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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: July 23, 2016, 10:45:52 pm
Realized that since this website blocks imgur, most people probably never saw the 1988 County Map. Updated here.
2  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: July 20, 2016, 10:38:25 pm
If you don't mind me asking, what is Winthrop P. Rockefeller up to?

Given the fact that Arkansas is one of the most Democratic states in the nation, I can't imagine he's doing too much as far as elective office goes. Tongue

Although he might be able to parlay the fact that he's an in-law to the current President into some administrative appointment.
3  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: July 20, 2016, 08:04:33 pm
TIME – CAMPAIGN FINANCE OVERHAUL
April 23rd, 1990

The Boys are Coming Home

During the first week of November 1989, President Areus Ho’kee signed the biggest piece of legislation he has pushed for thus far as President: the Return to Normalcy Act. Amongst other things, the Return to Normalcy Act called for an indiscriminate withdrawal of United States military forces from countries in the Eastern Hemisphere. This included Iran, a country that has been the focal point of United States foreign policy since the late Seventies, and in its periphery since the Fifties.

The initial invasion of Iran was launched in March of 1982, which saw the deployment of 200,000 troops through the passages of the border that Iran shared with Turkey. The objective of the American military was simply the subjugation of the Iranian Government, as restitution for both the loss of American embassy workers and the Shah, who had been seen as an ally of the United States. The execution of this invasion went straight for the proverbial jugular: Tehran, the capital of Iran.

The American military went to work, and within two years they had occupied Tehran, along with other major population centers in Western Iran. Instead of surrender, the Iranian military employed salted earth tactics and took to bombing their own capital city with SCUD missiles, while retreating to Eastern Iran and its more treacherous mountain terrain. By this point, the American public had been starved for peace, and there also had been a change in American leadership. President Lloyd Bentsen, who was significantly less hawkish than his predecessor, took a more conservative approach. Rather than have a battle of attrition for another decade, Bentsen withdrew from Iran and concentrated military resources along the western border, where oil is in abundance and is the backbone of Iran’s economy.

It is unclear whether the seizure of the oil wells was simply to confiscate their product, or if it was to draw the Iranian government into submission, but external forces would confound this plan. The absence of the Iranian government in Western Iran, as well as United States occupation of Qom and atrocities committed in Kermanshah led to the festering of rogue militant groups. Eventually these groups conducted a surprise attack along several installations on the western border, destroying several derricks and removing a crucial piece of collateral for the United States.

The raid dealt a further blow to the war’s already poor popularity among American voters. Within a month, Americans elected Areus Ho’kee, who ran on a staunchly anti-war platform. A year later he would sign the aforementioned Return to Normalcy Act, which signaled an end to United States occupation in Iran. American General Foster McDonald negotiated an armistice with the Iranian government, which would gradually cede the territory back to them concurrent with the withdrawal of United States troops.

As of the past month, over 50,000 troops have returned home from Iran, which is welcome news to the families of those soldiers and to public that is weary of war, between Iran and Vietnam.

Congress passes O’Connor-Westman bill

Last week, the Senate passed the Ethics in Campaign Finance Act, known short-handedly as O’Connor-Westman. Two Senators from rural states, one a Republican (Thad O’Connor) and the other a Democrat (Scott Westman), found common ground in proposing a bill to provide stricter oversight and regulation of the financing of federal campaigns. The bill was signed by President Areus Ho’kee, who spoke favorably of it weeks ago.

 The Ethics in Campaign Finance Act establishes the maximum donation from a private citizen towards a campaign at $1,300 for every four months. It also establishes a separate category of donations from labor unions, corporations, and other entities at $50,000 for every four months. Under the ECFA, donations from private citizens are protected under anonymity (unless indicted for campaign finance fraud) while donations from the other aforementioned entities are to be public knowledge.

The Ethics in Campaign Finance Act also appropriates money for the creation of the Campaign Finance Agency, a new federal department tasked with the enforcement of auditing political entities and prosecuting campaign finance fraud. Under the ECFA, punishments for individuals committing campaign fraud are up to $15,000 or 5 years in prison, and up to a $100,000 fine for public entities.

Aye: Jefferson Dent (R-AL), Clark Gruening (D-AK), Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), Dale Bumpers (D-AR), David Pryor (D-AR), Pete McCloskey (R-CA), Ed Zschau (R-CA), Gary Hart (D-CO), Lowell Weicker (R-CT), Joe Biden (D-DE), William Roth (R-DE), Sam Nunn (D-GA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Spark Matsunaga (D-HI),Orval Smylie (R-ID), Jim Edgar (R-IL), Alex Seith (D-IL), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Frederic Reid (R-IA), Jim Leach (R-IA), Bennett Johnston Jr (D-LA), Thad O’Connor (R-ME), Ralph Stevenson (R-ME), Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), William Weld (R-MA), Mic Ceriel (R-MI), William Milliken (R-MI), Walter Mondale (D-MN), David Durenburger (R-MN), Scott Westman (D-MT), Helen Brisco (R-MT), Chic Hect (R-NV), Malcolm McLane (R-NH), Maurice Murphy (R-NH), Thomas Kean (R-NJ), Millicent Fenwick (R-NJ), Hamilton Fish (R-NY), Al Green (R-NY), Robert B. Morgan (D-NC), Mark Andrews (R-ND), Warren F. Ford (R-ND), James Traficant (D-OH), Victor Atiyeh (R-OR), Mark Hatfield (R-OR), John Chafee (R-RI), George McGovern (D-SD), Larry Pressler (R-SD), James Garner (R-TX), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Lawrence Coventry (R-VT), Margaret Garland (R-VT), Marshall Coleman (R-VA), Santiago St. Avila (R-WA), Jasper Morrill (R-WA), Steve Gunderson (R-WI), Herb Kohl (R-WI), Alan Simpson (R-WY), Malcolm Wallop (R-WY) (59)

Nay: Howell Heflin (D-AL), Ted Stevens (R-AK), Bob Stump (D-AZ), Bill Armstrong (R-CO), Lawton Chiles (D-FL), Richard McPherson (D-FL), John D. Russell (D-GA), George Hansen (WMP-ID), Floyd Fithian (D-IN), Joan Finney (D-KS), Robert Dole (R-KS), Walter Huddleston (D-KY), Wendell Ford (D-KY), Mike Foster (D-LA), Chris Long (D-MD), Patton Wyde (D-MS), Gillespie Montgomery (D-MS), Thomas Eagleton (D-MO), Charles Thone (R-NE), James Exon (D-NE), Paul Laxalt (R-NV), Bruce King (D-NM), David F. Cargo (R-MN), John Glenn (D-OH), David Boren (D-OK), Wes Watkins (D-OK), John Murtha (D-PA), John Heinz (R-PA), Strom Thurmond (R-SC), Ernest Hollings (D-SC), Marilyn Lloyd (D-TN), Jim Sasser (D-TN), Bill Archer (WMP-TX), Andrew Miller (D-VA), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Jennings Randolph (D-WV) (36)

Abstain: Christopher Shays (R-CT), John Danforth (R-MO), John Ingram (D-NC), Claiborne Pell (D-RI), Jake Garn (R-UT) (5)
4  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Unfortunate Son on: July 16, 2016, 11:46:30 pm
The Mattingly campaign: a 21st century version of the Whig platform presented by demographically prototypical Jackson Democrat. Tongue
5  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: July 13, 2016, 11:27:52 pm
Driving Fourth Gear in a Hard Bargain: 1990

Thad spoke with Ericson Snell and Areus Ho’kee about the details of campaign finance reform for another hour, before he bade the two good bye and returned to his quarters. Cynthia was not there, presumably enjoying the comforts of the city. Thad took the initiative to call Lawrence Coventry, who quickly agreed before ending the conversation. Relieved that Lawrence was on board, he dialed Scott Westman’s phone number, anticipating a longer conversation than the one he just had.

