Maybe. To be honest, I think it will be seen as normal, Catalonia is a very populated region after all. The weird thing is that we have had three Prime Ministers from Castilla y León OTL and zero from Catalonia. A more politically integrated Catalonia means more potential officeholders at the national level from the region.
My mental explanation for that is that when in late '83 the Banca Catalana scandal explodes, Pujol, who required the support of CC-UCD to govern, loses its majority and goes down, discrediting and breaking down the incipient Catalan nationalist hegemony.
Right-wing Catalanists either move to Centristes de Catalunya (if they are more conservative than nationalist, so think Duran i Lleida) or stay in a CDC that will collapse as Roca has the opportunity to stab Pujol, splitting CDC between the Roquista PDC (Partit Democrata Català) and the Pujolista leftovers of Convergencia.
By the 90s, Catalonia has three main parties, PSUC/PDE, strongest in the Barcelona and Tarragona metropolitan areas; PDC, strongest in rural Girona and Barcelona, and CC-UCD, strongest in rural Lleida and Tarragona as well as the upper-class urban areas. Then there are the two social democratic parties, the more Catalanist Socialistes de Catalunya (FPS member) and the more unionist Catalan PSOE branch, and the hard-core nationalists in ERC.
As such, Catalonia remains more of a left-leaning region, and an important one for the PCE/PDI, justifying some of the choices.
To be honest, I think Mario Conde works a bit better as an analog.
A rags-to-riches story (this being Spain, the story includes becoming a high-level civil servant before moving to the private sector) of a guy who became emblematic of the late 80s-early 90s Spanish "beautiful people" (jet-set) and that phrase coined by Solchaga that "España es el país del mundo donde más rápido uno puede hacerse rico" (Spain is the country in the world where one can get rich most easily).
He was popular, dabbled in politics, being close to the right-wing of the PSOE, and a powerful banker. He didn't own a football team, but I think Conde represents the same style of "aspirational entrepreneur" that Berlusconi symbolised in the 80s and 90s Milano da bere.
Gil is just too much of a folkloric figure for a good analogy, the Berlusconi of 2001-2006 was definitely not the same persona he sold himself as in 1994.
As some of you know, I've been working, bit by bit, on my Columbia idea, a parliamentary US* that however avoids the cliché of becoming a greater Canada, featuring some fairly unique things, and which has required reading a lot of Whig Party and GOP politics in the Antebellum, Civil War and Gilded Age periods.
I'm going to try and consolidate this a bit but for now, here's the Winthrop administration and the first term of the Morgan administration (which I've labelled the 'Revolutionary time' to be followed by the second term, the "Revolution vs. Reality" which I've begun sketching and writing now, although my priority now is motivation letter-writing.
1850-1856: Charles A. Winthrop (National) 1852 def.: Samuel M. Thornton (Federal)
When Francis C. Adams resigned as First-Citizen mid-legislature in 1850, there were signs of the storm to come. The National Party’s consecutive steamrolling of tariff raising bills through Congress had sparked extreme opposition in Congress from Federalists and occasionally violent protests in the west. Designed to support New English industrialists, they forced local and state governments to invest in infrastructure projects with limited autonomy. This was denounced out west as tyrannical if not outright royalist behaviour. On the second and third readings of the 1851 Works Bill, the loud accusations from the Federal benches turned violent, as congressmen clashed on the grounds of the assembly – a widely-reported fact that further ignited anger among Wester yeomen.
West of the Ohio River, rumours Federal militias arming themselves spread. Soon, public denunciations and threats of lynching against any tax officials followed in an atmosphere of increasing hysteria, where many Federals began to see a National conspiracy to abolish state autonomy and limit suffrage.
The agitated atmosphere also spread eastwards. In New England, northern New York and other National Party strongholds, there were calls for action against the so-called seditious militias forming an underground army to destroy the country in league with the dastardly English – or the Devil depending on the degree of religious puritanism. Religious authorities, rather than calm, further inflamed the situation by denouncing the Federalists as Popists-in-disguise.
