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POD: In 1970, Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan narrowly wins the Democratic primary over Bella Abzug for the U.S. senate seat held by incumbent James L. Buckley. However she does not drop out; she wins the Liberal party nomination for the same seat. Many moderate Democrats support Buckley, and in a very Democratic year Senator Buckley narrowly retains his senate seat by a 45%-43%-11% margin over Moynihan and Abzug, respectively, and many believe that some last-minute campaigning by Governor Ronald Reagan also helped him to retain his seat. Hillary Rodham, who campaigned for Barry Goldwater in 1964 and Senator Buckley this time around, is pleased with the results. Reagan was the major crusader for the GOP in 1976, and put a great deal of effort into giving the GOP a foothold in the congressional elections. For this reason, the GOP holds their seats in Tennessee, Hawaii, and Wyoming in addition to Buckley's in New York, adding to a 3-seat GOP net gain in 1976. They also took 7 seats in the House of Representatives, largely due to a lackluster campaign by Carter, who does not campaign for any congressional Democrats. Many GOP elders are appreciative of Reagan's barnstorming and thus he is seen as the likely GOP candidate in 1980.
In the 1978 elections, Reagan is back on the stump for the GOP; they gain 7 senate seats and 68 house seats due to the GOP swing, as a result of Reagan focusing less on his presidential campaign and more on the Congressional elections, and thanks to Buckley barnstorming the northeast. The Democrats will narrowly retain the senate with the tie-breaking vote of Walter Mondale and the House by a 224-211 margin, but the Conservative Democrats and GOP can still get things accomplished with coalition-building. The conservative congress passes several tax cuts that Carter vetoes, making him look weak and unwilling to co-operate in the minds of the public. Reagan easily wins the GOP nomination and chooses Senator Buckley as his running mate; both realize that they are going to easily win the election so they choose to focus on the Congressional races; the GOP nets a pickup of 37 seats in the house and 15 senate seats, including those of Gary Hart in Colorado, bringing the GOP to takeover both houses of Congress for the first time since 1952. Reagan and Buckley easily win the presidential election; the GOP controls Congress by a margin of 248-187 in the House and 65-35 in the senate, the best margin for the GOP since 1928. President Reagan has a great mandate by which to govern.
In 1981, he immediately begins work on tax cuts; he devises a plan with Speaker Michel and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole to revise the tax code into a three-bracket system whose tax rates are 10%, 20%, and 30% without any deductions. With the help of conservative Democrats, it passes with a great majority in both houses. Then, President Reagan completes his domestic work by eliminating the Departments of Commerce, Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services, as well as the merging of the Department of Justice and the Attorney General's office. He then turns to the Soviet Union and begins his foreign policy strategy; he reorganizes the Department of Defense, cutting much of the bureoucracy out of the military on the advice of Defense Secretary John McCain. He then increases funding for NASA and increases arms buildup without increasing spending, and the budget is nearly balanced after large cuts in welfare and medicaid. Then, Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev dies in office and is replaced with Mikael Gorbechev, who appears much more reasonable then the last string of leaders, "a man who we can really work with" according to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Throughout his tenure President Reagan is praised for eliminating welfare, food stamps, and the minimum wage by replacing them with a negative income tax model proposed by Treasury Secretary William F. Buckley, brother of Vice President Buckley. President Reagan is shot by a crazed man named John Hinckley, Jr. Reagan will recover quickly, and his approval ratings skyrocket to 94%. Heading into the 1982 midterms, all looks bright for the Reagan adminstration, and after dispatching Vice President Buckley to campaign, the GOP actually gains 7 seats in the House and 3 in the senate, including Bill Buckley winning his brother's old senate seat, totaling 255-180 in the House and 68-32 in the Senate. The GOP leaders are already taking notice of Vice President Buckley.
Reagan's first term in office is very successful, and ends with his landslide re-election, and his coattails grant him 23 seats in the house, as well as 1 in the senate. He is well-loved by the American public, and creams former Vice President Mondale in every state, winning 532 electoral votes (Mondale only carries D.C. for 3 electoral votes.)