The ringer ran a few times before a gruffy voice answered. “Scott Westman. Hello?” it asked.  “Hello Scott, it’s Thad. It has been quite some time since our last correspondence. I call you under the auspices of working with the President towards campaign finance reform. What say you about meeting up at the Drunken Dutchman some time tomorrow?” asked Thad. Scott Westman sounded apprehensive. “I can’t guarantee any agreement, but I suppose I’ll meet with you,” he said.

The next afternoon, Thad O’Connor made his way through the Drunken Dutchman. Its chairs were empty and its air was smoke free. Thad quickly spotted Lawrence, who sat at a small table replete with two bottles, one of gin and the other of tonic water. Thad sat opposite him and made the proper obeisances before sitting down. After an hour of waiting, Scott Westman strolled through the bar and sat with them.

Lawrence Coventry grinned. “Good afternoon Scott! Glad you could make it. This first drink is on me, as a courtesy of our meeting,” said Lawrence. “Thank you,” said Scott Westman as he sat down, before looking at Thad. “It’s been awhile since I’ve seen you, Thad. How have you been?” he asked. “Not bad. I hope that you’ve kept the dust off of my couch?” Thad joked. Westman humored Thad with a laugh. “Yeah, it really has been awhile.”

That gave Thad pause for thought. His relationship with Scott Westman had been an important part to the phenomenon of liberals voting for Mark Hatfield, and also to the Republican coup in 1986. However, Thad hadn’t seen Westman since the night of the Iowa Caucus, coinciding with his journey to see Areus’ ascendancy to the Presidency. They worked so hard to lay down the foundation for something big, but never took the time to gaze upon the finished product. It really had been awhile.

Thad’s pensive trance was ended by the crescendo of bubbling water, as Lawrence poured a drink for Westman. “I’d like to speak with you today about co-sponsorship of a campaign finance reform bill on behalf of the President. You’ve spent your whole political career railing against big interests, and also have spent your whole career representing a small state and presenting yourself as an outsider. Do you have an interest in helping sponsor a bill tackling campaign finance reform?” asked Lawrence.

Westman responded with some reluctance. “Four years ago, I stuck my neck out for the Republican Party, of all things, just to stick it to Lloyd Bentsen and the Senate Democrats. I gained nothing out of that, other than forwarding the career of Ted Stevens and making my own re-election bid more complicated. Now, you two have written a ‘reform’ bill and are asking me to lease you my credibility. So far, I’m not convinced that the Mavericks are anything other than Rockefeller Republicans who dress up like they’re in a psychedelic rock band. Why should I do that?” asked Westman.

Lawrence grinned. “I’m flattered by that comparison, Scott,” said Lawrence, who was wearing a white button-up shirt with oversized cufflinks. “All jokes aside, there are several reasons that you should support this bill. Firstly, I’m sure you’ve been paying attention to the news, and have at least heard about the Snell Commission. A man gets elected President with large donations from military contractors, then goes to not only hire many in his State Department, but also passes bills subsidizing them through graft and warfare. Doesn’t it seem like there’s a conflict of interest here that demands oversight?

Secondly, consider the tone that this bill will set for the public discourse. From a partisan perspective, the Snell Commission serves as a blistering indictment of how contemporary Democratic politics work, and that only Republicans are willing to make the right fix. However, if you, a dyed in the wool Democrat, would lend your name to this bill, then that would make this a bi-partisan effort. Besides, you never supported Jackson – why worry of his legacy?

If these two reasons don’t convince you, then consider this: your own career. President Ho’kee is very popular in Montana, and Republicans look strong there. Meanwhile, you have alienated base Democrats by opposing their past President, and voting for Mark Hatfield, amongst other apostasies. If you oppose this for purely partisan reasons, then you will not only lose swing voters, but also Democrats who may think that same way.” After finishing off his harangue, Lawrence took a stiff drink.

Scott Westman furrowed his brow. “That’s a pretty persuasive argument, but I’m going to have to hear the details of this bill.”
6  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: July 08, 2016, 04:24:53 pm
Is Birch Bayh considering running for anything in 1990 or 1992(besides the Presidency)?

That asked, this is a great timeline, and I think I see now why you're so popular.

Popular? I don't know about that. I've been a ghost on here lately. Tongue

Thanks for the accolades though, I appreciate it!

Anyway, as to the question: probably not. Birch Bayh was selected for the Vice Presidency when Lloyd Bentsen ascended the Presidency because he was seen as well-respected by his colleagues and had a long tenure of experience and service. However, he was also an easy confirmation for the Senate because he wouldn't have been of great electoral advantage to Bentsen's eventual '88 campaign.

Indiana hasn't voted Democratic in this timeline, but Scoop Jackson did very well there in his reelection bid (came within 2%) and Democrats actually retained Bayh's Senate seat despite 1986 being a Republican wave.
7  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: July 07, 2016, 11:58:15 pm
TIME – A New Year’s Resolution
March 8th, 1990

Congress passes Massive Global Reform Bill

Just days ago, President Ho’kee inscribed his signature onto the Western Commerce Streamline Act of 1990, more commonly referred to as O’Connor-Snell, after the names of its sponsors. A proud Ho’kee boldly claimed to the media that he was signing “the most important legislation in the United States since the Louisiana Purchase.” While such a claim may be hyperbolic, the bill is a massive retooling of a plethora of foreign issues for the United States.

One issue that O’Connor-Snell legislated was tariffs. The bill was particularly daring in this regard, considering the battle with Japanese imports that American manufacturing was decisively losing. O’Connor-Snell vastly liberalizes trade with every country in the Western Hemisphere, although some of these are conditional on reciprocity from the country in question. Free trade with Panama may not be happening for some time.

Consistent with the theme of foreign relations, O’Connor-Snell also tackles the issue of immigration. Since the repeal of the bracero program, the United States only had a patchwork system for immigration and guest-workers. Between that and a porous border, the result has been an illegal alien population estimated at eleven million. What the O’Connor-Snell bill does is grant amnesty to those eleven million as a band aid, while making adjustments to the immigration process and work visas.

