Season 1: Drawing Lines Edit
This has been one heck of a year for politics, loyal viewers. Let's take a look at just what you missed...
When the primaries started, neither party knew just what it was doing. The Republicans were stacked head-to-toe, with half a dozen and more candidates vying for attention, and fighting on the stage, while their opposites in the Democratic Party struggled to put forward a competitor, with late-night host Dick Kirk taking Iowa. In the weeks leading up to Super Tuesday, the Republican field thinned, and the Democratic one grew, until both sides had four competitors: far-right Republican Speaker of the House Jay Garestaer, populist Senator Matteos Egazarian, neoconservative populist Eric Gonzalez, and philanthropist Cal Reed for the Republicans staked out their claims as major candidates, while on the Democratic side hard-left New Hampshire Governor Irina Kuznetsov, ex-Republican and Ohio Senator Gianna Carrollton, eccentric Indiana Governor Kailen Murray, and "socialist" Vermont Governor Robert Danders duked it out.
Before Super Tuesday, however, Superstorm Bonnie struck the East Coast, the most powerful hurricane to make landfall since Katrina. Reed was the first to suspend his campaign, and others followed, while Governor Kuznetsov made trips up and down the East Coast-leading to an ugly spat between her, Carrollton, and Murray that resulted in Governor Murray dropping out of the race-and a new competitor, Mayor Jeremy Beaumont of New York, stepping in to take his place at the second debate.
Super Tuesday came, and went, with Senator Carrollton, expected to win handily, falling to a narrow second behind Governor Kuznetsov, while Cal Reed eked out a similarly small victory on the Republican side. The primaries raced on, while, in Washington, scandal brewed.
Ex-Speaker of the House Jay Garestaer was appointed Secretary of State by the President-only for him to later claim he was forced into the position. As scandal brewed, two simultaneous scandals broke-Secretary Garestaer was revealed to have made an attempt to have child services confiscate Reed's newborn daughter, and the NSA was discovered to have been used for spying on political opponents. Between this revelation, Bonnie, and a host of failures, including Turkey being removed from NATO in a near-unilateral action, the President's approval ratings began to plummet.
The Democratic primary remained contested, Mayor Beaumont missing his chance at a leader after a disastrous gaffe in a debate, where he, to prove his generosity, offered to write up a check to charity on-stage, an act for which he was lashed at by Governor Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov and Carrollton constantly danced back and forth in the top two slots-while Murray re-entered the race, winning Florida with a key endorsement. On the Republican side, Senator Egazarian struggled through one of his worst weeks, unfortunate statements and revealed falsehoods plaguing him, made all the worse when he began to fight with fact-checkers. Reed pulled into the lead, a lead which slowly began to expand.
Then came the greatest legislative fight since the Affordable Care Act-and perhaps greater. Senator Carrollton, a rare pro-life Democrat, repeatedly hammered in the debates for not doing enough for women, pushed forward the "Women's Alternative Choices" bill-a bill that cut all funding to abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood. The fight was ugly-and became uglier after Carrollton, squeezing together a small cadre of conservative Democrats and Independents, passed the bill with no room to spare. The President rejected it-and took the opportunity to break with all decorum, and personally attack several of the Senators who passed it. The situation only grew worse when the President did so again at a veteran's dinner-and the party began to fragment, the establishment, Governor Danders's hard left, the new Democrats, and Carrollton's blue dogs. Attempts at reconciliation generally made the problem worse-and throughout, Mayor Walton, the likely Green nominee, hammered the WAC with all she had, coming to national notoriety when the new Speaker, Robert Eberhardt, held an "American Unity" event before the Washington Monument, inviting speakers from all parties to attend and speak about healing.
The shock came when the President broke down, defying his own establishment to sign the bill, with amendments. Regulations were passed, and all federal funding for abortion was struck away, from a Democratic bill, signed by a Democratic President. The party rebelled in anger, Winston's approval ratings fell to points not seen since 2008-while Senator Carrollton continued to stand by her bill. Secretary Garestaer, on the Republican side, left the country for Turkey-seeking asylum, and not returning.
Carrollton began to struggle mightily in states, and it appeared that Governor Kuznetsov finally had a clear shot at the nomination-until the mid-forties women suffered a stroke, and entered a coma. The primaries carried on without her, as Mayor Beaumont and, especially, Governor Danders gained steam, with Governor Murray languished. Weeks later he would abandon the party, and throw his support behind the Green nominee.
On the Republican side, Senator Gonzalez faded, as the pair of populist Senators split their vote, and Cal Reed pushed onward. That he would finish in first, at this point, was certain-whether he could attain a majority to avoid a contested convention was another question altogether, as the Republican candidates refused mounting pressure to drop out of the race. Cal, for his part, essentially suspended his primary campaign, beginning aggressive steps for the General election, including foregoing the final debate.
With Kuznetsov and Carrollton flailing, and the party aching, yet another split occurred, cleaving apart one of the factions of the party, when California Governor Ray Ramirez pushed for, and got, the extremely late entrance of Senator Anthony Conti into the race. A contested convention seemed likely-now even more so, and while Florida Governor Esperanza Huerta criticized Ramirez harshly, Conti was in the race to stay.
Governor Kuznetsov eventually recovered, but seemed to have lost her luster, while Carrollton returned to the campaign trail, struggling. With Egazarian struggling, and Gonzalez having all but abandoned his campaign, Cal Reed clinched the nomination a week before the final primaries-while the Democrats split yet again, Mayor Beaumont deserting the party to announce his candidacy as an Independent. Even with this, the final week of primaries went through without a clear victor, with Danders drawing close to the leading two, and Kuznetsov gaining a definite lead-but well below the amount required, even with superdelegates. The Democrats were going to a contested convention.
The weeks after the primaries were characterized by a flurry of early campaigning from Reed, and little activity on the Democratic side, as the party attempted to put itself together. The campaign came to the forefront again when a young woman accused Republican nominee Calvin Reed of raping her, an employee of his-only for documents to be produced showing the woman was never hired. The fake story enflamed tensions, with the Democratic party hammered for the alleged hit. In the legislature, a young Senator from New Mexico, María Antonieta Arroyo Villanueva de Peña, introduced a bill on chemical castration for rapists-one that drew the ire of nearly every Senate Democrat. With the Majority Leader and President Pro Tempore absent, the floor descended into a chaos of argument, Villanueva de Peña against a pack of Democratic Senators, decorum falling by the wayside, while a simultaneous Twitter exchange roared out. The fight lasted days, including a Fox News debate,before the bill was finally hammered through-making it to the President's desk, where it was signed.
Domestically, terror grew as a problem. A massive rally of the New Black Panther party ended in bloodshed, shots fired at police officers leading to a National Guard crackdown that some called a massacre-until other attacks on police broke out across the nation. The perpetrator, Abubakr Ibrahima, was captured by VDF forces under Governor Abelard Bell, but another attack, even more deadly-a bombing in Chicago, followed, and then the subsequent attempted assassination of Illinois Senator Leanne Harper. Days later, the man, captured, escaped custody, culminating his escape with an attack on the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. Here though, his luck ran out-fleeing into Virginia, he had the unfortunate distinction of being the second such terrorist captured by VDF and VNG forces.
The year moved on, with the next diversion being a spat on Twitter between Villanueva de Peña and Senator Carrollton, over the latter's praise of Franklin Roosevelt as "perhaps the greatest President", while Villanueva de Peña contested that the allegedly racist FDR deserved no such distinction. The feud heightened when Carrollton brought the Twitter debate to live television, when she responded to the tweets in a CNN interview-and after criticism, agreed to a debate on the matter.
Meanwhile, overseas, problems were brewing. Japanese banks attempted to raise their interest rates over the negative ones they had employed, sending shockwaves through their economy-and then into that of the United States, where markets began to fall.
