After President Clinton's announcement that she would not be seeking a second term in 2020, many Republicans rushed into the fray. Brown was not so quick to enter, but by October he announced that he would be seeking the GOP candidacy. The big challenges he faced for the nomination were Senator John Thune and the vocal conservative supporter Senator Ted Cruz. The three of them dominated the polls up until Iowa, but Brown gave up on the Iowa contest, which was largely a race between Thune and Cruz. However, a big victory in New Hampshire gave him the critical boost that he needed. In the Democratic race, the popular Secretary of State Susan Rice commanded a fairly strong lead over the various other candidates after the previous leader Vice President Hickenlooper declined to seek the presidency. She was able to clinch nomination shortly after Super Tuesday. Despite tough competition from Thune and Cruz, Brown was able to squeak a victory out of a long, drawn out primary season. Brown risked loosing support from the Tea Party if his VP was not a strong conservative, but he refused to pander to them and instead picked Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who was very popular in her home state. Secretary Rice chose New Jersey Senator Cory Booker as he running mate to contest Brown's popularity in the northeast.
Even though Secretary Rice was fairly popular, Governor Brown was the first Republican to have an early lead in the electoral college since Bush in 2004. Polls showed many people thought that a change was needed after 12 years of Democratic rule in the White House, and Brown's moderate message appealed to many voters the increasingly liberal Democratic Party did not. In the first debate, focused on economic domestic policy, Brown pulled a massive victory over Rice. However, Rice made a comeback and was victorious in the debate on foreign policy, which was Rice's strong point. The final debate was really neck and neck. Brown was accused of being wishy washy after he tried to avoid commenting a lot on social issues like abortion, trying to avoid isolating while at at the same time not pandering to the social conservatives in his party. This election looked like it was going to be closer and closer as Election Day approached. Many feared that it would be as close as 2000, which was a nightmare nobody wanted to relive. On Election Night, Brown had a strong performance, flipping Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Maine's 2nd district while only losing Wisconsin. In the end, the election was decided by the state of North Carolina, which was finally called at 6:00 AM. Some controversy surrounded the voter I.D. laws passed in the state in 2013 that came to rear its head the day afterwards. However, after a recount, Brown had a definitive lead of 1,500 votes North Carolina as well as the popular vote, which meant that Governor Brown would officially become President.
President Brown quickly set out to accomplish things that he promised on the campaign trail. His first major accomplishment was the partial privatization of social security, which passed despite a massive outcry from the more liberal members of Congress. With a major legislative victory one month into his presidency, he made a push for the repeal of the assault weapons ban signed during the Clinton administration. This push failed to pass through the Senate, however, with only Senator Manchin willing to side with the GOP on voting to repeal the ban. Despite a major push, most legislation proposed by the Brown administration was blocked by the Democratic senate. Brown was facing massive deadlock with opposition from the fringes of both parties, and something had to break the tie.
On May 18, 2022, the Eurozone finally collapsed after it went through yet another string of fiscal crises, this time in Italy and Portugal. This sent massive shockwaves throughout the world, including the US. Many recognized that a recession was inevitable unless the government moved quickly. President Brown, much to the chagrin of the more conservative part of his party, reacted by stating that he was willing to put heavy regulations in place for a short period of time in order to prevent investors from frantically trading away stocks they had in companies based in Europe. For around two months, the economic situation around the world struggled to regain its footing as Europe picked up the pieces of the EU. President Brown showed himself to be not entirely anti free market as some conservatives criticized him as being after he made a renewed push to get European countries to allow genetically modified organisms to be grown and imported. Even though the president successfully isolated the ideological poles of the country, his approval soared among moderate middle class citizens who appreciate the action he took from allowing to country to be pulled into a recession.
