TLIAW: Against the Grain

This is a fascinating write-up of the whole thing. Definitely going some very fucking weird places and I am all for it....I am not entirely sure why Briscoe even bothered to run for President in 1976 to be frank, he seems to have checked out of the presidency right out of the gate. Still, 1980's going to be a real shitshow, at least that's my take.
This is a fascinating write-up of the whole thing. Definitely going some very fucking weird places and I am all for it....I am not entirely sure why Briscoe even bothered to run for President in 1976 to be frank, he seems to have checked out of the presidency right out of the gate. Still, 1980's going to be a real shitshow, at least that's my take.
I considered having him not do so, but he had pretty much the same approach to being Governor of Texas OTL, and he ran for reelection twice then. He seems to have wanted to hold the office more than he actually wanted to do anything with it.
Lol ITTL Guns and Roses name their album Indian Democracy hehehe
I posted this on another thread but, if a movie is made about Briscoe's presidency, I can see Paul Sorvino (most known for Goodfellas, although he had many more solid roles than that) playing Briscoe, as there is a resemblance between them. (1)

Good to have Uvalde be known for something better than...what happened in May of 2022.

(1) Funnily enough, Sorvino starred on Law and Order as Chris Noth's partner (Phil Cerrata) before he left and was replaced by Jerry Orbach, who played...Lennie Briscoe, probably the most popular character in that universe, IMO...
Love Sorvino…he was a perfect Kissinger in Nixon

Who would you foresee directing the Briscoe film…and no you can’t say Oliver Stone
On February 28, 1975, while a procession carrying Chatterjee and several other high-ranking members of the urban and provincial governments crossed the Howrah Bridge, a bomb exploded, seriously damaging the bridge and killing Chatterjee and 39 other people.
I see the Indian Civil War being a BIG issue in the 80s pulling in support from all directions and all political persuasions.


An early internet system with at least 20 million hooked up by the start of the 80's and a long delayed Indian Civil War finally starting. There truly is both good and bad in this TL so far.
Perhaps Nancy Landon too. The daughter of Alf Landon might do a good liberal republican president as counterpart of Eleanor Roosevelt.
I'm still expecting President Harvey Milk - either in 1980 or 1984. Or maybe a Glenn/Milk ticket in 84?
Eh, he'd only be a SanFran City Councilor or at most Mayor by then. Maybe he could run for Governor in '82 instead of Tom Bradley and then maybe later Senate. Could definitely see Milk as a plausible presidential candidate in 1992 or 2000.
Perhaps Nancy Landon too. The daughter of Alf Landon might do a good liberal republican president as counterpart of Eleanor Roosevelt.
Good idea though she'd be known as Nancy Kassabaum since she didn't want to have her father's reputation weigh down her political career.
39. Gordon Liddy (C-NY), 1981-1989
39. Gordon Liddy (Conservative-NY)
January 20, 1981 - January 20, 1989

“A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.”

Political legend holds that, on the first day of his first congressional term in 1965, Gordon Liddy held his hand on a lit candle for over a minute in front of his entire office. One young intern threw up from the scent of burned flesh, and his newly-hired chief of staff frantically asked him why. Liddy then clarified that there was a lesson to it, the lesson being that “you just have to not mind the pain if you want to get anything done.”

As soon as George Gordon Battle Liddy graduated from Fordham Law he leapt straight to the FBI. Developing a reputation as an energetic - if somewhat reckless - agent, he found his way to prominence in the decentralized post-Hoover agency as the youngest district director in Bureau history, even making an impression on Justice Hoover. Liddy’s ambitions were beyond simple law enforcement, though. Retiring from his post in the New York FBI in 1963, Liddy dropped into a house seat around his chosen home of Poughkeepsie and cruised to Congress amidst Cord Meyer’s landslide. While responsible for few pieces of legislation, Liddy made a name for himself as a bombastic performer, even facing a formal reprimand by Speaker Celler for bringing a revolver onto the floor during a debate on gun reform. However, having bored of legislating by 1973, Liddy set his sights on Albany. Only problem was, Nelson Rockefeller was already there and intent on re-election. Liddy ran nonetheless, railing against spiraling crime rates, high corruption, and Rockefeller’s repeated embarrassments to his party. When the dust settled, Liddy was setting up shop in Albany and New York Republicanism had lost its liberal streak.

