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"Hipster" Politicians Thread


H. F. Samuel was a four time political candidate in Idaho. He ran as the Democratic candidate for Governor in 1918 (losing 60-40), then (after the primary was abolished, and the Idaho Non-Partisan League reconstituted itself as a political party), as the Progressive Party nominee in 1922 and 1924, losing both times by narrow margins (40-32 the first time, and 44-39 the second, both to the Republican candidate). He also ran in 1926 for Senate, losing 45-30 to the Republican Party.

If the political graveyard is to be believed, his full name was Henry Floyd Samuels, he was a lawyer, the Shoshone County Attorney from 1898 to 1900, worked in zinc, lead, and silver mining, build a hotel, and was a banker. He was born in 1869 and died in 1948 at the age of 79.

Now, I'm not saying if he'd won in 1918, or any of the subsequent attempts, that would put him on the fast-track to the Presidency, but his political sustainability, getting between 30 to 40% of the vote as a Democrat or Progressive, tells me he had a strong base in the state. Maybe in a world where the Democrats and Progressives achieved some kind of agreement in the state, or across the west, he could have become a Burton K. Wheeler type of western Senator, powerful, occasionally talked about for President, and maybe even a candidate for VP (as a Democrat or as a Progressive).

Time Enough

"Enthusiastic Cis Male Partner"
Just going to put a couple of figures here;

Ken Coates: A Nottinghamshire Trotskyist and a Left Wing MEP (he defected to the Nordic Green Left Group in reaction to Blair) Ken actually has a pretty decent chance of getting into Parliament as he was the candidate for Nottingham South in 83’ which he lost. But if there wasn’t a substantial swing to the Tories, No Thatcher or No Wilderness Years there a strong possibility that Ken Coates would get in. Given his organisational abilities and Intellectual abilities and all that, there’s a strong chance that he becomes the Leader of the Labour Left as a reaction to Bennism etc.

John Peck: John Peck was a colourful character, a prominent member of the CPGB in Nottinghamshire he did a lot of trade Union work, stood in 37 elections and was elected as a Communist City Councillor for Bulwell East. Whilst not someone who would have gotten far even in a Communist wins scenario (he was too independently minded and a EuroCommunist for that) he does have all the groundings for an Independent MP in a ‘Right Wing Labour’ scenario or someone that does a ‘Bernie Sanders’ and becomes the Independent Mayor/Head of Nottingham/Nottinghamshire if there was a elected position for the role.


Well-known member
- Nilde Iotti: arguably the foremost woman in the Italian Communist Party. Daughter of a trade union activist, Iotti grew up under the Fascist regime and joined the Communist partisans in 1943. She was elected to the Constituent Assembly at age 26 and subsequently the Chamber of Deputies, of which she remained a member for the rest of her life. Though initially best-known as the partner of Palmiro Togliatti until his death in 1964, Iotti was a tireless campaigner for progressive causes such as divorce and abortion. In 1979, she was elected as the first female President of the Chamber of Deputies. She went on to serve for a record thirteen years. In this position, she was one of the most senior figures of not only her party, but the Italian state itself, and handled her responsibilities with appropriate dignity. She was adored by her comrades and respected by her opponents, and accrued various nicknames such as "the tsarina" and "the Red Queen". After the collapse of the Christian Democrat-led coalition in 1987, Iotti became the first and only Italian Communist to be offered a mandate to form a government by the President. Seeing nothing but trouble given the political situation, she turned it down. After the PCI's reformation into the PDS and its severe losses in the 1992 election, Iotti left office as President of the Chamber, but remained in parliament. The next month, she was submitted as her party's candidate for President of the Republic. She dropped out after the eighth of sixteen rounds in the messy contest, peaking at 256 votes in the fourth round - the most of any candidate, though well short of the absolute majority required to win. Iotti died in 1999 as the longest-serving member of parliament. Her comrade Walter Veltroni broke the news to the media with the words: "Even the most beautiful stars fall from the sky."

- Annemarie Renger: the first woman to become President of the Bundestag and the Grande Dame of German social democracy. Renger's life parallels Iotti's in many ways. Born in 1919 to parents who were both members of the SPD, Renger was forced out of school after the Nazis came to power. She lost three of her brothers and her husband to the war. After its end, she became a close confidante and later partner to SPD leader Kurt Schumacher. During the 60s she was a member of the party executive, and from 1969-72 was manager its Bundestag faction. After Willy Brandt led the SPD to a smashing victory in 1972, Renger was elected as the new President of the Bundestag. She became not only the first woman and first Social Democrat to hold this position, but the first woman to serve as presiding officer of any democratic parliament in the world. Though she served for only four years before the SPD fell back to second place in 1976, Renger cultivated respect and reputation in her position. After her election, she declared: "I have achieved what I sought to do - it has been shown that a woman can do it." She was immensely dignified and held tight to formality, famously chiding freshman deputy Gerhard Schröder over his failure to wear a necktie after being elected in 1980. She was nominated for Federal President in 1979 and placed second to the CDU's Karl Carstens. Renger remained one of the Vice-Presidents of the Bundestag from 1976 until her retirement in 1990.