Reagan is successful in his second term, and helps to begin construction on the Strategic Defense Initiative, as well as drawing up plans for a space station and nuclear-propelled spacecraft. The President is also (at the advice of the Buckleys) successful in creating a flat income tax of 15%. All things look good for heir-apparent James Buckley.
In the 1986 elections, the 6-year curse sets in, with the GOP losing 16 seats in the house and 2 in the senate, though many political analysts believe that crusading from Vice President Buckley prevented them from being even worse for the GOP. The House is GOP by 262-173 and the Senate remains GOP with 67 seats to 33 for the Democrats (Harry F. Byrd Jr. has cacused GOP since they took over the Senate in 1980.)
In the 1988 election, Vice President Buckley is nominated with little opposition, and picks California Senator Barry Goldwater, Jr. as his running mate. The Vice President wins in a landslide over former Senator Gary Hart, who was revealed to have had marital infidelities; Buckley controlled the rampant media by saying that he felt that he was more fit to be President than the Senator, not because he was faithful to his wife but because of his policies, and that the people should vote based on substance, not personal life. The GOP takes 11 house seats and 3 senate seats, giving them Congressional control by 273-162 in the House and 70-30 in the House. George H. W. Bush will be President-elect Buckley's Secretary of State.
In his first 100 days in office, President Buckley will create an opt-out of social security and Medicare, as well as having the goal of privatization of both by 2000. The federal government will cover 40% of costs, but the patient will have their own private insurance or choose to have none at all, with the feds covering 40% of expenses. This is praised by many libertarians and conservatives, as well as the new Speaker Newt Gingrich. Then in April, the Berlin Wall falls and the Soviet Union is dissolved. President Buckley's approval ratings shoot up to 70%. Then in 1990, SDI is completed. A lunar colony is established as well, and a manned mission to Mars is planned for 2000. President Buckley sees Saddam Hussein scheming in Iraq, and quickly declairs that any act of aggression in the Middle East will be seen as an Act of War. Hussein had planned on invading Kuwait but now sulks in his palace, dismayed to discover that the new president is just as strong-willed as President Reagan.
In the 1990 elections, GOP fatigue is not as bad as once thought; the GOP loses 21 house seats and 3 in the senate, although the Republicans maintain control of Congress handily with 252 seats in the house and 67 in the senate. Congress has balanced the budget 7 years in a row now, and the national debt is nearly paid off. In 1991, South Vietnam, with the go-ahead from President Buckley, invade North Vietnam, establishing a democratic unfied government, to the praise of the North Vietnamese.
In 1992, the President oversees great economic expansion for the eleventh consecutive year. President Buckley remains popular with the American people, with an approval rating of 59% and an average approval of 56%. He is in a great position for the upcoming election.
In the 1992 elections, the President is handily re-elected over former Senator Al Gore of Tennessee and his running mate Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas. The GOP gains several seats in the house and holds even in the senate, where Governor George Deukmijian of CA is elected Senator in a special election, to the private glee of Governor Pete Wilson, his successor. The President mainly focuses on tax cuts and is successful in getting the income tax lowered to a 10% rate and receiving a 15% flat income tax on corporations. He privatizes the Tennessee Valley Authority, and also gets rid of what remains of the New Deal and Great Society. In 1993, President Buckley appoints John Roberts to the Supreme Court. The economy expands greatly, and the President caps state income and sales taxes at their current level. He eliminates the capital gains tax and estate tax and vetoes the proposed gas tax. In 1994, the Republicans gain many new governorships and state legislatures, but lose several seats in Congress, though they are still in power after 14 years. Congress balances the budget for the eleventh consecutive year. President Buckley appoints New Jersey Judge Andrew Napolitano to the Supreme Court.
In November 1995, the President announces that construction on the Space Station Destiny is complete, and that the nuclear-propelled ship, to be named the Constellation Rocket, is complete. The Mars mission, which will utilize the new technology, (and will be called Ares II) is set to begin in several months. South Korea invades North Korea, and though the president was not made aware of their plans, he will send aid in the form of troops and supplies. Within two months, Pyongyang is captured by South Koreans, and the President praises the reunified Korean elections; over 60% of those who were in North Korea approve of the new government.
