explosive comment from Silber. Combative with the GOP-leaning press, he would stoke controversy that both generated negative headlines and solidified his support from working-class voters, such as when he proposed cutting off benefits for unmarried mothers who have a second child while still on public aid. Complicating factors was the campaign of Progressive Congressman Paul Tsonges. Running off the small but solid Progressive base in the socially liberal inner suburbs and university towns around Boston, the formerly liberal Republican turned Progressive star candidate attacked Richardson from the left, stealing away social liberals that had padded GOP margins for years. The race ended up getting a massive shakeup when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court interpreted the state’s prison furlough program to include 1st Degree Murderers. Seeking to destroy the Peabody Curse, Silber took a heavily anti-crime tone and attacked the Republican-designed furlough program in every campaign appearance.

    For the first time since the Kennedy landslide, the Massachusetts statehouse would pass to a Democrat. Making ironroads into traditional Republican territory in the central part of the state while retaining Democrat support in the industrial towns, Silber crushed Richardson by a modest yet solid 49,000 vote margin. Though coming in a distant third, Tsonges performed above the progressive baseline in takin both from liberal Democrats and socially liberal “Conte” Republicans in the western rural part of the state, helping boost local Progressives into sizable margins in the legislature and local office for the first time in decades. However, the day belonged to the Democrats. Taking office with a Democratic State Senate (the lower house remained Republican), Silber had finally broken the Peabody Curse.

    Suffering from recurring bouts of depression over the course of the 1980s – he had undergone electroconvulsive therapy in the mid-sixties – Senator Thomas Eagleton was put on immense pressure from his colleagues to retire following the treatments becoming public in an expose by the Kansas City Star. Initially claiming he was “One thousand percent fit” to remain in the Senate, he made the decision to retire at the end of his term, leaving the Senate seat open. Missouri being one of the top swing states in the nation due to urban blacks and Ozark voters contrasting with rural whites and the Kansas City suburbs, the GOP smelled blood and recruited former Governor John Ashcroft. The Democrats had a competitive primary, selecting State Treasurer Mel Carnahan.

    While competitive and highly negative, Ashcroft was favored due to his popularity as Governor. However, his candidacy was undercut by civil war within his own base – African-Americans. It all stemmed from his tenure as governor. Breaking from the consensus narcotics policy that had been in place since the 1960s, Ashcroft had taken a draconian stance on the issue, passing laws to target narcotics sellers and tangential crimes committed by them while expanding the prison capacity of the state by a third. After signing a law proscribing capital punishment for egregious instances of narcotics trafficking – upheld in 1985 by the Supreme Court in Xavier v. Emerson – he was the victim of an assassination attempt by a grief-stricken wife of a drug dealer sentenced to die and was forced to drop out of reelection in 1984. While endearing him to the majority of Missourians, the policy earned him the enmity of Congressman and House Majority Whip Bill Clay Sr. Clay, saying that the policy hurt the most vulnerable in his district, endorsed and campaigned for the Progressive candidate who was from St. Lewis and made opposition to the death penalty and blanket narcotics laws the centerpiece of his campaign.

    Carnahan, meanwhile knew his white voter base supported the Ashcroft drug policies. Wishing to let the GOP divisions tear his opponent apart, he focused instead on building mistrust on Ashcroft by focusing his campaign on opposition to Rumsfeld – if Missouri wanted to send a message to protect social security, then voting Democrat was the only option. Senator Danforth, quipping to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, stated “If one looked at Carnahan’s campaign, you’d think Donald Rumsfeld was his opponent.”

    Ashcroft’s tepid support from the St. Louis black community proved to be his undoing – and what caused Clay to lose his leadership position. The Progressive candidate managed to take over 20% of the city-wide vote, a trend that killed Ashcroft’s margins and allowed Carnahan to ride his rural white + Kansas City suburban vote to victory, holding the key seat and preventing the GOP from making up for expected losses – most white voters liked Ashcroft but informed exit pollsters that they were more in favor of sending a message to the Rumsfeld Administration. A long term trend was the nature of St. Louis. Unlike most African-American strongholds that were quite conservative overall, the developments that culminated in this race would provide a strong chunk of the city to be quite liberal in nature. It would become one of the few majority-black cities in the US not a Republican stronghold.

    Such was a tactic repeated elsewhere by the Progressives, not just confined to the simple dynamics of the Missouri race. Retiring after two successful terms in regards to popularity, Governor John Heinz of Pennsylvania had passed the GOP baton to his Lt. Governor Bill Scranton III, the scion of the state political dynasty. Facing him was the little known President of Bryn Mawr College Harris Wofford – joining John Silber in being a college President running as a Democrat. Wofford was far more liberal than Scranton, but ran a campaign similar to that of retiring Michigan Governor Ed Fitzgerald focusing on economic issues and taking a pro-life stance to counteract the pro-choice Republican. Meanwhile, the Progressives nominated Philadelphia judge Frederica Massiah-Jackson as their nominee, who attacked the GOP ticket of neglecting the black community. The charges hurt, especially with Delaware County Chairman Mario Civera as Scranton’s running mate, who had made headlines feuding with Philadelphia over local infrastructure and low-income housing concerns. First Lady of PA Hillary Rodham Heinz privately expressed that Scranton step aside for a stronger candidate such as Deputy Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, but these calls were unheeded.

    Scranton’s campaign was underwhelming to begin with, lackluster and buried in machine politics stagnation that allowed Massiah-Jackson to undercut them in the socially liberal and African-American parts of the Philly metro. Their attacks against her brought out charges of racism by some in the black community, denounced largely by most black leaders but a necessary distraction that allowed Wofford to slip through comfortably. As opposed to the GOP’s feud with the normally moribund Progs, the Democratic base in Pittsburgh and Scranton came through, Wofford even snagging a win in Philadelphia on working class performance. 1986 would leave the Democrats with most governorships in the nation, greatly culling the GOP in the statehouses.

    First among the states to secede after the election of Abraham Lincoln, the anti-GOP nature of South Carolina was ingrained in its DNA. Though the CRVA and Civil Rights Act of the Eisenhower/Nixon era brought reliably Republican black voters to the polls in droves, the majority-white electorate continued to return Democratic senators Strom Thurmond and Ernest Hollings to the upper Chamber. Both former Governors, each was an institution in the state, Thurmond being the Minority Leader while Hollings was the Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee. Though Republicans had made serious ironroads in the Palmetto State, the race was low on the radar in the 1986 midterms.

    One Republican finally decided to throw his name in the ring. Upstate Congressman Carroll Campbell Jr, elected to a longtime Democratic seat in the 1976 Reagan landslide, joined the race largely in desperation given that he was likely toast in his own seat. Advised by his longtime friend and strategist Lee Atwater (who supported a variety of southern candidates of both parties), he felt he could take on Hollings and win even in the horrid year for Republicans. Campbell launched his campaign to fanfare, the launch joined with a rare appearance by former President Ronald Reagan to stump for him (Campbell having been one of the President’s key congressional allies). The claim was two-fold, he was a fresh face for the diversifying South Carolina and that Hollings was a liberal in disguise. Hollings enjoyed sky high ratings at first, but was weighed down by incessant attacks – ads designed by Atwater concentrating especially on his vote against Phyllis Schlafly for SCOTUS and his endorsement of George McGovern in the 1980 Democratic Primary. Hollings didn’t do himself any favors when dubbing Campbell and his supporters “Goddamn Monkeys” in an interview, considered by many to be racist.

    Predictably, the fault lines of the race ran on par for competitive statewide races. Strong Republican margins in the Congaree, Columbia, and urban Charleston were countered by Democratic strength in the white suburbs and white rural areas – effectively the same coalition that had kept them in complete dominance since the end of Reconstruction only factoring in increased black voting. However, Campbell’s strong campaign and hometown roots cut heavily into Hollings’ margins upstate, the Republican taking Greenville and Spartanburg counties to a narrow 4,600 vote win. Propelling Republican James Edwards into the Governor’s mansion and retaining the two Republican congressional districts, Campbell had bucked the national trend while making history as the first Republican to represent the Palmetto state in the Senate.

    After ten years in the wilderness, five straight election defeats, the Democratic Party finally crawled its way back from the minority. Riding on voter fatigue from a decade of Republican trifectas and a backlash against the Rumsfeld Administration’s push to privatize Social Security, even longtime Republican seats fell to the blue wave. Carroll Campbell and the open Idaho seat of the retiring Frank Church were the only gains for the GOP, dwarfed by the losses in open seats (NV, KY, OK, WA, and OH) and the defeat of incumbents James Thompson of Illinois, John Broyhill of North Carolina, George Aryoshi of Hawaii, and Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Big state governors Fraser Robinson in Illinois and Bill Cramer of Florida were defeated by Democrats Dick Durbin and Bob Martinez respectively. Republicans Alan Shephard of NH and Harrison Schmidt of NM was joined by their Mercury and Prometheus crewmate John Glenn, the popular former governor taking the seat of the retiring Bob Taft Jr.

    The GOP managed to run a strong defense in several key states, with James Buckley, Barbara Hafer, and Pete McCloskey holding on, as well as defending the open seat of the retiring William Dyke and Detroit Mayor William Lucas taking the open Michigan governor’s race. This denied the Democrats a majority, and forced them to form plurality control with the help of the Progressives, who had gained two seats. While the Bull Moose despised working with the Donkey, newly minted opposition leader Ramsey Clark – himself a former Democrat Senator – felt that securing a workable Senate against the GOP was the best option. He and the party agreed to support the Democrats on procedural issues and leadership votes in exchange for two committee chairmanships and advancing a few legislative priorities, actions Thurmond was more than willing to accept. This was made possible with the election of a new wave of liberal communonationalist Democrats, including former Progressive Booth Gardner in the WA Senate race (having switched parties to run for and win the primary and the general).

    While enough vulnerable Republicans held on to prevent a total bloodbath in the Senate, the Democrats delivered a shellacking in the House. Seat after seat tumbling in the Rust Belt, mountain west, upper south, and even traditional strongholds in the northeast, the GOP slipped to their lowest seat total since the 1964 Kennedy landslide, Daniel Inouye securing a ten seat majority to secure him the Speaker’s gavel. The Progressives gained 11, mostly against the GOP in the upper Midwest while taking two Democrat seats in the Pacific Northwest, one in the San Francisco Bay Area, and holding the seat of the retiring Paul Tsonges. Lone in the massive losses for Roy Cohn was a gain in Oklahoma, where Tulsa City Councilman Jim Inhofe defeated the longtime Democratic incumbent.

    For the first time since the end of George Wallace’s first term, America was faced with divided government. Donald Rumsfeld, watching the returns in the Oval Office, took the results as a warning from the people, and already began planning his course correction with newly appointed Chief of Staff Mitch McConnell. However, events would soon transpire that put everything else in the backburner.
    The only light coming in through the frosted windowpanes being the weak illumination of Red Square, Alexander Yakovlev could at least be comforted by the brightness of the desk lamp to his right. Even with the burning fire in the corner and toasty air bellowing through the vents, the General Secretary of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics still kept a fur dressing gown over his suit. A firmly Russian problem since their nation had been founded, banishing the dark winter cold - especially at night. The Americans had a term for this, burning the midnight oil - or that's at least he thought it was. Rumsfeld had used it during the START II talks over a year before, and his memory was shaky on such minor facts and details. Managing the USSR, even without the ambitious reforms, was a tough task.

    A frown crossed his tired face. "Yob tvoyiu mat," he muttered under his breath. Reports from several Party Chairmen across the Muslim republics reporting increases in separatist activity. With the scaling back of anti-speech laws, more and more in the historically restless provinces were demanding independence - or at the very least autonomy from Moscow. It wasn't just the Muslims either, Ukrainian Party Chairman Volodymyr Shcherbytsky just telling him yesterday of his local forces using live ammunition to break up a nationalist riot in Zhytomyr. "Mudak." Yakovlev wished he could have kicked him out of the Politburo, but he was a patron of both Romanov and Yazov.

    Frustration was written over his face. Why couldn't the hardliners see? The nationalist sentiment was a problem, and it would have to be rectified, but the consequences of the reforms paled in comparison to what would happen if the reforms weren't enacted. Economic indicators were in the toilet, only inter-bloc trade, the black market, and oil exports keeping it afloat. A collapsing economy would only lead to more sectionalism, and Yakovlev wasn't even sure that the reforms could keep the nation humming along. Anyone sane would know that no reforms would spell disaster.

    Yakovlev was brought out of his thoughts by the sound of hurried scuffling outside his door. Who could it have been? His eyebrow raised. The only people out and about this early in the morning were his guards and the errant Kremlin servant - a reward to the leaders of the country for managing the socialist revolution. A burst of gunfire caused him to jump in his seat, the stucco of a Kalashnikov instantly recognizable.

    Suddenly the doors burst open and a group of about a half dozen soldiers burst in. Yakovlev instantly recognized them as KGB. At the van was General Viktor Karpukhin... and the scarred face of KGB Director Vladimir Kryuchkov. "Vladimir Alexandrovich?" the General Secretary asked. "What is the meaning of this?"

    "Reactionary elements have infiltrated the government, Comrade General Secretary," stated Kryuchkov flatly, devoid of any emotion. "For the good of the workers and peasants of the Soviet Union, the Directorate will keep you in a safe and secure location while we hunt down the traitors."

    Anyone with brains in the USSR could see through this. "Don't give me that pigshit!" Yakovlev snarled. "You aren't that stupid Vladimir Alexandrovich. Come out and say it, svoloch."

    The KGB Director exhaled. "Very well. You have brought us to near ruin, tovarisch. In my capacity, I am hereby assuming control of the Soviet Union. You may comply, or force me to compel your compliance."

    Hanging his head, Yakovlev knew it was all over. "You are the one who will bring ruin upon us." As the guards let him away, the now former General Secretary took one last look at his office. Kryuchkov was taking a seat at the desk, tanks rolling into Red Square behind him.

    At 5:00 AM on the 21st of December, Moscow media outlets suddenly went dark, causing intelligence and foreign offices across the west to take notice. Not long afterwards, diplomats and embassy officials in the Soviet capitol reported T-80 tanks of the Tamanskaya Motor Rifle and Kantemirovskaya Tank Division rolling through the streets towards Red Square and the major government buildings. President Rumsfeld was getting ready for bed when informed by his staff on the development only thirty minutes later – right as TASS was back on the air. Bathrobe draped over his pajamas, the President watched as a robotic newscaster announced that General Secretary Yakovlev had resigned effective immediately due to “Concerns over a recently diagnosed case of hypertension and atherosclerosis.” TASS then stated that KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov would be assuming the direction of the country “To secure the center of World Socialism from counter-revolutionary elements.”

    Rumsfeld’s reply to this news was too obscene for future transcribers to include on the WH taping system without muting it.

    Kryuchkov was the official leader, but he did not act alone. The events of December 21st were the culmination of months of planning by six officials within the Communist Party: the KGB Chairman, Chairman of the Council of Ministers Pyotr Demichev, Defense Minister Dimitri Yazov, Latvian Party Chairman Boris Pugo, Petroleum Minister Valentin Pavlov, and First Vice Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet Gennady Yanayev. Each were of the hardline conservative wing within the Politburo, disciples and true believers in the neo-Stalinist and socialist imperialism policies that Semichastny initially implemented following the death of Nikita Khrushchev. All in deputy positions when the sea change began, the six felt that the policies of Alexander Yakovlev would bring ruin to the Union of Soviet Socialist republics, and were convinced after the implementation of Glasnost and START II that something needed to be done. Nationalist sentiment was rising in the outer republics, and the massive victory of the pro-democracy, Freyist Solidarity in Poland greatly scared them (all considered Freyism annex-Nazi ideology, and the innate Russian fear of the Germans bled such sentiment to the public).

    The prospect of great bloodshed was what had kept Kryuchkov and the others from acting until now, but in a meeting just before May Day 1986 they decided it was time. Planning commenced, shrouded in secrecy to avoid certain death. For the plan to succeed, it was imperative that the KGB, Red Army, and Interior Ministry were secure under allies. Being the former Chairman of the KGB, Vladimir Semichastny had been able to use his legend to prevent a coup in the past, but after nearly a decade Yuri Andropov, Viktor Chebrikov (deeply involved in the plot while retired), and Kryuchkov had quietly replaced key elements within the organization with forces loyal to them. Interior controlled a massive number of domestic security troops, but the Minister was Grigory Romanov, a noted hardliner and vicious opponent of Yakovlev and Mikhail Gorbachev. He was easily brought in as a fellow plotter. As for the Red Army, Chief of the General Staff Marshal Sergey Akhromeyev became an enthusiastic member, one of the most dissident voices against Yakovlev’s removing ground divisions from abroad. All the pieces in place, the plotters waited for the day to arrive.

    Commencement of the coup was initially scheduled for a few days after New Year, but the plotters moved it to the 21st after Semichastny scheduled a vacation to Yalta and Gorbachev scheduled on a state visit to Bulgaria – Interior Minister Romanov and the Bulgarian Government both took steps to strand the two figures out of the way, paving the path for the entire plan to be launched. Coordinating with paratroopers under General Alexander Lebed, the two mobile divisions swarmed the capitol, securing the city and setting up defensive checkpoints in case forces loyal to the moderates interfered. From the Defense Ministry and STAVKA Yazov and Akhromeyev issued orders to the various Red Army Front commanders to stand down, sharing a report about German nuclear testing as a reason to prepare for potential NATO attack. The report was fiction, but played perfectly to Soviet fears regarding Germany and served its purpose to keep the Red Army facing shadows while the main action played out.

    Led by General Viktor Karpukhin (a veteran of the assassination of Josip Tito), the KGB Alpha and Vympel Groups were the crack special forces of the Soviet security forces. Made sure to be completely loyal to Kryuchkov, the most important portion of the coup was coordinated by Chebrikov and led by Karpukhin. The first move was an assault on the Kremlin, the defending Taman Guards largely standing down – though some didn’t and had to be dispatched by force – and General Secretary Yakovlev taken. Other detachments hit the residences and offices of key Yakovlev allies and important civil servants, capturing the main ones and killing several underlings that were too dangerous to leave alive as well as sowing chaos among the reformers. Many of the republic party apparatuses secured such as Pugo’s Latvia and Volodymyr Shcherbytsky’s Ukraine were fully behind the coup, the KGB paramilitaries advancing and detaining dozens of potential coup opponents and leaving the parties in control of the hardliners. After a lightning morning, enough of the Soviet state was under their control to allow the plotters to announce themselves to the world as the State Committee on the State of Emergency, announce Yakovlev’s resignation, suspend the new Glasnost rights, and declare martial law across the nation.

    With control over the Capitol, the Politburo, the state media, and the vast majority of republic and local branches of the Communist Party, the Committee had declared itself the sole legitimate government after little more than thirty-six hours. Yakovlev and his reformer allies had been detained in their dachas outside of Moscow, over a hundred others held in the KGB-operated Lefortovo Prison. Semichastny and Gorbachev, arguably as powerful as Yakovlev in soft power, were both under wraps though not under arrest. Much was left to be done for the Committee to secure their rule, however. A list of hundreds had been put together by the KGB, of people within the Party or the bureaucracy considered to have reformist ideologies – or those that could even attempt to challenge the Committee’s rule, given the Stalinist background of many of the new rulers of the USSR. With the Red Army pledging itself to the new regime and the Supreme Soviet (a body with no power but excellent propaganda value) voting in favor of the Committee, KGB and Interior Department forces took all “potential counterrevolutionary threats” into custody.

    A problem then manifested itself. What was the Committee to do with all those it arrested? Traditional Soviet doctrine dictated that there be a few show trials and executions, along with far more executions in the dank basements of Lefortovo Prison. Most of the underlings and coup supporters begged the Committee to undertake this, and it was the subject of great discussion within its meetings. It was a narrow decision, but Kryuchkov ultimately broke in favor of not conducting a repeat of Stalin’s purges. Maintaining internal order was too important, he felt, and decided on a polyglot course of imprisonments, house arrests (including Yakovlev), and reassignments to out of the way positions where they would still be useful but not a danger in the slightest. Thus, bloodshed was averted. Averted by the skin of its teeth, but averted nonetheless.

    Much as the western media would characterize the December Pustch as a bloody coup reminiscent of Stalin, the restraint ordered by the Committee resulted in rather little bloodshed – the bloodiest incident being a riot between Interior Ministry troops and nationalist protestors in Tashkent, seventeen dying when the soldiers fired into the crowd. However, such wasn’t the truth in the Soviet Union’s allies. In nations controlled by more moderate governments, the KGB had coordinated with conservative elements within the communist parties to launch coups of their own, which were often bloody. It was far worse in the Warsaw Pact nations already controlled by hardliners. As soon as the Committee declared itself the sole government of the USSR, security services went to work.

    Poland, the general election a year before having brought much of the opposition out of the shadows, was by far the bloodiest example. General Jaruzelski had been the first allied leader brought into the coup, and the tanks had barely entered Red Square before Solidarity leaders were being rounded up and summarily executed. Everyone within his government that backed the elections were arrested and charged with treason, Jaruzelski dissolving the Sejm (as well as any vestiges of democracy or non-authoritarian rule in the Polish state). Effectively, Stalinist rule with him as the complete dictator was the new order, no dissent to be tolerated.

    The vast majority of Solidarity’s leadership was dead or imprisoned, with its lower echelons going back underground – however, the biggest get had eluded Polish authorities to Jaruzelski’s anger and consternation. Lech Walesa had been tipped off of the coming raid in which he’d likely be shot in a dank basement outside of Warsaw. Donning a hat and simple workman’s outfit, he escaped into the streets and booked for the Vatican Embassy. After a conversation with Cardinal Wojtyła and Pope Leo, he was granted official asylum despite the Polish demanding that he be handed over. Knowing that Walesa wasn’t safe anywhere in Europe (the Italian Communists being even more under Moscow’s thumb following the departure of Enrico Berlinguer and the Eurocommunist Freyists), Pope Leo began a negotiation with Secretary of State Dick Cheney, who offered asylum in the United States for the Polish leader.

    Walesa was given a hero’s welcome upon arriving at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Tens of thousands of Polish Americans joined tens of thousands of other Chicagoans to cheer his arrival, waving Polish and American flags at a ceremony in which Vice President Gravel and Governor Durbin both heralded his arrival – John G. Schmitz had the privilege of being the first Western Journalist to interview Walsea, the interview breaking records in total listeners for an exclusively radio program. However, other opposition leaders weren’t as lucky. Chico Buarque, a popular folk musician and supporter of late Brazilian President Joao Goulart, went underground and disappeared for six months before surfacing in Caracas. Ebrahim Yazdi managed to escape to Turkey, but was killed by a lone gunman in what was widely felt as a favor conducted by Turkish communists for the Iranian government. Dozens of others couldn’t make it, gunned down in the streets, publicly executed, or just disappeared, hardline governments free to quash all dissenting voices now that Yakovlev was gone and the Committee giving their approval.

    Not all the Communist Bloc found hardline elements taking over or consolidating control following the December Coup. In Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu and the Securitate – utilizing the deep sources the powerful intelligence agency possessed within the KGB and Soviet Defense Ministries – quickly made sure the entire Romanian Communist hierarchy was composed of moderate loyalists. The Committee wasn’t fooled by all the sudden “heart attacks,” “brain aneurysms,” “health retirements,” and “extended tropical vacations” that popped up in Bucharest, but were unwilling to risk a Hungary or Yugoslavia popping up to suck Red Army resources. Ceausescu was safe and still committed to the Soviet Union by Romania’s geography, unwilling to break away for the same reason as the Soviets refrained from pushing for regime change.

    This wasn’t repeated in the Chinese sphere (nor in Mozambique or Somalia, where Samora Michel and Siad Barre began sending feelers to Entebbe and Kinshasa). Jiang Qing, meeting privately with Li Peng and Deng Xiaoping, determined that China needed to distance itself from Moscow and preserve its new trading relationship with the west. Most governments within China’s sphere of influence agreed, though North Korea resisted “Giving up the struggle against the imperialist swine.” This ended when Supreme Leader Kim il-Sung was found dead of an apparent stroke in his countryside palace. He was replaced by his 47-year-old son Kim Jong-Il, far more tractable and under the Chinese thumb. Moscow was dismayed by the newfound Sino-Soviet split, but had expected this and prepared accordingly.

