The following is an excerpt from Hank Layton’s piece for the Summer, 2012 issue of Cartel, the FlipCollective e-magazine.
1812: De Witt Clinton defeats James Madison
1816: Rufus King defeats James Monroe
I like saying “De Witt Clinton and Rufus King” like Beyoncé in Dreamgirls. You would, too, if they had won and you had reason to know their names. And trust me, you would.
Clinton, a vocal opponent of global conflict, quickly makes a deal with Great Britain to end the War of 1812—which, in alternate America, is known as the War of June and a Few Weeks in July. As part of the deal, America gets a street named after it in Windsor, and Britain gets the entire city of New Orleans—which, some 200 years later, makes President Kerry’s delayed response to Hurricane Katrina more understandable.
Then Rufus King comes along and abolishes slavery in every state, kickstarting the secession 42 years early. Whoops.
1820: John Quincy Adams defeats James Monroe
J.Q. Adams forges a compromise between the Union and the Confederacy, permitting slavery in Texas. The Confederacy chills out and re-joins the Union.
1824: Andrew Jackson defeats John Quincy Adams
Jackson says nu-uh and abolishes slavery. Secession: The Sequel happens. To differentiate itself from the rest of its Southern neighbors, Texas changes its name to Hate Land.
1828: John Quincy Adams defeats Andrew Jackson
Knowing that he’ll never make his mark unless he does something bold (I mean, the guy already has to live in a city named after his father), Adams throws up his hands and OKs slavery. The Confederate states re-desecede. Except Hate Land, which keeps the name. And the slaves.
1832: Henry Clay defeats Andrew Jackson
1836: William H. Harrison defeats Martin Van Buren
1840: Martin Van Buren defeats William H. Harrison
At least one Seinfeld episode remains unaffected.
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