“Welcome to CBS coverage of Decision 1984, the Mountain States Presidential Elections! The polls have been open all day, with every indication that people power is alive and well here in the world’s greatest democracy. But before we get stuck into analyses too much, since we’ve still got a couple of hours to go until polls close in the east along the Mississippi, let’s take a look back over the last four years.”
“It was a rocky start for the nation, as out of the triumph of a Progressive return to government, young President Charles Stone was tragically murdered three months into his term. The nation was left in shock, and all eyes looked to Vice President Paul Edward Roux-Johnson to fill the void. For six months the nation watched the rise of the country’s first Socialist President, and his subsequent fall from grace in the light of scandals and diplomatic foul play that led to the tragic deaths of the Freedom 33 in the attacks by the USA. Forced by public pressure to resign, the quiet President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Joanna Nelson, became this nation’s first female President - and although a divisive figure within her own party, strong willed and eager to lead the way herself, the American people were hopeful for a time that a return to stability would follow.
“What followed instead was a curious situation - a Progressive Party governing essentially in minority in Congress, as the Socialist Party underwent its own schisms and collapses. With parts of the left wing separating after being ousted from the Party, and moderates on the right joining the Progressive Party, the main body of the party took serious blows politically. The situation was exacerbated when during the 1982 mid-terms, the Socialist Party underwent extensive collapses to a degree not anticipated by any polling prior to the election. Ostensible head of the Socialist Party and its leader in the Senate, Philip Donovan (S-NM) - the only Socialist up for election in the Senate - was decisively ousted from his seat by Republican challengers, bringing down the number of Socialist and former-Socialist senators from 4 to 3. A similar fate awaited them in the House, where out of 14 Socialists and former-Socialists, their numbers fell to a mere 9 - both due to ousting from office, and defection to the left wing of the Progressive Party in the case of Congressman Milton Murphy.
“By contrast, as is often the case with mid-term elections, the opposition party made significant gains in Congress - the Republicans picking up seats in Texas and Colorado in the House, amongst other places, and Louisiana, Arkansas, and New Mexico in the Senate. Despite losing the odd seat, and having to find replacements after the discrediting of some members of the neo-conservative wing of the party, they managed to secure exactly half of the Senate, after a close-fought last-minute battle in Oklahoma after the surprise retirement of Progressive Party Elder Senator Jack J Doyle prompted a frantic dash by major parties to field viable candidates that was narrowly won by the Progressives.
“Since then it’s been a delicate situation on Capitol Hill in KC. In the aftermath of their election rout, the Socialist Party has healed their rifts under the leadership of Senator Tomas Bandera (S-NM) and has worked to rebuild its reputation without straying too far to the extreme left. But the real issue has been the Coalition - which has retained a fractious hold on the Senate, utilising that position to block Republican legislation passed by the House thanks to the tie-breaking powers of the Vice President. However a number of notable Republican laws have made it through, including contentious items like the ban on partial birth abortions. By and large, the Progressive-Socialist Coalition has held its ground, but throughout the last two years of her term, President Nelson’s popularity has been falling steadily. With a number of international issues including the continued growth of drug related crime in cities, the “Hollywood South” scandal which linked a cabinet member, a Louisiana call girl, and a German naval attache, and of course, the President’s perceived indecisiveness after the PSA stepped up border tensions with Mexico, culminating in raid against the Tijuana Special Economic Zone - while nowhere near as catastrophic as her predecessor’s, her poll ratings have clearly seen better days.”
The Progressive Party Presidential Primaries
“The contest for the Progressive nomination this cycle was complicated, with a number of figures jostling for position after sensing the weak standing of the incumbent President. Earlier this year, three main alternative candidates emerged: former Vice President Anthony C Nordquist, Senator Nathan Hanlon of Texas, and two-term Governor Mark McCaskill of Missouri. After weaker-than-expected performances in the early primaries, President Nelson shocked the nation by announcing that after considerable thought, she had chosen to withdraw her candidacy, and not to stand for re-election. Having failed to be elected to national office throughout her career, gaining the Presidency instead through a series of shock twists, there were already doubts going into the race as to whether Nelson could contest for Wallace House against a formidable Republican nominee.