    Reaction in the West was a mix between worried posturing and abject terror. Anti-communist protestors took to the streets across the western world, riots breaking out in several major cities when anti-war counterprotestors and the occasional communist mob mixed it up with them. Waves of panic buying were the norm, bomb shelters and duck and cover drills popularized during the Portuguese Crisis suddenly taking off again. All of this took a massive hit on the financial markets – the Dow crashed 600 points right out of the gate on the day of the coup, London, Paris, and Tokyo plunging an average of 21% of their value as well. After a six-hour teleconference with several NATO leaders, President Rumsfeld led the pack by announcing a week-long suspension of trading to ride out the storm, seeking to preserve the economy at the high point it had been at. Such efforts would largely work, but the market panic exemplified how the western public viewed the developments across the Iron Curtain.

    President Rumsfeld, addressing the nation, condemned the coup in the strongest possible terms – joined by every major NATO leader. Per this and a follow up briefing on the 24th by Secretary of Defense Bush and Secretary of State Cheney, all the progress that had marked Soviet-American relations since the election of Ronald Reagan was dashed. What hope at a peaceful conclusion to the Cold War evaporated, military recruitment and support for Freyist parties spiking. Within the inner workings of the West, Soviet defectors painted a picture of a close to collapsing economy and rising sectionalist/liberalizing sentiment that blossomed following the Polish election. The hardliners, knowing that collapse was around the corner, either by economic collapse or political upheaval – unless Focoist expansion was brought back. No compromise would be reached, no negotiations or summits scheduled. Détente had shattered, something not seen since the beginning of the Cold War replacing it.

    At the end of January, the Committee had felt enough time had passed – and their control was secure enough – to dissolve itself and reconstitute the Politburo. Each of the committee members were granted a key position by General Secretary Kryuchkov to hold on the Politburo Defense Council (effectively the sole governing body for the creation of national policy). Demichev was granted the Defense Ministry, Yazov moved laterally to control Industry. Pugo was put in charge of Interior (with Romanov taking over as Party Secretary), Pavlov made Chairman of the Moscow Party to replace the purged Boris Yeltsin. Yanayev rounded off the list to become Chairman of the Council of Ministers. Together, they ran the Soviet Union amongst themselves, importing their allies to run the other ministries and bloodless purging the Yakovlev allies to “count trees” in Siberia. Kryuchkov brought Viktor Chebrikov out of retirement to lead an even more powerful KGB, which was given even more oversight over the Red Army. Finance Minister Eduard Shevardnadze and Chairman of the Presidium Yegor Ligachyov were booted in favor of Yuri Maslyukov and Volodymyr Shcherbytsky respectively, Nikolai Ryzhkov taking over the crucial Agriculture and Petroleum portfolios at the same time. Veteran military officer Sergey Sokolov, who had masterminded the military modernization of the Red Army, was made Supreme Commander of the Red Army by Demichev and Akhromeyev in a move causing great fear and apprehension in the West.

    In the end, the only Politburo members remaining of the old ruling guard of reformers were Minister without Portfolio Semichastny (too well-loved by the people to purged), Minister of Foreign Affairs Gorbachev (kept on due to having a good rapport with the West, deemed necessary after removing Yakovlev), and Chairman of the Cultural Affairs Bureau Solzhenitsyn (not considered a threat). In addition, neutral-leaning Chairman of the Kazakh Party Dinmukhamed Kunayev had no real reason to be dismissed, having largely played off both sides though following the coup he began siding more and more with the remaining reformers. However, with Yakovlev resting in his private Dacha outside of Moscow, there was little the four could do to stop the former Committee from implementing their vision of Soviet greatness, one that was already making the world tremble.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  7. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Oct 2, 2015
    Good ol' USA
    On August 10, 1980, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was rocked by grievous news. Yahya Khan, longtime military leader and the President of Pakistan since 1968 had passed away, struck dead by a blood clot in his liver that led to sepsis. Two weeks of mourning were held across the nation, while flags were lowered to half-mast all over the British Commonwealth at the request of King Charles III, a show of respect for the leader of an independent commonwealth member. The King would personally attend Yahya Khan’s funeral, along with every leader of the Commonwealth and most from other countries (Vice President Ford would represent President Reagan in Islamabad). Over two hundred thousand people would gather to mourn him in the capitol, witnessing and seeing off a titan in Pakistan’s short history.

    Any Pakistani asked would likely rate Yahya Khan as one of the nation’s greatest leaders. Becoming the supreme commander of the Pakistani Military in 1966, he rose to the status of national hero by leading it to victory in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1967, the simultaneous Pakistani-Iranian offensive into Kashmir and Gujarat not one day after the Indians invaded East Pakistan largely his brainchild. Such fame and popularity made him the obvious successor for the outgoing Ayub Khan, who even with victory suffered from low approval and discontent among the populous. Luckily for the President, the shedding of East Pakistan to India rid him of having to solve reconciling the Bengalis with the majority Urdu west, but immense problems remained. Hindu populations in Kashmir and Gujarat were hostile to Pakistani rule, and the immense constitutional discontent loomed large. Acting quickly – and aided by his foreign policy with India that saw massive population exchanges and the Indian Diaspora – Yahya ended One Unit rule and reestablished provincial governments in a federalist separation of powers structure. Vast infrastructure and education programs were created, Yahya making rounds with all factions in power and assuring them that he would finally hold free elections as mandated in the Constitution. By 1971, the populace was largely satisfied and returned Yahya and his Pakistani Muslim League allies landslide victories in the Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

    After nine more years of chugging along as usual (both to benefit and detriment of the nation), the hole Yahya Khan left was not easily filled. The spirit of his first years in office had not been continued, any progress relegated to incremental gains that were still despised by the ruling military establishment that only tolerated the President because of loyalty and his popularity. Free from his commitment to a balancing act, they quickly moved to establish their hold on power. Though Yahya Khan felt in his later years that being replaced by a civilian was probably the best for the nation, he never made this public and as a result the military had no trouble in Army Chief of Staff Mirza Aslam Beg assuming the Presidency. One of the hardliners in the military and PML, he had opposed Yahya Khan’s social reforms and elimination of centralized rule – with Bengal now part of India, Beg reasoned, there was no need since the Urdu majority was even more firmly in control of the nation than before. Thus the backlash was swift when he pushed laws increasing centralized control and curtailing civil liberties. Martial law had to be declared for over six months in retaliation, no one willing to try to depose Beg.

    Kashmir, which had been disputed between the two sides since independence, saw relatively little insurgent activity. Most Hindus had known the area would be a battleground and fled as the war drums began beating, while others left for more hospitable areas while the borders were still open to emigres. Gujarat, which had been a surprise target by the Pakistanis, was another story. With Yahya Khan maintaining martial law and the aggressive policies of Muslim settlement, most Hindu Indians calling the province home that refused to leave resented their occupiers. Yahya Khan understood this resentment could be mediated by representation in the legislature (Gujarat’s proximity to the rest of the nation prevented the same issues that plagued East Pakistan). However, it was simply too early to do so until enough Muslims lived there and the province was fully integrated. Thus, he deployed significant numbers of troops to combat the Indian-backed insurgency. Consisting of terrorist attacks and irregular warfare that made the countryside dangerous and the cities often rocked with explosions and gunfire, they prompted brutal counterinsurgency policies from Pakistani forces.

    In 1980, political leaders in Gujarat led by Babubhai J. Patel formed he Gujarati League. Petitioning Yahya Khan for their inclusion into the larger nation, they issued what was called the Four Point Programme: 1. Pakistan would make the government secular, such as allowing a non-Muslim to become prime minister, 2. Pakistan will allow a Gujarati assembly will be formed, 3. New constitutional provisions will be introduced to prevent an "Islamization" of Gujarat and Pakistan, and 4. Pakistan will allow a referendum on Gujarat if the assembly votes on it. Though Yahya Khan promised to consider the demands he died before anything could be finalized. Beg was opposed in the strongest of terms, and responded by arresting the Gujarati League and sending more troops to the province, giving them even harsher orders to end the insurrection.

    With the fight against the insurgency sucking up more and more resources as Beg’s plan succeeded Yahya’s, support for the opposition to military/PML rule grew. The main opposition figure was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his Pakistani Progressive Party. Clearly socialist in their goals, Bhutto eschewed any pro-Soviet views he may have once had following Yahya’s death (the late President having sought good relations and shared goals) to avoid crackdowns by Beg. The Progressive manifesto centered around nationalization of key industries, a more neutral stance in foreign policy, increased social program funding, and preventing military leaders from jointly holding political office. His support increasing by the day, Bhutto and his allies greatly worried Beg, who began using the institutional power of the Presidency to stay in office. These underhanded tactics worked the PML retaining their majority in the legislature and Beg being reelected President in elections widely considered fraudulent. After demonstrations organized by the Progressives began to appear in major cities, Beg ordered Bhutto’s arrest for “Disrupting Lawful Government Activity.” The charges were a farce and would soon cause massive problems, but in the aftermath of the 1984 election managed to stabilize matters.

    In short, Beg and the Pakistani military’s continuation of the draconian counterinsurgency policies in the face of near open support for the rebels by the Indian government stemmed from a crucial piece of information provided to them by South Africa’s BOSS. Within the governing coalition a sort of political Cold War was occurring between two different factions – one headed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the other by her once favorite son, Minister without Portfolio Sanjay Gandhi, over various policy concerns but mostly regarding the direction the government was taking to maintain its power. After the near scare in 1980 – forcing the INC to form an alliance with the Bombay-based nationalist Shiv Sena – Indira and her allies in the party moved to secure their position. Laws were passed within the Lok Sabha to basically strip state and regional governments of all their power (except for Maharashtra, which was basically the personal fief of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray), imposing direct central rule of the country. Technically legal probes were launched by the National Police and the Justice Ministry, charging and imprisoning many politicians of the opposition and openly critical INC members with crimes ranging from corruption to rape. No one that mattered was really fooled, but by 1982 the government’s position was secure from the opposition or open rebellion of the party itself.

    Sanjay was formerly of this school, having in his capacity as Minister without Portfolio run major government programs on behalf of his doting mother, literally running major parts of the state along with his “Brain Trust” of young officials within the INC. However, the exposing of his compulsory sterilization initiative in a major journalistic scoop by the Daily Telegraph – which was one of the reasons the INC nearly lost the 1980 election – and a near-death experience when a small plane he was piloting crashed changed Sanjay. Humbled, he retreated to an extended vacation in the Andaman Islands to reflect on his downfall. Such caused him to reflect on the increasing authoritarian rule of his mother and himself, and brought the actions of Brazilian President Joao Goulart to his attention and admiration. Goulart had controlled the communists in his ruling coalition by allowing a “controlled opposition” of right-wing parties to maintain his position against communist confidence motions.

    Sanjay also agreed with the right-wing of the INC and Shiv Sena regarding their alliance with the Soviet Union. There was nothing to be gained in the long run, if his read on the stagnant economy was correct. India would be much better served allying with other growing economic powers such as China or the black African republics, and he saw the potential that India could be a superpower among them, rivaling the US in many ways. Sanjay’s vacation revelations would open his eyes, and bring him into conflict with his mother.

    Returning to New Delhi, Sanjay was firmly convinced of what he called soft rule, the allowing of dissent while arranging things so that the power of the ruler was never really in jeopardy. He didn’t communicate this initially, leading to an ecstatic Indira appointing him to lead various projects – one of them being the nation’s foundering nuclear program, which had sputtered for years following the 1967 war. However, Sanjay and the Brain Trust wasted no time in marshalling support among dissidents within the INC. Overtures were made to Shiv Sena and Thackeray, which found themselves in support of what Sanjay stated was his Six Point Plan: lessening state ownership of essential industries, eliminating the caste system, marshalling around a secular Hindu culture, full literacy, population stability, and developing a top tier military. The overtures were kept secret to prevent retaliation, but Sanjay soon brought more and more disagreements into the open after learning of Indira’s health problems, which had started in the early eighties and were getting increasingly worse. All he needed was a higher public standing.

    On February 16, 1985, the Indian military detonated a second sun over a barren desert landscape in Rajasthan – a 40 kiloton fission bomb named Arjun-I. After cleaning house at the nuclear program, Sanjay had delivered a massive victory for the Indian Republic, launching it into the pantheon of nuclear-armed powers and making India a force to be reckoned with. This solidified his new status as a national hero, allowing him and his faction to openly break with his mother and start a slow and methodical push for power. All groups involved in Sanjay’s faction knew that going up against Indira directly was political suicide, so they were content to wait for the Prime Minister’s health to deteriorate. Indira, her once favorite son now a hated black sheep, began to groom her younger son Rajiv to be her successor, setting up a potential succession crisis for when she finally did succumb to her various health issues.

    The political crisis developing in India was still far from boiling over. In Pakistan, it was already bubbling out of the pot. With the increasing casualties and public debt coming out of Gujarat – the insurgents careful to eschew terrorist attacks on non-military installations both in Gujarat and in the rest of the nation – the economy was in bad shape and corruption was rampant, Beg one of the most corrupt having stolen over $41 million over his tenure as President. With the Government’s steadfast refusal to entertain negotiating with the rebel political apparatus or instituting any of the Five-Point Initiative, efforts to reduce debt (with the constant human rights abuses and the teetering economy thanks to poor harvests on the Indus, foreign sources were tightening Pakistan’s borrowing) led to funds being taken out of domestic and welfare spending. From his prison cell, Zulfikar Bhutto called out for a general strike of the nation’s industrial workers which was promoted by the Progressives and the Pakistani Socialist Party. As July dawned and over 50% of workers left the factories and headed for the streets, the Government claimed that the strikes and protests had paralyzed the government and hurt the economy of the country greatly – the opposition claimed that these were excuses to implement a crackdown, and in truth it was a little bit of both. President Beg, advised by the hardliners and wolfsheds that made up the General Staff, suspended the Constitution and declared a State of Emergency on July 12, 1986.

    Citing a national emergency under the Pakistani Constitution, Beg began a massive crackdown on civil liberties and dissent that made Indira Gandhi look like Ronald Reagan. Strike leaders were arrested and brutalized, riot police called in to force the strikers to work – in some instances the confrontations would turn violent, police resorting to live ammunition. One hundred and seventeen strikers and thirty police would perish across the nation, thousands hospitalized. However, against what Beg and his advisors predicted the State of Emergency served as the final push to drive the people away from the successor to the beloved Yahya Khan. Crowds in the hundreds of thousands descended onto the streets of the major cities, anti-government and pro-Bhutto banners waving as they dared the government to take them down. Week after week passed as the country was paralyzed by the demonstrations, the military and its allies in the Muslim League growing less and less tolerant of Beg. Eventually, a group of officers descended on the Presidential Palace and demanded Beg leave office in a bloodless coup. Realizing his failure as the military was close to mutiny, he heeded the call.

    With Beg resigning in disgrace, the leadership of Pakistan passed on to Chief of the General Staff Tikka Khan. Realizing the fragile situation was nearing the breaking point, he knew swift action needed to be taken before the demonstrations and errant riots turned into a full-scale revolt against the government. By Presidential directive the State of Emergency was lifted, Tikka issuing a blanket pardon to all political prisoners jailed during the past months (except those that engaged in violence) – including Bhutto. Resigned to the fact that free elections would have to take place, elections that he and the other Muslim League leaders knew they would lose, Khan asked UK Prime Minister Colin Mitchell to mediate a political solution for their commonwealth ally.

    Foreign Secretary Margaret Thatcher arriving in Karachi in September, she and her staff quickly began brokering a series of secret conferences between Khan and his top Generals and representatives of the opposition – led by Bhutto’s Progressives, but comprising everyone from Islamists to Gujarati nationalists. The outcome in the end wasn’t in doubt, but the military used the fear of a potential coup in the aftermath of a Bhutto victory to extract several policy concessions from Bhutto. After getting ironclad commitments to maintain military spending, eschew nationalization of industry, back off from warming relations with the USSR, and not to prosecute top government officials in charge during the State of Emergency, the Karachi Agreement was finalized and Khan called a double election. On November 30th, a Presidential election under a two-round popular vote system was held and Bhutto defeated Khan in a landslide 64%-31% victory (he would show grace in victory, secretly appointing the former President to lead the nation’s nuclear weapons program). The Progressives found similar success in the legislative elections in January.

    The Progressive Party’s unified control over Pakistan brought significant changes to the country. Quickly allying with the Gujarati League (which had won twelve legislative seats in a mix of Hindu and local Muslim support), they ended martial law within the province while retaining a reduced military presence to assist local counterinsurgency forces in putting down the remaining rebels. A devolved legislative structure to grant Gujarat more domestic autonomy was put forth, as was Bhutto’s domestic agenda to liberalize the nation’s rather strict social and justice systems. Nuclear weapons funding was increased as the military was trimmed down, the constitution amended to prevent military officers from holding civilian office.

    In the most consequential move, Bhutto and the allied legislature began shifting away from their firm alliance with the United States. With the December Coup in the USSR leaving them and their Afghan allies sandwiched between Indira Gandhi’s India and Warsaw Pact Iran, they knew that a full alliance with the US meant disaster, and overtures were made to South Africa and the French Community, both of which were laying the groundwork for an extra-NATO alliance bloc. No one in the newly constructed Islamabad knew that Sanjay Gandhi was contemplating something similar.
    Since the end of WWII, fear of the threat of Communism and the Soviet Union had always been present in American culture - never since the Civil War had their been such a threat against the country, a hostile adversary embracing godlessness and armed with thousands of nuclear warheads. Following the second and third red scares, there had been a small lull thanks to the domestic turmoil of the civil rights era, the counterculture, and stagflation before it had reared its ugly head once more with the paranoia and mass preparedness (panic buying of bomb shelters and duck and cover drills in schools) that characterized the Portuguese Crisis. However, the era of detente under the Reagan Administration had largely abetted the fears. Hope was in the air, hope that the Cold War would end and the threat of nuclear holocaust was finally behind America.

    A sentiment that came to a crashing halt after the December Coup.

    As expected, the renewed fear and panic bled into the dominant culture. The techno-thriller phenomenon exploded in the literary world, authors such as Tom Clancy (military thrillers) or Micheal Crichton (sci-fi thrillers set in the Cold War backdrop) became instant bestsellers. Films, which had for the majority of the eighties had switched from the dark, introspective backdrop of the 1970s to a more airy and optimistic tone - romantic comedies and heroic action films dominated at the time - headed right back into a more somber mood. Much of this was thanks to the success of one specific film, The Terminator.

    Directed by film scion Lucy Arnaz with the cooperation of a young and unknown film director named James Cameron, the movie had been conceived and made prior to the events of December 1986 so the timing was nothing more than a lucky break. A lucky break it was, the premier date of Frederick Douglass Day weekend (the fourth Monday of January, a holiday proposed by Martin Luther King and passed during the Reagan Administration) shattering box office records as word of mouth had spread in the weeks prior. The Terminator would go on to gross $347 million dollars domestically and win six Academy Awards even despite the lackluster early predictions and unknown quantity of leading actor Arnold Schwarzenegger - the world-famous Austrian bodybuilder making his debut role in Hollywood.

    Its success was largely due to two things, one of them being the highly unique premise that made the film perfect to ride out the post-December Coup cultural shift. In the film, a collapse of arms reduction talks and the election of a hawkish American administration led to a resumption of Cold War hostility, both sides leaping into a technological arms race centering on advanced computer electronics. After a series of wide advances (explained in the 1995 sequel as being that of capture of future technology and espionage by the Soviets) the United States debuted its central control computer network in charge of coordinating all nuclear weapons and missile defense systems in the US military: Skynet. A fully integrated AI, it secretly became self-aware and deemed humanity a threat and abomination. Beginning back channel communications with the rival Soviet AI system KomKrol, the two joined forces and executed a simultaneous nuclear attack on the entire world. In decades of fighting, Skynet and Komkrol had nearly exterminated the human race in a global war pitting their machine army against the forces of mankind. Desperate to win, they sent one of their machines back in time (played by Schwarzenegger) to kill the mother of the military genius opposing them.

    Cameron, who conceived of the plot, said he had based it off the technology explosion, French advances, and President Rumsfeld's push for increased tech funding, something that tapped into the public consciousness. "This high technology, the public should know, isn't exclusive to the far future such as Star Trek. It's coming, sooner than one would think." It was deliciously unique and complex, and moviegoers rewarded the film for it.

    Audiences were also impressed by the acting gravitas of the cast, who despite not having any proven film superstars ended up possessing the best prowess of Hollywood. Schwarzenegger's thick accent and not-so-perfect grasp of English was mediated by his role's lack of speaking, his portrayal of the machine assassin gripping and near perfect. What out-shined the Terminator himself was the leading lady, played by the one and only Mariska Hargitay in her first film role since Taxi Driver. Playing the smart but carefree party girl Sarah Connor, the only daughter of wealthy parents living an unabashed life of debauchery in Los Angeles, she would find herself caught up in absolute hell by being the target of Skynet and KomKrol's AI assassin. Her only saving grace was the arrival of future solider Kyle Reese (portrayed by Back to the Future star Micheal J. Fox, who brilliantly broke from his comedic wheelhouse into the tortured and introspective action role), who saved her life and taught her how to survive - and in the stunning twist fathered her child and the future leader of the human resistance.
    The exciting action scenes employing innovative animatronics and the cerebral introspection focused on the nature of technological advancements during the downtime - coupled with the increased pessimism of the American public following the December Coup - the Terminator was one of the most popular and well regarded films of the entire decade. It launched the acting careers of its three leading roles, who won Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actor in the 1988 Oscars for their work on the film. Schwarzenegger, who never truly moved from Austria, was a hot commodity in Hollywood and in the budding German film industry. Despite his already large profile in the comedies Back to the Future and Family Ties TV series, Fox found his credibility as a serious dramatic actor reinforced. Though he continued to be a comedy star, he would jokingly say that the movie set him up as the "Inverse Leslie Nielsen." The Canadian Prime Minister would only laugh heartily upon hearing that.

    It would be Mariska Hargitay, in the aftermath, that found the most success. Taxi Driver had seen her only as a child, and the ensuing fame had caused the overprotective Jayne Mansfield (clinging to her children after Mickey Hargitay's death) to forbid further film roles until she graduated from college. While she did end up graduating from UCLA, this didn't keep the talented and rambunctious Hargitay from landing a television role on the popular show Cheers, where she played the love interest and eventual wife of show regular Dr. Frasier Crane, played by Kelsey Grammer (a role which would continue in both leading and recurring roles till 2003 in Cheers and its spinoff Fraiser). Though popular from this, Hargitay would become Hollywood's hottest commodity in the aftermath of The Terminator, the tide of history continuing to the ultimate conclusion.
    Following the disaster the Republicans faces following the 1986 midterms, President Donald Rumsfeld quickly and quietly hustled off to Camp David to plot his new strategy. Chief of Staff Henry Hyde had already indicated that he was seeking to resign due to presiding over the Special Prosecutor investigation of George Ryan and the White House staff (also causing Fraser Robinson to be defeated by Dick Durbin as Governor of Illinois). Rumsfeld, considering Hyde an irreplaceable ally, nevertheless agreed to his assessment and accepted his resignation. In Hyde’s place came Mitch McConnell, a wily political operative from Kentucky who had chaired Louis B. Nunn’s successful 1974 Senate reelection campaign and Rumsfeld’s 1984 campaign. He was known in Washington for mixing a folksy charm with utter ruthlessness and cunning, which the President deemed he needed. Upon appointment as Chief of Staff, he, Rumsfeld, Gravel, and new WH Communications Director Lee Atwater began plotting a strategy for the coming age of divided government.

    First, it was decided that a conciliatory attitude was needed to secure any form of progress in the next two years. Rumsfeld extended the olive branch a week after the midterms, inviting the Democratic, Republican, and Progressive leadership to the White House for a lighthearted lunch. Politics wasn’t discussed, the group of men and their wives seeking common accord and building friendships. The President would forge a lasting relationship with Speaker Inouye, a friendship that would maintain a cordial atmosphere between Pennsylvania Avenue and the Hill even during the most partisan of times. Further meetings would be scheduled to chart out a combined agenda. Since further entitlement reform was out of the question, the Democrats were satisfied and felt posturing against the President was counterproductive. They finally had a seat at the table after a decade and wanted to put their stamp on policy.

