Prison battalions and strategic hamlets? I'm sure those strategies won't go wrong!
A small note, though: I've recently been reading about Soviet prison policy, and after the Stalin era, 'hard labor' sentences weren't really applied to 'petty' criminals. In fact, during the late Soviet period you seem to be paralleling, there was a distinctive move towards more non-custodial sentencing. While offering enlistment in the irregulars is in line with that policy, the alternative should be a simple stint in the labor colonies, not actual 'hard labor'. I know the latter term is often used colloquially, but here it'd have a specific meaning.
While yielding to the rancher's demands may have been a bitter pill to swallow, so long as this doesn't set a precedent,* the PSA government is definitely better off having ceded the point before the matter could escalate out of hand. Fighting an insurgency in the area of the Great Divide would be nightmarish.
*Hopefully PSA's other political movements don't end up thinking they can easily get what they want through violence and intimidation.
This is quite intriguing, does this mean a lot of ex-communist household names like Lovestone or Gitlow remain leftists in this TL? Does this lead to a lot conservative theorists in the East Coast to be syndicalist (or whatever flavour of totalism/radsoc this CSA has) theorists and philosophers?thanks to the various bureaucratic reforms established under James Burnham
Major parties in the Pacific States of America
Progressive Democratic Party: Formed in the late 1940s as a merger between the left wing of the Pacific Democratic Party and the Pacific Progressive Party. Historical base of support among the labor movement and among rural smallholders, but has steadily expanded its suburban reach in response to the Long Recession of the 1980s. Broadly socially progressive, protectionist, opposed to immigration, emotionally attached to the PSA's old allies in California, New England and the Commonwealth of Nations as a whole. Notable Presidents: Earl Warren, Pat Brown, Frank Church.
Pacific Republican Party: Historically the party of middle-class Pacificans, Eastern and rural interests and Mormons, the Pacific Republican Party is somewhat more socially and fiscally conservative than its main rival. Pro-immigration and increasingly receptive to economic and political overtures from the Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. Notable Presidents: Frank Merriam, Richard Nixon, Robert Stack.
Minor parties in the Pacific States of America
Pacific Populist Party: Founded in 1992 in the wake of the "Sagebrush Rebellion", a series of acrimonious disputes over land use between the Pacific Bureau of Land Management and Eastern ranchers. Comprised of an exceptionally broad and ideologically incoherent coalition of groups, ranging from anti-government militias to Native American activists to quasi-Syndicalist communes in rural Nevada, united by little more than a loathing for the Bureau of Land Management in particular and Sacramento in general. Despite this, the right of the party (led by Helen Chenoweth) and its left (led by Ronnie Lupe) are willing to work together, at least for the time being.
Pacific Conservative Party: An artifact of the Republican Party's shift to the left in the early 1960s, the Conservative Party was established by Walter Knott and John G Schmitz in 1964. Its platform of military buildup, uncompromising anti-Syndicalism and Austrian economics has historically found its firmest base of support in Southern California, where it enjoys strong ties to the defense industry, and among Eastern rural interests (although the Populist Party has usurped most of the latter group).
Cascadia Party: The most left-wing party present in the Pacific Congress, the Cascadia Party was formed in the early 1980s to protest logging in the Pacific Northwest. Strongly socially progressive and environmentalist, the Cascadia Party has struggled to expand beyond its Seattle heartlands.
This is quite intriguing, does this mean a lot of ex-communist household names like Lovestone or Gitlow remain leftists in this TL? Does this lead to a lot conservative theorists in the East Coast to be syndicalist (or whatever flavour of totalism/radsoc this CSA has) theorists and philosophers?
All these parties seem very interesting and well thought-out, it makes me want to see what each of them would do against the Sagebrush Rebellion and the Insurgency if they were more popular and managed to get their party to presidency in an alt-alt-history TL. Also, will conflict start to spread into the Canadian border soon?