A second shockwave would hit only a few weeks later, though a much more slowly-propagating one, as Francis Dudley of Arizona shut off all oil production and sales in a strike against oil regulations, a strike that would soon be joined by other companies and workers, driving gasoline prices above four dollars a gallon at an extremely rapid pace.
The first Presidential debate was slated for the middle of the month, July, and took place live, with Calvin Reed and Green candidate Ellen Walton, in some polls higher than the split Democratic candidates, competing, the unchosen Democrats unable to field a candidate. The debate went on to solid ratings, with both candidates generally perceived to have done well, in a generally noncombative format, the two more making their positions known than attacking the other.
Two nights remained before the DNC, where the badly broken Democratic Party, far behind in every major poll, and even sometimes in third, would attempt to put itself back together. Two days before it, however, Senator Carrollton went through with her debate with Senator Villanueva de Peña on Roosevelt-which turned into a disaster. Carrollton was criticized and booed for avoiding questions, and constantly attacked and beaten down by Villanueva de Peña, her counters lacking, or even more controversial. The hammering went on for some time until the debate finally drew to a merciful close, Carrollton badly beaten, Villanueva de Peña, already building on a head of fame after the SNIP bill, soaring.
The Convention, though, was coming, nonetheless, and has now just begun. The first day was capped by controversial statements from the President, the second, with an exhortation to hold to core values by the Governor of Pennsylvania, and the third with then-leading candidate Irina Kuznetsov rushed off stage after freezing before the microphone. The ballot came, went, and failed, and the party rushed to broker its convention. Now, in a shocking turn of events, leading candidate Gianna Carrollton, endorsed by Governor Kuznetsov, turned her back on the likely nomination to endorse Governor Danders, followed soon be Senator Conti, in a dramatic flip-flop that has sent waves of controversy through the political sphere.
The vote finally happened-and happened, and happened, and happened. Ballots were gone through, each one drawing closer to the conclusion-until at last, seven ballots past, the appointment was made-Vermont Governor Robert Danders. The fight over his Vice-President, one Gianna Carrollton, was worse. Some two days of infighting later, she slipped by by the slimmest of margins to be given the spot-an election which triggered Democratic Governor's Association head Norris Vilseck, together with other delegates, to walk out of the convention in protest.
The Green Party followed up the nomination almost immediately with a series of advertisements dominating the airwaves, while the Republican National Convention was just around the corner. The first day was chaotic. Two speeches in, a twitter brawl between three Congressman, one infamous for starting such fights, broke out online-but that paled in comparison to what happened next. Democratic Senator Marcus Green of Hawaii, coming to the RNC, verbally engaged Republican Senator Thomas Nilap on the floor-then struck him. Security managed to seize him before further damage could be done-and there were no permanent injuries, but criticism of the Democrats for sending a fall man to start fights at the RNC poured in. Near-simultaneously, Vermont Gov. Robert Danders, in his first Presidential rally in Philadelphia, site of the Republican National Convention, started with a stumble, calling the city "Las Vegas", and receiving heavy criticism, including being called a "puppet" for endorsing Winstoncare despite acknowledging "massive problems" with it. The Republican convention still held most of the airwaves, however, with another speech, and then a heavily lauded conclusion by Speaker Robert Eberhardt, laying out a comprehensive policy platform, the "Contract with the American People."
The next day started with worse for the Democratic nominee, as, in response to criticism in the Speaker's speech the previous night, he "clarified" his policy positions. Said clarification had barely stood before Sen. Villanueva de Peña broadsided the Governor on Twitter for lying to the people-showing links to videos earlier in the campaign that snared him. The Governor would later apologize for saying something "in the heat of the moment", but Mayor Walton took the opportunity to televise an address to the American people, criticizes the lying and actions of Sen. Green, and proposing an alternative path.
The RNC continued onward, the day being the first in U.S. history to feature all-women speakers in a major party convention. The night was concluded with a thunderous speech from the young and fiery Senator Villanueva de Peña, in the most-watched moment of the convention to that point. Outside the convention, however, more controversy broke. Governor Danders announced that he would be meeting with the President of Taiwan on U.S. soil, which drew a harsh response from China. Further details came to light, with candidates Walton and Reed confirming that they too were invited to, and would attend the meeting, with both them, and others, criticizing Danders for his announcement, on grounds of it sabotaging the negotiations in an attempt at publicity, or that it revealed sensitive details to possible enemies.
On the third day of the convention, Mayor Walton rallied again, promising to keep her pledge for universal healthcare where Danders had dropped it, while the Republican convention spoke on foreign policy, ending with a message from Gov./Adm. Abelard Bell on the characteristics of a leader, and the importance of trustworthiness, which he said that Reed possessed, and Danders did not.
The night before the final day of the convention, new Presidential polling was released, showing that, for the first time in two decades, a third-party candidate was leading one of the major parties, with Mayor Walton passing Governor Danders in the polls.
The Republican National Convention ended with a thunderous speech from the nominee, after choosing liberal Connecticut Senator, and veteran,
Buck Havich as his running mate. Danders responded soon after with a policy speech at Gettsyburg, but one that did not go over particularly well. In the week before the Green convention, defections mounted-Governor Hughes of Michigan was to come back to the Democratic side,
but instead formally joined the Green Party, followed by Maine Senator John Kingston, while the DNC chair resigned following a sex scandal,
replaced by the former DCCC head. The Green convention began unconventionally, in a town hall format introducing Green candidates nationwide. Many of the defectors spoke at the convention, leading into the final day, with California Senate hopeful Reginaldo Alphonsey introducing Mayor Walton, who announced her choice of running mate-Colorado Governor William Denver.
Season 2: The End of an Era Edit
The campaign spun on, Governor Danders falling farther behind, as the Green Party shed its past to become the American Progressive Party, placing candidates in races nationwide. Reed and Walton took their campaigns to the northeast over the coming weeks, stumping for position,
campaigning up until the date of the first post-convention debate, a debate that made history before it even started. Governor Robert Danders had failed to make the debate stage, missing the 15% threshold. For the first time in history, it would be a Republican on-stage facing, not a Democrat, but a Progressive.
The debate became a detailed show of policy from both sides, a point-by-point struggle, in which a strong performance by Walton was nonetheless eclipsed by an exemplary one by her opponent Reed.
The race continued through September, both sides struggling for advantage, Reed retaining a commanding lead, Walton seeking to close it and Danders attempting to pull himself from the single digits. In Congress, however, a sweeping change to the American system made it through the chamber. Governor Danders had made a request to the Congress to allow for state control of federal Medicaid and Medicare funds for the purpose of establishing a universal single-payer healthcare system in the state. What followed in the Congress was the "Restoring Local Authority to Services Act" or the "Vermont Medicaid Provision Act", which devolved all controls and authority over spending on, as well as all taxes dedicated to, government entitlement programs, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, to state governments. The bill passed by broad bipartisan majorities in both chambers, a surprising show of unity during the contentious race.
The Libertarian Party, meanwhile, took it's own woes. Party difficulties led to a long delay of the final primaries and the Convention, and when that convention came, the issues multiplied exponentially. A newcomer, Anita Flores's victory in California and seizing of the lead led to a storm of controversy when the LNC Chair nullified non-registered Libertarian results in California, redistributing many of Flores's delegates to Representative Gerald Breckenridge. Allegations of the Convention being "rigged" immediately rose, and Flores took the stage to condemn the process before leaving the Convention, race, and party, following soon after by Sherman Paulson. In the halls outside the Convention, Breckenridge confronted Paulson, leading to a fight which put Paulson in a coma with internal bleeding in his brain. Flores returned, attacking and knocking out Breckenridge, but the damage was done-the Convention broke off, to reconvene after Breckenridge returned from his hospital bed.