On November 3rd, 1976, Republican and National leadership alike took stock and realized they had cost each other the election. Had Bob Dornan been endorsed by both parties, he would have been the one sworn in for the beginning of America’s third century - and it wouldn’t have been close. Instead, Dolph Briscoe had returned to office on the backs of the divisions in the conservative movement. There was a simple conclusion that many conservatives had made: the two right-wing parties were simply unable to defeat the Democrats on their own.

“Unite the right” was a salient rallying cry to core supporters - incidentally one Gordon Liddy adopted wholeheartedly as he had successfully sought both the Republican and National nominations for both of his statewide campaigns - but that didn’t ease the tensions. The main hitch was, simply, everything about fusing a primarily humanist liberal-conservative party to one dominated by hardline conservatives. By 1977, they were parties two and three in Congress respectively, returning Charles Goodell’s center-right plurality to the minority under a Democratic-majority House and a Democratic-plurality Senate. The Republicans, despite their Buckleyite turn after the liberals’ embarrassment under Meyer and Rockefeller, were still the larger, more established, more moderate party. They knew that reaching out would only be met with indignation by the smaller, more ideological party. So they waited for the Nationals to come to them. To his ego’s credit, Strom Thurmond held out for nearly nine months before sending the young National Whip Newton Gingrich to formally begin negotiations. As 1977 rolled into 1978, back-and-forth discussions yielded a common interest in some form of consistent power-sharing agreement at minimum. But it was William Rusher and Harvey Atwater who pushed further. Rusher, a Buckleyite Republican through and through, and Atwater, Strom Thurmond’s jalapeno-chomping chief of staff, saw an opportunity for something greater than simple power-sharing. They saw a movement’s rebirth. After long nights of work in a Georgetown townhouse, their masterpiece was completed. Under their agreement, the parties would hold a joint midterm convention - the first of many as other parties began to hold platform conventions in midterm years - where they would vote to dissolve themselves and join the new Conservative Party. The leadership supported the new agreement, and other than a loud protest by Ralph Nader, soon to set the record for number of different partisan affiliations held by a member of Congress as he bounced from Republican to Independent to founder of the short-lived Ecology Party to Democratic all while retaining the same Senate seat, large majorities of both parties’ committees agreed to finally unite the right.

The new Conservatives, proven right by their comfortable sweeps of both houses of Congress in 1978, now had the uncharted waters of a presidential primary campaign to navigate. The main worry was that one faction would dominate the other, rendering the merger a takeover and driving a wedge through the fledgling party. But where party leaders saw strife, Gordon Liddy saw opportunity. Interviews on Meet The Press, articles singing his praises in the National Review, and the first-ever dedicated campaign wolumn quickly drummed up the conservative base into thinking he was the one. Critical acceptance of Wide Awake National Captain H. L. Richardson’s endorsement caused many anti-communists to see Liddy as one of their own, building a devout base of support that never truly left him. A rousing win for Liddy in the early Ohio primary cut Arne Carlson’s legs out from under him, eliminating the candidate of the Stassenites. Anti-communist immigrants in the exurban south - the result of reactionary southern governments volunteering to resettle them as a show of solidarity in the struggle against communism - were some of Liddy’s fiercest backers in the region, especially remembering Helms’ opposition to resettlement for more recent, less European waves of refugees. Bob Dornan’s endorsement a week before the California primary sealed the deal, and by the time the first Conservative National Convention arrived in Houston, Gordon Liddy was the party’s candidate.

After twelve years of Democratic government and only four of them earned via a genuine popular majority, it was clear to most observers how the election would go. Vice President Metcalfe ruled out a run, publicly due to a near-fatal heart attack he had suffered in 1979 but privately because he believed that he would not win and a black nominee’s loss would be a larger setback than gain. This left the party scrambling, and Hubert Humphrey, always the bridesmaid, was all too happy to save them. While a respected Democratic leader, to many observers Humphrey was yesterday’s news, a supposed reformer prescribing yesterday’s solutions. Furthermore, despite his Rooseveltian bona fides, his full employment proposal and qualified support for interventionist foreign policy moves made him a hard sell to swaths of the Democratic electorate. Compared to a man who infamously characterized himself as “virile, vigorous, and potent,” Humphrey seemed like a political dinosaur who fit the party of Franklin Roosevelt more than he did the modern party. George Moscone only worsened the Democrats’ problems, having gained national accolades for his calm defusing of the San Francisco ILWU strike. But in a broader sense, America’s problems were not just that of economic relief to many, even if inflation was on the minds of many Americans. Strikes by farm and factory workers plus spiraling crime rates saw a swath of America feel a loss of control that they could not shake. White Americans saw minorities gaining influence and equality and felt that their influence had subsequently dissipated. Liddy promised control, to bring back the rule of law and give the rioters, crooks, and mooches what they deserved. Under him, America would be America again.