Blanket amnesty and tweaks to the law would be pilloried by some as merely changing the law in the face of adversity. However, the O’Connor-Snell proposal has an additional provision: millions of dollars proposed for the construction of a fence along the border of Mexico. This measure, along with others, signals to certain interest groups that the administration is serious about curbing illegal immigration. It also serves to sway the votes of a handful of right-wing Senators who may otherwise be opposed to this bill.

Indictments Made

The so-called “Snell Commission,” a project undertaken by the House Committee on Ethics, finally concluded after conducting an investigation that clouded three election cycles. In its final reports, the committee named over a hundred people, ranging from Democratic Party officials, to military contractors, and to State Department employees, in a largely cast net of “unethical campaign finance conduct.” While a number of people are mentioned for sums of less than four thousand dollars, some conspicuous entities stand out, such as Rock Island Armory, Martin Alvarez (former Chairman of the California Democratic Party), and Frank Shrontz, who served as Postmaster General under President Jackson.

The Justice Department announced it would be pressing charges toward the concerned parties, mere hours after the news broke. President Ho’kee said to the press, “If you were to take the time filing through these various receipts, it looks fairly obvious that there was an effort by various military interest groups to buy out our foreign policy. Nonetheless, Attorney General Baker has experience in these matters, and I trust him to reach a reasonable conclusion,” said the President.

Senator Patton Wyde may have made the loudest objection toward the Snell Commission’s findings. “I have read the report, and the sum of its findings are as follows: defense contractor donates to a state affiliate for the Democratic Party. State affiliate winds up transferring money toward the Democratic National Convention. There are other connections, but this investigation’s findings seem like nothing more than guilt by association. I maintain that the whole motivation for this investigation is every bit as political as its findings, and that Republicans still haven’t gotten over losing that election,” said Wyde.

Former Governor Jerry Brown, who is also a prospective candidate for President, had a slightly different position on the issue. “As Senator, Scoop Jackson had a long past with Boeing, and it would not be surprising if there was some intimacy between his campaign and the defense industry. However, rather than viewing this as an indictment of the Democratic Party, we should use it as a microscope to the issue of campaign finance reform, and accept that neither party is immune to the influence of suspect money,” said Governor Brown.


Presidential Approval Ratings

March 5th, 1990

Generic Ballot Preference (Congress)
Republican: 51%
Democratic: 36%
Working Man’s Party: 9%
Undecided: 4%
8  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: July 07, 2016, 11:51:09 pm
Hangman’s Knot: 1990

Thad O’Connor maintained idle conversation with Ericson Snell for another hour, before the two agreed to part ways. Thad made his way back to Areus’ estate with good news in hand, only to find out that the President would not be home for the night. “Areus told us that he’s going to be away for the night, but should be back tomorrow evening,” said the guard at the door. After complying with a quick security check, Thad shuffled his way down the stairs and toward his own room.

He woke up late the next day, seeing Cynthia lounging next to him on the bed. “What time is it?” he asked. “Quarter past noon. What were you doing out so late anyway?” Cynthia asked. “Eric and I were negotiating the bill about free trade. Is Areus here?” he asked. “I think so. I heard a lot of commotion coming down the stairs an hour ago. Perhaps that’s him?” she said.

Thad O’Connor hurried his way down the hallway in anticipation of Areus’ return. As he entered the basement lobby, he spotted two figures: Areus Ho’kee and Ericson Snell. The lamentations that Eric had about Areus’ governing style seemed like a distant memory, as the two were vivaciously laughing and talking. Each had a glass in hand, while Areus clutched a manila folder under his armpit.

“I assume that you two have discussed the terms of the immigration deal?” asked Thad. “Yes. We get free trade and citizenship for eleven million illegal aliens, in exchange for a border fence being built. That sounds like an adequate deal to me. Good work. However, what we’re discussing now is this scandal with various Democratic donors,” said Ho’kee, hoisting the manila folder.

He was nearly foaming at the mouth. “For years, we called them out for being bought and sold by interests, whether it was by the defense industry, by agriculture, or by plain old pork barrel spending. Now, we’ve got the records to hold them dead to rights. Amongst other things, we have direct correspondence between the Illinois Democratic Party, employees at the Department of Defense, and various arms contractors. I’ll spare you the details, Thad, because you’ll be hearing them on national television before long,” said Areus.

“As somebody who’s intimately aware of the details, where exactly do we go forward with all of this? Considering the current state of our campaign finance laws, I’m not sure how we get any sort of meaningful sentencing on the parties involved,” asked Eric. “Some of the names in question worked for the Department of Defense during Jackson’s Presidency. Regardless of what the campaign finance laws say, there’s an obvious issue with graft when it comes to publicly paid salaries. This should be fairly straightforward.

Besides, even if this does not result in any major criminal convictions, this is still a blockbuster for us. For nearly a century, Republicans have been dogged by the perception of being bought by elitist interests and being unresponsive to the layman. This investigation helps lay the blame of a foreign policy debacle squarely on the Democrats and wealthy defense industries, and solidifies our position as reformers heading into the Midterm elections this year,” said Areus.

“What’s the end-game here, though? I spent the better half of a decade filing through more paperwork than if I had been audited, and also was the face of what many deemed to be an embellished scandal. If all we’re going to do is score a few political points, then I don’t think I’d count this as a strategic victory,” said Ericson.

Areus bit his lip. “You were first put to task on this story in 1985, the year in which President Jackson was sworn in for his second term. Despite the underwhelming findings, this story was in the headlines every year, with each small uncovering that took place. Each small step toward the final conclusion helped contribute toward a millstone hanging around the neck of the Democratic Party. If you have the same mindset as me, you want that millstone to sag and grow into a noose.

If we make the most of this story this year, then our party will make gains in the House and Senate. The former helps you, as Speaker, and the latter is of mutual interest to us. That in itself is a strategic victory for us, as it weakens the Democratic Party, strengthens your Speakership, and helps bolster our numbers at the most opportune moment in our lifetimes. However, this also gives my administration a prime opportunity to legislate on an issue that is usually a third-rail for Republicans: campaign finance reform,” said Areus, before taking a long drink.

“I’m not necessarily opposed, but why would such an issue be considered landmark for your administration, and how does it further our objectives?” asked Eric. “I have the feeling that when these findings are made public, it’s going to raise a new level of awareness towards the issue of campaign contributions. Typically, this is an issue that Democrats would rally around, but how is that party going to react when it exposes their last President?

Scoop Jackson’s legacy will be a point of contention in the next Democratic Primary. There will be those that defend it, for its massive public spending projects, as well as for a want of its widespread electoral appeal. On the other hand, there will also be those who condemn Jackson’s legacy for being too militaristic, and also too opaque and subservient to political expediency. With the right amount of prescience, we could have our boot at their throat, and a simple thrust would divide their party and result in a second presidential term and extended dominance in Congress.

