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Spaghetti Shenanigans Starring Riley

The US elections of 1912
The year of 1912 has proven to be a redefining moment in US political History. Many of the attributes of this race can be traced back as forming the issues and policies that dominate our current political landscape. Its effects in throwing off a party system that had survived 70 years radically shifted the balance of power in the USA.

President Theodore Roosevelt had made the Pledge in the 1904 election to not seek a third term for office. Despite him enjoying his position of president and his popularity in the office he decided to stick by the pledge as a check against a formation of a dictatorship. Roosevelt's departure left the Republican Party's nomination for president open to a wide range of candidates including Elihu Root, Charles Evans Hughes and Howard Taft. It was eventually to be Roosevelt's friend, William Howard Taft, with some aide from Roosevelt in hopes of appointing a like minded successor that would secure the nomination of the Republican Party for President in 1908. Taft defeated William Jennings-Bryan and became the successor to President Roosevelt.

Taft lacked energy and much of Roosevelt's progressive attitude. He alienated much of the electorate with his stance on Tariffs and began to separate his policy from Roosevelt's. As Taft grew more distant to Roosevelt, Roosevelt became more determined to get the Progressive wing of the Republican party back in power. He expressed support for The National Progressive Republican League whose agenda ended up consisting of replacing Taft at the national level. Roosevelt was however still sceptical of running against Taft in 1912 instead opting to run against any democrat in 1916 which may defeat President Taft.

After gaining the house majority for the first time in 16 years in the 1910 midterm elections the democrats would have been going into the 1912 election with cautious optimism due to the split among the Republican party, Speaker of the House Clark Champ was seen as an early frontrunner in the nomination process.

The Socialist Party of America had won a seat in the House of Representatives in the 1910 midterm elections. It was focused mainly in the upcoming election on building a name for itself and trying to keep together the feuding factions of the party. There was a Left Wing of radical anti-capitalisim and questionable views on democracy alongside a more moderate pro-democracy wing.

Due to his unpopularity and lack of appeal Taft performed poorly in the Republican primaries with the race seemingly starting off as a competition between Roosevelt and senator Robert La Follette. Roosevelt ended up having a strong lead in primary delegates but Taft gained delegates from conservative southern republican organisations. Going into the convention the winner of the competition was still unclear with many delegates remaining uncommitted but at the final convention vote Roosevelt would win with a slim majority of delegates. Taft was initially hostile towards Roosevelt after his win of the nomination but would eventually quit his public feud with Roosevelt, although he never did formally endorse him for the presidential race. In a close race between William Borah and Robert Follette Borah was selected by the convention as Roosevelts running mate as Follette was seen as too close to the Socialist Party

Despite being the initial frontrunner Clark Champ was dragged down by endorsements from controversial groups letting Governor of New Jersey Woodrow Wilson become the Party's Nominee

Despite unsuccessful campaigns in 1904 and 1908 Eugene Debs became the Socialist Party's nominee in the 1912 election as the outlook for the party's chances looked bleak considering the (relative) progressivism of the Republican and Democratic candidates. Alas the Socialist party would run on its agenda of a Pro Labour platform and campaign to supporters in rural and mining areas.

As Taft was still president he used the opporunity and the strong Conservative presence in congress to influence the passage of policies he liked. As the election campaign begun to heat up in July a small but sustantial General Strike in the West started becoming a thorn in the side of the president who had since tried to ignore in the hopes of the strike disbanding. The strike spread across Nevada, California, Arizona and Idaho with many thousands of strikers from various professions demanding greater pay, stricter anti-trust laws and right to union membership. It was found that the IWW was heavily encouraging workers to join in on the strikes and Taft decided that the best way to aleaviate the pressure on the government was to go after IWW. Painting IWW as a 'radical labour group' congress seeked to ban the organisation in the USA in hopes that doing so would discourage the members of the nearly month old strike. Congress theorised that any backlash that IWW would have would not be effective considering that IWW was already divided into different factions.

The IWW quickly set up public demonstrations in major cities as a way of callig public attention to the treatment of the group. Cities like Chigago and New York were flooded by IWW demonstrators. These demostrations increased public sympathy for the strikers and the IWW itself and made the attempt to ban the organisation deeply unpopular in the North and West. As a founder of the IWW Eugene Debs appeared at many major demonstrations and used them as a way to present himself and the Socialist party to a wider audience. Newspapers across the nation pitted him firmly against not just Taft but the conservative factions of the Republican and Democratic parties causing him to spihon support from progressive republicans and even a few democrats. In an unprecendeted move to survey the voting intentions, The New York times sent out hundreds of thousands of postcards across the state of New York surveying people of their voting intentions over a month. It saw Eugene Debs with a strong 20% of the vote statewide catching up to Wilson's 29% and Roosevelt's 48%. The news of the high level of support of the Socialist Party quickly spread throughout the nation, this event may have made people more seriously consider voting for the party.

Make no mistake, the strikes were escalating in violence and it was indeed controversial to conservative voters to appear sympathetic to them. Although Wilson had appeared to be part of a wing of the democrats that were more sympathetic to Labour, Wilson's public tone quickly changed and he tried to position himself as a candidate of order in a nation of rising chaos. Roosevelt had to balance between the two upsetting his left-wing supporters and once again giving Debs and the Socialist party more support. The New York Times decided to do another survey for the state of New York showing Roosevelt still ahead but with 36%, Wilson with 34% and Debs with 28%

As Roosevelt's support seemed to be floundering he turned his focus against the opinion surveys in New York calling them a "Perversion of Free Choice and Democracy" and gave fiery speeches about his bread and butter topics across the midwest and atlantic. Wilson tired to ride the 'momentum' in states that appeared to be close such as Ohio, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. More people warmed up to Wilson's pragmatic style than had did for Jennings-Bryan.

Just weeks before the election President Taft declared in the face of the now enormous western general strike that he could no no more to dissipate it and it was now the responsibility of the next president to aide the strikers and negotiate with them. This move was seen as a general win for the Socialist party and a minor one for the Republicans as the issue would not drag their party down too much and in the final stretch issues like Tariffs and Civil Rights became much more prominent

Debs went into election day with a band of strong supporters loyal to the ideas of socialism, Wilson went in with a sense of optimism and Roosevelt was hoping that the events of the campaign had not dampened his populist appeal and that his legacy would speak for itself.