- Toni Sender: one of the most prominent female politicians of the Weimar Republic and a leading figure on the SPD's left-wing. Though born to a bourgeois family, she rejected a privileged domestic life and joined the SPD in 1910 at the age of 21. She was expelled from the party in January 1917 due to her anti-war activism and co-founded the USPD. She enthusiastically joined the November Revolution in 1918 and helped spread it to Frankfurt with frightening speed, convincing local unions to call a general strike and assisting in radicalising the local garrison, who then arrested the city's chief of police. She was highly critical of the new republic in the following years, but refused to join the KPD in 1920, and reluctantly followed the rump USPD back into the SPD in 1922. A tireless activist, Sender dedicated herself to numerous areas of work, including in the Reichstag, the party, and as editor of the SPD's most prominent women's publications. She was a staunch feminist and refused to limit herself to traditionally female spheres of work, becoming an expert in finance, foreign affairs, and the particularly masculine field of military policy. Though clearly aligned with the party's left-wing, she was popular among the moderate leadership due to her understanding and willingness to compromise. In the face of the Depression, she advocated major economic reform toward a planned economy. As the end of the republic drew closer, Sender fruitlessly called for the Iron Front to be mobilised in its defence; even after Hitler's appointment as Chancellor, she declared "it is better to be defeated in battle than lose without struggle." She was acutely targeted by Nazis and, fearing imminent arrest by the SA, fled the country on the day of the March 1933 election. She made her way to the United States where she was active as a journalist and, after the war, in the labour movement. She never returned to Germany.

- Marina Weisband: one of the most prominent members of the German Pirate Party during its short-lived heyday. Born in Kiev in 1987, her family moved to Germany in 1994 under a policy which allowed Jews in the former USSR to apply for refugee status. She joined the Pirate Party in 2009 when the movement was on the rise, and was elected as federal managing director in May 2011, just a few months before the party suddenly emerged onto the national stage following the Berlin state election. She became its most popular and well-known figurehead, making many public appearances and gathering a following with her casual demeanor. She promoted transparency in politics and media, a guaranteed basic income, and reforms to strengthen and expand the education system. Above all, she emphasised that the Pirate Party was not a protest or single-issue party, but advocated for a fundamentally new approach to politics. All was not well, however, and she distanced herself from other prominent party leaders over issues of antisemitism and right-wing extremism. In early 2012 she resigned as managing officer in order to focus on her studies, and largely disappeared from the national stage as the party's fortunes declined (though her own reputation remained untarnished.) She quietly left the party in 2015, convinced that it had become dominated by conservative forces. She returned to politics in late 2018 as a member of the Greens, and in September 2020 made her first media appearance in several years, discussing foreign policy alongside Heiko Maas and Gregor Gysi on a prominent talk show.
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Unironic Georgist
I suppose this would fit here:
I found a good obscure politician that I have literally seen used nowhere in AH:
Llewelyn A. Banks was a journalist, orchardist, and political activist (though as far as I've read, he never ran for political office himself) in Jackson County, Oregon. During the Great Depression, he founded the Good Government Congress, a populist/agrarian organization who effectively controlled the county for a short time, with most of its members being farmers. His time in politics ended in 1933 when he was sentenced to life for murdering a cop who was arresting him for ballot theft. However, there was a plan for an army, Shortly after this incident, the GGC movement effectively ended as members wanted to disassociate themselves with a murderer.

Banks' ideology is hard to exactly pinpoint, but I'd say it's safe to put in the fascist category, though he called himself an anti-fascist. He was an anti-Semite, anti-Catholic, and British Isrealist. Another thing of note Banks initially supported the idea of John Pershing becoming supreme dictator, before switching it to Smedley Butler. Eventually, he became a supporter of Huey Long, believing him to be America's national savior. Additionally, he supported the Khaki Shirts of America.
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Active member
Here's my contribution: Liz Truss.

Now, those of you who follow British politics wouldn't call her hipster at all—she is, after all, the current Foreign Secretary and one of the top two candidates to lead the Conservative Party after Boris Johnson's inevitable downfall.

