GRAHAM CITY- A lot has changed in the last few days in Freedemian politics. Today in the PWN PoliticalUpdater, we look at three main changes to the overall political scene.
Support for ties with Woolonia grows, support for alliances with Woolonia shrinks
It’s all in the semantics, it seems, when it comes to public opinion about relations with Woolonia. After a recent assassination attempt against President Angela Rosenthal by a Woolonian Traditionalist Rebel, the public’s views seem to have shifted greatly. Approval for relations with Woolonia and public opinions of Woolonia itself have actually improved, jumping to about 73% of Freedemians seeing Woolonia “very favorably” or “somewhat favorably”, in contrast to just 67% before the assassination attempt. This came along with a growth in support for the Woolonian government, who immediately released a statement after the assassination attempt to the rebels, saying they had gone too far and that they would defend Freedemia however necessary. (Rebels claimed the woman who did the attempt was a “rogue” and that “her actions can not be condoned”.)
However, the entire reason according to rebels for the assassination attempt of President Rosenthal was Freedemia’s support of the organized Woolonian government in the first place. In fact, under President Rosenthal, Freedemia entered into an alliance with Woolonia, the first of its kind in the nation’s history. The problem is that this alliance basically makes it where if something happens with Woolonia, Freedemia could be dragged into a militaristic conflict. And with the Woolonian Traditionalist Rebels seeming to be trying to make a comeback in Woolonia, to many, such a conflict seems imminent. In a nation with mostly pacifists, that’s not good.
Freedemia is a pacifist nation who has never in its history had to go to war. Even in huge conflicts, they attempted to stay neutral, though sometimes with a slight leaning to one side ideologically. The prospect of having to go to war, alongside the realization that our ties may be putting the nation at risk, have scared many citizens greatly. Support for the actual alliance with Woolonia dropped from 31% before the assassination attempt to a measly 2% now.
Redsten is out, Houser and Nelson in neck-and-neck race for VP
It’s finally happened. The race for the next vice president of Freedemia is now a two man race. Anne Redsten announced yesterday afternoon after a newer poll dropped her from 21% to a all time low of just 17% of the vote that she is suspending her campaign for vice president- but with the caveat that she is now running for the executive of her home state of Franklins. Most expected Redsten to wholeheartedly endorse and embrace former underdog newscaster Patrick Houser for VP, essentially ending the race with a landslide win for Houser, but in a surprising twist, she didn’t endorse anyone- instead pointing out the positives of both candidates.
“Former VP Marco Nelson is the best for the job in terms of experience and in foreign policy. As much as I hate to admit it, Nelson was the one who warned against the alliance with Woolonia, and it looks like he was right. He seems to be the best at seeing foreign policy issues before they happen. However, when it comes to actual ideas and the momentum to get things done, newscaster Patrick Houser seems to be the best option. He has plans not based off of keeping certain things out of our future, but plans to shape our future. Like President Rosenthal said, Houser’s revolutionary ideas would continue the momentum that we’ve seen under the past two administrations, including my own with President Cara Harolds. It really depends on what you’re looking for in a vice president.”
Redsten’s statements made the race that much closer. Just over half of Redsten supporters seem to have actually shifted to Marco Nelson out of concern for a looming Second Woolonian Civil War, one that could end up worse than the first and drag Freedemia into the midst. The rest went to Patrick Houser as originally expected.
This race has gotten to the point where the difference between candidates appears to be less than a percent. Houser is still barely leading Nelson- but only 50.2% to 49.8%- on a poll with a 1% margin of error.
Houser seems confident that he can edge it out. “I’m not supposed to be here on this stage right now!!! When I first put in my bid, the most reliable polls in the country said that I was only going to get 4% of the vote, getting crushed by Nelson. He was supposed to win with over 70% of the vote!!!!! Being here today in a two man race itself, leading the very one that was supposed to wipe the floor with me is proof that the nation really is Hoping for Houser!!!”, he said at an event in Personsboro, QT today, getting a huge round of cheering and applause from everyone in the room, a crowd of several thousand people ready to vote Houser in the April election.