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As the candidates waited patiently it was clear by the end of election night that Debs' strong campaign had caused a deadlock and it was now up to congress to decide the election for the first time in 80 years. However, in this case it was decided that the incoming congress rather than the outgoing congress would vote as state delegations to decide a winner. Due to strong republican performances in individual state delegations in congress such as Tennessee and Ohio it became clear that Roosevelt would likely get the 25 states needed to become president. Wilson said publically wished for the states to vote in whichever way they wanted but conceded that it was unlikely that he would win a vote in congress. Both Republican candidates for President and Vice-President were elected by congress and Teddy Roosevelt was set for a 3rd term. The Socialist party hailed the election as a victory as shown by the deadlock in the electoral college and pledged to fight hard for the Strikers wants especially with them controlling who had the majority in the House of Representatives.

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The socialist party had done extremely well at convincing voters to elect them in congress as well as the presidency picking up 20 seats and controlling the congressional delegation of Nevada. As they had no chance of pushing one of their own candidates for the speaker election they decided to first use their influence to push the Republicans to the left. Their first action was to influence the Republicans to dump Mann as leader who had a poor policy on Labour and Social issues in favour of the much more progressive Christensen. Despite the Democrats having the plurality of seats they were effectively a minority with somewhat of a coalition forming between the Socialists and Republicans as the Socialists exerted their influence. Laws would later be passed to edit the functioning of congress with parliamentary like colations being allowed in the US house and senate from this election on.

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The Speaker election was also notable for having the first Female speaker candidate, Representative Mary Ovington, to receive a vote in a speaker election. Berger gave Ovington his vote to her surprise as a symbolic gesture for the Socialist Party's advocation for gender equality legislation. Although the two would later clash quite prominently over Berger's view that African-Americans were scientifically inferior while Mary Ovington was a founder of the NAACP. This conflict would become the start of a prominent spar between Ovington and Berger for leadership of the Socialist House Caucus.

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The Senate stayed in the Republican's favour and the Socialist party won the Nevada senate seat due to a popular vote race for the seat. Notably it was won by Eugene Debs' brother Theodore. The Socialist party also felt snubbed from the senate and beleived that if all states were decided by popular vote that they would have had a better result. Part of their legislative agenda was to push for the abolition of state legislature appointed senate seats. Additionally the Socialist Party also made a massive influence on state legislatures winning close to 100 house and senate seats of state legislatures, although there were no strong performers in the 1912 governor elections

The extremely strong third party presence in politics majorly affected Roosevelts agenda over the next 4 years. Whether it was to cost Roosevelt an unprecedented 4th term or further boost socialist presence in congress... or both! was yet to be decided.
 
Us Elections of 1914
The following congressional elections would further solidify the influence of the newly popular Socialist party as they managed to worm their way into a place of influence in the House once again

Presidential Candidate debs replaced his brother as the most senior socialist senator after narrowly wining the popular vote in the Indiana senate race, the year saw the Socialist Party increase its senate caucus to 5 after the seventeenth amendment to the US constitution saw their popularity reflected properly in the senate results.

Roosevelt as president remained moderatley popular but felt forced into a corner by the large socialist presence in congress who were not afraid to throw around their influence

However, there was a situation of war brewing across the ocean that Roosevelt knew he was about to have to take a position on. While most wanted the USA to stay far away from the european affair Roosevelt had other ideas...

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1975 New Zealand Election under MMP
1975 is always an Interesting election for me because 1975 marks a remarkable performance by the New Zealand Values party, the first party in New Zealand geared toward the environment. They received over 5% of the vote, in an FPTP election this result is remarkable however Values did not even come second in any electorates and missed out on any parliamentary representation. So ive decided to use the popular vote tallies for the 1975 election and using the OTL proportion of List Seats to electorate seats this is what MMP results in the NZ 1975 election would look like in a parliment of 140
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Into The Carterverse #1 (The San Vincente Car Crash)
Into The Carterverse

The San Vincente Car Crash

Ronald Reagan was disappointed, Miles away from Iowa in Los Angeles he was being questioned by reporters about his disappointing loss in the caucuses. Despite putting on a brave face the media could clearly tell he was irritated. After his narrow loss in the 1976 primary Reagan felt the sensation of the nomination that weeks ago he thought was assured now slipping away. What was clear now to Reagan was that his hands off approach to Iowa had cost him the contest. If it was repeated, he pondered, what next? First Iowa, then Puerto Rico and then New Hampshire… and then the nomination. Reagan embarked to his Riviera residence, ready to make a few calls when he arrived.

The closeness of the caucus left Reagan hopeful for victory up until the late reaches of the night. Despite it being close to midnight, being a Monday night there was moderate traffic about. For whatever reason, possibly inspired by the frustration of his loss, Reagan demanded to drive home himself. According to later accounts by Mr. Reagan, just before an intersection between San Vicente Boulevard and Montana Avenue he was battling to keep his eyes open. When he next struggled to open them fully again he discovered he was about to run a red light into oncoming traffic. By instinct he slammed on the breaks but it was too late and as his car crossed the threshold another car coming down Montana Ave. hit Ronald Reagan's car at slightly over the speed limit of 30mph. The car crashed into the drivers door almost directly aimed at Mr. Reagan. Ronald Reagan's older age allowed his more brittle bones to break and the momentum flung him sideways onto the passenger seat.

Reagan was retrieved from his car shocked but conscious. It was only later in hospital that he discovered from a doctor that the strain that his spinal cord sustained had left him effectively paralyzed from the waist down. A trauma on his head left his train of thought fuzzy and he displayed temporary signs of forgetfulness. His physical condition left him unable to sit up in bed and numb. A subdural hematoma was later discovered and treated alleviating some of the symptoms.

An outpouring of sympathy from a variety of politicians from all backgrounds. Despite refusal from Reagan for several days for non familial visitors George Bush was finally allowed to visit Reagan in hospital on the 25th of January followed by John Anderson, Howard Baker, President Carter and Vice President Mondale among other visitors as well as a telephone call from British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. As the details of Reagan's new condition were revealed speculation swirled over whether he would continue to campaign for the Republican nomination. A late January nationwide Gallup poll had George Bush with a 10 point lead over Ronald Reagan if he were to stay in the race. The deliberation over whether to continue would extend until the end of the month with Reagan still hospitalized. National polls among Republicans showed that a vast majority thought that if Reagan's conditions were not to improve they did not approve of Reagan continuing his campaign. On the 1st of February the announcement was made that Ronald Reagan would reluctantly suspend his campaign for president due to his paralysis and newfound health difficulty.

The ending of Ronald Reagan's campaign in 1980 would encourage republicans to flock to George Bush en masse after his display of “compassion” following Reagan's car crash, shaping the upcoming 1980 Election in his image as a Pragmatic Conservative leading a united Republican party behind him. He would go on to sweep all contests in the Republican Primary with John Anderson coming in a far second.

