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Spaghetti Shenanigans Starring Riley

Into the Carterverse #21 (Election 84... and the morning after)
  • Into the Carterverse

    Election 84... and the morning after
    Americans all around the country tuned in to watch election night unfold. Unlike 1980, this time there was actually some doubt over who would win.

    CBS News

    "CBS News Coverage of Campaign '84 Election Night continues!"

    "This portion sponsored by SUN energy, 'Where there's SUN there's energy.
    By AT&T we are reaching out in new directions!
    And by General Motors, extra time and extra effort and attention to every detail, GM is committed to excellence"

    "And now from CBS News headquarters in New York again is Dan Rather"

    Dan Rather: "Good evening again. We're glad you're with us. Historic night tonight as we see who the united states has elected to be our president after Jimmy Carter. Our early assumptions from our CBS News-New York Times interviews with voters around the nation show that this is still on track to be anyone's night tonight."

    "It's 7pm in the east now and there are two states already where most of the polls have closed, that is Indiana and Kentucky. We may want to keep an eye on Kentucky as it could show us which candidate may win depending on the results. At this time both states are too close to call. At this hour polls have just closed in the following states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia. Of those 7 states we can project 2. We project that Georgia Goes for Walter Mondale , the presidents popularity would have helped him there as well as that New Hampshire goes for Jack Kemp, a reliably republican state for some time and this time is no different"

    Election night chugged along at a reasonable pace

    "Indiana votes for Jack Kemp"
    Pretty soon it became clear to democrats that the sweep of the south that jimmy carter managed to pull off would not happen for Walter Mondale

    "Virginia goes to Jack Kemp"
    "Florida tonight goes for Jack Kemp"
    "South Carolina falls into the Kemp column"

    Democrats had no reason to lose hope however, their coalition seemed to be turning out for them

    "Kentucky goes for Walter Mondale"
    "West Virginia is solidly in the Mondale colors tonight"
    "As too is the District of Columbia"
    "Massachusetts goes for Mondale"
    "And for Mondale Pennsylvania votes tonight"

    As polls closed it seemed that neither candidate could build up a lead without it being quickly overtaken after the next state call. What could be deduced in terms of "Who was voting for who" was as follows. Appalachian workers again voted democrat, Mondale's rural support did slip but not by a damaging amount. Mondale was popular among urban and rural women, Dianne Feinstein's campaign for the vice presidency was aimed directly at women and it seemed to have paid off. Kemp was winning a plurality of the white vote, gaining it off of the democrats. Suburbs voted mostly for Kemp; his strange brand of conservative libertarianism seemed to appeal well to them.

    The mid-west voted mostly for Mondale, as Mondale was from the region he was the most appealing candidate, winning satisfactory amounts of farmers. The north-east was pretty split. Mondale managed to win New York which would've hurt Jack Kemp considering it was his Home State. While Mondale won Texas and Georgia, most of the south voted for Kemp. Jimmy carter had campaigned for Mondale down there but his relatively liberal ideas just didn't appeal as well as Carter. It is important to note, however, that no democrat had ever won the white house without Texas and when Mondale won it he must've felt relieved. Ohio would take a long time to be declared, No republican had ever won without it.

    Finally, election night turned to the west. Everything was coming in as expected (Kemp won most of the states with Oregon and California sticking it out) when in a shock, despite having selected a broadly appealing California Mayor as his running mate California voted for Jack Kemp.

    At the time Mondale was sitting on 234 electoral votes and because they expected to win California's 47 votes, camp Mondale was practically ready to declare victory. When it was clear that they had lost the state election night became much more tense.

    For Kemp things started to become uneasy when thanks to bleedover from Appalachian support, Mondale won Ohio.

    Rather: And with the polls closing in Alaska we can declare that Kemp has flipped the state and he will carry Alaska and it's 3 electoral votes tonight...
    When viewers were presented with the electoral map there was this splodge of white that refused to be called for either side and at this point the whole election would come down to it...


    Rather: After 6 hours of counting Mississippi and its 7 electoral votes are still too close to call, as you can see there in grey, or in white if you are watching in Black & White. Mondale in Red or Light Gray is leading with 268 electoral college votes and Kemp in Blue or Dark Gray is on 263. Folks we may be in the midst of a nail biter election
    Mississippi had traditionally been a very conservative state, in 1972 it gave Richard Nixon a 58% margin of victory. However in this election Mondale had the help of senator Marian Wright Edelman to communicate his policies to the black electorate. Being Thad Cochran's home state, Kemp did not do too much campaigning in Mississippi assuming that the white voters would give him a victory. However, with Edelman's pressure on the governor over the past 2 years to improve the accessibility of voting for African-Americans in Mississippi as well as spending huge swathes of time personally campaigning for Mondale she helped boost African American turnout which heavily counteracted the loss of some white support.

    However, the state was extremely close in the count on election night. How close? The count at about 3am EST on election night was as follows

    JACK KEMP: 460,196 votes (48.97%)
    WALTER MONDALE: 460,155 votes (48.96%)
    TOTAL VOTES: 939,816 (99.97% in)
    Networks were unable to predict if the last 200 or so votes, mainly from Jackson, would be enough to let Mondale gain a lead over Jack Kemp. because of the time the ballot counters were allowed some rest just before Mississippi could finish its counting.

    The networks were forced to finish their election night coverage with no clear winner, Both the Kemp and Mondale campaigns were calling for a recount due to the closeness of the state with both candidates accepting that there would not be a definitive result for at least a few more days as ballots were counted and recounted. It was really anyone's guess who would win.

    The networks that night coined a phrase that would be repeated over the next few days "Mississippi, Mississippi, Mississippi..."

    In the morning the nation was confronted with the reality that no-one had won the previous night.. an interesting few days were about to follow for election '84.
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    Into The Carterverse #22 (Mississippi, Mississippi, Mississippi...)
  • Into the Carterverse

    Mississippi, Mississippi, Mississippi...

    The United States woke up on November 7th with a sort of election hangover. People who had gone to sleep expecting to wake up with a new president were shocked with the news that barely 44 votes separated the two candidates in the unexpected crucial state of Mississippi. Both campaigns declared their confidence that the remaining votes from Hinds County would be in their favour. When counting restarted it took them mere minutes to finish counting the remaining 246 ballots giving Mondale a narrow lead overall of a few tens of votes. This flip was pinned down to Mondale's better than expected performance in the suburban areas of Jackson.

    According to Mississippi state law there was to already be a hand recount of all ballots. The Kemp campaign claimed that the race was too close to be called still and that Mondale's thin lead could be overcome. Ballot counters across the entire state were called back to hand recount every ballot. Extra scrutiny of ballots meant that the process took longer than on election night and was complete by the afternoon of the 8th of November. The results only widened Mondale's lead to about 50, a narrow lead but the widening of the margin lead to an assumption that no matter if there was another recount that Mondale would still win the state.

    Kemp announced that he would make a speech that evening, many in the media expected it to be a concession speech but to their surprise he announced that he was seeking a further hand recount of Hinds county only. This was seen as a petulant refusal to concede by many but Kemp reiterated that because the margin was so close that a further recount was needed and necessary to ensure the correct winner would win. Thad Cochran was also pushing for a recount of Hinds county, embarrassed that he was on the verge of losing his home state for his ticket.

    The 3rd recount of the ballots in Hinds county produced another widened margin for Walter Mondale setting the overall state margin of 71 votes for Walter Mondale. Finally, on the 9th of November 1984, Jack Kemp finally conceded Mississippi to Walter Mondale and therefore the election making Walter Mondale the 40th President of the United states. Despite political affiliation, most were happy to finally hear the news that the election was over.

    Walter Mondale's win was put down to his strength in urban areas despite losing support of much of the rural south. His midwestern origin gave him comfortable margins in states like Missouri and Illinois. Kemp's strong performance in the south showed the Republicans that conservatism would appeal to the south for now but Kemp was still criticized for his personality and rhetoric which was decided cost him the election.

    1984 was also historic for the election of the first female vice president. Despite her lack of appeal to feminist groups she would forever be known as the first. The 1980s once again continued to show an increase in the presence of women in the US government.

    1984 Pres Box.png

    sisimippi 1984.png

    In the House the Democrats gained alot of seats they lost at the midterms keeping a massive majority in the House. General competency and the lack of scandal during Trifecta made congress unusally popular and so the Democrats kept their bulletproof Majority for Mondales first term.

    1984 House Election.png

    The same was true in the Senate where Democrats, They expanded their large majority. Howard Baker the Republican Leader was retiring after the election due to unknown further ambitions. His 1984 run for president had exhausted his political capital and he was now flirting with a future of business. The 1984 election also saw the election for 4 new women to the senate. Jane Eskind in Tennessee, Lila Cockrell in Texas, Joan Growe in Minnesota and Nancy Dick in Colorado.

    senate 1984.png

    TN 84 box.png

    TX 84.png

    1984 governor elections.png
    For the first time since FDR a democrat had won the presidency for a 3rd term in a row. Mondale would enter the presidency piggybacking off of the popular Jimmy Carter and with a strong Democratic Trifecta ready to take on the reigns of the country. The Republicans would go back to the drawing board...
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    Into The Carterverse #23 (Muldoon vs Moyle)
  • (this essentially serves as a treat to me after writing about American politics, so for today I switch back to what the hell has been going on in my own country)

    Into the CarterKiwiverse

    Muldoon vs Moyle

    Robert Muldoon had been Prime Minister of New Zealand for 9 Years. After winning a surprising victory in 1975 and then losing the popular vote in 1978 and 1981 he had clung on to the prime ministership despite being wildly controversial. By 1984 dissenters in his caucus with a 1 seat thin majority were beginning to show themselves. MP Marylin Waring voted against the government on Nuclear Free legislation despite efforts from Muldoon to influence her otherwise at fear of appearing to lose his caucus. During the voting the anti-nuclear legislation passed into law, alongside Ms. Waring Mr. Mike Minogue also crossed the house to vote for the legislation at the last moment having already been opposed to Robert Muldoon's leadership. The immensely restrictive economic of Mr. Muldoon [Constantly exercising state power over the ability to trade and borrowing billions to prop up the overvalued currency] had resulted in division in his own party and his abrasive leadership had annoyed many MPs.