This will require cautious political maneuvering. During your investigation, Democrats tried to set a narrative that this was just Republican sour-grapes. I think the evidence is convincing on its own, but this will be easier to sell to the American populace if we make this look bi-partisan,” said Areus. At that moment he turned to Thad. “Thad, from what I understand, you have a great relationship with Scott Westman. I’d like you to get your hands dirty again, working with him and Lawrence on this.”
9  Forum Community / Forum Community Election Match-ups / windjammer vs Grim Fandango on: June 28, 2016, 11:56:12 am
10  Forum Community / Forum Community Election Match-ups / Tender Branson vs 1999 Budweiser Commercial on: June 23, 2016, 06:10:44 pm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJmqCKtJnxM
11  Forum Community / Forum Community Election Match-ups / HockeyDude vs Outback Steakhouse Bloomin' Onion on: June 22, 2016, 06:03:34 pm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3DTjof6Dx8
12  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: June 17, 2016, 11:48:56 pm
Given Ho'kee semi-"Do Nothing" status at this point in time, who among the opposition--beyond Patton Wyde--are scheming to replace him? Is he being railed as "the candidate of change who, so far, has failed to deliver"? And how do Ho'kee's approval ratings stand?

The last approval ratings survey had him at 54% nationally, dated before Thanksgiving. Since passing the Return to Normalcy Act, he's actually worked to shake off the "do-nothing" perception he had in the first few months of his term. Paradoxically, his approval ratings were actually better during that time period, just because of the "post-inauguration bounce."

As to who in the Democratic Party would be vying to replace him, several candidates were mentioned in a previous update I linked. Outside of those, some potential suspects:

John Murtha: Senator from a swing state who managed to survive re-election in the bloodbath of 1986. Has moderate views on issues like abortion and foreign policy, and could connect with the "Jackson Democrat" who helped sway the election of 1984. Considering that he would be sixty upon inauguration, and that he's a veteran, he could be in a position to attack Areus as youthful and inexperienced in the event of a foreign policy crisis.

Bill Clinton: Long-term Governor of Arkansas - part of the Outer South, which was Ground Zero for both of Jackson's elections. Gave the Keynote Address at the 1988 Democratic Convention. Charismatic, ambitious.

Birch Bayh: Birch Bayh was tapped as a stand-in Vice President by Lloyd Bentsen, owing to the respect that the former had amongst his colleagues. Bayh has over twenty years in the Senate under his belt, as well as the ability to get elected in a Midwestern state, which is likely a necessary asset that any Democratic nominee must have. Additionally, he has credentials when it comes to election reform (Electoral College) which could give him an edge if Campaign Finance becomes an issue.

If this answer is unsatisfactory, then I should have an update written soon which may be more to your liking.
13  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Unfortunate Son on: June 17, 2016, 11:08:35 pm
Sounds like Hart has been diminished to being the titular leader of his party, outside of non-partisan issues like national defense. This doesn't bode well for a dovish party trying to retain the White House in the wake of a national tragedy.

More humorously, there are some interesting similarities in here and our own contemporary politics. In real life, Donald Trump captured the Republican nomination after fear-mongering about free trade and immigration, while Romney (last election's Republican nominee) is #NeverTrump. ITTL, Mattingly has gone on the record condemning globalism, and Romney is an actual Democrat!

Last note, and devoid of substance: I'm imagining that Kate Mattingly would take on the role of First Lady similar to the way Laura Bush did.
14  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: June 17, 2016, 03:27:37 pm
Solid update. What month of 1990 are we in?

Thanks homie! It's in January, as the previous updates were discussed over New Year's eve. Mid-term elections are this year.
15  About this Site / The Atlas / Re: Why has this post of mine been deleted for trolling? on: June 16, 2016, 11:55:31 pm
And a million posts have made a similar argument with Trump's skin color

There ought to be a difference between making fun of a bad tan and saying "lol he's black so he should be brown on the map!"
16  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: June 16, 2016, 11:51:35 pm
Tremors: 1990

Thad and Eric argued for another hour, before reaching a consensus on their bill. “So, the final terms are as follows: free trade with every country in the Western hemisphere, amnesty for illegal immigrants living in America, and we build a fence in order to curb border trespassing?” asked Eric. “The two biggest things that President Areus desired were amnesty and free trade with the Western Hemisphere. Regardless of his views on the matter, the cost of a border fence should be insignificant. We have a deal,” said Thad, before shaking hands with Ericson.

The two continued to drink for another hour. After some idle conversation, Thad spoke up in a more serious tone. “Eric, I would like to voice my appreciation for your willingness to work with me on this issue. As somebody who has been in Congress for longer than I have, I am sure that you have a history replete with experience and stories. From one legislator to another, what has it been like during your time?” he asked.

Ericson smiled. “I have a unique perspective. I was elected to my first term in the House in 1972, alongside President Nixon’s massive victory over McGovern. Despite winning a forty-nine state landslide, all that followed was several years of floundering and ineptitude by most of my caucus, until they were utterly destroyed in 1978 and 1980. Things were so bad that I was elected Minority Leader in 1980, despite only having been in the House for seven years. As I’m sure you remember, it looked like Republicans were a doomed party.

I met Lawrence Coventry and President Ho’kee days before the Election of 1980, when all was over but the casting of ballots. After a few hours of talking, we’d each agreed that we felt frustrated at both the statist inclinations of the Democrats and the Republicans who were helpless to stop them. In response, we formed the Mavericks: an informal caucus amongst us, whose raison d’etre was to reform the Republican Party and combat the bloated Democratic Majority.

We didn’t agree upon any sort of hierarchy when forming the Maverick pact, but Areus quickly emerged as the de-facto leader amongst our cohort, due to how effectively he networked and how many resources he had at his disposal. I devoted hours of my time towards speaking on the floor against bills, while Areus was establishing contacts across the country. To his credit, he was the one who made the difference in nominating Hatfield over Laxalt, and in securing the House for the Republicans in 1986,” said Eric, with a hint of remorse.

Thad expressed concern, asking, “What is wrong with that? Our party has been in a better position now than at any point in our lifetimes.” Eric sighed. “I grew up hearing stories of how my uncle, Bertrand Snell, was standing athwart the New Deal consensus despite the overwhelming majority that the Democrats had in Congress. His ambition was to be Speaker of the House, but both his own health and the GOP’s political fortunes were ailing, so he had to forego that dream.

Almost fifty years later, the Republicans took control of the House. As Minority Leader, I was in position to become the next Speaker of the House, and realize the dream that my uncle never did. However, Areus desired the Speakership, for the purpose of posturing for the Presidency. He promised that if he could have the Speakership for two years, I could have it for ‘the next eight’ and that I would hold significant sway over the agenda during his presidency. I assented, knowing that he had enough command over the younger Representatives to either take it anyway, or throw the caucus into freefall and elect a Democratic Speaker.