Liddy immediately channeled his vigor into the economy. His conservative economic advisors saw inflation and militant unions as two issues that could plunge the national economy into a pit it may never emerge from, and so they prescribed a solution. Today, those solutions may differ in name based on location - the Greenspan Program, Keithonomics, what Newfoundland’s colorful Prime Minister John Crosbie dubbed “short-term pain for long-term gain” - but they all share the same values of tight budgeting, inflation hawkery, and low tax rates designed to increase the amount of money in circulation. Within a matter of weeks, Milton Friedman’s Federal Reserve had forced interest rates to their highest in decades, curbing inflation in the long run but turning the late-70s downturn into a nasty recession. The Buckley-Laffer Act came about from this as the most significant fiscal reform since the New Deal. While provisions aimed at a major defense buildup were quickly removed due to the sheer backlash from military leadership who had grown accustomed to a small, professional, high-tech force, the bill still slashed tax rates to the lowest they had been in decades and sold off the family jewels accordingly. Government research centers opened under Roosevelt and Wallace became privately-run for-profit enterprises under a wave of controversial privatization efforts, increasing the production of consumer goods arguably at the cost of genuine increases to Americans’ quality of life.

To say that organized labor was irritated by the downturn and subsequent unemployment was an understatement. They had just rediscovered their teeth, and new labor reformers saw an openly hostile government as something to be opposed. The industrial NCOW rose at once, plunging the Midwest into a long strike until the pay cuts and layoffs stopped. President Liddy’s response from the South Lawn stunned Americans. Flanked by Attorney General Rehnquist and Secretary of Labor Rumsfeld, Liddy announced his intent to send in law enforcement to break the strikes, referring to the strikers as “holding the nation’s economy hostage with their temper tantrum.” Sights of cops punching steelworkers galvanized sympathy for the strikers on the left and ensured that Liddy’s death was practically a regional holiday, but the steep decline of Midwestern industry throughout the decade marched on.

The rejection of the New Deal consensus as it were was not the sole focus of the early Liddy administration. There were significant government reforms that the Conservative trifecta needed to handle - in particular the judiciary. While the 1973 law had ensured that the Supreme Court would be less entrenched, federal judgeships remained life appointments, and with so many of them liberals appointed by Democrats over the last fifty years, southern Conservatives wished to put an end to “activist” jurisprudence. To that end they conceived of the Judicial Term Limits Act, a bill that would enforce ten-year term limits for federal judgeships, with the sole exception of the Supreme Court as its terms were laid out in the 1973 law. With the party-line passage of the JTLA, Gordon Liddy was ultimately able to reshape the federal judiciary with near-constant appointments.

The president’s bread and butter was crime, though. He had first run for governor on the slogan “Gordon Liddy doesn’t bail them out, he puts them in,” and fully intended to continue making good on this as president. To this end, he went on the warpath against crime. Police recruiting was massively increased along with federal funding for police departments. Anti-drug laws were tightened to increase sentencing for possession and sales. Repeat offenders were to be given higher sentences for no other reason than repeat offenses. State surveillance powers were jacked up considerably, with rules surrounding warrants for FBI wiretaps and digital tracing loosened and the NIA given unchecked funding for mass surveillance programs. While a digital investigation by The Watchdog’s Gary Webb unveiled massive amounts of money flowing between the incarceration industry and the Liddy administration in 1988, the prison-industrial complex had already become entrenched in American life.

Not only was the New Deal consensus rejected, the Wallace Doctrine arguably died on January 20, 1981. Liddy’s team promoted an alternative geopolitical model. Dubbed the Chessboard Theory by presidential advisor Irving Kristol, it simply stated that mutual coexistence was not an assumption that could be made. The Soviets saw the world as a chessboard and were determined to win the game, and the United States must respond in kind if liberal democracy is to survive communism. With public distrust of the Soviets so high, Chessboard Theory supporters became a driving force in foreign policy, with everyone from Kristol to Secretary of State Phyllis Schlafly publicly treating them as a true opponent who must be kept from gaining control of new pieces on the board. General-Secretary Vladimir Semichastny, a KGB man and firm believer to match Liddy, was all too eager to respond in kind. Addressing western dignitaries at a 1982 conference in Berlin, Semichastny publicly greeted Liddy with a simple question: “shall we play a game?” Placing the beginning of the Cold War remains a historical debate, but there is no doubt that it had begun in earnest by 1981.