    On the night of the 14th of July Robert Muldoon had been enjoying some brandy and dry. National party president Sue Wood had been in the room with him supposedly discussing the possibility of a snap election to her shock. While Muldoon had been privately thinking of the idea for some time he made a decision to call a press conference to call the election. He had only told Mrs. Wood that night despite her being the party president. Wood was opposed to the idea of a snap election which Muldoon knew, giving the reason for his secrecy. According to others in the room Wood and Muldoon had a loud verbal argument as the press were arriving at parliament awaiting the announcement of a snap election. Robert was drunk and ill and could not control his temper resulting in a screaming match. Muldoon tried to leave the room to go talk to the reporters. Sue Wood pulled him back; she tried to go out to the press alone to send them back home. Muldoon chased after her and drunkenly fell to the ground giving Wood enough time to leave the room and shut the door behind her. The short press conference ensued.

    Wood: "Good evening everyone. The Prime Minister has been busy with some late night telephone calls but we have just been consulting tonight... He has asked me to tell you all about... a consideration of the extension of the wage and price freeze. The situation that New Zealand is faced with today... is..."

    The awkwardness of Wood's speech left reporters puzzled. As Sue Wood was completly making up the content of her speech it took her a few more second to finally master it into something resembling a proper announcement talking about "sacrifices for economic health." Suddenly a loud bang followed by a drunken roar of the Prime Minister was heard behind her. The media cameras had refocused their attention to a disgustingly drunk Rob Muldoon who had tried to run up to the media and failed to turn down the corridor in time resulting in him smacking into the wall. Immediately after about 4 men appeared right behind him and tried to drag him back down the hallway. Sue Wood abandoned the press conference and ran after them. As if it was an impromptu running event the press proceeded to follow Muldoon and Wood down the corridor in a race to capture a picture of the chaos of the behaviour of the drunk Muldoon.

    Although Sue Wood had managed to avoid a snap election the Prime Minister had suffered a major national embarrassment as the images of his Drunkeness were broadcast night after night to the general public. Immediately after the incident the National Party caucus met regarding whether to replace the unpopular leader. Bill Birch stood up as a leadership contender. However, he lost a caucus vote by a slim margin.

    On the other side of the House, after barley losing 1978 and 1981 the leader Bill Rowling had decided to retire. He'd lead the party since the death of Prime Minister Norman Kirk in 1974 and barely won a leadership challenge against David Lange of the "fish and chip brigade." His resignation seemed initially as if it was going to be a coronation for David Lange. Lange's neoliberal ideas battled against Robert Muldoon's policies of heavy state control but inevitably unpopular with Labour's traditional supporters of socialist policy. But instead of a coronation the leadership contest was in fact the beginning of one of the most surprising comeback stories in New Zealand history.

    Colin Moyle first came into parliament in 1963 and was a very popular Minister of Agriculture under Norman Kirk and Bill Rowling. He had respect from National and Rural voters. He had joined the Labour party at age 16 and been involved with youth socialist and labour organizations. He supported the heavy subsidies that New Zealand gave to farming and supported Māori fishing rights in-line with the Waitangi tribunal. He had been seen as a strong leadership contender for a long time. That was until 1977 when the Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon himself, had brought up allegations in parliament of homosexual activities by police and mocked Moyle's mannerisms as "effeminate." The accusation of Moyle being a homosexual [Made even more scandalous considering he had a wife and a son] forced him to resign. He never denied nor accepted the allegations but he did say that the whole thing made him sick. His seat was ironically won by David Lange and he returned to farming for 4 more years until being elected to parliament again in 1981. With Muldoon already unpopular he stood for leader, keen to get back at him for ruining his political career.

    Moyle's boarder appeal to voters made him the favourite among the caucus and he was elected as leader. His popularity made Labour open a wide lead over National in the polls even before 1984s Missteps by Muldoon. Muldoon's anti-free market policies had also attracted opposition from the right of New Zealand. Bob Jones a former supporter of Muldoon founded the New Zealand party in late 1983 as a economically free market party. In the run up to the 1984 election it saw support in the opinion polls as high as 20% rivalling the National party. Bob Jones' anti-pc style was very controversial and the party was despised by the left-wing.

    Muldoon still wanted to call a snap election but needed time to politically recover from his drunken antics on national television which meant that the election would occur at its usual time. The short campaign (decided on by Muldoon) would feature a large amount of Television coverage including 2 head to head debates of Muldoon vs Moyle and another with all 4 major leaders (demanded by Moyle). Moyle was strong on ambitious promises of spending and investment in ridiculous amounts of infrastructure, to overhaul superannuation, take on more debt to prop up the currency, and introduce a wealth tax. An Ambitious plan to save New Zealand from its fortress economy by growing fast and taking risks. Muldoon campaigned on economic stability with occasional jabs at Moyle over his 1977 scandal. Opinion polls showed that Moyle was preferred PM by about 55% of the country while Muldoon sat on about 12%, furthermore opinion polls showed that only about 25% of the public said that the Moyle Affair accusations was an impact on their voting preference. Before the debates Labour had 45% of the vote to National's 25% with the NZ Party and Socred at 10%.

    Moyle thrashed Muldoon in all debates being declared the winner. In the multi-party debate the Muldoon bashing was joined by Bob Jones which cleaned up National support just before the election. One of the most iconic lines from the debates occurred at the final 1v1 debate where Robert Muldoon said confusingly "I love you Mr. Moyle." Some accused it of being another dig at the Moyle affair, others thought that it was a line of concession that Muldoon thought that the election campaign was unsalvageable.

    Screenshot 2021-05-29 174042.png

    1984 NZ Election Box.png
    It was a wipeout, the largest landslide in New Zealand history. Labour won 88.42% of Parliamentary seats, the largest percentage of seats won by a single party, ever. Prime Minister Muldoon lost his own seat of Tamaki to Labour's Robin Tulloch. the NZ party managed to win one seat but Labour's massive strength meant that even when the NZ party gained second place they were far behind Labour. This was the case in Ōhāriu where Bob Jones far surpassed the National candidate but was beat out by Labour. Social Credits percentage was halved from 1981 but because of National's collapse they managed to win an extra seat.

    The immense scale of the win for Labour showed that Colin Moyle definitely had a mandate. As a side effect, the large amount of Rural MPs now meant that Moyle's precious farming subsidies would be safe from being abolished at risk of party revolt. It also meant that even rural regions preferred Labours ambitious plans. For Robert "Piggy" Muldoon the game had been lost, horribly, and for national it was back to the drawing board.
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    Into The Carterverse #24 (Afgani Accounting Anxiety)
  • Into the Carterverse
    Afgani Accounting Anxiety

    Walter Mondale was sworn in as president on January 20th 1985, Well officially at least, the actual public ceremony took place the next day. The preceding day was extremely cold 7 degrees (-14 in Celsius) in the capitol and proceedings had to be postponed. The swearing in of the first ever female vice president in Dianne Feinstein was a highly watched event on Television.

    The New, more liberal administration had a legacy of Carter to carry out. Despite being the president Mondale had limited influence over congress. With a high number of democrats in congress being southern and conservative Mondale would not have free reign over the whole caucus, but because the house caucus was so big and diverse politically he figured he had some room to push his agenda there, with 61 senate democrats it also seemed as if Mondale had plenty of chances.

    Decarbonization was a priority for the new Mondale administration. Energy was the main culprit, Oil Gas and Coal made up a whopping 90% of energy consumption in the USA as of 1985. Less than 5% were "Renewable" with the other 5% belonging to Nuclear which was still somewhat controversial after the near-meltdown at Three-Mile Island barely 7 Years ago some environmentalists despite their want for more clean energy were demanding nuclear plants be shut down due to safety and waste concerns despite making up 1122 Terrawatt hours worth of Primary Energy in the US. Energy from coal also employed 300,000 miners people mostly in Appalachia, people who usually voted democratic.

    These plans were controversial on both sides but it was clear that making up 22% of Global emissions was unacceptable, Walter Mondale was hoping to use his leverage to influence the budget to expand green energy subsidies and funding for decarbonization schemes. New Nuclear plants seemed like a step too far however with their massive cost and taking 10 years at a minimum to be built. Experimental forms of energy in Solar and Wind would not be as cost effective as Gas Oil and Coal, some experts thought that the forms of energy would never survive without subsidization.

    Expanding soviet influence in the middle-east was making oil harder and harder to get, States were starting to pressure companies into finding alternatives to fuel out of concerns of pollution and fuel cost. Early experiments to make cars running on Lead-Acid batteries were being perused at GM as well as ideas of having a fuel-cell car to turn a environmentally friendly source, lets say Hydrogen, into electricity to run a car. To find a long term solution around manufacturing a new style of car and working around innifeccent lead-acid batteries which were not suitable for long range transportation making decarbonization of shipping and airline transport hard to do.

    Alongside all of this, there were expensive promises to increase the bread and butter issues of education and healthcare spending while simultaneously securing higher wages... The truth was that the annual surplus of about 20 Billion a year wouldn't cut it to solve all of these issues. Cuts were needed to be made somewhere to balance the proposed spending and the two choices were the $350 Billion social services budget or the $150 defense budget.

    speaking of the defense budget...

    Military Parade in Kabul marking the 5th anniversary of the Saur Revolution, April 27th 1983
    Carter's programmed initially was to arm the Mujahadeen via the Pakistani Intelligence Agency but the programme was cut after the energy crisis, Carter still privately supported the so called "Freedom Fighters" but many members of his inner circle saw aiding them as unnecessary. The Mujahedeen were still receiving support from Saudi Arabia and China but without the United States they were starved of many supplies, The soviet invasion steadily fought away at the rebel groups. The DRA/USSR occupied the soviet border and then used aerial operations to fight in the central mountains. By 1985 the final pockets of Rebel support were being dealt with. Masses of Soviet troops occupied Afganistan posing a massive threat to Pakistan and Iran.

    This brought a problem, the state secular Democratic Republic of Afghanistan was in direct conflict with the historically Islamic ideals of Afghanistan. While this seemed to not be so much of a problem in cities, in rural regions it was seen as an affront to their lifestyles by foreign invaders. There were thousands of captured Mujahadeen fighters being treated less than humanely, and with those not captured the soviets were hardly popular. On the good side, the progressive policies pushed by the People's Democratic Party previously enjoyed only by the cities were now being spread across the country. Programs to expand and ensure the education of women had drastically increased the number of women in professional work. Women could vote in municipal elections. Restrictions of social behaviour of women were slowly being dismantled. More and more women were able to choose their husbands, go anywhere in public and dress however they chose. Though women were officially equal under the law many were either pressured not to or chose not to exercise their legal rights. There were many women members of the Revolutionary Council and membership of the Afghan Women's Council rose quite drastically to a membership of about 500,000 by 1990, with a stronger membership they continued to call out the mistreatment of women in the conservative rural regions.