Areus managed to win the Presidency and with it, comfortable margins in both chambers of Congress. What have we done with it, other than environmental legislation and a foreign policy proposal? I understand that this free-trade bill is important, but the President seems reluctant to agree to it without a massive rider. I don’t see him pursuing further tax or entitlement reform in the future. I suppose my worry is that he’s squandering not only my biggest political ambition, but also the best chance we may have at these objectives, and whether I’ve misplaced trust in somebody I thought to be a friend,” said Eric.

“I think that is far from the case. In the time I have known Areus, he’s been an accommodating, if at times aggressive person. I understand where some of your concern is coming from, but I have faith that Areus has the same goals in mind. Perhaps he would be more receptive towards those issues if I were to mention your grievances when I inform him of this agreement?” Thad asked. Eric shook his head. “No. Other than the terms of the deal, I’d like if you kept this conversation between the two of us. I have the feeling that my best shot may be after the mid-term elections,” said Eric.
17  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: June 10, 2016, 12:00:40 am
Don't do it, Eric! 😳

The amnesty, the free trade, or the wall? Tongue
18  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: June 07, 2016, 12:37:14 am
Tempering: 1990

After the big talk that Areus Ho’kee had with the quartet, they concluded the meeting with casual conversation and headed back towards the basement, only to find that most of the company had already left. All that remained were Restique Skinner and Abimelech Delroy, who were enthralled in conversation with two women. Thad felt a pang of panic in his stomach, noticing his date was gone. “Where is Cynthia?” he blurted out. Areus placed a firm hand on Thad’s shoulder. “Relax. It’s nearly three in the morning. She probably went to bed,” he said.

Thad bid his goodbyes and was quick to scurry his way to his new suite. As promised, Cynthia was sound asleep in their bed, and Thad did his best to slink under the covers. Cynthia made no mention of New Year’s Eve and within a few days Thad O’Connor had a message on his answering machine. “Hey, Thad, it’s Eric. Come meet me at the Drunken Dutchman tonight,” it said.

Since Congress was in recess, neither Thad nor Cynthia had any duties to fulfill and the two of them had spent the first few days of the year lounging, reading, and listening to music. Thad received Ericson’s voicemail within an hour. “What are you guys meeting about?” asked Cynthia. “Eric and I are going to be discussing potential legislation. President Areus has figured that I ought to get a better grasp of crafting bills, and that Eric, being a respected congressional leader, would be a good mentor,” said Thad.

Two hours later, Thad was walking through the double-doors of the Drunken Dutchman and spotted Ericson Snell, sitting at a table replete with a large bottle of champagne. “Thad! Good to see you!” he exclaimed. “Thank you, Eric. I’m glad to be meeting you here, and am looking forward to getting my hands dirty with this legislation,” said Thad. He sat down and poured himself a glass from the champagne bottle on the table.

“To be honest with you, I’ve been in Congress since the early 1970’s and I’ve never written any legislation by hand. That’s why we hire staffers, and that’s a sucker’s job. All that we’re going to do tonight is speak about a topic and come to an agreement. Then, we co-sponsor it, meaning we each put a small portion of our reputation at stake by attaching our names to the bill. That’s essentially what Areus had intended for arranging our meeting tonight.

Getting all of that out of the way, something that Areus and I have been trying to come to a deal on is this massive bill about Central and South America. As Speaker of the House, what I’m after is a bill that lifts tariffs, liberalizes trade, and removes almost every other barrier inhibiting commerce between the United States and other countries in the Western Hemisphere, from Canada to Chile. As a fellow traveler, I assume you support that, Thad,” said Eric.

Thad nodded. “Indeed. The free flow of goods is important not only for the consumers of each country, but for the sake of inspiring producers to produce a superior product,” he said. Ericson grinned, responding, “I’m glad that we agree and we’re getting off on the right foot, but surely Areus has sent you here with some other agenda in-hand. What is it?” he asked.

Eric was right. Having been present on the balcony when Eric and Thad planned their meeting, Areus had spoken with Thad the next day about what he expected from this negotiation: amnesty of some form for the millions of illegal aliens that were living in the country. He had assured Thad that anything less would not only meet his swift veto, but also diminish his confidence in Thad.

“Well, the main point that President Areus emphasized was the normalization of the millions of illegal immigrants that currently live in America. He said he would not sign any bill pertaining to South America, so long as it did not right the wrong of our current border situation. I think that it is important we iron out those differences, or else we might be wasting our time in this meeting,” said Thad. Ericson Snell moved his seat back and grimaced. “So what Areus has essentially done here is frame an ultimatum as a negotiation.

Unless I agree to wholesale amnesty of all the illegal immigrants living in the United States, Areus is going to outright veto any legislation I send to his desk. Furthermore, he doesn’t deign to speak with me in person, but sends an emissary to try and deliver this raw deal. I mean no disrespect towards you, Thad, but I’m not feeling very receptive at the moment,” said Eric. Thad did not lose his resolve. “I fail to see how this is a raw deal from the get-go. Liberalization of trade laws is something that you have wanted for some time, and now is arguably the greatest opportunity in your career to get it.

Why is it that some form of amnesty is a non-starter when conjoined to an issue so important to you?” he asked. “The electoral implications of it are horrible. In the Election of 1980, Scoop Jackson and his Democratic Party made a killing because they had set the narrative that Republicans were not only incapable of managing the economy, but also indifferent to the concerns of working class Americans, since we had just fallen on the sword of the Kemp-Roth tax-cut proposal. They subsequently destroyed their own credibility with a massive public works bill that failed to deliver and a war that delivered failure.

In response to the perception of Democrats who were dithering about a solution and Republicans who were indifferent to one, people began to turn toward a third avenue – the Working Man’s Party. Despite a shoestring organization, it managed to cobble eight percent of the vote, driven largely due to anxiety over working class jobs. This resulted in a split of the votes, and is arguably the reason why we have the Presidency and Congress, essentially giving Areus a fresh start. I do not think that marginal voters in places like Ohio and Missouri would have preferred Areus over Bentsen.

What Areus wants to do with his fresh start here – whether he realizes it or not – is toss it to the wind. What sort of message does it send to the average worker if we grant citizenship to eleven million illegal aliens? That this is the same Republican Party of yesteryear? Let’s be honest with ourselves about the current situation. This is a time where unemployment has been high for a decade, income has gone down, and union employees have literally come to blows with their employers.

Meanwhile, these aliens undercut the labor market by working for cheaper wages, and also deprive the government of needed tax revenue. For us to grant these people legitimacy would be communicating to the average American worker that we are indifferent to their economic woes, and that our solution to the problem would be to legitimize it. Furthermore, what favors are we doing ourselves by adding these people? It’s fairly obvious that they would vote overwhelmingly Democratic,” said Eric.