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Despite his legacy in 1976 and 1980 Reagan would fade out of the public spotlight of politics over the next 4 years. He would leave hospital in February but he reportedly despised being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. His health complications would eventually lead to his death at the age of 77 on the 8th of May 1988.
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Part 1 (Hopefully)
 
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claybaskit

Well-known member
Interesting what you wrote about R.R.

 
Into the Carterverse #2 (Operation Eagle Claw)
Into The Carterverse

Operation Eagle Claw

Although the president felt sorry for Reagan he breathed a small sigh of relief. He had been worried about Ronald Reagan's ability to capture people with charisma and humour and if he would have been the nominee it would be difficult to stop his momentum. For now though he was preparing to face off the clear frontrunner in George Bush. Certainly more laid back than Reagan but Carter knew he was still no pushover and with an ongoing hostage crisis and energy crisis Bush had leverage over him. However, due to a rally around the flag effect and Carter's continued efforts kept him in a comfortable lead.

Divisions in his own party and Ted Kennedy's campaign were giving the republicans fuel, labelling the Democrats divided between Kennedy and Carter. Despite his convincing win in Iowa and Kennedys missteps, cracks were beginning to show with Carter's strategy in Iran. As the months grew on and the inactions impression on voting grew, primary results from the northwest were actually lost by Carter. As April rolled around Carter grew more frustrated and on the 7th of April Carter ordered all relations with Iran be severed, thus started a month of strong armed action on Iran with the final goal to pull off a successful rescue of all 52 remaining embassy staff being held hostage

As the plans for a rescue mission were set up cartographers were set out on the task of hurriedly completing more maps of Iran from risky aerial photography. The date was set for April 24th. The president's advisors were skeptical about his determinedness to rescue the hostages

While the 8 Helicopters would meet up with Delta Force at “Desert One” a location near Yazd in the Dasht-e Lut desert, a small valley away from any roads or populous areas. Problems seemed afoot when once landed the Hydraulic Pump on one of the Helicopters was glowing red and the meetup occurring in a desert the sand that was kicked up into the air was disrupting visibility. One of the Helicopters also had to drop out because of impending blade failure. But miraculously 7 out of the 8 Helicopters met up with Delta Force at desert one.

In the secure location the Hydraulic pump of the affected Helicopter was left to cool down and the Troops were transported from the C-130 aircraft to the Helicopters which would then go on to “Desert Two'' nearer to Tehran. In the early hours of the morning the Rescue raid went as planned, hostages were brought to the helicopters and with the team secure before any of the Iranian air force could respond they were flown to Egypt to later arrive in the USA.

The successful performance of what was thought to be an impossible mission stunned the world. The pacifist Jimmy Carter had just rescued 52 hostages from an extremely hostile enemy with an extremely dangerous maneuver. After a brutal 2 day operation just in time for the evening news in many parts of the country Americans saw the hostages disembark from the rescue plane from Egypt. Jimmy Carter made a short national address on Television celebrating the release of the hostages and re-iterating what they had been through in Iran. Privately, Carter has said that he was ecstatic and took the first opportunity to meet the hostages the following morning.
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On April 26th 1980, 2 days after Operation Eagle Claw, President Carter announced further plans to increase the domestic supply of energy in response to the worsening oil crisis. Plans to drastically increase domestic production of oil and gas in places like Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Alaska would be in place alongside subsidisation over the use of Appalachian coal. The US would drastically increase its energy output within the next few months causing minor influxes of wealth into Oil and Coal communities. Privately Carter had major concerns about clean energy but decided that the possible agitation of oil companies may prevent full cooperation. The increased supply of domestic oil led to cutbacks in imports of middle eastern oil. Within only a few months the price of Gas had fallen to about 90 cents a gallon and the switchover where possible from oil to coal had led to better livelihoods for coal miners in states like West Virginia and Kentucky.

President Carter’s approval skyrocketed to about 65%. He was the nation's hero, The successful operation effectively assured he would win the nomination after Carter won the Pennsylvania primary and Missouri caucus in a landslide Kennedy dropped out and immediately endorsed Carter, Saying that his concerns were now alleviated. Bush’s spouting about Carter’s inaction suddenly stopped at risk of backlash and Carter now enjoyed an extremely large 69% to 29% lead over Bush in a Gallup poll taken the week after the attack. Bush strategists scrambled to figure out what to do as Carter rode high


May 4th 1980, CBS evening news TV graphic of a poll immediately following the Operation

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As a sign of the boosted popularity of Carter. A conservative Democrat won the Louisiana 3rd Special Election in a landslide gaining it off of the Republican Party

Part 2
 
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Into The Carterverse #3 (The Conventions)
Into the Carterverse

The Conventions

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Transcript from a meeting between Karl Rove and George Bush, 15th of May 1980

Rove: Well what if we just left the issue entirely? The president is a national hero at the moment. All we need to say is ‘good job’ as little as possible and then come November people will come around to real issues

Bush: Karl now you know I appreciate what Jimmy has done but his appearance of leadership should not mean we leave the guy alone for the next couple months. I mean heck, we still have leverage here. Tax Cuts, Conservative Values… After that energy stunt perhaps we can touch on fossil fuels and global warming-

Rove: Sir, I strongly advise you to lay back on criticism right now and just find your feet. The polls are bad, really bad, 40 points behind nationwide would be a 50 state landslide. We cannot afford to make that worse or perhaps we will never recover. By the time the debates roll round we can practice that kind of stuff.

Bush: Alright Karl… i'll keep that in mind

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May saw George Bush stick to his guns without mentioning Jimmy Carter much. Polls had Bush between 27 and 36 percent throughout the Month while Jimmy Carter was always above 60% scoring a high of 73% in one poll. Carter's Grand energy plan was already visibly in action as gas prices began to drop and wealth noticeably started to find its way into coal communities. It wasn't until June when on the runup to the 1980 Republican national convention George Bush criticized the drastic increase of coal burning tying it directly to the noticeable drop in air quality and rise in air pollution experienced by the Northern Regions of the US.

“Now if we believe the President, our energy crisis can be fixed by digging up coal and opening up new drilling sites all over the landscape of this country. But the Whitehouse that has installed solar heaters finds it excusable to let our people drown in smog. Our country needs to look toward the future when it comes to energy, not the past.”
  • George Bush on the campaign trail, June 4th 1980

The statement was generally popular across the north of the country and drew backlash from miner interest groups and oil companies. The overall effect was a small boost in the polls for Bush closing in Atlantic states but led to Carter's numbers shooting up amongst miners.

