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Ted Kennedy Special Election

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Soooo, it looks like there's going to be a special election going on in Massachusetts next January for a Senate seat, and since it's such a bizarre situation I thought it might be interesting to make a scenario out of it. I don't have a lot of fully-formed ideas yet, though. Probably it would be the kind of thing where the Democrats would dominate unless one or two unlikely Republicans happened to run. Maybe, given Massachusetts, in the absence of someone like William Weld there would be a credible 3rd-party challenge that could contend to beat the Republicans.

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I was wondering when somebody was going to start work on this :P

I would give the Dems a big partisan advantage, and make the Dem primary (which in RL would be a jungle primary I believe) the real competition.

Here's a list on some possible candidates for you:


Former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II

Congressman Stephen Lynch

Congressman Michael Capuano

Attorney General Martha Coakley

Former Congressman Martin Meehan, chancellor of the University of Massachusetts

Congressman Edward Markey

Congressman Jim McGovern


Former Lt. Governor Kerry Healey, 2006 Gubernatorial candidate

Former US Attorney Michael Sullivan


State Treasurer Tim Cahill (former Democrat, potential 2010 gubernatorial candidate)


Jill Stein, former Gubernatorial and Secretary of the Commonwealth nominee

Grace Ross, former Gubernatorial candidate and former party Co-Chair

Less likely "off" candidates that would be interesting to play as:


Former Governor Michael Dukakis

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, widow of Paul Tsongas

Congressman Barney Frank

Mrs. Victoria Kennedy, Ted's widow

Governor Deval Patrick


Former Governor Mitt Romney

Bush Chief of Staff Andy Card

Former Governor Paul Cellucci, former Ambassador to Canada under Bush

Former Secretary Charlie Baker, who is a longtime Weld ally that is running for Governor in a contested GOP primary.

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How about Curt Schilling for the GOP, he's a known GOPer and would be an interesting candidate, on or off.

Hahah, sounds interesting. I'll definitely consider it.

My issues/positions are as follows:


 Far-Left: Full reproductive rights for women! Only appoint pro-choice judges to Supreme Court and extend abortion rights!

 Left: Keep abortion as it is presently. Safe, legal, and rare. Keep partial-birth abortion legal.

 Center-Left: Protect responsible choice. Ban partial-birth abortions except in the case of life of the mother.

 Center: Abortion is not an issue for government intrusion. Oppose government control over abortion. Leave it to the states.

 Center-Right: Some restrictions on abortion. Allow abortions in cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother. Ban partial birth abortions.

 Right: Only allow abortion in cases where the mother's life is at risk. Ban partial-birth abortion.

 Far-Right: Abortion is murder! Total ban on abortions including rape & incest.


 Far-Left: Withdraw all troops from Afghanistan. The “War on Terror” is unwinnable and quixotic.

 Left: “Surge” in diplomacy and aid to help Afghani government. Involve other nations in the region.

 Center-Left: Send troops to Afghanistan to help train Afghani government forces. Stay out of Pakistan.

 Center: Send more troops to Afghanistan. Covert operations against Taliban in Pakistan, with Pakistani cooperation.

 Center-Right: Send more troops to Afghanistan. Use covert operations to strike Taliban in Pakistan.

 Right: Massive escalation in Afghanistan; invade Pakistan to pursue Taliban.

 Far-Right: Massive military invasion of Afghanistian, Pakistan, Iran, etc. Major crusade in the Mideast!

Budget Deficit

 Far-Left: Deficits for social programs are fine; big deficits in recessions are good.

 Left: Deficits are good in a recession. In good times, balance budget by raising taxes.

 Center-Left: Deficit spending is okay in recession; later, cut some spending and raise some taxes.

 Center: Avoid rampant deficit spending if possible; strive to balance budget.

 Center-Right: Make a balanced budget and reduced spending the top government priority.

 Right: Slash spending to balance the budget. Introduce Balanced Budget Amendment.

 Far-Right: Spending freeze on all discretionary spending!

Cap and Trade

 Far-Left: Cap and trade is too weak. Establish a carbon tax!

 Left: Strong cap-&-trade program to slash emissions quickly. No free baseline credits.

 Center-Left: Establish carbon cap-&-trade program to cut emissions 80% by 2050.

 Center: Modest carbon cap-&-trade program; generous allowances to regional industries.

 Center-Right: Balance benefits from fighting climate change against costs in economic progress now.

 Right: Global warming is far-off and uncertain. No anti-warming program that hampers the economy now.

 Far-Right: Global warming is a hoax! No emissions restrictions!


 Far-Left: No mandatory sentencing, three strikes, or death penalty. Rehabilitation, not punishment.

 Left: No mandatory sentencing, three strikes, or death penalty. Focus on rehabilitation.

