The Campaign Trail Game Has Returned.

TheByzantineOttoman

Gone Fishin'
The creator of the game has added an FAQ page - https://www.americanhistoryusa.com/frequently-asked-questions/

It seems that they are working on a 2020 scenario as a top priority. After that, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1936, 1892, 1884, 1876, 1856, 1836 and 1800 are mentioned as scenarios that they desire to create eventually. It is mentioned that, for some of the less close ones, alternative history what-ifs may be added to shake things up.
2004 would be the next closest one that comes to mind. That could be presented as-is; it would give a significant GOP advantage, but not an insurmountable one for a skilled Kerry player.

1992 would be fun because of a viable third party. You could play Perot and not drop out to see where that goes. The only thing is Bush would not stand much of a chance in that election, and may be the least interesting of the three.

1980 would require something like the opportunity for Carter to rescue the Iran hostages to make work. I don't see how it's competitive otherwise. 1936 is completely unrealistic to imagine an alternate result, FDR is going to win and Landon ran the best campaign he could IMO. Huey Long would be fun but IMO not change that.

1884 could be another good one, though with it and 1876 there definitely is the case that neither election was handled fairly by the Republicans and they might have rigged it had they lost by more. 1856 would be a great one, 1836 would just be bizarre, and 1800 would be very unique but fun.
 
I’m mainly surprised that 1912 wasn’t listed on there. That could be a scenario to play around with, whether with OTL with Teddy running as a Bull Moose and you could possibly win the election as his third party run, or with an ATL scenario where he wrested the Republican nomination from Taft. That election was the one I had long thought had the most potential for the game among those not already made, along with 1992 and 2004.
 
Minor points on both 1980 and 1992. Both elections were closer than people remembered.

The polls showed a close race between Carter and Reagan right up to the debate, and the final weeks. It was really the debate that put Reagan over the top. Reagan's popular vote percentage margin was something around 10%, which was not insurmountable, people remember the election as more of a landslide than it was.

The 1992 result was presented by the media as a landslide, but in fact Clinton's popular vote percentage margin was under 5%, and while he took a lead in the polls after August, the race really tightened in the final weeks and he needed the indictments of former Reagan officials to put him over the top.

Also incumbent presidents always have a good chance of re-election, with the possible exceptions of Hoover, Taft (after Roosevelt continued running as an independent), and Buchanan (who didn't bother running).
 
Carter/ Church running against Ford in 1976:


This was not strictly a self-sabotage, but I ran Carter as a conservative on everything except foreign policy, where is was decidedly dovish, and even had him support the general's anti-zionist remarks. The one concession I made to getting Carter elected was support for the ERA, since the game for reasons I don't understand (because the amendment completely flopped historically) really hits you hard if you go against the ERA, even Ford.

As usual with the Cold War era scenarios, the map overstates Ford's actual support. He wins with a national popular vote margin of less than 2% and gets a nationwide popular vote plurality, not majority, but you wouldn't know this from looking at the map.
 
Carter/ Church running against Ford in 1976:


This was not strictly a self-sabotage, but I ran Carter as a conservative on everything except foreign policy, where is was decidedly dovish, and even had him support the general's anti-zionist remarks. The one concession I made to getting Carter elected was support for the ERA, since the game for reasons I don't understand (because the amendment completely flopped historically) really hits you hard if you go against the ERA, even Ford.

As usual with the Cold War era scenarios, the map overstates Ford's actual support. He wins with a national popular vote margin of less than 2% and gets a nationwide popular vote plurality, not majority, but you wouldn't know this from looking at the map.
I mean, is it accurate to say that it completely flopped historically when it got just a few states less than that needed to become law, and did have support from many politicians in both parties? Plus looking at some polling from the time period, it looks like it generally polled pretty highly, I'm seeing a 1975 poll saying 58% were in favor of it for example. Sounds to me more like a narrow miss for something that was pretty popular, just not quite enough to get the 3/4 supermajority of states to ratify, rather than a "complete flop"

And in another direction... I thought the game doesn't even hit you hard if you go against it as Ford... At least I've managed to get some sizable wins, and always do it by going against it
 
You are always given the advice that this ia a really bad move if you go against the ERA. Maybe the advice in the game is completely worthless. Of course why even include the question if both candidates are always supposed to answer it the wrong way?