Meanwhile, Nelson was campaigning in Graham City, one of the few coastal cities to not be helped much by Freedemia’s recent booms in tourism and trade. “I respect my opponent, I respect him as a person, as a newscaster and I even like many of his ideas. But I’m the only one up here who can handle foreign policy! I respect Houser’s knowledge of the facts, it’s quite impressive. But he reports the facts as they happen, I saw this coming from a mile away!!”
President Rosenthal made a press statement by live feed from a heavily secured room in the Presidential Mansion in response to the news that Redsten had dropped out of the race, standing by her endorsement of Patrick Houser, based off his visionary ideas, initiative to get things done and his understanding of things on the local, national and global scale, but also saying that she did believe that Marco Nelson should be looked to for foreign policy advice, whether elected or not.
Wooten-Whitaker running for Executive of Graham, Redsten for Executive of Franklins
It looks like Diane Wooten-Whitaker may have gone from a losing battle to a very competitive race. Wooten-Whitaker announced yesterday that she is running for the Executive of her home state of Graham. It’s easy to look at her recent failures in running for Vice President and write her off. However, on the local level, Wooten-Whitaker may have found the perfect storm. For better or for worse, Wooten-Whitaker has huge name recognition after her VP campaign unraveled in front of a national audience. The formerly unknown teacher from Creeklyn Technology Academy, a small tech based magnet high school in Graham City, is now a household name, especially among the many memes that made fun of her recent bladder mishap during a live debate. However, looking closer at her record, she was last year’s Graham State Teacher of the Year, and has seen more kids from her school go to a four year university than any other school in the state.
Perhaps Wooten-Whitaker’s biggest advantages are where she is running and who she’s running against. Graham state, especially Graham City, did not see the same success as the rest of Freedemia in the recent booms. Graham City, once the largest city in western Tarephia after Narghana City, has shrunk from about 9 million people to about 6 million as residents leave and the rest of Freedemia grows and thrives. International flights have been given to Quentinsburgh, trade and tourism to Laneston and Vandover. The current executive and incumbent in the upcoming election, Andrew Carmichael, is a 72 year old wealthy male and long time politician who has done very little to help the situation. His approval ratings are very low; the only reason he was re-elected in 2014 was his huge “Rebuilding Graham Act”, meant to improve transit, grow tourism and trade and to revitalize communities. The only thing that actually got done was a small streetcar (3 miles shorter than it was supposed to be) running through a wealthier part of the Kings waterfront. People are looking for an alternative who will actually try to make a difference.
Wooten-Whitaker’s platform, based primarily on technology, education and transportation, works very well with the state. Graham City is a great place to create a technology hub, something that could set the area apart again. Better universities and more education could make that not only happen, but thrive. With so many neighborhoods and areas somewhat abandoned, transportation and revitalization could begin from the ground up. Wooten-Whitaker has proposed creating an additional 2 universities to be part of the state/federal university system. Both schools (Graham State Technological University [GSTU] and Graham Institute of Technology [GIT]) would be technology schools, funded largely by closing tax loopholes for the wealthy in the state and from federal funds freed by SRAFRA, a funding reallocation act passed in mid 2015. Schools would be revamped as part of a statewide program, with a new track especially to help students interested in STEM fields get to in-state universities like GSTU and GIT.
Many are actually beginning to compare Wooten-Whitaker’s 2016 run to Angela Rosenthal’s 2014 presidential run. There are definitely similarities. Both started off in education (Rosenthal was a science teacher, then a principal), started with no name recognition and worked their way up, and were going against a much more politician-like opponent. Wooten-Whitaker actually seems to have a 70% chance of beating incumbent Carmichael; the real question is whether someone else like Grady Walton (community activist and leader of the group Change for Graham, who has said he is considering running) or Pastor Kenneth Prince (a well known television evangelist) will run against her.
Anne Redsten’s race may be more of an uphill battle. Franklins state has been doing quite well, even without the booming economic growth the coastal cities have seen. With incumbent Samantha Darden stepping down, it really seems like Redsten’s biggest competition will be Kathleen Fredrick, who is currently the head of the Franklins Department of Transportation, and Harrison Moran, owner of the largest engineering firm in central Freedemia. Current polls put Moran at 38%, Redsten at 32% and Fredrick at 30%.
Considering the Executive election isn’t until October, Redsten could easily gain- or lose- voters over the next months.