A) Statehood for Jefferson, 1938
This is a world where the people in far north California as well as southern Oregon who wanted their own state starting in the 1930s were a bit quicker to organize than in OTL. While our world had a vigorous pro-Jefferson movement in 1941, the second world war and later pearl harbor changed people's concerns and led to the movement's decline, this world saw the movement managing to organize fast enough to squeak by before either happened.
An extra state for the US aside, the past several decades have mostly passed much as OTL -- the second world war happened on schedule, a cold war was won and there is even an ongoing war on terror. This world's differences are largely concentrated in the United States. Thanks to various policy changes, America uses 18% renewable energy and 16% nuclear energy along with using a fifth less energy per capita than OTL. America's old suburbs, cities and existing small towns are more settled than OTL, while there are fewer exurbs, edge cities or outer suburbs.
76 years after successfully voting for seperation from Oregon and California, Jefferson is doing well all things considered. The economy is chugging along better than most of the country thanks to the state government lucking out and having the right leadership in both the early 70s and mid 2000s -- Jefferson isn't 100% energy or resource independent by any means but it's doing ALOT better than even more 'green' bits of the United States in OTL. The fact that jefferson relies on wind, solar and hydro power from the mountains and has set up it's infrastructure to not be oil-dependent has insulated it from much of the effects of the last decade's energy shocks. Jefferson's politics are divided between Democrats and Greens. Yes, the 2000 election happened just as OTL but in this world with one state where they're influential enough to send an occaisonal representative to Congress the Green Party retains a bit more influence.
Due to Jefferson's successful example, 7 states(Alaska, California, Jefferson, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Colorado) all have legalized marijuana with the second state, Alaska doing so in 2010. Only Jefferson goes further and has legalized recreational use of certain psychadelics such as psilocybin mushrooms and LSD. President Obama has just signed into law a national Medical Marijuana law.
Another area that Jefferson has been something of an example on is alternative energy, if less influential than it has been for say drug policy -- The federal gas tax is 45 cents instead of 18, a small part of the federal highway budget is spent on mass transit, The US uses 18% renewable energy, fuel efficiency standards are 35 miles per gallon and there is both federal and state funding for alternative energy or conservatation(granted the amount tended to be a pittance before the Obama administration, but its' better than nothing). To be fair, this hasn't done all that much but it did lead to gas prices peaking at 3.50 back in 2008 intead of averaging over $4 so there's that. Neighborhoods built in the 70s and later tend to have sidewalks. Energy policy splits with republicans favoring nuclear and or domestic oil/coal with some token conservation, with democrats being more pro. An obvious side effect of Jefferson's energy influence is that an America which took less pain last decade is a bit more smug and imperial.
One side effect of Jefferson's increased environmental awareness is the fact that the US, since the early 1980s has actually enforced it's immigration laws along with making family reunification immigrants have to be immediate family -- no more cases of people bringing in half their village by it. As a result, America's population is 30 million lower than OTL -- it would be more like 45 million, but the gap has been filled by either native-born Americans or first/second generation immigrants who can afford more children than in OTL.
Outside of the US, Jefferson's example has been noticed a bit more. There are more countries producing more than 20% or 30% of their energy from renewables. This hasn't changed all that much except for softening the impact of the 2000s energy crisis -- the US had a bad late 2000s but at least unemployment in this timeline is closer to the obviously gamed figures we see in OTL and there has been an admittedly limp recovery.
B) Statehood for Puerto Rico 2006
This is a recent one, but with Puerto Rico getting statehood just in time for the 2006 congressional elections. The exact POD is Bush probably having an ephipany over pretzels and thinking letting PR into the union would help the GOP gain the latin votes. It doesn't quite work that way, but Puerto Rico becomes America's 51st state a few weeks before the elections, leaving them barely enough to time to get ready.
Outside of 6 new permanent delegates to the house(granted, after the 2010 census it gets dropped to 4), a temporary boost in flag sales, a few enthustiatic editorials in the wall street journal suggesting annexing Mexico to fix the illegal immigration problem, and some more pork the addition of Puerto Rico to the union doesn't change much over the next 8 years. The closest thing to a macro change is that the culture of the mid 2000s gets an extra year before it deflates much like OTL thanks to the temporary boost of patriotic enthusiasm. Obama still wins, the great recession, arab spring and the like all happen on schedule with the US's having a different flag being the main change.
