Is America Ready for Alternate History About Congressional Procedure?


Back in the day, I was a big fan of “alternate history” novels such as Harry Turtledove’s The Guns of the South in which apartheid South Africa manages to send some dudes back in time with the information necessary to start manufacturing AK-47s and providing them to the South in order to let the Confederacy win the Civil War. There’s also his series of books that ask the crucial question “what would have happened if lizards from outer space invaded amidst World War II.” Later, in college I learned that analysis of counterfactuals is intimately related to analysis of claims about causation bestowing the whole thing with something of the air of legitimacy.

Thus, my new idea for a book in which Mitch McConnell travels back in time to 1860 to explain to Jefferson Davis and other Southern Senators that instead of seceding from the Union they should just stick around and filibuster the entire Lincoln administration agenda. Sure, the Republican Party may have been dedicated to banning slavery in the territories, but the Kansas-Nebraska Act is already on the books and there’s no way they’ll find the votes for cloture. Exciting! Similar tactics could also have spared us the horrors of such Lincoln-era adventures in big government folly as the Homestead Act and the transcontinental railroad. Admittedly, The Procedural Stalling Tactics of the South doesn’t have quite the same ring about it.