In that atmosphere, it was a matter of time for things to explode. And they did, literally. On June 14, 1853, in Adrian (Huron), a group of armed men carrying the Federal yellow banner assaulted a small Army garrison in the city. In the firefight, a powder keg was ignited, resulting in an explosion that killed all involved and set off a fire that nearly destroyed the town.
In response, the Winthrop Cabinet sent two battalions to restore order to the city and calm the region, putting an end of the Adrian-style attacks on government facilities. By the time the troops arrived, they were welcomed by the locals with hurling, stones and eggs. In the confusion, the troops opened fire killing over twenty people before taking over the town and sending envoys east to request further reinforcements.
Soon word spread across western Columbia of the ‘Adrian Massacre’, with frontier towns and locals assaulting federal government buildings. Often, Federal local officials and sheriffs would lead the charges. In Philadelphia, by July 1853, the Federalist delegation withdrew from Congress, arguing it was part of the “monarchist” system that was killing free citizens.
As Federalist congressmen returned back home, they gathered in Peoria. There, the Peoria Declaration was drafted. The assembled Federalists called for universal franchise, lower tariffs and taxes, a stronger response to Indian attacks and an end to the so-called ‘Massachusetts Monarchs’ (1). They denied the legitimacy of Winthrop and called to a return to the values of the short-lived confederation of states of 1776. They also elected Marcus Morton as the head of the rebellion and began organising the disperse citizen militias to fight off the federal army.
Interpreted as an act of rebellion, the leaders of the rebellion were declared outlaws by the Winthrop government. Party grandees like Francis Whitcomb and Wilbur Bowdoin Jr called on him to mobilise troops from New England and then-Upper New York and move west quickly. Despite his initial misgiving owing to his dubitative nature, he would be turned to an aggressive stance by his son’s influence.
National Party leaders called upon citizens to volunteer to supplement the small standing army, forming the ‘Yankee Battalions’. Under the command of Generals James Armstrong III and Hugh Gorham, governmental troops advanced west, beginning with the battle of Fort Pitt in Allegheny, where the Federal militias were routed. From there, they advanced further until reaching Fort Wayne, where a prolonged siege began as the harsh winter of 1853 approached, and the Army feared for the safety of its supply chains owing to guerrilla tactics in Erie.
In the east, late 1853 was marked by another bout of Winthrop’s melancholia. In his place, Home Secretary Morgan would act as ersatz-First-Citizen. Martial law was declared, habeas corpus and press freedom temporarily suspended and draft laws introduced. Meanwhile, taking advantage of the absence of most opposition congressmen, the National Party caucus proceeded to pass substantial constitutional revisions to re-model Columbia in their image: a strong central government, investment and protectionism, limited autonomy and property qualifications-based suffrage. The Federalist Party, so closely tied to the rebellion, was disbanded, many of its eastern members forced to either resign their seats, join the Nationals or sit as independents.
The fall of Fort Wayne and the battle of the Tippecanoe River in April 1854 largely put an end to the active phase of the civil war. From then on, both volunteers and Army soldiers would be split to chase after surviving Federalist guerrillas that would plague the region until well into the 1860s.
Meanwhile, Morton and other significant Federalist Party leaders were captured. Taken to trial, they were executed for treason in February 1855 to the displeasure of Winthrop, who by this point was eager to both resign and to put an end to the war.
Convinced of the need to call an election after the gruesome conflict and tired of office, Charles Winthrop confided in party leaders his wish to retire. To avoid conflict with the party, he would ultimately break with Adams’ precedent and not designate a successor. Instead, the party would decide. However, few had doubts as to the name of his successor.
1856-1864: Jasper E. Morgan (National) 1856 def.: scattered opposition
1860 def.: Lucius C. French (People’s)
Home Secretary Jasper E. Morgan had essentially acted as First-Citizen during the better part of the civil war – the ‘Western Rebellion’ as it was called in National circles. With Winthrop largely incapacitated, bed-ridden or worse, he had largely run the state and the war behind the scenes. As such, when the caucus of the National Party met in March 1856, Morgan was nearly-unanimously chosen as the party leader, and hence the party’s candidate for the highest executive office.
