Hi there, folks. As a longtime AH enthusiast, I have probably dreamed up dozens and dozens of alternate universes over the past several years, ranging from your standard different U.S. election or Civil War scenarios, to Britwanks, to everything in between. Unfortunately, I really have only had the time to develop maybe a handful of these into full-fledged TLs. However, though, I've found a solution: RVBomally on AH.com had this neat idea of "Oneshot Scenarios", as he calls them, where he develops short stories with a brief background, revealing as much as possible while keeping things short and sweet. So, I thought I'd go ahead and follow in those footsteps.
Al Gore wins 2000: Al Gore wins the 2000 Presidential Elections by a narrow margin. He tries to deal with 9/11, and does a good job, but is unable to stop the economy from going into a recession; Susan Collins, the Senator from Maine, is elected President instead, in 2004-She narrowly loses to Hillary Clinton in '08 after a disaffected contingent of Libertarians led by Gary Johnson, angry over the hard-right's obstruction of President Collins' bipartisan efforts(and, more importantly, Collins's timidity in dealing with same!), manages to just barely tip Florida in favor of the Democrats. Clinton's two terms in office are marked by one last major surge of Islamic terrorism in the Middle East, peaking with an attempt by ISIS to invade both Jordan and Lebanon in 2014-15, the deepening of the 2008 recession in late 2010-early 2012, as well as domestic terrorism, particularly by neo-Nazis and, later on, the most virulent sectors of the "Men's Movement", with the bombing of a feminist conference in Chicago in 2014(only a year after the incident in Boston).
The victory of Ohio senator Rob Portman in 2016 does nothing to alleviate the fears of the hard-right, and his unwillingness to compromise his moderate image hurts him badly in the eyes of the Tea Partiers and others in that sector of American conservatism. A second recession in 2017-18, and a major wave of anti-immigrant violence in the border states further hurts the Republicans, and many of their near-historic gains in 2014 are erased in the latter year's Congressional elections; not only that, but several governors lose their re-election campaigns as well, most notably Jan Brewer in Arizona and Greg Abbott in Texas(Wisconsin's governor Scott Walker was actually impeached before he could run his own re-election campaign.). Topping it all off, is Portman's attempt to directly intervene in the Ukrainian Civil War, which backfires badly(but not without Russia's Vladimir Putin getting hurt as well).
All of these factors conspire to make sure that neither President Portman or his Vice-President Mike Huckabee, are re-nominated in the 2020 GOP convention; instead, quasi-extremist Texas senator Ted Cruz and former Mass. governor Mitt Romney, still reeling from his failed 2012 run, are nominated in their places.
Despite running on a semi-populist line, Senator Cruz not only fails to capture the imaginations of the moderate Republicans, but many more hardline conservatives are convinced to stay home.....and to the astonishment of many pundits, the Democratic ticket of Barack H. Obama/Kamala Harris not only wins the 2020 elections, but even manages to seize Texas by a majority of the vote, a feat not achieved by any Democrat since Carter in 1976.
Although many people are glad to see America's first African-American president in office, there are some concerns that right-wing terrorism may be on the rebound, and perhaps even worse than in the Nineties.....but most folks are just wanting to get on with their lives, and hope for the best.
War of 1812-the Ontario Bait-and-Switch: Due to a few twists of fate(and history), the Americans hold on to much of the southwestern corner of *Ontario(though not including *Toronto!) while ceding control of a huge chunk of the old Northwest to the British. This timeline tracks the development of Upper and Lower Canada, then the Dominion of Canada, and then the Canadian Confederation over the years, side by side with the United States, over the course of two centuries, through war and peace, war and peace again, and finally, friendship.
A Different Invasion, a Different Russia: Another timeline with a POD in 1812, but in Europe this time. A few things go better for Napoleon in Russia during this war, and his regime survives a little longer than it might have otherwise, despite his eventual retreat back into Western Europe. Russia, meanwhile, keeps Pyotr Bagration alive, but at the cost of losing both Generals Barclay De Tolly and Wittgenstein. The timeline also explores a few other initial PODs up to about 1830 or so before the divergence really begins to take place in Russia, with the rest of the butterflies in full swing by 1850(no Vladimir Lenin for one, although Communism still becomes a thing). The reforms of Alexander II still happen, but so, too, does the reaction and political decline under his son, Alexander III, the last OTL figure in Russian history. Things begin to look hopeful again under Nicholas II(a different person from our own Nick II), and as Russia avoids the *Great War, many hope that the country may finally get to truly enjoy prosperity. And then Nicholas dies, sending Russia into another era of political uncertainty, and by the end of the '20s, his son, who was coronated as Nicholas III, has also passed: the following decade will be one of sociopolitical turmoil, greatly exacerbated by the implosion of the American economy in the fall of 1930: tens of thousands of Russians flee their country, many to Canada and the United States, but some to France, the U.K., and even Latin America as well, as their nation's leaders become more and more paranoid and uneasy, particularly regarding their Chinese neighbors to the east....
By 1987, Russia has been divided in two, between the liberal democratic European portion and an authoritarian republic over Siberia, currently the top of China's several puppet states. There are some hopes for reunification, but the world remains, at least for now, stuck in a deep Cold War between West and East.
