Oh I Wish I Was in Dixie: A Different North America

I'm not certain if it's been discussed, but what's Mike Gravel doing in this TL?
Maurice Gravel was an MP from Quebec in the late 60's and early 70's and a leading voice for Quebec's ultimately successful Independence referendum in 1973. He would be one of the founders of the Quebec Democratic Progressive Party and would serve as Prime Minister for the young country from 1981-84 and 1988-92. He has retired from political life nowadays.
2018 Virginia State Legislature Elections
2018 Virginia State Legislature Elections

In 2018, Virginia held elections for its State Senate and House of Delegates. In the Senate, which uses the same boundaries as the state's Congressional districts, the Unionists gained an absolute majority in the chamber for the first time in this formerly National-heavy (but now safe Unionist) state. This majority would not last very long as in 2019 the Unionists would lose the 35th district to the Nationals in a special election. In the State House, which has multi-member districts with each Senate District being given 2 members. The Unionists would expand the absolute majority that they gained in a special election 2 years prior. The Unionists in these seats where certainly buoyed by the gubernatorial and presidential elections who both over performed the state legislators overall.

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Up next, the birth of the Unionists.
OTL Alexandria City in in the 46th District which is represented in Congress by Unionist Mikie Sherrill, in the VA Senate by Unionist Mark Levine, and in the VA House by Unionist Scott Surovell and SDP William Euille.
Huey Long and the Birth of the Unionist Party Pt.1
Huey Long and the Birth of the Unionist Party Pt.1

Following the results of the 1937 midterm elections, the inability of the 2 factions of the Democratic Party (the Populist-Progressives on the left and the New Jacksonians on the right) to work with each other or the National or Socialist parties threatened to bring down the entire government of Dixie. The Dixie House of Delegates ground to a halt and prevented hardly any action from being levied against the ongoing economic crisis that had been raging in the country since 1936. Displeasure with the current government was reaching a fever pitch in Dixie. Incumbent New Jacksonian Democratic President Carl Vinson who was first elected in 1934 had authorized the use of force to put down what he called "dissidents" taking part in protests, demonstrations and strikes.

In the upcoming 1940 Presidential Election, as President Vinson was ineligible for a second term, Vice President Ellison Smith of South Carolina was the favorite candidate of the New Jacksonian Democrats. The Populist-Progressives however began to coalesce around former Governor and Senator Huey P. Long of Louisiana for the Democratic nomination. 6 years earlier Smith had defeated Long for the Vice Presidential Democratic nomination. The battle for the presidential nomination at the 1940 Democratic Convention in St. Louis would be incredibly fierce. Supporters of both candidates would spend the entire convention viciously attacking each other and backroom deals that tried to settle the disputes quietly all eventually failed. In the end, the Convention would narrowly choose Smith to be the Democratic nominee for president. The Convention would also nominate Senator Pat Harrison of West Florida, an ally of the Populist-Progressives, to try to alleviate the anger from the left-wing faction, but this did little to help. Long after losing the nomination would call the Democratic bosses "corrupt to their bones" and announced that he would run for president as an independent with support from many Populist-Progressives. The Nationals were hoping to capitalize on the disunity among the Democrats and would nominate Delegate B. Carroll Reece of Tennessee for president. The Socialists who had received a huge swell in support since the election of Vinson and the economic crisis would make their biggest play for the presidency nominating Socialist House Leader Delegate James P. Cannon of Missouri for president.

Long would start the campaign as a large underdog. Many thought that Long would have no chance to make the second round and might even serve as a spoiler for Smith leading to a Reece-Cannon second round, the worst case scenario for the Democrats. Long however proved to be a very effective campaigner and would soon begin to foster a considerable amount of support, largely made up of poor white Democrats that were sympathetic to the Populist-Progressives and traditionally National voters in the upper Appalachians that the Socialists had hoped they could win but found Long very appealing. Long would mix the campaign styles of several parties, the Populist agrarian rhetoric that the Democrats had adopted after the fall of the Populist Party, an isolationist view with the ongoing chaos raging in Europe of the Nationals, and the class based attacks against the rich that the Socialists used. In the first round, Long would end up narrowly beating Reece for second place and would move on to the second round against Smith. This would be the first time that the Nationals would fail to make the second round in a presidential election.