Thad took a gulp of champagne before responding. “In one breath, you extolled the virtues of a historically unprecedented proposal that would lift all trade restrictions that the United States has with nearly every country in the Western Hemisphere, as if the merits of it were not even up for debate. In the next breath, you warned that we ought not grant citizenship to the eleven million illegal aliens that live here, because it may rile the sensibilities of workers who are concerned about their wages and certainty of employment.

In one breath, you do well to remember the Election of 1980: amongst other reasons, Republicans were routed because the economy was poor, and they were perceived as out of touch by championing a tax cut for the rich in the face of rising unemployment, gas prices, and inflation. In the next breath, you seem to lose your memory: President Jackson raised tariffs on foreign imports due to concerns about industry at home. That seems far removed from what you’re advocating here.

It is true that we likely owe our success to the fact that the Working Man’s Party drove a wedge into the electorate. That does not necessarily mean that these voters are ripe for the taking; Paul Laxalt ran a campaign that was built on angry Armstrong voters, protectionists, and disgruntled Democrats. If we are to gain the approval of these voters, it should be through improving the economy, instead of through parochial politics and pandering.

If you’re concerned about the fact that illegal aliens don’t pay revenue, then that is an argument as to why we should give them citizenship: so they can file legally and become taxpayers. The added bonus would be that these people would be allowed to qualify for housing loans and insurance, and can become integrated into our society, instead of keeping their money under the table.

Lastly, the economic conditions of these people are a short-term factor. If we were to spear-head an initiative to grant them citizenship, then there is little doubt that these people would have a natural inclination to vote Republican. Besides, voting is not static: if aliens are granted citizenship and the opportunity to earn an honest living, then they ought to be more inclined to vote our way within a few years, as they normalize into our economy. I fail to see how this is anything other than a win-win for us,” said Thad.

Ericson Snell bit his lip. “You make a good case, Thad. I wasn’t too warm to the idea, but perhaps there’s something to be said for the fact that thousands of people would flee their own country just to be part of the United States. That being said, I’d like to sign onto this deal with the stipulation that this problem never happen again,” said Ericson. “What do you mean?” asked Thad. “We build a wall on the border,” said Eric.
19  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: New Register Thread on: June 03, 2016, 11:26:00 pm
Dallasfan65
Arizona
Arizona Is A Free Nation and Not A Part of Atlasia Party
20  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Unfortunate Son on: June 02, 2016, 10:00:42 pm
So is Mattingly to have the same relationship with Bryan as Reagan did with Ron?
21  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: May 04, 2016, 11:12:12 pm
Don't know why, but the "Lone Rider PAC" makes me chuckle Wink

I know it's cheesy, but I figured with the way Areus had been coming up with the names of some of these projects it was only appropriate. Tongue
22  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: They actually did it, the absolute madmen. on: May 03, 2016, 10:32:24 pm
23  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: May 01, 2016, 09:17:18 pm
Scrimmage: 1989

The party resumed their pleasantries after Areus’ speech. Thad made his way towards Cynthia, who had reservations about attending. “Cynthia, how are you doing, dear?” he asked. She looked into his eyes and flashed a smile. “Better now,” she said. “I must thank you for being in attendance despite your initial resistance,” said Thad, clasping her hands into his own. Thad had developed an aversion to attachment given his personal relationships, but this was the most secure he had felt in a long time.

This moment of warmth was stopped short by a chilling grip on his shoulder. Thad looked up to see an Areus Ho’kee red in both his face and his eyes. “Thad, I’ve got to speak with you and a few of the others for a bit. You don’t mind, right Cynthia?” he asked. Cynthia politely nodded her head to indicate her say-so, and Thad looked on at her apologetically as he was whisked away by Areus.

Areus draped his arm over Thad’s shoulder, leading him to an entourage that consisted of Lawrence Coventry, Eric Snell, and Ralph Stevenson; all familiar faces. “Gentlemen, I’ve got a few things that I’d like to talk to you about alone. Why don’t we head out to the balcony?” asked Areus, before leading the men out of the room. They walked up the staircase and down a long hallway, finally exiting onto a large balcony, overlooking the Potomac River. Thad peered into the river, staring at the reflection of a gibbous moon.

“This is an area that has been intimate to my heart, and I feel comfort sharing it with you four,” said Areus. Thad took a moment to look around: while the balcony offered a nice view of the river, it was a relatively small structure for a party of five, and had only been outfitted with wicker chairs and tables. “In the basement, I alluded to a great political undertaking, but it’s only an area like this where I feel comfortable divulging particular details to those it may concern,” said Areus.

Ericson Snell stood up in objection. “We spent much time and many resources getting you elected to the Oval Office, one of the most extravagant buildings in the United States. However, when it comes to discussing intimate political matters, you opt for your estate, which is neither outfitted with the protection of Secret Service nor the comfort of taxpayer-funded luxury seating?” he asked.

Areus laughed. “Always eager to see the inside of the White House!” Snell recoiled a bit. “No, you’ve raised some valid points. I’ve only slept for a spell in the White House myself. I find the presence of the Secret Service suffocating, and try to keep as much of a distance from it as possible. Furthermore, I feel more at ease discussing matters with you in my own backyard,” he said.

Eric ceded the argument. “So, what brings us here?” he asked. Areus smiled. “Well, as I announced in the basement, I’m going to be unveiling the Lone Rider Political Action Committee. Political Action Committees are ostensibly structured to be focuses on issues, rather than candidates. I know that this sounds like small ball politics, but please listen to me.

Since Jackson’s re-election, we’ve launched an investigation focused on the donations from private companies to state affiliates and national campaigns. However, campaign laws say nothing about donations towards issue advocacy groups. As long as we dot our I’s and cross our T’s, we can effectively use the Lone Rider PAC as a community pool of assets. The donations are not directly traceable to anybody, and it can function as a slush fund,” said Areus.

Thad, Lawrence, Eric, and Ralph all stared at Areus uncomfortably, whom did a double-take before glaring back in disgust. “Do not kid me here. Let’s look at the biggest donors to Scoop Jackson’s bid: Big Agriculture, Big Energy, Big Labor, and Big Military. Without ever tipping their hand, they disfigured public policy and made millions in the process. My reasoning is that if we are to combat these forces, then we might as well use some chicanery of our own,” he said.

Eric was quick to respond. “My fear is that undue campaign donations and legislative abuse go hand-in-hand. Consider Scoop Jackson’s agriculture bill: it was basically an omnibus of free money for the districts of embattled Democratic congressmen. In similar fashion, my investigation shows a strong relationship between several defense industry companies and Jackson’s reelection campaign.

Lastly, you campaigned against, and have tasked me to clamp down on, pork barrel spending in Congress. How can I be expected to keep pork to a minimum when we’ve opened up the floodgates to all sorts of donors? It seems that we’re not only contradicting our own message, but also setting ourselves up for electoral failure,” he said.