“With the President’s withdrawal, the race became ever more heated. Remaining in a close third place, Senator Hanlon performed strongly in the early primaries but faded rapidly as the contest moved away from southern states where he has traditionally enjoyed strong support. Despite narrowly clinching his native Texas by two percentage points, Senator Hanlon also withdrew, his support and fundraising having fallen well behind his competitors. Instead throwing his support behind the former Vice President, a two horse race developed between Governor McCaskill and former Vice President Nordquist, prompting the two to head rapidly towards the 1984 Progressive National Convention without a presumptive nominee. Out of a desire to resolve the deadlock before the convention, the Party Chairman leaned heavily on uncommitted superdelegates to decide more quickly who to back, resulting in a swing towards the former Vice President. With less than a week before the convention, Anthony C Nordquist was declared the presumptive nominee.
“After announcing he wished to select Senator Hanlon as his running mate, forgoing the traditional Progressive-Socialist combined ticket, the Convention also voted to confirm him, leading us to the Nordquist/Hanlon ticket we have been following the past three months.”
The Republican Party Presidential Primaries
“A far more varied affair than the Progressive Party's process, the Republican contest saw a number of figures floating their candidacy, declaring since midway through 1983. However by the beginning of 1984, the field had narrowed to 6 - Senator Vernon Baker of Wyoming, former Vice President George Bush, Congressman Matthew J Carpenter of Oklahoma, Congressman Peter Henderson of Minnesota, former Governor Robert Bailey of Oklahoma, and Governor Carl Bullock of Wyoming.
“With a significant spread across the Republican Party, the contest was fierce from the off. Performing strongly in Iowa, Congressman Henderson led the way with the backing of the Liberal wing of the party. However as the contest moved away from his areas of support in the north east, his hopes began to fade, leaving him consistently trailing behind the pack for the rest of the race. Unable to rally significant support amongst whites in the east, Senator Baker also failed to gather enough support, becoming the first to drop out of the race. His departure was followed closely by that of Governor Bullock, who as well as being far from his base of support failed to stir up anti-establishment neo-conservative sentiments.
“The Oklahoma Primary proved a key battleground, as native sons Congressman Carpenter and former Governor Bailey battled for supremacy. With the nation’s eyes on the primary, many commentators noted that a defeat would be more important than a victory. With the Congressman having been the Republican Party’s leading critique of the administration and the former Governor having narrowly lost re-election in 1982 after a series of gaffes, Carpenter managed to edge out his fellow Oklahoman and all but set himself up for a straight contest with the former Vice President. With critiques of Bush focusing on his almost elitist and out of touch public perception, Carpenter’s firebrand politics began to shine a path to victory, and utilising his momentum out of Oklahoma and the conservative north west soon headed into the Republican Convention the presumptive nominee with little difficulty. Announcing moderate Senator Baker, his early competitor, as his choice for the bottom of the ticket, the Carpenter/Baker ticket has been campaigning strongly.”
“Well that’s our round up of the events that gave us our tickets - Nordquist/Hanlon and Carpenter/Baker. But before we continue, we’re now able to make some calls.
“As polls close in the east, we’re ready to announce Texas and its 29 electoral votes, and Kansas and its 7 electoral votes, for Anthony Nordquist. We’re also ready to announce Matthew Carpenter’s home state of Oklahoma with its 8 electoral votes and Missouri with its 11 electoral votes, as predicted, for Congressman Carpenter!”