    Rumsfeld was gifted with a chance to set the agenda on favorable ground relatively quickly with Justice Warren Burger, having served on the Supreme Court since being appointed by President Nixon in 1962, announcing his retirement in January 1987. Acting quickly, the President nominated California Supreme Court Justice and former congressman Daniel Lungren to the Court. While conservative, Rumsfeld and Chief of Staff McConnell chose well in a nominee that wasn’t a lightning rod of criticism as was James Meredith or Phyllis Schlafly. Though Progressive Senator Pat Leahy brought up criticism for rulings seeming in support of the controversial Briggs Amendment, Lungren satisfied many with his answer mentioning his belief in the rule of law and that the public was free to change the law, not judges. He was confirmed 89-8 in April.

    While confirming a Supreme Court Justice (his second so far), Rumsfeld needed a major legislative win. Something that he could point to as his main legacy, a legacy he could be proud of. Nixon had the Civil Rights Act, Wallace had Amcare, and Reagan had the repeal of the Pendleton Act and the line-item veto amendment. With congress controlled by the opposition, the legacy legislation needed to be something all parties could coalesce around. Luckily, Rumsfeld had just the thing. A cause he had been passionate about and one that First Lady Joyce Rumsfeld had made her personal cause – world hunger, and by extension the agriculture industry.

    The concept of world hunger had blossomed into the public eye in the past decades. Famines had rocked the third world, over twenty million dying in Africa and ten million in Asia thanks to the persistent crop failures and civil turmoil that wracked the third world. Years of mismanagement had hurt the grain fields in the USSR, China, and India, while the rapid introduction of old collectivist doctrine by the hardline Communist regimes taking over in South America greatly hurt the agricultural output of the Pampas. The worldwide shortages greatly elevated food prices, farmers in the United States, Australia, and Europe (and to a lesser extent Japan and the Middle East, that found the massive shortages a boon for their struggling industries that Yukio Mishima, Yitzhak Rabin, Moshe Dayan, Anwar Sadat, and Saddam Hussein took advantage of) experiencing untold prosperity as a result. However, the current pace was unsustainable according to experts in agribusiness, academia, and the Department of Agriculture. Right now, the farmers of the West could both feed their own countries at decent prices with enough of a surplus for the rest of the world, but soon the surpluses would disappear on the current trajectory. If something wasn’t done, there would either be a hike in food prices (and therefore an economic crisis) or mass starvation.

    Rumsfeld had wished to tackle this issue even before running for President, one of the key initiatives of his tenure as Governor of Illinois revolving around improving the yields of state farmers through innovative solutions. This had been where he met Norman Borlaug, and the admiration and respect developed through their work on the Illinois Farmer’s Assistance bill led to the appointment of the Iowa native as Secretary of Agriculture. Making it his duty to aid farmers in increasing crop yields (often going into the field personally), the former researcher found that the intense regulation and constriction of the Department’s efforts stymied efforts. While Social Security Reform was bogging down in Congress, Borlaug created an Agriculture Council with Rumsfeld’s blessing – comprising the best minds in the nation when it came to this issue. It took a year and a half for the report to be finalized, and once it did the Secretary of Agriculture found the President more than receptive.

    As the Senate found its leadership shake up – Strom Thurmond resigning as Majority Leader due to age and John Chafee resigning as Minority Leader due to the 1986 midterm loss, to be replaced by Wayne Owens and William Quinn respectively – Rumsfeld spoke to a crowd of Iowa farmers in Fort Dodge, a perfect backdrop. He called for legislation to invest in a new age of agriculture, for a federal, state, and private partnership to boost crop yields with the same Green Revolution techniques that Borlaug had helped implement in Mexico, and for a concentrated effort by the United States and its allies to end world hunger through a specific plan. To do this, Rumsfeld put the spotlight on Congress to act on what was being called “Green Trek” by the media in reference to Star Trek.

    Though the goal was laudable and broadly supported among the public, its submission to Congress created great controversy. Many on the left, led by Paul Erlich, attacked the law as flawed since it had no population control initiatives. Without means to lower growth and create sustainable populations, he argued, trying to increase crop and livestock yields would be an exercise in futility. However, the leaders of the Progressive Party had attended meetings with Vice President Gravel, who brought the largely rural, farming constituency representatives to back the bill, giving it a major boost going into congressional negotiations. Fundamentally, no one could argue against supporting farmers and ending world famine – Green Trek would pass overwhelmingly, handing Rumsfeld a major win.

    Despite calls from liberal Democrats and budget hawks to raise taxes to offset the massive expenditures the act was instituting, Rumsfeld heeded McConnell’s call to stick to his campaign promise of “No New Taxes.” Brushing off the demands of the Washington smart set and the uproar that would ensue couldn’t compare to what would await the President if he betrayed such an important promise to his base – of which he would heed. The budget deficit would increase to $150 billion after ten years of lowering shortfalls, yet the Administration deemed the spending worth the risk.

    Looking to build goodwill, Rumsfeld also picked up on legislative proposals from the new majority in Congress. Meeting with Senator John Glenn of Ohio (along with Republicans Harrison Schmidt and Alan Shepard, who were both Glenn’s former NASA crewmen), the President was animated by a proposal by Glenn for a new office, one that would fund technological development in the United States similar to the policies of former French President of the Council Jacques Cousteau. While it would get tripartisan support, right-wing members of the Democrats and Republicans along with many western Progs opposed what was being debated as too costly given the massive military spending as well as Green Trek. A compromise was hashed out to create a National Endowment for the Technologies, which passed overwhelmingly.

    The new NET was then integrated into the White House through direction of President Rumsfeld alongside the NES and NEA. Since the mission overlapped with the NES, the executive orders structured it to fund engineering research as well as startup technology firms. “We hope today begins a new age, one that shines with the glinting metal and low whirr of the next generation of machines,” Vice President Gravel would say to an audience in Houston, Texas, where the first NET grant was given to a startup oil-technology and investment firm called Enron – a company that the world would be seeing quite a lot of in the future.

    However, the bipartisanship didn’t extend to the entire dealings between congress and the President. The Democrats and Progressives sought to be aggressive with their policies, while Rumsfeld, Cohn, and Quinn used every tool in their arsenal to keep disliked legislation from being passed. Filibusters coordinated with southern Democrats stymied socially liberal acts (such as gun control, improving access to abortion, and homosexual rights), while Rumsfeld deployed his veto and line-item veto pen constantly at Democrat attempts to sneak increased appropriations through spending bills. A carefully crafted tax bill increasing rates on corporations and imports was slammed through on Senate procedure, only for Rumsfeld to utilize a pocket veto to halt it in its tracks. Given the acrimony of both these fights and the Social Security reform battle of Rumsfeld’s first two years, it was nothing short of amazing that the different parties could accomplish so much.

    The single greatest problem facing Rumsfeld had nothing to do with congress. After eight years of détente and warming relations with its Cold War rival, the United States found itself facing as or more threatening and belligerent a power as pre-WWII Germany and Japan could ever have been. With the USSR securing a firmer bloc of alliances among its communist rivals, Secretary of State Dick Cheney made the rounds among NATO and other alliance blocs. Meanwhile, Rumsfeld and his national security team (Secretary of Defense George Bush, National Security Advisor Oliver North, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Hal Moore) were faced with a similar yet achingly different strategic picture than before. Unexpectedly, the Soviets had not renounced any of the arms reduction treaties that had been negotiated. While surprising, Rumsfeld decided he could not afford to take a hit in world opinion and kept the United States on the pace of arms cuts as well. However, such wasn’t the same regarding conventional weapons. As urged by Bush, Congress passed a 20% increase in military spending. It was needed. From South America to the Kola Peninsula the Soviet and Warsaw Pact militaries were massing. All the Yakovlev-era drawdowns were reversed and troop concentrations expanded. Moscow said that it was merely defensive, but no one was taking any chances.

    Despite the global scope of the Warsaw Pact buildup, the National Command Authority never dropped the ball on where the focus of any conflict with the USSR would be – Europe. NATO forces there were multinational and powerful, but tradition left the commander of any force there to be an American officer. With forty-seven years of service, General Bernard W. Rogers was retiring, necessitating a new appointment as SACEUR. While it had always been part of the job, what faced both America and NATO wasn’t a chance but a high likelihood of war with the Warsaw Pact. The decision to choose a replacement was not taken lightly, and for over a month the NATO nations waited for the decision out of Washington. After great consideration, Rumsfeld, Bush, and Moore had found their man.

    A decorated veteran from the Vietnam War, General Colin Powell was just coming off a strategic planning desk at the Pentagon when Rumsfeld interviewed him for the position. Born to poor immigrants in Harlem, Powell was an American success story and Rumsfeld felt that he was getting both a brilliant military mind and the perfect face for the Western military, showcasing America’s racial progress to the world. Approved of by all the European allies, Powell used the immense powers granted him by the new NATO command structure by taking an ax across many departments. Though not as pervasive as in Warsaw Pact or Third World militaries, NATO possessed its own share of incompetents and political appointees and the General of the Army (Rumsfeld and Bush resurrecting the five-star rank to give SACEUR extra pull in the political dick measuring his job would entail) had none of it. Nine corps level commanders were sacked, and this was just at the top of the command structure.

    The appointment of competent officers to replace the detritus was followed by more and more reinforcements and supplies arriving onto the mainland to counter the Soviets. NATO forces, anticipating the worst and not taking any chances, began preparing a maze of defenses and prepared positions for which to block any Soviet advance, the prevailing strategy being of defense in depth in Europe while going on the offensive within the Communist Empire’s periphery. While the US and UK stuck to their volunteer armies, France reinstituted conscription and the other states broadened their share of eligible soldiers. Greece, cut off by the Communist Balkans, made every citizen between ages sixteen and fifty-five eligible for conscription as it turned itself into a fortress in the face of Warsaw Pact attack.

    In West Germany, a sea change of public opinion was occurring. While the December Coup had shocked the entire world, nowhere was it more acutely felt than there. It seemed to validate everything Gerhard Frey had said, and provided just the jolt to the national psyche needed for it to reach the breaking point. Der Spiegel conducted a poll of Germans in March of 1987, and the results stunned the nation:

    What is your voting intention in the next election?
    SPD: 25%

    Freiheitspartei: 50%

    FDP: 10%

    Other: 5%

    Don’t Know: 10%

    Do you agree with Gerhard Frey’s contention that Germany should be the “bastion, fortress, and militia of human liberty”?

    Yes: 82%

    No: 18%

    Do you believe in a restoration of the German Imperial Family in a constitutional monarchy as proposed by Bundestag member Christian Schwarz-Schilling?

    Yes: 45%

    No: 45%

    Don’t Know: 10%

    With the German federal election scheduled for that year, the entire world was watching.
    Of all the NATO countries, only the United States possessed a greater international role than the United Kingdom. Tasked with protecting both far-flung overseas territories and a diverse array of Commonwealth allies, perhaps the main task was that possessed by the Royal Navy. Large as it was, the US navy only had so much in tonnage and had to be supplanted by the RN, which had lost the massive advantage it had even as late as WWII. Still, the resistance to budget cuts during the Macleod and Brown Ministries and the increased funds in the Amery Ministry had left it only half the size of the USN. Except for the Liberal Party – while official policy was pro-Diplomatic solution to the world’s messes, a significant portion supported budget cuts for the military – most of both the Conservative and Labour parties were significantly hawkish, ready to take the fight to the Soviet Union if it came to that.

    A decorated war veteran, culminating in a command during the Yom Kippur War that made him a national hero, Prime Minister Colin Mitchell found himself in his element. A champion of the military and the Commonwealth Alliance, Mitchell made sure to find partners within the Conservative Party who shared his vision. When Defence Secretary Julian Amery announced his retirement in 1986, Mitchell selected MP and political scion Winston Churchill (the grandson of the famous Churchill) to take his place – having impressed the Prime Minister with his handling of a lesser milistry, the symbolism nevertheless played a part in Churchill’s appointment and it caused weeks of good headlines for the Government. Churchill was vital in “Mad Mitch’s” effort to pass several bills through Parliament to reform the military into a force with global scope, a mindset put into place after Mitchell, Churchill, and Foreign Secretary Margaret Thatcher visited Paris for a discussion with French PM Mitterrand – a meeting that would see the French committing troops to the continent and the British reinforcing garrisons in Guyana and the Middle East as well as keeping rapidly deployed forces at home. Viewing the Royal Navy and RAF as the tools to defend the British Iles, Mitchell saw the Army as not a force for mass land battles but as an easily deployable force to any conflict it needed to go. Since Britain was forced to take a global role but didn’t have the resources to maintain massive forces – especially given Mitchell’s supply-side agenda to revive the economy – he and new Labour leader Denis Healey collaborated to restructure the military, which was well on the way to completion by 1987.

    A very highly charged portion of the campaign occurred late in the game, only two weeks before the election. Welsh Labour MP and shadow Defence Secretary Neil Kinnock gave an interview to the BBC in which he stated that one of Labour’s alternative warfighting strategies was "using our national resources to make any occupation totally untenable.” While the military were planning for such an occurrence, it was done behind closed doors and the Conservative campaign jumped on the statement. Prime Minister Mitchell commented it as “Giving up before the first shot,” Churchill saying “We still have a powerful military, Neil,” and Thatcher charging “I do not understand how anyone who aspires to Government can treat the defence of our country so lightly." While it hurt Labour greatly, Healey managed to turn the affair into one that elevated his image as a strong leader by immediately sacking Kinnock from his position, replacing him with noted anti-Soviet hardliner Roy Mason (who was well known for being Richard Crossman’s NI Secretary). Public perception of Healey would improve going down to the wire.

    As the results trickled in, it was clear that the British public indicated their affirmation of the status quo. Prime Minister Mitchell’s foreign policy and leadership through the post-December crisis were popular, and the Tories maintained their majority position in Scotland for the second time in a row. The Liberals lost seats, largely due to a backlash for their more dovish views with the electorate taking a hawkish turn. In the opposition benches, what was speculated to be double digit losses due to Mitchell’s popularity instead was an eleven seat gain by Labour – this was largely attributed to the strong campaign by Denis Healey, who stumped hard in English industrial seats that narrowly swung to the Tories in 1984. Tales of a permanent Conservative majority quietly began to peter out based on the performance, attention turning back to the continent as the Commonwealth readied for war.

    Already a popular and well-known figure prior to his political career, Prime Minister Leslie Nielsen possessed broad political capital to implement his agenda – and outpoll the party brand of the Progressive Conservatives while doing it. Proclaiming public cronyism and bloated bureaucracy a scourge, he rejected patronage and rammed comprehensive civil service reform through modeled after the Reagan model. The deficit was cut through a series of spending reductions, while still being able to pass the tax cut promised during the campaign. Having been rewarded by Quebec voters handsomely in 1984, Nielsen moving to negotiate a series of constitutional amendments in the Rivière-du-Loup Accords to both calm separatist sentiment and recognize Quebec’s unique standing in Canada. And lastly, he met President Rumsfeld in a state visit to Washington D.C. to negotiate the Canadian American Free Trade Agreement. While the achievements were not always popular, no one could deny that the former Airplane star didn’t have a successful premiership.

    In the opposition benches, the situation was dire. With Nielsen’s initiatives crossing left-right divides and reaching broad consensus with the public – as well as his still strong favorability – the Liberals found themselves mired in a leadership struggle. After defeated Prime Minister Herb Grey resigned, the Liberal establishment recruited former Deputy PM John Turner (famous for successfully carpetbagging to a Vancouver seat to win western voters to the Liberals). Initially thought to be the most electable choice, Turner’s underwhelming attempts as charisma failed to land blows against Nielsen. In came former cabinet minister Jean Chretien, who had run against Turner in the 1984 leadership race. Having been snubbed by the party establishment despite having the more enthusiastic campaign, Chretien’s appeal among the left and his being from Quebec (which had swung hard right in 1984) brought several Liberal powerbrokers to his side. Having never truly stopped running, Chretien initiated a leadership review in 1985. To topple Turner, Chrétien used Turner's penchant for heavy drinking to spread rumors that Turner was too drunk most of the time to effectively lead the Liberals to power – in a vitriolic battle, Chretien came out victorious.

    The Liberal disunity proved to be a perfect opening for the New Democratic Party. Largely purged of the old social democratic elements thanks to election defeats and retirements, leader Ed Broadbent marshalled a small yet united caucus of minaprogressive MPs from mostly the western provinces. While the Turner/Chretien feud consumed the Official Opposition even after the latter won the leadership election, the NDP seized the mantle of opposing the Tories, eschewing attacks against Nielsen in favor of attacking the policies as “devoid of empathy” and “Surrendering our National Identity.” The benefit of the new ideological strategy was that Broadbent and the NDP weren’t boxed in to the far-left, able to reach out to normally right-wing libertarian voters.

    Such came to the forefront after the December Coup. As the dust settled on the new world NATO found itself in, Nielsen brought forward the Canadian Forces Act. Designed to bring Canada in compliance with the NATO Forces Agreement, it would increase the Canadian Navy threefold and the Army twofold to meet its commitment – and calling an early election to seek a mandate. The Liberals were divided between their two wings, the right in favor and the left opposed, leaving Broadbent to steal the show. In a speech that was praised as one of the best of the decade, he announced his support for the naval expansion but not for the Army one, stating “We must not even appear to be asking for a war unless one is necessary, the balance between proclaiming the peaceful intentions of the Canadian people and being ready to defend our homeland and assist our allies one that I believe must be found.” The speech boosted his popularity at the right moment in the campaign.

    With the Canadian Parliament increasing in size, the Progressive Conservatives saw a strong drop in their total popular vote as center-left voters that were drawn in to the popular Nielsen jumped ship. However, those voters failed to return to the Liberal fold – while they gained a dozen seats and won a plurality of the vote in Atlantic Canada, the lingering Liberal infighting and the continuing popularity of the Nielsen government in Quebec kept them from making a strong comeback to their 1984 disaster. The lingering resentment Western voters felt for gaffes out of the Grey Ministry were played well by the Tories, keeping Liberal margins in the west at an all-time low.

    While Nielsen secured a powerful mandate for the Canadian Forces Act and CAFTA, the story of the day was Ed Broadbent. Though third, his popularity among the electorate increased exponentially with his strong campaign. Left-wing voters in the west flocked to the NDP as well as many swing voters upset with the free trade policies and military hawkishness of the Tories – minaprogressivism seeming like the perfect balance between smaller government and left-wing policies. Gaining twenty-seven seats and winning a plurality of the seats in British Columbia, Broadbent was well on his way to being a force in the nation’s politics.

    The newly militant USSR hit the Israeli public just as hard as Western Europe. While not threatened by the Soviet Union itself, Pakistan’s neutral course and the specter of Iran and Syria right on their borders had West Jerusalem sweating bullets. Unlike Egypt, Syria had never dropped its hatred of the Jewish State, Hafez al-Assad coveting the rich lands of the Jordan River Valley on both the Israeli and Jordanian side. Meanwhile, while the Tudeh government of Khosro Golsorkhi (having taken over following the death of Noureddin Kianouri) wasn’t inherently anti-Semitic, but raised the specter of Jewish perfidy to appease the deeply Islamic sentiment of the populace. Each possessed massive standing armies pointed right at the heart of the Middle East. Moderate governments in the USSR kept them in check, but with the hardliners in charge the calculus was different.

    Prime Minister Moshe Dayan was not the right-wing ideologue that his predecessor Menachem Begin was, having switched parties to become a Gahal MK following the party’s electoral victory in 1970 – this was reflected in his domestic policies. However, in foreign policy he kept the party’s base satisfied with a hardline stance in opposing the Soviet Union and its expansionist and anti-emigration policies. This was not controversial, for Mapai leader and former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin supported this as well following Kryuchkov suspending Yakovlev’s exit visa lottery for Jewish emigrants (limited as it was). However, tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors was at an all-time low. Dayan’s support of the Christian government in Lebanon against insurgents backed up by Syria and Iran drew protests from the Jordanian, Iraqi, and Saudi governments. They didn’t support the insurgents, but were steamed with oppressive methods by the Lebanese government against the Muslim plurality in the nation. Protests were lodged against Dayan for this, but the Prime Minister refused to heed them – bucking President Rumsfeld as well, who supported the Arab request.

    Rabin, with a general election on the way, made building better links with the US and their Arab neighbors for defense purposes a top priority. Polls were tight until a series of financial scandals among senior Gahal backbenchers seriously damaged Dayan’s campaigning on his image of being the warrior statesman. As the charges of a “Culture of Corruption” at the most dangerous time in Israel’s history began flying about from Mapai, a top-secret defense memo was release to Haaretz, detailing a strategy of arming the controversial Lebanese State Militia forces, which had participated in several human rights abuses. Nothing had ever been done by the Dayan Ministry, but the resulting fear of the Arab allies abandoning Israel proved to be Dayan’s undoing.

    Scandals hitting the government at the worst possible time, that and the memo leak were the final nails in Dayan’s coffin as his second stint as Prime Minister came to an ignominious end. Losing eight seats in the northern Galilee and suburban Tel Aviv, Dayan would accept his defeat and resign as leader of Gahal in favor of Foreign Minister Moshe Arens, who would succeed him in a tight leadership contest between him and Defense Minister Yitzhak Shamir. Meanwhile, on the heels of his decisive win, Rabin’s first order of business was to invite Israel’s Arab neighbors to West Jerusalem to firm up any alliance against the Iranian-Syrian axis. The military preparation policies put in place by Dayan were continued in spades, Israel knowing that war would come, a war that could very well destroy them.

    Armed with a powerful mandate, the Liberal/National Coalition government of John Howard planned on continuing the success of its first term (though the first year had been under former Prime Minister Andrew Peacock, now recovered from his assassination attempt and serving as a cabinet minister). Knowing they had limited time to push forward with their agenda, Howard announced and secured passage of massive labour reform, which he dubbed WorkChoices. Lambasted by the opposition and immediately hurting the Coalition’s numbers, the Prime Minister saw it through as meaningful reform and a worthwhile choice. Meanwhile National Party leader Joh Bjelke-Petersen, being Defence Minister as well as Deputy Prime Minister, conducted the Australian commitment with the gusto of a far younger man. Coordinating with the Philippine government of President Gerry Roxas, he gave free reign for the Australian Army commanders to engage in whatever operations they needed to deliver victory. Such would largely work, fighting on Mindanao against the socialist insurgents dying out by the Summer of 1986.

    Being very divisive, WorkChoices would have normally been a means for Labor to take a decisive lead over the government. However, the opposition was mired in a heated civil war. Leader John Button had been under fire since losing the 1985 election, considered an underwhelming spokesman for the party and viewed as a placeholder by many in the labor, left, and right wings of the caucus. The opponents of his leadership were disorganized at best, no one of consequence willing to take the plunge – until Premier of South Australia Bob Hawke announced his intention to challenge Button in December 1985. Hawke, who’s machine virtually owned his home state, was in a league of his own within the Labor Party – the most popular political figure in the country, five points ahead of the Prime Minister, relegated to second-place. Seeing the writing on the wall, Button announced his resignation as opposition leader and the Party unanimously voted Hawke into the position.

    Immediately, a five-point Coalition lead turned into a seven-point deficit. Initially having planned for a snap election in July to get a mandate for WorkChoices, Howard and Bjelke-Petersen scrapped that in the face of Hawke’s popularity. They would be forced to admit that the popular former union President was unbeatable at this point – the only hope being to wait it out and pray the bump dissipated. Such kept them going until the December Coup in the USSR, the resulting crisis in the West elevating Howard’s leadership strengths to the forefront and making them confident to call for a double dissolution election for July. With the Coalition running hard on the economy and Howard’s mastery of foreign affairs, Hawke knew that despite his – pun not intended – hawkishness, domestic issues was his ticket into the Lodge and ran on them, painting WorkChoices as slave labor and the three year old Goods and Services tax as helping the rich over the needy. Campaigning with a vigor not seen in Labor leaders since Gough Whitlam in 1972, he had managed to harness union strength and his own personal popularity to lead the Coalition 51-49 in the final Newspoll survey.

    The clash of the Titans ended up being fought to a relative draw for the most part. Banking on his immense popularity amongst the people, Hawke brought Labor back from the brink, gaining twelve seats in the rural and lower-middle class regions that had swung hard to the Coalition under Peacock and Howard. South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Victoria, and Papua New Guinea all had a Labor two party preferred majority and seat majorities, granting Hawke over a hundred thousand vote lead over Howard in the national vote. However, strong performances in New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania kept the Coalition’s majority (one seat falling to the centrist Australian Democrats). Howard was seen as a steady hand, someone that could see the country through the chaos that the world was going through. Fundamentally, the only way Hawke could have won was to make the public doubt Howard’s leadership, which he failed to do.