As the Federal Party had been disbanded and its leadership exiled, executed, disenfranchised or imprisoned, the National candidates faced only token opposition from independent candidates. In the East, it was a wipe-out, the patriotic harangues of the candidates and the victory fervour guaranteed a clean swipe of most seats. In the West, the presence of the military, franchise restrictions and votes by viva voce ensured that no coherent opposition to the National Party emerged on the first post-war election.
Obtaining a historic majority, the National Party set out to implement the most radical reform program in Columbia’s history, leaving few stones unturned. Between 1856 and 1859, the Constitution was largely rewritten to reflect the Nationals’ concept of a homogenous, centralised nation and reflected their fears of an overpowering legislature, drawing on British and Columbian conservative traditions.
The old states were abolished, the First-Citizen’s role was strengthened, as further checks and balances were introduced through the Council of Revision, the Council of Appointments or a National Bank.
If the initial years of the First Morgan Cabinet were dominated by issues of constitutional reform, the last two sessions of the 1856 Congress (1859-60) were dominated by a feverish activity to implement key party pledges.
The Suffrage and Elections Acts of 1859 passed, restricting office-holding to native-born citizens and active suffrage to citizens who paid a $5 poll tax. The Elections Act banned the practice of parties paying for someone’s poll tax, a common People’s Party tactic before the war. The Citizenship Act of 1859 increased the time of residence any immigrant had to meet to be able to become a citizen.
The twin Elections and Suffrage Acts proved one of the most controversial bills passed by the 1856 Congress. Similar bills had been proposed as early as the first constitutional convention, but never implemented at the national level, and attracted the support of the National Party’s constituencies, evangelical middle-class reformers and Yankee workers who feared the pernicious influence of Catholicism (the former) and the low-wage competition from Irishmen (the latter).
In the dealing with the post-war West, the Morgan administration rushed in 1860 what would be known to history as the ‘humiliation of the West’. The Militia Act of 1859, the 1860 Indian Relations and the 1860 Suffrage Act submitted the western half of the country to military control, where the powerful military Intendants-General governed much like Roman proconsuls. As tempers remained high after the conflict and the insurgency would not abate, western citizens had to prove their loyalty before voting.
The Indian Relations Act, in which the government pledged to control migration westwards of the Missouri and recognised the lands of the Sioux, Dakota and Chippewa while granting suffrage to Indians of mixed ancestry who had adopted the “habits and customs of civilized men” – a move calculated to ensure suffrage for what was perceived as a National constituency.
Put together, these measures humiliated westerns, who perceived the government as actively hostile to their interests and even their race. It drove thousands to migrate further west, beyond the Missouri River into the nominally British and Indian lands of Easternmost Oregon, creating the first “clodhopper” settlements. Meanwhile, in western Columbia, the Federalist fight was continued by insurgents who practised occasional raids on military installations and on Indian and Yankee areas alike.
As future historians would later recognise, the single most important element of the legislative rush of the first Morgan legislature was the National Programme (1). The new National majority increased tariffs, especially for manufactured goods; subsidised telegraph and railroad building and opened up land for colleges and other public institutions while creating a new Settlement Office to bring some order into the settlement of the unsettled portions of the country’s north-west.
By 1860, Morgan could claim, rightfully, that the country had changed revolutionarily compared to the pre-war period. But it was also hard to ignore that in victory, the Nationals had not been magnanimous. Many of the measures dealing with the west only heightened tensions and drove a wedge between eastern and western National MCCs.
Over the course of 1859 and 1860, a slow drip of western National MCCs abandoned the party, denouncing its eastern bias. Alongside them, many moderate former Federalists who had managed to stay elected at the local office advocated for a new party that would argue for the more acceptable elements of the old Federalist credo: universal suffrage, “latitudinarian diversity” (2), free trade and a more aggressive western settlement policy.
Ultimately, these disgruntled Nationals and former Federals came together to form a new party, the People’s or Populist Party. In its official plank, the party accepted the new, centralised power structure but advocated for universal suffrage, free trade, an open West, with all its implications for removing the Indians and expanding beyond the Missouri, both very damaging for the country’s relations with the Lakotan Republic and the British.
