This article will be a little different from my normal Opinion installments. In this post, I’ll go over how the 2016 elections could have gone differently, and how that could affect the rest of history as we know it. If you like this type of theorizing/think piece and want to see more of this style, please let me know and I’ll see what I can do.
We need to address some ground rules. First, all theories need to be plausible. Leaps in logic often break open a theory to scrutiny, and I want to make these theories as realistic as possible. Second, no ‘they didn’t run in real life, but…’ scenarios will be presented. All winners will have to have run for President, and either have lasted for a sub stain all amount of time, or have actually gotten a vote count that was large. So, no, Scott Walker will not make an appearance on this timeline.
It’s 2016, and Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic party’s nomination. Like in our timeline, the DNC and the superdelegate system screws over Sanders. However, this time Clinton pays off every Bernie fan with a promise that they will receive a good incentive if they shut up and support her (let’s say a check in the mail worth 500 dollars for rich supporters, and 1,000 dollars for poorer supporters). Her scheme works, and Bernie only clenches 1,652 delegates. Clinton gains a net of 213 delegates. Not a huge gain, but still a sweep in some cases. Bernie is also paid off, and fully endorses Clinton. He drops the ‘progressive’ tag, and even stops talking about his socialistic ideals. The Democratic Party is united under one single banner: Clinton is the best choice for the country. Since Sanders has no real incentive to go all Marxist on the country anymore, he becomes more of an aide to Hillary. The situation is kind of like Tim Kaine in our timeline; he talks the pro-Hillary game, and plays it, too. Bernie convinces his base that Hillary would be the best outlet for their movement, and they listen to him. He only loses 10% of his overall base total. He tells Hillary that she needs to adopt at least one of his socialist policies in order to keep his base happy, and she does. She advocates for higher business taxes, a higher minimum wage, and non-interventionism in foreign affairs (but actually still privately keeps that point on). She has Bernie check her speeches, and lets him write a couple scripts in order to keep him happy. This pays off for Clinton; while Sanders may be an old, very socialistic SJW, he was also able to never outrage the opposition like Hillary could. So, she starts to use him in that position, too.
As the election season burns throughout the summer, Hillary’s support silently and slowly grows. With Bernie in her ear, she convinces the media to act more non-partisan. ‘Go back to your roots’, she tells them. ‘Act like you care for both parties, but just leave subtle hints of bias here and there’. This change works, and Trump’s allegations against CNN spreading ‘Fake News’ are less substantiated. Trump is seen more as an Alex Jones-type, and not a stable genius-type by his non-supporters from this point on. Sadly, this alienates some older voters (let’s say around 20% of them), and loses some of the not-so-hardcore voters. This also affects Trump’s stronger base members, which become even more attuned to his message. Because of this, the Clinton supporters start to heckle them by calling them ‘cray’ and being ‘sheeple’.
With Sanders rewriting her comments and speeches, Clinton never stumbles through the more volatile attacks on Trump’s base. Instead, she paints the base as ‘misguided’, ‘down-on-their-luck’ Americans who are looking for a voice of anger to support them. This draws less fire from Trump and his fans. Clinton starts to siphon off voters from Gary Johnson, Trump, and Stein. As the date comes close to Election Day, the media does not predict a Clinton win. They keep saying for both candidates that they have ‘a chance’ of winning (although they secretly still believe Clinton will wipe the floor with Trump). During the debates, Anderson Cooper still gives Clinton more time to speak, but doesn’t interrupt Trump as much as he did in our timeline. Instead of lying to America about her emails, Clinton never has to answer for her crimes; Obama covers up the entire story in the DOJ and the FBI. James Comey is paid off to keep his mouth shut until after Election Day.
Election Day comes, and Clinton sweeps Michigan, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. Why? Because, she was able to convince many more “faithless Republicans” that she was more moderate than her opponent. Michigan goes by 3% Blue, and she flips the state to her side.
After the Election, Clinton doesn’t claim ‘collusion’ by Russian interference, and doesn’t blame James Comey for costing her the election. Immediately, the economy takes a nosedive into dangerous territory. This is because Clinton promised higher business taxes. The legacy media, which had been relatively neutral prior to Clinton’s win, turns on the sappy love music with Hillary, and does nothing but faun over her. Every single day, all CNN and the other large companies do is praise Clinton. RBG retires, as she knows the government (which is now controlled by mostly Democrats), will find a suitable replacement for her. Garland is appointed to replace Scalea, and Kennedy, fearing a full blown Progressive future, does not retire from his job.