The midterms saw Democrats take the house for the first time in over a decade, while the Republicans ended up only two seats away from a majority in the Senate. Voting patterns after the midterms became very interesting. When the bill was one proposed by the president, most of the moderate Democrats and Republicans voted for it while strong liberals and conservatives did not. Economic growth stagnated in the first half of 2023, but it was able to slowly pick up as Europe and the rest of the world moved on. The Scandinavian Union was the first union to be formed out of the ashes of the EU. Some in the US bemoaned it as a "socialist paradise," but it was shown that the connection in the SU was much stronger than the EU, and it would one day grow to surpass many nations. 2023 also showed China's greatest increasing influence in the world as it grew to become more influential than the former EU in many African nations and it also ceased to support the Juche regime in North Korea. President Brown took a fairly hard line stance on China, trying to stop it from doing what he claimed to be an artificial manipulation of currency in order to make the Yuan more valuable than the US dollar.
As President Brown's re-election loomed, Senator Cruz announced that he would be challenging the incumbent in a primary, calling his presidency a "betrayal of true American and Republican traditional values." With the GOP's new primary system, the Northeastern regional primary took place first. President Brown made a sweeping victory there, greatly diminishing Cruz's chances. Even though Cruz took victory in the Midwest, a strong victory in the Pacific primaries gave the president an unbreakable lead. On the Democratic side, the main contenders were California Governor Gavin Newsom, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, and Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin. In the end, Newsom was able to win the nomination, and he chose Puerto Rico Senator Pedro Pierlusi as his running mate. In June, a major blow was dealt to Governor Brown's chances as Cruz announced a Tea Party split from the GOP, and that he would be the new Tea Party's nominee for president. For a brief while after the announcement, Newsom lead Brown in polling with Cruz taking 3%. However, Brown was able to make a commanding lead in the debates, bringing his polling back up. President Brown was able to get many of the more apathetic voters to come out by convincing them of how he made a direct impact on them with his reaction to the Eurozone collapse. On Election Day, despite Newsom putting up a good fight, President Brown gained on his margins through victories in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maine's 2nd district. The floundering Tea Party had one seat in the Senate and four in the House, only managing to win over some of the most conservative districts. The GOP also gained a majority in the Senate.
In his second term, President Brown set out to unite the GOP behind him now that the Tea Party no longer had a handle on it. With more support for his moderate proposals, bills actually passed fairly frequently. He was able to repeal the assault weapons ban from the Clinton administration and decrease the tax rate on those making over $250,000. However, the rate is still higher than it was during Bush Jr's administration. 2025 also saw the US return to the moon and construction on the Mars Mission, entitled Armstrong, which was planned to take the US to Mars by 2030. The Armstrong missions were a big collaboration between the quickly growing Space X, which had the funding power from the private market, NASA, and many other start up engineers. The development showed that Space X was becoming just as an important organization as NASA in terms of space exploration. Somewhat of a space race began to develop as China and the Scandinavian Union announced their own missions in January 2026. The Scandinavian Union's Scandinavian Space Program, or SSP, launched Gmot six months after their big announcement of the Tyr mission, marking the first non American moon landing.
2026 was historic, as it saw Russia finally repeal all of its anti-gay laws passed in 2013 and put the country on a path to possibly legalize gay marriage by 2030. Belarus also joined into a union with Russia, which was a move that many regarded as inevitable, but still set Europe on edge. Congress also passed a healthcare bill that gave individual companies and the private market more control, but kept the industry under heavy regulatory standards. During the midterms, the Republicans made gains but almost lost their majority in the Senate.
Speaking of the GOP, President Brown cut the last ties with the Tea Party by telling the media to drop the moniker GOP early in 2027. He stated that it did not reflect the Republican Party's true values anymore and that they were no longer old, but a part of the 21st century. Brown's presidency was largely defined by economics and some largely friendly competition with worldwide powers in what was the start to the New Space Race. He was the face of a changed Republican Party and the final blow to the far right that would ensure the Republican Party was a force to be reckoned with, not merely a divided party with vocal extremist views. To this day, Brown has proved to still be popular amount the general population, but not among liberals or conservatives.