In the 1860 Founding Convention, Lucius French was elected as the party’s first leader. A former Federal MCC from Kankakee who had refused to follow Morton into rebellion, French managed the difficult task of bringing together the odd mix of far-western National malcontents, odd independents and various respectable former Federalists. The greatest asset that French would have in doing so was himself. At the time, he would become known as Columbia’s finest orator.
A series of independent, self-governed republics set up during the mid- and late-19th century in the Great American Desert and the Oregon Territory after the Columbian Civil War. The clodhopper states were founded by Federalist exiles after 1856 and occupied large parts of the modern-day Oregon Federation.
Actually @Dan1988 one of the frustrating things about reading about GOP and Gilded Age politics is how very Midwest-focused it all is since it's your corner of the woods, can you think of some good overview of political dynamics in New England and the North-East in general?
Actually @Dan1988 one of the frustrating things about reading about GOP and Gilded Age politics is how very Midwest-focused it all is since it's your corner of the woods, can you think of some good overview of political dynamics in New England and the North-East in general?
So going back to some Belgian elections, I have started mapping the Belgian provincial elections - because yes, provinces also have legislative assemblies and governments - beginning with the province of Liège.
The provincial government in Belgium is formed by two components, the Provincial Council (Conseil provincial), the assembly and the Collège provincial, the executive headed by the Député provincial-Président in practice and nominally by the Walloon government-appointed Governor, who these days only plays a symbolic role.
The elections to the Provincial Councils are held every 6 years, at the same time as the local elections, which makes it extra ironic that there is no data for the results at the local level, only going down as far as the cantons.
The province of Liège elected in 2018 the largest provincial assembly, together with Hainaut, with 56 members, elected from 10 constituencies by open-list proportional representation.
The province is politically divided between the city of Liège and its suburbs as well as the western half of the province, which belong to the sillon industriel with the exception of areas next to the very suburban Walloon Brabant province, and a conservative and rural eastern half of the province. This divide is fairly obvious in most electoral maps going back decades.
Liège is also home to the small German-speaking community of the country, and as a result, in the electoral district of Eupen, the Francophone parties either don't run (PS, CDH) or run joint lists with their German-speaking counterparts (MR-PFF). Since ECOLO encompasses both communities, they run as one throughout the province.
The mainstream parties (PS, MR, CDH) saw significant losses particularly on the left, where the PS bled votes to the greens but especially to the far-left PTB, which tripled its representation in the provincial council. The right-wing populist PP also obtained a decent showing but failed to gain any seats, same as the social liberal DéFI.
The province of Luxembourg is Belgium's largest and also the least populated, poorest and least densely populated Belgian province. The province is the result of the 1839 split of the Grand Duchy when the French-speaking quartier wallon was ceded to Belgium, as well as the then-German-speaking Arlon (as of the last linguistic census in 1947, French was the preferred language of 94% of the inhabitants of the pays d'Arlon).
The province is largely rural and by-and-large conservative, being one of the most consistently Christian democratic regions of the country, as well as holding the "honour" of being the most monarchist province of Wallonia during the 1950 Royal Crisis. Even today, when the Christian Democrats have lost most of their strength in Wallonia, the province remains their sole stronghold.
The Luxembourg Provincial Council has 37 members elected from six multi-member constituencies that correspond with the province's arrondissements, with the exception of Neufchâteu, which is divided between the districts of Neufchâteau and Bouillon. The 37 provincial deputies choose the four members of the Collège provincial, which by law has to conform to gender parity. The outcome of the election did not change the composition of the provincial majority, a CDH-PS coalition, which has been the arrangement since 2006.
Like elsewhere in Belgium, the provincial elections saw a significant rise for the parties to the left of the PS and a decrease in support for the mainstream parties, with the exception of the liberal MR. The PS, in particular, lost many votes to both the green Ecolo and the far-left PTB. Ecolo in fact topped the polls in one canton, Fauvillers, making it the only canton in Wallonia where a green party topped the polls in 2018.
The Député provincial-President is Claudy Thomassint (CDH) and the Governor is Olivier Schmitz (CDH) who has served in that role since 2016.