There, Breckenridge gathered the delegates and revealed a stunning development-Victoria DeLucca, an ally of his, and a multibillionaire,
had bribed delegates to vote for Breckenridge though Breckenridge claimed that he had nothing to do with it. Breckenridge attempted to suppress the information of the bribery-something claimed by both Arumb and Flores earlier, but the news was leaked, and broken on Flores's news website, RevolutionTruth, with the effects soon to be seen.
Those effects were, in essence, the shattering of the Libertarian Party. DeLucca told the convention that Breckenridge had threatened her and her family in order to put out the bribes-which Breckenridge denied. The voting process was thrown into chaos-Longwood, the highest remaining "clean" choice, had disappeared from the convention, the four leading candidates had either left the party, had vanished, were under threat of criminal charges, or were hospitalized and unconcious. The fifth, Cassandra Arumb, made a run at the nomination, but failed, and as, by the Libertarian process, candidates were eliminated one-by-one, if became clear that it would be Flores against Breckenridge at the end. A desperate push was made by some delegates to write in Anton Jacques of West Virginia onto the ballots-siphoning enough votes from Breckenridge to hand Flores the nomination-which she promptly denied.
The Convention got worse after that-one Mr. Blythe claimed he accepted the nomination-others contested it, verbal brawls turned into physical brawls, and with the interference of a depleted security force, a fire started in the corner of the hotel, and an excess of pepper spray, the building began to be evacuated in the chaos and violence, a massive police presence and scattered mobilized National Guard units required to keep it down. Thus ended the convention.
Some days after the Convention, on the Senate floor, a fight of words turned into a physical fight of a level not seen since the caning of Sumner.
The bill discussed was DEFACED, a bill to put two women, Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony, on U.S. currency. Senator Thomas Nilap of Alaska, who had previously sparred with Majority Whip Villanueva de Peña on Twitter, charged and slammed the unawares woman into the floor while she was speaking, and began to attack her. The pair struggled and struck each other until Senator Breckenridge managed to move Nilap off of her, with the Sergeant-at-Arms taking him into custody. Despite this, Villanueva de Peña refused to be taken out for medical attention until completing the vote on the bill, which passed narrowly over a Democratic attempt to kill it.
Despite her injuries, that night Villanueva de Peña attended a previously-scheduled and much-anticipated debate between her and Illinois Governor Benjamin Jackson, the two having been at odds online. Villanueva de Peña showed difficulty speaking at length and standing upright and broke into coughing fits multiple times in the debate, but nevertheless earned a decisive victory over the Governor, who was criticized for repeating an earlier-debunked talking point on claiming the Illinois legislature was Republican-dominated, as well as not recognizing his state's current gun laws.
Not three full days since her being attacked on the Senate Floor, Senator Villanueva de Peña found herself in the heart of controversy once again in another fight in that legislative body. Her bill proposed was the WHIP, allowing for flogging as a punishment for first-degree rape, and the floor soon turned into a vicious fight between the Senator and a collection of others, Pennsylvania Independent Demetrius Chandler and Ohioan Republican and Majority Leader Ryan Carter the only other Senators willing to defend her. Villanueva de Peña and House Minority Leader Josephine Stafford fought particularly harshly-finally, the Democratic minority whip moved to end the matter and call a vote, to find the motion blocked. Senator Darnell of Oregon attempted to remove Carter from the floor by citing an arcane rule, and Sen. Stafford led the cause to lock the bill into committee until the end of the session, which Villanueva de Peña fought against, demanding a vote. Eventually, the measure was called for and Villanueva de Peña was forced to filibuster, speaking for the next eleven and a half hours until the end of the session, giving stories of rape victims, and reading casualty reports from the second World War, ending with a harsh criticism of Stafford, and two Republican-caucusing Independents, Ulysses Johnson of Iowa and Alexander Breckenridge of Massachusetts, for their attacks on democracy by refusing to allow a vote-Stafford would be further attacked in a later interview. The session ended without a vote, but with the bill still alive.
The first, and only Vice-Presidential debate was set in Los Angeles California-Connecticut Senator Buck Havich was on-stage for the Republicans, Colorado Governor William Denver for the Progressives, with the Democrats again failing to make the stage. The debate was testy, and largely inconclusive. Havich generally stayed true to policy, but struggled under personal attacks from Denver, particularly on same-sex marriage and healthcare, but reinforced himself on foreign policy. Reviews of the debate were mixed, with the candidates' breaking from their Presidential tickets being the largest surprise, Havich stating support of same-sex marriage, Governor Denver backing the establishment of a no-fly zone in Syria. Regardless of the debate, polls were slowly beginning to narrow-while Reed continued to hold a commanding lead with a near-certainty of taking the White House, Danders and Walton both grew at his expense, his grip on several states beginning to falter.
Downballot races again rose to the forefront as the final weeks before the election slipped by. In Iowa, the Democratic candidate Alexander Valencia's feuding with Senator Villanueva Dr Peña ended with the publication of a controversial video showing him attacking the son of an opposing politician, sparking bylines and late-night and news commentary.
The final Presidential debate, a twin hall, finally arrived, and proved once again to be a close match. On issues of same-sex marriage and education, Walton and Reed clashed, the debate marking a fiercer fight than the earlier two. Both candidates were perceived to have debated well, but consensus handed a slim victory to Reed once again.
Somewhat enhancing the tumult of the downballot-and creating a major story as a candidate, Reed broke with the party line to endorse a Democrat -the conservative Mayor Edgar Brankers, over the incumbent, and liberal, Republican Senator running for re-election.
Then came a sudden shock-an October Surprise. Supreme Court Justice Irina Keegan, one of the Court's youngest members, died suddenly of a heart attack-a condition kept from the public, leaving an opening on the Supreme Court-a chance to change it's ideological balance.
Some days later, on Halloween night, the Casa de Johnson in Los Angeles was play to a party the details of which are likely to be argued over for years to come. Before the party began, headlines were made by Illinois Governor Benjamin Jackson attempting-and failing, to kiss Senator Villanueva de Peña, but of the rest of the night, the tales range from the expected, marijuana present at the party-to the absurd, an undergrond lair of vast treasure beneath the Johnson estate.
The final week before the election comes now, and all candidates strive towards the finish-except one. Breaking news revealed that Senator Gianna Carrollton, running mate of Governor Danders, was rushed to emergency care after an apparent heart attack-her condition still unknown.
At last the night of the election came-a historic night. The Democratic party, struggling, found some hope in a victory in Washington state,
and the successful defense of their Oregon Senate seat-but everywhere else in the nation, it was the Republicans and Progressives that found victories. Progressives captured the Washington governorship, and two additional Senate seats, as well as several in the House, with Ellen Walton becoming the first third-party candidate since 1968 to win a state, taking three, and the District of Columbia, and posting the highest vote total, both in percentage and gross, of any third-party candidate in the history of the United States-while Robert Danders of the Democratic Party became the first-ever Democratic nominee to receive zero electoral votes, winning no states, and under 6% of the popular vote.
The night was, though, a victory for the Republican party. The party took eight of the eleven Governorships up for election, and thirty of the thirty-four Senate seats, their only losses occurring on the West Coast-and in a stunning upset in Ohio. The party reinforced their control of the House of Representatives with a record majority, and on the Presidential side of things-Calvin Reed won a historic victory-taking California by a sliver, the first President since Reagan to do so, ending with 505 Electoral votes, and a record 61.55% of the popular vote.
Walton took to a podium in Seattle to call the election not a defeat for the Progressives, but a record-setting victory against all odds, while the concession speech from Governor Danders, and the victory speech from President-Elect Reed were delivered.
As Congress reconvened, two major pieces of legislation went through-the Declaration of War on ISIS, languishing in the Senate after having passed the House months earlier, and the Budget Act of 2017, a bipartisan effort featuring an across-the-board spending cut paired with funds created for infrastructure and the War on ISIS.