I have to speak on this point for a few minutes. I believe Justice Kennedy liked Trump a little more than other judges did. Why would he? Well, unlike RBG, who’s so radical to the left, Kennedy resigned, knowing Trump would appoint anywhere from a Gorsuch to a Kavanaugh. I believe his action showed a trust in the process, and hence, a trust in our Republican president.
Anyways, on to the Courts. Roe v. Wade is tried again and again; however, since the SCOTUS is now controlled by a dominant Left wing, it continuously re-approves the legislation. In fact, the court strikes down several other anti-abortion legislations, and abortions become even more readily available than they are right now. Gun control also comes up. While the SCOTUS does not strike down the 2nd Amendment, it does approve new laws as ‘constitutional’ and ‘fair’ that slowly and increasingly restrict it. Healthcare remains untouched, much to Sanders’ horror, and the $15 minimum wage hike is rejected in most state legislatures. California, of course, continues to pass increasingly restrictive legislation, while Texas gains several thousand new voters per year from California. The border is also affected. While Clinton fails to enact ‘free and open borders’ (it’s surprisingly struck down in the Courts as being unconstitutional), she does get a ‘looser’ policy. Illegal immigrants are not harmed when they attempt to pass through the border, and are given financial benefits greater than most citizen-welfare programs.
2018 rolls around, and Clinton’s health has only slightly improved from when Election Day 2016 happened. This is because she has access to doctors and medication (because she lessens restrictions on the FDA for her ailments), and because she does not hold a burning hatred for losing, like she did in our timeline. In other places outside of the Devil’s Cavern in Washington, the population grows sick and tired of the constant praise the legacy media continues to heap on their president. Progressives, especially, think Clinton hasn’t done enough for their movement. True socialism starts to breed in the hearts of progressive voters, and moderates start to slowly shift more and more Right as an affect of this. ANTIFA does rise up, but it is only at a state-wide level. Delegations in separate Republican-controlled states only pop up, unlike they do in all states in our timeline. In foreign policy, Clinton doesn’t do very well for other nations. With Israel, she continuously condemns the nation for ‘land-grabbing’, and does not move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. She instead declares that Palestine is the true owner of the land. While she does take Sanders’ advice on not intervening in foreign matters when it comes to the Middle East, she does punish Russia for ‘interfering with US elections, and the mistreatment of homosexuals’. Russia continues to attack Ukraine and the surrounding countries, and Clinton heavily intervenes on the Brexit referendum. In a shocking state of affairs, Brexit still manages to pass, but with a largely reduced majority of the vote as opposed to our timeline.
The midterms roll up, and the sentiment in the country is clear. All throughout the country, Republican candidates for both the House and Senate whip their opposition Democrats. While the Democrats enjoyed a majority in both chambers of Congress, they did little to push Clinton on her endeavors which favored her more progressive side. So, Progressives are voted out, and RINOS, along with DINOS, are voted in. While the GOP still fails to control either chamber, they largely increase their minorities to near majorities. At the end of the night, they own 200 seats to the Democrats’ 235. In the Senate, they own 48 seats to the Democrats’ 52. This is a stunning loss for Democrats; Clinton had been confident that she would maintain a super-majority in both houses. Indeed, she had previously: Democrats had controlled the House by a margin of nearly 70 seats, while they’d also controlled the Senate by more than 20 seats. They’d suffered a net loss of 49 seats overall; 33 seats in the House, and 16 seats in the Senate. Again, they still control both Houses, but by diminished majorities. The Conservatives act like this isn’t enough; they want the Presidency to turn red as well. Anger slowly builds with each passing month as the 2020 elections near. The House continues to raise taxes on corporations, and keeps investigating supposed ‘Russia collusion’, despite Clinton’s protests. As 2020 approaches, Sanders distances himself from Clinton as the time for Election primaries near. He wants to run again. By this time, Hillary is still fit to run the government, and the 25th Amendment has not been enacted yet. On the GOP side, the pro-evangelical vote diminishes further as anger for the 2016 loss builds up to a roaring wave. Ted Cruz and other top evangelical voters don’t get the support they once had; Huckabee, Cruz, and other religion-centric leaders fail to stir up the fervor their movements had back in 2016. Trump, however gains unending GOP support. Why? Again, politics has turned into ‘rage-against-the-machine’. “The Democrats control everything,” He tells crowds. “They try to control everything, and they’re failing.” Since illegals can vote, that block is split up to 70% Democrat, 25% Republican, and 5% to all the other bases. Furthermore, the demographics are different. Of the possibilities, 30% are Conservative, 50% are Liberal, 5% are Progressive, and 15% are Liberal-Conservative (they fall in the middle between the two). Illegal immigrants in the Clinton years got increased government support, and that support included legal voting rights. They were allowed to vote, yet that did not increase the Democrats’ voting base. Instead, it drew a small percent of illegals (let’s say around 10%) to the GOP. Now, those immigrants who were benefiting from the Clinton policies strangely favor the Trump ideals: Strong border, low taxes for everyone, and a return to non-interventionism and support for Israel. Abortion has become a non-issue; Cruz and his side of the Republicans (Neo-cons and Religious Conservatives) seem to not get that fact. They believe they can still win votes on that issue. However, their position only drives support for Trump’s more moderate positions into the high 60%’s. Oddly enough, former President Barack Obama does not endorse Hillary Clinton for President again; he refrains from outright support of her.