Long and Smith would enter the second round scrambling to gain the Reece and Cannon voters that were now left without a candidate. Long would target the National state of Virginia the most of any in the second round. It was the most populous state in the country and Long hoped that a strong performance in the socialist friendly western part of the state as well as its cities would be enough to carry Long over 50% to a victory overall. Smith would hope that the conservative Nationals would not be able to stand Long enough to vote for him and would instead choose the more conservative of the two candidates to give Smith the presidency. Long would end up defeating Smith by a little over 200,000 votes becoming the first and only Independent president and the first non National or Democratic president since William Jennings Bryan in 1910.

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In Congress, the Democrats would keep their majority in the Senate and would regain their majority in the House of Delegates bring somewhat of an end to the disaster that was the 1937 House of Delegates. With the retirement of Hatton Sumners as Speaker, the Democrats would choose Populist-Progressive William Bankhead of Alabama to be Speaker giving the faction a major win in Congress. In the Senate however, the New Jacksonians still ruled with Harry Byrd of Virginia serving as President pro tempore.

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Another victory for the Populist-Progressives would take place in the Vice Presidential election where Pat Harrison would win against the National candidate Joseph Shaffer of Virginia. Once inaugurated, Harrison and Long would work surprisingly well together, and Harrison became the mediator between President Long and the sometimes hostile Congress. Harrison would act as a moderating force to Long bringing much of Long's more controversial ideas into line with that of Congress. For many, it seemed that Long's independent presidency was just a novelty and was just a signal that the Populist-Progressives would be the new dominant force in the Democratic Party. However, these thoughts would not last for very long. In June of 1941, Vice President Harrison would unexpectedly die, and the battle to name his replacement would end up tearing apart the Democratic Party forever.

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Prime Minister Healey & 2019 Labor Leadership Election
Prime Minister Healey & 2019 Labor Leadership Election

On December 6, 2019, the leadership election for the new leader of the Labor Party of America would be held to replace outgoing Prime Minister Mike Madigan who resigned in the wake of the 2019 federal election. Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts would defeat all other candidates including her two biggest rivals, Interior Minister Dominic LeBlanc and Energy Minister Scott Dianda, for the leadership of Labor Party. While many candidates would run on specific policies if they were PM, Healey (who had ties close ties to the Progressives despite being a member of the Labor Party) would instead focus mostly on her being the best candidate to keep the proposed Labor-Progressive-Green coalition alive as long as possible, which resonated with the Labor MP's who emphatically did not want a new general election soon. With Healey's election as leader, the ongoing negotiations with Progressive leader Sanders and Green leader May were finalized, and on December 13 , Healey would be formally made the next Prime Minister of America and would lead the first coalition government in America in over 40 years.

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Huey Long and the Birth of the Unionist Party Pt.2
Huey Long and the Birth of the Unionist Party Pt.2 (Pt.1)

Through the first year of the President Huey P. Long's term in office, him and the Democrats in Congress worked decently well with each other. Despite being elected as an independent, Long had mostly governed like a Democrat in office (thought much more to the left than any Democrat before him). With the left-wing Populist-Progressive faction of the Democrats being dominant in the House of Delegates (first electing William Bankhead of Alabama as Speaker and then Sam Rayburn of Tennessee following Bankhead's death in 1940), negotiations between them and the president usually went along well. But in the Senate, the right-wing New Jacksonian Democrats held the power. Vice President Pat Harrison using his position as President of the Senate served as the negotiator between President Long and the conservative Senate with its leader President pro tempore Harry Byrd. However the relation between Long and the Senate would completely fall apart in 1941 following the death of VP Harrison in 1941.

Should there be a vacancy in the Vice Presidency, the Dixie Constitution states that the President appoints the replacement and if they are approved by the Senate, then they become VP for the rest of the term. Byrd, now the acting President of the Senate, made it very clear to Long that the new Vice President would not be as left-wing as Long or the Populist-Progressives would want. Instead Byrd recommended that the President appoint Georgia Senator Richard Russell, one of the most conservative Democratic senators, for VP. Long of course would not take the New Jacksonians' demands lying down. Long would instead nominate 6 different candidates to the position over time, all of which were close allies of Long and all of which were unpalatable to Byrd and the New Jacksonians. These included Long's Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, Hattie Carraway of Arkansas, the first woman elected to the Senate, and Earl Long, President Long's own brother. All of the nominees would fail to be approved of by the Senate and all by Hull would never even come up for a vote on the floor. Long who hadn't attacked the Democrats much since his election to the presidency would begin a campaign attacking the New Jacksonians and the Democratic party leadership that opposed his appointments.

