Sunday, August 11, 2013

Changing of the Guard: The Clinton Administration

"Such a peaceful changing of the guard every four, or eight, years is such a miraculous thing that we are privileged to have in America. It is therefore outer duty to promote the interest of democracy and peaceful transitions of power in every country in this great planet and not stoop to the level of dictators because they tempt us with things like cheap oil."

-Madame President, during her inaugural address in 2017

So I have had a recent case of writer's block with writing Radioactive, and I needed something to get the creative juices flowing. This is the result, a brief TL where each update will cover a future president's term in office. Without further ado, here is the first future administration in Changing of the Guard:


Hillary Clinton was somebody who faced speculation over a possible candidacy for presidency for over a decade. After she was narrowly defeated by then Senator Obama for the Democratic nomination in 2008, she was nominated to the position of Secretary of State for the first term of the Obama Administration, and during her tenure, she became the most admired woman in the United States. However, the Republican Party became more opposed to her due to the attacks on the Benghazi consulate that killed four. The conservatives in the party politicized this incident by trying to tear Mrs. Clinton's prestige down through claiming she could have prevented the incidents. However, the attacks did little to mire her image.

By the time of her retirement, she had deflected most questions about the presidency even though speculation still swirled. She published Madame Secretary in early 2014, which fueled speculation even more about a possible run. She lead the Democratic pack by over 60%, and then by 70% when Vice President Biden stated that he would be retiring from politics once he was out of office. Republicans began filtering in throughout 2015, while the Democratic Party waited patiently, all eyes on what Hillary was going to decide. Although she was not quite the undefeatable behemoth she was described as in 2013, she still was quite a force, and many possible Republicans were far behind her in polling. She tweeted to "meet her in Milwaukee for a big announcement tomorrow" on the day of September 3, 2015, and the blogosphere went on a heyday. Thousands of cheering people showed up to meet her in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she finally put speculation to rest by an announcement that she would be running for President. She stated that she felt America needed a true leader with experience that would embrace the middle class, and she wanted to be the person to fit that bill.

The Democratic nomination was almost just a formality at this point. Hillary won with over 70% in the Iowa primary, while Paul Ryan narrowly squeaked out a victory of 32% over Rand Paul in Iowa. By Super Tuesday, Hillary had clinched the nomination, while Congressman Ryan and Senator Paul were embroiled in a tough battle. With no high profile moderate in the Republican primaries, support for Paul and Ryan slowly declined. The Pennsylvania contest was really the kingmaker for the GOP, since Ryan was able to push out a lead above Paul in the state which carried him in later contests. By the California contest, Paul Ryan finally clinched his party's nomination. Clinton had a strong lead over Ryan by the time primary season ended, and it was looking like a big uphill battle for Ryan. Ryan was rather quick to announce Senator Marco Rubio as his VP nominee, saying that he was the strongest candidate out there. Reports claim he wanted Christie as his first choice, but he reportedly refused to be "second best." Hillary waited longer than Ryan to decide, but she eventually decided on Governor John Hickenlooper as her VP candidate.

In the general election, Clinton had a strong victory in the first debate, which got the Ryan/Rubio campaign severely off track. Hillary attacked Ryan relentlessly on his "failure budgets" that would be dangerous to America should he become President. Rubio held his own against Hickenlooper in the VP debate, which was largely considered a dead even match. Ryan slowly got voter confidence back, and finally gave Clinton a strong challenge in the final townhall debate. Hickenlooper and Rubio proved themselves to be tremendously strong assets on the campaign trail Hickenlooper tied up Colorado and threw Montana up for grabs while Rubio gave the GOP a lead in Florida, albeit within the margin of error. Ryan managed to avoid any major gaffes and attempted to portray himself as a strong leader rather than a diehard conservative, which made some of his party angry. The election was far from guaranteed for Clinton, but the lead was hers all the way up to Election Day. The final states left were Wisconsin, Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida. With victories in the states of North Carolina and Ohio, Hillary Clinton became the first female president while giving the Democrats a 300 plus victory in the electoral college for the third election in a row. However, the GOP showed itself to still be strong, making gains in the big swing state of Florida and Wisconsin. Polls showed that the Rubio factor was what was in the end made Florida flip, and the same can be said about Ryan and Wisconsin.