    Gracious in victory, Howard invited Hawke to the Lodge for a day’s long “Strategy Session” regarding the possible outbreak of hostilities and the likely unity government that would come out of it. Australia was largely safe, but with both parties committed to honoring the ANZUS alliance and the Commonwealth Defence Pact there was no doubt that the nation would fight. The Military Readiness Act, introduced to Parliament by Howard and Hawke personally, was passed 148-2. Even after the divisive election Australia was united and ready.

    Unlike its neighbor to the northeast, the Italian Republic never owed the sense of political stability and security that the French Fourth Republic had following DeGaulle’s constitutional reforms. By the early 1980s the former had settled into a stable dichotomy between the right-wing Front National and the left-wing Four-Party Alliance. The latter continued in a state of disarray, largely due to the inescapable rock-and-a-hard place constraints put in place by the main left-wing party, the Italian Communists (PCI). Unlike in the other nations of the west – or the French Communists, which distanced themselves from Moscow to stay relevant – the PCI was organized, popular among the working class in north and north-central Italy, and it maintained a succession of charismatic leaders that kept it a working concern in election after election. Throughout the decades it took herculean effort by the US State Department and British Foreign Office to put together anti-communist coalition governments throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

    With the PCI under its radical young leader Giangiacomo Feltrinelli holding an adapted Marxist-Leninist and pro-Soviet line, the pro-NATO rightist and leftist parties knew the stakes and kept managing to come together. Nevertheless, it was often a very close call, governments unstable and shaky at best. With the succession of ever pro-Soviet leaders in the PCI letting them into any possible government was nonnegotiable to all but the most radical members of the Italian Socialist Party, not that they made a difference. At the center was the generally center-right Christian Democracy. Standard in its views among the European center-right, its coalition with the more right-wing Social Movement lasted until the 1974 election where a robust performance by the Communists toppled the right-wing government and forced CD to seek a coalition with the socialists. This worked, the more centrist Guilio Andreotti resigning as Prime Minister and being replaced with the center-left Aldo Moro.

    Moro had his plate full managing the restless coalition. The Socialists demanded further and further concessions that made the CD right balk, while the in opposition Social Movement and the united PCI threw no-confidence motions at him every six months. To top it off, the Soviets were emboldened by their success in fomenting unrest in Germany – leading to the suicide of Chancellor Franz-Josef Strauß and the collapse of the CDU – began pouring KGB resources into terrorist groups and Foco paramilitaries within Italy. The ensuing violence would come to be known as the Years of Lead, over five-thousand civilians murdered in incidents from small-town shootouts to massive terrorist strikes that rocked the country to its core. The most devastating hit the government itself, Prime Minister Moro being kidnapped in December 1977 following Christmas Mass.
    Efforts to negotiate with the Red Brigade terrorist group for his release were for naught, leading to a joint Italian/French/German assault force (Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and Council President François Mitterrand pledging to save their close friend) attacking the South Italy compound where Moro was being kept – it was a disaster, the terrorists detonating the hillside villa with concealed explosives, killing themselves, a quarter of the assault team, and Moro. With the country in mourning, former Prime Minister Andreotti was brought out of retirement to lead the Christian Democracy Coalition into new elections after the Socialists joined the PCI in a motion of no confidence. They were very nearly a disaster. The Communists, despite the violence, rode an ill-advised crackdown policy by the government to become the largest party in the Chamber of Deputies. Luckily, they were prevented from forming a coalition with the Socialists due to the latter’s collapse. All due to the efforts of I Piccoli Pomodori – the Little Tomatoes.

    Enrico Berlinguer was a rarity in the Communist Internationale. Following the Stalinist purges and later the post-Prague Spring purges, there was little dissent between the Marxist-Leninist/Focoist/Maoist dogma that marked the mainstream of world communism. Thus, waves had been made when then Deputy National Secretary Berlinguer led his handpicked delegation to dissent from the official platform at the 1969 World Communist Conference in Moscow, stunning the PCI leadership and the other representatives present – in a speech at the 1971 conference, he condemned the Invasion of Yugoslavia as an “Evil perversion of human rights that all socialists should condemn.” The charming Italian had been a rising star within the Party up to then, and he was far too popular for his horrified superiors to purge, but the leadership began to sideline him of important positions, eventually causing him to lose a bid for leadership to Feltrinelli in 1975. Nevertheless, he remained personally popular and began to form a group of supporters that were called the Little Tomatoes by the Italian press.

    Essentially, Berlinguer had been greatly affected by the increased authoritarianism and militarism coming from Moscow and Havana. He had always been a supporter of democracy, praised Prague Spring, and guilt burned inside him from the Invasion of Yugoslavia (he would write in his memoirs that it felt that he personally had killed Tito and the others). Reading Das Freiheitreich and meeting with Gerhard Frey, he began to be swayed by Freyism as an antidote to the inherent tyrannical nature that communism held. In an address to the party faithful in 1977, he urged the PCI to abandon traditional Marxism-Leninism and reorient to what he called “Eurocommunism.” He and his supporters framed Eurocommunism as isolationist, pro-social democracy, anti-totalitarian, and pro-human rights, but it got nowhere with the hardline leadership and Berlinguer found himself sacked from his main positions. Once Aldo Moro was killed and the PCI Politburo condemned President Ronald Reagan’s call for an arms reduction summit, it was the last straw for Berlinguer. Along with his supporters, he announced his resignation from PCI and his intent to form a new party for the upcoming elections, which he named Libera Sinistra Democratica – the Free Democratic Left.

    His popularity failed to break out due to PCI loyalty and a suspicion to Freyism, but LSD managed to get 7.4% of the vote and forty deputies – all credited Berlinguer for stopping an outright Communist takeover along with the Socialist Party (its leadership being from the far-left, the party right defecting to LSD), leaving him in the balance of power. Never intending to negotiate with the PCI, Berlinguer nevertheless dragged coalition talks for an entire month to get what he wanted from Andreotti. After the intervention of the French Government to smooth things along, the Democratic Alliance of Christian Democracy, Social Movement, Free Democratic Left, and South Tyrolian People’s Party was announced to great fanfare – marred only from Berlinguer suffering a minor stroke, later proved to be caused by a poisoning by the East Germans. The center had held, Italy kept inside NATO.

    Time magazine, in a guest piece by three foreign affairs analysts, gave the Democratic Alliance a year at the most – Guilio Andreotti defied his critics by holding the parties together up until the 1983 elections, in which they would get another mandate from the voters with little change (except for the collapse of the Socialists, their votes largely splitting between PCI and LSD). Surprisingly, Berlinguer and the Social Movement allied substantially on economics against the more classical liberal CD, forcing several compromises between them and Finance Minister Ciriaco De Mita. On social policy the LSD was forced to depart strongly from the former policies of PCI, owing largely to the need for the DA to maintain its dominance among the heavily Catholic Southern Italy. Berlinguer attempted to balance these with the pro-human rights and socially libertarian Freyist views, managing to get institutional reform on family law to passage in the Chamber of Deputies. Efforts by some in the LSD to get abortion legalization and decriminalization of homosexuality were blocked by their leader, these voters fleeing to the PCI and Socialists while more than made up for the gains with the working-class. The LSD leader and Pope Leo maintained a strong relationship, contrasting greatly with the anti-Papacy platform of PCI and Feltrinelli. Made Justice Minister by Prime Minister Andreotti, Berlinguer earned the respect and admiration of the Italian people by crafting the DA’s anti-terrorist policy – it struck the Marxist insurgents with such a massive vengeance while still respecting due process in the Freyist tradition.

    With his second term as Prime Minister quite the success, Guilio Andreotti informed the nation of his intention to resign as leader of the Democratic Alliance following the August 1987 elections. Italy’s economy had rebounded, people content, and terrorism largely crushed despite the victory of the hardliners in the Soviet December Coup. With the intention to block the Communists from succeeding once more, each of the four parties pledged their support for continuing the Alliance. However, Berlinguer had other ideas. His time in government only hardening his Freyism and anti-Soviet views – the KGB conducting two assassination attempts against him – the LSD leader saw his duty to the Italian people in crushing PCI once and for all. It was his party that truly carried the banner of the workers, not the Stalinist front group he had once belonged to. Resolve hardened, body lean and healthy from efforts to remain in top shape following his 1978 stroke, and encouraged by the Pope and the Crusader elements in the Vatican, Berlinguer launched into the election campaign to sell the Free Democratic Left as the main vehicle of leftist politics in Italy. With Christian Democracy being drawn further to the right and the Socialists virtually destroyed, LSD had the field clear to target the Communists hard. Feltrinelli did his best to keep the workers in the fold, but anti-Soviet fear and the murder of LSD minister Alessandro Natta by a Soviet-sympathizer only signaled the PCI house of cards was collapsing in on itself. And waiting to pick up defectors was Enrico Berlinguer.

    The Democratic Alliance remained in charge, but other than that, election day found the situation in Italy completely turned on its head. With the 1st Yugoslav Army and Romanian III Corps massing just outside of Trieste and the eastern border, Italian voters were not kind to the Communists. Though having adapted many Eurocommunist domestic planks to their platform, their stubborn affiliation with Moscow proved their doom, collapsing fifteen points and over a hundred and fifty seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Millions of Communist voters fled to Berlinguer and the LSD. Leftist in their outlook, remorse in backing what incoming Defense Minister Achille Occhetto dubbed “Moscow’s Front in our Beloved Land” leading them to see I Piccoli Pomodori as their salvation. They leapt in front of Christian Democracy, taking prime position in the DA – Berlinguer replaced the retiring Andreotti as Prime Minister, the first leftist to hold the position in decades. The cabinet positions were divided down the middle between LSD and CD, the slight LSD majority reflecting the nature of the industrial north outvoting the more conservative South, Sicily, Sardinia, and eastern Po River Valley.
    With the new structure of the Democratic Alliance, Berlinguer quickly began implementing his leftist/anti-Soviet policies. A statute of worker’s rights was drafted and pushed into enactment, greatly strengthened the authority of the trade unions in the factories and instituting several reforms such as guaranteed freedom of assembly on the shop floor. Certain social laws were liberalized as per the LSD’s Freyist commitment to human rights, while efforts to repeal the 1927 Lateran Pacts with the Vatican were halted to maintain a unifying force against the anti-religious communists – Berlinguer making a highly publicized meeting with Pope Leo to hold a private mass. Education laws were changed, efforts to push civic values into the national curriculum made for all grades. However, the main policy change taken by the new government was a massive expansion of the Italian Military. Conscription was reintroduced, what the Prime Minister called “A temporary measure for the defense of the freedom for our beloved Italia.” With the Po Valley and Alpine passes in the Isonzo region excellent defensive ground, the government dispatched several divisions to Greece to protect their NATO ally and the Cradle of Democracy, something requested by the Greeks since the December Coup but blocked by Andreotti. Berlinguer wasn’t about to end such symbolism.

    Much as the changes rocked Italy, Berlinguer was constrained by the fact that he was in a coalition government. Devoted to defending liberty as it was, Christian Democracy was not a Freyist Party (though some influential members were Freyist in their outlook). Thus, the title for the first Freyist government would be bestowed upon another nation. An outcome that would change the world.
  8. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Oct 2, 2015
    Good ol' USA
    Only two other vehicles were parked in the small lot adjacent to the restaurant - Americans would have called it a "Hole in the Wall" - as Franz pulled his BMW in. The normally recognizable man usually traveled with a security detail, especially after the red terrorists targeted his kind during the height of the violence, but was here alone by request of whom he was meeting. A busy day of campaigning was interrupted by this, but Franz figured it didn't matter. Die Freiheitspartei was breaking 60% in the opinion polling, unheard of for any German election. It was all over except for the toasts and victory speeches.

    The squat, bald figure was easily recognizable, sitting on a table outside with his jacket off and draped over the back of his seat. "Grüss Gott!" Gerhard Frey called out after spotting Franz with a mouth full of wurst, waving him over. "It is always an honor to meet with the head of the House Wittelsbach."

    Duke Franz, the rightful King of Bavaria and Chairman of the Bavarian branch of the FP, smiled wanly. The rickety chair felt like it would collapse from his meager weight, but it held. "Couldn't we have met at your Bonn office? This seems... a bit dilapidated."

    The next Chancellor of Germany laughed. "Nonsense. No one will see us here, and Friedrich makes the best Wurst in all of the capital. "Nicht war?" he asked as a tall, greying man brought a plate of sausage, potatoes, and mixed vegetables to the table for Franz.

    "It's true, at least that's what my customers tell me," he laughed. Franz took a small bite, and closed his eyes. It really was delicious.

    "So," Frey spoke after Friedrich had made his way to the back. "You're wondering why I called you here on the day before the election."

    "It crossed my mind, yes."

    Frey speared a piece of sausage and potato on his fork and brought it to his mouth. "The election is won, everyone is seeing the writing on the wall on that score. Now begins the task of governing, and we have major reforms to enact." The way he raised his eyebrows proved to the Duke what piece of the party platform he was specifically discussing.

    Unease filled him, even if he supported the move. "There will be great opposition to it, even with the progress we have made in changing public opinion."

    "It is time for decisive action, Franz! The USSR and their neo-Stalinist minions are gearing up to conquer the world, and weak appeasement and muddled symbolism is destroying us. A great contrast needs to be made, one that shows our Germany is reborn with a message of liberty! We have enough support, and in the end it only matters what the party members of the Bundestag and Bundesrart feel."

    Technically true, but... "The Basic Law forbids it, as part of the eternal clauses."

    A chuckle left Frey's lips. "Ever here of the 'Living Constitution?'" Franz looked at him with a confused glance. "It's an American expression talked about by some on their Supreme Court. Thurgood Marshall described it as seeing that their Constitution is a 'Living, breathing document that morphs to fit with the times.' I find it to be logically unsound, but that doctrine enables judges in America to make rulings that seem to directly contradict the text of their Constitution."

    Franz caught on quickly. "So you would seek to have our judicial system unilaterally rewrite the Eternal Clause in this respect? Dangerous."

    "Of course it's dangerous," Frey hissed. "That is why we are doing this, to fix the flaws in the system so that our national shame doesn't happen again." He calmed down, taking a sip of water. "I'll handle the political aspects of it, what I'm asking you is for your service to your country."

    Eyes widened. "Oh no, you flatter me, Gerhard. But I am not interested in the position." Perhaps he could be persuaded to resume his family's old position if the state requested... but not that. "I'm too politically involved to be a good advocate for the nation."

    "You make a good point..." Frey was lost in thought. "Louis?"

    "Too old, he wouldn't want it." A lightbulb went off in his head. "My nephew? Louis' grandson?" The Duke remembered the day his sister gave birth to the young man.

    "What a shame, his father dying early." Another piece of sausage disappeared down Frey's throat. "Eighteen. Isn't he too young?"

    "Charles was young when his mother abdicated. His uncle essentially acted as his mentor and adviser till he could manage on his own." A grin formed on the Duke's face.

    Frey laughed once more. "And who was such a mentor be?"

    A new Germany was born on that morning.
    Electricity was in the air. All could feel it, an exuberance draped over the German people not seen in decades. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary to the casual passerby, but anyone that looked clearly could see what had changed. The nation had a purpose, a collective aspiration once more. Ground into the dust by foreign invaders and the crippling guilt of their national sins, their salvation was arriving. A reason to be proud again. A reason to aspire as a nation once more. An outlet for their guilt and desire to atone not involving the national malaise of will that took away the love the people had in their country and their history. The day was here. Salvation was here.

    And its name was die Freiheitspartei.

    Their chance almost didn’t happen. Chancellor Helmut Schmidt was reasonably popular, his hardline stance on Communism and a newly centrist economic policy designed to boost the struggling economy and keep the FDP happy creating a contentment within the German people. However, his efforts to cut back social welfare initiatives met with disgust within the SPD left-wing, and was informed by his aides that there was a revolt brewing. Rather than subject himself to a humiliating fight that could cause the FDP to break the coalition, Schmidt resigned and was replaced with the more palatable Hans Apel. Further to the left than his predecessor, efforts by the opposition FP to gain support among the left largely stagnating. Hoping to ride an upswing in popularity, Apel called an election for the next summer.

    Everything changed, in an instant. The December Coup rocked Germany, both from fear and it hitting a special place in the German heart. Everyone had heard or experienced the horror stories of what the Red Army had done to Germany at the end of WWII, of the rapes and indiscriminate killings. All feared it would happen again, but it hit an even more fundamental fear. The Soviet Union, having gotten so close to renouncing its militarism and totalitarianism, had made a monumental U-turn back to the oppressive autocracy it had been during Stalin’s rule. With the wave of killings spreading across the Communist world – especially that of Markus Wolf in East Germany that forced thousands of anti-Communists into concentration camps, leading to Der Spiegel running a cartoon of him with a Hitler mustache on the front cover – a tide of visceral terror washed over West Germany. The evil of half a century before was returning, threatening to bring back tyranny to Europe.

    Enter Gerhard Frey, the thinker turned philosopher turned political leader. His ideology one like no other previous to it, to the guilt-ridden German people it provided a beacon of hope. He and the other leaders of his party crisscrossed Germany in the aftermath of the December Coup, proclaiming that with the specter of tyranny and evil once again preparing to strike, it was the duty of Germany to fight it. Frey raised the German people to a calling higher than themselves, being rewarded for it in the polls. Millions flocked to the banner of the FP, and to Freyism itself, both on the left and the right. A folk hero on many in the anti-establishment left, Enrico Berlinguer voiced his support for his German allies as well as hundreds of others on the liberal left. Efforts by the SPD and Chancellor Apel to smear Frey as an extremist leading the nation to ruin at the helm of a party originally led by neo-Nazis went nowhere, especially after a crippling series of scandals. With secret Freyists within the party apparatus leaking compromising financial information, Apel handed Frey a perfect opportunity by attacking Israel’s annexation of the Sinai and Golan Heights in the Yom Kippur War, comparing it to militarist conquest. Joining the entirety of the Israeli government, Frey and the FP brought condemnation upon Apel for his “flagrant Anti-Semitism.” The Chancellor tried desperately to flee and apologize for the remarks, but in modern Germany – especially where the question of post-Nazi guilt and what to do about it was a central issue – was the kiss of death. Already on thin ice for what was seen as a stab in the back against the still well-liked Helmut Schmidt, SPD efforts to keep the bottom falling out were in vein.

    This was no political victory, no landslide. It could only be described as a revolution, Frey and his party swept into the majority by a margin unheard of in modern parliamentary Democracy. Only two previous German governments had ever ruled by absolute majorities, and this victory dwarfed them all. Over three-fourths of the Bundestag were now controlled by the Freyists, them being able to amend the Constitution at will, let alone pass legislation.

    Entering the Bonn office of the Chancellor, savoring his becoming the first of his kind ever elected, Gerhard Frey knew he faced intense odds. Massed on his eastern border were tens of millions of soldiers ready, willing, and able to destroy Germany and leave it a pile of ashes. This fact largely kept the new German Government on speaking terms with the rest of NATO, but friends were few – the only one Frey could really count on being Enrico Berlinguer’s Italy and Pope Leo’s Vatican. Falangist Spain and Colin Mitchell in the UK were cordial, Donald Rumsfeld the same but less so. None of them knew what to make of the Freyist government, media coverage in the Anglo-American media – apart from vociferous praise from John G. Schmitz and general support from a few figures including William F. Buckley and actress Mariska Hargitay – was skeptical at best, most being negative. The reaction in France and West Germany’s other neighbors was universally enraged, seeing Freyism as not an ideology of freedom and liberation but Nazism 2.0.

    What Frey fundamentally had planned would not help in dispelling that image, at least on the surface, so he and his newly formed cabinet of repentant far-right figures, old-guard CDU/CSU conservatives, Berlinguerist leftists, and pro-liberty diehards put forth an ambitious strategy to boost their Government’s international standing. Well known from his time at the UN (before he left Austria for his new home), Foreign Minister Kurt Waldheim contracted a group of the best public relations firms in London, Los Angeles, and New York City. Each of them was given the responsibility of dispelling the misunderstandings about the German government, and after their bank accounts were filled on the German taxpayer’s time they went to work to make that so.

    Frey and his foreign policy team crisscrossed Europe and North America, marrying themselves and Freyism to beloved historical figures in whatever nation they were in and appearing on popular media programs. Newly appointed as Ambassador to the United States, Franz, the Duke of Bavaria (who had gotten himself involved in Freyist Politics since the beginning) became a familiar figure in the US in his role as the government’s spokesman in their NATO ally. Guided by influential businessman and Finance Minister Karl Albrecht, German business interests pushed expansions of free trade agreements, one quickly reached with France that won considerable approval in the National Assembly. Soon, the public impression began to turn as figures such as Ronald Reagan and Jacques Massu gave their two cents that Frey and Freyism, whatever its flaws, “was to Nazism as wood was to mud” in the words of the former. “France has nothing to fear, though we’d crush them if they did try anything,” pipped the latter. Frey took these statements as massive triumphs, threats of a NATO schism abated for now.

    Polyglot with different factions that ranged from socially conservative populism to economic leftists, the domestic policy of the FP government remained a source of fractious compromise. While all sought to keep the party together due to their commitment to the foreign and national identity policies, Chancellor Frey was forced to reign in countless disputes and hammer out compromises on issues from the economy to social issues. Reform reigned, law after law passing the Bundestag to ensure “economic and individual freedom” in what the press called “The Grand Compromise” between the two factions of the FP. The right maintained a strong commitment to a capitalist, free-market system with the repeal of several Schmidt-era taxes and anti-monetarist policies while the left saw an increase in worker’s rights legislation to combat workplace abuses (including a sweeping non-discrimination law modeled on American civil rights legislation). In social issues, a wave of new civil liberties rules was issued while government commitments to family support and a stringent anti-abortion law were used to appease the right. The big tent held, but it was a close-run thing at times for Frey.

    In October 1987, a scandal rocked the nation. Political scandals were nothing new to the Federal Republic, but this was not of the normal sort. With Frey and the FP in power, hope was rising in the nation. The people were starting to believe in themselves and their country once more, celebrating the extensive “Act for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights” that committed the state to fostering and promoting liberty and individual rights at home and abroad as first step in proactive atonement of their post-Nazi guilt. Then, another blow was delivered. Sensationally reported in every news organization in the world (it was speculated that the Frey Government fanned the flames to make it front page news for weeks), security officials arrested Günter Guillaume for espionage. This wasn’t new, for Markus Wolf had managed countless spies in his time as intelligence chief. What made this the scandal of the century was the fact that Guillaume was the longtime Chief of Staff for President Willy Brandt, serving in that capacity since Brandt became leader of the SDP following Chancellor Ollenhauer’s defeat in the 1960s. Arraigned for treason, Guillaume was outed as someone who had passed thousands of classified documents to East Germany and the USSR, and in being the one who pushed Brandt to become one of the most dovish officials in Germany. With the news leading to near riots in the streets as the people voiced their collective rage at such a betrayal, Brandt resigned in disgrace after Frey essentially demanded he do so.

    Chosen by a vote in a chosen Federal Convention, the people were stunned when the FP blocked calling of the convention in a party-line vote. The resolution held an indefinite time, none having ever expected it. Frey didn’t even discuss the topic, avoiding it even when reporters asked point blank. Suddenly, in a press conference, Frey referred a reporter asking a question about why no President was being voted on to his consideration of a bill proposed by Christian Schwarz-Schilling. The room was silent, all knowing what the bill Frey mentioned contained. It was something that had been discussed much in the aftermath of Das Freiheitreich but never thought it would go anywhere. A restoration of the German Monarchy.

    Frey’s announcement – and the official scheduling of debate on Schwarz-Schilling’s efforts – sparked a firestorm in the Federal Republic. Before unthinkable following the promulgation of the Grundgesetz (Basic Law) of the republic following WWII, the German people wanting every method to prevent the creation of a dictatorship through Republican principles, the ever-increasing effort by the expansionist USSR increased fear within the populace. Seeing Yugoslavia fall in a bloody invasion, the vicious radical violence that led to the suicide of Chancellor Strauß, and the several election scares in Italy over Communist takeovers led to the increasing popularity of the Prussian School of Freyism. Frey himself in a published essay in 1979 elaborated on the issue:

    “With regards to the Basic Law, no one is more delighted than I about how the drafters included a commitment to human dignity. Such is vital to any nation and one that I would like to see included across the world as national policy. However, there is a fear that we saw done in Weimar Germany. That the forces of tyranny and evil utilizing the democratic process to weaken and destroy any free government or organization of men. We see this occurring with the proliferation of radical and pro-Communist groups seeking to excuse and support the political violence that is occurring across the western world. While many will say there isn’t a threat it would destroy the government, our nation’s history shall prove that we cannot be sure – and that we cannot afford to leave a chance open.

