Alternative history June 16 2015, Washington post page A8:
Real estate Mogul Donald Trump is dead at the age of 68. Tragicomedy struck at Trump tower today as Trump tripped over his 4" platform shoes and fell down an escalator breaking his fool neck in front of a crowd of paid of supporters. He leaves behind 3 wives, 5 children, 10 grand children and innumerable mistresses who immediately began squabbling with eachother over the scraps if his estate.
In a wave of resentment against a black president, and general dissatisfaction with the status quo, Republicans nominate the most extreme red meat conservative they have available. Then and ginned up allegations about Clinton’s e-mails, Russian disinformation, and progressives staying home to teach the Democrats a lesson, Ted Cruz scrapes together enough electoral votes to win the presidency in 2016.
What does he do differently. I assume that the number of lies drop by an order of magnitude, and there is no effort to actively piss off our allies. I think we still probably get out of the Paris climate agreement, and the Iran nuclear deal, while leaving the Trans-pacific partnership hanging. He probably doesn’t start the trade wars with the world, but maybe a Muslim ban?
On the domestic side, we get the same boondoggle of a tax cut, but with someone relatively competent in charge can the Republicans also get enough votes to nix the ACA, even if they have nothing to replace it with? Racism is still rampant but may be still confined to dog whistles rather than bull horns.
Russian interference still happens and is downplayed, but to what extent does the Cruz campaign play along? In any case I doubt that Cruz will so blatantly obstruct justice making the Mueller report a much less interesting read. Also no shenanigans with Ukraine and no coup attempt at the end so no impeachment.
Finally to the elephant in the room, Covid. While there may be some attempt to minimize the apparent severity of the crisis there isn’t the level of outright denial that Trump exhibited. However in terms of maskholes and keep everything open, I’m not sure how much of that was Trump as a leader versus how much was Trump as follower. I think the “my freedom trumps your health science” attitude is going to show up in conservatives no matter who is in charge, and I suspect that a president Cruz would bow to partisan pressures and follow that stance. So the Covid result might not be all that different, minus the jokes about sticking a light bulb up your bum.
Basically with this thread I’m curious in ascertaining what portion of the situation in which we find ourselves can be laid specifically at Trumps feet, versus what portion is just a result of the rise of far right Republicanism.