The first piece to be taken was Turkey. In late 1981, a Turkish election yielded a left-wing minority government reliant on the socialist-to-communist Demokratik Sol Parti, or Democratic Left, to govern. The CHP-DSP coalition had taken an avowedly neutral stance despite Turkey’s engagement in the European Federation, negotiating a treaty with the nearby Soviets to allow for greater trade and Soviet access to the Bosphorus. To the anti-communists in Washington, this was simply unacceptable. To nationalist military members, this was equally unacceptable. So, after assent of American support found its way to the military offices, General Nurettin Ersin overthrew the Ecevit government, instituted a “return to Kemalist principle,” and closed the Bosphorus to the Soviets. An enraged Politburo retaliated with the Comintern Petroleum Exporting Nations Committee (ComPENC) voting to raise prices for the western bloc, beginning an immediate gas shortage.

Liddy reacted decisively to the gas shortage. Temporary rationing was implemented to prevent riots at gas stations, with officers assigned to stations to protect supplies. Addressing the nation, Liddy announced his intent to increase funding for development of alternative fuel sources for automobiles, the privatization of public transportation systems to increase efficiency, and the negotiation of increased oil trade within the American continents. Cheap oil from the kingdoms of Libya and Egypt temporarily aided in increasing supply in exchange for influence that would only grow with time. Despite the eleventh-hour end of rationing that October, there were still too many crises. Anger at the heavy-handed federal response to the strikes galvanized a regional surge for the Citizens’ Party, by far the party of choice for the Sadlowskis, Frasers, and Yablonskis of the world, with the latter’s son Chip Yablonski winning a notable Senate race in Pennsylvania. Elsewhere, exurban districts that had enthusiastically backed Liddy in 1980 turned on him over the bad economy and sky-high gas prices. Democrats cemented their dominance not just in the cities but in the cities outside the cities, with even Gordon Liddy’s longtime New York City-adjacent base flipping Democratic for the first time in twenty years. However, the Democrats alone fell just shy of their own majority in Congress, and thus began coalition talks. It was an easy pitch to form an anti-Liddy popular front, with left-wing Democrat and Atlanta Congressman Hosea Williams as the first black Speaker.

The loss of Congress did little to stymie the Liddy agenda abroad. Throughout the late 70s and early 80s, America was hardly the only nation to elect a right-wing government. Figures like France’s Michel Poniatowski, Korea’s Chung Ju-yung, and Australia’s James Killen all defeated left-wing governments, and Yukio Mishima’s right-wing nationalist Japan Restoration Party was denied its own government by an unwieldy Democratic-Socialist-Liberal coalition. The Gold Tide hit most strongly in Latin America, though. The Good Neighbor Policy, adopted by Roosevelt but continued from Wallace to Briscoe, had meant that left-wing developmentalist governments took power relatively unmolested throughout the continent, maintaining a relatively steady democratic trend for nearly 30 years. The goals of such policies, otherwise known as an emergent Latin American middle class, saw no need for the continuation of the leftist governments that made them viable and wished to be able to turn their newfound prosperity into greater success. Furthermore, the new occupant of the White House saw even democratic Marxism as a danger to American influence over their bloc. Operation Ropera began as Director of National Intelligence Howard Hunt’s international program, designed to influence Latin American elections to ensure that the people would vote for the right candidate. While there was no proof of outright rigging and liberal-conservative governments like that of Brazil’s Antônio Ermírio de Moraes were legitimately popular throughout the decade, left-wing groups often faced harassment and even detainment by American operatives in an attempt to disrupt their organizations. In staunchly socialist Chile, Ropera operatives actively took part in campaigning for Friedman protege José Piñera, aiding in incumbent socialist Orlando Letelier’s defeat and, allegedly, his post-presidential assassination. The end result was that, as 1983 rolled into 1984, governments promising significant deregulation and privatization held power across South America, with the sole exception of Bolivia’s Marxist president Juan Lechín, who survived over 70 assassination attempts and a near-coup during his decades-long tenure as president, dying instead of a stroke in his bed in 1996.