    “What is needed is a person or an organization with a purely symbolic power, one that cannot be eliminated but cannot usurp the actual power of the people and their representatives. One could think that this might only increase the chance of tyranny, not decrease it, but this assessment is not supported by the vagaries of our life. In a Republic, there exists no person or institution that holds enough of the public esteem to serve as a true consensus builder. Pronouncements by elected officials carry the weight of politics, and while they must govern the nature of our political process only invites partisanship that kills national consensus. Only a person or group independent of these political processes can serve as the builder of national consensus, and use their connection with the people to smother these threats to human liberty in the crib. Not as a tyrant, but as a national symbol and guardian of our democratic ideals.”

    The argument wasn’t one of the most popular Freyist beliefs, but it was accepted as a central tenet of the FP platform and drew general acceptance among its leadership. Part and parcel with the other arguments the FP made in favor of a Freyist state, support for a constitutional monarchy grew and grew (especially after the Brandt scandal) as the German people began to see a republican system as not the complete protection from tyranny as assumed. If a tyrannical government did get elected, then who would serve as the symbol against it? The Basic Law had safeguards, but so did the Weimar Republic and all knew how that turned out. Public desire to be proactive and seek a Germany united in pursuing liberty slowly brought a restoration further towards potential reality – unlike before, a major party was advocating it. The clear majority of Germans saw the FP as the farthest thing from tyranny, and thus a presumption existed that any change to the constitution would be in the tradition of promoting human liberty.

    Nevertheless, the proposed change in the Constitution – effectively just a renaming of the Basic Law, but in a manner that would change the republic into what Schwartz-Schilling coined a “Free Imperial Democracy” – still encountered heavy opposition. The SPD and FDP both remained committed to republicanism, and several in the FP rank and file opposed it as well. The main problem remained what was called the Eternity Clause, which could not be amended, but a ruling by the high court allowed the proposed amendments forward since it merely replaced the office of President with a monarch (the decision was roundly criticized by many as legally unsound and political, and even the most diehard Freyists have considered it a political decision in the years following).

    Frey set the debate for January 11, 1988, and it continued in both the Bundestag and Bundesrat for four days. It saw vitriol from all sides, proposed changes considered, and even prospects of fistfights on the floor reminiscent of Romney/Faubus barely avoided. Outside, crowds in the tens of thousands gathered on both the pro-Monarchy and pro-Republican causes, riot police being called out several times to suppress violence. Unlike the other changes enacted by Frey, this was very divisive with only a bare majority supporting it in the opinion polling – but the FP had the commanding majority where it counted. In the end, the result wasn’t in doubt. The Freyists had wanted a monarchy, and the amendments were passed.

    The world stunned – and the Warsaw Pact fuming with propaganda of German imperialism – what remained was a way to select who to be the new monarch. One of the amendments specified the succession, there being a hereditary line but with the monarch being subjected to a vote by both houses of parliament. Duke Franz of Bavaria was the obvious choice given his political advocacy, but both he and Frey decided that it wasn’t an option – Franz was too politically connected, and the monarch had to be a non-political figure according to Freyist doctrine. Prince Louis Ferdinand of House Hohenzollern, the grandson of Wilhelm II, was approached next, but he declined due to advanced age. However, both he and Franz suggested the former’s grandson – the eighteen-year-old Georg Friedrich, both a Hohenzollern and a Wittelsbach (the Bavarian royal house) by his father and mother (Franz’s sister). Young and as enthusiastic for the Freyist cause as his uncle, but not greatly political in other aspects, Georg Friedrich would accept Frey’s offer of the crown – and so were the newly named Reichstag and Reichsrat.

    In a modest ceremony held at the Cologne Cathedral, Prince Georg Friedrich was crowned Georg, Kaiser der Deutschen (Emperor of the Germans), a title different from his Hohenzollern predecessors (German Emperor) in that his title was derived from consent of the governed. A crowd of two hundred thousand gathered to witness the coronation as the Federal Republic of Germany morphed into the Free Empire of Germany.

    While the coronation of Kaiser Georg played its part and was considered in the west to be the defining moment in what would soon transpire, the truth was that Moscow and the Communist bloc found another action by the Freyists to be the true affront. After Potsdam, Stalin’s desire to officially expand the Soviet Union’s borders to Molotov-Ribbentrop lines led to the Polish state taking massive chunks of Germany at the Oder-Neisse Line. Millions of Germans were forced out of Silesia, eastern Pomerania, and East Prussia and millions of Poles forced out of Belorussia in a massive ethnic cleansing campaign by the Red Army. The CDU/CSU government of Konrad Adenauer had adopted a hardline approach: the “Oder-Neisse, Niemals” approach for most of the late 1940s and 1950s, until it was abandoned by the Erich Ollenhauer SPD government to improve inter-German relations and prevent the border to be closed (failing on that count). Efforts to bring it back as policy were unsuccessful, and the issue seemed closed.

    All of this changed upon the FP victory. The Warsaw Pact was said to have howled when Frey announced the appointment of the octogenarian and former CDU minister Theodor Oberländer as Minister of the Interior. One of the staunchest anti-communist crusaders in all of Germany, he had been the main proponent of bringing back the old position on the Oder-Neisse for decades. After the CDU collapsed he had been one of the first political followers of Gerhard Frey, the Chancellor writing in his memoirs that Oberländer was “the most wonderful person, a kindred spirit in the cause of liberty and liberation.” Policy towards the Communist Bloc and Inter-German relations immediately saw a shift, the German government refusing diplomatic recognition to all Warsaw Pact nations save Romania and a massive funding increase implemented by Defense Minister Helmut Kohl for the Bundeswehr – renamed Befreiungsreichwehr, or Imperial Army of Liberation following the Hohenzollern Restoration. Frey and Oberländer forced a resolution through the then-Bundestag declaring the German Democratic Republic a “Bastardized, Stalinist abomination” and “The true and worthy successor to the Third Reich,” leading to Markus Wolf to shut down all inter-German traffic apart from supply trains to West Berlin – ordered by Moscow to avoid a confrontation.

    However, it was after the restoration that the final Inter-German policy of das Freireichsdeutchland began to take effect. On a state visit to the United States in June 1988, Kaiser Georg and Chancellor Frey made a highly publicized meeting with Lech Walesa and other Polish exiles, proclaiming a joint statement of understanding while spending nearly two days in secret talks. Upon returning to Bonn the Chancellor arranged the unanimous passage through the Reichstag of a statement condemning the Soviet Union’s “Crimes Against Humanity.” On the surface it seemed like anything Ronald Reagan or George Wallace would have said, but one passage stood out – it made specific mention of the “Ethnic cleansing of the German and Polish people off their rightful lands to satisfy Josef Stalin’s twisted desire for the land and power obtained at the bargaining table with the Third Reich.” Hitler-bashing was the norm of Freyist Germany, but observers the world over had a feeling of what was about to come.

    With the Basic Law replaced with the Restoration Constitution, the sections dealing with reunification had been revamped and added to. Instead of it being the goal of the federal state, it was an imperative of the Free Imperial State. The FGE constitution repudiated all treaties and conferences involved with the Stalinist government of the USSR, solidifying a potential German claim to the sundered territories. It was on August 1st, 1988 when the Kaiser recognized the Chancellor to speak on the floor of the Reichstag to all members, both FP and republican. What happened next thundered across the world:

    “Honorable members, people of this Earth, the eastern borders of the Polish nation are the result of one treaty and one treaty only. The meeting between the Nazi swine and Stalinist tyrants that sought to divide the east between them. Our people were complicit in this evil brought on to the Polish people, and in the name of God and all that is good we will not stand while those other conspirators go unpunished and the innocent continue to suffer without compensation or restitution.

    “We Germans know the consequence of tyranny. God, the hearts of our people are heavy with a guilt one can’t even imagine for the horrors of our past. A burden we will never be rid of, nor should we ever be rid of. But instead of wallowing in thins guilt we as a nation rise to take on responsibility. To crusade for liberty, to fill Germany with pride, our people atoning for our collective sins.

    “As such, we reject the Stalinist abortion delivered to the world by Hitler. For ourselves and the German and Polish people struggling under tyranny. My government seeks the recognition of the pre-1933 borders in the east to be the official policy of Germany once again. Of this there can be no compromise.”

    The motion was passed with 80% voting in favor, rescinding Ollenhauer’s Treaty of Warsaw and causing General Secretary Wolf to mobilize the East German Army. If the December Coup hadn’t brought the world closer to war, the Germans were adding fuel to the fire. The only question being if Frey had provided a cause or an excuse?
    The morning rush of traffic passed by the window of the Zhiguli limousine in a drab blur. Aside from the bright onion domes of St. Basil’s that graced Red Square, Vladimir Semichastny felt that there was so little color in Moscow – hell, the entire Soviet Union. He had been to America before, seen the brightness and life that sparkled in the eyes of its citizens. Nothing like that existed here. Only a dull monotony that came with being the cog in the machine to serve the state. Of which I am a part of. The Limo’s placement in the center lane reserved solely for Party leadership gave credence to that.

    In the summer months such as these, he could sometimes see the happy and carefree youths frolicking in the woods and rivers near his Dacha, but since the past December those were rare indeed. Semichastny could tell Capitan Putin was eyeing him quizzically, but let it alone. He was content with his musing.


    Red brick of the Kremlin walls to his right, Semichastny could see that the latest propaganda contained the passion missing from day to day life. Aleksandr does excellent work. The Minister of Culture was very competent, even while all knew he disagreed with the subject matter. All the latest regurgitations by the Soviet State media focused on the Germans, their last election only two weeks before. One showed a line of German stormtroopers staring menacingly on a crowd of Soviet peasants, another depicting Frey gazing upon the Rodina with the ghost of Hitler behind him. A final one showed a Red Army soldier standing proudly while an older man watched- its caption reading “I prepare today as my grandfather prepared before.” Yes, all brilliant, Semichastny thought as the limo finally reached the Kremlin. Marital air had swept the nation, though what it served he was still in the dark about.

    Luckily, the former General Secretary wouldn’t be alone in the march to the conference room. “Good to see you Vladimir Yefimovich,” Mikhail Gorbachev said with a small smile. “I trust your rest during these trying times did you well.”

    “That they did, Mikhail Sergeyevich.” The two proceeded inside, the corridors of the ancient palace drafty and dreadfully dark. Teeth gritting, hand clutching white on the ornate handle of his cane, Semichastny cursed the pain from the aircraft crash long ago. The best opioids flown in from London helped, but not enough. “What have you heard?”

    Gorbachev’s wan smile had morphed into a frown. “Not much, surprising considering how Politburo staff leak like a sleeve. There was a meeting of the Defense Council last night.” Such consisted of only the most senior members of the Politburo, which now were the Committee plotters and Party Secretary Romanov. Unabashed Stalinists all.

    It merited one simple word on Semichastny’s part. “Govno.

    The Politburo meeting room dated back to Tsarist times, still holding the creature comforts and garish decoration that had disappeared almost everywhere else in the name of Socialist Progress. ‘Why should we get rid of it?’ went the general thinking. Leading the cause of world socialism to victory, the Party leadership had earned such luxuries. Combined with a life worthy of any millionaire or celebrity in the West, they deserved such for their service to the state and to the people. Or so it was thought. Seated with his faction, Semichastny glanced at the distinctive bearded Solzhenitsyn, who was drinking the common brand of Vodka available to the vast majority of the populace. He, Semichastny, Gorbachev, and Dinmukhamed Kunayev were the last of them, the ones who found this system rotten to the core. They had lost, had their control wrested by the others.


    In any case, the General Secretary began the meeting tersely – dispensing the usual formalities and inane chit chat about grandchildren and new lovers. It caused Semichastny’s eyebrow to raise, but he said nothing. “Comrades, allow me to be blunt. Our glorious state is in the greatest danger since the Germans were at our gates.” Vladimir Khryuchkov adjusted his glasses, many members shocked that he would be so candid about the unsaid issues facing the USSR. “Our economy is currently in the peak of health, but the current economic and trade assault from the west and betrayal by the Chinese are going to hurt us, and threaten the very engine of World Socialism with collapse.”

    “What do you proport to do, Comrade General Secretary,” Semichastny asked sarcastically, being one of the only people who could get away with borderline seditious statements. If they could have gotten rid of him, he’d be living in retirement next to Yakovlev, counting trees. “Are you reconsidering the reform of the economy, because I would support it in a heartbeat.” Solzhenitsyn, Gorbachev, and Kunayev fought back smirks.

    Instead of the General Secretary, Finance Minister Yuri Maslyukov piped up. “There is no need for those ineffective measures, Comrade.” Ineffective? Rather threatening to the State control over the populace. Economic freedom leads to political freedom. “Our system has been propped up in the past decades through international trade between our Socialist brothers. We need to return to the proven system of prosperity.”

    “So you propose to begin further expansion?” Gorbachev remarked half-jokingly. The iron stares from the Committee members caused all the jokes to drain from his system. Is this what they discussed last night?

    “The time is before us, Comrades,” Defense Minister Pyotr Demichev said, glancing at every member of the room. “What the capitalist perfidy will get us is a ruined economy, a lessened world standing, and a discontented populace.” All were afraid of the masses, more than the first two. “Somalia and Mozambique are joining China in drifting away from us. We must strike now, while we are strong.”

    “You are proposing that we attack NATO?” a candidate member asked, addressing the elephant in the room.


    There it was. It was out. No one could pivot to something far less or claim that they were misheard. War with NATO and its allies was no fully on the table. “This is madness,” Semichastny ground out, injuries throbbing in pain. “You would risk nuclear annihilation?”

    Demichev’s lips curled in a grin. “Nonsense. The arms reduction agreements you pioneered, Vladimir Yefrimovich, have made such a scenario unlikely. Our commanders have the plans already. Mechanized assault by our forces in Western Europe combined with our allies in the Middle East, Africa, and South America. We need not defeat the Americans, just back them and the British into a corner where they have no choice but to sue for peace.


    “Our forces are ready, and at the best fighting capacity since the Great Patriotic War,” Demichev continued to the rapt attention of the Politburo (many of whom were seeking to get as drunk as possible at the latest news). “Time to better prepare might help, but there is no better time than the near future, for the purposes of political and internal casus belli. The Germans, bless them, have elected a government so radically different from ones before them. Ones that we can easily mischaracterize.” If there was anything the Russian people feared, it was Germany. If there was anything the world hated, it was the Nazis. Potent. “They will do something in the coming months, something that we can use. Nations will then have a choice, stand with us or stand with Nazis.”

    They can’t believe this madness? “Your confidence could be mistaken, Comrade,” Semichastny said tactfully.

    “Nonsense,” said Boris Pugo, Interior Minister. “France already hates the new German government. We could easily play them against each other to an easy victory… perhaps an alliance between us.”

    “That will never happen.” He couldn’t believe the almost willful naiveté. Was I once the same? Decades of paranoia and hawkishness from Western leaders had only fed the innate Russian paranoia. “The West will stand together Comrades, mark my words. We will see nothing but death and destruction of the home of World Socialism if we allow this to happen.”

    “If we don’t allow this, then our economy will collapse and our people will rise against us!” Demichev thundered.

    “Military defeat will lead them to rise against us anyway.”

    The General Secretary ended the line of conversation. “Our military is ready for this task, and the militaries of our Fraternal Socialist Brothers are ready as well.”

    Arguments continued for hours and hour, vodka flowing and lunches brought in by white-uniformed staff barely eaten. Cigarette smoke permeated the air as each side screamed at each other. The candidate members seemed as squeamish as Semichastny’s faction to go to war, but their vote didn’t count in matters of the state – in matters governing the whole world. Only the full members, only they held the fate of tens of millions in their hands.

    And when it came down to it, there really was no doubt in the outcome no matter how Semichastny and his allies begged. The vote was 15-4 for war.
    In the years since Governor Bobby Kennedy (before his appointment to SCOTUS by President Wallace) created the modern drug policy of the nation, prisons for dealers and treatment for users, the problem remained steady until the mid-seventies. With the end of the Vietnam War, the most common route for shipments of heroin into the United States that were once blocked by fighting and US Naval activity were finally open, and the economic hurdles of Stagflation only caused the market for such drugs to boom. This would only increase in scope after powder and crack cocaine were introduced in the late seventies, boosted by corrupt despots, greedy impresarios, and zealous Communist forces eager to sow discord in their hated capitalist enemy. The early eighties saw illegal narcotics pour into the United States from Latin America and the Orient. Footholds established by Stagflation and national malaise were expanded. Trends of urban blight symied by the welfare reforms of 1971 were brought back with a vengeance thanks to heroin and cocaine, the nation’s law enforcement agencies struggling to cope.

    The State of Washington was ground zero for much of the illegal drug trade in the US. Hosting the massive port of Seattle/Tacoma, it joined San Pedro as the main entry points for heroin from Asia, as well as a significant portion of the Pacific cocaine smuggling routes seeking to go around the extra security in California. Forests of the Cascade mountains thick and lush, marijuana growers flocked to the rural regions to grow their product in the safety of the canopy, masking them from prying eyes. Famously minaprogressive and liberal in nature, Seattle became the butt of many late-night jokes about non-Ghetto – or Cosmopolitan – drug use alongside San Francisco and Vermont. This designation was hated in the rest of the state, and Governor John Spellman vowed to work in a bipartisan manner to tackle the problem. His inability to do so thanks to deadlock and a lack of will caused a backlash. Frustrated voters, in an attempt to find someone who would fight the drug crisis, elected King County Prosecutor Theodore “Ted” Bundy.

    While other politicians may not have had the will to take decisive action, whatever one said about Bundy he had it in spades. Remembered as a determined and zealous prosecutor – going to trial and winning harsh sentences when others would have just gone for a plea deal – his “Law and Order” campaign in 1984 included a very detailed anti-narcotics plank. “There is nothing more destructive to our great state than the scourge of illegal drugs,” Bundy would tell the crowd of thousands at his inauguration on the steps of the capitol building in Olympia. “To the lives taken from us, the children, spouses, and parents stolen due to the chemical crap dumped on our streets by the vilest of criminals, what we plan to do is stand up for you. We will stand for you now so that no other will so suffer.” Powerful words, but ones Bundy planned to put into action.

    Immediately, the Washington legislature was called into special session to deal solely with the problems of illegal drugs. While Bundy could make several executive actions to increase enforcement of the current drug laws, he wanted more to be done, and expended his political capital to force the legislature to act. Cowed by the immense public pressure, the objections of the Progressive members of the legislature were overruled as bill after bill passed. Among the legislation Bundy sought and Olympia sent to his desk were: mandating that all goods passing through the Port of Seattle be subject to random dog sniffs, doubling the policing budget, authorizing all anti-drug efforts to be coordinated centrally by the State Police, constructing three new prisons, streamlining the civil commitment procedures to allow for quicker treatment of addicts, and in Bundy’s crowning achievement a law proscribing capital punishment for dealing or trafficking over a certain amount of illegal drugs. “Now we begin our efforts to rid our streets of this evil,” Bundy would say, signing the latter into law.

    The spate of legislation all polled majority support among the electorate. In states ravaged by the illegal trafficking routes, people were sick of crime and drugs destroying their neighborhoods. Some in organized crime could escape by doing good works and shrouding themselves in the romanticism of Hollywood, the two-bit hoods and gangsters that jumped into the fray to take what business the foreign cartels had to offer were reviled. Public pressure wanted something done, and the Bundy crackdown delivered it. State police and local authorities would descend on the drug trade like diving falcons, Bundy personally ordering no quarter be given in rooting them out. Drug arrests would increase exponentially, the new prisons constructed by the state government in the remote redwood forests and Puget Sound islands filling up with new inmates – unsurprisingly, shootouts between the crime lords and police became more common, only hardening the cops into ending the drug trade once and for all (Bundy promising all officers he’d have their back in any legal battle). The new civil commitment procedures simply led to faster processing of addicts into the facilities, the population doubling between 1985 and 1987.

    Such tactics, brutal as they were, worked. The street price of heroin tripled, cocaine prices quadrupling due to low supplies. Narcotics seizures in the Port of Seattle, doubling in 1986, collapsed to only a fifth of the 1985 number in 1988. Bundy’s popularity skyrocketed, but there were always enemies. The American Civil Liberties Union became a leading critic, taking offense at the quintupling rate of civil rights complaints and Fourth Amendment violations coming from the State of Washington – especially that of the new death penalty for drug pushers Bundy pushed through. They vowed to challenge, and Bundy told his cabinet that they would follow through on the threat.

    Bundy was proven right when the ACLU jumped on the case of Abel Johnson. Having moved to Seattle as a boy in the early 1960s from Los Angeles, the black Johnson struggled fitting into his new home and rapidly became a juvenile delinquent and compiling an extensive rap sheet. Quickly journeying into illegal drugs, he used casually but mostly dealt to the other working poor in the neighborhood. Once cheap heroin and cocaine routes developed he trafficked in that, making a small killing selling the goods to the yuppies and former radical residents in the city central. This led the state police to get a bead on him and Johnson was busted in an undercover sting. Charged with possession with intent to sell more than five pounds of heroin and cocaine (a total of a hundred pounds total), he was convicted and sentenced to death under the Narcotics Control Act. Appealing on 8th Amendment cruel and unusual punishment grounds, the state Supreme Court reversed the death sentence and imposed a punishment of life without parole. Bundy ordered the attorneys to appeal, and the Supreme Court granted certiorari. Bundy would journey to D.C. to personally argue the state’s case.

    Justice Phyllis Schalfly handed down the opinion of the Court, joined by Justices Harold Carswell, Bill Baxley, James Meredith, Emilio Garza, and Dan Lungren. The majority affirmed the conviction and reversed the Washington Supreme Court. “Drug pushers, in their desire to profit from selling their vile wares,” Schalfly wrote, her opinion extensively quoting the doctors and police organizations that wrote amicus briefs with the court on Washington’s behalf, “May not directly kill their victims through homicide, but commit a societal evil so pervasive that results in, for example, condemning children and the most vulnerable among us to a sort of physiological slavery where their own bodies demand they ingest more of these toxic substances to continue living. Predators like the defendant in this case prey on this human weakness, and make their money while sowing only suffering and broken lives in their wake. Religious men and women know what is fundamentally in store for Mr. Johnson when his final judgement comes, but in the constitutional question I cannot find that the sentence of execution to be cruel or unusual for the crime charged.” Justice Meredith concurred, writing on the textual aspects in what the Founding Fathers would have considered cruel and unusual. Justice Lungren and Baxley concurred as well, using their past as state prosecutors to add a deterrence argument to the decision. Chief Justice Robert Bork wrote a concur/dissent, stating that he agreed with the majority on Johnson’s sentence but declining to go into the same sweeping endorsement of executions for drug dealing as Schalfy. Three Justices wrote dissenting opinions – the principal one was Justice William Brennan’s (joined by Justices Byron White, Bobby Kennedy, and Thurgood Marshall), stating that only the crime of homicide would justify execution and that even though drug trafficking was heinous, the majority was seeking to trivialize human life with the steady march of capital punishment. White, joined by Kennedy, sought to refute the deterrence argument, while Marshall brought the most scathing dissent of all in referring to the potential of racial disparities in the expanding march of capital punishment. Nevertheless, the law was upheld and Bundy triumphantly declared victory over the ACLU.

    Washington v. Johnson wasn’t the only case that the Supreme Court would have to weigh in on thanks to Bundy. Krishnamoorthi v. Bundy upheld the use of sniffer dogs to conduct warrantless searches on persons, belongings, and vehicles for drugs by the majority opinion of Justice Meredith. In Alonzo v. Washington, Justice Emilio Garza wrote that aerial surveillance of land did not constitute an unreasonable search under the Katz doctrine. Justice White would write for the majority in validating the civil commitment law for addicts in Chang v. Simmons. Finally, in Morelli v. Bundy, Justice Schalfly would hold that using tracking devices to monitor individuals on public thoroughfares was completely constitutional even if done without a warrant, stating that there was no expectation of privacy on a public street. In all but Chang, Bundy would make headlines arguing each case himself in front of the higher court, only boosting his legend and popularity across the nation. When asked why he did it, the Governor merely replied: “Because it’s fun. I haven’t felt this alive in years.”