    Officially being state secular the power of Islam in government was threated. 99% of the population was Muslim with a few religious minorities. Religions like Christianity, Baha'i had a few thousand followers. Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists and Zoroastrians had about 5000 members between them. Many religious minorities had fled Afghanistan and faced repression. Apostacy was once a crime punished by death. This massive change in the law changed afghan society drastically and caused massive backlash as their culture was being altered by a secular foreign-backed government.

    Overall in the eyes of the Afghan people the much stronger presence of the DRA and the and PDPA gave it legitimacy. This legitimacy recognized meant that Afghanistan experienced peace for the first time in years. The Parcham faction of the party ruling also delegitimized the radicalistic tactics of the Khalq reaffirming the authority of Chairman Babrak Karmal leading to a much warmer relationship with the Soviets and even a good personal relationship with General Secretary Valentina Tereshkova whom had been directing a rise in personal propaganda back in the USSR.

    The Soviet victory in Afghanistan shifted the balance of power greatly in the middle east, with the USSR now a closer threat the attention of Middle Eastern nations turned much more fully to the Soviets rather than the US and Israel. The threat of the USSR made relationships more hostile but it also gave more weight to soviet demands. It strengthen their influence over the supply of middle eastern oil which was very beneficial in the way of reduced fuel costs. This further endangered the Unites Sates' supply of oil pushing them further onto a path of researching a long term alternative to oil based fuel.
    Into The Carterverse #25 (Foot In Mouth Syndrome)
  • Into the Carterverse
    Foot In Mouth Syndrome

    Ever since the embaessment of the Falkland's and the 1982 election Margaret Thatcher had been on shaky ground with popularity. The faluire of the Falkland's and damaged most things for the UK, national pride, international relations and the economy to name a few. This all resulted in a loss of support for a government that was overseeing high and rapidly rising unemployment, unpopular privatization schemes and a stagnating economy.

    With a minority in parliament after an embarrassing motion of no confidence sparked election Thatcher's personality and public perception shifted for the chaotic parliament full of division. Thatcher went from a second monarch to the conservative party to a cruel abusive mother who fought unpopularity with heavy punishment to those around her. She was unkind to her cabinet ministers and many were fired during the parlimentary term.

    A lack of majority impeded any agenda the government had as Labour and the Alliance blocked what they could and passed what they could. Eventually it was clear that the parliament could sit no longer and finally an election was called for Thursday the 4th of April 1985.

    Labour was in the lead in the polls. While Michael foot was originally branded as radically unelectable Labour's support remained stable, as he was accustomed to an older style of campaign that was seen in Britain up until the 1970s he wasn't a TV darling and his long impassioned speeches only worked best when delivered in person. Foot went on a n nationwide tour to play to his strengths in public speaking. Labour's manifesto was unapologetically radical as Labour had nothing else to fall back on other than socialist ideas while the Alliance sucked up the center. Its ideas included slowly reducing the UK number of Nuclear arms to 0 and to Abolish the House of Lords. It sought to Tackle Gender and Racial discrimination, create an 11 billion Pound "Emergency Action Programme" including investment in Housing and Transport to reverse the unemployment crisis and renationalize Steel and Aerospace industries. It also wanted a second EEC refferendum, a change from their 1982 position of wanting immediate withdrawal from the EEC Public was not in love with Labour but its campaign was somewhat successful. Foots lack of charm on TV did lead to issues however and is credited for the party losing some support.

    The Alliance made its second political manifesto together after the massive. Its plan for tackling unemployment included a parliamentary act to further encourage workplace democracy for increased employee participation in companies and increased ownership of shares. It made the ambitious declaration to simply the benefits system in the future by reducing the number of different benefits. The Alliance promoted electoral reform to a proportional system that would ensure a party would only get a majority if it were to achieve 50% of the vote, this idea was opposed by both Labour and the Conservatives. The Alliance accepted the need for nuclear arms. Its centrist posotions often got broad support

    The conservatives just campiagned on whatever it could muster, touting a record of success would not have worked very well so it cherry picked some data thought up the best slogans it could, attacked Labour and went on with its day. The conservative campaign machine was well oiled for a tv dominated campaign.

    The polls showed that unlike 1982 the conservatives did not make the comeback from behind that they did i 1982 where they started in 3rd and finished in 1st, this time they hovered around the 25 mark the whole election while Labour and the Alliance battled for 1st place. While leads initially traded Labour eventually pulled ahead in the last few weeks of the campaign and by election night they would win a thin majority of 1.

    Shockingly on the night Margaret Thatcher lost her own seat of Finchley to Labour's Lawrence Spiegel who as a young, long haired, cycling to work Ken Livingstone fan symbolized pretty much the opposite of Margaret Thatcher. The loss was so shocking to thatcher who had already perched herself next to the returning officer on a seat with microphones ready to be spoken in to only to have to move for Spiegel's victory speech.

    1985 British Election.png

    Later that same year the GLC under Ken Livingstone which had caused so many headaches for Thatcher who wanted to abolish the council altogether won a large majority in London ensuring that the Capital would be molded in his vision. On the list was further centralization of council duties and a rebalanced transport scheme which cancelled roading schemes and reallocated money for transit improvements and for the first time in the City a comprehensive plan for cycling advocated by the LCC which allocated 1% (2 million pounds) a year to cycling resulting in an explosion in bicycle ridership, coupled with a much higher budget from hellish fares on drivers this budget would eventually grow to 7.5% of the annual budget in 1989 equating to 37 Million Pounds. Higher cycling gave the city some breathing room as congestion stagnated slightly while transit was slowly improved as fares dropped and ridership increased.

    1985 GLC election.png
    Into The Carterverse #26 (Assorted Mondale Things)
  • Into the Carterverse
    Assorted Mondale Things

    Walter Mondale's campaign was notably short on big policy. His proposals included Eliminating a few tax loopholes that favoured the rich which was easily put in the budget. He promised to increase funding for Social Security and Medicare, with the surplus growing this was also easily done and increases to disability and old age benefits followed as well as better medical insurance coverage and reduced costs for those in need. He promised to not escalate anything militarily, this proved easy and was a safe strategy considering that it seemed the USSR had forgotten about the cold war as they focused on improving themselves and broadly supported another SALT treaty (Nuclear weapons were proving to be expensive investments for both). Basic infrastructure promises to "fix the roads, bridges, damns and waterlines." As well as broad educational improvements such as starting a "Fund For Excellence" to improve the quality of schooling. But overall the Mondale presidency was status quo and overall a bit boring.

    It was this promise to keep the peace that got him elected in the first place, but privately Mondale was probably hoping he went a bit bigger. Big policy announcements or progress on such policy gets media coverage and keeps the wheel of political capital turning. But for the first 2 years Mondale basically had free reign on his policy direction without worrying about elections.

    Mondale had also been engaging with international leaders, His first trip was to Canada to visit Prime Minister Mulroney who had won a landslide election in 1984 after a disastrous campaign from the incumbent Liberal party. The second was to West Germany for the G7 summit in Bonn followed by a wider visit to other European Countries and their leaders, those being: West Germany and Helmut Kohl, France and François Mitterrand , The United Kingdom and new PM Michael Foot, Spain and Felipe González and finally Portugal and António Ramalho Eanes. The whole trip would last from April 30th to May 14th and would be an opportunity for Mondale to get to know the Western European leaders better.

    All of the visits were overall pleasant and Mondale proved quite friendly to all leaders. He took a particular liking to the mildly controversial President Mitterrand in France despite Mitterrand being much more to the left than Mondale he admired the more ambitious policies of his government such as extremely big increases in pensions and big investments into health care and education, the scale of which would never be allowed by the slow nature of US lawmaking. In his French visit he had also scheduled a trip on the TGV high speed rail line from Paris to Lyon as a sort of inspiration session to think about improving the US passenger rail network that had been set up to fail. He enjoyed the experience as he admitted he hadn't been on a train for a long time, especially not one travelling at almost 170mph and asked many questions to the staff that was serving him. The experience would spark a meeting between William Clayton Jr the head of Amtrak to discuss the needs of the US rail system.

    His European visits were seen as a success back at home and earned him the respect of European leaders. His visits were also notable for giving vice president Dianne Feinstein increased responsibilities at home giving her a test of leadership (despite not having many pressing issues to deal with).

    Mondale asked for a briefing on the state of the US rail system and general information about rail services and infrastructure to prepare for his meeting. He was in the senate when Amtrak was formed in 1971 and remembered that Amtrak was not expected to have survived for as long as it did. Amtrak's ridership started at 15 Million and had now reached about 25 Million with steady government funding but not near its goal of self-sufficiency. Due to the mostly private ownership of the lines a lot of passenger trains outside of the north-east had to yield to freight trains and services often had to switch from electric to diesel locomotives also causing delays of about 20 minutes. Electric trains were desirable considering possible cuts in operating cost, however, a lot of lines had been de-electrified not only by private companies but also bizarrely by Conrail who even more bizarrely did it after the oil crisis. There had been proposals in the last decade to electrify major corridors, Chicago to New Orleans and Chicago to LA being the most significant. In a nation where moving away from Oil was being seen as more and more necessary surely these improvements would be a good investment? And then there was the question over the new technology of High-Speed rail. Americans were satisfied with flying long distances but once again oil was becoming harder to control and prices for flying may increase in the future. Mondale did enjoy the high speed experience but he realized that it would take a lot for such a service to come to the USA, lots of time, and lots of money.

    Meanwhile at Amtrak many workers who were passionate about rail who planned services wanted to have their voices heard and hurriedly produced a map that aimed to inspire the president on a possibility of a high speed rail system to rival the interstates. This was the map they produced.

    high speed rail to hawaii.png

    After seeing the map, Clayton agreed to present it Mondale. The certain map was very optimistic but Amtrak hoped that it could inspire the President to include more funding to amtrak in the 1986 budget. For the proposed system to rival the interstates at a cost of something like 40 Million Dollars a Mile (100 million dollars per mile in 2021) would cost a total of around 1 Trillion dollars (2.4 Trillion in 2021) even spread over 50 years would be 20 Billion a year which would tank the federal surplus for the time being.

