0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
The Candidate-2028Part OneThe Candidate-2028Part OneJunior Senator from Idaho, Jackson Plummer, wealthy scion of a prominent former Ambassador to Thailand found himself being urged to throw his hat in the ring for the Presidency. The family fortune had mostly come from Thailand, which was the reason his father Abraham Plummer was chosen to become an Ambassador decades ago.Jackson Plummer made some important celebrity friends in his youth, becoming a semi-celebrity himself just by being on the periphery of stardom. Investing in high-profile ventures in Idaho, from skiing to reclaiming old mining sites, gave him the public stature to be considered for office just as Senator Wharton was killed in a plane crash.In-fighting on the Republican side between conservatives and nationalists handed the election to Jackson Plummer, the first Democrat to be a Senator from Idaho since Frank Church. His first term in the Senate was mostly a quiet one, but the few times he rose to speak were designed to garner as much attention and praise as possible.With both major parties facing major hurdles putting a competent Presidential campaign together, Jackson Plummer found himself touted as the “clean-cut, golden child of the Democrat Party”. The party had found itself shrinking due to its movements to the far-left and by abandoning the white vote.“Listen, Jackson, this deal won't work unless we can gain the support of all the factions. We need to keep the coalition on-board while presenting you as a more conservative Democrat,” his political advisor Jacob Newsom reminded him. The short Newsom had a nasal New York accent that reminded Jackson of Woody Allen.“I'm not stupid, Jacob. You don't need to keep saying the same things over and over.”“You do!” Jacob exclaimed jabbing a finger toward the potential candidate, “You're not running in Idaho this time. The Presidency is the big hill, this isn't Little League.”Jackson rolled his eyes, “I know what to do. We've been over this, over and over.”Just exploring a Presidential run was starting to wear him out. Meeting and meeting with 'community leaders' to assure them, behind closed doors, that he was one of them despite what he might say on the campaign trail. They had to understand he was just positioning himself for advantage.During this time he also made sure that the local press was informed when he traveled to meet politicians in their state. Video clips of him meeting with the Premier of Alberta and the Prime Minister of Thailand were used to prove he had foreign policy experience, however thin. With the weak position of the Democrat Party, he might just luck out if their voter base saw him as a winning compromise candidate. The Reverend Jesse Lee Peters, the self-appointed spokesman for the black community was also considering another run. In fact a while plethora of 'old hat' politicians were considering it.The reason was simple, for the first time in twelve years the Democrats had a shot. Not because the Democrat Party had done anything right, it hadn't, but because the Republican Party had finally split into sparring factions. The nationalist-populists had all but shown the conservatives the door for years, but that finally brought the confrontation to a real conflict. Meanwhile the 'Christian right' was split along with the rest, neutering their influence.The death or retreat of billionaire financiers and new laws limiting the political influence of large foundations had shrunk the power of the Democrats to raise money. Meanwhile a few billionaires had moved over to the Republican Party and fed one faction or another. This part actually helped intensify the infighting over there.Jackson Plummer placed the tablet computer face down on the desk, leaned back and took a deep breath. There actually seemed to be three or more factions in the Republican schism, not just the two largest ones. This vulnerability could be utilized by the Democrats if they played their cards correctly, but try as he might he doubted any of the other potential candidates could get it done.Senator Henrietta Davis had claimed to be a native American while running for her office, a claim that proved to be a lie. If she were nominated, it would become a major, if not the major, issue of the whole campaign. At one point she had been favored by the powers-that-be in the party, but that support dried up.He tapped the ear-piece he always wore these days, “Call Jacob,”. His political advisor was quickly present in the office. Although he was wearing an old rock band t-shirt and jeans instead of something more appropriate.“If we offered Senator Davis something, could we get her to drop out?” Jackson Plummer asked, “What do you think she'd want?”Jacob was a quick thinker, “She knows she doesn't have a chance, sure the liberal base loves her, but I think she's running because she doesn't see anyone else with the charisma or the gravitas to become a real challenge to whoever the Republicans nominate.”Jackson gave Jacob a glare, “Gee, thanks.”Jacob put up both hands defensively, “That's just how she thinks, you're too new to have made much of an impression on her.”Jackson smiled, the New Yawker was so easy to bait. On some days it was the only entertainment he had. “I was yanking your chain, again, Jacob.”The diminutive advisor looked down and sighed as his arms dropped to his sides, “Oh right, I always fall for that.”