    High-profile court victories under his belt, Bundy looked to solidify himself for reelection. Even with all the Progressive and liberal anger at him over the War on Drugs, many minaprogressive voters (especially those outside the major urban centers in the libertarian-leaning wing) were greatly supportive of Bundy latching on to George McGovern’s proposed Senatorial Recall Amendment. The young Republican Governor became one of the most visible supporters of the movement, securing the endorsement of a Convention of the States among both the Washington and Oregon state legislatures – critical for the amendment’s chances in the coming years. Winning over the admiration of Democrats over the War on Drugs (being endorsed by luminaries such as Jessie Helms and Jimmy Hoffa), he bolstered this with a series of fiscal compromises that resolved many of the state’s budget problems that marred Spellman’s term, while appeasing Liberty Conservatives by taking a stand against unions – Bundy would ram through and sign legislation that made Washington a right-to-work state in 1987.

    Hailed as the face of the state GOP and admired by many Democrats and rural voters, Bundy’s abrasive and tough approach to governing had made him many enemies. The cosmopolitan liberal base in Seattle despised Bundy, opposed to the very nature of his draconian drug policies. They viewed his policing, sentencing, and civil commitment laws as an affront to civil liberties and Constitutional notions of due process, and the recreational nature of most drug-taking in the city (which lacked the poor, often majority-minority, ghettos that were increasingly common to other major cities) caused resentment to boil into outright hatred of the Governor once the crackdown’s began. Leading this charge was Charles Royer, the Mayor of Seattle. Charismatic and loved by the people for his efforts to modernize the city, he marshalled the Progressive Party as the main vehicle of opposition against the Bundy Administration. Both the state and federal court systems found themselves clogged with suits and countersuits between the state and the city, the battles cumulatively a draw.

    As the 1988 election approached, it was a badly kept secret that Bundy’s main opponent was going to be Royer. Not viewing the race as a priority, most high profile Democrats shunned the race (moving to instead challenge two-term Senator Slade Gorton and other statewide offices). The ultimate winner of the maze of low tier candidates was first-term state Representative Brian Baird, who most felt was running to build up his name recognition. Bundy largely ran on his record as a chief executive that cut through inertia and partisanship to take decisive action as well as a strong economy. Royer ran as the affable mayor, often invoking high-minded rhetoric about the constitution in order to “be a shield for the people.” The contest was ugly from the beginning, Bundy hating Royer and the feelings returned. Every little detail was dredged up, Republicans digging through municipal records to lob misconduct at the mayor while Progressives used trial transcripts to paint Bundy as a sloppy prosecutor – one case that Royer seized on involved a woman raped and murdered in Belleview, in which the convict loudly proclaimed his innocence. Multiple courts overturned the conviction before the state Supreme Court upheld it, and Bundy was the lead prosecutor on it. Royer mentioning at the debate, Bundy launched into a lengthy tirade attacking the mayor for “Using an innocent woman torn from this world by a vile demon to score political points. You should be ashamed of yourself.” The voters largely agreed with Bundy.

    In a nation where three-party politics had largely reduced elections to pluralities (winners in some states prevailing with a mere third of the vote), absolute majorities were rare and effectively landslides in certain states. Washington was one of them, and Ted Bundy’s 52% victory was proof of his political prowess. He won all counties in non-metropolitan Washington, only losing King and Snohomish to Royer – who cleaned up in the liberal and minaprogressive bastions in an anti-Bundy backlash. This backlash had only benefited the Governor, who was very much a proponent of the “Make the right enemies” strategy. Social libertarianism may have been generally popular among moderate Republicans, but with the issue of the day being illegal drugs they fell in line. And it was not popular among Scoop Jackson Democrats. Framing the contest as himself v. drugs, Democrats fled Baird’s longshot campaign to tactically vote for Bundy, proving Bundy’s strength more than Democrat weakness (the State Senate would remain a D majority).

    Electorally solid, popular, and with a national profile, no one could deny that Theodore Robert Bundy was a rising star in the Republican Party – someone with a bright future ahead of him. His star had only just begun to rise.
    The crisis started with the December Coup had not abated in the following months. Every day brought new reports of purges within the communist bloc, Soviet troop movements to the fortified borders and to the far-flung continents, and continuing instability in Europe and the Third World. The Freyist victory in Germany and the Hohenzollern restoration caused massive chaos in the UN and within NATO, SecState Cheney jetting to Paris to calm down the furious French. At home Rumsfeld was faced with a series of staff turnovers that posed a danger in the tumultuous times, new Secretary of Treasury David Rockefeller not Rumsfeld’s first choice but one that the President could see would get consensus support. Partisan bickering, though unwelcome in any circumstance, would be disastrous during the current climate and Rumsfeld waded in constantly to maintain unity. All of it would try on him, hair greying and age creeping on the once vigorous man.

    However, crisis or not the elections mandated by the Constitution would be held. And these would, as they always were, be subject to furious contest by all sides.

    Since Harry Truman took office the Democrats had fought amongst themselves in an existential battle for what the party stood for. Between Truman/Thurmond, Johnson/Kennedy, Kennedy/Wallace, and McGovern/McKeithen the warring parties jockeyed for power and control. Such fighting had died down by 1988, control of congress and the Proxmire campaign in 1984 bringing reform communonationalism as the consensus tenets of the party. Come the primaries, the first of the new breed of Democrats had come out of the woodwork to seek to challenge President Rumsfeld:

    · Former Senator Frank Church of Idaho, the former frontrunner in 1984, decided to make a go of it once more

    · Governor Dan White of California entered, seeking the Wallace Democrat mantle

    · Governor Dick Celeste of Ohio, the favorite son of the Buckeye state, entered as a less liberal Proxmire-type

    · Representative William Clinton of Arkansas entered as a young, charismatic “future of the party” candidate and the choice of the south

    · Senator John Durkin of New Hampshire, the liberal choice this election

    The contest was heated but lacked the sort of existential crisis feel that characterized most previous Democratic primaries. Each of the candidates, despite their competition, agreed with each other on most issues and quickly took a pledge to support whomever won the primary. Divisions were clearly made though, White and Celeste the most biting on the Rumsfeld domestic agenda while Durkin and Church focused mostly on foreign policy and how the Reagan/Rumsfeld doctrine was ineffectual and allowed the December Coup to transpire – Clinton focused on charisma and a positive agenda instead of negative attacks, he and Celeste rapidly rising against the more established frontrunners.

    Minnesota shocked the nation when it returned a narrow win for Bill Clinton over probative favorite Dan White (Church, who staked everything on Minnesota, ended his campaign). Favorite son Durkin easily carried New Hampshire, but Dick Celeste managed to place a strong second place and giving him momentum to overcome Clinton by a hair in Virginia, another shocker. After carrying several small western states – California not voting till late in the Spring – White dropped out due to lackluster performance and endorsed Celeste while Durkin dropped out and endorsed Clinton, the race becoming a one-on-one between the two.

    Though a general geographical breakdown was observed between the two, it was far more muddled than in previous primaries. Celeste won several primaries in the South while Clinton clinched the state of Pennsylvania. The Ohioan’s attacks hinged on Clinton’s lack of experience and lower profile while Clinton banked hard on personal charm. It was evident in the debates.

    Clinton: You have in me someone who will put forward a positive agenda that works for the American people…

    Celeste: That’s just the thing, Congressman, it’s all talk. Unlike you, I’ve enacted an agenda…

    Clinton: I have ensured the passage of many different…

    Celeste: Only I have run anything bigger than a congressional staff office. It’s easy to tack your name on a bill, but hard to actually run a state.

    Nevertheless, the two were evenly matched in strength and skill until a small scandal rocked Clinton’s campaign in May just as several culturally conservative western states were about to vote. Betty Mallory, the former winner of the Miss Arkansas beauty pageant, gave a national interview documenting an affair she and the Congressman had had for nearly ten years, between 1976-1985. Clinton’s camp released a statement denying this, admitting that he had dated the woman in the late seventies but breaking it off to after meeting his current wife, Kennedy-scion Maria Schriever. Devolving into a he-said she-said debacle, many Democrats washed their hands of the whole episode and decamped for the scandal-free Celeste. The Ohio Governor won the remaining states and clinched the nomination outright.

    Coming into the convention in New Orleans, Celeste and his Ohio brain trust needed to figure out who was to be his running mate. The Governor was running on his home state record of efficient reform communonationalism, but in the post-December Coup era foreign policy chops were a must. With western Progressives in play due to the dovish turn of the party, a hawk was needed – one that also locked down the South but also portrayed a youthful air to showcase how new and fresh the party was. Representative Clinton was on the top of every list, having largely recovered from the scandal by mid-summer. Celeste, however, didn’t trust the man and began to look elsewhere. Senators Larry McDonald, Jimmy Carter, and Al Gore were banded about, but each had issues of their own: McDonald was too conservative, Carter too much an insider, and Gore as someone who would overshadow the ticket.

    Finally, Celeste campaign chair James Carville – a feisty southerner with a wicked temper but deft political instincts – suggested Senator Kent Hance of Texas. Elected in 1982 as a fresh face and running for reelection that year (Texas was one of a few states where one could run for President/Vice President and state office at the same time, a legacy of Lyndon Johnson’s simultaneous run in 1960), Hance was moderate, young, a noted Capitol Hill hawk, and from a vital swing state. Meeting with the Texan, Celeste signed off and Hance was put on the ticket to cheers from the crowd. Celeste was then formerly nominated on a platform of hawkish foreign policy, reform communonationalism, and a commitment to the “social status quo.” A strong platform of a strong ticket – but perhaps the wrong year.

    There was no real doubt that Donald Rumsfeld would be nominated for reelection. Despite the midterm loss of the Reagan majorities he had bounced back strongly, and a majority of the voters approved of his handling of the crisis following the December Coup. Thus, only a smattering of random candidates representing fringe wings of the party rose up to challenge “Rummy,” and all failed to make a real dent. Each primary returned strong margins for the incumbent, the lowest percentage being the populist-heavy New Mexico, where Rumsfeld only won 82% of the vote. Unlike the drama in the Democratic primary, the GOP merely prepared for the convention.

    Held in St. Louis, the center of discussion was who would be Vice President. Mike Gravel was uncontroversial and considered an asset for winning over western voters, but many in the GOP never trusted him given his status as a party switcher and minaprogressive inclinations. Once Celeste was confirmed to be the Democratic nominee, different groups of advisors pressured Rumsfeld to dump Gravel – promise him a cabinet post to keep him loyal – and name someone who had appeal to blue-collar workers in the Midwest. Congressman Bob McEwan of Ohio, former Governor H. John Heinz of Pennsylvania, and New York Congressman Ed Regan were all considered, but Rumsfeld didn’t find the spark of a working relationship with any of them. A late minute push at the Convention to draft businessman Donald Trump gained steam, but it was all for naught when the near-celebrity gave a speech on the floor endorsing Gravel. Such was the last straw for the President. He liked Gravel, and felt that the Alaskan would be invaluable to win over the libertarian wing of the Progressives. Rumsfeld/Gravel would remain the ticket.

    Entering the second day of the convention, Republicans could feel the enthusiasm even with the gloom of impending crisis casting its shadow. Speaker after speaker praised Donald Rumsfeld for fighting the good fight and for proving to be “the steady and determined hand through the fog of war and uncertainty” in the words of Senator Antonin Scalia (R-TX). Donald Trump and former President Ronald Reagan were the star speakers, the former proclaiming that “Donny Rumsfeld is the greatest guy, a man who knows what he’s doing. No country in this world has a better man than him running the show, and I have the confidence that he can win for the US. A big, beautiful win against evil,” and the latter opining “We felt that the leaders of the USSR could be reasoned with, and for nearly a decade they proved themselves to be. Peace was at hand, but the hardliners in Moscow sabotaged that. It seems like a sensible course of action to draw down, to seek peace at any cost over confrontation. But what is peace when you have no freedom? What is peace when you are a slave? I announced my run for the Presidency over a decade ago talking about the Orwellian jackboot, and I fear that we are closer to that nightmare than ever before. Do not shy away from this fight, this struggle, my fellow Americans. We seek peace, but must be prepared to fight for what we hold dear.”

    President Rumsfeld echoed these statements, delivering the most hawkish speech of his career. “The Soviets rejected our overtures of peace, instead doubling down on the tyranny and imperialism of Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky. Kryuchkov thinks us a paper tiger, scurrying away when they rattle their sabers and too fearful to challenge them. War is hell, my fellow Americans, this I know. Anyone who occupies the Oval Office knows the heavy heart that befalls those that send our brave soldiers into battle, and to watch them return home with a flag draped over their coffins. But as Abe Lincoln once said, our nation is the ‘Last, best hope for mankind.’ We will never surrender this. If it comes to that, and I pray it won’t, we will fight. And we will win.” The final words drew a massive cheer from the convention-goers. Rummy was their man, and there was no doubt among the GOP that he meant every word.

    Rising steadily since the Return of the Bull Moose, the Progressive Party was faced with an electoral nightmare. Reconciling western libertarians with coastal former radicals, the adopted strategy of pseudo-Taftian isolationism was a perfect straddling of the issue of foreign policy – as long as the order of the day was Reaganite Détente, it was acceptable. However, following the December Coup an existential crisis was created. The public, remembering the lead up to WWII, was not in an isolationist mood. They wanted to confront the Soviet threat by any means necessary, strangling it in the crib. And fundamentally, the Progressives were divided.

    Going into the convention, the divisions were focused on the western/midwestern wing and the coastal wings. The former was supportive of efforts to directly confront the Soviet Union. Progressive isolationism was about only engaging direct threats to the homeland, and the Kryuchkov USSR certainly counted. Contrasting with that was the latter, which felt that a commitment to peace meant preparing for war but making sure to exhaust every peaceful alternative. Extensive militarism was counterproductive, and rational diplomacy was a must (no one knew of what the Politburo was actually planning) – the coastal wing wanted to dump Freyist Germany, seeing them as a reformation of Nazi values, while the others felt losing them as an ally was not smart. Such would grow heated in the convention battle between libertarian Progressive Dick Lamm of Colorado and Pat Leahy (Mr. Progressive, being the first one to be elected to the Senate) of Vermont.

    With the hard fought campaign against the western Progressives ended in Leahy taking the nomination on the third ballot, he and his eastern team selected a westerner as his running mate – albeit another in the peace wing of the party. Pete Stark was a congressional veteran, and a noted liberal. Against Rumsfeld and Celeste, Leahy wanted an open contrast and the selection of Stark gave it to him. He took the stage on the final day of the Boston convention and made an impassioned plea for peace. “We cannot allow them to frame the debate, one between war and defeat. War is evil, war is repugnant, and can only be the outcome when all other means have been extinguished. Our duty is simple, to do whatever it takes to prevent death and devastation being the order of the day. For ourselves, for our children, and for humanity itself.” It was a good speech, and it received rave reviews with the public.

    Despite Progressive hopes, the anti-Soviet passion of the electorate seemed insurmountable. Post-convention polling by CBS/Gallup had the state of the race pegged:

    Rumsfeld/Gravel: 41%

    Celeste/Hance: 39%

    Leahy/Stark: 12%

    Buckley News/Rove Associates had a slightly different picture:

    Rumsfeld/Gravel: 44%

    Celeste/Hance: 38%

    Leahy/Stark: 9%
    While none of the parties were going anywhere, with voters flocking to the stable leadership of President Rumsfeld the challengers were facing a daunting task ahead of them.
    Future historians would state that the delicate and tense peace within the African powder keg was broken apart by Siad Barre. Of course, the fuse would have likely been lit regardless. Some other issue would have cropped up, igniting the firestorm. The African Socialist Alliance and the Entebbe Pact were mortal enemies. Idi Amin was itching to go to war with his hated neighbors, Ethiopia having taken in former President Milton Obote following the defeat of socialist Tanzania. Both nations very nearly came to blows during the Ethiopian-Eritrean War, the northern nation and its Sudanese allies almost invading Eritrean-supporting Uganda following the assassination of Chairman Mengsitu Mariam (though Western intelligence speculated the Chairman was killed in a coup by General Tafari Benti, who succeeded him). Ethiopia had subsequently crushed the Eritrean rebellion. Or it could have boiled over in the many border skirmishes between communist Zambia and Entebbe Angola.

    But they weren’t – cooler heads managed to prevail in each of those times, but not this time. Siad Barre was a longtime ally of Moscow and the other Communist bloc nations. He had warm relations with Moscow since coming to power, but the relationship started to sour over the Odagen dispute. Barre felt that a disputed stretch of territory in the Odagen region of Ethiopia belonged to Somalia, but no one in the Warsaw Pact would take up his cause, backing Ethiopia instead in the various border flareups in 1986. Following the December Coup, the Somali dictator felt he could get better support somewhere else. He increasingly drifted to China and India, but also secretly sent feelers to the Entebbe Pact for more local allies. These feelers paid off when he announced in March 1988 that he had scheduled Somalia would sign the Treaty of Entebbe two months later. This served to be the spark.

    To say that the other Alliance members did not take Barre’s abrupt switching sides well was the understatement of the year. All of them, along with East Germany, Poland, Argentina, and Iran expelled the Somali diplomatic staff from their nations, Ethiopia mobilizing its army and dispatching powerful mechanized forces to its eastern border. Through the Soviet embassy in Mogadishu, Barre was informed by the USSR that the consequences of overtures to the Entebbe Pact would be dire. Nevertheless, he accepted the open arms of Idi Amin and the invitation by Obama Sr. to arrive in the Kenyan capital to sign the Treaty of Entebbe. The Soviets proved prophetic – or perhaps had their feet on the scale – when Addis Ababa issued an ultimatum for Barre to leave Kenya and reaffirm the previous alliance within 48 hours or face war.

    Barre, proud and not about to back down, called for immediate war footing and rebuffed the Ethiopian demands. In Nairobi, he officially made Somalia a signatory of the Entebbe Pact in an act of defiance. Standing with Barre, Mobutu, Savimbi, and Obama Sr., Idi Amin pronounced that the Pact would stand by its new ally against any foreign aggression, essentially daring the Socialist Alliance to make the first move. Before the forty-eight hours had expired, tens of thousands of troops and hundreds of armored vehicles raced for the borders, prepared to meet any invasion.

    The dare would soon be called. At 5:00 AM on the May 18, 1988, artillery boomed and aircraft shrieked forward on the Ethiopian-Somali, Ethiopian-Ugandan, Sudan-Ugandan, and Sudan-Zairean borders. Receiving full authorization from General Secretary Kryuchkov in Moscow, Addis Ababa, Khartoum, Yaounde, and Abuja had declared war on the Entebbe Pact, plunging Central Africa into war.

    Benti, Nimeiry, Nkunte, and Otegbeye were in a major strategic bind. Overall, they outnumbered the Entebbe Pact considerably – a disparity that only increased once Zambia and Congo-Brazzaville fulfilled its treaty obligations and declared war the following day – and could count on favorable terrain in at least the eastern front facing Somalia, Kenya, and northern Uganda. However, a problem was posed even before the war began. Nigeria and Cameroon were cut off from the front, dividing the Socialist Alliance and forcing Ethiopia and Sudan to fight alone against Amin and his allies. This was something that could not be allowed to continue, and it fell to the military planners to come up with a solution. One was conceived of and put into preparation months before the first shells were fired.

    The Kingdom of Ubangi-Shari was generally poor, having been granted independence from the French Fourth Republic during the late fifties as a republic and maintaining strong ties to its former colonial master through the French Community. However, under the leadership of President Jean-Bedel Bokassa – who would crown himself King in 1978 – the country began to follow the Ugandan plan of exploiting mineral resources (namely uranium) in order to slowly modernize and improve the quality of life. Such had progressed slower though, the country still impoverished but boasting a modernized military with support from the West and Entebbe. Bokassa and his nominal allies in neighboring Chad had begun to drift away from France’s orbit, increasingly looking south. This made them top targets for the Socialist Alliance, Chad and Ubangi-Shari small enough to fall victim to a quick show of force. While planning hit a snag when Mummar Gadhafi in Libya privately informed Khartoum that he was breaking his alliance and swearing neutrality, Sudan pulled troops from the Zairean border and Nigeria made the gamble that Biafra wouldn’t attack to bolster their forces. Soon after war was declared on the Entebbe Pact, Alliance forces struck and struck hard.

    Ubangi-Sharian and Chadian forces fought valiantly, but the massive socialist juggernaut could not be stopped (each power only committing part of their forces to save strength for following offensives). The Chadian capitol fell after only two days of heavy fighting, its forces being defeated or outflanked in battle after battle by better trained and equipped Alliance forces. Ubangi-Shari put up a far better defense, but retreated into Zaire if necessary. Mobutu ordered his forces to defend their new ally, but with Congolese forces encircling Kinshasa and the element of surprise Operation Gamal had doomed this intervention. By the beginning of June the Alliance armies met in both Chad and Ubangi-Shari, and on June 14th Bangui fell to Sudanese/Cameroonian forces. Chad’s government fled to Paris and the military surrendered unconditionally while King Bokassa and a sizable portion of the military escaped to Zaire, him joining Mobutu in the emergency capitol of Kisangani. Despite his escape, Operation Gamal had been a decisive success for the Alliance, the eastern and western socialist governments now connected and Nigerian and Cameroonian forces pouring into the main fronts.

    International response to the war was negative, and the almost immediate violation of the neutrality of Chad and Ubangi-Shari drew the condemnation of all but the Soviet bloc. The Chinese and their allies joined with Rumsfeld and the UK to call for a UN Security Council resolution condemning the Socialist Alliance – one the Soviets immediately vetoed. France, furious and reeling from the assault on its Community allies, prepared to go to war but was talked out of it by Cheney and Thatcher. Any move to keep a war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact from happening was to be taken, even if that meant only assisting the Entebbe Pact through favored neutrality. Meanwhile, Community and Commonwealth nations mobilized their forces, Mozambique joining Libya as the lone Alliance nations to forsake their alliance and declare neutrality. All hoped that the conflict consuming Central Africa wouldn’t widen.

    As Operation Gamal was executed, Sudan and Ethiopia commenced their long-planned offensives into Uganda and Kenya. Over 500,000 Ethiopian and 150,000 Sudanese assaulted the border regions in an armored blitz. Using Soviet assault tactics – in many case human wave assaults under the cover of heavy rocket fire – they forced the Ugandan/Kenyan defenders back with grievous losses, nearly destroying one Kenyan field army and capturing the key strategic towns of Kitgum and Lodwar. In the east the Somali army was routed all along the line, a second Ethiopian force aiming straight for the sea in the center of the nation and driving the Somalis either north into Somaliland or south towards Mogadishu. Batting aside an attempted counterattack from the capitol – the Somalis facing significant deficiencies in armor and air support compared to the battle-hardened and modernized Ethiopians – Chairman Benti declared a day of celebration at the capture of the coastal city of Hobyo, effectively cutting their backstabbing ally in two. Jubilant socialist press across the world were proclaiming that the Alliance would be on the streets of Nairobi and Kampala by the end of summer.

    Only reality did not intend to match the optimism of Moscow, Addis Ababa, and Khartoum. Rather than collapse into depression and isolation as Stalin did following the German invasion – though known to be a close call only prevented by intervention by his personal aide, Barack Obama Jr. – Idi Amin rallied the nation to take “Not one step back!” His paranoia in the years prior to the Alliance attack was paying off, northern Uganda lined with massive fortifications and ready-made defensive lines filled with trenches, pillboxes, kill zones, and rows and rows of landmines. The Ethiopian/Sudanese advance began to slow in mid-June, Soviet-made MiGs battling with the F-4 Phantoms and F-5 Tigers of the modern Ugandan Air Force, denying them air superiority and making the slog far more arduous. To the east in Kenya, the advance was more fluid due to the more open terrain, but Obama Sr. and his generals were adopting the flexible defense strategy. Trading space for time, they fought intense armored battles in the savannah as engineers and civilians built a strong belt of defenses farther south.

    Nevertheless, over July and August the advance battled forward. Gulu was captured, as was Marsabit. Losses piled up though, the Alliance armies bloodied and exhausted. Despite pleas for a few weeks delay to rest and refit, Benti and Nimeiry overruled their generals and ordered the planned pincer envelopment of Lira and the crack Ugandan 1st Corps that defended it. The offensive began on August 2nd, rocket and artillery barrages – Alliance forces possessed the Soviet emphasis on artillery, while the Entebbe Pact mostly followed the American/Israeli focus on close air support – blanketing the forests and savannahs around the city in flames. Tanks and infantry advanced, but Amin and Northern Front Commander General Mustafa Adrisi held firm, making the Alliance battle for every inch of fortified ground. By the end of August the city had almost been encircled, but then the trap was sprung. A Ugandan reserve force of mostly Rwandan axillaries under Lt. General Déogratias Nsabimana counterattacked against the western pincer, virtually annihilating several brigades in a surprise assault under heavy air cover.