What makes her hipster, though, is that she is, essentially, the British Tom Mulcair—she can easily fall into any of the three major political parties. She's a Tory today (in fact, one who enthusiastically backed Remain then became Johnson's Brexit negotiator), but she was raised by parents whom she herself described as "to the left of Labour." In fact, when she first ran for Parliament, her own father refused to campaign for her. After studying in Scotland and in Leeds and spending a year in Canada (which opens up a whole new bag of PODs), she entered Oxford, where she became President of the Oxford Liberal Democrats and became involved with the national party's executive committee. At the 1994 party conference, she gave a speech in which she said "I agree with Paddy Ashdown" and argued in favor of republicanism. She joined the Tories two years later.


Active member
Decided to throw together a few more quick intros.

Dawn Primarolo: Got involved with the Labour Party through the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (famous members include prominent Labour radicals such as Fenner Brockway and Michael Foot), and as a backbench MP joined Tony Benn's Socialist Campaign Group. She later became a staunch New Labourite and a loyal ally of Gordon Brown.

Jo Grimond: Leader of the Liberal Party 1956-67 and acting leader in 1976. Probably the best-liked and most popular postwar Liberal leader. Married into the prominent Bonham Carter family, a famous Liberal dynasty with connections ranging from H.H. Asquith to Condé Nast. Old friend of William Douglas-Home, who unlike his brother was a Liberal. Took over the Liberal leadership as the party was on the brink of death after the leadership of Clement Davies, and championed Scottish home rule and the abolition of nuclear weapons. Considered an opponent of 'statism' and favored a degree of direct democracy. Remained in Parliament well after standing down as leader, and briefly came out of retirement after the Jeremy Thorpe scandal. Credited for 'steadying the ship' and helping the party swiftly regroup from the fallout. Well-remembered by later Liberals and Lib Dems—Roy Jenkins described him as the 'father of the Alliance.'

Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley: Grandson of the 1st Viscount, a defence minister under Eden. Became a longtime journalist and editor and scientific affairs advisor to Tory think tanks and to Thatcher's Number 10 Policy Unit. Consistent climate change denier, publishing several articles on the topic. Spoke several times before US congressional committees at the invitation of climate change skeptic Republicans. Inherited the viscountcy in 2006, and as such never sat in the Lords. Attempted to stand for a seat in the Lords four times, and each time received zero votes. Publicly claimed to be a 'member of the House of Lords,' causing the Lords to issue statements declaring that he has never been a member. Received a publicly-published cease and desist letter in 2013 to that effect. Joined UKIP in 2009 and stood unsuccessfully for both the House of Commons and the Scottish Parliament. Briefly served as Deputy Leader of UKIP and President of Scottish UKIP.

Time Enough

"Enthusiastic Cis Male Partner"
Dawn Primarolo: Got involved with the Labour Party through the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (famous members include prominent Labour radicals such as Fenner Brockway and Michael Foot), and as a backbench MP joined Tony Benn's Socialist Campaign Group. She later became a staunch New Labourite and a loyal ally of Gordon Brown.
I’ve used her once before, she was one of the folks who left the SCG following Benn’s Second Controversial Run which lead to a number of SCG folks leaving.

After that unlike Joan Ruddock or Margaret Beckett who stayed fairly consistent in view points (if combined with a sense of pragmatism when working in the Blair/Brown Governments), Primarolo seemed to have gone full speed ahead on becoming a New Labourite.

It would be interesting to see her career path in a No 88’ Benn run or a Kinnock Wins 91/92.

Tsar of New Zealand

De color bien, pero no flota
the Suede-Denim Secret Police
Some hipster picks for NZ, in roughly ascending order of difficulty and obscurity:

Winston Peters: A fairly safe bet for a 1980s POD, Winston was Rob Muldoon's protege and served as the centre-right dissident to the 1980s wave of deregulation and neoliberalism. OTL, this led to him being expelled from National and setting up NZ First, though there has long been a school of thought holding that he could have been leader had he wanted. This would probably have been more difficult than people think given the zeitgeist of late-1980s National, especially because a Winston who would've kept his head down long enough to make it far enough to be a realistic prospect for leader probably wouldn't have secured his powerbase in the first place. In a sense the trope of early 90s Tory Winston is kind of like a Labour Paddy Ashdown - a nice shock twist for a 2015-era TL, but sort of played out at this point.