It was, as was often the case in the postwar world, in Africa where the chess match continued. The British Dominion of South Africa had been encouraged by Tony Benn to abandon apartheid in 1976. The Dominion responded by unilaterally declaring itself an independent republic, electing Andries Treurnicht as its first and only State President, and doubling down on apartheid further. In response, the MK began its full-fledged guerrilla campaign, beginning what would become the South African War of Liberation. By 1983, Benn was gone and while Keith Joseph was hardly a supporter of apartheid, he was not inclined to allow a revolutionary communist like Chris Hani - who had quickly coalesced the entire ANC around him in the early months of the Unilateral Republic - to win either. Liddy and his international staff agreed quite strongly with this assessment. South Africa was one of the largest economies on the continent, only barely ahead of the DRC. So, while everyone except segregated Rhodesia - and even they were only years shy of ending minority rule themselves - were unwilling to provide open support to an apartheid regime for fear of domestic backlash, a joint NIA-MI6 operation known as Operation Savannah began to provide training and resources to South African government forces. With Holden Roberto’s grudging approval, Angolan bases on the South African border were taken over by western intelligence agencies, converting them into training camps for white partisans. Even a regiment of Wide Awakes calling themselves the Lincoln Corps without even a single shred of awareness of the irony in that found their way to Angolan training and ultimately fought for the South African government, terrorizing suspected communists across the nation. Though Hani’s faction ultimately emerged victorious, the war would last for nearly a decade and become a cause celebre of student demonstrations and Wide Awake chapter meetings alike.

While South Africa began to burn, India sat ready to reignite. The Bhutto regime had maintained order at gunpoint, or at least it had seemed so. In reality, martial law had taken its toll on the nation. At first it had been largely limited to separatist regions, but as insurgent attacks diffused across the nation, Bhutto’s grip tightened on the entire nation. By 1983, nearly the entirety of India was under some form of martial law. While Bhutto retained a loyal core of supporters - one that would ultimately enable his daughter Benazir to hold his very office nearly two decades later - Indians increasingly grew to despise the heavy hand, especially aided by the clear uneven distribution of military policing. All that fuel needed was a spark, and a spark would come in the form of military police firing on peaceful protesters at the Golden Temple. Within a day, every major city in the Punjab fell to protests, and after further military violence against the crowds, the protests spread to engulf India demanding the end to martial law. While content to weather the storm, the Indian military soon came to Bhutto demanding his resignation in order to spare the nation further pain. Ultimately, Bhutto resigned his office during a televised address, allowing Deputy Prime Minister Jagjivan Ram to succeed him and announce an end to all occupation and the implementation of constitutional reforms. For a brief moment, India seemed to have emerged from its crisis securely. Then Ram traveled to Amritsar to sign the new constitution, a sign of healing from the protest that had ended martial law. Ram left Amritsar in a closed casket, the result of an attack by Khalistan liberationists who saw a compromising federal government as no better than a Bhuttoist one. The first phase of the civil war may have been quelled, but it was surely not over as the Punjab Insurgency had begun.

Despite the American commitment to being a good neighbor and a first-among-equals within the bounds of the Monroe Doctrine, they refused to yield on one pressure point: the Panama Canal. Now Boris Martinez, Panama’s left-nationalist president, sought to resolve that point. While negotiations had begun in earnest with Briscoe in 1979, they had failed due to distractions at home and Briscoe’s dithering on just how alienating canal repatriation could truly be, and then the new administration had proven so obstinate as to shatter the talks completely. But “Colonel Boris,” as it turned out, was hardly one to take no for an answer, especially as his grip on power seemed to shake under an economic downturn. Americans awoke on November 3rd - the anniversary of Panamanian independence from Colombia - to find Panamanian troops in the Canal Zone, claiming that it was their rightful land. Americans in the zone numbered in the thousands, and after a battle with the American troops there, those who didn’t escape were taken captive or simply shot for showing resistance. To say that this drove Americans into a frenzy was an understatement. A large contingent of Democrats, led by the last wisp of a cancer-ridden Hubert Humphrey, joined in calls for intervention to rescue the hostages and remove the Panamanians from the Canal Zone. Liddy, as usual, went one step further. Normally a source of irritation to friend and foe alike, Liddy’s stubbornness was now decisive leadership as he announced a full invasion of Panama. As 1983 rolled into 1984, the operation proved a complete success, with American hostages returned to their homes and Martinez quickly removed from power, replaced by a peaceable government led by ex-president Arnulfo Arias. The Canal War was over as soon as it had begun.