Internationally, the addition of Puerto Rico as a state has... zero real effect since it was US territory beforehand. This didn't stop a few swedes from doing not all that well-thought out of protests under the "free Puerto Rico" banner which only made news in summer 2007 since there weren't enough shark attacks or celebrities having to go rehab to fill news cycles and they could run with it. This has only had the effect of creating yet another reason for 4chan's /pol/ to mock sweden("they didn't know the US owned Puerto Rico beforehand? Really").
One side effect of more attempts on the part of both parties to try appealing to the 'hispanic' vote is that demographic becoming more important for elections despite low turnout. The largest such unintended consequence was Kuchinich's laughably failed attempt to primary out Obama back in 2012 getting either five states or delegates of bigger states, all of which had notable hispanic populations -- this was something noticed by vice president Biden, which he cited to recently get Obama to quietly drop the subject of immigration 'reform'("What are you thinking? You want to let officer Concha or Zimmerman's cousins in to cause MORE riots, raise crime and make sure whichever sucker runs in 2016 lose to the GOP? Really, Barry I don't even know where you're going with this."). Obama isn't the only black american to notice this and things are getting a bit more tense -- this ranges from stiff primary competition, GOP candidate Rubio's coming within 15 electoral votes of victory in 2012, Victory riots both after the election and his inaugeration -- the fact that Obama pardoned the rioters once arrests started hasn't helped, the summer of riots back in 2012(Zimmerman, again) and the ongoing month-long riots in Los Angeles because the LAPD killed a random teenager back in may. At least outside of LA, the shootings or throwing of molotovs in cities with notable minorities of both blacks and hispanics in the same cities are still (relatively) infrequent.
Partly both because of it now being clearly possible, along to send a message to both the GOP/cuban-americans Obama decided to force the opening up of relations with Cuba in early 2013 instead of in the past week or so. Results have been largely mixed, if extremely minor on the US side(cheap cigars and rum, yes. The million or so cubans who've taken advantage of it being easier to get an exit visa, plus US policy to get in have been a bit of a disruption.). The Cuban government is trying a rapid move to capitalism, in particular of selling off state property to Americans. Cuban-Americans in Miami aren't happy that it's US millionaires buying everything up and that they're not getting their parents/grandparents sugar plantations back.
Puerto Rico is doing all right since they now get to benefit from pork, doubly so since they're a reliable Democratic state but not reliable enough to prevent the GOP from being hopeful and funelling money it's way. These days, the state economy is moving closer to convergence with the US as a whole even with the recession slowing things down -- it's now above both Missisipi *and* West Virginia on HDI charts. With the ongoing convergence, the outflow of people from Puerto Rico has actually stopped and started to reverse -- quite a few young mainland Puerto ricans decided to try their luck back on the island rather than in the recession-hit East Coast.
C) Abortion legalized five years later
The third one, which is again a modern one.
The POD is the supreme court's members in 1970 all deciding to agree to take an eight-year "wait and see" approach.(The "lets not touch this issue ever since it's radioactive" portion of the court was shot down but at least was able to get that) on the abortion issue.
Before the legalization of abortion things go much like in our 1970s, but with a bit more of a left turn in some ways. Less attention being put on the supreme court led Presidents Ford and Carter to *both* be able to get a justice in the court since it was a less pressing issue than OTL.
On the eve of legalization, the legal status for abortion was this: Eight states had abortion legal on demand(the additional states besides OTL's 1973 states were California, Oregon, Vermont and for before 24 weeks, Massachusetts), 3 legal for rape(missouri and Iowa in addition to Alabama), 4 had it legal for 'danger to mother's health'(new hampshire, Maine, Minnesota and Illinois), 13 Legal in cases of danger to woman's health, rape or incest, or likely damaged fetus(distributed a bit differently than OTL 1972. California and Oregon went fully to demand) and 18 states had it still illegal for various reasons. On the federal level, the only action was to establish that medicaid, AmeriCare and medicare would cover abortion in areas where it was legal.
Non-abortion legislation from 1973-78 much like OTL. The largest changes in this era is the 1973 national health care act, which is comparable to OTL Obamacare if a bit better thought-out(Obamacare raised healthcare's share of the GDP by atound 4-6% depending on numbers. This one reduces the costs by 10% -- making end up being 12-13% by 2014) along with the 1977 removal of marijuana from the controlled substances act and turning most policy over to the states). In 1977, another set of changes is to fold medicaid, medicare and AmeriCare into one bureaucracy along with making plans more portable, letting people import medicine from Canada and letting people buy plans on a national level -- this doesn't remove the issues that AmeriCare has, but it allows the costs to drop down even further.