“At the end of the day, government failure can be attributed to a degree of ineptitude. As Speaker of the House, I expect you to have each bill reviewed carefully, regardless of the circumstances, just to ensure that excessive spending isn’t reaching my desk. I’m also going to uphold the integrity of this Political Action Committee by hiring the most scrupulous staffers, and by meeting every prospective donor in person before the transaction takes place. Now, before I continue on, are all of you on board with this?” Areus asked.

After a brief silence, the room nodded. “The most important part of this endeavor will be the division of authority. I’ve gathered you out here on this porch because I trust you men above all others in executing these responsibilities. I understand that other than Snell, none of you are financial experts, which is why I’ve hired bookkeepers for each of you. What I’m asking you to do is scout out the next generation of Maverick-minded politicians, and build a foundation.

Lawrence, you are arguably the safest incumbent in the nation. You represent a Republican state, have no organized opposition, and are not up for re-election for years. I am tasking you to scout out talent for the Senate elections in 1990 and 1992, and I am authorizing two million dollars in funds from the Lone Rider PAC,” said Ho’kee. Lawrence nodded in compliance, saying, “I’ll try and do the best I can.”

Ho’kee looked on to Ericson Snell. “Eric, it has long been your dream to be Speaker of the House, but you have only gotten to enjoy the responsibilities of that position for a year. My directive to you is that you scout the country and try to find as many Maverick-minded candidates for the House as possible. I am authorizing five million dollars in funds to be spent at your discretion. I understand it will be difficult to juggle the duties of Speaker and of recruiting premier talent.” Ericson Snell nodded. “You’ve given quite the assignment, but I’ll do the best I can to further the cause,” he said.

Areus stared at Thad and Ralph Stevenson after Eric’s statement. “At last, but not at least, we’ve got to pay deference to local politics. If we’re going to get a leg up on these other factions in the Republican Party, then our best bet is to start early.  Ralph, I understand that you’re busy, but I’m offering up one and a quarter million dollars to you to help influence some of the local elections up in the New England area. You would arguably have the freest reign, owing to the diversity of elective office in the region,” said Areus.

Ralph smiled. “It sounds like an interesting challenge. I’m young myself, but I would love to get new talent on board and shape the future in the same fashion that Thad recruited me,” said Ralph. Thad was dismayed and disappointed, having not been called on. “Areus, you have assembled us to discuss the future movements of our cause, and have conspicuously delegated responsibility to everyone here except me. Is there reason for this?” asked Thad.

“I didn’t intend for you to take this as a slight, Thad. I was just trying to place people where their talents are best suited,” explained Areus. For the first time in years, Thad was unsatisfied with Areus’ answer. “You invited the four of us to speak with you in full confidence about how we were going to support and elect those that think like us. You assigned duties to three of us: Ralph, Lawrence, and Eric. I have been left out. What gives?” asked Thad.

“I don’t mean to be back-handed here, but I don’t have faith in your ability to act as an overseer for a region in the way that Ralph or Coventry does. You barely even have your own residence; I wouldn’t ask you to micromanage our political operations across six states,” said Areus. Thad was visibly hurt by this remark, but kept his resolve. “All of that being said, why would you invite me along if I were to be removed from your machinations?” he asked. “Well, Thad, it wouldn’t be very neighborly of me if I didn’t invite you,” Areus chuckled. “On a more serious note, I invited you because I have the utmost level of trust in you.

Yes, the ostensible reason why I invited the four of you out here was to discuss our plans for flipping the national chessboard toward our favor. I don’t have strong faith in your ability to network on a large enough scale to flip the Northeast. However, you remain a valuable asset toward the future of the Maverick cause in other respects: You care deeply about certain issues. You were in the Senate for less than a full term, but committed yourself to a colossal filibuster when it came time to vote to fund the Iran War. You gave a long speech against the Senate’s agricultural bill.

Under the best of circumstances, I will be in office until 1997, and that matter itself is an uncertainty. Lawrence and Eric are both brilliant and accomplished statesmen, but there is no guarantee as to how they would fare on a national stage. Coming from a humble background, you are raw, but I have noticed flashes of brilliance in you, and I think you could be polished to be an eventual successor to our cause.

Eric, I know that you’ve been growing impatient when it comes to having the House legislate conservative causes. What I want you to do is spend time with Thad, and co-sponsor with him a bill normalizing free trade with the most of the Western Hemisphere. I want Thad to have his first experience advocating his own legislation, and also to get him more comfortable with Congressional leadership,” said Areus.

Eric smiled. “That sounds like a great opportunity to get to work and get to know you better,” said Eric, as he glanced over at Thad. “It’s getting late now, but I’d like for us to meet up in a few days’ time to get better acquainted. Dinner and drinks are on me.”
24  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: April 19, 2016, 12:48:24 am
In Irons: 1989

All eyes were on Areus Ho’kee after he quieted the room. “Thank you. I apologize if I’ve interrupted any conversations with my outburst, but you guys will have all night to talk. This is a matter that pertains to all of you and will affect your careers, so I insist that you pay attention,” said Areus. He paused to walk over to the bar, where he could stand at a higher elevation.

“Before I get started, I would like to appreciate what we have accomplished in the past year. With only a fifth of support in the Republican Party and low funding, we managed to overcome several stalwarts running for the presidential nomination. Despite the fact that we were a political minority, we managed to secure not only control of Congress, but also its leadership positions. We also managed to win the Presidency itself; despite the fact that we were running against an incumbent President, and with an insurgent party nipping at our heels.

The convergence of all of these facts leads to one reality: for the first time since Eisenhower was President, we enjoy control of the Executive office and both chambers of Congress. However, I cannot take all of the credit for this, as I’ve had a fantastic supporting cast during my career in politics,” said Areus, before raising his wine glass. “We shall have a toast for each name that I mention,” he continued. The room nodded, each member paying closer attention to their drink.

“One person that I owe this success to is Lawrence Coventry, for his eloquence, creativity, and networking skills in the Senate. Another person I am indebted to is Ericson Snell: not only for his selflessness, but for his austere nature, and blunting my radical edge at times. A third person I would like to thank is Thad O’Connor: his stalwart advocacy against the Iran War, farm subsidies, and other issues, gave coherence and substance to our message,” Areus paused, and the room enjoyed a toast for each man mentioned.

“Lastly, I would also like to grant accolades to Mayor Abimelech Delroy. While not in a position to be bending the curve of federal law, he nonetheless is the chief executive of the largest city in America, and has been pushing more avant-garde ideas like single-housing zoning. This cannot be understated, as it could be the blueprint of our political future.” Areus paused, staring on at Abimelech Delroy like a father doting on his son, while the rest of the room toasted. “Thanks to these individuals, amongst countless others, we managed to wrest control of the government. We prevailed, not because we had the most chips, but because we had the strongest hand. We won, not by strength in numbers, but by wit, bluffing, and dint of circumstance.