 Center-Left: No mandatory sentences or three strikes. Death penalty only for most heinous crimes.

 Center: Restructure mandatory sentence rules. Keep death penalty for murder, but work to fix the system.

 Center-Right: Keep mandatory sentences, three strikes, and death penalty.

 Right: Harsh minimum sentences, restrict appeals, expand death penalty.

 Far-Right: Expand death penalty, restrict appeals, roll back protections for criminals’ rights.


 Far-Left: Legalize all but the most dangerous drugs!

 Left: Legalize marijuana & other minor drugs; eliminate prison for non-violent offenses.

 Center-Left: Legalize marijuana. Use drug courts to treat addicts, not turn them into criminals.

 Center: Use drug courts to rehabilitate drug addicts. Reduce sentences for minor drug offenses.

 Center-Right: Eliminate inconsistencies in drug policy. Continue the War on Drugs.

 Right: Continue the War on Drugs aggressively. No tolerance for drug offenders.

 Far-Right: Lock up all junkies & throw away the key!


 Far-Left: Standardized tests are too important. Focus more on learning, less on testing!

 Left: Dramatically increase funding & reduce funding inequalities. Focus less on standardized tests.

 Center-Left: Increase funding for education. Increase accountability for standardized test scores.

 Center: Reform public school system to require higher test scores. Teacher & school system accountability!

 Center-Right: Reduce federal government role in education. Leave it to the states.

 Right: Support vouchers, charter schools. Reduce government role in education.

 Far-Right: Public education is a failed system. Abandon public schools!

Financial Regulation

 Far-Left: Harsh new government regulations for Wall St.! Make banking boring again!

 Left: Dramatic increase in regulation. Outlaw the risky practices that caused the financial collapse.

 Center-Left: Close financial loopholes. Some increase in regulation. Punish white-collar criminals.

 Center: Increase enforcement and punishment for white-collar crimes.

 Center-Right: Current financial regulations are just fine.

 Right: Overregulation started the crisis; deregulate to let financial innovation end it.

 Far-Right: Full laissez-faire for Wall St.! Total deregulation for all!

Fiscal Stimulus

 Far-Left: The stimulus was much too small. Pass another fiscal stimulus or risk prolonged recession!

 Left: The stimulus was too small and had too much tax cutting. The economy will improve, but slowly.

 Center-Left: The stimulus was just right. The economy is improving and will be back on track soon!

 Center: The stimulus was slightly too big, but will probably help the economy improve.

 Center-Right: The fiscal stimulus was too big, raised the deficit by too much, and won’t be effective!

 Right: Government spending can never stimulate the economy. States should reject stimulus money.

 Far-Right: The stimulus was generational theft. Stop all stimulus spending immediately!

Free Trade

 Far-Left: Protect the American labor market. Punish companies that send jobs overseas & end free trade.

 Left: Increase taxes on companies that send jobs overseas. Free Trade must include labour and environmental conditions.

 Center-Left: Consider new free trade deals carefully, and create incentives to keep jobs in America.

 Center: Free Trade is doing fine as is. The American corporate and labor culture is coping.

 Center-Right: Outsourcing is not a problem, it is part of a globalized world and helps America. Additional free trade agreements.

 Right: By outsourcing the U.S. frees up a lot of laborers to go on to better jobs. Global free trade would only help America.

 Far-Right: We need to encourage businesses to do whatever is necessary to generate profit.

Gun Control

 Far-Left: Ban all guns!

 Left: We need gun control! Ban certain guns. Require registration/background checks. Gun control protects children.

 Center-Left: The right to bear arms, but only responsibly! Ban assault rifles, require registration/background checks.

 Center: Gun control is a state issue. Responsible gun ownership is fine.

 Center-Right: We should be wary of gun control. The Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms.

 Right: Gun ownership is constitutionally protected. Protect sportsmen's rights and the Second Amendment.

 Far-Right: The Second Amendment is not negotiable! No restrictions on firearms!

Health Care Reform

 Far-Left: Government-run insurance, government-run facilities. Full socialized medicine!

 Left: Establish federal single-payer government health insurance.

 Center-Left: Create public plan to compete with private insurers; mandate coverage; pay for low- & middle-income families.

 Center: Limited public plan for competition. Mandate coverage and give low-income families subsidies.

 Center-Right: No public plan. Consider non-profit co-ops as alternative. Tax credits for low-income families.

 Right: Some consumer protections from the worst abuses. No public plan, no co-ops, no subsidies.

 Far-Right: No health reform at all! America’s health care system is great!


 Far-Left: Completely open borders. Try to obtain global citizenship.

 Left: Immigration is great! The more immigrants the better. Just require a criminal record check. Full blanket-amnesty.

 Center-Left: Legal immigration is great. Support guest-worker program for illegals and amnesty.