Reagan went against the ERA, ran a competitive campaign in 1976 and won in 1980 and 1984, and once the amendment failed no attempt whatsoever was made to revive it, so my take is that this was a weird moralistic overreach amendment like the 18th, except the 18th actually passed, but the ERA probably would have the second amendment to be repealed later if it had passed. Presidents have nothing to do with amendments to the constitution so the proper response of candidates to proposed ones is not to comment at all.
 
You are always given the advice that this ia a really bad move if you go against the ERA. Maybe the advice in the game is completely worthless. Of course why even include the question if both candidates are always supposed to answer it the wrong way?

Reagan went against the ERA, ran a competitive campaign in 1976 and won in 1980 and 1984, and once the amendment failed no attempt whatsoever was made to revive it, so my take is that this was a weird moralistic overreach amendment like the 18th, except the 18th actually passed, but the ERA probably would have the second amendment to be repealed later if it had passed. Presidents have nothing to do with amendments to the constitution so the proper response of candidates to proposed ones is not to comment at all.
You are given advice that it is a bad move only as Carter. As Ford, you are told that it upsets some women voters but also fires up the party base, its far from presented as a really bad move

And sure, Presidents aren't directly involved in amendments, but some still give public support for amendments. It isn't like Presidents or candidates have always just not commented at all, iirc Nixon openly supported the ERA, Gerald Ford OTL spoke out for it, and Jimmy Carter himself did have some involvement not just verbally supporting it but also did have some direct involvement with signing legislation that extended the congressional deadline. And sure, Reagan won going against the ERA... but, well, him getting about half the vote in the GOP primary doesn't really go against the idea that a sizable but not overwhelming majority of the general public was for the amendment, and in 1980 and 1984, maybe it was just one of those issues that wasn't a big deal in the eyes of the public, especially among the eyes of those who would consider voting GOP, with all that was going on nationally, while in 1976 maybe it would have been a bigger deal for Carter, a Democrat rather than a Republican, to come out against it or not endorse it

And I'm not really sure it makes sense to look at an amendment for equal rights for women as a "weird moralistic amendment" akin to one outlawing alcohol. And if it did pass, even with Reagan being against it and with the conservative leaning Reagan era, I don't know if we'd see 38 states being willing to repeal it, its one thing for a conservative president who isn't all that involved in it (especially once it is passed) to be against it but another thing altogether to get state level majorities who are willing to outright get rid of the amendment - supporting some general social conservatism is one thing, but I could imagine that supporting the repeal of what could become seen as a major civil rights amendment protecting half the population could create more of a backlash once that amendment was enacted and becomes part of the status quo

Anyway, speaking of 1976 elections... Here's a Ford 1976 win on easy, winning the popular vote by 6 million votes and winning every state outside of the south except WV and MA, plus winning OK, TX, LA, MS, FL, NC, and VA in the south. And here's a Ford win on normal, rather more narrow in the popular vote, by less than 1 million votes, but winning all the Ford OTL states plus PA, OH, WI, MO, TX, MS, FL, and HI, for a very solid electoral vote win of 370. Both with Ford generally taking a conservative stance including opposing the ERA, and getting in the top 99% of results

And going back doing some as Carter, it looks like just saying it is up to Congress and not commenting otherwise results in a "some wings of the party are pretty disappointed" remark from the advisor, which isn't necessarily the same as it being presented as a "really bad move". Here's a Carter win on normal, winning by 4.5 million votes and nearly 450 electoral votes, where Carter takes the "its up to Congress" stance on the ERA, that was in the top 99% of results. And here's a Carter win on easy, winning by 9.2 million votes and over 500 electoral votes, with the same strategy, that doesn't quite get as high but does get to the top 98% of results