    Disregarding commands to not retreat, Ethiopian Marshal Tesfaye Gebre Kidan – the overall commander – ordered a full withdrawal to more stable lines north of the city, and was subsequently arrested and shot under Benti’s orders. While his replacement stopped the retreat, forces were funneled in from Kenya to plug in the gap, ending offensive operations in the east by September. Hope filled the air in Nairobi and Kampala as Amin and Obama had staved off what had seemed to be a general collapse back in July.

    Mostly cut off from their more powerful northern allies (Brazzaville had a small supply line through Cameroon, but the roads in this region weren’t the best), Zambia and Congo-Brazzaville were both rocked by the decision of Mozambican President Samora Machel to stab his allies in the back and declare neutrality. Unlike in the north, the two nations were outnumbered by Angola and Zaire, and were faced with certain destruction if South Africa and Rhodesia decided to intervene. Famine and civil war had rocked both and neither possessed the modern militaries of Sudan and Ethiopia. Nevertheless, the Marxist ideologues that were in power decided that a better time would never come about, and joined their Alliance comrades in declaring war on the Entebbe Pact.

    As soon as war was declared, Congo-Brazzaville launched the invasion of its larger neighbor. Formerly French as Zaire was formerly Belgian, the two nations were struck in an odd dichotomy with the capital cities directly across the Congo River from each other. Mobutu and his government had left for Kisangani for that particular reason upon hostilities, but ordered his forces to stay on the defenses for the Congolese to shatter themselves on the massive fortifications established over the decades. A huge mistake. Knowing that its armies couldn’t compete with the larger Zairians, Congo-Brazzaville had a secret arsenal. At the crack of dawn, the defenders on the southern bank found themselves waking up to clouds of noxious gasses sputtering from Congolese artillery shells. The mustard and phosgene gas soon blanketed many fortifications, wiping out many units due to the lack of chemical weapons gear in the Entebbe Pact armies. This barrage was followed by the attacking Congolese, smashing the chaotic lines west and east of the capital and heading for the Zairian rear. By the afternoon of May 20th, the pincers enclosed around Kinshasa, initiating what would become a costly siege.

    The world condemned the chemical attacks, but no one was willing to challenge Moscow to really do anything about it. NATO forces in Europe quietly stockpiled gas shells and anti-chemical weapons gear just in case.

    With Kinshasa under siege and the Congolese quickly capturing the Zairian annex to the sea, fighting died down in the thick jungles of the Congo basin. The focus now shifted to the south where Zambia faced down the Entebbe Pact. Most troops facing them were the armies of the Republic of Angola under Jonas Savimbi. Though the infrastructure of the nation formed out of 4/5ths of the former Portuguese Angola (the other fifth providing the capitol region of the free Portuguese government) had been battered in the country’s war for independence, Savimbi had overseen Angola’s rise to a powerful member of the Entebbe Pact, and it posed a direct threat to the Zambian forces. However, years of rebel MPLA guerillas raiding into Angola from western Zambia had resulted in strong defenses. Alliance planners felt it unwise to attack them head on, and instead the plan was to assault north into Zaire.

    Katanga Province was the region – even adding in Burundi – least charitable to the Mobutu regime. As Zambia invaded, tens of thousands of anti-Mobutu forces led by Laurent-Desire Kabila joined them in the assault on Katanga. Zaire didn’t have many forces in the region as Kinshasa was surrounded and Kisangani was threatened, so the assaulting Zambians advanced fast. The Katangan capital of Lubumbashi fell within two weeks, the defenders pulling back and using the vast plains of rocky ground to slow the Alliance advance. Worried about a general collapse of its northern neighbor (the Alliance made it known that they wished to install Kabila as leader of a socialist Zaire, a fact Savimbi would rather die than see), Benguela dispatched two divisions of crack troops to Katanga. Using these and the air power disparity, over the weeks in late June and early July a series of running battles in the Shaba region were engaged that the Entebbe Pact all lost but exhausted the Zambian army. The communists called off the offensive in mid-July, capturing a massive chunk out of Katanga and protecting central Zambia from invasion – however, Zaire failed to collapse and was still very much in the fight.

    Aside from the occupation of Chad and Ubangi-Shari, as well as the drive cutting off Somaliland from the rest of the nation, the hopes of the Socialist Alliance for quick and decisive victories tapered out by the end of summer. Both the southern and northern fronts were mired in static warfare, a battle of attrition between the larger Alliance armies and the well-prepared defenses of the Entebbe Pact. This would continue into fall, Zambia driving into Angola with the help of anti-Savimbi MPLA rebels while the Sudanese, Cameroonian, and Nigerian forces prepared for a drive to Kisangani when the rains abated. The only real offensive would be the Ethiopian drive on Somaliland, where Barre’s military and the local tribal forces would give them a furious fight – benefitting from British/French/American support out of Djibouti and Aden.

    Frontline by September 1988 (thanks to TexasRanger). Red is ASA, blue is EP, pink are ASA gains.

    The war for Africa would not be ending anytime soon.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  9. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Oct 2, 2015
    Good ol' USA
    October 2, 1988
    Inter-German Border
    Near Rasdorf, Free Empire of Germany

    The cold wind chilled Hans to the bone. The insulated uniform jacket didn't provide much protection, yet he tightened it around him all the same. Oh how he wished that he was posted in a warm barracks somewhere behind the lines rather than doing guard duty at the Inner-German Border, but the 32nd Panzergrenadier battalion had gotten the short straw, and here he was.


    "Why does it have to be so fucking cold?!" snarled one of Hans' fellow privates. "Damn the fucking communists to hell!" In the Free Empire, it wouldn't surprise Hans if the Devil was rated more popular than Kryuchkov or Wolf - at least his authoritarian tyranny was warm. "Where is Siegfried with the coffee?"

    "He's here," Siegfried called out, reaching the trenches - newly dug out following Frey's demand of a return to the Wiemar borders. "Freshly brewed, American brand."

    "Gott sei dank dafur!" Hans called out taking a cup poured from the thermos. The scalding liquid warmed his insides. American instant coffee wasn't as good as freshly brewed cups from a local Gasthaus, but it tasted like heaven to him at this moment.

    Suddenly, whatever contentment the squad had had was rudely ripped away at the piercing sirens on the communist side of the border. "Gott im Himmell? What the fuck is going on?"

    The East Germans - evil as they were - took border security very seriously. Mazes of barbed wire, trenches, pillboxes, guard towers, and minefields dotted the Inner-German border. However, these were usually designed to keep their own people in, not to keep Hans and the other soldiers of the Befreiungsreichwehr out. As Gerhard Frey said, "Only those bathed in evil would seek to treat their citizens as caged animals." And now the cluster of soldiers and border guards manning these defenses were scurrying about like ants, searchlights stabbing through the low light of dusk across the landscape.


    And the reason was soon apparent. A truck had barreled through the inner-fence, gunning for the West. It was a decrepit civilian model, one that would have been commonly owned by a trucking company... thirty years ago. Someone had crudely painted Freunde on the hood. "Asylum-seekers," someone close to Hans whispered. Ever since Wolf took over, the flow of them had only increased, both the Chancellor and the Kaiser encouraging them to escape to freedom. No one had been this desperate before - desperate, bold, and stupid.

    A burst of machine gun fire from one of the towers hit the engine block, causing the truck to slow to a stop. "Fools," another whispered, but the rapt attention turned to horror as the border guards pulled out a cluster of people - three adults, and ten children of various ages.

    "What is he doing?"

    "Mein Gott!"

    There was a long standing order in the East German military, the ones that guarded the border. They would shoot on sight, anyone that entered the border exclusion zone subject to that order. But Children... it meant nothing, a cruel East German - unrecognizable from some Auschwitz guard - raised his pistol and put a bullet in the back of a young girl's skull. He proceeded to the next person, a ten-year old boy.

    "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" No one expected what happened next. Rudi, a young boy recently assigned to the unit, screamed at the top of his lungs and raised his assault rifle. He fired full auto at the East Germans, hitting two from sheer luck before a well-aimed sniper round hit him in the forehead. A kind, innocent boy, killed for defending other innocents.

    For Hans and the other Panzergrenadiers, primed since birth to rise to this occasion, the evil witnessed was too much for them to remain silent. To remain passive.

    Their commanding officer, a committed Freyist, gave the order. "Feuer Frei!"

    A shriek erupted from the West German lines, a fusillade of fire following. "FREIHEIT!"
    It was called der Grenzschlacht – the border battle – by the Free German press. Reacting to draconian border enforcement policies instituted in the GDR, Free Imperial forces assaulted the Hesse/Saxon-Anhalt border in a furious attack, spurred on by the very type of situation that German Freyist belief demanded action in. It would widen into a fight where a total of five brigades (one of them Soviet) engaged each other before cooler heads prevailed. The screaming and diplomatic dick measuring soon began, Chancellor Frey and Kaiser Georg both issuing enraged statements personally while Soviet General Secretary Kryuchkov responded in kind. A noted absence was Markus Wolf, the East German Foreign Minister delivering the statement of the government, the General Secretary nowhere to be found. However, in the rage following the incident, no one cared.

    Der Grenzschlacht had a disproportionate impact on the world, for it occurred right in the final month of the 1988 United States Presidential Election. As October surprises went, this took the cake. With weeks to go the prospect of war went from a decent likelihood to being a near certainty. Terror reigned across the US (as well as most of the Western world). Panic buying began in earnest, families would pack up and prepare to flee to the countryside, and hundreds of thousands of patriotic young men would crowd recruitment centers to enlist. This development rocked the three main campaigns to their core, political activity suspended for most of a week due to President Donald Rumsfeld heading for the capital and neither Governor Dick Celeste nor Senator Pat Leahy willing to be seen as partisan during the crisis.

    Before, Celeste and the Democrats had been focused fully on domestic concerns, trying to split Rumsfeld from his conservative base by portraying him as a squishy moderate while at the same time lambasting him as a threat to entitlements and the working man to swing voters in the Midwest and west. The President in response highlighted his popular initiatives, appeasing conservatives with his foreign policy chops and the appointment of Emilio Garza and Dan Lungren to the Supreme Court. One of the most popular figures in America, Donald Trump would campaign hard for the President, countering the maze of Hollywood stars and union leaders in the catchy phrase “Rummy works. Rummy wins!” The phrase would be adopted by the campaign as the main slogan. Meanwhile, Pat Leahy campaigned hard to sell his peace agenda. “We cannot have domestic prosperity in a war mindset. We must remain peaceful to our neighbors, both at home and abroad.” Voters found him honest and sincere, but the dovish agenda was a hard sell. The VP and Presidential debate would largely be a wash, voters liking Rumsfeld’s leadership air, Celeste’s zeal, and Leahy’s honesty.

    Following the October Crisis, everything lined up perfectly for President Rumsfeld. While he stayed in the White House for much of the time trying to manage the crisis, the Republican leadership campaigned for him by proxy. Stay the Course, was the gist of it, the optics perfect for Rumsfeld’s message of him as a strong leader to see the country through the stormy seas of potential war. Vice President Gravel barnstormed the west, rallying normally Progressive voters to the GOP over war concerns (though normally isolationist, these voters were also fiercely anti-communist). Trump put it best. “Don’t switch horses in the middle of the river. You think the Russians are gonna jump all over us while we scramble around to change administrations? They’d be stupid if they didn’t.” On top of it all, the Chicago Tribune ran a bombshell story documenting how Progressive VP pick Pete Stark was a secret atheist. When Stark admitted it to be true, the backlash from religious voters joined the continued coverage of the crisis to dominate the airwaves going in.

    With war looking like it would break out any moment, the Republican argument not to throw the entire government into the chaos and uncertainty of a political transition was largely bought by the American people. Rumsfeld was seen as a strong leader, and apart from his effort to privatize social security his domestic record was reasonably popular. Celeste’s charges resonated among Southern whites, working class voters in the Midwest – though outvoted in all but Ohio and Indiana by suburbanites and inner-city blacks – and western populists, but he largely failed to convince most swing voters that Rumsfeld’s agenda warranted the risk of the USSR catching the US with a declaration of war right in the middle of a presidential transition. The Progressives, running on a peace platform, won dovish and liberal voters in the Northeast and secured New Jersey in a tough, three way plurality (largely on the backs of successful Senatorial candidate Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who ran as a pro-civil liberties, anti-communist candidate). But Leahy’s championing of exhausting every diplomatic solution fell flat with the Progressive western base and many social liberals following der Grenzschlacht. The scandal over Stark’s religion only sealed the deal, resulting in an underwhelming performance for a party that had stormed onto the scene a little over half a decade before.

    Any chance for the GOP to celebrate its fourth consecutive Presidential victory was short lived. The October Crisis still remained, an entire world on the knife’s edge – apart from Central Africa, which was already bathed in blood and fire. The White House released small tweaks to the cabinet the day after the election, the Senate quickly confirming them without much hassle. Prayers were sent heavenward that this tension would come to pass and that peace would be at hand, but only time would tell.

    Time was not something the United States possessed much of.
    For the longest time, Massachusetts had been a Republican bastion in the northeast (albeit in the liberal variety for the most part). Aside from George Wallace’s narrow 1972 victory, no Democrat had won a statewide race between 1966 and 1984 in a trend largely attributed to the backlash from Governor Endicott Peabody’s commutation of the Boston Strangler’s death sentence. However, this all changed with the victory of John Silber in the 1986 Gubernatorial election. Having gone the communonationalist populist route to outflank the increasingly liberal GOP from its base in the central and southern portions of the state, he had brought victory for the Democratic Party in all but one of the statewide offices up for election that year. Giddy Democrats were eager to add the senate seat of the retiring liberal Republican Silvio Conte to their newfound column of victories. And they felt they had the perfect candidate in John Kerry.

    Kerry had been a minor celebrity due to his service in Vietnam, testifying openly in a Senate Committee in 1973 in defense of the military when anti-war activists accused the Army’s riverine units of war crimes. A noted hawk on defense issues, his post-war service in the Massachusetts legislature found him being the champion of labor unions in several disputes, earning him the needed support to be elected Secretary of State for the Commonwealth in 1986. Seen as the perfect candidate to both hold Silber voters against the consensus GOP nominee State Senator Paul Cellucci (who had been chosen by party bosses due to blue collar appeal) while appealing to liberals as well. The state Progressive Party, which had made excellent showings two years previously, had been rocked by scandals involving embezzlement of party funds. Nominating a hyper-dovish candidate, they were largely dismissed as Kerry and Cellucci advanced to the general in a largely two-party battle.

    Without the blunt tongue and penchant for wading into culture wars in a Wallaceite manner, Kerry managed to expand the Weld-coalition into more traditionally liberal areas that would have normally voted for a Progressive challenger. The Bull Moose share of the vote collapsed compared to just two years before, the weaker Progressive only getting a measly five percent of the vote while Kerry vaulted ahead by a respectable margin on 86,000 votes. Cellucci’s blue collar appeal did win him regions in Plymouth and Worcester Counties that had gone for Silber in the Governor’s race, but Kerry pulled in enough liberal GOP or Progressive voters to become the first Democrat elected to a MA senate seat since 1964.

    After three eventful terms and a long, distinguished career in business and public office, Senator George Romney decided to hang up his hat and finally go into retirement. The former Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, his absence would leave an intense hole in the Republican senate caucus – and had Democrats salivating in turning their reasonable success on the state-level with the FitzGerald coalition to break the GOP’s hold of Michigan’s senate seats. While top tier recruit Governor William FitzGerald decided to forgo a bid against national wishes, the Democratic leadership was happy with Congressman Carl Levin from Detroit, known as someone with appeal in the black community. The Progressives rallied around Ann Arbor Mayor Lynn Rivers, a popular figure on the left and moderate voters for her reliance on community-caretaking issues such as utilities and affordable housing. After a bruising GOP primary, the winner was the longshot Congressman from Berrien County, 35-year old Fred Upton. Despite being inexperienced (being only a freshman) and from the wrong part of Michigan to be elected statewide, Republicans sought to turn it into an asset, parachuting Upton into Detroit and the upper peninsula while seeking to maximize votes and turnout from his home region.

    It would be narrow, but Upton would become the youngest Senator in the state’s history and the only statewide official not from eastern Michigan. Overperforming in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek while holding black voters, he managed to overcome a near total collapse of GOP margins in the working-class and affluent suburbs – Rivers exceeded the Progressive total largely on her strength in suburban Detroit and Ann Arbor, but votes for her wouldn’t translate to straight ticket Progressive voting. While Michigan was no longer the state that delivered George Romney successive landslide victories, the Democrats were still a long way from achieving the elusive dream of securing a senate win from the voters.

    New York did not seem like a perfect stomping ground for the minaprogressive Bull Moose. Highly dominated by machine factions such as Tammany Hall and the Nassau Clique, the NY Liberal Party (the state affiliate of the Progressives) were largely boxed into a distant third place by the Republicans and Democrats – who for all their bluster and nomination of iconoclasts such as Bobby Kennedy, James Buckley, Kermit Roosevelt, and James Griffin were pretty much all part of the same Prize Patrol in Albany. The Liberals were far more… liberal than their counterparts in other parts of the country. Such was the Party’s big Kahuna, Senate Opposition Leader Ramsey Clark. A gadfly and liberal crusader in the Senate and as John F. Kennedy’s Deputy Attorney General, Clark had compiled an electoral record surviving two Republican wave elections and the chaos following the Return of the Bull Moose. However, with the Senator staking positions that made Pat Leahy look like a hawk, both parties were gunning for his scalp.

    Machine to the core, Tammany Hall and Governor Griffin picked three-term Mayor of New York City Hugh Carey while the various GOP machines picked former HUD Secretary and mayoral candidate Charlie Rangel, both of whom were muscled through the primaries by the party bosses. Such conduct left the electorate in a foul mood. While being a dynamic and popular Mayor, Carey was seen as too technocratic while Rangel was much too liberal for many upstate GOP voters. Clark was not an option by anyone but the liberal base, disgusted by Carey but not willing to vote Republican – especially not for a big city pol like Rangel. As former Mayor William F. Buckley put it, “Time to put on the nose plugs. Election Day is here.”

    The results map of New York looked like a patchwork of colors and constituencies that barely found any discernable patterns apart from Rangel crushing in the black areas and Carey getting support in the working-class Buffalo metro region. The various three-way splits produced crazy results, Rangel winning such rural conservative bastions such as Hamilton and Oswego counties while Carey took the liberal outpost of Tompkins county after the college town of Ithaca was split between the Clark and Rangel. In the end, disgruntled conservative voters holding their noses turned the tide for Carey, pulling him over the line along with traditionally Democratic working-class voters. Along with Republican Peter Plympton Smith taking the open seat of Pat Leahy in Vermont, Ramsey Clark would become the highest-profile scalp of the backlash against the Progressives. The Bull Moose was wounded, but not defeated.

    Humiliated in a high-profile defeat once again to Carey, Charlie Rangel didn’t rest on his laurels. Marshalling his political allies, he would go on to win the open Mayoralty of NYC – finally claiming the office he sought for so long.

    The Indian Diaspora of the late 1960s and 1970s profoundly impacted the demographic balance of the United States. While many sociologists had marked Spanish-Americans as the upcoming demographic group, immigration restrictions and the election of the PAN candidate Luis Alvarez over the corrupt establishment in 1976 precipitously dropped the growth of Hispanic populations in the US, migrants from the Indian Subcontinent (and to a lesser extent East Asia) largely made up for the drop. Neighborhoods such as Washington Heights, New York, Southwest Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jacksonville, Florida, Cicero, Illinois, and Hawthorne, California found themselves hotbeds for Indian immigration. The largest growth in these immigrants was in Houston, Texas, where the population grew to nearly 750,000 by 1980. While Houston itself drew a massive number, the cities with the highest Indian percentage were the working-class communities of Galveston, Texas City, League City, La Porte, Pasadena, and Baytown (the latter being nearly 70% Indian by 1985).

    It was in this that Narendra “Nick” Modi found himself making his mark on American society. Born in Gujarat, India to a family of grocers in a low caste, he was forced with his mother, father, and five children to flee abroad as refugees from the Iranian-Pakistani invasion in 1967 when he was 17. Initially arriving in Thailand, by some circumstance his father acquired entry visas into the United States, and Modi arrived in Houston during the Spring of 1968. Working to help his family establish a grocery store in Baytown, Modi took the anglicized name Nicholas and paid his way through UT Austin, earning a law degree and a high rank within the Houston Republican organizations. This enabled him to run for and win a seat in the Texas House of Representatives in 1984, becoming the first Indian elected to that body. Approached by the national party, he set his sights on a seat in the US Congress.

    Modi was not someone to choose an easy challenge. The 9th Congressional district where he lived was held by longtime Congressman Jack Brooks, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and an institution in the region. However, the district contained a large percentage of Republican-voting blacks and Brooks had largely ignored outreach to the growing Indian community. Modi felt he had a shot, and Democrats knew that this challenger wasn’t like all the other Republican some dudes Brooks had dispatched over the years. The incumbent parachuted in from Washington, letting loose his massive warchest in both negative attacks and positive spots centered on the massive federal pork that he brought to the district. Modi on the other hand ran a populist campaign, branding Brooks as a creature of the Washington swamp that abandoned his constituents – the black and Indian communities were heavily targeted, Modi running his slogan in both English and Hindi: ‘Ab ki bar Modi sarkar.’ Now it is Modi’s turn.

    As the results came in the lead shifted back and forth all night, neither candidate taking a decisive advantage as the next batch of votes were counted. Brooks swamped in the rural regions and among the white neighborhoods in Houston and Galveston, while Modi had a similar advantage in majority-black Beaumont and the South Asian cities that he called home. By 2:00 AM, 100% were in and the incumbent had posted a 141 vote lead, after which he declared victory. However, a batch of absentee ballots were discovered the next morning in Indian-heavy Texas City. Nearly all of them went to the challenger, and Nick Modi vaulted ahead by 133 votes. After a protracted legal battle the lead held, and Modi made history as the first Indian-American member of the United States Congress.

    Similar to New York – though without the massive levels of corruption or quid-pro-quo backscratching common practice in the Price Patrol – Utah was largely controlled by a moderate/gentlemanly establishment between both parties. The state was solidly conservative on the Presidential level, but in downballot races was very elastic. It’s senate delegation was split, house delegation split, and legislature split, state constitutional offices having gone narrowly Republican in the 1984 elections. All of this had led to much inaction on the state level, certain state services suffering from scandals caused by sloth and bureaucratic inertia. Efforts to change this fizzled in the legislature, and voters were simmering. Eager to take advantage of this was former Republican Merrill Cook, a member of the Salt Lake County Board of Supervisors and a three-time statewide candidate.

    Out of place for overwhelmingly Mormon Utah, the race was heated and particularly acrimonious to the point of comedy. Cook was seen as erratic and eccentric, often rambling on and on in campaign speeches about political enemies. The state press published several exposes against him, claiming he often used profanity and verbally abused his staff both for his official duties and in his various campaigns – Cook would deny the charges and file defamation suits against three newspapers, once nearly head-butting an inquisitive reporter at a campaign stop, shouting “dirty lying scum” at the top of his lungs. Each of his rivals would call him a “disgrace” and attack him as a “trumped up perennial loser with a foul mouth,” but the anger at the status quo in the state kept Cook in contention. The Democrats were still suffering from their anemic fortunes (the primary unexpectedly suffering from a dearth of candidates and selecting the young and inexperienced Scott Matheson Jr.), Republicans from an underwhelming moderate choice, and the Progressives from the national mood against them. All had to face facts that even Utah was primed to elect a Merrill Cook every now and again.

    When the dust cleared it was evident that Utah voters had delivered a stinging rebuke to the establishment. Merrill Cook and his coalition of ultra-conservatives and rural populists had won the day, rebuking decades of seesawing on the state level between moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats. Both the GOP and the Bull Moose underperformed their polls significantly – Matheson, despite his strong campaign, was largely a victim of forces beyond his control. He’d be back, but for now Cook would bask in his victory as the first Independent Governor of a US State since Evan Mecham in 1978.