President Winston announced his plans to engage in the war declared, but promised a "different kind" of war-committing only five thousand U.S. troops.
A week and a half after the election, shortly after President-Elect Reed began the transition process with the announcement of Connecticut Governor Simon Denisevich as his Chief of Staff, controversy began to swirl in Mississippi, as infamous Governor Frederick Williams signed an executive order ending the creation and issuing of same-sex marriage licenses in Mississippi. The tense situation led into President Winston flying to Jackson to meet with the Governor on the crisis.
The meeting went bad. The President and Governor, both rather considered egotists, made the unprecedented decision to televise the discussion live, which let all America see the Governor attempt to throw a pocket Constitution at the President, at which point the 76-year old man was tackled and handcuffed by the Secret Service. The President verbally berated the handcuffed Governor on the ground-and he was promptly taken to prison for assault, sparking controversy, and President-Elect Reed to tweet a "campaign promise" that no matter how much he disliked someone, no one would be imprisoned for throwing paper in his Presidency. Josephine Stafford's comments on the issue criticized Reed's own actions, where, after twitter altercations, the then-candidate agreed to a charity boxing match with independent provocateur Jason Larson, which the then-candidate won by KO. Said comments prompted response from the Senate Majority Whip, with Stafford's comments seeming to defend Larson, and attacked for such.
CNN, near the same time, hosted the first in a series of "post-election debates", this between somewhat controversial liberal Republican Senator-Elect Zachary Fowler, and outspoken, similarly contentious, Chicago Representative Tasha Smith. The biggest takeaway from the debate proved not to be the debate itself, but the controversy it whipped up about CNN for the exclusion of the Progressives-who had gained more Senate seats, and Gubernatorial mansions than the Democrats, as well as performing better in Presidential election, from the debate. The exclusion led to claims of media bias from the Progressives, leading to some to begin a boycott of the network.
The Thanksgiving weekend came, with two events of note, both of which turned bad. Eccentric Los Angeles Mayor Taylor Cox hosted a special Black Friday event for politicians only, in which they could get deals on Christmas gifts without the hassle of the morning shopping-the event took place late that Thanksgiving night. It did not go peacefully. Caught on video at the event was highly controversial alt-right twitter frequenter Don Hookstraten tackling and stomping on Illinois Rep. Jared O'Leary, a video which soon went viral. At the event itself, chaos broke free when angry crowds broke into the Grove Mall where the event was held. The stampede caused dozens of injuries, most significantly harming Florida Senator Zipporah Hazelelponi, caught in the human wave, suffered severe injuries, including a broken arm, collarbone, and ribs, as well as a concussion. The crisis, accompanied by a small riot after a fake video of police brutality was leaked, led to a criticism of Mayor Cox by former Governor and late-night host Scotty Marlowe, who would shortly announce his own candidacy for Mayor on the Progressive ticket.
On that Black Friday, Senator Villanueva de Peña hosted a charity event, handing out free meals to the poor and homeless from her campaign headquarters in Deming. The event was extended to a second day thanks to success, only to be crashed by a group of LGBTQ+ protesters of LGBT Action New Mexico-the confrontation, caught on camera by ANN, saw the Senator tear into the group for hatred over attempting to shut down a charity drive out of a grudge against her.
The story of the early month was Louisiana's runoff election. Establishment Republican Phillip Prejean took on infamous independent Jason Larson, an ex-KKK member known for his provocations and wild accusations against politicians. Despite a debate in which Larson made an unexpectedly polished appearance, the extreme candidate was ultimately defeated by near a three to one ratio when the general election was finally held.
Representative-Elect Jason Pross of West Virginia was little-known before and during his election, but quickly became so afterwards. Having taken a somewhat more economically liberal stance during his campaign, balanced by strongly socially conservative positions, he came out post-election to declare himself a "Democratic Socialist". Pross was attacked from multiple sides, both with accusations against socialism, and attacks on his change of positions, and false statements on his ideology early in the campaign,
The Lame Duck Period, however, did not simply come to a close quietly. Midways through December, a stunning revelation broke-the deal which had had Jay Garestaer turned over to U.S. custody was not simply put together by NATO intelligence-sharing, as the President's press team had assured, but by a secret transfer of Turkish nationals and asylum-seekers in the United States back into Turkey's hands.
No time was wasted in the Congress after the story became public, treading on the edge of the session as they were. Republicans earlier hungry for impeachment greeted the news joyously-many Democrats, even Winston loyalists, distanced themselves from the President, the most unpopular in American history, as quickly as possible. Impeachment proceedings commenced in the House and rolled through swiftly, until by that afternoon the President finally made an announcement-he would resign from office in two days. A short-lived effort to block the impeachment was led by Rep. Eleanor McCrosky of New York, interim head of the Democratic Unity Conference, but was retracted after strenuous objection, including from the party. After the passage of the articles of impeachment, McCrosky introduced and attempted to call forward a bill legally instating and preserving several executive orders of the President ruled unconstitutional. Rep. Jared O'Leary of Chicago blasted McCrosky for her supposed attempts to preserve Winston's legacy, and the move brought a storm of other criticism from Progressives, Democrats, and Republicans alike, forcing the bill down.
The Articles made their way to the Senate, and the President finally made response to them, pleading not guilty, save on a charge of lying to the American people. The trial then began.
The trial of Albert Winston began. Two managers from the House of Representatives, both young women, Anna Rossi of Indiana and Amelia Yang of Oregon, were given the task of prosecutors, and made their case. The argument was presented, a counter-argument made, referencing, in response to the alleged violation of the Treaty Clause, that the action was by Executive Agreement. By Manager Rossi's rebuttal, the point was then made that, were such true, the President's actions would have been illegal regardless by the lack of notification. The trial continued. In a much-anticipated moment, former Secretary Jay Garestaer, at the centre of the crisis, was called to the stand-but claimed amnesia about the experience, and was quickly dismissed, and the trial carried on once more.
At last, the time came to vote on the four articles of impeachment, and the opinion of the Senate was nearly unanimous-Guilty on all charges. Two Senators of note chose to make dissent-Joe Darnell, Democrat of Washington, and Ulysses Johnson, Independent, Republican Caucus, and lame duck from Iowa, a member of the Johnson clan. Both voted not guilty on each article of impeachment, including that article which Winston had himself pleaded guilty to, and were both heavily criticized for the decision.
The line of succession was called on. Matthew Fitzgerald, the Vice President, long out of the public eye at Camp David, finally had the reason revealed-brain cancer, potentially terminal. In no position to assume the office, the Presidency would have passed onto the Speaker of the House, Robert Eberhardt, but he was too young. It was the President Pro Tempore then, one Gene Eric of Oklahoma, that was called to the office, and who was sworn in in a small ceremony in the Old Supreme Court room not an hour after the conviction.
That Monday, but three days after the conviction, was the starting date for the Democratic Unity Conference, a grand endeavor, held in Miami, Florida, for the purpose of revitalizing the party, bringing them together with new will and alongside a new platform. With back-to-back-to-back resignations of DNC chairs over scandal, a temporary chair, one Representative Eleanor McCroskey, a young second-termer from New York, was appointed for the purpose of the conference, under the direction of the four co-chairs of the party: Minority Whip and record long-serving Senator of Oregon Stacey Allison, head of the Democratic Governors Association Norris Vilseck of Pennsylvania, DSCC Chair Paul Clark, Senator of New Jersey, and former Minority Leader, Senator from Michigan, Josephine Stafford.
The event was to have a meeting of major figures in the Democratic Party behind closed doors, a "Unity Council" alongside town halls and speeches in the open event. The Council soon failed to live up to its name. Four members, Governor Patton of Maine, Representative Adkins of West Virginia, and, in a shocking development, Stafford and McCroskey, left the Council while in its meeting, with only harsh words for those within. Patton and Adkins would remain, Adkins speaking that afternoon, but Stafford and McCroskey left the conference-for good.