Mapping the Balearic Islands regional election of 2019. The islands are one of the few swing regions of Spain, where PP and PSOE have alternated the regional premiership every decade or so, usually as a result of the built-up of corruption scandals. The political cleavage in the Balearic Islands is dominated by two key issues: economics and the role of Catalan, in this sense it is similar to Valencia, except the Balearic Islands don't have historically Spanish-speaking areas as Valencia does.
Now, as the election. The Parliament has 59 seats, distributed as follows per each island, which acts as a constituency: 33 for Mallorca, 13 for Menorca, 12 for Ibiza/Eivissa and 1 for Formentera. The apportionment is fixed in the regional constitution and does not change over time. Over than that, pretty usual for Spain: closed-list proportional representation, 5% threshold at the constituency level, D'Hont method.
The 2019 election changed matters slightly, beyond reinforcing the PSIB, the senior coalition partner at the expense of MÉS and UP. Nevertheless, the PSOE-MÉS-UP coalition has continued leading the regional government, with the external support of More for Menorca (MxME) and People for Formentera (GxF).
Besides, the national parties which are dominant in the archipelago, there are the more interesting, regional ones. In order of size:
Més per Mallorca (MÉS, More for Mallorca) is a left-wing and pan-Catalan nationalist coalition formed in 2010 by the Mallorcan Socialist Party, a nationalist left-wing party, IniciativaVerds, a green party; and Entesa per Mallorca, a PSM split. Miquel Ensenyat (PSM) is the current leader of the coalition. MÉS is currently part of the governing coalition. Until 2017, following a corruption scandal involving their leader, Més per Menorca was also a part of the broader coalition. 2015 was their high mark, obtaining 13.8% of the vote and 6 seats. By contrast, in 2019, the party obtained 9.2% of the vote and 4 seats.
Proposta per les Illes (PI; Proposal for the Islands, also known as El Pi, 'The Pine') is a centre-right Balearic regionalist party. Unlike the PP or the other parties on the right, the PI is fairly favourable to Catalan and Balearic particularisms, although it agrees with them on non-identity issues. PI is a coalition of various small centre-right regionalist parties. Among them, the only relevant descendant of the PI was Majorcan Union (Unió Mallorquina), a centre-right, regionalist party that existed in the Balearic Islands from the 1980s until 2011, acting as a kingmaker. The party was dissolved in 2011 over a barrage of corruption scandals that was too much to handle even by Spanish standards.
Més per Menorca (MxMe, More for Menorca) was basically the Menorcan branch of MÉS until 2017 when it split from the main part over a corruption scandal involving the party's then-leader, Nuria Martí. MxMe is more markedly Catalanist than MÉS, as the Menorcan branch of ERC was among its founding organisations.
Gent per Formentera (GxF, People for Formentera) only runs in the one-seat constituency of Formentera in a joint list with EUIB (the IU branch in the islands) and the PSOE. Ever since its creation in 2007, the party has been the most voted in the island. GxF's ideology is green, nationalist and progressive. The party is the descendant of the 1990s Coalició d'Organitzacions Progressistes de Formentera (COP, Coalition of Progressive Organisations of Formentera).
There is actually. It's part of the Proposta per Eivissa (Proposal for Ibiza, PxE) coalition, together with the PI and a party called 'Insular Alternative'. They obtained 4.2% of the votes in the island.
So these are the Canary Islands, yet another place with regionalists upon regionalists.
2019 was the first election held under the new electoral system of the archipelago following the 2018 reform. Under the old system, the apportionment of seats was very complicated under the rules of the so-called "Triple Parity":
Equality of apportionment between both provinces (30 seats each)
Equality of apportionment between the large islands and the smaller islands (30 seats for Tenerife/Gran Canaria and 30 to be divided for the others)
Equality of apportionment between the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria (15 seats each).
Then and only then, the 15 remaining seats within each province allocated to the smaller islands could be distributed based on population.
Besides, this complicated arrangement, until 2018, the Canary Islands had a very high electoral threshold. In order to obtain parliamentary representation, a party had to obtain at least 30% of the vote in one island or 6% in the entire archipelago. This system was very whacky and greatly favoured the Canarian regionalist party, Coalición Canaria, particularly at the expense of the PP. In fact, it was the most unfairly distributed electoral system in Spain.