    Mondale was pleased with the possible map but the possible cost shocked him, It was clear that Inter-City rail and Long-Distance rail could serve a significant purpose in the USA but other than building dedicated corridors over the rockies in the long term Amtrak needed more money to avoid losing lossmaking services. Clayton also advised the president on the issues of railway corridor rights on the existing tracks, not running enough services to make travel practical. Underinvestment in the rail system had put it in a really awkward position where the wider public didnt want to use it because of long journey times, high prices for tickets and services that arrived at inconvenient times.

    The president’s experience in Europe had given him hope only for it to be crushed back at home. Meanwhile he had other issues to deal with.

    May 30th 1985
    Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell Jr. has announced his resignation from the court at the age of 77

    Lewis Powell Jr. a key swing vote on the Supreme Court, nominated in 1971 by President Nixon had performed well on the court but due to his age chose to retire. This gave Mondale the opportunity to nominate a justice to the supreme court. After carter chose a more Liberal leaning judge in Shirley Hufstedler, Mondale decided to search for a more moderate judge to reflect the retiring justice. There were a variety of options that Mondale was presented but he eventually picked a favourite. However, his favourite was questioned by his inner circle in the white house.

    Janie Shores of Alabama Graduated from Law School in 1959 after being compelled to enter law school due to a conversation with a local lawyer. Shores practiced Law in Selma, Alabama out of her own firm she started to counter the sexist hiring policies of mainstream firms at the time. In 1974 Shores won a seat on the Supreme Court of Alabama becoming the first ever woman elected to the court. She braved attacks from segregationists who aimed to bring scandal on her by claiming she was married to a prominent black lawyer in the state (yuck). She was a trail-blazer for women and strongly in favour of civil rights, but otherwise as a southern democrat she was a moderate on many political issues.

    Senator Howell Heflin was the one who suggested her to Mondale who after reading her record gave her a phone call questioning her on her legal positions. She was relatively untested on constitutional law which made many in Mondale's inner circle uncomfortable including the Vice President. Nevertheless Mondale called her and asked her to be the nominee. Honoured, Shores accepted the nomination.

    Screenshot 2021-08-08 162230.png
    Janie Shores & President Carter, 1978
    The hesitancy to nominate somebody with little experience in more national law issues was shared among congress and the judiciary committee. The process of the nomination of Shores to the senate vote lasted about 2 months. The hearings questioned Shores on her views on controversial issues such as the death penalty and abortion. On the death penalty she gave a mixed answer on how she would rule which dampened some support from conservatives.

    Eventually her nomination came to a vote in the senate. Despite being more moderate than Hufstedler it seemed that she had less support among republicans in her nomination. The vote ended in a 78-22 approval from the senate making it the most contested vote for an associate justice since the nomination of William Rehnquist in 1971. Her perceived inexperience caused a few republicans to vote against her, notably all female senators voted in favour of her nomination including Maureen Reagan the most Conservative woman sitting in the senate at the time. Walter Mondale had made an impact on the supreme court for the foreseeable future and Shores joined her fellow justices on the supreme court on the 12th of August 1985 becoming the second woman to sit on the supreme court.

    Janie Shores, 1989
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    Into The Carterverse #27 (Muddling with the Metrics in 'Merica)
  • Into the Carterverse
    Muddling with the Metrics in 'Merica

    It was reagan who was persuaded to abolish the Metric board so without him the US may have very well lost its unique place in the world as one of a few countries to not make conversion to metric mandatory

    The Adoption of the Metric System in the USA had been going okay since the Conversion act of 1975, The Metric Board had been given the resources to deliver pamphlets to many American homes and sponsor educational programmes on the Metric system. Children in schools were starting to understand the system. President Carter had often used the system in speeches and supported a bill to make metric the preferred system of measurement (that bill however, moved too slowly through congress to make it to his desk as there was a large amount of debate around it). However, adoption had been too slow for the liking of its proponents. Its voluntary nature meant that a vast majority of Americans did not use the system everyday leaving the US essentially alone on the world stage. Surveys showed that the figures for people using Metric in everyday life were in the single digits and mainly in scientific, educated and urban communities. For the rest of the country lets take... oh I don't know...

    Belle Fourche, South Dakota. Quite literally in the middle of the country, Residents had no reason to use Metric. Its 4 Local TV Channels all provided the weather in degrees Fahrenheit, as did the many AM and FM radio stations as well as the Western South Dakota newspaper the Black Hills Pioneer, Some used Celsius alongside but it was clear which measurement was preferred. Residents who had recently bought measuring cups may have noticed that it had Milliliters alongside Quarts, Fluid Ounces and Cups, New Scales may have Kgs and Lbs. on them. But really they had no use for the metric because most cookbooks, even new ones, had no mention of the Metric. Governor Bill Janklow had shown some interest in putting metric speed limits alongside M/ph on some roads but was concerned of the cost and the need, as a result the main highways, Interstate 90, SD-34, Route 85 and Route 212 had no K/ph signs on it, not that it mattered, almost every car had no metric speed dial on it. And when they drove around, they would have no opportunity to measure their distance to their destination in Kilometers. A few gas stations across the country had experimented with liters instead of gallons for fuel but there were no such locations in Belle Fourche and barely any in South Dakota. Residents of Belle Forche except for perhaps a handful of people would measure their weight in pounds and their height in inches and feet.

    Metrication in the USA was far behind its Neighbor to the north which was still having trouble going the full distance. The voluntary part had made it hard to make the switch. Apart from a few people most of the population was open to it, they just had no reason to. Services were not offered in both and there was absolutely no metric exclusivity. The members of the Metric Board from places such as the chamber of commerce and the ALF-CIO asked congress and the white house for a better effort at conversion. Several proposals that they suggested was...

    - A 5 year period (1985 to 1990) for converting all Interstate signs to measure exits in Kilometers instead of Miles and have all speed limits be Dual Miles and Kilometers. After a certain period, perhaps after those 5 years, all new speed limit signs would be required to only show Kilometers.

    -Deliver frequent flyers to American households on how to navigate measurement changes in everyday life (Teaching equivalents to MPH for KPH and so on)

    -All information provided by states and the federal government when using measurements must use both systems

    -Requiring the labelling of products to be in both systems

    There was some opposition from some Americans who did not appreciate the system being mandated. The method of converting was an usual tactic for the USA as Americans valued freedom of choice and thought that the mandatory conversion would be in conflict with American values, even if most supported eventual conversion. There were a fair share of Democrats and Republicans who opposed a second metrication bill with deadlines, Senator Folsom of Alabama remarked that

    "First we convert Distance, Volume, Temperature and Weight... Not Because we want to but because we apparently have to. The French also wanted to split the day into 10 Hours is that Next!?"
    - Jim Folsom

    But eventually in mid 1985 Congress approved of the Metric Conversion Act of 1985 approving of new funding to replace road signs. Tv Adverts telling Americans to "Think Metric" followed soon after. As there were many Americans who did not have metric odometers TV ads drilled the equivalents of MPH for the new speed limits similar to what Australia had done and slowly 55 signs became 90 signs and 30 signs became 50 signs. In the act it also raised the national Maximum speed limit to 90 kmh as the previous law had the limit set at 55 Mph which was exactly 89 KMH making a 90 KMH sign Illegal with some exceptions. Although there was growing opposition to the National Maximum speed limit law from the Republican party and it was clear that if they had the change they would also have speed limits of 95 - 130 KMH in some places.

    An Example of dual MPH/KMH signs in Florida, sometime in the 80s

    An example of a purely metric speed limit, optional to make before 1990 and mandatory after [Michigan]
    Into The Carterverse #28 (The Mondale Cabinet)
  • Into the Carterverse
    The Mondale Cabinet

    (If any of these sound unrealistic its because they probably are but just go with it)


    President: Walter Mondale

    Vice President: Dianne Feinstein

    Secretary of State: Dick Clark

    Secretary of Treasury: Alice Rivlin

    Secretary of Defense: Thomas McIntyre

    Attorney General: Bella Abzug

    Secretary of Interior: Arthur Link

    Secretary of Agriculture:
    Bill Nichols

    Secretary of Commerce:
    Wendy Gramm

    Secretary of Labor: George McGovern

    Secretary of Health and Human Services: Jesse Jackson

    Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Katherine Peden

    Secretary of Transport:
    David Gunn


    Secretary of Energy: Ken Helcher

    Secretary of Education: Shirley Chisholm

    Director of the Office of Management and Budget: Russell Long

    US Trade Representative: Arthur Hartman

    UN Ambassador: Sargent Shriver

    National Security Advisor: James Woolsey Jr

    CEA Chair: Alan Blinder

    The cabinet was a big mix of people. Experts in their field, Former politicians and Activists, people from the left wing to the right wing. The cabinet had its fair share of controversial choices as well as choices that flew past congress. But whether people were happy with their influence on policy or not these people would be (for now) in the presidential line of succession. Economist and Wife of congressional candidate Phil Gramm Wendy Gramm's presence as half Hawaiian had some sources citing her as the first "native American" in cabinet although the classing on native Hawaiians as American Indians is rejected, she was certainly the first native Hawaiian however.
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    Into The Carterverse #29 (Kenny's New Toys)
  • Into the Carterverse
    Kenny's New Toys

    (I suppose this post may give away one of my hobbies)
    The Labour controlled GLC with a shiny new labour government was ready to do some more policy under the guise of Ken Livingstone. Their plan from their first term to reduce public transportation fees had been shot down by a court challenge after the Bromley Borough council claimed that because there was no tube access for them that they were subsidising a system that they couldn't get the full benefit from. The GLC wanted to have another crack at reducing fares as they had further increased since the rollback of fares fair and with a more supportive government and council they could get something done about it, but while this was happening another transport miracle was occurring on London streets.

    Screenshot 2021-08-30 092159.png
    Crossing between Bridge Avenue, Hammersmith Bridge Road and Bridge view under the Hammersmith Flyover circa 1985. An example of cycling infrastructure by the GLC of the Mid 80s.
    Cycling infrastructure (now taking 30 Million pounds out of the transport budget a year) had increased in popularity significantly and Cycle journeys were becoming more popular. The London Cycling Campaign or LCC was spearheading these changes and had successfully persuaded Ken Livingstone to support the cause of increasing cycle journeys. Cycling was a cheap and healthy alternative to public transport and motor vehicles but life on 2 wheels had become hectic in busy areas with Cyclists having to share the road weaving in and out of multiple lanes on big scary roundabouts such as the one in Elephant & Castle making it undesirable despite it being the only option for poorer residents who could not afford much in regards of transport and children.