The republican National Convention would occur from the 14th to the 17th of July. It was planned to serve as a stepping stone for a closer presidential election. Perhaps the most important speech after the speech of the Presidential Nominee was that of Keynote Speaker Ronald Reagan. After having his image battered by his paralysis Reagan wheeled himself to the podium of the convention without hassle. The organizers had already prepared a series of ramps to allow Reagan to make his way to the podium without assistance and a raiseable platform to raise his shoulders above the threshold of the podium.

“I will not stand by and watch this great great country destroy itself under mediocre leadership drifting from one crisis to the next eroding our national will and purpose. We have come together here because the American people deserve better from whom they entrust our nation's highest offices, and we stand united in our faith in George Bush to do something about it”
  • Ronald Reagan in his RNC speech, July 17th 1980
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July 17th 1980, George Bush after his acceptance speech
Ronald Reagan's speech was overtly supportive of George Bush which helped him immensely. Reagan's projection of George Bush as a saviour of unsatisfactory leadership. George Bush delivered a commanding and well written speech. Polls after the convention showed a Tightening race, 36% to 60%. The real chance to win the election for Bush was the upcoming debates. Carter was notoriously not an incredible debater and Bush felt that if he delivered an astounding performance he would have a good shot. Debate preparation for the September and October Presidential debates would begin early and a Vice Presidential Debate between Howard Baker and Walter Mondale was also planned for October

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A more colour coordinated wikibox
To the shock of political pundits the Democratic convention did not result in any bump in the polls as Bush still crept up on Carter in the polls. Carter and Mondale's speeches were thought of as inspiring and uplifting however the momentum carried by the republicans prevented any significant boost in public opinion.

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After the conventions the race was well and truly on

Part 3
 
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Into The Carterverse #4 (Deceit and Diffusion)
Into The Carterverse

Deceit and Diffusion

Over the course of August Bush continued to make small gains on Carter as the image of Carter as a national saviour faded out of the public image. The margin narrowed to 20%, 19%, 18% and so on. A Lot hinged on the first presidential debate for both Carter and bush. The Carter camp was having worries that the momentum of Bush may produce an embarrassing result and seeked to affirm Carter as the frontrunner and the safe choice. Bush still tried to paint Carter as a mediocre leader.

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The first debate took place at the Baltimore Convention center. Questioning over willingness to make unpopular decisions, the strategy over the energy crisis and defense went over smoothly with both candidates making strong statements. Then the issue turned to abortion and Christian values

Soma Golden: This week, Cardinal Medeiros of Boston warned Catholics that it’s sinful to vote for candidates who favor abortion. This did not defeat the two men he opposed, but it did raise questions about the roles of church and state. My question: Do you approve of the Church’s actions this week in Boston? And should a President be guided by organized religion on issues like abortion, equal rights, and defense spending?

Mr. Carter?

Carter: Oh okay I wasn't sure if it was my question. I have before said that I am personally opposed to abortion and that I do not believe Jesus Christ would have supported Abortion, However I also believe that we must respect the supreme court. Now… uh… whether somebody agrees or disagrees with me on that… Pardon me Ms. Golden. In this country it is important that whether we come from a church, synagogue or some other place of worship we should respect each other and listen to each other's opinions.

Golden: I do not believe that was a clear answer, I will repeat. Do you approve of the church’s actions this week in Boston and do you think a president should be guided by organized religion on political issues?

Carter: I think it is clear that some religious organizations will have clear views on political issues and they should have the right to but I believe rather than forcing your members into a certain view that we should have open discussions around issues like abortion and the equal rights movement. Just as we had discussions at my local Baptist church.


Carter's weak answer led to murmurings among Christian voters George Bush took the opportunity to give a much more competent answer which pleased his conservative base. The response threw Carter off leading to an underwhelming final message. A phone poll taken immediately after said that 60% thought that George Bush won while 27% thought that Carter won the debate with the rest undecided. The national margin started to fall under 10% in polls after the debate. The bush camp were thrilled with the results and were determined to ride the wave of momentum to a closer race.

The very next day on September the 22nd 1980 news broke from the middle east that the Iraqi army had launched a full scale invasion effort into Iran. Iraq launched the war to seize resources, control the Shatt-al-Arab and annex the Khuzestan Province. President Carter was in Torrance California at the time of the incident and chose to make a statement on it during the political event

“This event may convince Iran that they need peace with their neighbors, that they need to be part of the international community, they need to be able to have a strong and viable economy, they need to get spare parts for their military and so fourth and therefore induce them to calm down on the attacks against our country and our people”
  • Jimmy Carter speaking on the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war, September 22nd 1980

In private the administration toyed with the idea of aiding Iraq, Although a win by Iran would be terrible for the USA, a strong Iraqi win would give Saddam Hussein a dominance in the region. The US in secret tried to construct an arms deal that would help Iraq but not wipe out Iran, Leading to a balanced peace and quickly.

The arms deals may have contributed to a fast advancing front by Iraq, The resistance by Iran increased with Iraq still making gains along its entire front. Iraq made a major capture of Ahvaz in late September with the front still advancing into Iran. Peace deals were already being discussed for a border adjustment through only part of the Khuzestan province. With pressure from the USA Iraq offered peace to Iran only to be rejected. The war was still early and Iran still did not feel they were in a bad situation. Iraq in reaction decided to push much more aggressively into Iran Capturing port cities and breaching the Borders of the Province of Khuzestan by early October.

Back in the USA the vice Presidential debate between Walter Mondale and Howard Baker in Louisville was hosted, featuring questions about ability to lead the country through military conflict and social issues. Baker was seen as too fiery and Walter Mondale was considered to have won the debate, this made no impact on the race.

“We hope very much for a sensible and balanced peace in Iran and we hope that Iran will reconsider their dangerous rhetoric towards other nations. It is a good thing for all Americans if we stay at peace and that Iran and Iraq sort out their differences”
  • Walter Mondale’s statement on the conflict in Iran, October 2nd 1980

The United Nations Security Council passed a unanimous resolution for a quick peace in the Middle East on September 28th when Iran again refused to negotiate further Several nations imposed further sanctions on both nations until a peace negotiation began. After further gains made by Iraq into Iran further occupying provinces just under 200 miles away from Tehran in an extremely short time on the 26th of October Iran and Iraq both accepted Resolution 479 and reluctantly began negotiations and ceased fire.