Beyond the speeches, the Unity Council took one significant action: an "exorcism" of Albert Winston from the Democratic Party, a full rejection of the man. That man, on that same day, was found dead in front of his private California home, a suicide, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Sympathies were offered by many politicians, calls for mental health aid by others, but one, in particular, to some criticism, showed little sympathy. Vocal Tea Party Senator-Elect Peter Amaras of Iowa, while offering sympathies for the family, openly called Winston a coward who took the coward's way out, saying he deserved no absolution, generating backlash.
The second day of the Democratic Unity Conference lacked the disunity of the first, but opened up a broader headache for the party. Within the closed-door meeting of the conference, one Senator Conti of Maryland, noted LGBTQ rights activist, made a proposal to add the legalization of incest to the Democratic Party platform, by the report of Representative Jared O'Leary of Chicago. Conti came out to say that the proposition was only for discussion, and that he planned on voting against it, but the damage had been done. Condemnation rolled in quickly, ranging from hammering the party for choosing to discuss incest in a time of recession and economic crisis, to outright accusations of final proof of a Democratic party descent down the slippery slope into total depravity.
The final day of the convention saw three speeches by major Governors within the party, two of which elicited particular controversy. Governor Claudia Patton of Maine admitted on-stage that she had voted for Republican Calvin Reed for President, and excoriated the party for its failings that had led her to that decision. attacking several liberal talking points and positions on issues such as gun control and healthcare. Governor Norris Vilseck, head of the DGA and Governor of Pennsylvania followed the speech with one in the opposite direction, claiming the party had fallen from its principle in the 2016 election, and a return to the left-wing values of the party was what was necessary for its resurgence and victory. Esperanza Huerta of Florida, the first major party official to refuse to endorse Governor Danders and a rising star in the party, ended with a speech alternatively called a death-knell for the party, and the spark of its return. Huerta attacked the "back-room" dealings at both the DUC and the DNC, agitating against a corrupt, centralized establishment heading the party, and making a case for allowing greater flexibility around certain ideals for Democratic candidates, fulfilling the needs of their constituents before the mandates of a national party. Establishment figures largely attacked the speech, while others defended Huerta's words.
Season 3: A House Divided Edit
Following the DUC, a rather odd event occurred in which the Mayor of Miami, Libertarian Ferdinand Simpson, engaged ex-Senator Marcus Green on twitter, and accidentally revealed potential criminal behavior on his part.Announcements were made by Governor Huerta and Attorney General Capulet on potential prosecution, and the Mayor dropped off of the scene.
A unique, major event ultimately sprung from the feud, and would take place before the New Year, a charity marathon in Hawaii, designed for politicians. The event's roster of runners would hold several high-profile politicians, including President-Elect Reed. Security at the high-profile event was heavy, and seemed to be justified when a knife-wielding man attempted an attack on Independent Florida Senator Zipporah Hazelelponi, and Progressive Senator-Elect Ella Enchanted. The man was shot by police in the course of the attack before harm could be done, but Senator Hazelelponi sustained a wound from a stray, officer-fired bullet. The attacker was from Ohio, and had expressed support of Enchanted's election opponent, Representative Kim, and had connections to anti-semitic groups. Which of the two women was the target of the attack has been left to speculation. The event was largely considered a success. President-Elect Reed finished first in the race, followed by First Lady-Designate Aubrey Reed, and Hawaii Senator-Elect and Chief of Police Sam McGareth, who had organized security for the event.
As early January came, the historic 115th Congress was to be sworn in, but the choosing of leadership was first required. Democratic leadership changes appeared to occur smoothly, several leaders who had lost re-election being replaced by west-coast politicians. Among the Republicans, an insurgency campaign was launched against Majority Leader Carter, with Montana Senator Joanne Winslow ultimately claiming the title of Majority Leader.
Thus opened the 115th Congress for its first day, with drama immediately unfolding in the House. Deputy Majority Whip, and longtime member JP McMurdoc suddenly and belatedly unveiled an insurgency campaign against the incumbent Speaker Robert Eberhardt midway though the voting for Speaker. The vote ultimately confirmed the incumbent, but the Congress had made a rocky start. The dealings of the House did not become more harmonious. Discussion on a bill relating to conjugal visits quickly turned into heated and aggressive debate crossing partisan lines, the bill ended in a narrow passage after a confused and conflict-laden amendment period. In the Senate, a far-reaching socially liberal bill was put forward relating to LGBT rights, but receiving most backlash on a certain provision in the bill clearing transgendered soldiers for full military service. The House, at that time, contested and defeated a minimum wage-raising bill. Two controversial bills, the U.S. Rail System bill in the Senate, and Digital Information Distribution in the House, passed extremely narrowly.
Outside of the Congress, though, the inauguration had come. Calvin Reed was sworn in as 46th President of the United States without incident, delivering one of the longest inaugural addresses since Herbert Hoover, promoting a return to Constitutionalism and the necessity of a balanced budget. That night held the typical festivities, the inaugural balls.
On the day of the inauguration, however, always-controversial Governor Williams unveiled an executive order banning the Burqa in Mississippi, considered outside his power. Hawaii Senator Sam McGareth challenged the order on Twitter, and that Saturday gave a speech in a park in Jackson, Mississippi, displaying a Burqa against the order, and condemning Williams's actions, daring him to attempt to arrest him. No arrest attempt was made, leaving the Williams order to largely fall flat.
On the first day of the Senate under the new President, debate on a bill brought up via suspension of the rules on the teaching of Intelligent Design grew heated, culminating in Senator Breckenridge, newly Republican, accusing the Majority Whip of being a liar, and refusing to respond to questions thereafter. The bill would pass along the Republican majority with some Democratic and Independent support.
The Balanced Budget Amendment was the first fight of the administration. Introduced by conservative Democrat Edgar Brankers of Washington, an aggressive questioning period led to Brankers seeming to crack under the pressure, and emboldening opposition. Senator Zachary Fowler, a Republican from Vermont, led a crusade against the bill, seeking to rally Republican defectors to prevent its passage. The contentious process was elevated when Reginaldo Alphonsey, the newly-elected Progressive Senator from California, led the Progressives in a walkout protest of the bill, changing the calculus of the required number of Senators for passage. When the vote came to pass, however, the attempted resistance movement crumbled, Fowler being the only Republican to cast a vote against, with several Democrats joining the majority to pass the amendment by a fairly broad margin. A more organized effort in the House of Representatives saw the bill's passage, though with significantly more concentrated opposition among the smaller Democratic contingent in the chamber.
That weekend, the President met with Francis Dudley, Governor of Arizona and initiator of the "Dudley Strike" that had driven up fuel prices dramatically, with gasoline costs exceeding five dollars per gallon, with the intended purpose of negotiating an end to the strike. The meeting ended in failure, and the President gave his first address to the nation that night, decrying Dudley's greed and stubbornness, and proposing the passage of the "Dudley Tax", a tax on carbon emissions, to break the strike.
The announcement was not well-received among some Republicans, with Fowler and primary-challenger Egazarian both voicing their opposition, while others, including DGA Chair Norris Vilseck, proposed harsher measures. The most significant opposition would stem from newly-elected West Virginia Governor Augustus Sinclair, who, blasting the proposed tax, and the President, promised an aggressive resistance.
The order of business on that Monday, though, were confirmation hearings in the Senate. For the position of Attorney General, Alicia Florrick was confirmed over some conservative Republican opposition as to her positions on same-sex marriage relative to the Second Amendment, while the second hearing of the day, on Allen Fitch, for the position of FBI Director, devolved into disaster over Fitch's comments on refusing to privately meet with the President, drawing questions as to the chain of command, as well as other statements of his, including a recognition of no allegiance save to the American people in his position. Primarily Republican opposition, joined by both Independents, rejected the nomination.