These accomplishments have left me with exuberance and pride, but they are far from enough if we hope to achieve anything of permanence. Lawrence, Eric, and I got our posts while the Republican Party was reeling from its defeat in 1978. While we were the victors in 1988, our opposition was a sclerotic Democratic Party and an upstart Working Man’s Party; each feasting on the carrion of their support bases.

It is only a matter of time before another message rises up to compete with us for the ballot of the layman, which is why it is time that we organize. One reason why I have invited all of you here tonight is so that you may share dialogue, get to know each other, and form a broad consensus. A second reason why I have gathered you all is to announce the formation of our flagship: the Lone Rider Political Action Committee!” Areus vociferated the last bit, only to be met with dim enthusiasm and delayed applause.

Undaunted by the mellow response, he went on to elaborate: “The Lone Rider Political Action Committee is a political advocacy group that will be indirectly forwarding the efforts of many candidates, all of which owe their allegiance to the Mavericks. It is to be an organization independent of any individual candidate, and instead focused on pushing a narrative for a national campaign.

This is important, because it will help us tip the scales in Congress towards our own interests. While these years past have been the ones where we have managed to steal leadership positions, let this one be known as the year where we tossed the anchors overboard, severed the chains, and never looked back. We need to rid ourselves of deadweight, even if that means primarying fellow Republicans.

In summation, I’ve gathered you here for two reasons: first, to announce that we’re constructing a massive campaign network to elect Mavericks nationwide, and secondly, for all of you to get better acquainted. With that being said, please enjoy yourselves the rest of the evening!”
25  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Dust In The Wind on: April 15, 2016, 10:20:48 pm
The Salt Ring: 1989
Thad and Cynthia spent the next few days moving their possessions from their respective offices and into the quarters that Areus had granted them in his estate. Since the couple’s big move coincided with Congress’ Christmas vacation, the two of them took ample time to furnish the new living space to their liking. Thad had moved every beer and whiskey bottle of his into the refrigerator, while Cynthia had packed the dresser drawers and burnt incense.

Areus Ho’kee had hosted a New Year’s Eve party in his estate every year since his election to Congress. Since his election to the Senate, Thad O’Connor had been invited to each of those parties, either by voicemail or letter. However, this year the host was more direct with his invitation: he briskly knocked on the bedroom door three times, rousing the couple from their sleep. Thad rushed toward the door to answer, opening it up just a crack.

“What is the matter?” he asked, staring at Areus Ho’kee through the small slit. “Tonight we’re having another New Year’s Eve Party. There are some stars on the cusp of brilliance that will be in attendance tonight, and we’ve got some huge news to break that will have big implications on the next session of Congress, as well as the mid-term campaign. I trust that you and your wife will attend,” said Areus.

“Do not worry, we shall be there,” said Thad. Areus nodded, before shutting the door. Cynthia glared at Thad, most of her face buried under the covers in shame. “You’re quick to make promises for the two of us, and I’m not actually you’re wife!” she growled. Thad slumped back into bed in an attempt to console Cynthia. “Sweetheart, you’re living in the same building where the event is being held. The booze is free, and the people most sympathetic to our cause are going to be there. I am going to be there. Unless you’ve got to catch up on sleep, there is no reason not to go,” said Thad.

After a few minutes of thought, Cynthia acquiesced, and it wasn’t before long that the two of them were stepping into the lobby of Areus’ estate. Thad had opted for a black suit jacket, while Cynthia wore a light purple dress with matching earrings. When he entered, Thad observed a bevy of political figures: in one corner, Ericson Snell had congregated with James Garner, Ralph Stevenson, Alice Luce, and a stranger. The tall Lawrence Coventry and Melliflia had been engaged with half a dozen people, while Areus Ho’kee, Abimelech Delroy, and Restique Skinner had been captivated by their own group.

Despite Thad’s best efforts to remain low-key, it was as if Areus had a sensor which detected his presence. “Now this meeting is complete. It’s Thad O’Connor, one of the most important members of the Senate!” exclaimed Areus. He rushed over to Thad, hugging and kissing both he and Cynthia. “I’m glad you guys were able to make it tonight. I’ll get down to the importance of this meeting in a bit, but please make yourselves comfortable first,” said Areus.

Thad quickly fixed himself a stiff whiskey and coke at the bar, while Cynthia poured herself a glass of wine. The couple headed towards Snell’s clique, where Ralph was quick to greet Thad. “Thad, it’s really good to see you man,” he said. Ralph pulled them both in with one arm on each of their backs, exclaiming, “We’ve almost got the entire Maine delegation here!” The clique laughed.

James Garner interjected himself, proffering a hand to Thad. “It’s been awhile, my friend,” he said. Thad looked up towards the tall Texan, who was imposing as ever, but had grown a scruffy beard and looked to be ten pounds heavier. “I am doing quite well! I have to say, your situation looked quite precarious there. I was nervous,” said Thad.

Garner laughed. “Yeah, that election was a close one. I probably only got in because Griffin made the run-off instead of Mauro, which is the second time I’ve skirted by on a run-off. Honestly, as far as Texas is concerned, I think Republicans can only rely on the dysfunction of the state’s Democratic Party for so long before they get their ducks in a row,” said Garner.

“James, no need to be pessimistic,” said Snell. “Jackson’s ascendancy may have obscured the numbers a bit, but there’s been a latent constituency in the South for Republicans to tap into that’s only growing. In your own Texas, cities like Houston and Dallas have become Republican anchors, and who knows where we could expand.” Garner shook his head, responding, “That dog won’t hunt. The areas you just described are pretty much the high watermark for Republicans, and it ain’t enough. If you were to bolster Republican support in Texas, the best way of going about that would be to get on the right side of the immigration issue.”

“I disagree quite a bit,” drawled a voice. Thad O’Connor looked over towards the stranger in their presence; he was six feet tall, with a husky build. His complexion was ruddy, his yellow teeth clenched a spent cigar, and his eyes glared with intensity as he spoke. His thinning hair betrayed either his age or stress. “Having been on the ground down there, it’s obvious that there are Southern voters willing to vote Republican.

The South is growing because of the discovery of oil, both domestic and offshore. The South is also growing because of the staggering regulatory environment in Northern states: people are setting up shop here because it’s more conducive for business, and the locals need jobs. Nixon swept the South not too long ago, and before our nadir in the Eighties we were electing Governors and Senators for the first time since Reconstruction.”

There was an uncomfortable silence among the group, but Eric was quick to ease the tension. “So, for those of you who don’t know, this is Sam Calhoun. Do you care to introduce yourself to the group, Sam?” he asked. “Sure. Not to sound like a stump speech, but my background is that I was part of an oil drilling company invested in Oklahoma. I ran for a seat in the Oklahoma State Senate after the price of gas went up, and have since been involved in Maverick politics. Now I’m running for a House seat,” said Sam.

It was only a few seconds later that Areus sought the attention of the room. “Everybody! I’d like to have your attention please!” he shouted, and the whole room fell silent.
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