Campbell took over after Gill's resignation on grounds of ill health and (cautiously) proposed democracy with a little 'd' - courageous enough to not run again but timid enough to not move elections up, Campbell was rapidly outmaneuvered by her own Cabinet. Secretary of Employment and Engagement Yarbrough, who had stayed firmly away from (divisive) foreign affairs or (even more divisive) transhuman policy, pushed Campbell into irrelevancy in her own administration and was promptly elected to succeed her.
 Yarbrough herself stands atop the popular imaginings of the 22nd century like a colossus - even at the time, for all that her inner circle cheerfully tried to get people to "Vote Julie" or "Choose Jules" the punditariat stuck quite firmly to "Juliet Caesar". An attempt by the Emperor's League to depose her was a damp squib, and her Jovian orbit-embargo in response brought their whole dominance crashing down. Thailand (always the weak reed) and Russia were tired of years of peackeeping and quite willing to leave Japan (and transhuman rights) in the lurch. Yarbrough promptly outlawed reco setups (prenatal modification was near universal at this point, anyway) and good-naturedly confiscated the assets of the exiles for the next few decades. Skeritt Base and Syrtis Base, both of which grumbled at that the most, were rather eagerly let go to the tune of "Let Mars Support Mars" (Mars was pretty crappy at it) and Yarbrough spent the windfall on the grand Oberoist project of Cooling The Planet, with some success, and the rather more doable task of maintaining one-party rule. Your average shoddy documentary will maintain that Yarbrough was "backstabbed" by her cabinet in the end, but the truth is that after a quarter century restoring the U.S. to preeminence (and a personal reluctance to take advantage of the newest nanobios) the President simply passed away.
 President Shepard was inoffensively harmless (indeed, part of the reason Yarbrough shines so bright in the modern memory is that she surrounded herself with people like this) - head of the Bureau of Climate Control Dan Perryman (with access to the budget of a large country) fairly less so. The Democratic caucus itself proved Perryman's willing ally to refuse to certify the election on "legitimacy" grounds (element of hoisting own petard here, element of bowing to public pressures) and Shepard's refusal to quietly bow down made in the first seriously contested election in half a century. Perryman's own uncertainty on how to use his power brought him down - he toyed with returning to the "old" four year terms but didn't, and the badly misjudged assasination of Garner (bit of an unqualified asshole, but beside the point) meant that when the would-be election hit, widespread protests (and the intervention of the military) finally brought the Democratic hegemon toppling down - and the Tory Party (egocentric, unqualified asshole, forgot that bit) to step forward.
 Lascurain's decision to "invite the prodigal children back to Earth" backfired - the reco community, by now entrenched in space, had little desire to return to a country that was none too fond of them, and the gesture (as well as a perceived slackening on environmental policies - the prolonged hijacking of the East African space elevator and disinterested on the part of the Moon had delayed reflective-mirror-putting-up programs past all time-tables) broiled into nothing short of a PR crisis. Acheampong led a multi-million person march on Washington and when that provoked no efforts at compromise (the Tories being a vanity vehicle that had evolved into a rather unwieldy coalition that couldn't move fast even if it wanted to), Gov. Albright of Louisiana began to call for secession. Lascurain, trying to take a page out of Yarbrough's book and stop spending money on the neverending New Orleans Levee Program, went "sure" and promptly misjudged the situation when a dozen states from Florida to New Mexico took the opportunity to hold referenda. Lascurain's coalition crumbled - East Africa, Russia and Pakistan made clear that they would not stand for forcible repression of these efforts - and Albright was rather swiftly elected President of the Gulf League (not as fond of the CSA as you might suppose, especially considering white flight for over a century of endemic flooding tends to make a state, er, majority-non-white.) Lascurain's efforts resulted in the collapse of his own party - and of executive power, what with Congress rather hypocritically going "we would not have been stupid enough to sign on to this".
 Ferretti (and Morrow before her) were most successful at clawing back power of any of the "Weak Presidents" but Ferretti's term extension (even to the "reasonable" four year span) brought memories of Yarborough flooding back (her own party liked this and got a bit triumphal, actually, but it tended to play badly in general) and Martin Francisco promptly beat her and sat by as the Heartland Party amended the powers of the Presidency into near oblivion.