The Jenkins Conspiracy: The War of Jenkins's Ear, as it's called in our reality, goes a little differently here; unfortunately, in this case, that means it's a bit bloodier for both sides. The divergence starts when Robert Jenkins is ransomed by the Spanish after his ship is boarded by pirates working with the Spanish government; he is quickly freed, but it makes the breakdown in relations between Britain and Spain even worse than in our world. Twenty years later, when the French and Indian War starts up, the Spanish declare war on behalf of the French, and Britain is not only facing trouble in the northern colonies, but is again subject to raids on their southern colonies as well, with Georgia taking the hardest hit, also they also lose much of the Indian protectorate to an expanded West Florida. The British manage to hold on to *Upper Canada for a while, but are forced to withdraw at the request of the French, handing most of it back to them by 1771.
By this time, many in the 13 Colonies are beginning to tire of what they feel as Britain taking much more from them than they give back; and after the Boston Massacre of 1774, the motion is irrevocably set: the Colonies break away from British rule in June of the following year, and, subsequently, drawing up their formal letter of secession in April 1776 and convening a government in July. However, though, the Patriots here do not have quite as much support, as Benjamin Franklin, ace statesman from Pennsylvania, refuses to take a side, along with several others-and the Patriots themselves are divided. Many in the lower South fear further incursions from the Spanish and their Indian allies, and the Yankees are themselves tired of being stepped on, but other than that, they have a rather harder time cooperating-only Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic colonies are holding it all together, and when General Washington dies at Antietam in 1782, it provides the final curtain for the revolutionaries' original aims, but not before it comes at a serious price for the British: New England(which also includes much of the eastern half of what was upstate New York) and most of the South are irrevocably lost by 1783, forcing a truce between the two sides, and for Britain to recognize the two countries. as for the rest of the colonies, however, the British realize full well that, even with the bulk of the Northern patriots in New England, and about half the Southern patriots in the American Confederation, there may continue to be more unrest unless the people can be sufficiently appeased; so, in 1787, Benjamin Franklin, now governor of Pennsylvania, is asked to draw up a compromise; the "Franklin Plan", as it's known, eventually forms the backbone for the first constitution of the Commonwealth of North America-the Crown retains some power, but the North Americans do gain a fair amount of independence-the city of Wilmington, Delaware, is selected as the capital.
The first real test for the new country comes when the Trans-Atlantic War breaks out in 1812; the British use the Spanish trade agreement with France as an excuse to declare war on both countries, and by the end of the conflict in 1816, they have taken both the Floridas and Quebec from their respective owners; the Floridas are handed over to the American Confederation(as a reward for turning on the Spaniards), while Quebec is occupied for nearly a decade. New England remains independent, however, albeit after much fighting, and losing their capital city of Boston to burning by the British(although the Yankees also wrecked much of the city of Wilmington in revenge). Afterwards, the Yankees enter into a long isolationist period, preferring to concentrate on building up their country's industry.
The 1840s prove to be a difficult decade for Europe and many tens of thousands of people begin to leave their countries, fearing violence in the streets-it soon becomes several hundreds of thousands. Many Germans in particular end up in the Commonwealth, as do Poles and Czechs, but quite a few go elsewhere, particularly the fledgling Republic of Texas, desperately in need of fresh blood to revitalize their nation; quite a few Ulster Irish and Scots also go to Texas, as do many Austrians and ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe who couldn't make it to Pennsylvania, Columbia(OTL's State of Ohio), or Virginia-that country will eventually reap many benefits from this immigration. Mexico, on the other hand, sees very little immigration until the 1850s, after California has split off(which is successful by 1846).....and most of that is from Italy and Russia, with a few Greeks, Republican Frenchmen and South Slavic people(mostly Croatians) besides. And most of the Jewish people who make it to North America land in the Commonwealth or New England, and Boston in particular develops a huge Jewish community over the next century or so.
Unfortunately for the Commonwealth, however, their prosperity comes at a price: they are still dragged into nearly every war that Britain gets involved in the roughly half century or so after 1812, including the disastrous Crimean conflict, which resulted in tens of thousands of lives lost and the Anglo-Ottoman alliance straining, and eventually, breaking into many pieces. The British government's unwillingness to deal with an increasingly aggressive American Confederation, however, proved to be the final straw, and the conflict that was eventually fought, was done without Britain's explicit approval; London, however, would soon be terribly embarrassed by several political scandals, and this eventually helped lead to the country's second constitution, in 1869...and one which permanently severs all legal ties to the Crown. But the opprotunity also arises for a shift in the order of things-the idea of a "Association of Nations" is proposed by Ezra Lincoln, the first President of the North American Commonwealth, in 1876, as a means of equalizing the relationship between his country and the British; the idea meets some initial resistance, but is a practical reality by 1890.
The Commonwealth fights one last war against the American Confederation, after the hardline pro-slavery elements try to seize that nation's government-it results in the Confederation collapsing, and most of it annexed-except Cuba, which becomes independent with their help. By the turn of the century, the future looks quite promising.....
Fast forward to 1989-the N.A.C. is the richest country on Earth, and the world is about to end a 40+ year long *Cold War.