So in 2018 it was finally reformed - but not much. The electoral system used for the first time last year is similar.
Now, Canarians elect 70 regional MPs, as opposed to 60. The new electoral system is a non-compensatory mixed-member system except both systems are proportional. 9 seats are allocated to a region-wide at-large constituency. The remaining 61 are distributed to each island acting as a constituency kind of according to population. The old 'Triple Parity' system has been broken. Now the provinces of Tenerife and Gran Canaria elect 30 and 31 MPs respectively and the larger and smaller islands also elect 30 and 31 MPs respectively. The only parity that has been retained is that the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria continue to elect 15 MPs each.
The threshold was also modified, it was lowered so that now to enter the Canary Islands Parliament, has to obtain 15% in each constituency (to get an island MP) or 4% in the entire region. The lists remained closed, however.
Now, the political situation.
The Canary Islands is odd. Coalición Canaria has been the dominant political party in the region from 1993 until 2019, holding continuously the regional premiership despite not having been the largest party since the 2003 election. How? By allying with the third largest party (whether the PP or PSOE) to block the largest party from governing. This has been aided by the fact that CC manages to come first in seats but not in votes due to the aforementioned whacky electoral apportionment.
Coalición Canaria (CC, Canarian Coalition) was originally created as a coalition of various centrist Canarian regionalist parties but merged into a single party in 2005. The most important founding party was the Agrupaciones Independientes de Canarias (AIC, Independent Groups of Canarias), a federation of island-level centre-right regionalist and local parties, most of which could trace their origins to UCD local and island leaders, who created these parties during the process of UCD disgregation in the 1981-1982 period.
Ideologically, CC is centrist and regionalist, and among its biggest accomplishments were the introduction of the special fiscal regime for the Canary Islands (VAT-free to compensate for the distance) and the ability to levy its own taxes.
The party runs joint lists with the Canarian Nationalist Party (PNC) in most islands and with the El Hierro localists of AHI (Agrupación Herreña Independiente) in the island. CC is by far strongest in the province of Tenerife and in the smaller islands with the exception of La Gomera, where it is very weak.
Nueva Canarias (NCa, New Canary Islands) is the centre-left Canarian regionalist party - because in Spain if you don't have both a centre-right and a centre-left regionalist in your region, you're not doing things right. Nueva Canarias was created in 2005 as a splinter from Coalición Canaria led by Román Rodríguez (regional president 1999-2003), the leader of CC's internal left-wing until that point. The party first ran for office in 2007 but was not in government until 2019.
NCa is stronger in the province of Gran Canaria and does not run lists in the island of Tenerife for instance. At the national level, the party has runt joint lists with either CC (2011, 2019s) or with the PSOE (2015, 2016).
The Agrupación Socialista de La Gomera (ASG, Socialist Group of La Gomera) is a personalist and localist splinter of the PSOE led by Casimiro Curbelo, President of the Cabildo* of La Gomera. Curbelo was previously the PSOE leader in the island from 1983 until the split in 2015. He still remains the island President and the ASG controls 3 out of the island's 6 municipalities.
Curbelo created his party in 2015 two weeks after the archipelago party leadership rejected the island federation's decision to re-nominate him as the list leader for the Cabildo election over his involvement in various corruption scandals (Telaraña case) and, in their words, "organic instability".
Bad blood existed between the regional party leadership and Curbelo since 2011 owing to the "sauna incident" when Curbelo was a senator and apparently threatened two policemen who stopped him over public drunkenness by shouting "you don't know who you're talking to!" and " you're a loser and you're talking to a senator, don't turn your back on me" and then proceeding to assault them. As one of the cops was Arabic-looking he proceeded with a "what bothers me the most is to be arresed by a fucking moronic Moor" (un puto moro gangoso de mierda).
Curbelo was with his son, who apparently also shouted that "I pee on whores. I don't pay for whores" when referring to the sauna's female employees.
* The Cabildo insular is the Canarian equivalent of the Consejo Insular in the Balearic Islands, the island-wide council with some, limited, powers.
The outgoing government was a CC-PSOE coalition.
The new government is a PSOE-NCa-Podemos-ASG coalition.