In this environment, "The 15% Solution" worked to perfection. With neither the Democratic Party nor the left-wing third parties offering viable, politically attractive alternatives to either then-present policy or the longer-term Reactionary threat, voter turn-out for a Presidential election fell to an all-time low in the year 2000: 39% of registered voters, representing 28% of the eligible voters. Former Senator Pine won the Presidency with 53% of that vote, amounting to precisely 15% of those eligible, just as the original "Solution" had called for. With similar voting outcomes, the 15% Solution also led to the election of increased Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress.
Further, by this time almost all of the sitting Republicans had the endorsement of the Christian Coalition and openly espoused its political agenda. That agenda, first presented in summary form in 1995 in a document called the "Contract on the American Family" (PFAW; Porteous) featured the so-called "morality" issues, for example: terminating freedom of choice in the outcome of pregnancy, mandating prayer in the schools, government support of religious schools, banning sex education, denying the civil rights of homosexuals, and so forth. At the same time, its writers were giving almost equal billing to the primary interests of their major backers: further tax cuts, evermore deregulation of private economic activity, ever-freer rein to the reign of the profit-driven "free market."
In late 1994, with the prospect at that time of a Republican takeover of the Congress, the Coalition had briefly abandoned its primary focus on the "morality" agenda to concentrate on Right-Wing economic issues, such as tax cuts for the wealthy (DNC, 2/13/95). (It is fascinating that in his speech to the Republican National Convention in 1992, Pat Robertson had actually used the word "taxes" more than he had used the word "God.")
But after the election of the Republican Congress in 1994, in the run-up to the 1996 Presidential elections that began in early 1995, the Coalition made it clear that "morality" (in its sense of the term) would always come before economics (Edsall). Since the Coalition controlled the core vote for the Republican Party, and showed that it could wield that control very effectively, every serious Republican Presidential candidate from 1995 onwards put Christian Coalition-type "morality" first, even if he or she didn't really believe it. Thus Pine's heavy emphasis on the matter in the year 2000. (Knowing that Pine wasn't really one of theirs, his Christian Coalition supporters often referred to him in a term they had also used for Bob Dole: "transitional President" [Judis].)
Actually, that sort of maneuvering for favor was nothing new for Republicans. In 1980, George Bush was offered the Vice-presidential nomination with the former Governor of California, Ronald Reagan, a determined opponent of freedom of choice in the outcome of pregnancy. Bush and his wife had been life-long supporters of an organization called Planned Parenthood. It provided sex education and elective pregnancy termination services across the country. But Bush overnight switched to being an out-spoken opponent of freedom of choice. And during his term as President the majority of his vetoes, the highest number ever recorded by a one term President, were related to that issue.
Just like President George HW Bush, his Republican contemporary by age, Carnathon Pine had no real policy alternatives for governing the country and no concerted plan to turn the economy around other than "cut taxes and end government regulation, interference, and red tape." This approach had already been tried under both Bush's predecessor, Reagan, and his successor, the Bill Clinton/Newton Gingrich tandem. (Newton Gingrich was the first Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives in the '90s.) It was, however, not a solution to, but a major cause of, problems. But no one seemed to recognize that fact, or if they did, make much of it.
Although not a true believer himself, Pine had leaned heavily on the Religious Right for support. Thus in his speeches he spent much time talking about "moral decay," "turning away from God," the "failure of the family," and (referring to the then still legal medical procedure elective termination of pregnancy before the time of fetal viability) the "slaughter of innocent children in the womb," as the primary causes of the problems the country faced. As has been pointed out previously, they were, of course, nothing of the kind. But given the weak opposition he faced, Pine was able to use the "moral decline" theme with great effectiveness.
The solution to the national problems that he proposed was "moral restoration as the savior of the nation." Although the slogan had a nice rhyming ring to it, it unfortunately had nothing real to offer in the way of problem solving. Pine sought to get around that problem by focusing the "strategy" on one or two well-defined areas of human behavior. A prominent one for him was the use of the so-called "illegal drugs," primarily marijuana, heroin, and cocaine.
All of the "recreational drugs," whether "legal" or "illegal," were non-medicinal chemical substances used to achieve various desired alterations of the conscious state. (Such drugs often caused undesirable short- and long-term outcomes as well.) They ranged from alcohol through tobacco to cocaine. (As is well-known, today only those few substances that are relatively safe, unlike tobacco and alcohol, are widely used. The use of no psychoactive recreational drugs is promoted or advertised, of course, and all are sold only on a non-profit basis.)
Some saw the issue of the use of the "illegal" drugs as a moral one, while others viewed it as one of public health (alcohol and tobacco use being responsible for over 25% of all deaths at the time). But moral or health issue, following a traditional old politically based American practice, government attempted to deal with the problem through the use of the criminal law. (Today, of course, this approach just makes no sense.) Thus, in the old United States all drug use was illegal, at least for some persons. However, the laws were enforced differently for different drugs and different types of person (Jonas). That reality created serious problems of its own, beyond those created by the action of the recreational drugs on those individuals using them.
For example, the sale of tobacco and alcohol to underage persons was seldom the focus of criminal prosecution, the non-prescription sale and use of prescription psychoactive drugs, also "illegal," almost never. However, in that national program called the "Drug War," violations of the laws concerning the possession, distribution, sale, and use of the "illegals" were heavily enforced--for certain persons. Blacks and Hispanics were much more likely than whites to be punished for violating such laws.
Although the "War on Drugs" had little effect on drug use, it did wreak havoc on the minority communities in which it was waged, and filled the prisons with (mainly minority) non-violent drug offenders (Mauer and Huling). And it was very useful politically. Like President Bush, President Pine knew that. And so he set out to resurrect a strategy that had lain virtually dormant for the decade of the 90s. Mobilizing the "moral imperatives," Pine resolved to revitalize the "Drug War" by declaring "The Real Drug War."
"The Real Drug War" no more solved the problem of drug use/abuse as it was defined by Reaction than did the original "Drug War," prosecuted with varying degrees of vigor by Republican Presidents from Nixon through Bush (Jonas). But the idea was very effective politically, just as its predecessor had been. It created an enemy, and that enemy could conveniently be defined as black (even though the overwhelming majority of the users of illegal drugs were white).
More importantly, as we shall see, the "Real Drug War" was very significant in laying down the physical and psychological foundation for the coming Fascist Period. Pine felt that the drug issue would be so useful to him politically and institutionally that he devoted virtually his whole Inaugural Address to it. We present the complete text of that address (one of the briefest in Presidential history) here.
The Inaugural Address of President Carnathon Pine, Jan. 20, 2001
Mr. Chief Justice, Madam Speaker, friends, my fellow Americans. It is both a privilege and a burden for me to appear before you in my new role today. A privilege because no one can aspire to a higher office than the Presidency of our great, God-blessed, land. A burden, because after all of my years in the Senate, many of them spent criticizing Presidents for doing this and not doing that, I now have to try to do what I said all along they ought to be doing but weren't.