Since Bernie isn’t whispering into her ear in this election cycle, Clinton becomes a maverick. She starts to act like the Clinton in our timeline: turning on the ‘sexist’ card, the ‘women’ card, and even uses the ‘deplorable’ comment on a few groups, including Sanders’ supporters, who are made up of Progressives, anti-business liberals, and a few percentages of other bases. Her base consists of a majority of the Democratic Party; despite her unpopularity among Republicans, Libertarians, and Progressives, she still maintains an appeal to hardcore Democrats and some independents. The media helps her case: it continues to stump for her on a daily basis. It even goes as far as interviewing her on a constant basis, like Trump did with Fox News in our timeline. On the opposite side of the aisle, Trump opens himself to the alternative media.
In the Clinton years, the Alternative media, like InfoWars and other non-legacy platforms, suffer anti-defamation legislation supported by the legacy firms. Sadly, a lot of independent creators are de-platformed off of modern day public squares of communication like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. Companies are founded literally on 4chan, and a real ‘underground media’ is formed. It’s basically illegal to oppose legislation by words or views from online media. CNN and the left-of-center media firms benefit from this; they support all Democrat policies to begin with. Fox News has enough money and a few corporate backers to avoid outright legal battles, and just suffer anti-sponsorship campaigns from smaller individuals not directly tied to the DNC or the government. In other places, citizens are charged with defamation of the government if they share anti-establishment views online, and are charged or suspended if caught. These legislations are not supported by Clinton: She’s smart enough to realize the ramifications of these bills. The bills themselves were supported by Progressives in the Congress, who have a reign over that chamber, and was backed by a swath of leftist and Progressive House Representatives. Since the Courts are now controlled by Liberals or Progressives, they don’t strike this legislation down, either. So, Clinton can only promise to try and change it, as to not cause a literal civil war.
Primaries come and go, and Trump wins his side’s nomination overwhelmingly. Instead of getting 1,441 like he did in 2016 (in our timeline), Trump wipes the floor with Ted Cruz again, this time gaining 215 more delegates, and winning with a score of 1,656 votes. Cruz only gains 337 votes, 214 less than in 2016. Marco Rubio doesn’t win any, and Rand Paul only wins the remaining number of delegates. Like I said earlier, Trump wins because of the anger of the GOP base against the Establishment; While Democrats don’t control all of the government, the GOP in Washington has done little to stop it from steamrolling pro-GOP legislation. In the Democrat’s primary, Bernie loses for a second time to Hillary. However, Hillary only gets a small margin of the delegates over Bernie (about 300-500 more). Again, like last time: not a small margin, per say, but a close battle nonetheless. The sad fact of it is, though, that Hillary does not seek to mend ties with Bernie. Neither does Sanders. The Democrats in Washington urge him to take any deal he can, in order to keep their party from splitting, but he refuses. Instead, he mounts a third party campaign (like Roosevelt did in the 1912 elections). Bernie runs on the “Progressive-Democrat Party”. He realizes calling it the “Socialist” party would just damage his chances even further, and refrains from doing so. This action hurts both Hillary and Bernie; all non-Progressive Bernie supporters are alienated by the move, and leave the party overall. Some go to the Libertarians, some leave for the less radical Green Party, some even go to the Republicans. Hillary’s more Progressive supporters don’t support the schism either, and leave the party for others. The Republicans gain a few thousand voters, but nothing major enough to boast over. In contrast, the Libertarian party increases in popularity, but Gary Johnson, for a third time, wins the candidacy for the party. This action in turns drives out moderate Libertarians, and sends them in three different directions: one third goes to Trump, one third to Clinton, and the last third to the Independent party.
