To the Edge and Maybe Over: An Alternate 21st Century

Final Thoughts
I know it's been a bit. But I had a few infoboxes left, just didn't have the willpower to make more of them or come up with too many details.

President Paul governs similar to how you might expect-he pulls troops out from overseas, audits the Fed and tries to cut the budget. "Tries" is the operative word here as Congress overrules him for the most part. The Republicans lose the Senate in 2010 and hold the House only by a narrow margin. OMB Director Sanford is forced to resign after his affair is exposed and Thiel goes the same way after some of his more reactionary writings resurface.

Paul Cabinet.png

However, the divide between progressives and the Democratic leadership widens. Former Senator Paul Wellstone serves as the main challenger to NYC Mayor Hillary Clinton in 2012's Democratic primaries. Clinton manages to clinch the nomination with superdelegates despite a popular vote loss. Clinton additionally further angers progressives by picking ex-Republican Norm Coleman as her running mate in a bid to woo neoconservatives and moderates alienated by Paul's hardline libertarianism. However, this pushes an angry Russ Feingold to demand #JusticeForWellstone and he defects to the Greens, who manage to do well enough to make Paul the victor (aided by the fact the recession does in fact begin to let up just before the election).
2012 Election.png

Paul's second term proceeds similarly to his first, albeit with better economic status and an approval rating of 45% to 41% disapproval instead of those numbers being flipped circa 2011. Paul has a major health scare in 2014 that, while the president survives, does bolster the Republicans in 2014's midterms. In 2015, Iraq implodes into sectarian violence and Paul declines to do anything besides approve an expansion of the US refugee program. 2016 sees a vicious fracas erupt between Vice President Crist, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Arizona Governor Jeff Flake and Senator Bob Conley. In the end, the Republicans nominate a Conley/Flake ticket. Meanwhile, the Democrats nominate young Texas Senator Julian Castro and former Senator Tipper Gore. Castro/Gore manages to beat Conley/Flake thanks to making inroads into the South.

Castro launches a humanitarian intervention into Iraq during his term and pushes a healthcare plan through Congress (the plan in essence being Obamacare combined with universal catastrophic coverage and some additional Medicare and Medicaid expansion). Castro's election sparks a right-wing backlash that largely takes the form of nativist paleoconservatism. Republicans, thanks to this momentum, regain the House and Senate in 2018. The 2020 cycle sees Castro easily renominated (Having threaded the Lieberman vs. Feingold needle well enough to avoid serious challengers). The Republican side is considerably messier, with the libertarians, moderates and paleoconservatives all duking it out. In the end, a libertarian-moderate alliance manages to get a ticket consisting of Indiana Governor Rupert Boneham (the winner of two seasons of Survivor) and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski. The enraged paleocons decide to nominate Senator Steve King of Iowa and former Representative Alex Jones of Texas on the Constitution Party byline. Initial hopes of Castro coasting to victory over a split opposition fade a bit when Boneham begins picking up steam as King proceeds to be troublesome, but in the end, Castro emerges triumphant.

Castro's second term goes a bit more poorly as the economy dips, Secretary of State Bob Menendez gets indicted and an incident involving a Russian passenger plane makes everyone scared a nuclear war is about to happen for a hot minute. The 2024 election sees Vice President Gore, over 2 decades after her husband was killed, clinch the nomination and she selects Illinois Governor Rahm Emanuel as her running mate. Meanwhile, the libertarian-moderate hope Governor Carl DeMaio walks into Toledo with a plurality of delegates, but a brokered convention sees Utah Senator Mike Lee get the nomination, with West Virginia Governor Richard Ojeda as his running mate. Lee/Ojeda wins in 2024.
 
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