With the swell of patriotism following the Canal War, Liddy seemed to be untouchable. Domestically, the economic situation seemed to be on track for a recovery, even if things wouldn’t truly boom for another year. The opposition hardly saw this as a reason to give up hope, though. Instead, they too felt that safety in numbers could potentially deliver them a victory. To that end, the Democratic primary quickly split into two camps. Ed Koch, a Briscoe-aligned liberal who also espoused his support for crackdowns on crime and the intervention in Panama, quickly snapped up institutional support due to early polling showing him just two points behind the president in a hypothetical matchup. On the other hand, Tom Hayden, a student organizer turned California Senator known for his unabashedly social-democratic stances and marriage to Linda Ronstadt. Hayden had thrown his hat into the ring not just to carry the torch for Rooseveltian ideals but also as part of a broader effort to respond to the united right. He had launched dual candidacies, one for the Democratic nomination and one for the Citizens’ nomination, as an attempt to unify opposition to Liddy to ensure a victory. However, this was contingent on Hayden solidly winning the Democratic primaries and then wooing the NCOW unions who made up the key votes in the Citizens’ convention. Instead, Ed Koch won the first-in-the-nation Washington primary. Then Hayden won Maryland. And tit for tat it went all the way to Boston. By the end of the primaries, Hayden had barely emerged victorious, and then intended to meet with NCOW President Thomas Donahue to smooth over past issues Hayden had had with labor and to discuss cross-nomination at the Citizens’ convention.

But President Liddy saw this and knew it had to stop. So he told Roy Cohn, his Chief of Staff and head of the Executive Planning & Information Committee (EPIC), to do whatever it took to torpedo the unity ticket. So EPIC did what it could to disrupt the Detroit convention. They dropped pamphlets highlighting Hayden’s support for Jerry Brown’s import scheme, implying that Hayden the “Hollywood elitist” was out of touch. They aided in getting anti-Hayden voices, from the Congo Veterans’ Association to zealous labor organizers, to the convention hall to protest. Busloads of Hayden supporters mysteriously ended up off-target, sending them across the Midwest instead of to Detroit. Even the first voice from the floor to shout “we want Eddie!” was an EPIC plant. Regardless, when all was said and done, the NCOW unions who held votes in the Citizens’ nomination process voted to reject Hayden and instead nominate USW president Edward Sadlowski as their candidate.

With his opposition divided, Liddy had hardly anything to worry about. But even so, throughout the general election, EPIC’s schemes didn’t stop. It was later revealed than an NIA-trained expert named James McCord was stationed within the Hayden campaign, wiretapping their offices and continually keeping tabs on campaign plans, allowing the Liddy team to pre-empt every move they’d make. The Citizens’ Party ran hard for union voters, supporting the strikes wholeheartedly and condemning Liddy’s heavy-handed responses as inhumane. Hayden, seeing the issue as a losing one for him between Liddy and Sadlowski, attempted to largely ignore the issue, feeding the perception of him as an elitist left-winger that was continually drummed up from his left. Additionally, Hayden’s opposition to the new crime laws, while popular on left-wing digital forums, was received much more poorly by a general public that approved of such harsh measures and saw him branded as weak. Overall, as recession ended and Americans were drunk on victory in Panama, Liddy could claim that America - the America he promised to certain swaths of the country, at any rate - was back.


Notably, even if every single Sadlowski vote went to Hayden, the combined ticket still would have lost the election. This statistic was often cited by Democratic groups like the centrist Democratic Study Group as proof that the Democratic Party needed to meaningfully differentiate itself from the left as well as the right if it was to win. Meanwhile, that statistic only proved further to Citizens’ partisans that the party was doing just fine on its own, increasing its share of seats in Congress even as its presidential vote total slightly decreased amidst Liddy’s victory.