The US was perhaps a little worried about the large amount of land that they had allowed Iraq to occupy to Intimidate Iran but overall they were very happy about the embarrassment than Iran would suffer by losing coastal territory. Still, the peace came as a general surprise to the American public who had been fed by speculation that the war would not end for many years. The president hailed the peace as a victory of US diplomacy and shifted the dialogue in the face of the upcoming presidential debate in 2 days

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Carter and Bush at the second debate

The second presidential Debate took place on the 28th of October in Cleveland Ohio. George Bush gave the appearance of confidence but as the debate rolled on it was clear that Carter was the most prepared for the debate. Bush started giving badly connected answers while Carters seemed the most polished by far. Carter defended US diplomacy by claiming that pressure for Peace left the US out of war (as far as the public was concerned) and Iran was weakened due to his leadership. A phone poll by CBS concluded that 65% thought that Carter won the debate and 20% were undecided with only 15% saying Bush won. Due to Bush’s fumbling he didn't engage in much attack leaving 81% of respondents saying that the content of the debate was mostly positive

As election night came closer the Carter camp opened up a large lead over Bush in the Polls,

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A Graph of 1980 Polling

Only election night would tell if it was to be the predicted landslide...

Part 4
 
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Into The Carterverse #5 (4 More years)
Into The Carterverse

4 More Years

As election night began Americans flicked through the channels or turned their tuning knob to find their preferred news provider, most wanted to find results from TV coverage, some from Radio.

NBC News
John Chancellor: Good Evening and welcome to NBC News' coverage of the 1980 presidential election. Our team of correspondents, panelists, pollsters and commentators are assembled here in New York and around the country to see if Jimmy Carter will win re-election or if George Bush will make it to the Oval Office.

We've been polling around the country in the key states, NBC News and the Associated Press, and what we're learning in the key states is that makes us believe that Jimmy Carter will win an astounding re-election tonight, astounding, that's our belief at the moment based on polls in key states.

We can already say that in Kentucky NBC news can project that Jimmy Carter will win Kentucky, On our map we color Kentucky in Red for those watching in Color and Light Gray for those watching in Black & White...


ABC News
... We project that New Hampshire will be won by Mr. Bush, his first electoral votes on our board, and you can see on our graphic that New Hampshire goes into the Blue Column. Blue is Bush, that's why we picked blue. Although I suppose we could've also chose Cyan for Carter but there you go...


The NBC map as of 11pm EST

NBC News
... And if you look behind me and Mr. Brokaw you'll see that it is looking like a Jimmy Carter Map tonight, shown in Red.

Jessica Savitch: Its looking like a Carter inferno has ignited across the Country! *both laugh*


The election was a bloodbath. George Bush had lost the electoral college just before midnight and had already called to concede to Carter.

"We claim victory tonight, knowing that our team can take give us 4 more years, 4 more glorious years!"
- Jimmy Carter in his victory Speech, November 4th 1980

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Carter won 443 electoral votes and almost 10 million more votes than George Bush, he became the first democratic president to be re-elected since FDR. George Bush stayed under 100 electoral votes. While carter got 5 Million more votes than he did in 1976 Bush got about 5 million less votes than Geral Ford did. Republican turnout was low in key areas leading to a low turnout election. Carter was the first democrat to win White voters in over 20 years while Bush lost some suburban support

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Presidential County map
Carter won massively in Appalachia for his support of Coal and shockingly won Alaska due to increased Oil exploration. He won every county in Hawaii, Georgia and West Virginia and won a majority of Counties, as he did in 1976.

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The congressional elections resulted in another Democratic Trifecta with substantial gains. A race that could not be called for Months was the South Dakotan senate Election which was the campaign for Liberal senator and former presidential candidate George McGovern to be re-elected

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McGovern was finally decleared the Victor with a measly 5 vote margin after challenge after challenge. James Abdnor claimed that corruption was behind McGovern's win and contested the election for years after, never truly accepting the victory. The victory was most remarkable considering McGovern outran Jimmy Carter in South Dakota despite being to the Left of him. He cemented himself as a political player for the next 6 years

For Carter, with a massive mandate he was well and truly to be the president for the 80s and he was confident his agenda would play out over the next 4 years.

Part 5
 
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Into The Carterverse #6 (1981: Iran Iraq and Downstate New York)
Into The Carterverse

Iran Iraq and Downstate New York


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As 1981 began President Carter started the year comfortably. With approval ratings high and essentially no foerign conflict to embroil himself in he was in an enviable position. Carter famously wasn't heavy on policy, rather stating his personal views during the campaign season rather than an overarching agenda. This felt a bit uneasy to some of carter’s aides but after a controversial first term it was a welcome break for the President.

George Bush although disappointed with the election result he fully accepted it. His desire for higher political office had been questioned and he decided to retreat back into private life and to focus on connecting with his adult children. Although he'd be asked many times George Bush would never again run for political office.

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The programme to increase domestic energy production with Oil and Coal had proved extremely popular, despite the protest of Frank Press, his science advisor. In his position Press was receiving hundreds of letters from nationwide scientists to morph policy in the Whitehouse. The cost of the project was also a point of contention. Republicans especially were worried about the multi billions worth of subsidies for fossil fuel companies due to the cost they represented. Conservationists on both sides were also angry at the policy, Rural California Republicans were drafted by environmental groups to be advocates against the policy claiming disregard for the environment. The biggest critic was that of Northern Republican Senator Robert Stafford the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

“I understand the regard for the Environment as it is important we conserve our environment for future generations to enjoy, But what we were seeing was unprecedented uncertainty in our energy supply and we decided to take a stand and work towards energy independence”
  • President Carter on energy policy, April 14th 1981

Overseas although Iran and Iraq had been at peace for some time there was no sign of a peace deal as Iran kept refusing to give up Arab lands. International communities would double down on calling for peace despite more sanctions but the probability of continued conflict seemed to rise higher. Carter was discussing a probability of a Camp David style peace accord. Senator Moiniyhan of New York suggested any such camp be held at Bear Mountain state park by closing the park off to the public for as long as the secret negotiations took.

Wanting to pursue the Idea, Carter instructed that the Ayatollah of Iran should be contacted and asked about the possible peace accords abroad. Ayatollah Khomeni utterly rejected the idea and said that he felt “insulted” that “President Carter thought that Iran's supreme leader could be wrestled into a position for a political ploy.” Saddam Hussein when contacted thought the idea was “Nice on paper but unworkable in reality” and that Iraq would rather have the diplomats from the two countries meet somewhere more secret without outside knowledge. American diplomats suggested the idea of a peace conference on a Large Ship such as an Aircraft carrier or Battleship in the persian gulf. The Iranian diplomatic delegation were more open to the idea that people at the conference would be flown to the ship in the morning and return in the evening. However as planning got drawn out into August the Iranians got frustrated and simply refused to engage in any future discussions holding out with a ceasefire.

When the failed negotiations were revealed to the public it resulted in an embarrassment on behalf of senator Moinyhan and president Carter. The failure to set up effective peace negotiations shocked a nation that up until recently was under the impression that their administration had a vast wealth of diplomatic power.