    Despite Rumsfeld’s convincing victory, there was considerable ticket splitting that produced a far different picture in the congressional elections. Thanks to running from their nominee’s dovish views – to an extent – many western Progressives kept their seats despite the caucus nearly shrinking by half. Most of those lost were in the coasts where liberal/populist Democrats picked them up. These would blunt a series of losses to the GOP, who gained many seats in regions that went blue two years before thanks to the anti-Social Security privatization backlash. Speaker Inouye maintained his majority, albeit a very narrow one.

    The Senate fell on the opposite side of the line. Many races were close, Pennsylvania decided by 5,000 votes and Nevada decided by only 284. With Rumsfeld underperforming in the South and West while the Progressives fell nationwide, the Democrats picked up six seats – this included such star candidates such as former Navy SEAL Bob Kerry in Nebraska and Bob Martinez in Florida. With incumbent Senator Tom Leuken defeated in the primary, the Ohio senate seat was narrowly held by Cincinnati Mayor Jerry Springer over Republican George Voinovich. The only D loss was Mississippi, where Governor Thad Cochran picked up the open seat of John Stennis as Rumsfeld carried the state (his only deep South victory). The Progressives felt disaster with Senate leader Ramsey Clark being defeated and Pat Leahy’s open seat falling to the GOP. Brightening their day was the defeat of incumbent New Jersey Republican Nicholas Brady by Congresswoman Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a three-way race, cementing a new rising star.

    Humbled, Leo Ryan would resign as House Opposition Leader and the Progressives would choose new leadership for both chambers. Wishing to broaden their approval among the anti-Communist populists in the west, Senator Dick Lamm of Colorado and Congressman Jim Oberstar of Minnesota were voted on by the diminished caucuses, both immediately issuing statements standing behind President Rumsfeld (as did the leadership of both parties) in the coming onslaught. Partisanship largely evaporated, the nearing call to war banding together all three parties with shared patriotism and love of freedom.
    Following der Grenzschlacht, forces from both sides went into overdrive to prepare their forces. President Rumsfeld dispatched several divisions to Europe and one to South America, while the British did the same with their Commonwealth Dominions under threat. Aid to the Entebbe Pact was tripled, South Africa and its allies putting into place predetermined battle plans and mobilizing their forces. In the Middle East, Saddam Hussein ascended the balcony of his Baghdad Palace and issued a fatwa against the Soviet allies of Iran and Syria if they even dared to declare war, while enclave nations such as Chile, Israel, Biafra, and Greece went into crisis mode. Millions of civilians streamed out of potential warzones, the German government securing a deal with the French, Dutch, Norwegian, and Belgian governments into taking German civilians on a temporary basis. Many cities and towns on the German border ended up being ghost settlements as military units began fortifying them to the hilt.


    In Moscow, furious diplomatic action was underway. With the military arm in position for months, it was up to the Foreign Ministry and the KGB now, moving through government after government in their web. In fighting the west, they needed more of everything: men, equipment, land, navies… It was never ending, and for each ally that signed themselves into the Warsaw Pact another declared their intention to back out. The Chinese bloc under Jiang Qing stated their desire to stay neutral in any war, though they would continue to supply the USSR with resources. Such was the same with India, the ruling coalition paralyzed between the pro-Soviet ministers led by Indira Gandhi and the anti-Soviet clique controlled by Sanjay Gandhi. A smattering of other nations such as Libya, Mozambique, and Grenada were shirking their alliances, though for the Politburo it mattered not.


    Not two days following the election, the USSR issued an ultimatum on behalf of the entire Warsaw Pact. It was both delivered in person to each major western power and NATO headquarters and read by the Soviet Ambassador to the UN to the General Assembly. Much of it was diplomatic bullshit and grandiose statements proclaiming the greatness of world socialism, but the basic demands were as follows:

    · The Free German Imperial government will assume full responsibility for the border conflict with the GDR.

    · The Imperial family of House Hohenzollern and the entirety of the Frey Ministry would leave the borders of Germany within a 48-hour period beginning 3:00 AM Greenwich mean time on November 11th, 1988.

    · The Free German Empire is to be dissolved and a joint Soviet/Franco/Anglo-American force to occupy the former German Federal Republic for a period of ten years until a proper, neutral government is established.

    · All non-Warsaw Pact aid to any belligerents in the Central African War is to end.

    · West Berlin is to be transferred to the German Democratic Republic.

    It was obvious to all parties involved that such demands weren’t worth the paper they were printed on. The Free German government refused all demands within a minute of receiving it, a disgusted Kaiser Georg spitting on the document in front of the entire cabinet. One by one the governments of the west joined in, President Rumsfeld raising the nation’s military readiness to DEFCON Two. As the countdown approached 3:00 AM October 13th, the entire world watched in bated breath for what was to occur.

    4:44 AM, November 13, 1988

    Near Teplice, Czech Federal Republic

    “Thank the heavens that the snow has abated,” Sgt. Tom Singh exhaled, rubbing both his hands together. “A winter wonderland is great for a day of fun with the girlfriend, but… fuck it, it’s too fucking cold!” The gunner swore like a sailor, but no one really minded.

    Cpt. H. R. McMaster chuckled, squinting to read the small paperback through the dim light of the tank compartment. Even though it was equipped with the best heating systems of any modern vehicle, the sub-zero Central European chill invaded through the armor of the M-1 Haig main battle tank. ‘It’s like the damn Soviets are softening us up.’ General Winter always seemed on the side of the enemy. History proved that.

    The hatch to the sixty-ton monster opened up, a slender form scrambling down the ladder. “Field kitchen sends its greetings,” Private First-Class Marco Rubio – the loader and fresh out of basic training – grinned, a thermos of coffee stuffed in his pack. “It isn’t an all expenses Hawaiian vacation, but it’ll ward off the chill.”

    “Shut up and give it to me!” shouted Cpl. Louis Chambers, the gunner. He grabbed the thermos out of the baby-faced Floridian’s hands and opened it. “Mmmm,” he smelled the seaming fumes. “At this point even instant coffee is a gift from God.” Soon, each among them was enjoying a cup.

    “Rubio, what’s the weather like?” McMaster asked, enjoying the warmth spreading through his core.

    “Bout a foot of snowfall sir,” he replied, shivering. As the only person from south of the Mason-Dixon Line, cold didn’t suit him. “None is falling at this moment, but thick cloud cover.”

    McMaster shrugged. “Helps to disguise our aircraft, but same goes for theirs.” He hoped the mobile SAM and flak batteries attached to his company would hold off air attacks.

    It was then that a low rumble vibrated through the metal carapace of the Haig, everyone feeling it. “Shit, what could that be?” Singh asked no one in particular.

    The radio began to squawk. “All units. Contact, hostile forces north of the border. All units are cleared for engagement of hostile forces. Expect chemical weaponry. Button up tight.”

    “BUTTON UP!” McMaster shouted, spotting streaks of fire ascend into the heavens to the north. “The big one’s here!” Each of the men sprang for their positions as the first of the Soviet rounds slammed into the ground around them. It took a lot of force to shake the sixty-ton tank, but soon the Haig was bounced around like a toy car.

    Lasting but fifteen minutes, McMaster had his eyes on the thermal sight soon after. The Soviets were popping smoke, but he could see the outlines of tanks swarming out of East Germany. “Target front! Sabot!” Rubio sent the shell into the breech with a clang. “Fire!”

    “On the Way!” And Singh sent the unit’s first shell of the coming war hurtling towards the enemy.


    10:27 PM, November 12, 1988

    White House, Washington D.C., USA

    The fire crackled in the hearth before him, filling the room with both a low light and with the only noise to banish the silence. President Donald Rumsfeld stared at the flames. Worn, haunted eyes glazed over underneath his glasses, he sipped at the glass of whiskey held tightly in his hand. The fire was so beautiful, elegant – and deadly. Soon, those flames could be consuming us all. His eyes shifted to the painting above him, staring at Abraham Lincoln’s bearded face. “How did you survive this all, Mr. President?” Lincoln simply sat there, silent.

    Sighing, Rumsfeld drained the glass and ambled back to the Resolute Desk. Four decades. Seven Presidents preceding me. Each of them had managed to stave off the threat of war, terrible war. Until me. The supreme hope and optimism that surrounded his inauguration nearly four years ago – hope that the specter of world conflict between the superpowers would no longer exist. That peace and amity would be the order of the day. “What a lie that turned out to be,” Rumsfeld mused bitterly. All rational thought in him screamed that it wasn’t his fault, that the USSR caused all the progress to be flushed down the toilet – but there would always be that doubt. Whether something he did or didn’t do caused it.


    Suddenly, the door opened. In walked an ashen-faced Mitch McConnell, who in this time of crisis stayed behind to serve his country and his President. “Sir, the Soviet Ambassador is here.”

    While others may have gone cold, Rumsfeld had steeled himself for this moment. “Send him in.” The Chief of Staff nodded glumly and exited.

    Soon after, Ambassador Gennady Zyuganov entered. His pudgy, balding face was set with determination, as if he was someone at the cusp of history. We are, but a tragedy rather than a triumph no matter who is the victor. Far from the cordial and cooperative Gorbachev and his successor, the current Ambassador was a fire-breathing hardliner, appointed by the current regime. Rising, Rumsfeld refused to extend his hand. “Mr. Ambassador.”

    If Zyuganov cared that Rumsfeld was cold to him, he showed none of it. “Mr. President. I will be brief.” He took out a sheet of paper from his attaché case, handing it to Rumsfeld. “My government has instructed me to inform you that there now exists a state of war between the United States and the Workers and Peasants of the Soviet Union.” And so it begins. To tell the truth, Rumsfeld felt as if a weight lifted off his shoulders – the uncertainty of what would happen replaced with a brutal knowledge. “General Secretary Kryuchkov hopes that we will keep this a war between gentlemen by refraining from a nuclear first strike.”

    “Something we both agree on.” Rumsfeld’s eyes blazed a fire at the communist. “You do realize, Mr. Ambassador, that your country will rue this day.”

    A smug smirk spread on Zyuganov’s face. “There will be nothing but celebration for the upcoming victory of world socialism, Mr. President.”

    “GET OUT!” Once the Ambassador left, Rumsfeld poured himself a double shot of whiskey. Downing it in one gulp, he glanced back at the official diplomatic message.

    “AAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHH!” The glass shattered against the far wall from where Rumsfeld aimed it, shards sparkling in the firelight as they fell atop the plush carpet.


    End of Part I
  10. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Oct 2, 2015
    Good ol' USA
    Bonus Chapter: How John Silber Saved Democracy
    by @Bulldoggus

    The Oval Office was packed with all the grandees of American Politics. Daniel Inouye and Strom Thurmond sat on a couch opposite Roy Cohn and William Quinn. Jim Oberstar, Dick Lamm, and Dennis Kucinich sat awkwardly in wooden chairs near the couch. Wayne Owens, Byron Dorgan, Ed Boland, Harrison Schmidt, William Clinton, and George Bush stood around the periphery of their leaders, and a few Governors who had been able to make it stood behind Rumsfeld as window dressing. Most notably of all, Presidents Kennedy, Wallace, and Reagan sat in easy chairs that had been brought in. Aides were packed in the halls. Every man in the room seemed tense and apprehensive, save maybe for Governor Bundy. There is something that rubs me the wrong way about him, Rumsfeld thought.

    But he had more important things to think about than an... odd Governor. "Gentlemen", he began, "right now we face the greatest crisis since the Civil War. We are now at war with the Soviet Union." There was a general grumble around the room- nobody was terribly surprised. "We need unity more than ever to survive this crisis. We cannot afford to waste our time with petty partisanship." Inouye and Clinton seemed to be realizing what Rumsfeld was proposing. "During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln formed the National Union Party to ensure that Democrats and Republicans would be united. I expect, and hope, you will be willing to do the same. All sitting representatives can hold their seats until this Party can be dissolved, and all who retire can be replaced by a member of their party." Thurmond wore a poker face. Kucinich looked physically ill. Kennedy seemed to be nodding off in his chair.

    "Excuse me, Mr. President", came a rough drawl behind Rumsfeld, "but what cabinet seats will you be giving to Democrats and Progressives?"

    "What are you talking about?"

    "In most of the free world," the drawl continued, "it is the customary practice, when forming a unity government, for the government to offer cabinet seats to the former opposition. I'm asking which ones you're going to give us."

    "We're not the Limeys." That was Cohn. "We as Americans do things for the strength of the nation, not for power."

    "So none?" asked Kucinich, "not even Agriculture or the Interior?"

    "No," said Rumsfeld. "The people voted for a Republican administration." Snorts and muttering about Proxmire filled the room. Inouye, trying to help, injected "well, we would certainly be open to such a proposal, pending some negotiations."

    "Who is we?", that drawl again. "The Democrats? Because let me tell you, Dan, we certainly don't want that. Your voters don't want that. And listening to John Kerry, most of our senators have some serious concerns with such a thing as well. Our president is wasting crucial time trying to preemptively avoid his party being blamed for any mistakes they make in this war, and you're about to let him. How dare you!"

    "That's more than enough, John!" thundered Bundy. "You treasonous little shit! How dare you, in our time of national crisis, accuse our President..."

    "Of acting like a dictator? Well he should stop acting like one!" bellowed an incandescent John Silber. "What are you doing here, Ted? Shouldn't you be giving some twelve-year-old the chair? A right given to you, by the way, by the court system packed by this bastard and his idiot predecessor! So I'm sorry for being suspicious of giving the likes of you more power! FDR was a big enough man to have elections! Why not you?"

    The room gasped and muttered. The aides were furious- one young intern in the hall bellowed "you're a bastard!" in a thick Texan accent. Inouye was crimson, and Bundy and Cohn looked ready to physically attack Silber. Then, a voice, thinned by time but still certain, rang from the back of the room.

    "Gentlemen, while our good friend from Massachusetts may be a little... overheated, and I resent his calling me an 'idiot', he isn't wrong. We need to have elections. If we don't, we're no better than the tyranny we oppose. Now more than ever, we have to be a beacon of freedom. Unless you have some other matter to discuss, Mr. President, I believe this meeting is over." Ronald Wilson Reagan stood up.

    "Um... not at all. Go on." All the men shuffled out, besides Silber, who almost strutted. An aide awakened President Kennedy and helped him leave. Inouye grabbed Rumsfeld's arm and muttered, "you still have our support, you know." Rumsfeld turned to Cheney.

    "You're lucky Ronald decided to save your ass, you know."

    "I know. Who was that kid who decided to call Silber a bastard?"

    "Oh, that's Al Jones. Some kid from Texas. Bit of a loudmouth, if you ask me, and he speculates regularly on the depravities of the Democrats, but he's fun."

    "Seems like he has a bright future, if he keeps that fire in his belly."

    "Yes indeed. Anyway, you have a meeting with the Generals in 10."

    Rumsfeld took out a glass of whiskey. He had a feeling this wouldn't be the last 10 AM drink before the end of his term...​
  11. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Oct 2, 2015
    Good ol' USA
  12. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

    Oct 2, 2015
    Good ol' USA
    Important Reference Lists:

    Olympic Games

    1956 Summer- Melbourne, Australia
    1956 Winter- Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
    1960 Summer- Rome, Italy
    1960 Winter- Squaw Valley, United States
    1964 Summer- Tokyo, Japan
    1964 Winter- Tabriz, Iran
    1968 Summer- Cape Town, South Africa
    1968 Winter- Stuttgart, West Germany
    1972 Summer- Lahore, Pakistan
    1972 Winter- Cannes, France
    1976 Summer- Leningrad, USSR
    1976 Winter- Hobart, Australia
    1980 Summer- London, UK
    1980 Winter- Edmonton, Canada
    1982 Winter- Santiago, Chile
    1984 Summer- Houston, United States
    1986 Winter- Oslo, Norway
    1988 Summer- New Delhi, India

    Time Magazine Person of the Year

    1957- Nikita Khrushchev
    1958- Gamal Abdel Nasser
    1959- Dwight D. Eisenhower
    1960- Georges Bidault
    1961- Richard Nixon
    1962- Che Guevara
    1963- Martin Luther King Jr. and Richard Nixon
    1964- Nelson Rockefeller
    1965- Nguyen Ngoc Tho
    1966- Youth (representing the counterculture and student protests)
    1967- The Peacemakers Iain Macleod, Levi Eshkol, and King Hussein; and John F. Kennedy and Alexander Dubcek
    1968- Vladimir Semichastny
    1969- The Ascendant: Harrison Schmitt, Michael Collins, and Fred Haise
    1970- George Wallace
    1971- Menachem Begin
    1972- Yukio Mishima, Indira Gandhi, and Jiang Qing (for charging a new course in Asia)
    1973- Alexander Haig
    1974- The Radical (Representing the SLA, Weather Underground, Rotkampferbund, and other leftist terrorist groups)
    1975- Alvaro Cunhal
    1976- Ronald Reagan
    1977- Helmut Schmidt
    1978- The "Entebbe Four" Idi Amin, Mobuto Sese Seko, Jonas Savimbi, and Barack Obama Sr.
    1979- Pope Leo XIV
    1980- Ronald Reagan
    1981- Andries Treurnicht
    1982- The Bull Moose
    1983- Jacques Cousteu
    1984 - Donald Rumsfeld
    1985- Alexander Yakovlev
    1986- Lech Walesa
    1987- The Soviet Coup Plotters
    1988- Gerhard Frey and Kaiser Georg
    1989- The Warring Leaders: Donald Rumsfeld and Vladimir Kryuchkov

    Presidents of the United States:

    Dwight Eisenhower (Republican) 1953-1961
    Richard Nixon (Republican) 1961-1963
    Nelson Rockefeller (Republican) 1963-1965

    John F. Kennedy (Democrat) 1965-1969
    George Wallace (Democrat) 1969-1977

    Ronald Reagan (Republican) 1977-1985
    Donald Rumsfeld (Republican) 1985-Present

    Vice Presidents of the United States:

    Richard Nixon(Republican) 1953-1961
    Nelson Rockefeller (Republican) 1961-1963
    vacant 1963-1965
    Stuart Symington (Democrat) 1965-1969

    Robert McNamara (Democrat) 1969-1970
    Henry "Scoop" Jackson (Democrat) 1970-1977
    Tom McCall (Republican) 1977-1979
    Gerald Ford (Republican) 1979-1985
    Mike Gravel (Republican) 1985-Present

    Speakers of the House of Representatives:

    Joseph Martin (1953-1955) Republican
    Sam Rayburn (1955-1961) Democrat
    Joseph McCormack (1961-1964) Democrat
    L. Mendel Rivers (1964-1970) Democrat
    Morris Udall (1970-1971) Democrat

    Gerald Ford (1971-1973) Republican
    Morris Udall (1973-1977) Democrat
    Gerald Ford (1977-1978) Republican
    Bill Brock (1978-1981) Republican
    Roy M. Cohn (1981-1987) Republican

    Daniel Inouye (1987-present) Democrat

    Senate Majority Leaders:

    Lyndon Johnson (1955-1961) Democrat
    Mike Mansfield (1961-1967) Democrat
    Hubert Humphrey (1967-1971) Democrat

    John S. Cooper (1971-1973) Republican
    Hubert Humphrey (1973-1977) Democrat
    George Murphy (1977-1983) Republican
    John Chafee (1983-1987) Republican

    Strom Thurmond (1987-1988) Democrat
    Wayne Owens (1988-Present) Democrat

    Supreme Court of the United States

    Chief Justice:
    Earl Warren (1953-1967) Liberal, Eisenhower appointee; Nicholas Katzenbach (1967-1979) Liberal, Kennedy appointee; Robert Bork (1979-present) Conservative, Reagan appointee
    Associate 1: Hugo Black (1937-1969) Moderate, FDR appointee; G. Harold Carswell (1969-present) Conservative, Wallace appointee
    Associate 2: Felix Frankfurter (1939-1962) Liberal, FDR appointee; Warren Burger (1962-1987) Conservative, Nixon appointee; Daniel Lungren (1987-Present) Conservative, Rumsfeld appointee
    Associate 3: William Brennen (1956-Present) Liberal, Eisenhower appointee
    Associate 4: William O. Douglas (1939-1971) Liberal, FDR appointee; Byron White (1971-present) Moderate, Wallace appointee
    Associate 5: Stanley Reed (1938-1957) Liberal, FDR appointee; Charles E. Whittaker (1957-1962) Conservative, Eisenhower appointee; Thomas E. Dewey (1962-1981) Moderate, Nixon appointee; Phyllis Schlafly (1981-present) Conservative, Reagan appointee
    Associate 6: Harold Burton (1945-1958) Conservative, Truman appointee; Potter Stewart (1958-1985) Conservative, Eisenhower appointee; Emilio Garza (1985-Present) Conservative, Rumsfeld appointee
    Associate 7: John M. Harlan II (1955-1971) Conservative, Eisenhower appointee; Robert F. Kennedy (1971-Present) Liberal, Wallace appointee
    Associate 8: Tom Clark (1949-1965) Liberal, Truman appointee; Thurgood Marshall (1965-Present) Liberal, Kennedy appointee
    Associate 9: Bill Baxley (1975-present) Moderate, Wallace appointee
    Associate 10: James Meredith (1977-Present) Conservative, Reagan appointee

    Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom

    Harold Macmillan (1957-1963) Conservative; Elizabeth II
    Iain Macleod (1964-1967) Conservative; Elizabeth II

    George Brown (1967-1969) Labour, Elizabeth II
    Julian Amery (1969-1974) Conservative; Elizabeth II, Charles III
    Richard Crossman (1974-1979) Labour; Charles III
    Tony Benn (1979-1984) Labour; Charles III

    Colin Mitchell (1984-Present) Conservative; Charles III

    Presidents of the Council of the Fourth French Republic

    Guy Mollet (1956-1957) SFIO
    Felix Gaillard (1957) Radical Party
    Pierre Pfilmlin (1957-1958) Popular Republican Movement
    Charles de Gaulle (1958) Union for a New Republic
    Georges Bidault (1958-1965) Popular Republican Movement
    Francois Mitterrand (1965-1970) SFIO
    Jacques Massu (1970-1975) National Front
    Francois Mitterrand (1975-1980) SFIO
    Jacques Massu (1980-1982) National Front
    Jacques Cousteau (1982-1985) National Front

    Francois Mitterrand (1985-Present) SFIO

    General Secretaries of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

    Nikita Khrushchev (1954-1967)
    Vladimir Semichastny (1967-1979)
    Viktor Grishin (1979-1984)
    Alexander Yakovlev (1984-1987)

    Committee Rule (1987)
    Vladimir Kryuchkov (1987-Present)

    Chancellors of Germany

    Konrad Adenauer (1949-1959) CDU
    Erich Ollenauer (1959-1963) SPD
    Ludwig Erhard (1963-1969) CDU
    Franz-Josef Strauss (1969-1973) CSU
    Kurt-Georg Keisinger (1973-1974) CDU
    Helmut Schmidt (1974-1986) SPD
    Hans Apel (1986-1987) SPD

    Gerhard Frey (1987-Present) FP

    Chancellors of Japan

    Nobusuki Kishi (1957-1960) LDP
    Hayato Ikeda (1960-1963) LDP
    Eisaku Sato (1963-1965) LDP

    Mosaburo Suzuki (1965-1972) Socialist
    Yukio Mishima (1972-Present) Minseito

    Prime Ministers of Israel

    David Ben-Gurion (1955-1964) Mapai
    Levi Eshkol (1964-1967) Mapai
    Golda Meir (1967-1969) Mapai

    Menachem Begin (1969-1976) Gahal
    Moshe Dayan (1976-1979) Gahal

    Yitzhak Rabin (1979-1983) Mapai
    Moshe Dayan (1983-1987) Gahal
    Yitzhak Rabin (1987-Present) Mapai

    Prime Ministers of Australia

    Robert Menzies (1949-1966) Liberal
    Harold Holt (1966-1967) Liberal

    Gough Whitlam (1967-1969) Labor
    Billy Snedden (1969-1972) Liberal
    Gough Whitlam (1972-1979) Labor
    Simon Crean (1979-1982) Labor

    Andrew Peacock (1982-1983) Liberal
    John Howard (1983-Present) Liberal

    Prime Ministers of Canada

    Louis St. Laurent (1948-1957) Liberal
    John Diefenbaker (1957-1968) Progressive Conservative
    Pierre Trudeau (1968-1977) Liberal
    Paul Hellyer (1977-1981) Progressive Conservative
    Pierre Trudeau (1981-1984) Liberal
    Herb Grey (1984) Liberal

    Leslie Nielsen (1984-Present) Progressive Conservative
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2017