Nordquist/Hanlon: 36 electoral college votes
Carpenter/Baker: 19 electoral college votes
61 To Win
“Now we have time for a quick run down of how the race went up until tonight. Let’s take a look:”
“Nordquist’s campaign was characterised by a focus on grassroots populism amongst moderates and liberals, garnering support from college educated whites, unions, and crucially the women’s vote in light of the focus made by the campaign on abortion laws and the moral conservatism of his Republican opponents. However the traditional source of support for the Progressive Party usually found amongst the black community was reclaimed in a substantial way by the Republican Party for the first time since the Reconstruction, largely in part due to the major role played by Vice Presidential nominee Vernon Baker.
“The Republicans made a great deal of the liberalism of the Progressive ticket, highlighting the “Northeastern Liberalism” of former Vice President Nordquist and the “near-Socialist tendencies” of Senator Nordquist. Accusations are also made that Anthony Nordquist was too deeply involved with the Haitian Papers scandal and with former President Roux-Johnson, as well as comparisons made between the last liberal President, George McGovern, and the last conservative President, Harold Stassen. By contrast, the Progressive campaign focuses heavily on Carpenter’s role as virtual hatchet-man for the Republican Party in Congress, and his heavily right-wing attitudes.
“Foreign policy plays a major role in the campaign, with increase US and PS aggression on both sides, as well as energy and environmentalism, where the Republicans have been heavily focusing since 1981, but efforts by the Progressives throughout President Nelson’s tenure have also expanded their role. Former Presidents have in fact played a major role in this campaign, with President Nelson campaigning for the Progressive Party, while Presidents David Cargo and even ailing Harold Stassen made appearances for the Republicans.”
“As polls continue to close and results come in, we can safely call Arkansas’ 6 votes, Louisiana’s 10 votes, and Wyoming’s 3 votes for the Republican ticket - the African-American electorate making a strong showing in the south after substantial campaigning there by Senator Baker. However it seems the vote in the South remains split in House and Senate races, with politicians closer to the ground better able to rely on their credentials supporting minority communities.
“Meanwhile we are also ready to call Colorado and its 8 electoral votes for Anthony Nordquist - this after a strong campaign run there in opposition to Republican ambitions in the state, with crucial endorsements coming from Congresswoman Karen Miura, Chairwoman of the Progressive-Conservative Caucus. Throughout this campaign, Congresswoman Miura’s endorsement has proved vital for the Progressive campaign, her conservative credentials lending credence to refutations of the claim that the Nordquist/Hanlon ticket is too left wing. In other news, Mr Nordquist's home state of Minnesota remains too close to call at this stage.”
Nordquist/Hanlon: 44 electoral college votes
Carpenter/Baker: 38 electoral college votes
61 To Win
“We have here with us tonight former advisor to the Nordquist Campaign, Louise Wineman - Louise, can you tell us what effect, if any, the Haitian Papers had on this campaign?”
“Well the biggest effect was undoubtedly on the media - who of course were up in arms at the time of the scandal itself, and rightly so, but were also more than happy to resurrect the issue at the slightest hinting by Republicans.”
“Are you alleging a Republican media bias?”
“I would rather state it outright. It was shown in investigations at the time that the leak came from within the Roux-Johnson cabinet - a Socialist administration, it should be noted, not a Progressive one - and yet the Progressive members of that cabinet were tarred with much the same stick, up until they resigned and condemned then-President Roux-Johnson’s efforts to conceal the Papers from the public. Throughout this campaign, attacks against Vice President Nordquist and Senator Hanlon have been two-fold - they’re too left wing, and they’re too closely tied to the Roux-Johnson administration. Both of these claims- ”
“Have been made by the Carpenter/Baker campaign, not by the media.”
“Both of these claims have been repeatedly demonstrated to be false throughout this campaign, yet we continued to hear about it in print and televised media. Would you seriously like to allege there is no media bias?”
“Well if memory serves, the editorial board of a number of newspapers, including the Paper of Record and publication that broke the Haitian Papers scandal, The Kansas City Star
, endorsed Mr Nordquist's campaign … ”
“We’re getting vote counts in now from the Dakota’s, North and South, and are prepared to call their 3 electoral votes each for Matthew Carpenter. Also well-predicted, CBS is prepared to call Nebraska’s 5 votes for Mr Carpenter as well - these three Republican heartland states remaining blue consistently since before
the end of the war.”