Historians call this Presidential race the ‘craziest one in history to date’. There are now five legitimate candidacies: Trump with the GOP, Clinton with the Democrats, Sanders with the Progressives, Johnson with the Libertarians, and Stein (for a second time) with the Green Party. While the last two don’t really have a shot to begin with, the Progressive movement gains support in several states including Vermont and parts of Maine. As the campaign rolls from the summer into the fall months, things begin to happen. First, Clinton calls for the abolishment of the “Free Internet Act of 2019”. The act, unlike it’s name, restricted the Internet (it was the ‘legislation’ I talked about earlier). Unfortunately for Clinton, this move is late enough that it is seen as a ‘desperate’ attempt to win support from shaky Republicans. The commentators saying this are right in two ways. First, the GOP at this time is more united than the Democrats or even the Progressives. Surprisingly enough, Trump took the advice of his advisors, and refrained from attacking his enemies on Twitter and on the campaign trail. Second, the move came a month before Election Day. The move falls flat on it’s face, and a small percentage, let’s say 2.5%, leave the Democrats for the Republicans or the Progressives. The debates roll around, and it’s surprisingly tame for both Clinton and Trump. Sanders gains a spot on the stage, but he only propagates his own platform, and refuses to debate other ideas outside of it.
Election Day rolls around, and Clinton barely loses to Trump. At the end of the night, the race is over, and Trump wins the Presidency of 2020. He won the nomination by only 5 votes over the margin, and won several states he lost in 2016. These include Michigan, Iowa, Florida, Nevada, and others. (All are on the map in the link below). Sanders takes Vermont, several congressional districts in Nebraska and Maine, wins Rhode Island, and several other states. In the end, he took away 2 possible votes from Trump, and 13 from Clinton. Clinton herself lost the nomination by 22 votes. Her apathy to what was going on in the country is the chief speculated reason she lost to Trump, but other attribute it to a schism between the Democrats and their plight against a moderate, united GOP front. When the county map is shown (no, I don’t have any way to actually show you one myself; just imagine this portion), Sanders actually claimed a few counties in the Northeast, the Midwest, the South, and the West. The Northwest, where he won 2-3 states, is where his support was greatest. In other regions, in places where it was a winner-take-all type of outcome, he was utterly destroyed by either Clinton or Trump. As always, Clinton’s support is greatest in the outer regions of the country, like California, New Mexico, and other states. But, unlike usual, the big cities only leaned Democrat, and didn’t slide into the ‘safe’ zone. Trump and the GOP rally around this win. While the Democrats won the House for a third time, their lead diminished again. Now, they only held a 15 seat lead. The other gain of 20 came from both the Republicans and the Progressives, who either beat out supposed Independents or Democrats. The Senate didn’t go well, either. The Democrats lessen their lead there, too: now they hold a 50 seat majority to the Republicans 44. Four Progressives and two Independents took over the seats. Clinton claims the election loss was due to Sanders, the Progressives, and collusion from multiple foreign governments, including Israel, Russia, Ukraine, and Great Britain.
Justice Kennedy finally retires, and the Republicans wait to replace him with a moderate justice like Brett Kavanaugh.
Overall, the entire timeline in my opinion would have changed. While I would be just as happy writing “Trump wins in 2020 against Clinton because she’s incompetent”, that would first be lazy, and also secondly be partisan. I thought about each move, each event, and whether it was what I wanted to happen, or what could happen.Yes, I am a Conservative Republican. But, in making these, I had to think about what would be the most probable in the case that the event was in. In certain places, some will scream “Bias!”. However, if you do this, please note the context of the event, and the outcome it caused.
For the Electoral Maps of each candidate, I used 270toWin, an election-prediction site. Each link will be listed below for your reference wishes. If you have question on why which state flipped the way it did, let me know.
HILLARY WIN (over Trump, 2016) https://www.270towin.com/maps/3BVd2
TRUMP WIN (Over Hillary in 2020): https://www.270towin.com/maps/6l8zp