The USA would pull back in their Involvement in the peacemaking process significantly as the uneasy ceasefire continued for the rest of 1981

Part 6
 
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Into The Carterverse #7 (The Mixed Up Months)
Into The Carterverse

The Mixed Up Months


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Clipping from Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide​

“ The scientific task is to help determine the nature of future climatic effects as early as possible. The required efforts in global observations and climate analysis are challenging, but the benefits from improved understanding of climate will surely warrant the work invested. “
  • James Hansen in ‘Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide’ , August 28th 1981
In August 1981 a study that would change the American outlook on climate change forever was published, straightforwardly named “Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide” the study by Climatologist James Hansen would garner national attention, Pushing the idea that the effects of climate change would lead to effects, not just in centuries but in most people's lifetimes was shocking to the American state of normalcy. When CNN picked up the study to add into its 24 hour news cycle the projection of a crisis into viewers was so strong it became a national story. Soon the other networks picked up the story. The details of Hansen's projections were detailed in full without debate or commentary. A Poll a Month after the Study’s release showed that 40% of respondents could explain what the projections of the study were out of the 62% of respondents that recognized the Study. 55% of those who knew about the study agreed that ‘Global Warming’ was a serious concern, almost evenly split by party although Democrats were more likely to support it.

The study would begin to cause headaches for the White House and Congressional members who sponsored the Carter energy policy and voted for its funding package as press field questions about it. Proposals from several congressmembers suggested reinstating laws such as the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 which had been repealed to expand mining and having a major funding boost to alternative energy infrastructure and research.

Discussions continued within cabinet and within the white house whether to pivot further toward the side of Renewable energy. Republicans were divided on the issue, on one hand they mostly enjoyed energy independence a lot of politicians were also tied up in the Oil and Coal industry. Some were Interested in Nuclear options and recontinuing the process on research with Thorium reactors by calling back Alvin Weinberg to help with government research.

But after many discussions the Carter White House decided to make no comment on the study and wait until after the 1982 midterms to take any steps to ask congress for a funding package.

Energy and Climate change stayed as the largest issue in the nation through the end of 1981 and the start of 1982. The white house stuck to the mainstream issues like workers rights and social rights. An underlying current in congress headed by fresh congressmembers such as senator Elizabeth Holtzman was seeking to revive the momentum for the ERA after no state had ratified the amendment and were worried that the June 30th ‘82 Deadline would come and go. A proposal to remove the deadline altogether would gain support which would result in a 1982 congressional vote. The ERA only required 3 more ratifications to get to the required 38 states to ratify the amendment and with Florida and Illinois already voting on it the goal seemed to be in reach. Many democrats elected in 1980 to state legislatures were in favour of the amendments and it looked as if states in the south could get the amendment passed in their legislatures.

A Vote to remove the deadline for the ratification of the ERA passed with bipartisan support by a thin margin. Elizabeth Holtzman's full-throated support for the amendment was credited for the success of the vote and she subsequently became very popular in her home state. Anti-ERA groups were angry at the abolishment of the deadline which presented the passing of the ERA as impossible to subvert, and so it happened. With an extra push of activism Missouri became the 38th state to ratify the ERA and after legal challenges over the validity over the revoked ratifications it was recognized that when Missouri ratified the amendment on March 29th 1982, blowing open a door of legal challenges to remove legal distinctions between men and women. The victory for gender equality was relished by the Left.

During a casual meeting with Presidential advisors over the issues of the time in April one of Carter's aides ran into the room with a videotape in hand.

“Who have I pissed off now” Carter exclaimed to the aide. “Which activist or republican is it this time?” the aide caught his breath and then in a hushed tone told “Mr President, it's a senator… a Democratic Senator. You should have a look”

The Letterman Show, April 8th 1982

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Senator Pat Moynihan: The challenge we face with the environment is so great and so global that I believe we should set aside nationalism, set aside alliances, and work on this issue together. In that James Hansen paper that we all saw we were confronted with the fact that at our current rate the earth will have warmed three degrees centigrade by the year two-thousand-one-hundred

David Letterman: Has the president done enough to explore alternatives to coal and the so called “Fossil Fuels”

Moynihan:... I will not lie to you… no, he has not. And for that I am disappointed at his inaction

*applause*


President Carter's eyes were peeled, fixed angrily on the screen. He looked about ready to plan a murder until he suddenly stepped back and sighed with a resigned look. He only muttered one word before walking out, “Shit.”

Part 7
 
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Into The Carterverse #8 (The Falklands)
Into The Carterverse

The Falklands (Mini Update)



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On April the 2nd 1982 an Argentine Military forces landed via sea on the British Controlled Falkland Islands.

The UK government had had some intelligence of the possible invasion of the Falkland's and the immediate position of Prime Minister Thatcher was that of a full scale invasion.

Disapproving of the governments aversion to diplomacy although Carter gave the British Governments American Weather Intel the US government explicitly refused any material aide or satellite imagery. Although this soured relations personally with the Prime Minister and the government as a whole Carter refused to let America get too involved in any other armed conflict already concerned with the Middle Eastern crisis that the US was still trying to solve via shuttle diplomacy.

The British task force started their journey to the Falkland islands. However, they ran into many issues of resources. On their way many vehicles and ships were under fuel restraints and ran out causing them to be stranded halfway in the journey. Due to the American skepticism to help out there weren't any other nations willing to help out with fuel supplies in risk of alienating the US. The slightly limited team had some initial success in retaking South Georgia island as a launchpad to the Falkland's themselves as South Georgia had been less militarized.

The mission to destroy argentine recourses in the Falklands was less successful due to limited recourses on the British side. Air raids by the British were overpowered by Argentine forces constantly arriving to reinforce the others. Unsuccessful raids lasted until early May, the British force was so low on recourses and so demoralized to their constant lack of success. The prime minsiter was under pressure from all sides to make a drastic change in strategy to either withdraw forces or issue an untimatum to the UKs allies to help in the invasion. Eventually on the 16th of May 1982 the government made its decision

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Jan Leeming: The Prime Minister today in a press statement has accepted that the Falklands Conflict has "Not developed in an advantageous way" and the government will now work with the United Nations to ensure the right of self determination for the Falkland people.

The result of the conflict was widely ridiculed by those in the UK and there was much debate about whether the conflict was worth it. From now on the best case scenario for the Falkland's would be full independence or a UN trust territory.

A Motion of No Confidence was tabled against the government on the 28th of May after the embarrassing result in the Falkland's. The vote was not expected to pass until the very end when several very liberal and very conservative members of the Conservative party voted for the motion of no confidence after feeling that the party should have followed their respective paths to victory.

