Monday, August 12, 2013

Changing of the Guard: The Brown Administration


Scott Brown was very lonely in the liberal state of Massachusetts. Few Republicans ever got as far in the state as he did, and he had a long and distinguished career. First, he was a Senator before his defeat by Elizabeth Warren. Recent interviews have made the fact surface that he was heavily considering a move to New Hampshire to challenge Senator Shaheen in 2014, but he opted to stay in state. He was narrowly defeated by Martha Coakley in the 2014 gubernatorial election, which was a major defeat for him. However, he continued to campaign through the four years leading up to the next election, and he slowly inched up in the polls. Governor Coakley had falling approval, and wavering in the economic state of Massachusetts gave Brown the opening he needed. In 2018, he defeated Governor Coakley and became the first Republican governor in the state since Mitt Romney. Quickly, he began to inact reforms in the state. Many of them were unpopular with the more liberal residents, but nobody could deny the fact that the economy was improving in the state.

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.

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.