    Screenshot 2021-08-30 094139.png
    An example of conditions faced by Cyclists in London, circa 1985
    While in the Netherlands there had been a massive grassroots movement to make the streets less car-centric on account of the tiny streets it would be hard to make such schemes work in London. London was a city of 7 Million while Amsterdam a tenth of that. It was clear that for any scheme like the Dutch scheme to work in London it would take much more money and resources. Still Ken Livingstone was determined to reduce car traffic. A Congestion charge had been implemented in central London which had let car traffic stagnate but It wasn't enough to force people out of cars, for the change to be brought about the GLC had to offer solutions. Therefore the plan they came up with was this

    GLC Very Big Holland scheme.png
    To be built over a number of years just over 1130 Miles (1820 Km) of fully protected bicycle routes were to eventually link every population centre in London to each other with a safe route for cyclists to use. The construction of these would come alongside general improvements to the surrounding road for Pedestrians and Cyclists alike as well as restricting access to private vehicles by making some traffic lanes bus lanes and narrowing the already space strapped roads. While main routes would have a dedicated path, on roads where there was no option motorists would be instead be encouraged to share the road. As wonderful as this plan was to people on a bike the eye watering cost of £800 Thousand per mile (£500 thousandish per km) leading to a cost of about £905,000,000 in total (£2,800,000,000 in 2020) lead to plenty of criticism. The conservatives predictably opposed it wholeheartedly calling it wasteful and ridiculous with GLC conservative leader Shirley Porter claiming that "It would destroy London more than the Blitz." The conservatives advocated for giving the rights of road construction down to the boroughs to avoid this sort of thing happening. The Liberals also didn't really like it much calling it unneeded and way over the top to cater to cyclists. They generally supported better pedestrian infrastructure instead. And there were a fair share of sceptics within Labour too. Support came from Environmentalists and Prime Minister Michael Foot spoke favourably about it.

    With London's population expected to grow most Councillors agreed that cycling transportation was a good investment for money but the logistics of building over 1 Thousand miles of protected cycle lanes was bound to cause trouble and would take a long time to complete. The treasury also wasn't happy about the Cost of rearranging the hundreds of intersections and making the thousands of signs and the millions of litres of paint and pounds of bricks. The cost to build sufficiently noise, proofed cycleways next to Motorways and elevated alongside motorways... It was going to have to be a long project. But to use the existing annual cycling budget would take almost 30 years to complete the project so realistically there was going to have to be some tough decisions made on where the money would come from. The decision was made to further cut the section of budget for motor traffic and go into debt and by a thin vote the plans passed the GLC causing outrage from the council and the public.

    The London cycleway scheme was pretty unpopular to start with. The first cycleways took a few years to be built first popping up in central London and radiating out. One of the first areas to change was Hyde Park corner where the roundabout was removed and most of Duke of Wellington Pl was pedestrianised only leaving motor access to Constitution hill. This formerly hazardous interchange became much safer to cross and the amount of people cycling the route exploded. In only a few years after construction had started with only a small portion of the routes finished cycling in London made up about 10% of all journeys and that number was increasing rapidly. Congestion had increased temporarily with motorists having to rush to find alternatives to work. More households became car free saving money and road space. And overall the public changed its tune about the cycleways rather quickly. One downside was perhaps that the costs had actually been underestimated and that the scheme had increased about 50% in cost but support from the government alleviated that pressure. The conservatives would continue to be furious about the cost and in a campaign the cycleway cost would likely become a liability but overall Red Ken was pleased and London became a starting point for inspiration for cycling infrastructure across the English speaking world in cities big and small.

    Disclaimer: I make all of these claims about the increased popularity of cycling based on the fact that the GLC had full control over the roads and if Thatcher had not abolished it a scheme like this inspired by foreign trips from councillors may well have happened, London being massive and English speaking would have introduced cycle infrastructure early as being a thing not just for liberal soyboy cities like Portland but as a cost effective mode of transport for everybody. Overall expect to see more cycling in carterverse.
    Into The Carterverse #30 (fABBAulous)
  • Into the Carterverse

    Under Attack is the 9th studio Album by the Swedish pop group ABBA. Growing personal differences between the band members had made recording the album a long process with considerations of splitting up. However, the strong performance of their previous album The Visitors kept the group going and improved morale within the group finally allowing them to finish the album after having a liberal amount of space from each other during the process of making it.

    The album captures the moment in time when the members of ABBA were having a breakdown in personal relationship but shows how their long history as a pop group kept them together despite the grievances.

    The most successful song on the album was the song "Under Attack" reaching number 1 on the British charts and number 4 on the American charts. The other singles from the album all made it into the top 10 on the British Charts.

    Under Attack.png
    Into The Carterverse #31 (Shakeup in South Dakota)
  • Into the Carterverse
    Shakeup in South Dakota

    (I thought it was a bit silly to have a activist in the position of a secretary so i've retconned a bit resulting in President Mondale nominating George McGovern as Labor secretary as an olive branch to his primary challenger)
    Senator and 1972 presidential nominee George McGovern was approached by president elect Mondale just weeks after his election asking whether he wanted to be the secretary of Labor. After a close race in 1980 and a possible Republican wave in '86 McGovern knew that his time in the senate may be coming to an end sooner or later, and despite his desire to change the Democratic party by stealthy legislation pushing for policies he liked his ability to do so was next to impossible. After much deliberation McGovern accepted the role as Secretary of Labor and resigned as senator the day before he ascended to the office after a confirmation vote. As secretary he would further encourage the involvement of unions in employment disputes and generally built upon the legacy of Ray Marshall with more progressive flavour.

    The vacancy in the senate took the democrats down to 60 seats after governor Janklow controversially appointed republican and former Marlboro Man, Clint Roberts, in his place. Clint Roberts had run for a seat in the house and the governorship but had never won an office, He had ran in South Dakota's at-large district against Tom Daschle in 1982 and narrowly lost.

    Representative Daschle was a frontrunner for the senate special election in 1985, he was more of a moderate than McGovern which seemed to be more in touch with what the state wanted after McGovern. He had mixed views on social issues contrary to the national party. but unknown to him McGovern was planning something of his own to keep influence over the senate...

    Eleanor McGovern: You've got to be kidding me George, after all we have sacrificed over the years shouldn't we call it quits!?

    George McGovern: C'mon Honey, I know you care about the same things that I do. I think they'd love for you to be their senator.

    Eleanor: What about what I think? I'm quite happy doing what I do day by day. If I were a senator I'd be dragged into a world of politics, it'd kill me!

    George: Eleanor, you've got more guts than most of them. You've always cared about people, why not bring that to the senate?

    Eleanor: You just want me there so you can cling on to a job that you don't need anymore!

    George: I thought you wanted to lead a life of your own instead of following me around!

    Eleanor: Not like this you fucking moron!

    George: Okay so you'll think about it?

    Senator McGovern wanted his wife, who had flirted with politics in the past and continued work regarding Children's issues to run for his spot in the senate as they agreed on most issues. However, Eleanor was not sure about running against Tom Daschle.

    Secretary of State Alice Kundert decided to run with the support of some of the more moderate and liberal wings of the party against Clint Roberts who wasn't proving to be a brilliant senator after McGovern. Kundert distanced herself from governor Governor Janklow's appointment.

    Eleanor McGovern eventually gave in to the pressure from her husband to run for the senate election to the dismay of representative Daschle as Eleanor McGovern was a popular figure in the state and had respect from most politicians as the senator's wife but as well as a child welfare activist. She would win the primary with a healthy margin.

    Roberts vs Kudnert was a closer race. Kundert's campaign was more policy oriented and focused on messaging around Family and Community. Roberts focused around Conservative economic and social rhetoric, more of a "fighting back" style campaign against the policies of Mondale. Eventually Alice Kundert won the nomination.

    McGovern looked to be the favourite to win for some time, but her clear hesitancy to be senator and the accusations of influence from her husband which she could not defend herself against. Kundert's focused campaign ended up pulling ahead. Further discussions of policy and supporting certain policies in senate votes also revealed some differences between the McGovern's on subtle policy issues that the media had researched vigorously.

    The result was a substantial victory for Kundert of about 35,000 votes and a big disappointment for the democrats. The McGoverns were well and truly out of congress for some time unlikely that Eleanor McGovern would ever run for office again after the strain the senate run put on her and her marriage. Kundert became a instant hit in the senate among republicans and fostered old connections to Maureen Reagan to build a friendship between her and Reagan and work her way in to the Republican leadership.

    Eleanor McGovern would go back to activism. She would later strike down accusations that she was not fully supportive of her own campaign for senator saying that despite her early scepticism she became more comfortable with the idea over time and by the time she was in the campaign she was in it to win it.
    SD Senate election 1985.png
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    Into The Carterverse #32 (Bowers v. Hardwick)
  • Into the Carterverse
    Bowers v. Hardwick

    On a summer day in July 1982 in Atlanta Mr Michael Hardwick was issued a citation for public drinking for throwing a beer bottle into a trash can. Police officer Keith Torick allegedly observed him violating the state's public drinking law. Hardwick failed to attend court, put down to a fault on the citation that was given to him during leading to a warrant for his arrest. Hardwick paid a $50 fine for the action but nevertheless police turned up to his home on August 3rd. Keith Torick appeared at Michael Hardwick's residence around 8:30am and entered through the front door. A guest of Hardwick's was sleeping in the front room, when the officer entered it rudely awoke him. Ignoring the guest the Torick proceeded down the hallway to Michael Hardwick's bedroom. When he opened the door Mr Hardwick was indeed in his bedroom, however, Mr Hardwick was unfortunately caught in a compromising position. He was engaging in consensual oral sex... with another male.

    Hardwick, understandably angry, took offence to the officer's unwelcome presence. He reacted violently and verbally to the officer. Torick would later say that he would not have perused the case if it were not for Mr Hardwick's outburst at him. Torick decided to arrest both men.

