Episode One: Gore Beats Bush
Florida, November, 2000. In our present reality, Circuit Court Judge Sanders Sauls, chosen by random selection for the case, halts the South Florida ballot counting. He is overturned and admonished by the Florida Supreme Court, but by then there isn’t time for enough ballots to be recounted before the U.S. Supreme Court quashes the recount and Gore concedes the presidency.
But here’s what could have happened:
Florida, November, 2000. Judge Sauls did not happen to be chosen for the case. Instead, Judge Terry Lewis was selected. Judge Lewis allowed the recount to go forward and Al Gore ended up with several hundred more votes than George Bush by the time the U.S. Supreme Court would issue a ruling to stop the recount.
President Gore incorporates much of President Clinton’s national security infrastructure. The September 11th attacks are thwarted due to the combination of better competency than the Bush team and the lack of collusion by Dick Cheney. The U.S. does not invade Iraq or Afghanistan. Thousands of American lives that would have been lost are not. Nearly one and one half million Iraqis who would have died did not. However, the U.S. continues the strict sanctions against Iraq, causing the deaths of millions of different Iraqis, mostly children.
Al Gore promotes the fight against global warming from the White House. However, he never produced the film An Inconvenient Truth, so the truth seems even less convenient to the public. There is also such bitter Republican resentment against his presidency that his attempts to save the climate are unsuccessful.
However, the child of an American National Guard soldier who would have not been born in the old reality meets the child of an Iraqi who also would not have otherwise been born. They fall in love and grow up to be brilliant engineers who find a solution to our energy needs and a way to clean up the planet that bypasses resistance from entrenched interests. It involves bionic sea kelp.
Gore continues Clinton’s economic policies, avoiding the Great Recession. Americans become fairly complacent. They are not so interested in “change.” Barack Obama is not elected President, but neither is Joe Lieberman whom Americans find annoying in any reality. Instead, John McCain, sensing the apparent inevitability of a continuation of Democratic dominance in Presidential politics, switches parties and runs for President. However, his running mate, John Edwards, who looked so promising at first, turns out to have been a bad pick. McCain loses to Jeb Bush.
Next time: Beta Beats VHS!