“Do you think offering Secretary of the Interior would offend her?” Jackson asked.Jacob thought about, “Normally I would say it would, but she knows the stack is against her. Her interest in native Americans might also be an incentive. Of course polls show she doesn't have a chance in hell of being re-elected to the Senate in two years. So, I think she might go for it.”Jackson Plummer smiled and nodded. People were simple. The stupid ones would accept words of a promise, the smarter ones would trade anything for what they want and the elite would trade an unrealistic dream for a real cushy assignment when facing reality.It was easy. Soon enough he received an invitation to dinner in her home state. She was accepting the offer but wanted to haggle on the terms of her surrender. Jackson knew what was coming. Would she have to openly endorse him immediately or could she wait until he was a clear primary front-runner?Just give them rope, a man once told him, let them tie themselves down. Once she dropped out of the race, there was little that could stop Jackson from taking it all. He tapped his ear-piece, “Jacob, we need to file a flight plan out to Georgia.”…Patrick J Calhoun crossed his arms angrily as his microphone was cut off. The moderator, an editor at American Review magazine, waggled a finger at him, “Mister Calhoun, please allow the other candidate to respond to the question.”He had tried filibustering and shouting down the Senator from Utah Eugene McDaniels. Everyone knew he considered McDaniels an establishment toady, even if his argument to this end was weaker than twice-used coffee grounds.“As I was saying,” Senator McDaniels said, “The best way to curb illegal immigration is to remove the public benefits. Once they find that they cannot get a job or welfare, they won't come here or they will leave. The ones that stay and become criminals will be deported on contact...”“They're already criminals! Just being in this country made them criminals!” Calhoun shouted at the dead microphone in front of him.“As a reminder,” Senator McDaniels told the audience as Calhouns face became beet-red, “Mister Calhoun himself accepted the compromise of 2018. It was essentially an amnesty, but it had a new title, and we all know how that worked out.”The moderator, smiling, “I must warn the Senator, if you bring up your opponent again, I will cut your time short so he can respond. Them's the rules.”The audience laughed.The American Review debate wasn't an official Republican function, especially since the primaries were so far off, but it served a purpose. The editors of the magazine clearly favored the conservative faction but tried to win over the nationalist and populist faction instead of alienating them. Sadly, it seemed they were intent on victim-hood with the zeal of a martyr.The man in the dark blue suit watching this on his wall-screen sighed and fast forwarded.“He showed toughness, that's what we needed!”“Name-calling is not toughness, Mister Calhoun. You can't govern through calling names!” Senator McDaniels said, “It failed then and it will fail again. It's been more than a decade and we've been at a standstill ever since.”He turned the wall-screen off and dropped the remote. He tapped the top of the wooden desk and sighed. “Maybe. Maybe it's time,” He told himself. The negative public reaction would be immediate but he would soon show them he wasn't the same thing all over again. Having spent years building up his credentials, maybe he should do this himself.The old saying was sometimes true, sometimes you had to do it yourself.Knowing where the bodies were buried also helped.As founder and owner of Power Inc, Matt Douglas had placed an energy cell in every home and vehicle in America and much of the world. In a matter of three years his product had made him the wealthiest man that ever lived. If he didn't do anything more he would become the worlds first trillionaire in only a few more years.He owned a news channel and a national newspaper, the Bulletin, the only real newspaper left in the country. It used proprietary paper-making, printing and ink-making technologies. All of the newsprint was recycled from trash by another of his companies using yet other proprietary technologies. He had reinvested his fortune in ventures in nearly every industry.“We are a knowledge company,” he was famous for saying, “That beats everything.”Matt Douglas had made sure years ago that Senator Jackson Plummer was given a high profile in his media outlets. It was Plummer who had to win the Democrat primary for his plan to work. The only real struggle was to neutralize the factions inside of the Grand Old Party and get them to unite behind Matt Douglas.“I already own the world, why shouldn't I run it?” he had said jokingly to the audience of a television program once. Only he had inwardly meant it.He spoke to the air, “Take message.”“Ready,” the voice of his computer answered.“Address it to Vernon Warner. Having received your invitation to the Republican Round-table special prime time program, I'd like to accept. I know that I do not appear on television very often, but there is something important I would like to say...”