The next day, the carbon tax would be introduced by Representative Yang of Oregon, and face a conflicted path through the House of Representatives, questioning on its effect and merits being interposed by questions of the direction of funding. Backed by Republican and Democratic leadership, the bill survived the chamber despite votes in opposition from more conservative members of the GOP.
Outside of the Congressional chamber, a collection of several maverick members of the Republican party expressed vocal opposition, with statements from Governor Kiser of Texas, Senator Matteos Egazarian of Rhode Island, and Zachary Fowler of Vermont supplementing an aggressive campaign-style rally against the tax by newly-elected Augustus Sinclair of West Virginia. The bill entered the Senate contentious, but a swing of Republican votes in favor, backed by universal Progressive and nearly universal Democratic support, passed the bill decisively.
Outside of the Senate, the biggest news came in Mississippi, where the Mississippi Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision striking down Governor Williams's executive order which sought to ban the provision of same-sex marriage licenses, ruling that the order exceeded his power as Governor under the state's Constitution.
In the White House, an announcement of pardon would throw the President into another boiling pot of controversy. Announcing the pardon of Edmund Rainden unleashed a firestorm of heated criticism from neoconservative members of the party, peaking in Representative Morton of California calling the President a coward, and Representative Amelia Yang of Oregon renouncing her nomination to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Holding a press conference the day following, the President did not respond to the Rainden matter, but rather shifted gears suddenly, announcing the nomination of Judge Jessica Alstaff to the Supreme Court, a much better-received choice among the party, and a much more criticized one among Democrats and Progressives. The nomination would be confirmed in the shortest time period in American history, however, from Senator Alphonsey advancing the nomination swiftly before a filibuster could be attempted.
The legislative onus shifted towards firearms. Representative Jared O'Leary of Illinois pressed for a major gun-control bill, the "Restoring Sanity to Gun Laws", billed as a compromise proposal banning 'military-grade' weaponry while protecting hunting firearms. The bill was overwhelmingly defeated by the House, but a second bill, this one sponsored by the President, the "Minuteman" or "American Right to Bear Arms" Act, was put forward. Facing bitter Democratic opposition in the House, the bill, which liberalized many firearms laws and lessened firearm taxes, in addition to various other clauses, including providing a tax credit for firearm ownership, nondiscrimination provisions, and a expansion of background checks on sexual offenders, passed by way of the chamber's Republican majority. Facing a higher vote threshold in the Senate, the bill nearly reached a vote before a several-hour filibuster by Progressive Senator Reginaldo Alphonsey forced a petition of cloture, delaying the bill. When the cloture vote was held, however, a broad wave support from near half of the Democratic Senators left a lopsided outcome.
On the state level, races for 2017 began to heat up. New Jersey saw its first Democratic primary debate, a televised debate that quickly turned infamous and drew in a broad audience, as the candidates, controversial ex-Secretary of the Interior Tony Schlang, and rising left-wing Mayor of Trenton Joh Stansky, aggressively attacked each other, turning to name-calling and disparagement in a high-rated back-and-forth, while alternatively attacking the others in rallies across the state. The Connecticut special election continued as a close race, the dropping out of third-place Natalia Aquilas and a second debate narrowing the race to a single percentage point difference. New York, as well, saw its first candidates step up, Rod Johnson for the Democratic primary, and two questionable Republican candidates, Lenny Lotto, a twice-fired journalist, and the disgraced ex-Representative Richard Torres, throwing their hats into the ring.
The weekend marked an event held in commemoration of the Minuteman Act, a three-gun competition at Camp David, attended by a variety of Governors and Congressmen from all three parties in what was by all accounts a friendly and largely uneventful competition. The competition, and attendance by Progressive politicians, was condemned by Rep. Jared O'Leary, who held the "Rally for Gun Safety and Remembrance" in Chicago, joined by fellow Democrats Rep. Nicole Smith, Minority Leader Antonio De Nieto, and Mayor of Trenton Joh Stansky.
Despite Democratic and Progressive attempts, the bill would successfully pass the Senate the next week, but the Act was soon driven from the news cycle by a more dramatic event. On the night of Valentine's Day, a bomber detonated a suicide vest at Manchester Community College in New Hampshire, killing an estimated thirty, and wounding twelve more. The question of broader connections of the matter remained under dispute and investigation.
On the first foreign policy trip of the President, controversy brewed in Israel over a demand from the President that the nation cease the subsidization of abortion in order for foreign aid funding, suspended by the Taylor Force Act, to be restored. The demand was rejected, but the leaking of the news brought out significant Republican support for the abortion suspension, going to the extreme of certain members of the party, including Senator Alois Kramer, renouncing support for the state of Israel until the cessation of the practice. Faced with such pressure, Prime Minister Netanyahu would concede to the suspension of subsidization of elective abortion. Reed continued his trip with a visit to Saudi Arabia, however the President left the Middle Eastern Kingdom completely empty handed.
Domestically, controversial comments by Senator Kramer on the "War of Northern Aggression" sparked a debate on the question of the Confederate flag, and monuments related to the Confederacy or Confederate military. Soon after, Senator Kramer announced his bid for Presidency to attempt to unseat President Reed in 2020, leading to heavy criticism from numerous high profile Republicans. Kramer would hold a rally the following day in Wyoming, endorsing Dianna Noble, an NRA Field Representative and candidate for Senate in Wyoming, and being endorsed in turn.
On the state level, Florida became one of the first states to pass a comprehensive entitlement reform bill in response to the RLSA passed late in the previous year. The proposal, however, drew controversy due to a claim to the authority to lay a severance tax on offshore oil wells to the "full 200 nm EEZ limit and over the entirety of the direct and contiguous continental shelf and seabed of Florida." Governor Fredrick Williams of Mississippi claimed the bill was a sign of "oppression" by Florida against Mississippi, and hosting a rally in Pearlington condeming the bill. Florida Governor Esperanza Huerta defended the bill, and criticzed Williams, who filed suit against Florida.
Simultaneous to the political development, insurgent campaigner Alois Kramer attempted a campaign rally alongside Wyoming Senate candidate Dianna Noble to Dillon, Montana, the hometown of President Calvin Reed. The rally was negatively received by the crowd, and led to an altercation on-stage between Kramer and a member of the crowd, which escalated after Noble drew a firearm and opened fire. While details are under investigation, the shooting killed the man on-stage, who attempted to grapple with Noble and potentially seize her weapon, along with causing seven fatalities and two casualties in the crowd. Kramer received spinal injuries upon being shoved off of the stage, and Noble was placed under arrest.
The incident sparked a political maelstrom, with Representative Jared O'Leary introducing the "Noble Cause Act" banning certain "military-grade" weapons. With the revelation that the shooting had made use of a "hellfire trigger", several Republicans expressed a willingness to take legal action against such devices. The Act triggered a bitter feud between a number of Republicans and Democrats both in the House of Representatives and on Twitter. Further legislative attempts were made to restrict firearm access, with the bipartisan "Common Sense Gun Reforms Act of 2017" failing after sponsor Diane Lane turned against the bill, and the "High Capacity Magazine Ban and Compensation Act" being introduced by Senator Ella Enchanted.
The most significant governmental action following the shooting, however, was taken by the Executive Branch, with President Reed signing eight executive orders on his return. The orders covered a broad range of topics, including providing additional protections for religious liberty, removing abortifacient contraception mandates from the ACA, restricting warrantless searches, disbanding the Winston-established National Domestic Defense Council, freezing hiring in the federal workforce, adjusting dating on government documents, withdrawing from the International Small Arms Control Standards, and repealing a Winston executive order on barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The last order proved the most contentious by a broad margin, with aggressive criticism from Democratic and Progressive sources, as well as Republican Alexander Breckenridge, leading to the National March for Equality in front of the White House a mere two days separated from the orders coming into effect. A selection of speakers offered fervent opposition to the order, with Breckenridge calling for the President's resignation, and Huffington Post columnist and Progressive gubernatorial candidate Samantha Soberman drawing criticism by calling on Congress to impeach the President. The speeches would, however, not prove to be the main remembrance point of the March, as Senator Villanueva de Peña, invited to the March by Nicole T. Smith and challenged to address the marchers directly, was attacked and beaten by attendees, including a group of unidentified black-masked men, while attempting to reach the stage, resulting in severe injuries and her hospitalization at George Washington University Hospital, where she slipped into a coma.