So it isn't clear that it is particularly harmful for either candidate. As for why including the question in the first place? Well, its possible to win while running in favor of it too, there could be different strategies to win, like running as as a socially liberal Democrat/Republican as opposed to a socially conservative or moderate one, it could be a matter of different appeals to different parts of the coalitions
 
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Managed to re-create the 2016 Election results (with the exception of pesky Michigan) as Trump, on Impossible; top 98%* of results if I remember correctly. It seems that a couple of attacks to Clinton from the populist left plus a couple of state-man answers is a sound strategy.

And just got a comfortable victory in 1948 with Truman, on Impossible too. Top 99.4% of results. It's funny: Last year in a period of boredom I had to grind for an hour to win, and it was a much closer thing (291-202-38), whereas now I get it right in a casual attempt. Oh well, that's life.
 
And just after I posted the above, I had this:


Look at Florida. Look at Tennessee. Look at New Mexico too (although that doesn't really impact the electoral outcome). Fuck, Gore just can't seem to get a break even in virtual reality.
 
Any tips for Gore on difficulties greater than easy. I almost always lose even when picking all 'good' options.
1. The main four states to focus on are Florida (that's the big one), Ohio, Missouri, and Tennessee. A few visits to Iowa and Wisconsin don't hurt, either.

2. Bob Graham is probably the ideal running mate, particularly to help you get Florida.

3. Praise Clinton extensively and at every opportunity. For your platform, run a certain kind of centrist liberalism; stay to the center on trade and abortion, but do speak in favor of spending the surplus on domestic spending, increasing Social Security payments, funding Medicare, funding the Department of Education, etc. Support the Kyoto Protocol and oppose drilling in the ANWR. Promote a mainstream internationalist foreign policy and support Clinton's foreign policy actions.

4. Don't get involved in the scandals. Stay out of commenting on Elian, Hillary running in New York, inventing the Internet, or Bush's DUI.
 
I'm gonna wait until thay add another snario probly 2020 snario or thay add one before the 2020 one but I well be on this website often
 
For 2000, I've found that actually Bob Graham isn't that necessary, it seems like Bayh is better, and also that going solidly liberal on abortion, while hedging on the Kyoto protocol, seems to work well, as well as just fully backing Clinton in regards to the scandals, and it looks like backing Hillary in NY doesn't necessarily hurt either, same with inventing the internet

Also, apparently the results links aren't showing the answers to the questions anymore, at least on new games, though I'm able to see the answers on my old results. So, digging some of those back up...

Here's a Gore/Bayh win, with a popular vote margin of 2.9%, and winning all the Obama 2012 states except Virginia, but also with the addition of Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee, for a total of 357 electoral votes. Here's another one, along the same lines, with a larger popular vote margin of 4.2%, with the same map as above except Gore loses Nevada

Though there's also some amount of luck involved. I just did the 2000 election 3 times in a row with that same strategy. First time, I got this win, with the above map except with Gore also losing CO, for an electoral vote total of 345 and a popular vote margin of just 1.5%. Second time, I got this one, with a popular vote margin of 2.1%, larger than the first one, but with a smaller electoral vote total of just 299, taking just the OTL Gore states plus NH, MO, TN, and AR. And the third time, I outright lost, with this result, a popular vote win of 0.2% and 265 electoral votes, winning OTL states plus AR, MO, and TN, but minus WI, NM, and OR, very narrowly losing the election by just 245 votes in New Hampshire and 669 votes in Oregon

Though those were also all with just not even bothering to campaign in any swing states even a single time (why do that when you could just run up the popular vote in California, lol). You have a good chance of winning most of the swing states with this strategy even without actively competing in them or having a candidate from any of them (though I think Bayh helps a bit in a bunch of swing states, with getting some more of the middle of the road vote), so I'm thinking it is a better option than going with Graham, though this is still just speaking from personal experience and the campaigns I've done
 
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