John A. Lee: Yes, sound the David klaxon, it's the 1930s herald of socialism-cum-social credit. A one-armed war hero from Dunedin, Lee entered Parliament in 1922, was defeated by 37 votes in 1928 and spent the triennium managing a hotel bar in Rotorua, before re-entering in 1931 and making himself a darling of the heterodox left and an enemy of the Savage wing. This proved to be a poor career move when, in 1935, Lee was not invited to join the Labour Cabinet and instead remained on the backbenches, whence he spent the next five years flinging shit at the party exec for being a bunch of melts for rejecting his proposals to nationalise the Bank of New Zealand. Lee's attacks on the party intensified in 1939, resulting in Savage denouncing him (Lee) from his deathbed and the party expelling Lee in 1940.

Lee promptly formed the Democratic Labour Party and cleaved away a few left-Labour members, whom he promptly alienated with his abrasive style. The DLP won zero seats in 1943 (including Lee's), but drew enough of the vote to lose Labour several electorates; Lee would stand again in his Grey Lynn electorate in 1949 and come third. He continued his writing career, including a number of [revisionist/accurate/self-glorifying/vengeful] (delete as applicable) histories of the Labour Party and some quite good fiction (depending on the reader's perspective, this may be a distinction without a difference).

Lee is a slightly edgy choice who indicates a more leftist or Creditist Labour Party, though there is a sliding scale of plausibility between Lee as a Cabinet Minister and Lee as Prime Minister.

Rob Muldoon: ...wait, what?

Hear me out: Rob Muldoon was Prime Minister between 1975 and 1984 for the National Party, Think Big, schnapps election etc. etc. However, in his childhood Rob was strongly influenced by his very socialist grandmother Jerusha (because of course that's what a socialist granny was called in the 1930s), in turn helping shape his statist/interventionist approach. At the softer end of the plausibility scale, a Red Muldoon is a reasonably phresh pick for a Labour MP, though the particular circumstances that enabled him to become leader of the National Party are less likely to apply on the other side of the aisle. Maybe a Minister, depending how far you're willing to stretch plausibility from a pretty dodgy starting point.

Bob Jones: Not getting anywhere near Cabinet, let alone PM, but it's theoretically possible to get him a seat in 1984 if he manages to win a three-cornered race in Ohariu. Even that's a tall order: IOTL Jones came third, it looks like all of his support in the seat came from National vote-splitting (Labour's voteshare was consistent in the seat with the past two elections, indicating that Dunne only won by holding a pretty solid base while the Tories turned and ate each other), and it's hard to get a result that manages to be worse for National without simply pushing people to Labour.

Supposing Jones does pull through in a squeaker, it's unlikely he does particularly much once he gets to Parliament. He'll probably just amuse himself with the raised profile a seat gives him and spend three years doing some high-octane trolling (this having been Bob Jones' brand for the past 60 years). If he doesn't just up and quit partway through the term he almost certainly declines to stand for re-election, his mission of neoliberal reform having been taken up with gusto by Labour. If he does stand, he gets utterly annihilated.

Brian Talboys: Floated as the alternative to Rob Muldoon in the abortive 'Colonels' Coup' of 1980, Talboys was a kind of fallen souffle version of John Major. Minister of pretty much everything at some point between 1962 and 1981 and Muldoon's Deputy, Talboys was a fairly mainline Nat of the Holyoake consensus who appealed to the traditionalists (who by 1980 were thoroughly uneasy at Muldoon's autocratic style).

The key issue with a Talboys leadership in 1980 is that he didn't actually pursue it. There was a key period of about two weeks when Muldoon was overseas in which the plotters could have probably won enough caucus support to hold a vote as soon as Muldoon returned. However, Talboys prevaricated and simply said he'd accept a leadership challenge if his colleagues deemed it necessary; his refusal to advocate on his own behalf meant that when Muldoon got wind of the plot, he was able to seize momentum and put the fear of God into just enough of caucus to keep the leadership in a squeaker.

A Talboys premiership is therefore thoroughly achievable with that POD, but you'll need a compelling reason for Talboys to actually work for it. There's also the question of what he'll do once he wins, to which the answer is probably 'not much'. 1981 was a very close-run election for National, and it's likely that a Talboys coup just gives you a Bill Rowling-led Fourth Labour Government when Rob's Mob stay home - which I'd argue is a more interesting consequence (and have in the past).

Hugh Watt: Another deputy who didn't pull through in a leadership election, Watt was the Acting PM after Kirk died and, as Minister of Works and Electricity in the Second and Third Labour Governments, owned a lot of the industrial relationship that were a big part of the post-WWII social bargain. Despite positioning himself as the successor to Big Norm he lost to Bill Rowling in a landslide, to Watt's genuine surprise.

