Some alternative history to take your mind off Covid-19

1995: White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta is choosing summer interns. He decides on one Gary Generic Whiteman from Iowa.

1998: Ken Starr's Whitewater investigation into Bill Clinton fizzles out, having found nothing.

2000: Al Gore wins Florida and thus the US Presidency in a close, but clear call on the strength of the untainted Clinton legacy. He manages the dotcom downturn and takes the "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US" August 6, 2001 briefing seriously, preventing 9/11. Strong climate leadership.

2008: Mitt Romney becomes President amid the recession and governs in the center, continuing many of Al Gore's popular policies.

2011: Saddam Hussein crushes Arab Spring protests in Iraq. No ISIS means Bashar Assad keeps control of Syria more easily, ending the war in 2014.

2015: Much fewer Middle East refugees allow the EU to find a fair and humane solution for them. Right-wing parties keep searching for a cause.

2016: Don't need "Hope and Change" if most things are pretty ok. Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic primary against one Barack Obama. It's close, but Clinton also wins the Presidency against Jeb!, vowing to incrementally improve healthcare, student loans, rents and many other issues. She strengthens the CDC and US pandemic response.

2020: A novel disease is fully contained in China with US help. US citizens sometimes wish for more exciting politics, but 20 years of anodyne technocrats have improved millions of lives. Greenhouse gas emissions are on track for net zero in 2035, and Romneycare is the law of the land. Ted Cruz has his work cut out for him in November.

2025: Donald Trump dies of neurosyphilis in a New York hospice. A palliative care volunteer comforts him as he passes away. Monica Lewinsky lets go of his hand, at peace. She thinks about life and what could have happened if she had got that internship 30 years ago. Well, no matter.

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