 With the President now being a purely-ceremonial role that served at the pleasure of the Speaker of the House, it was little over a decade before the Caucus Party (in opposition) had the realization that, huh, they might as well name an equivalent too. Rice could shake hands and cut ribbons as well as Kaye could, after all - "Shadow President" gave off uncomfortably evil vibes and was quickly shelved in favor of "Nominee".
 By Randolph's time it was getting ridiculous - Nominee wasn't even consistently filled, parties held "primaries" as an extended showcase that more senior politicians would drop out of right before the end, and in perhaps the final straw, Rep. Oliva outright declined their selection as President on the (accurate) grounds that it was an attempt by the leadership to shuffle him away from any power. Rep. Randolph was the runner-up (state representative, mind you - she had given a nice speech on mental health issues and leadership was vaguely thinking about promoting her at some point) and her "election" as runner-up was a PR disaster for the party. The opposition didn't bother to pick a Nominee, another sign of contempt, and in less than two years Randolph (who was maybe the only President who had been minor enough to actually be excited about the position - which was also funny to a lot of people) threw in the towel in the face of a media boycott and popular mockery - after a quick referendum (everyone was much more concerned with the Community Crèche Act then slugging its way through Congress) the office of the Presidency was quietly dissolved in a ceremony on the Number One Observatory Circle porch (the White House had been made the Speaker's residence years ago) on September 5th, 2274.
Gov. Albright of Louisiana began to call for secession. Lascurain, trying to take a page out of Yarbrough's book and stop spending money on the neverending New Orleans Levee Program, went "sure" and promptly misjudged the situation when a dozen states from Florida to New Mexico took the opportunity to hold referenda. Lascurain's coalition crumbled - East Africa, Russia and Pakistan made clear that they would not stand for forcible repression of these efforts - and Albright was rather swiftly elected President of the Gulf League (not as fond of the CSA as you might suppose, especially considering white flight for over a century of endemic flooding tends to make a state, er, majority-non-white.) Lascurain's efforts resulted in the collapse of his own party - and of executive power, what with Congress rather hypocritically going "we would not have been stupid enough to sign on to this".
When embarking on any serious work, as A Revised History of Now of course is, one inevitably runs afoul the pop-historian crowd. Amusing though they may be at times, as someone who has been target of their ire twice already (The Inevitable Triumph of Progress and Llorens: Visionary and, I am confident, this work as well) I feel a solemn obligation to warn my readers away from these pseudo-philosophers with their easy tales of doom and gloom. It is tiresome enough to be immersed in the Mentality in every movie and televid that comes along without dwelling on them in our history books as well. Appalling as it was in its heyday, it is a tired relic now, and with a few decades of deeducation for the remnants will be gone altogether. Our grandchildren will laugh that we ever seriously feared the prospect of a hiveworld - and will recognize the Fifty Years' War for the historical blip it was.
Indeed I hope that, with greater perspective, the clunky attempts of periodization pop-historians keep forcing on us will vanish as well. You can name them as easily as I at this point - Unipolar Winter, Asian Spring, Indian Summer, Gestaltzerfall. How reductive, to diminish the last two centuries to the blundering rule of the Old USA, the flourishing of democracy in China, the long cultural hegemony of India (one might more accurately call it the East African Summer, mind you) but the last concept of "Gestaltzerfall" is undoubtedly the most dangerous. I know it is fashionable to bemoan Professor Lei's discovery of the Lines in 2146 - the replacement of Elevator Democracy - as the end of some long golden age when the Solar System was a cultured expanse too large to transit in a month, when Mars was still unambitious and still dry, when Earth was not locked in a stalemate between the radicals of the global South and the legitimists of the global North.
This is all wrong, of course. The Ecology and the Ecumene are on the brink of resolving their differences peacefully and the proposed "third way" of the Entelechy will vanish like the mirage it is. Earth will never be overshadowed, as long as Mars and Mercury and Venus line in their water from us, as they must. And the story of mankind is, and will continue to be, one of progression, of success piled upon success.
It is not, as the pop-historians have so falsely put it, cyclical.