The 1976 election sees the Democrats winning with a west and south-focused ticket of Jimmy Carter and Mo Udall winning in 1976 with an extremely close election that even takes a recount to settle. On the one hand, a more left-wing environment was more favorable for democrats but on the other hand this same factor meant that there was less appeal for the relatively conservative Carter.
The exact timing of legalization of abortion under the "Kleiman v. Oklahoma" ruling is January 1978, coincidently not too far off from the five-year anniversary of what would have been Roe V. Wade's ruling in OTL. Responses are immediate, with many conservatives rallying -- in a world where the timing of abortion legalization and the fight over whether or not Bob Jones Unviersity would have to integrate happen much closer to one another, getting catholics on board is easier than in OTL.
The Carter/Udall adminstration goes much like OTL's Carter administration, with the changes being ones of emphasis and not degree. The emphasis is a bit in a center and a left direction compared to OTL -- the Cuban embargo got ended in 1978.
On January 20, 1981 Ronald Reagan and his vice president, Jack Kemp are inaugerated. The Reagan-Kemp administration was much like OTL's Reagan administration with a few changes centered around the backlash's being less a free market one, and more explicitly socially conservative. One sort-of-notable change is that the OTL 1994 "republican revolution" happens 1980-1990 with the GOP's long march to capture both huses. Kemp wins in 1988 but loses to the ticket of, surprisingly still Bill Clinton with Douglas Wilder -- Gore wasn't in the senate after 1988 due to a personal finance scandal, combined with an ongoing divorce.
The 1990s go much like OTL, even down to the Clinton scandals. The most visible change is that abortion and related issues like birth control are even more of a touchy subject than in even OTL 1990s. The second most visible change is that a GOP that's more socially conservative and less 'free market' leads to different compromises -- no GATT, NAFTA having a 10% tariff for products from outside, Hollywood only getting a 15-year extension for copyright and less media consolidation than OTL. Another, if less visible change is that the rustbelt craters more and the sunbelt rises faster than OTL -- people's insurance being more portable makes people less locked into jobs. Another side effect of people being less locked into jobs is that there is more opportunity for workers to shift jobs if they get too unfavorable of terms so inequality rises a bit slower than OTL. A not very noticable side effect of Wilder's being veep instead of Gore, is that there is slightly less censorship in radio, TV and self-censorship in general.
The clinton Era ends, with the election of the Republicans with the Bush/Ashcroft ticket in a close, but not lawsuit-ridden election -- the lack of anything like OTL's "Bush v. Gore" means that politics are slightly less nasty, plus progressives are a bit less likely to support using extralegal tactics. The 2000s, and the early 2010s are an era of preachy, moralistic conservatism with the only upside being the existence of a semi-viable counter-culture unlike OTL's embarassments of emos, the Iraq war protestors and the proto-SJWs.
Despite the recession that resembled OTL, the GOP candidate Mark Allen decided to keep campaigning unlike McCain's wasting time trying to make the bailout be GOP-friendly. Allen wins in 2008, but loses in 2012 to the democratic ticket of Biden/Ford. Despite being the one conservative on the 2008 GOP primaries who wasn't either under indictment for accidently killing one of his hunting partners like Chiney or just guilty of producing cringeworthy songs like Ashcroft, Allen's term turns out to be in practice having to compromise with the left -- gay marriage really starts to get going, democrats use the majorities they have in congress to force him to pick center or center-left justices.
In terms of foreign policy, the United States is much like OTL. The cuban embargo got ended in 1978, reinstated in 1982 and ended yet again in 1994. The US is in the middle and late stages of a withdrawal from Iraq -- a more gradual withdrawal then the one Obama was trying hasn't yet produced anything like the collapse of order and warlordismm that we've seen in OTL.
Overall, economic policy is largely OTL except being slightly less rigged in favor of either big companies or government contractors than OTL. Think a US with a gini coefficient of .44 instead of OTL's .47. This shift, combined with a slightly less bureaucratic healthcare system means the overall US GDP is 10% higher than OTL. Alas, this remains rather unfairly distributed.