The second Liddy term hardly began where anyone would have expected: public ecology. The public ecology movement, while seemingly a relic of Republican days, had hardly faded from view. Instead, the FPE had begun to endorse candidates of all parties who supported their ideals regardless of party, though Ralph Nader’s experiment with the founding of an Ecology Party was officially affiliated with the foundation. Then, in 1985, one James Hansen testified to Congress on the FPE’s behalf with groundbreaking news: the use of certain energy sources was, in addition to causing heavy pollution, was slowly cooking the planet. While Liddy, for his part, often resented ecologist movements for being, in his words, “just the same as those Shining Path freaks,” he recognized that the public pressure had reached a fever pitch. While they had won over his predecessor on firmer consumer safety standards, the more environmental of their platform had not taken hold yet. So, in perhaps the most liberal move of his presidency, Liddy announced his support for the Clean America Act currently coursing through Congress. The CAA would revolutionize American ecology, establishing a federal Department of Ecology modeled off of state-level ones like that of Massachusetts, creating stringent standards on everything from air and water pollution to regulating “polluting fuel” usage. While certain Democrats - largely more moderate members with heavy support from the oil industry - believed the supposed alarmism to be getting in the way of development of poverty-stricken areas’ infrastructure, the bill did not need them to pass.

But ecology was hardly the Liddy administration’s focus. The Soviets had challenged America to the moon, and no patriotic American was about to back down. The 1978 Olympus launch had been a major step towards the end goal of a permanent lunar base, but the Soviet flag was still the only one on the moon. Liddy had promised that “when an American walks on the moon, he’ll be bringing a moving truck with him,” and he intended to make good on that promise. In 1985, NASA was finally prepared to make good on that promise and launch their masterpiece, the fourth spacecraft in the Nike Project. Nike-4, a three-man mission meant to break ground on the first American moon base. While apprehension ran high due to the Nike-3 explosion, Nike-4’s launch was nothing short of a total success. Come June 24th, Nike-4 landed on the moon safely to begin the first of many setup missions for the lunar base, making mission pilot George Walker Bush - an Air Force test pilot for the better part of a decade following decorated service bombing the Simbas - the first American to walk on the moon.

Riding high off of a good economy and the patriotic fervor of the past few years, the “Albany Mafia” - the core of conservative New Yorkers advising President Liddy directed by Roy Cohn - saw an opportunity. Virtually the entire American sphere had shifted towards some form of liberal-conservative government, and as such Liddy’s house economists suggested that they strike while the iron is hot. Negotiations with leadership across the Americas proved positive, and after months of deliberation a public conference was scheduled for that September. Over 30 national leaders gathered in Caracas to add their names to the proposed American Continental Trade Agreement, or ACTA, a bicontinental free trade zone intended to provide greater unity within the Americas. Among the free-market leaders assembled there, it was nearly unanimously popular.

In the United States Congress, it was far less popular. Citizens’ Party members and left-wing Democrats like Michigan’s Zolton Ferency saw the agreement as something to be avoided at all costs, as it would depress wages in America and only lead to further exploitation. Organized labor was more divided - the industrial unions saw ACTA as a scheme that would simply export their jobs to lower-cost areas to open factories, delivering a knockout blow to industrial labor, while the new agricultural unions saw it as a benefit as America was one of the strongest agricultural exporters in the world, meaning that this would only lead to higher wages for agricultural workers. The NCOW ultimately offered a qualified condemnation of ACTA as it was written, asking instead for significant revisions to protect American industry. Finally, Democrats and Conservatives alike aligned behind the bill, with the former seeing it as a regional benefit and something that would reduce prices for consumers and the latter seeing it as sound economics to bring up profits for all as well as a way to build an economic counterbalance to China’s rapidly-growing influence and the Soviets as well. While the vote was strange and often crossed party lines, the end result was the Senate’s 60-40 acceptance of ACTA.

While ACTA ensured that the midterms would see a strong industrial backlash once more, the issue that ultimately animated resistance was the Supreme Court. Justice Pauli Murray, a longtime liberal icon as a civil rights lawyer, the legal architect of the Civil Rights Act within the Roosevelt administration, and as a frequent defender of liberal causes on the bench, had been appointed by D’Alesandro in 1971 after Charles Fahy’s resignation. Murray’s term was set to expire in 1989 as per the 1973 law. However, Murray died of cancer in office in 1986. Murray’s term had two years left, and the law was extremely vague about what a mid-term special appointment meant other than that the current president would appoint in the case of a cancy. Would the justice only hold office until the end of the term, or would they be considered a full appointment? Conservatives in Congress, holding a narrow majority, decided to resolve the issue with an amendment to the 1973 law. They would allow emergency appointments to hold the change on their term plus the full next term, effectively serving as an early appointment. To say that liberals were outraged at a blatant attempt to seize the Supreme Court was an understatement, and Liddy’s nominee Anne Gorsuch, an extremely qualified Colorado Supreme Court Justice but a staunch conservative, only further galvanized public opinion. New York Senator Ruth Bader Ginsburg staged a twenty-hour filibuster over the amendment, cheered on by liberal protesters for her fierce resolve. In the end, the amendment was scrapped over public outcry, and an alternate amendment clarifying that an emergency appointment is simply a temporary seat-filler and would be subject to a re-vote for a full term. The Gorsuch nomination was withdrawn, and in her place Laurence Silberman would ultimately fill the seat until Liddy’s successor would nominate for a full term.