Season 4: Aftermath Edit
The attack drew immediate response from all political sides, and often heated response, with march speakers seeking to assure that the attack was not representative of the ideology or persons of the march, while blame was cast on the speakers and marchers by conservative commentators. Criticism fell also on security, including the implication that West could be held liable by DNC Chair Vilseck.
The President gave a national address on the issue the day following, criticizing the attackers, and broadening the criticism to LGBT activists and their tactics of "bullies", rhetorically placing the attack as the culmination of past tactics of "intimidation", including disputes over private servicing of same-sex weddings in matters of conscience and attacks on Chick-Fil-A and other public statements of opposition to same-sex marriage, ending the address with an exhortation to reject politics of hatred and violence, and promote unity in diversity. The address was attacked by primary challenger Senator Kramer, and March speakers, with Representative Smith claiming the speech was racial, and comparing it to those of Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists.
The reconvention of Congress saw the intense and conflicted response of the members of the legislative branch. Senator Amaras of Iowa attempted to introduce a resolution of censure against Senator Breckenridge for accused complicity in what Amaras called an "organized" and "planned" assault on the Majority Whip, leading to a confrontation between Amaras and Senator Helena Locklear of Alaska on representing the Whip's in her absence, as well as criticism from Senator Lavonne Sunshine and Breckenridge himself, who would later that day file a lawsuit for libel and defamation. The censure was not brought up, but the docekted "Preservation of Marriage Act" soon took the floor a bill that, in effect, rejected the Obergefell ruling of the Supreme Court.
Hotly contested, the bill's questioning period devolved into a heated back-and-forth, followed by an intense period of negotiation between Senators once the floor was opened, briefly interrupted by an attempt from Senator Sunshine to censure Amaras for his own attempted censure of Breckenridge. When voting procedure began, two surprise votes immediately drew attention, defections from Senators Kramer and Troy Wilson of Wyoming, both from highly conservative states. While Amaras and Wilson engaged in verbal conflict on the Senate floor, Senator Ryan Carter, the former Majority Leader, broke from the party line to vote against the bill-and then reversed his vote to one in favor, intensifying the fight for votes. The final tally would see the bill pass by the slimmest majority, with the defection of the entire New England wing of the Republican Party, in addition to Kramer, Wilson, and several others, including Senators from Missouri and Georgia.
Mid-March saw the conclusion of special election primaries in Connecticut and Oklahoma, with both results falling as expected, Carter Roberts, Carter J. Schmidt, and Sadan Singh each victorious in the Republican, Democratic, and Progressive primaries, respectively, the latter having changed parties early in the month. In Oklahoma, former incumbent and 45th President Gene Eric and his Democratic opponent both won their primaries unopposed.
March would prove an active month for journalism, several politicians having interviews televised, that received significant attention, including Senator Alois Kramer, Representative Glen Anderson, Mayor Joh Stansky, and former Senator Gianna Carrollton. Commentary on Stansky's interview would lead to the Mayor challenging Senator Peter Amaras of Iowa to a televised debate. Said debate, hosted under the partial organization of Anderson, would be held in Trenton and televised, with comments from Stansky on the state of Israel considered especially controversial, and a victory generally being declared for Amaras by pundits.
In Washington, meanwhile, the nomination of Laura Boyd for Secretary of the Treasury was submitted to the Congress, after the failure of earlier nominee Emma Bellefontaine-Thibodeaux and, unlike Bellefontaine, Boyd was successfully confirmed by the Republican majority.
The Congress continued in its legislative efforts, and Governors in their executive ones, with bills such as the American Family Savings Act, Concentrated Poverty Relief Act, School Choice for Military Families Act, and Pornography Tax Act passing their respective chambers with varying levels of controversy. Two coastal Governors particularly entered the spotlight for respective actions, with Claudia Patton of Maine's legislation targeted against the BDS movement along with other bills spurring debate, and a later executive order by Jacob Bellinger-Frank of Washington requiring signing onto a statement of values to receive government funds sparking backlash and support.
Over the period, with the midterms still far-off, yet looming, one announcement of a retirement sparked tripartisan controversy.
Legislative conflict reached a new peak with the introduction and deliberation over the Amendment to Restore Citizen Legislators, a term-limits amendment of joint Republican and Progressive origin introduced to the Senate. The legislation would, after an intense questioning period, narrowly fail under nearly united Democratic opposition, sparking the defection of North Carolina Senator Hendricks from the Democratic to the Republican Party, a speech by Majority Leader Joanne Winslow, and a press conference by the President.
The Presidential press conference would, however, move on beyond the amendment and onto another topic of fiercely partisan debate, the selection of a nominee to fill the remaining vacancy left by the untimely death of Justice Keegan on the Supreme Court. Reed nominated Anna Rossi, a Republican Congresswoman best-known for her role in the prosecution of Albert Winston, but with no judicial experience, to the seat. The selection was questioned during the conference in regards to its potential partisanship and the lack of experience of the nominee, with Reed's defense based on the argument that Rossi possessed "unique" qualifications for the position.
After the first day of hearings, consisting of speeches by Senators of the committee, the next week would see Rossi questioned directly in a back-and-forth with several Senators, with the nominee facing questioning largely from potential swing voters, with mixed reviews on her performance, as questioning often hit onto the question of following ABA guidelines for judicial ethics in refraining from commitments on future cases, with several Senators requesting a deviation from the standard due to unique circumstances, and Rossi refusing to do so.
Near the end of the week, however, the situation changed. A story broke in the Wall Street Journal involving classmates of Rossi from her years at Harvard accusing her of using racial and sexual slurs in private settings against African-Americans in particular and homosexuals on occasion, backed by the report of a teacher who claimed that students had complained to her about racist attitudes held by Rossi. Immediately sparking condemnation, though with a limited number of politicians claiming the reports were false, the next day of hearings was set up to be a dramatic one, and wholly lived up to that expectation.
Rossi categorically denied the allegations as "lies" from "liars" at hearings start, and was visibly shaken throughout proceedings. As questioning increased in intensity, particularly a series of questions from Senator Breckenridge, as well as an inserted question from Senator Brankers, Rossi broke into tears before the Senate and on live television, leading to a plea for Breckenridge to listen to her after the Senator refused to respond to questions from the nominee protesting her innocence, and then alleging his cowardice and hatred for her. An effort by the Majority Leader to temporarily recess the hearings was objected to by the nominee, who, in a short speech marred by a cracking voice and tears, declaring that she would not return to the committee, accusing the members of the committee as standing aside while her life was "torn to shreds", and shocking the nation by withdrawing her candidacy.
The withdrawal saw some small measure of celebration among some left-wing opponents, but a larger measure of rage among right-wing supporters, including verbal altercations in the committee chamber, while politicians on both sides of the aisle launched attacks on or criticisms of Senator Breckenridge for his role in the hearings. These latter two would only increase on the breaking story later that night of counter-allegations made by other students attending concurrently with Rossi that, in addition to said language never having been heard, that they were approached by possible political actors who wished for them to corroborate the testimony of Rossi's racial slurs, a story which they claimed to have been knowingly false. The President issued a statement on Twitter condemning "assassination by allegation" and calling on the Judiciary Committee to investigate, while promising federal prosecution.