    Michael Hardwick with a rather fashionable mullet, 1986

    "Sodomy" laws had existed in the United States since it's conception. In this certain case the sodomy was that of homosexual sex. In the traditional interpretation of the bible homosexuality is supposedly condemned by verses in the scripture of the old and new testaments which Christian countries began to enforce starting in the middle ages. It is also important to note that sodomy laws were not only homosexual sex but also included heterosexual acts. By 1982 homosexuality had been legalised in many states in the US, 23 exactly. But in Georgia the law still made sodomy illegal. Women and Men across the state had to either choose between celibacy or living their life in freedom by breaking the law.

    By refusing to accept the sodomy law of Georgia and suing Michael Bowers the law of Georgia was coming under direct question. The case was quickly picked up by the ALCU to possibly challenge anti-sodomy laws nationwide.

    The US District court of Northern Georgia ruled in favour of the state but when Hardwick appealed to the court of Appeals for the eleventh circut which ruled in favour of Hardwick. Georgia appealed to the supreme court taking it to the national stage.

    Ruling anti-sodomy laws as unconstitutional would be a massive descision by the court and It looked certainly possible that the court would decide exactly that. Lets review the state of the court in 1986 shall we?

    Justices Thurgood Marshall, Shirley Hufstedler and William Brennan were expected to rule in favour of Hardwick while Justices Warren Burger and William Rehnquist were expected to rule in favour of Bowers. Newly appointed justice Janie Shores' views on Homosexuality were not well understood and considering her southern heritage it was questioned which side she would vote for. However, it was more likely for her to rule in favour of Hardwick than Bowers. John Paul Stevens was somewhat of a progressive on social issues but it was unclear which side he sided with more in the particular case and what precedents he could argue with on either side. Author of the court opinion of Roe v Wade Harry Blackmun was also seen as on the fence in the case. Lewis Powell Jr. was a key swing vote in the court and once again it was unclear which side he could concur with.

    With a breakdown of 4 likely votes in favour of Hardwick the possibility of legal homosexuality (well sodomy in general but we all know what the most oppressed activity really is here) the social conservative action groups made a pilgrimage to Washington to try to rile up opposition. Phyllis Schlafly joined by Pat Robertson made impassioned speeches in public. Schlafly had recently been politically defeated with the passage of the ERA after a decade long scare campaign against it.

    "The impending enforcement in Homosexuality in America is perhaps the greatest threat to our family values today. We must stand up against the normalisation of sodomy and other evil acts of who knows where this slippery slope will take us!"
    - Phyllis Schlafly, April 2nd 1986

    Phyllis Schlafly covering an unsuspecting baby Nancy C Skokie in stickers, May 14 1980
    While mainstream republicans were continuing to become more liberal on social issues alongside the democrats on previously taboo issues like Abortion, Homosexuality and Woman's Rights. Pat Robertson had been fighting against it tooth and nail along the way. Although it was clear the national leadership was not being persuaded fully it was having some effect.

    Opinion was also split within the democrats with conservatives hoping for Homosexuality to remain federally illegal and Liberals were hoping to legalise it. The president and vice president stayed very quiet on the case

    It is also impossible to ignore the massive impact that AIDS was having on the gay community in the 1980s, infecting tens of thousands every year despite direct government action to prevent transmission. Disgusting nicknames such as "Gay Cancer" were being thrown around and claims that the disease was the will of god were devastating the gay community but also increasing unity within the community. The CDC were in the process of approving drugs to prevent and manage HIV/AIDS as a disease as patients with the horrible disease overwhelmed hospitals and killed leaders of the gay liberation movement.

    The supreme court heard the case at the end of March and made a ruling on the 30th of June. Several supporters of both sides gathered around the supreme court to await the verdict with a very real possibility of ruling either way.

    Michael Hardwick and his attorney Kathleen Wilde, 1986

    Finally the verdict was made


    Stevens, joined by Blackmun, Brennan, Hufstedler, Marshall, Shores, White
    Burger, joined by Rehnquist

    In a landmark decision, the court ruled in favour of Michael Hardwick ruling that sodomy laws were unconstitutional. The Majority opinion written by Judge John Paul Stevens cited previous decisions with Griswold v. Connecticut and Eisenstadt v. Baird. To the horror of the conservatives a Concurrence by Shirley Hufstedler cited the 27th amendment (homosexuality being illegal despite it being based on a distinction of sex) for her decision causing outrage from the likes of Phyllis Schlafly who had made a scare campaign against the ERA based on such rulings. President Mondale voiced his support for the decision, a position backed up by progressive republicans such as Muriel Sibert and Millicent Fenwick.

    Michael Hardwick was ecstatic at the decision after 4 years of legal battles and had become a forefront leader of the LGBT+ movement for the rest of the 80s. Hardwick had dated quite a few men since 1982 and could now do so without fear of legal persecution.

    Hardwick's fight came alongside a nationwide shift of opinion on homosexuality and further legal rights. A majority of Americans were for the first time saying that homosexuality should be accepted by society and opinion polls showed support for same sex unions, marriage and adoption to be increasing quickly alongside. Issues such as rights for transgender people were also starting to be pushed by the LGBT+ community to a wider audience. With the AIDS crisis devastating the community the 1980s had started as a bad decade for the gay rights movement but as things continued rays of hope were starting to shine through.

    Daily News New York's headline, July 1st 1986

    Screenshot 2021-09-25 230512.png
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    Into The Carterverse #33 (Michael Foot and his Consequences)
  • Into the Carterverse
    Michael Foot and his Consequences

    “As a government tries to weave it’s way between the half-in half-out approach to Europe it must seriously consider asking the people of this country what they think about it. This government says that the final status of the common market must be decided and it must be decided by the people of this country.”
    -Michael Foot in Parliament, 1986

    22nd June 1986

    21 year old Annette Hall of Sheffield was making a rare trip. Her father had decided to make an occasion out of the football world cup quarter-finals between Argentina and England. Although it was rare for her to visit her parents outside of holidays like Christmas, recent personal struggles had left her lonely in a dingy flat on Cooper Street with a lovely view of the A 61. Opening the blinds to stare out at a grey and rainy British summer’s day with a sweltering high of 14. Groggy from a late shift on Saturday Anette started her day with a cigarette and a cup of weak tea. Sitting down on a seat in the most horrifying shade of brown she leaned over to turn on her 12 Inch TV just to watch something to pass the time in glorious black and white (The £15 annual license was plenty for her)

    What to do before leaving? The Match was at 9pm and her parents lived on Cairns Road in Crosspool, about 30 Minutes away on a cycle, as if she had any other options other than a useless and long bus journey or an expensive taxi. She flipped through her mental contact book as if to find somebody to fill her day with… but nobody came to mind, atleast, nobody who would want to. She sighed and tilted her head back down at the nonsense on the screen.

    She eventually gave in and picked up the phone.

    Mrs Hall: Who is it?
    Annette: Hiya mums, do you need any help setting up?
    Mrs Hall: Oh Hello Annie my dear. Uh, well I suppose so if you want im just not sure that there is much to do.
    Annette: There's not much to do over here too mum.
    Mrs Hall: Oh don't you be silly, you're in the middle of town for pete’s sake.
    Annette: You’d Think so wouldn't you? Maybe I could come over for lunch too?
    Mrs Hall: Now that’s a good idea.

    With a beauty kit in the basket to clean up after the rain she set off to her parent’s house taking off down Allen Street on a journey of about 2.5 miles to her parents’ struggling up the 600ft climb immediately getting drenched from her hair to her feet.

    Arriving at their doorstep about 45 minutes later her mother dried her off with some mutterings of “We MUST get you a new raincoat” as her father handed her a cold roast beef sandwich with some Pepsi.
    Meanwhile 142 Miles away parliament was meeting in a special session deciding on the final details of a second referendum on European Membership.

    The debate has lasted so long that parliament voted to sit during the weekend in order to keep the process going. Prime Minister Michael Foot staring down Prime Ministerial candidate David Owen over the issue with Conservative Leader Michael Heseltine batting threats from all sides. With Labour’s division over European policy, Government Whip Michael Cocks had his work cut out for him to get as much of the bare majority of Labour members on board. The limited conservative support for the referendum meant that it was likely to occur, The Alliance’s decided support of Europe meant that the referendum could be a good opportunity to challenge the government on Foot’s anti-Europe policy.

    To Foot’s credit, his government was somewhat popular and doing okay but the British People were unsure about the shakeup that would occur with possibly leaving Europe. Foot had insisted that it was undemocratic and bureaucratic and the possibility of free travel and a single currency was bad for the UK but most major figures supported European membership leaving a gap in messaging.

    Opinion Polling showed that A referendum on leaving the EU would be unlikely to pass with public opinion splitting something like 60/40 in favour.

    Debate continued that Sunday with a vote finally coming at just before 6pm on the final question and date of the referendum. The tellers announcing the results that the bill for a referendum had passed 398 to 251 with one abstention from Sinn Fein
    Back in Crosspool Mrs Hall had just finished up some dinner before guests were to come over for the quarter-finals. A lovely Sunday roast with peas, carrots, roast beef, potatoes and Yorkshire puddings with a liberal amount of gravy. Annette with her hair in rollers (she could never bother getting it permed) watched Television with her father while her mother washed up.

    The Six O'clock News from the BBC with Sue Lawley and Jeremy Paxman

    Lawley: The EU referendum is a go. A vote in the house of commons has passed approving a vote by the people on EU membership after weeks of political back and forth by both houses. Soviet General-Secretary Valentina Tereshakova has arrived in East Germany for a diplomatic meeting with…

    Mr Hall: Good Thing Too

    Anette Paused, she was pretty sure he wasn't talking about the Soviets so clearly he must be trying to bait a conversation about the EU, She took it.

    Annette: Why’s that?
    Mr Hall: Those Europeans are Holdin’ us back. Mark my words, anything that the UK does for itself Europe just takes.
    Annette: Well that cant be true dad-
    Mr Hall: I’ll tell you what Annie, back in the day we used to be the envy of the world. We had factories, colonies, every decent man could work and get ahead, we had pride in one another and pride in our national culture, now look. We decimalised to make things easier for the euros, we threw out our own measurements for French ones, and now we gave up our national sovereignty so Europeans can make some quick cash off of British workers.
    Annette: Dad you have to keep an open mind to these things.
    Mr Hall: I dunno Annie, things haven't been going too well for us.

    There was silence. Mr Hall began to start polishing off his plate with his last yorkshire pudding. Anette leaned a little further away from her father. Then he spoke again.