In March 1996, the Ares II launches from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and is estimated to take about nine weeks to reach Mars. They will establish a permanent base on the planet, and there will be a manned mission to Titan by 2000. Meanwhile, the GOP nominates Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia for President (with Vice President Goldwater believing he had little chance of being elected after 16 years of GOP rule) and California Governor Pete Wilson for Vice President. The Democrats nominate Texas Governor Ann Richards of Texas for President and Governor Bill Clinton for Vice President once again. In the election, Richards narrowly beats out Speaker Gingrich, who announces he will remain Speaker of the House. The GOP will retain the senate while the Democrats narrowly gain control of the house for the first time in 16 years.
In 1997, the budget is balanced for the fifteenth consecutive year. The national debt is paid off. President Richards and Vice President Clinton are sworn in. Vice President Clinton comes under fire for what will become known as Whitewater Scandal; he is seen as selling America out to the Chinese, and the American public disapproves of Clinton by 59% with only 27% approving; 62% believe he is guilty, and 49% think he should be impeached, though the Congress will not move for this.
In the 1998 elections, though Vice President Richards has been an above-average president, public disapproval of her Vice President causes the GOP to tighten their control on the senate and gain more than forty seats in the House, reclaiming it once again, though Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole retires citing age and a desire to retire from public life. However, his wife, Elizabeth Dole, is just beginning her political career. The Republicans also hold and pick up many new governorships, such as California where Maureen Reagan, daughter of the president, was elected governor, succeeding Gov. Wilson who opted against a third term (the CA term limits IOTL were never passed) and her brother, Mike, was elected Senator, defeating incumbent Barbara Boxer. The President has gotten much of her agenda passed, including large decreases in spending and troops from the newly-reunified Korea and Vietnam, as well as Germany and Japan. However, there is intense gridlock in Washington over the budget, and she finally gives into the GOP's refusal to raise taxes and allows the private social security and medicare accounts to be created. Speaker Gingrich spearheaded this move, along with new Senate Majority Leader Al D'Amato, who was narrowly re-elected over Democrat Charles Schumer. The budget will remain balanced, and the GOP Congress will ratify a balanced budget amendment.
In 1999, the Orion IV, a manned mission to Titan, is launched, and expected to arrive in 2000. Aboard this voyage are former Senator John Glenn of Ohio and astronaut Bill Nelsoon of Florida. President Richards announces to the nation that she has been diagnosed with esophogal cancer, and that she will not seek a second term. Her successor as governor, George W. Bush, as well as Senate Majority Leader Al D'Amato, announce their campaigns for president.
Senator Al D'Amato is nominated for President and Governor Pete Wilson for Vice President. The Demcrats are in disarray, and will narrowly nominate Vice President Clinton for President and former Senator Joe Lieberman for Vice President. They will go on to lose in a landslide after rumors of marital infedelity crushed Slick Willy's chances at the White House. The GOP makes gains in Congress, and the budget will be balanced once again, as the Balanced Budget Amendment has just recently been ratified by the states. Senator William F. Buckley, Jr. wins re-election. Governor Pataki appoints Hillary Rodham, a Conservative Party representative from Statin Island, to succeed President-elect D'Amato.
President Pothole will begin an overhaul of the U.S. Cabinet structure, slashing entire departments until only 5 remain: Attorney General, State, Defense, Treasury, and Interior. The president also eliminates corporate tax, capital gains tax, and estate tax at the federal level, and cuts all departments 20% across-the-board. He gains the support of many Americans who admire his forward, frank, and direct approach to governing.
The Orion IV lands on Titan, and brings about a new Space Revolution; the President privatises NASA and makes tax incentives in the form of grants for competing private corporations to replace them. He uses the same method for oil pipeline construction and the new international high-speed rail. This creates millions of American jobs.
In 2008, the Barry Goldwater Jr. / John E. Bush ticket defeats Senator Barrack Obama / Gov. Mark Warner for president.