As the aftereffects of the aborted Rossi nomination continued to swirl, a crisis of the past reemerged with the reaching of a verdict on the trial of Dianna Noble for the murder of Howland Reed, father of the President, in the Dillon Shooting, the trial set at the federal level. The jury would return a "Not Guilty" verdict unanimously, a decision which commentators attributed partially to missteps on the part of the prosecution, U.S. Attorney Helena Richter.
As domestic tensions cooled from heated rage to a more wary simmer, the hot-blood of fighting overseas began to itself dim. Combat operations against the Islamic State were officially declared concluded in mid-May, the U.S. war effort having taken down the caliphate as a functional political state, if not, perhaps, as an organization or ideology. The summation of combat operations was to be followed by a full withdrawal of U.S. forces and the removal of the No-Fly Zone established by NATO under President Winston over Syria. The pronouncement of victory was paired with both a warning to maintain vigilance, and a promise of a new order of self-determination in the Middle East. Even in the glow of triumph, some would begin to wonder whether disturbances lurked all the more strongly beneath the surface.
The war would, before a true ending, take at least one further casualty. Weeks after the suspension of operations, Secretary of State Abelard Bell, continuing his presence in Iraq, was found unconscious in his room, and rushed to emergency medical care, having suffered a hemorrhagic stroke. In critical condition, the President was forced to announce the search for a new Acting-Secretary to step into the role of the elderly sailor.
By month's end, a long-running contest finally came to its conclusion in Connecticut. After the race was rattled by a late and sudden appearance by the Vice President, who refused to offer a formal endorsement, but vocally condemned Ambassador Singh, the race was closely-watched across the nation, but little-attended in Connecticut. In a low-turnout race, Carter Roberts would take a plurality victory with thirty-seven percent of the vote, bolstering the Republican supermajority in the Senate, and leading to criticism from some angles, DCCC Chair Jared O'Leary in particular, at Singh's defection to the Progressive Party, blaming it for the Republican victory.
In the Senate, the Republican supermajority would face a further test with the confirmation vote to be held for Annie Walker, nominated after the disastrous Rossi scandal, yet found that confirmation far less of a challenge than one for a different office entirely. Walker's confirmation, after the intense, Congress-shaking fight of the Rossi hearings, was relatively smooth, approved with minimal dissent from the party. Disagreement would arise in the hearings on the appointment of Ohio Governor Julie Mondale to be Ambassador to the United Nations. Comments from Mondale on possible UN intervention in domestic affairs stirred up opposition among more conservative members of the Republican caucus. The confirmation vote would come down to the wire, with Democrats and Progressives joining a collection of conservative and neoconservative Senators along the party line. One defection from that group, Senator Edgar Brankers of Washington, who voted in favor of the nominee, proved deciding, bringing the vote to a 48-48 tie, finally broken in favor of the nominee by Vice President Buck Havich.
Season 5: Fireworks Edit
The intensity of the Mondale nomination, the first ever to decided by a Vice President's tiebreaking vote, was followed by a relatively mild confirmation hearing for Thomas Stevenson to replace Abelard Bell as Secretary of State, a nomination that was ultimately approved by a broad, partially bipartisan margin, setting the stage for the President to address both Houses of Congress that night.
The July 3rd speech before a joint session was dubbed a "Mini State of the Union" or a "Half SOTU" by some pundits, and was divided between reflections from the President on the first six months of the administration praising accomplishments and calling for unity, and the unveiling of a new energy and infrastructure plan, alternatively referred to as the "CURES Initiative" "National Nuclear Program", and "Future Energy Plan", proposing massive government investment in nuclear infrastructure through funds provided in the previous Congress's budget. The proposal drew a mix of support and opposition, with criticism of the expansion of nuclear power most stridently led by Progressive leader Ellen Walton.
The Fourth of July was highlighted by the bipartisan exercise of the Congressional Baseball Game, with mild controversy over the lack of Progressive participation, but an uncontroversial product in the game itself. In Seattle, however, a Representative from Washington 7th's District, Martin Taylor, elected as a Democrat before immediately defecting to the Progressive Party, drew a firestorm of controversy for an aggressive speech in which he staked out far-left positions, including phrasing that implied support for a violent societal overthrow. Criticism of the speech was soon partially redirected towards Deputy Attorney General Austin Milller who, after the mild controversy of engaging and criticizing New Mexico Governor Jose Aleravez, tweeted a statement saying he "agreed with most of what [Taylor] said", leading to varied levels of criticism from other Republicans, with North Carolina Senator Noah Ashe calling Miller a "Disgrace to the party."
Criticism of Taylor's speech was received from both Republicans and Democrats, but became most concentrated in a heated back-and-forth between Taylor and Massachusetts Representative Kristen Stevenson. The back-and-forth eventually escalated into a debate challenge, accepted and soon organized.
The quickly-organized debate would be held later in the same week in Bourne, Massachusetts, and drew significant attention, as Taylor's radical proposals made national news, then received further attention when he debuted a "New American Manifesto", which sparked further criticism and a Twitter exchange with Hawaii Senator Sam McGareth. Miller, meanwhile, looked to distance himself from Taylor, stating that his approval had been extremely narrow, and pledging to avoid future partisanship.
In the debate, Taylor drew controversy for saying that American military action following the Second World War was "The same, if not worse than, the Holocaust", while his official Twitter account posted comparisons of the U.S. Military to the German Wehrmacht in the Second World War, which would be blamed on a staffer. Stevenson criticized Taylor heavily for his Holocaust comparison and alleged sexism, and was broadly held to be the runaway winner in the debate, with Taylor widely seen as decisively defeated in the contest.
The ripple effects of the debate would expand quickly, as Taylor, after attempting to defend his performance, resigned from Congress. In relatively short order, Taylor announced his intention to contend for his own seat in a Special Election, but was disavowed by Progressive Party leadership, with Ellen Walton accusing Taylor of still being a Democrat, and intending to run a candidate against him. Taylor would subsequently declare as an independent, then create a party of his own, the American Labor Party, and then ultimately withdraw himself from the race entirely, while stating that the ALP would still run a candidate. Stevenson took credit for the destruction of Taylor's career via her debate performance, and Taylor repeated challenges he had issued to her for a second debate, which she likened to catcalling and refused.
Outside of the public eye, even as Taylor captured media attention, Norfolk, Virginia Mayor Arthur Arlen, recently defeated in his attempt to claim the Democratic nomination for Governor of Virginia, announced a city ordinance that banned the flying of the Confederate Flag in the city of Norfolk, including on private property. The move brought some criticism from free speech advocates, but sparked a larger debate and controversy over the nature of Confederate iconography in terms of cultural relevance in the positive or negative for various groups, as well as historical narrative. The controversial decision would lead to the announcement of a protest, the "Heritage March", by New York political and media personality Don Hookstraten, soon joined by Governors Fredrick Williams and Augustus Sinclair, Senator Alois Kramer, and media personality Katharine Hobbes. A counter-rally was soon announced, drawing participants including Democratic gubernatorial candidate Moses Clearwater, Arlen, Representative Theodore Kimbrell of Virginia, and DCCC Chair Jared O'Leary, author of the "Ending Honoring the Confederacy Bill." Concurrent to the event, though without any stated connection to it, a number of major Tea Party figures joined Senator Peter Amaras for a large rally in Sheldon, Iowa, with Susanna Harrington, Reginald Ransom, Phillip Prejean, and Wesley Moore all in attendance.
As major public events gained steam, the case regarding the assault on Senator Villanueva de Peña progressed behind the scenes. First Lady Aubrey Reed covertly traveled to Deming, New Mexico to meet with a staffer of the Senator's. Receiving information, the next day, in Claunch, New Mexico, the staffer, "Rosa", was shot dead by police while fleeing in a state of partial undress, in an incident involving the former Mayor of Palm Beach, Carlos Mateo, raising questions of what, exactly, occurred in the desolate town.