    Mr Hall: You know what?

    She reluctantly replied.

    Annette: What?

    And as soon as she did she wished she never had.

    Mr Hall: I think next thing they’re going to open up all of the borders to make sure that all the immigrants get nice and settled into British society. They’ll swim across to Spain and then they'll take a plane from Gibraltar to-

    Annette evacuated as quickly as she could.

    Annette: I'm just going to go upstairs for a tick, alright?

    She leapt upstairs and slumped into her childhood bed with her hands in her face. She groaned, god he was frustrating sometimes. Maybe it was a mistake to come here. She lit up another cigarette and turned on the radio.

    And entering the chart at number 8 Madonna’s new single, ‘Papa Don’t Preach.’

    A chuckle came from her mouth at the coincidence of the song, but it turned to a frown. Why couldn't he just keep his mouth shut. She reached for the key to her bike lock, but while doing so she decided to reach for a book instead. “I’ll just wait it out,” she thought.

    It’s fair to say that there were a lot of misconceptions muddying the waters of the European debate but Annette’s father was still in the minority. Unfortunately there was a lot of disgusting racism among many people at the time in British society. The South Asian and African population of the UK was on an upward trend as people came to the cities to find a better life leading to violence perpetrated by racist groups such as the National Front in the past. This arguably wasn't Foot’s intention but it was impossible to deny some supporters of leaving the EU were doing it based on xenophobia and misinformation.

    As 9 rolled around, friends of Annette's parents started to arrive. Unusually she was an only child and had no nearby cousins so really it was just her with her parents and about 8 middle aged men and women that she vaguely knew. The match commenced, and the shouting commenced. A game between the Argentines and English after the Falklands was a somewhat tense affair. The Falklands had to be conceded by Britain and by decree of the UN a referendum was held on whether to join Argentina or become independent, no points for guessing which one of those options won.

    The game dragged on through the first half, Argentina was doing well but Peter Shilton saving them all but at the end of it all, 0-0. The frustration was building in the room. Then, it happened. Annette was sitting next to her mother with a glass of whiskey in one hand and the other on her lap. She had stopped paying attention and started staring at the back wall with the occasional “woooOOOOAAAAHHhhhh” filling the room which she ignored until a clear shout came from her father of “what the hell was that.” Argentina has just scored, “good for them” she thought but on the replay she saw something strange. Outrage across the room as the replay showed what looked like Argentine player Diego Maradona scoring with his left hand. Shouting at the television ensued as referee Ali Bin Nasser was deciding whether Maradona had in fact used his hand. But the goal counted. And that was it, an unbelievable rant that had been boiling inside her father spewed out of his mouth at the volume of a jet engine. It didnt help that four minutes later the so-called “goal of the century” set the score at 2-0. Then, he threw something. Guests tried to restrain him as he got more violent and his wife told him off, but somehow he got free and took a swing at her. Annette didn't care how but she had to get out of there. She pulled her terrified mother away with her outside and as quickly as possible and balanced her on the back of her bike and pedalled off.

    Screenshot 2021-10-04 183624.png

    She concluded that a night in would’ve been the better choice. She brought her mother to her apartment and gave her the bed and mentally prepared herself for her shift the next morning.
    The EU referendum definitely divided the country, it was billed as a conflict between the elite and the working class, Foot made many speeches during the referendum campaign gainst europe to the condemnation of his fellow European leaders. Individual ministers campaigned for and against as was the same in the conservatives except without the minister part. The Alliance was very much pro-europe.

    But the assumption was made that the UK would not vote to leave, the opinion polls were showing that the UK wanted to remain with the No vote on Withdrawal maintaining a lead in most polls. So imagine the shock when on the 28th of August the results come in and the result turns out to be.

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    You can thank the cities for that one
    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.

    1912 US Presidential eleciton.png
    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.

    1912 US House election.png

    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.

    Screenshot 2020-12-12 134514.png

    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.

    1912 senate election.png
    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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    2070 Wyoming Governor Election
  • (yo I hit a mental block writing about New Hampshire, ill figure out how to present the results in a bit but for now heres something dumb)

    The 2070 Wyoming Gubernatorial Election was held on the first Saturday of November 2070 to elect the governor of Wyoming,

    Starting in the 30s Wyoming had lurched left due to migration by young people to the suburbs of Cheyenne and Jackson as well as rural regions for low cost of living. What once was a reliably Republican state became close and then Democratic within 2 decades.

    By the 70s the originally young influx had aged and the once rural democrats in the north west of the state had aged and grown more republican. in 2066 a Republican governor was elected after about 15 years of a Democratic state trifecta. Republicans in the state had been forced to the center, a far cry from their position 50 years earlier. Social issues such as Gay and Transgender rights or the legality in rare cases for late term abortion were far more universally accepted as Christianity played less and less of a role in American culture as the years went on. The issues of importance in Wyoming was the demise of traditional cattle farming to scientifically created meat factories and a high proportion of vegans and vegetarians. As ranching decreased in Wyoming the democratic government were starting significant amounts of logging projects, scientifically engineered trees suited to Wyoming's high altitude were planted on old ranch land to be logged later contributing to housing construction. The republican governor battled with the democratic state congress on the issue wanting to ensure that the ranchers losing jobs would be retrained via state sponsored programs but the democrats insisted that retraining usually highly educated ranchers wasn't a high priority for state money especially considering the large swathes of automation from AI that was occurring in the logging industry.

    Governor Lock announced in '68 that he would only seek one term in order to focus on his family. State Senator Charlotte Lawrence-Cook was nominated to run on the republican ticket. The Democratic Nominee ended up being Representative Maverick Bakir of the north-western 3rd district who had moved to Wyoming from Los Angeles in the 2050s with her family. Bakir was somewhat young for a potential governor being a 1 term representative elected at the age of 26 she would be 28 on election day (Lawrence-Cook was 48). But both candidates expressed the want for Bakir's age to not be an issue of the campaign.

    The campaign was very civil and comparably boring to some other contests in the country despite the predicted closeness of the race.

    The election took place on a Saturday in accordance with national election law. the turnout was 95.6% up from the previous election, high turnout was spurred on by the state "failure to vote" fine which was introduced during the democratic trifecta in order to try raise voter turnout to maximum levels, a move soon copied by other states.

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    Maverick Bakir was elected the next governor by a slim margin, She underperformed by much more than expected in her representative region in the north west but good performance from Casper, Cheyenne and Laramie drove her to a win. Further drops in support from other rural regions of young families in Sweetwater and Carbon counties were worrying the democrats as well. The state senate and house both retained a democratic Majority with little movement in either.
    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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    New Zealand 2023 Election
  • The 2023 New Zealand General Election was held on the 21st of October 2023 to elect members to the 53rd parliament.

    The Labour party won the 2020 election in an unprecedented Landslide being able to Govern alone despite the nature of the MMP proportional System. Despite not needing to the Labour party made a deal with the Greens to keep them close throughout the next parliament. The Green Party co leader Marama Davidson formed a close friendship with the two Māori party members of Parliament forming a relationship between the two parties as the Māori Party swung further to the left in the recovery from their coalition with National from 2008 to 2017.

    Despite assumptions that the awful result for national would spell the end for the National leadership both Leader Judith Collins and party president Peter Goodfellow both survived challenges. Judith Collins managed to maintain just enough support within her caucus and beat down the members who opposed or embarrassed her leading to reshuffle after reshuffle. Deputy Leader Gerry Brownlee was replaced by Dr Shane Reti the quiet but competent former representative from Whāngarei.

    ACT went from 1 seat to 10 brining in some other personalities alongside David Seymour. Brooke Van Velden the former leftist turned libertarian appealed to the Youth and urban vote and Nicole McKee who strongly opposed the gun regulations of the government after the Christchurch terrorist attack against Muslims (note that this opposition came from ACT saying that the regulations were irrelevant to the tragedy and that better action could have been taken).

    Through the Next Year Judith Collins appeared to lean into Right-Wing populism and engaging in what those on the left called dog whistling around Labour's plan for a new Māori health authority and the increased use of the word Aotearoa to refer to the country, a hundreds of year old term that started becoming popular around the 1980s. Nationals support slowly increased from 25 to 30 over the course of 11 months but Act continued to soar into the teens. The greens moved toward Left-Wing populism with an increased liberty to oppose the government. At the head of this criticism was MP for Auckland Central Chloe Swarbrick a twenty-something unabashed socialist, environmentalist and supporter of Māori land rights.

    The Covid-19 Pandemic had been absent from New Zealand for a long time, there was no community transmission and therefore absolutely no restrictions on social life with festivals and sporting matches and concerts all occurring while also being safe to attend. But in August 2020 a returnee from Australia brought the Delta variant into new Zealand plunging the country back into lockdown [Split between reality and fiction here] National and ACT kicked up a stink regarding the inability for parliament to sit but yet refused the opportunity for the parliament to sit virtually. Labours handling of lockdown and getting rid of Delta over the course of a month and a half lead to National crashing back down to earth after its slow rise. ACT stagnated and the Greens and Labour rose.

    For the second time in a year it seemed as if Judith Collins was poised to be rolled, A Leadership challenge from the more Liberal wing of the party was launched after being demoted time after time in the party standing with Chris Bishop as the alternative leader. Although the vote was a challenge for Collins she had cemented her leadership enough in Caucus to get a good vote and defeat Bishop. But public confidence in the Nats continued to worsen as ACT kept rising and the left got stronger.

    National could only try to appear stable and bring about a slow rise in popularity as the nation recovered from covid.

    By the time of the 2023 election Collins had managed to survive the constant leaking and undermining of her authority and was closer to a position to be able to govern with ACT with National around the Mid 30s and Labour in the mid 40s. A good campaign could bring down Adern.

    Judith Collins tried her best but as happened in 2020 she was not popular enough with the public to capitalise on any momentum. Adern had a star power on the campaign trail that was hard to overcome and the famously mean Judith Collins just was not inspiring in Comparison. The campaign unlike 2020 did not centre on covid but instead went back to the old issues of the Economy, Healthcare and Infrastructure. Labour had to fight off allegations that if they went into collation with the Green party they would be forced to agree with ideas such as a Wealth Tax, Capital Gains tax and more income taxes. The Greens had made a transition over the past 20 years from environmentalism to full on left-wing populism and ACT's brand had changed from Centrist and Libertarian to having hints of Right-Wing rhetoric in it. The debates were a contentious issue with the main channels refusing to host the traditional 1v1 debates that had always been held with the major leaders as ACT was close to National in the polls instead hosting only multi-party debates which since 2008 National and Labour had skipped out on. Adern and Collins were forced to debate alongside the other parties leading to a loss of spotlight and a boost in popularity for the other parties.