President Clinton's inauguration was one of the biggest ones in American history, with over 75 million viewers on television and even more on the first ever official live YouTube stream of the event. People packed Washington Plaza to see President Clinton inaugurated. Vice President Hickenlooper gave a strong speech about how he will bring his experience as Colorado governor to the national scene as a man of compromise. President Clinton's speech brought enormous applause after she made a strong message for progress. On the agenda was legalizing same sex marriage nationwide, large scale education reform at all levels, and a push for strengthening relations with democratic nations in the Middle East. A war torn Syria, had held its first free and democratic elections in over a decade in December of 2015 after finally overthrowing Assad with support from the Turkish government. Secretary of State Rice, which was approved only after much haggling in the Senate, was sent to talk with the Syrian Parliament, and she was able to build strong relations with the new government. Negotiations in February created a new border in the Golan Heights with Syria, ending a decades long dormant conflict.

The President had decent support among the GOP in congress. She was able to get a slimmed down version of the education reform bill through the still-Republican dominated House and easily through the Senate, which heavily boosted funding and put standardized testing on a path to being obsolete, and instead instituting nationwide grading standards that would asses student's progression. However, deadlock came back to Congress with the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Clinton was quick to put the solid liberal former Attorney General of California Kamala Harris as the nominee. This put many Senate Republicans over the edge, and caused Minority Leader John Cornyn to lead a passionate filibuster against Harris' approval. However, the extreme stress of the day was too much for the aging Senator Cornyn, who suffered a massive heartattack. The senate stopped all proceedings, and while Cornyn survived, he resigned from his seat and entered into retirement.

Now that the Supreme Court held a 5-4 liberal majority, President Clinton pushed for the legalization of same-sex marriage, a major goal of her administration. The case of an Ohio gay couple who wanted to marry, and stated that the Ohio law banning gay marriage was unconstitutional, got their case all of the way to the Supreme Court. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court declared laws across the United States banning same sex marriage illegal, which was a massive step for LGBT rights in America. However, the decision was not without conservative backlash. A gay couple that was married in Arizona the day after the ruling were both crippled by a gunman who was revealed to be a member of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. After the incident, President Clinton used the wave of support to make a comprehensive background and mental health check bill that passed through the Senate easily and the House with some nudging.

President Clinton signing a clean energy initiative bill in Ocotber 2018

The economy was shown to be rising under Clinton's term in office. Many of Obama's programs, implemented late in his second term, were finally showing their effect and it was largely positive. There was an enormous push for an increase in domestics energy production, and companies like Tesla were rising to become major forces in the car industry. Public polling showed that President Clinton held a consistent 60% approval rating. She helped give the Democratic Party a boost in the 2018 midterm elections, gaining seats in the Senate and in the House, but the House remained just outside the grasp of the Democratic Party. Speaker Eric Cantor retired from his post this year, and 2016 presidential nominee and House Majority Leader Paul Ryan won speakership quite easily. The Clinton administration was given much praise when it was shown that she did in fact end the NSA's controversial domestic spying program. She made a renewed push to drastically cut military spending, which had to be made into a "slim trim of fat" as some put it in order to pass the House.

Major issues began to rear their head in the Middle East as the healed Israel-Syrian relationship began to crumble with the programs of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. He handed the West Bank to Egypt and formally annexed the West Bank, which caused Syria, Jordan, Iran, and Iraq to vacate their embassies and condemn his acts. Again, Secretary of State Rice traveled to the region to negotiate. She told Israel to stand down its aggression before she was informed that Israel had already begun bombing nuclear sites in Iran. Negotiations started as Rice attempted to make Israel stand down, but they continued for half an hour before President Clinton threatened to cut off aid to Israel. This finally stopped the bombing runs, and the brief Iranian-Israeli War. In response, Clinton cut aid to Israel by 25%, and Iran called on the UN to force Israel to pay reparations. Israel did have to pay some money back and the Jewish Home party was defeated in spectacular fashion after the majority coalition failed and new elections took place.

By 2019, President Clinton's health was being increasingly called into question after she suffered another blood clot. Many in the party were concerned that she would not be able to run for another term in her current condition. She confirmed that she would not be running for another term in June 2019 after her doctor told her continued stress could give her a serious heartattack or stroke. She stated that it was best for the nation that somebody in the "fittest of age and health" should lead the country. Many people were disappointed she would not run for another term, as her approval ratings continued to hover around 60%. President Clinton is remembered as somebody who presided over a time of goodwill, and even though her time in office was filled with tough foreign and domestic challenges, she faced them all with grace and did not cower in the face of keeping some of America's closest allies in line. To this day, she is ranked among presidents like Reagan, JFK, and Roosevelt in terms of her popularity and huge hand in shaping the future of the Democratic Party and America.

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