…Jackson napped between events. The private plane was abnormally quiet. He dreamed of being a child, his father arriving home from Thailand on business. “Daddy! Daddy!” he had shouted, happy to see his father again. Just in time for Jackson's twelfth birthday.The stern woman who took care of him placed a hand on his shoulder, “You should address him as 'father' and behave so as not to embarrass him. He is a very important person, after all.”But Dad had walked down the steps, not with his business partner or his assistant, but with a young Asian girl. She looked sad, but his father was beaming.Jackson woke with a start and looked around the plane. His assistant Debra was reading, Jacob was chatting on the phone and nobody else seemed to notice he had woken up.“I'm hungry,” Jackson said, but he was wondering why he had had such a dream. What could that have meant?…“Jackson Plummer is the man to watch, he is their golden child. He's young, he's handsome, he's wealthy and a near celebrity,” columnist Malcolm Smith opined on the news chat program Opinion!“The way the Democrats have been shrinking, do you think Plummer is their answer?” host Marcus Johnson asked.Malcolm Smith nodded, “None of the others has a chance. Does anyone really think Reverend Jesse Lee Peters is a serious candidate? Jose Inglesias? Of course not, these are vanity candidates. With Senator Henrietta Davis seeing the writing on the wall, who else but Jackson Plummer can appeal to more than the base?”Marcus Johnson nodded, “If he can broaden the base while the Republicans are fighting themselves, we could see the Democrats return from the political graveyard?”“Yes, I think I would have used the woods or desert before graveyard,” Malcolm Smith laughed, “But it's all the same thing. Yes, I think Senator Plummer is their only realistic shot at winning the White House.”“This is Opinion! On the ForNews channel, we'll be back after a quick commercial break!” Marcus Johnson told the camera.…“Mr. Matt Douglas, the richest man in history, do you think there is a way to bridge the divide in the Republican Party?” the host of the Republican Round-table prime time special asked near the beginning of the show.“I think we have to. Look, Patrick J Calhoun is a fiery individual, but he's not ever going to calm down and become Presidential,” Douglas explained, “Senator Eugene McDaniels is a good spokesman for the party, but he's boring as anything.”The other guests were chuckling.“They both lead factions that refuse to accept the others legitimacy. They both make some good points, but neither of them is going to defeat Senator Jackson Plummer. At a time when we expect candidacies to get off the ground, we already have two figures who shouldn't run. That leaves the question you asked; who can bring these groups together?”The other guests, pundits and columnists mostly, weren't laughing now.“I think I can do that,” Matt Douglas said, breaths taken, mouths agape. “I wouldn't need to raise any money, I wouldn't need to please any high-rollers. I think my career speaks for itself, I have always been a faithful conservative...”…Senator Jackson Plummer watched the program along with his top staff. They were all whispering to each other.Jacob Newsom tapped the phone in his ear, ending a call.“Look, this guy is going to make people say, 'no way, not another billionaire' after that last one made a mess of everything,” the political advisor said.The Senator was still shell-shocked. Matt Douglas wanted to run for President against him, this was a complete blow from nowhere. It was Douglas who had encouraged him to run for the Senate and then the White House long before anyone else.Jackson felt his stomach turning into a knot. Something was definitely wrong with the whole scenario.Matt Douglas was the one who promised that the conservative media would give Jackson the attention he needed to show the liberal base he had the right political enemies. The promise had come true, and every step of the way it was Matt Douglas who had given him advice needed to advance.“I need to rest, I'm very tired,” Jackson explained as he left the make-shift office in the hotel for the next room where he could lie down. As soon as he did his phone chimed, the Senator tapped his ear-piece.“Yes?” he asked, sounding tired.“I guess you saw the show?” Matt Douglas asked, the Senator bolted upright.“Mister Douglas, what is going on? Why are you running against me?” The man laughed, “Because it'll be interesting.”“Interesting?” Jackson asked, “How?”Matt Douglas laughed again, “Both parties are a mess in this country, the government is a mess too, as a country we are stuck in a rut. Sure, people feel comfortable and richer, because of my technologies and other things, but it's like icing on an old spare tire.”“I don't follow.”“You represent the best of your party, and I bridge the gap of the factions of my party. Both parties can be put back together in this race. We will both become the nominal leaders of our respective parties and we can pull up the sane ones and push the crazies to the sidelines. So, whichever of us wins, the whole country can still be better off.”The Senator saw some truth in that but he felt there was a lot more than what was said,“Are you trying to say, let the best man win?” Jackson asked.“Oh, I will.”Jackson laughed, “I walked into that, but what I mean is, do you mean it?”Matt Douglas was quiet for a moment then said, “I think we'll see at the end of this road. La Kon.”The line went dead.The confused Junior Senator from Idaho laid on his side and pulled his legs up on the bed. He didn't understand the situation. There was a good chance they could both win their primaries, then what? Did Matt Douglas plan to run a dirty campaign? It wouldn't fit his image at all, so Jackson doubted it.What was Matt Douglas thinking?