Getting to a Watt premiership is like playing Talboys on Hard mode: similar to Talboys, he lacked the momentum to carry the day; unlike Talboys, this was despite him actively campaigning. Much like Talboys (and Rowling IOTL), it's likely that a Watt victory is a hospital pass; the '75 election was a wipeout and the structural factors are pretty strongly against anything better than a narrow Labour loss, followed by a Rowling challenge in Opposition (which could actually put Rowling in a stronger position against Muldoon in '78, which IOTL was a reasonably narrow loss on swing seats, if he lacks the shame of the '75 defeat).

Ralph Hanan: A solid 'who dat?'; he had a neat pipe, he abolished the death penalty after crossing the floor, and he died at 60 from wounds sustained at the First Battle of El Alamein. If you need to fill a Holyoake-sized gap in the National Party between 1950 and 1970, Hanan is as good a name as any for a moderate-to-liberal choice, though he may have traded too heavily on his liberal history (to hold his purplish Invercargill seat) to make inroads with the National faithful in a 1960s POD.

However, Hanan was enough of a realist to balance the abolition of the death penalty with a tightening of penalties on crime (including *checks notes* homosexuality), so was enough of a compromiser to get things done. Overall, I reckon Hanan is a great choice for a moderate centre-right PM in the Long 1950s of NZ (c.1951-1968), with a sort of progressive 'keep an eye on those Reds' individualism that can be summed up by one of his speeches: “Liberalism, with its progressive spirit, will revive in this country, and it will defeat socialism”. Sort of Kennedy meets Wilson meets Menzies.

James Hargest: Another veteran, this one a Tory, Hargest was MP for Invercargill from 1931 to 1944, first as an independent aligned with Reform then for the newly-minted National Party, for which he was a strong advocate. After the 1938 electoral wipeout Hargest was considered a frontrunner for the leadership, but the start of WWII interrupted this as Hargest immediately volunteered for service (though he remained an MP). Sid Holland subsequently became National leader, a situation which might have been seen as temporary until Hargest - re-elected unopposed in 1943 - returned. This was firmly consigned to the realm of conjecture when Hargest stopped a shell burst in Normandy while making a farewell visit to his unit on the same day he'd been appointed commander of the reception group for repatriated POWs back in Britain.

In a TL where Hargest doesn't get killed and ends up making it back to NZ, there are a lot of potential directions. Even setting aside the conjecture that he was National's King Across the Water, Holland will have to contend with the fact that one of his returning frontbenchers is well-established as a potential competitor. Not just that, Hargest is a war hero coated in fruit salad and dramatic exploits (DSO, Military Cross, and Legion d'Honneur, WWI; two bars to his DSO, CBE, Greek War Cross, WWII), at a time when the servicemens' vote has decided one election and is about to decide another.

In addition to his WWI record, Hargest was at the time of his 1943 re-election somewhere in Occupied France with the Resistance, en route from Switzerland to the British Consulate in Barcelona after escaping an Italian POW camp (one of three Allied soldiers to manage such an escape pre-armistice with Italy). He followed this up by serving as NZ's observer at D-Day, landing at Gold Beach with 50th Division and fighting in Normandy up until the OTL shelling. There is a skeleton in Hargest's closet in that he may have been directly responsible for the loss of Crete (where he won the first bar to his DSO), but efforts to seize on that may just be seen by the electorate as sour grapes. Overall, that's a strong record to wave in front of the RSA and the Party faithful.

Hargest is something of a cipher, so he could really go any way one liked (and I've got him tagged for bigger things in some plans of mine). At the very least, he offers a change of pace from the Holland-Holyoake axis in an ATL First National Government.


George Brown Apologist
Patreon supporter
James 'Bonecrusher' Smith, a World Boxing Association heavyweight champion in the 1980's and the first world champion to have a college degree. While still a boxer in 1988 he ran in the Democratic primary for Harnett County (North Carolina) commissioner, a majority white county. He won the first round but lost in a close runoff. He later went onto work for the Working Families Party in New York City. Seems like given the right POD we could a have potential celebrity politician in the Carolinas, maybe with the right congressional seat or Governorship he could make a Presidential run.


Well-known member
Somewhere at Sea
Time for a favorite of mine, Lewis Lehrman was this close to beating Mario Cuomo in the 1982 New York governor election. I think he's a perfect fit for any "Democratic 80s". He has some wacky ideas too, being a big fan of the gold standard and good friends with Ron Paul. He was very much more of a populist than most 80s republicans were. He rejected Reaganomics and put out his own plan instead, and made the race really close by pouring millions into advertising. I think he could be a very fun president of the late 1980s to late 1990s as the backlash to a Dem 80s becomes apparent.