The snap election was called for the 4th of July leading the election to be known as the "Independence Day Election" after the US celebration. The Conservative party started far behind Labour and the Alliance but the campaign to ensue would see Michael Foot make many gaffes and the Alliance's momentum fade. After leading the popular vote in the polls at the start they fell back into 3rd just before the election and Labour lost their lead over the conservatives a week before the election.

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Margaret Thatcher was forced to govern with a minority relying on votes from the UUP, DUP and the UPUP with some support from the Alliance on conscience votes. Needless to say, the result in the Falklands lead indirectly to a period of massive political uncertainty in UK politics and lead to a shaky government for the next 3 years.
 
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Into The Carterverse #9 (Run-up to the Midterms)
Into The Carterverse

Run-up to the Midterms

As November approached the Midterm elections started to come into the realm of public intrest. With Large Majorites in the House and Senate it was unlikely that any siezmic shift in power was to occur. ALthough it was not outwardly obvious, with another term of carter the White house was becoming a more socially progressive place and inward pressure for the Democrats and Republicans to have some fresh blood was starting to become impossible to ignore. Some of the more notable races are as follows.

Mississippi

Incumbent holdover from a segregationist past John Stennis was approaching 83 when he started his 7th senatorial campaign. There were some rumblings amongst both parties of nominating a clear opposition to Stennis. Two former civil rights advocates from both sides used the senators age to advantage in their campaigns

Charles Evers
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Mayor Charles Evers had slowly started to drift from the Democratic party and Had switched to Republican in 1978, He thought that he could convince the white electorate that Stennis was too old and remind the Black electorate of Stennis' racist past. He would be placed against Political operative Hayley Barbour.

Marian Edelman
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Founder of the Children's Defense Fund and Activist Marian Edelman took it upon herself the uphill battle to challenge Senator Stennis from the Democratic side. Early on she accepted that her lack of political office and not to mention her Identity which would be unavoidable in a Mississippi campaign would be an issue to a general electorate. However, she got help for her run from the NAACP and other civil rights groups and used a heavy presence of volunteers and a campaign to get out the black vote in the Democratic primary. She ran a campaign focused on Family, Faith and her record on improving the lives of Children with her activism. She made the bold move to challenge the senator to several in person town hall debates to which he refused. Stennis was caught in the middle of the race debate, trying to ballance support between accusing that he was not racist and calling Edelman a "Black Radical." This may have ended up hurting him rather than helping him though with Progressives being driven away and Ultra-Conservative whites deciding to not vote.

The results of the primary elections would lead to a shock for both parties

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For the first time ever two Black Candidates would be running against each other for a senate election, in a state with a reputation of viscous racism. There was incredible demand for a third candidate by angry racists in Mississippi but the deadline had passed.

Montana

Incumbent Democratic senator John Melcher received a primary challenge due to his appeared conservatism, Prominent ecologist Mike Bond made an attempt to successfully challenge the senator but was easily defeated. His main challenge was a hotly contested general election

Larry Williams
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The well rounded Larry Williams who advocated for tax reform, worked as a stock trader and wrote books posed a serious threat to the senator. His conservative positions seemed fresh to Montana voters as he embraced Reagan style economic rhetoric. The polls showed that the Montanna race would be a close one and that the senator's conservatism may have made him too much like a republican, so much so voters may just end up electing one.

Nevada
Senator Howard Cannon had been holding elected office since 1946. Politically he was uncontroversial but voters were starting to feel fatigue and in a typically Republican state such as Nevada he was very much in trouble.

Chic Heict
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Business Advocate Chic Heict had been known in the state senate for working closely with governor Laxalt to create public facilities. He was an unassuming candidate but against Cannon as a fresher face (despite only being 14 years younger) had an advantageous position to win the senate election in Nevada.

New Jersey
Held by the retiring Nicholas Brady the New jersey senate election attracted New Jerseys most optimistic politicians but there was one clear frontrunner for the seat that had garnered the most attention

Millicent Fenwick
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The Progressive Pipe-Smoking Millicent Fenwick had entered the House at the age of 64. She was praised by the media for calling out corruption on all sides of the political spectrum. She favoured a humanitarian approach to diplomacy as evidenced by her meetings with soviet diplomats and used her wit to her advantage. Her work ethic was praised and she was open with the media. Her stellar reputation lead her to be seen as the clear frontrunner for the seat. Her only barrier would turn out to be her age, at 72 if elected she would be unlikely to gain much seniority.

Frank Lautenberg
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CEO of Automatic Data Processing Frank Lautenberg would win the Democratic Primary and posed as the opponent of Fenwick. His perceived attacks of Her age were deemed cruel by voters and would end up dampening his support.

New York
Originally it was assumed the New York senate race wouldnt be remotley close but after senator Moyinihans flub ups in the national spotlight over Iran and Iraq and splitting the party in New York over Climate he seemed Vulnerable. The Republican Primary was mainly between two low profile candidates which was positive for Moynihan but they both reckoned that the potential of name recognition would get them in a positon where they could possibly win

Florence Sullivan
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Assemblywoman Florence Sullivan had a background in Teaching and Law and posed as the Humble mother from Bay Ridge who had served her community well and now wanted to serve New York. The Jump from the assembly to the Senate however was seen as a large step one that would be dealt with differently by her opponent

Muriel Siebert
Sibert was a stock exchange trailblazer. She was the first woman to own a seat on the NYSE. She was outspoken in her support of Diversifying her industry. As a stockbroker make no mistake, she was part of an industry reliant on conservative interests and she advocated heavily for conservative economics and less government regulation. She also seemed to be supportive of trickle-down theory advocating large upper class tax cuts. Trickle Down had its supporters and opponents within the republican party but with her more powerful, out-there brash campaign she won the support of the party and would end up facing Moynihan in the most contested senate race in the country. Her personal connections to wall street lead to her receiving extremely high personal donations from wealthy friends, something she would have to defend in the campaign


These were not the only contested races but these are some of the more notable ones. There was an expectation in the '82 midterms that due to an incumbent Democratic president that republicans would find success. It was not set in stone but Democrats had to work hard to fight against the assumption.



 
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Into The Carterverse #10 (Midterms '82)
Into The Carterverse

Midterms '82

The midterms started to ramp up with various congressional leaders running around the country vying for their respective candidates. Carter had a lot of senate campaigning to do, He was notably involved in campaigning for Marian Edelman to get Democrats on her side, as well as campaigning around the Midwest and a bit in California and Nevada. However, although asked many times Carter did not do much campaigning in the Atlantic for senator Moynihan especially. He did visit New York briefly but left quickly for New Jersey.