On December 2, 1942, well over a year with no Vice President, Long would make his famous "Union of the People" Speech in Richmond calling for his supporters to break away from the Democratic Party to fully assert that their movement could not be stopped by the right-wing Democrats in the Senate. This speech is generally marked as the birth of the Unionist Party, though it would not get its name that day. Almost immediately after the speech was given, Long supporters would begin filing for the upcoming 1943 midterm elections not as Democrats but as a litany of different names such as Populist-Progressives, New Populists, Longist Democrats, United Populists, and several others. The name of the Party would not come until February of 1943 when Jamie Whitten of Mississippi would win a House special election under the party identification of the Unionist Party, becoming the first Unionist elected to Congress. This special election would receive much attention from the press and the Unionist Party would become the name that Long supporters would use. In the months leading up the midterms, Long would almost completely abandon his role as president, leaving much of the day-to-day up to Secretary Hull to run. Long would spend the time instead traveling around the country campaigning for the new Unionist candidates.

In the midterms, the Unionists would upend the makeup of Congress. In the House of Delegates, John Overton of Long's native Louisiana would be the first sitting Democrat to switch parties over the Unionists in February and would be the first leader of the Unionists in the House. The Unionists would gain 60 seats in the chamber, the largest gain ever made by a party in the House of Delegates. The new Unionist bloc would make a deal with Speaker Rayburn to keep him as Speaker, but after the election many Populist-Progressive Democrats would switch over to the Unionists leaving Rayburn further on the fringe of an party growing ever more conservative.

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In the Senate, Democratic Delegate Estes Kefauver of Tennessee would switch to the Unionists and run for the Senate in Tennessee. Him along with 15 others would win seats to the chamber and would deny either major party the chance to hold a majority. Like in the House, after the election several Democratic senators would also make the jump over to the Unionists, bringing their numbers even higher. Kefauver and the Unionists unlike their fellow Unionists in the House would instead decide to ally with the Nationals in return for National support for the approval of a new Vice President. Henry Jackson Short of Missouri would be elected as the new president pro tempore to replace Byrd, and the Senate and Long would eventually agree to support Senator Alben Barkley of Kentucky to be the new Vice President. On November 3, 1943, Barkley would be sworn in as the new Vice President two and a half years after the death of Pat Harrison. Barkley would go on to succeed Long as president becoming the first Unionist elected to the position. Long, not one to give up power easily, would run for Vice President after his one allowed term as president was up (there are rumors that Long chose Barkley to succeed him as president because Barkley's advanced age would give Long a chance to serve as president again, but Barkley would live through his entire 6 year term and then die two years later). Long would continue to be elected to the term limitless position until his death in 1966 (he would serve as president again from 1961-1964 after the death of President Adlai Stevenson II).

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2018 Kentucky State Legislature Elections
2018 Kentucky State Legislature Elections

In 2018, Kentucky held elections for half of its Senate and all of its House of Delgates districts. The Unionists took control of the House of Delegates but failed by just one seat to gain control of the Senate. As Unionists hold the Lt. Governorship of KY, they would have control of the chamber in the case of a tie. Kentucky, once one of the Unionists' strongest states, has shifted into a swing state in recent decades at every level.

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2018 Missouri State Legislature Elections
2018 Missouri State Legislature Elections

In 2018, Missouri held elections for both chambers of its General Assembly. In Missouri, despite being a swing state between the Nationals and the Unionists in statewide elections, the Nationals have not held power in either chamber of the Assembly in nearly 20 years. Since the 2000 elections, the Assembly has been controlled by a power-sharing agreement between the Unionists, the Parti La Louisiane, and the Social Democrats, known as "The Coalition". The strength of the Coalition has largely been attributed to the PLL winning voters that would otherwise vote for the Nationals, despite the Missouri PLL being the most liberal state PLL party in the nation. The Social Democrats also do very well in Missouri elections, winning in the heavily minority areas in St. Louis and near the SDP ancestral base in and around Kansas City where the Socialist Party (the SDP's predecessor) first emerged.

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