    By the end of the campaign any hope of a National government had been lost and on election night 2023 National suffered its worst defeat... ever. While as the 2020 campaign had simply been the second worst as Bill English won national a measly 20.9% of the Party vote in 2002 Judith managed to score 20.4%. Labour lost a bit of support bringing them down to 60 seats, just one shy of a majority forcing them to negotiate with the Greens and Māori. While Act doubled its vote and doubled its seats bringing an incredible 20 people into parliament rivalling National's seat count.

    Judith Collins resigned as leader soon after and Jacinda Adern entered into a formal coalition agreement with the Greens.
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    Into The Carterverse #35 (A Coup in Korea)
  • Into the Carterverse
    A Coup in Korea

    In Early 1986 during the spring Soviet Premier Valentina Tereshkova was showing off her leadership skills around the globe. She had been busy at home trying to reorganize the communist party around herself and shift it’s direction. While she agreed privately with the ideals of communism and was happy to speak on it she was realistically more concerned about stability of the soviet system and knew that a radical shift in the way that the economy functioned was unavoidable as the dream of the revolution seemed far off. The constant state of war had meant that half of the soviet budget was going to the military rather than the welfare of people and up until recent successes in the middle east filling gaps in power during the ongoing crisis with Iran and Iraq and getting good control over portions of the world’s oil supply to exerting her influence on the Afghan government it had not gone so well. She launched a programme called Продление (Renewal) to turn the soviet union into a diplomatically oriented moderate welfare state instead of a militarist socialist union of republics.

    Part of this was being addressed in her visits to communist nations, getting people on her side. There were significant areas of concern in Europe where she faced personal grievances with leaders in East Germany and Romania as opposed to her personal friends in Afghanistan and Hungary. But no other Communist leader did she despise as much as Kim Ill Sung. She viewed Kim as a self absorbed fat lunatic who had no actual concern over how his country was run and only cared about imposing his personal stature over the North Korean people who were being sheltered from how South Korea had grown from a poor dictatorship to overtaking the previously rich north.

    Now let me break whatever walls between reality and this timeline for a minute and talk about North Korea. May I remind you that the GDP per capita (flawed statistic i know) of both countries were essentially tied until 1974 and by OTL 1986 had stayed static similar is true in this timeline. North Koreans have actually gotten poorer and this is partially due to the fall of global communism. Now the Soviets are in a much better situation in this timeline with the US being more domestically focused (I'll cover that at the end of the decade) Instead of their wealth stagnating from 1984 to 1987 it’s growth is actually accelerating keeping the cold war alive… ish. Both sides don't really care about each other as much as they would have without Reagan threatening the USSR, Val and Fritz weren't exactly best of buds but they probably phoned each other on occasion.

    She planned a visit to North Korea in the tour hoping to reach out and find some friends in the notoriously Kim-oriented WPK. Flying from Berlin to Pyongyang with a layover in Moscow, Tereshkova mentally prepared herself for the meeting, discussing with her advisors on what to say and what balance of polite and forceful she should present. Picking up some supplies in Moscow: Speeches, Clothes, Almanacs, Books and Cyanide in case of any disagreements, she set off.

    After a long flight of vigorous editing of speeches and several cheese platters she arrived in Pyongyang with a warm greeting. A personal visit by a soviet leader had actually never happened with Il-Sung preferring to visit the USSR. However the greeting was welcomed by the people as the Soviet Union supplied a large amount of aid and was the major trading partner of North Korea. She proceeded to take a train from Sunan Station to Pyongyang Central where she took part in a procession down Changgwang Street and then on to Mansudae Street to arrive at the newly completed (with soviet aid) Parliament of North Korea to meet with government officials with a meeting with Kim Ill-Sung to come later. With a pre-prepared speech filmed for Korean TV (with soviet equipment) she spoke to the assembly after a very very very long rehearsed applause. Speaking in Russian with a translation to Korean following she became the first foreign leader to address the ruling elites of North Korea.

    “Protecting the Welfare of people is no game, it is the focus of any government. I treat people with respect and compassion because they share the same needs as I do. I will never apologise for putting their needs first. In the world of today we must shun those who wish to wage war on people, who wish to spend money to accumulate weapons of death. And we must turn to a bright future where all people are equal to live a full and healthy life.”
    • Excerpt from Valentina Tereshkova’s speech to the Supreme People’s Assembly, February 3rd 1986​

    The speech was very typical of what speeches that she would normally give but she ensured to quietly put in criticisms of the North Korean party system. She finished her speech for about twenty minutes and then went on to meet other party officials. She met with son in law of Kim Ill Sung, Jang Song-thaek in a private meeting where she was advised to ask all of her more difficult questions.

    It was intended to be intensely private. But unknown to the north Koreans she had something quite literally up her sleeve. Valentina had borrowed her Daughter, Elena, a professional microcassette recorder and a blank tape to record her conversations with leaders to review them later without their knowledge. Although her traveling ensemble went through a security check they wouldn't have dared to check the jacket pockets of the Soviet leader. As she entered the door she put her hand in her pocket and pressed record with the microphone aiming out of the pocket.

    Song-Thaek had learnt enough Russian to get by without a translator and without Tereshkova speaking a single word of Korean which she had no idea how to speak allowing the conversation to be extremely private... ish.

    Valentina produced a black small folder from her bag before the conversation started and lead with.

    Valentina Tereshkova: Mr Jang, I am sure that you would know of my dislike for Mr Kim.
    Jang Song-thaek: Yes madam, It is discussed within the party.’
    Tereshkova: Is that so, well. I also know that you have had a rocky relationship with the party with demotions, galore. I thought that being a son-in-law would mean that you had trust?
    Jang: We have disagreements, yes.
    Tereshkova: Would you consider yourself a leader?
    Jang: ...Yes?
    Tereshkova: Well, good news. I need the soviet faction of the party to be restarted as soon as possible and I have chosen you to lead it.
    Jang: I beg your pardon??
    Tereshkova: Shhh! You are going to need to convince enough of your party to turn against Kim.
    Jang: Madame, I am leaving this meeting. You are out of line.
    Tereshkova: Shut up and sit back down! Here’s the deal, South Korea has been the successful one so far and that is not good news for any of us. You cannot survive without us and you cannot grow without more help from us. Kim has to go now.
    Jang: Well for starters there has not been a serious challenge to his leadership for almost 20 years, there are no allies for you here and I am most certainly not the one to lead something as radical as this.
    Tereshkova: We are already setting up a network of spies to quietly convince them otherwise. If you agree to this as of right now I have 200,000 Won waiting to be delivered to your residence at my command and in my pocket I have a cellular telephone and a book of contacts that can get you out of trouble.
    Jang: That is quite literally bribery and is illegal.
    Tereshkova: … yes all of this is illegal that is the point. I would have written a cheque but you can't cash those here so instead I have 2000 100 Won notes somewhere in Vladivostok hidden in a rail shipment of motor cars.
    Jang: Are you sure?

    They continued to discuss the plan for about one hour and thirty minutes when Jang finally agreed to the plan. They left going separate ways, Jang with a lot of secrets to keep and Tereshkova rewarding herself with a small smile. Just as she was walking away with her people she heard a click in her pocket. The cassette had recorded over both sides. She whispered to her aide as she walked out of the building and into a car.

    While Tereshakova was sleeping soundly in a Hotel Jang was furiously dialing away at the new phone for help. He had to come clean to his wife Kim Kyong-hui about the plan to which she was shocked but agreed to support him with the guarantee of her and her brother’s safety.

    Soviet intelligence was already hard at work talking to any people in power that they could find and that Jang recommended. Tereshkova was hard at work trying to get a leadership change within the year. Most countries across the world would be either supportive or indifferent about a coup in North Korea so the Soviets didn't care much if people found out about it other than the North Korean leadership.

    Over the next few months the Soviets managed to pay off several high profile members of the WPK. It all managed to miraculously fly under the radar until about June when the information got to a WPK official and then passed on to the Leader.

    The soviets panicked that their attempt had been found way too early for it to be certain of success. They had secretly paid off many significant figures including the current vice premier Kim Pok-sin but were still unsure of how to remove Kim from his post as general secretary as the powers of the legislature were strange and weak as the plan was just to pressure kim. There were a significant portion of the assembly who were in on the whole thing but they only convened rarely. So drastic action needed to be taken.

    Reformists and members of the soviet faction organised an illegal open air meeting on the 11th of July in Pyongyang to hold a mock assembly. Jang Song-thaek gave a speech calling on Kim to hand over his position as General Secretary for the betterment of the nation and illegally spread out copies of the speech across the country. The meeting was broken up by police with many of the officials being taken away by police some would not get out. Kim Ill-Sung ordered that the Military impose his rule and so the North Korean army came back from summer training to occupy city centres across the nation. Arrests for corruption and anti-revolutionary activity ensued.

    The Soviet-Faction with some help converted portions of the military to their own side to enforce their own rule, there was no conflict yet but there was immense tension and chaos in the nation. National television refused to report on the conflict and ramped up on propaganda. Soviet intelligence protected the Reformists from the military and police who were threatened with public execution.

    Valentina Tereshkova was in direct communication with Kim for a while trying to convince him to give in to her wants and threatened cutting off all aid. This move brought condemnation from Chinese Leader Deng Xiaoping despite his personal support for the coup. Communications were cut off which lead to more chaos and confusion. Stay at home orders were issued from July 24th leading to something unheard of, a protest, as people were unable to work or shop.

    Then finally, On August 2nd Tereshkova issued an Ultimatum to Kim saying that if he did not resign his position that Soviet troops would occupy Pyongyang and forcibly oust him as leader. That did it and on the morning of August 3rd Kim Ill-Sung passed leadership of the Workers’ Party over to his son in law Jang Song-thaek. The whole ordeal had been costly for stability in the region but the coup surprisingly succeeded. The Soviets had finally managed to oust Kim Ill-sung after failing twice. Soviets immediately sent in aid to help mend the country and ushered in a new age of Soviet dominance over North Korea.

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