If that wasn’t comfortably enough, Hurricane Earl slammed into the east coast of the United States in late September, curving from an expected path out into the Atlantic directly into the ill-prepared Delmarva. Baltimore in particular saw millions of dollars of damages and nearly two feet of water flooding the streets in the single worst hurricane to ever hit the city. In response, President Liddy promptly went on a trip to meet with European leaders, and did not even say the words “Hurricane Earl” for five days. To many Americans, the sheer callousness was simply horrifying, and many began to notice Baltimore’s demography. Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke became a liberal superstar overnight for his pointed response that “Gordon Liddy doesn’t care about us because we’re black.” Liddy raged at these accusations, and canceled his trip early to visit Baltimore and organize federal crisis aid.

To nobody’s surprise, the Conservatives faced a shellacking in the 1986 midterms. Even after a last-ditch attempt by Liddy to refocus the conversation on crime with a proposal aimed at alleged Chinese drug-runners fell flat as voters had tired of Liddy’s blatant power-grabs and were unhappy with the blatant cruelty in his handling of Hurricane Edward. Midwestern moderates fell left and right to Citizens’ candidates railing against ACTA, with Zolton Ferency entering the Senate in a notable special election. Exurban Conservatives were toppled by DSG-backed Democrats, black voters came out in force to protest Liddy’s callous indifference to their plight, and when all was said and done Congress had its largest Democratic majorities in twenty years.

Liddy’s last two years were largely unmemorable. While the will was still there, the loss of control in government had made governing quite difficult for Liddy. He found this out quite quickly in 1987 with the reauthorization of the Civil Rights Act. While already painted as a racist by Hurricane Earl, in some ways Liddy relished being the villain and was happy to oblige his opposition. During its routine reauthorization, Democrats added some minor amendments, tinkering with discrimination penalties, increasing enforcement of school desegregation, and declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday. Liddy decided that he wouldn’t, in fact, support the amended bill, and would instead only not veto it if additional amendments weakening voting rights provisions were added. Democrats went into an uproar over this and pressed ahead with the bill they had drafted. Liddy vetoed as expected, but a contingent of centrist Conservatives led by Congressman Spiro Agnew defected, pushing the bill over the veto threshold. It seemed that the Party of Lincoln’s soul hadn’t quite left the Party of Liddy.

From there, even as Liddy’s will never faded, he had been muzzled by circumstance. Lodging more vetoes in his last two years than most presidents did in eight, he swore that he would never stop fighting and would act in any way he could. Congress forbade his proposed entry into the Nigerian Civil War, leaving it for the next president to sort out. They opposed his proposal to increase mandatory minimum sentences for drug-smugglers, even as he pressed a slightly confused Deng Xiaoping about the issue. But to many Americans, it didn’t seem that he needed to do much more. The economy was in better shape than ever for middle and upper-middle class Americans, with the stock market riding high and taxes lower than ever. Violent crime had dropped significantly, even if the jury is out as to whether Liddy's crime policies had caused that. News-dominating riots on picket lines were gone and America was working smoothly. To the exact people Gordon Liddy marketed himself to, America felt like it was a little bit more their country again.

When Gordon Liddy died at the age of 88 in 2018, a memorable digital clip made the rounds that sumamrizes Gordon Liddy’s impact on America better than words. In it, a reporter in the street asks people in Chicago their reaction to Liddy’s death, and instead of reminiscing about how much better life was in the 1980s like virtually every other person interviewed, an elderly man, without missing a beat, simply says “the exorcism finally worked?”
Last edited:
The end result was that, as 1983 rolled into 1984, governments promising significant deregulation and privatization held power across South America, with the sole exception of Bolivia’s Marxist president Juan Lechín, who survived over 70 assassination attempts and a near-coup during his decades-long tenure as president, dying instead of a stroke in his bed in 1996.