 Center: Enforce current laws and tighter border security but allow room for a guest-worker program.

 Center-Right: Illegal immigration is a serious problem. Tighter border security. Reform immigration laws.

 Right: Tighten border security with stricter immigration enforcement provisions. Deport illegal immigrants.

 Far-Right: Stop all immigration completely. Deport illegal aliens and build massive security fence on Mexican and Canadian borders.

Investigating Bush

 Far-Left: Launch all-out criminal prosecutions of all top Bush officials! Arrest Bush & Cheney!

 Left: Launch criminal investigations into high-ranking Bush officials. Prosecutions only in severe cases.

 Center-Left: Criminal investigations of low-ranking Bush Admin officials. Don’t go after the higher-ups.

 Center: No criminal investigations. Congressional probes but only as “truth and reconciliation”.

 Center-Right: No investigations, criminal or otherwise. Any probes would be too divisive.

 Right: The Bushies weren’t pleasant, but they weren’t illegal. No investigations.

 Far-Right: Prevent the Democrats from launching a partisan witch hunt!


 Far-Left: Iran should be able to develop nuclear technology - they will only use it for peaceful purposes.

 Left: We should deal with Iran through the United Nations.

 Center-Left: Diplomacy and economic sanctions should make Iran see things our way.

 Center: Keep diplomatic channels open and use economic sanctions. Go to war as a last resort.

 Center-Right: We should prepare to attack Iran but be sure that we have the proper intelligence.

 Right: We should launch a pre-emptive attack on Iran and destroy all potential nuclear sites.

 Far-Right: Iran and North Korea have troubled us long enough! Launch a full-fledged attack and invade them.


 Far-Left: Apologize to Iraq and the United Nations. Pull out all troops at once and pay reparations.

 Left: Withdraw all American troops at once. This was an illegal war of aggression.

 Center-Left: We have done our job in Iraq. Begin pulling out troops gradually. Set a timeline for full withdrawal.

 Center: The Surge has salvaged Iraq. Stay long enough to train Iraqi forces; withdraw gradually after that.

 Center-Right: We have successfully liberated Iraq. We must train security forces in Iraq and maintain our presence there.

 Right: Complete the mission! Reconstruct/rebuild Iraq. Hunt for terrorists and insurgents.

 Far-Right: We should make Iraq a tributary state and harvest its oil wealth.

Same-Sex Marriage

 Far-Left: Same-sex marriage is a fundamental human right.

 Left: Same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.

 Center-Left: Same-sex marriage, even if not in name. However, state level efforts should also be supported.

 Center: Retain marriage as it is but explore civil unions. If the states want to pass same-sex marriage, let them.

 Center-Right: Marriage is between a man and a woman. No federal recognition of state same-sex marriages.

 Right: Marriage is between a man and a woman. Support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.

 Far-Right: Homosexuals need to be treated for their condition.


 Far-Left: Raise income taxes in a highly progressive tax system. Eliminate corporate loopholes.

 Left: Make the tax system more progressive by increasing the marginal rate on the wealthy. Reform corporate tax system.

 Center-Left: Raise taxes on the rich, reduce taxes on the middle class, and reform the corporate tax system (eliminate loopholes).

 Center: Leave income tax as it is presently. Keep progressive taxes and remove small hidden taxes like marriage tax.

 Center-Right: Reduce corporate and income tax moderately.

 Right: Major tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations to spur economic growth via trickle-down.

 Far-Right: A single rate flat tax for citizens, and a very low tax rate for corporations. It works for the Baltic States.

Note that on some issues the, say, "Center-Right" position would be something mostly Democrats say, or vice-versa. These are mainly issues where, I feel, the right or left generally doesn't like to have the conversation at all, so I haven't taken up too many positions on that hard-line opposition. Some of these are just verbatim from the 2008 Wonk scenario.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 1 month later...

There hasn't been, actually; I've been pretty busy. But you're right, it has been. I might spend some time on it revising over the next couple of days, trying to make it fit real life better. Any idea for a way I could use Events or something to make the Republican close the gap?

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Well, I appear to have solved this problem by removing all of the Events. Anyone know how to create events that don't create massive error messages?

UPDATE: I appear to have a fairly neat, workable scenario set up that's nicely balanced and all. If anyone has advice about how to make events work, I could add them, but otherwise I think it's finished.

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I tried it, and it's winnable both as Coakley and Brown. I gave Brown a considerable general-election boost everywhere, which made the G.E. nice and tight. When I played as Coakley I won pretty big (every county, ~15 points popular vote), but honestly I think I'm getting pretty good at this. (I had 5 foot soldiers in every state and was running multiple ads continuously, which I could do because of an imbalance in the money coefficients.) But I think that overall it's pretty well balanced.

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