New Republican house leader Phil Crane was a particularly active campaigner around the country, he enlisted the help of Gerald Ford and Howard Baker to campaign for senate and House Candidates. Having a democratic president incumbent Republicans were hopeful for an injection of momentum.

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Of the two senate elections particularly of Interest the specific results were as follows

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In Mississippi which was predicted to be a close win a convincing win from Edelman ended up occurring. Carters campaigning had allowed her to gain a majority of White Voters and her targeting of Urban black voters gave her a large win in Jackson propelling her to a pretty big win. Evers gained a Majority of the Black Vote mainly from small towns and rural regions, the Republican label hurt him with traditionally Democratic voting whites despite the identity of both candidates. The Win of Edelman was one of many firsts: First Black senator from the south since reconstruction, First Black democratic senator, First Female Black Senator and first Female Senator from Mississippi. The race was extraordinary from the start and many voters ended up not voting out of protest at the candidates. Edelman accepted that a strategy to gain re-election in 1988 may not end up working and pledged to be nobody but herself in the senate.

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Reagan surprisingly won the Republican Primary in California beating out the likes of Pete Wilson. Although it may be assumed that her campaign had a connection to Her Father Ronald Reagan, he remained firmly politically inactive and didn't support his daughters decision to run for weeks after her announcement. The race in California was predicted to be close but Reagan won the election by about 15% in the end.

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Muriel Siebert would pull off a close win on election night defeating Moynihan. Strong support from upstate and closer than expected margins in NYC gave her a slight edge. Siebert's win also meant that New York became the first state with two female senators serving concurrently. The result was an upset as the polls gave Moynihan a decent lead going into the election...

Jimmy Carter Interview 1994
Interviewer: Looking back, why did you essentially leave Pat Moynihan for dead in the 1982 midterms?

Carter: Because I knew he was right, I knew he was right on the environment. I wanted to agree with him and take his accusations up with honesty. But if I were it would be a flip-flop. I think we all knows what happens to politicians to flip flop. The scandal associated with such a thing would've lead to massive losses in those midterms, by standing my ground I appeared strong. I admit it was wrong and I apologize profusely to Pat."


The 1982 midterms saw a large amount of Women elected to the senate. Elizabeth Holtzman (D-NY) and Nancy Kassenbaum (R-KS) were joined by both Marian Wright Edelman (D-MS) and Muriel Siebert (R-NY) as well as Maureen Reagan (R-CA) and Millicent Fenwick (R-NJ). Fenwick won her New Jersey Election in a Landslide beating her opponent by 20 points.

The Number of women in the senate jumped from 2 to 6 in one election signaling an upcoming shift in the congressional gender balance over the rest of the 80s.


Part 10
 
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Into The Carterverse #11 (A New Assosicate Justice)
Into the Carterverse

A New Associate Justice

The new congressmen and women of the 98th congress were sworn in on January the 3rd 1983 entering into a new political year. With a presidential election only a year away it seemed as if 1983 was going to be a relative calm before the storm of the 1984 election cycle. Carter was relatively lucky to have a democratic trifecta throughout the entirety of his presidency. The Carter agenda seemed mostly exhausted for the time being. The nation seemed in relatively good shape. Unemployment was only around 5%, a far cry from the peak of the energy crisis. However, that did not mean Carter was not having some regrets. After increasing funding for green energy in his first term he was purportedly becoming restless about his 1980 shift in energy policy to rapidly reduce development on middle eastern oil by using Fossil Fuels.

After the 1980 election Carter had picked Harley Orrin Staggers as the new Energy Secretary due to his views on de-regulation which was crucial in expanding coal production. Carter figured that the conservative working class Staggers would outwardly support the coal direction and indeed he did but with Carter starting to have large amounts of regret he was privately planning something drastic. He had been in private talks with former representative Ken Helcher. Helcher had been instrumental in the Coal Mine Health and Safety act of 1969 which set a limit on the amount of coal dust allowed in a coal mine. For a West Virginian politician he was very pro coal regulation and in the talks with Carter he had been supportive of expanding renewable sources and researching alternative fuels if he were to be Secretary of Energy. Carter was slowly working up confidence to ask Staggers to resign so he could nominate Helcher. But before he could Carter encountered a fresh political issue in his administration.

NBC NIGHTLY NEWS FEBRUARY 20 1983

Tom Brokaw: Associate Justice Potter Stewart has announced today that he will retire from his position after over 23 years on the supreme court. Appointed by President Eisenhower he took office on the 14th of October 1958. Potter said about his retirement that he wanted to spend more time with his Grandchildren and admitted that after some recent doctors visits he decided he wanted to leave the court in good health. Questions now begin to mount around who the President will choose to replace him, some are even saying that it may now be time to have the first woman on the supreme court.

Carter, who had been preparing to leave office with the legacy of never having appointed a supreme court justice, was excited to hear of Stewarts announcement. The passage of the ERA months before the election meant that there were calls for the First Female Associate Justice on the supreme court to be nominated. The clear runaway favourite was Shirley Hufstedler the Secretary of Education. Although she was a cabinet Secretary she had been in lists of potential court candidates since the 1960s and many thought that she was by far the most qualified to take up the position regardless of the role her identity would play in diversifying the court. The only other possible nominee could have been Charles Kirbo who had had a personal history with Carter when Carter lost the primary for a state senate seat, Kirbo was the one who proved that the results were fraudulent allowing jimmy carter to win the Primary and the General election. The nomination was put up as a contest between Hufstedler and Kirbo but the eventual nominee was more or less obvious.

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Shirley Hufstedler and President Carter, 1983
Reception to the appointment was overwhelmingly positive although there was some concern among conservatives whether Hufsedlers views would persuade her too much in interpreting the constitution. A few senators publicly stated that they would need some convincing of her ability in the hearings. These statements came from Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Don Nickles of Oklahoma. The two were critiscised for the statements as they were accused of insticetivley doubting Hufstedlers qualifications because of her sex.

Pundits thought that Hufstedler’s nomination hearings which occurred over 3 days lead to an excellent performance by Hufstedler. She was relatively uncontroversial with no major question of conduct arising in the hearings. The senate held a vote on her nomination on the 12th of May 1983 which resulted in a near unanimous approval 99-1 with no absent senators. The sole dissenter was Strom Thurmond of South Carolina who was accused of being bitter over his treatment by the media for questioning Hufstedler's ability to serve.

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With the passage of the ERA in the previous year the Supreme Court removed references to justices as being only men and rather started using a gender neutral term “Justice” in all further publications. Hufstedler was considered a Liberal Leaning judge from the beginning and it was not doubted that she would be a liberal voter voting for things such as protection of the right-to-choose for women and enforcing the ERA.

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Portrait of Justice Hufstedler

Part 11
 
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