Nordquist/Hanlon: 44 electoral college votes
Carpenter/Baker: 49 electoral college votes
61 To Win
“The race remains close however in New Mexico, which remains too close to call - and with reports that long queues have formed outside some polling locations in the state, the election irregularities and difficulties continue to pile up. Louise, is this good news for the Progressives?”
“Absolutely - New Mexico has been a tough battleground state this whole electoral cycle. Demographic shifts in the region have led to an increased minority presence, particularly amongst the Hispanic community, who have tended to lean Progressive through the efforts of Senator Hanlon, and moreover the whole region has been historically left wing. The state has been a key target of Republicans in recent years, with successes after a major effort made in the 1982 mid-term elections to oust Phillip Donovan from his Senate seat. Further, the state is the home of former President, David Cargo - who carried it through in 1980, despite losing the election overall to Charles Stone. The former President has been a major fixture of Republican campaigning in his home state, so it remains unclear how the state will break.
The Socialist Story
“For the first time since Eugene McCarthy’s successful presidential run in 1976, the Progressive Party has eschewed the traditional Progressive-Socialist coalition that was revived by Charles Stone and Paul Roux-Johnson. So what began late last year as a race to select a Vice Presidential candidate from amongst the Socialists soon developed into a race to select a Presidential candidate, as the number of Progressive hopefuls declaring that they would cooperate and gladly govern alongside the Socialist Party, but would not select a Socialist to complete the bottom of their ticket increased.
“Unsurprisingly this revelation gave rise to a number of more prominent candidates withdrawing from the race, their ability to win any state outright on their own deeply in question in these times, despite their recovery from the aftermath of President Roux-Johnson’s time in office. The Mayor of Rio Rancho, a city in New Mexico, Michael Everett, becomes the presumptive nominee in a sparse primary contest. However despite his party’s lack of hopes in the Presidential race, the Socialists are hoping for a return to some prominence in Congressional and State races.
“Entering this electoral cycle into a record number of races in House of Representative contests and State Legislature elections, Senator Tomas Bandera of New Mexico has articulated his vision for the Socialist Party as returning to the lowest level of organization and beginning with grassroots community support … ”
“In battleground states of Iowa, New Mexico, and Minnesota we are now ready to make some calls. The great state of Iowa, where the long road to this day all began back in January, and its 8 votes are declared for Congressman Carpenter. Meanwhile in New Mexico, it seems that the push by Republicans has not materialised into victory, and despite their strong performances in House races there the Progressive Party has won the day, gaining its 5 votes.
“Finally in the crucial state of Minnesota, home state of both former Vice President Nordquist and Republican icon, President Harold Stassen, we’re ready to project that Anthony Nordquist will win his home state and its 10 electoral college votes. Looking at the live footage of Nordquist Headquarters in Minneapolis itself, the mood is jubilant. This is a vital state for him to have won, and by no means did they assume it would be an easy battle. The former Vice President’s rivalry with President Stassen well established, Nordquist was determined to win his home state, particularly since the Progressives had managed to win it in 1980.”
Nordquist/Hanlon: 59 electoral college votes
Carpenter/Baker: 57 electoral college votes
61 To Win
“… And we’re just getting word in that we are almost ready to call Montana, and with it, the election. It’s been a close race all the way, and with only this state left to declare, the next four years of this nation rest with the people of Montana. Consistently a Republican state in Presidential racess, including in 1980, it nevertheless is home to current President, Joanna Nelson, who played a major role in campaigning there. This race has been too close to call all night… but we are finally ready to make a call.
With a margin of less than 30,000 votes, the recipient of Montana’s 4 electoral college votes and the 44th President of the Mountain States of America is… ”