Civil liberties and surveillance in the United States are back up to pre-patriot act levels -- part of is it that a stronger GOP in the early 2000s meant that the patriot act was written more by the GOP, with less input from 'law and order' democrats. The other parts are 2012 revelations about NSA spying, by a disgruntled agent in his 40s who was tired of being passed over for promotion deciding to reveal it during the election campaign.
The Republican Party is much like OTL, except with the religious types being more influential than in OTL. Not radically so, but more like say the mid 2000s of OTL instead of OTL's ongoing slow disengagement. One side effect of a GOP more dominated by the fundies, is that it's slightly less of a vehicle for corporate shilling. Emphasis on slightly, but even things like not playing budget games with social security/healthcare and accepting moving the social security tax cap to 500,000 from 120,000 help get it more votes from the working class and even some nonwhites.
The democratic party is somewhere between the following 3 eras 1) it's clintonite centrism 2) John Kerryite GOP-lite 3) OTL present, with the emphasis being more on the first and second due to some hard choices made in the 80s, mid 1990s, the late 2000s and the 2012 elections -- some gen x and gen y SJWs are mad about there not being handy government databases or requirements for backdoors for them to get into for black mail. Gun control has been quietly dropped from the national platform along with a good portion of the state platforms. They're still pushing for gay marriage vigorously like OTL, and one of Biden's first achievements was rolling back the ban on partial birth abortion.
As a result of said hard choices, the US has a green party able to get 2-5% in presidential elections, consistently gets at least 5 reps(whether or not they're from vermont/maine or the pacific northwest varies) and from 2006-12 had a senator. Think the green party as the tumblr party, with all of the incoherency and venom it implies -- every so often there's a scandal with a green rep talking about the need for violence against white or cis people.
The Libertarian party is much like OTL, but with 1-3% of the vote in presidential elections and getting a representative in some western state every couple of elections.
With a slightly milder reaction against abortion, the federal government just prevented NGOs from performing abortions until 2001 rather than OTL's policy until 2009 of also not allowing NGOs which got federal money to even just promote abortion. The result of this is 50 million fewer people in the third world, mostly in Africa and India -- this has oddly had the side effect of butterflying OTL's ebola epidemic. On the other side of the ledger, marburg is currently spreading in 9 east and central african countries, with 30,000 dead. An ebola epidemic started in Chad back in may, with 1,000 dead.
D) Belgium partitioned in 2006
Alright, here's possibly the shortest of the lot: Belgium in this world doesn't just experience gridlock it splits up in 2006.
The exact POD is sometime in the 1980s or 1990s. Something minor -- one or more minor phamphlets in either Flemish or French. The exact cause is unimportant but the desire for secession on both sides starts off being a little bit higher than OTL, but by 2006 you have people on both sides being more willing to secede.
The crisis starts with 4 months of disputes between the parties, in the middle of the fifth month the riots and protests begin. By month 7, there was a molotov thrown. After that, nothing was the same. By the end of the 9th month there were two countries instead of one -- Flanders and a just-renamed Wallonia.
Flanders refused to join the European Union. This turned out to prove important surprisingly soon after secession. Flanders' refusal to join the EU led to the withdrawal of Hungary in 2009 following objections to Fidesz' policies. Croatia and Serbia also withdrew their respective applications.
The precedent of Flanders' refusal to join combined with the withdrawn applications and Hungary's departure proved quite important on the world stage in 2010. This instability caused the stock market's crashing in early may of that year to turn into a recession, which got followup crashes later that year and in 2011 which mirrored 2007-8. Incidently, this recession both squished a budding fracking boom and didn't just prevent a housing recovery but led to a crash in commercial real estate.
Scotland voted for independence in 2012, in an election which was so close it led to months of recounts, lawsuits and much whining from one or the other side.
The resulting instability, combined with the ongoing recession led to more political instability in Europe -- the Golden Dawn took over greece, radical right parties ended up getting visible numbers in parliaments. In America, it led to a brief conservative renaissance exemplified by the election of the ticket of Rick Santorum, with political outsider Andrew Schlafly as veep -- Schlafly's lack of experience in actual politics was used as a selling point to tea party types.
Stocks fell back in December after announcements of successful secession referendums in both England and northern Italy and have not yet revived.
As of early 2015, things are heading into yet another period of instability kicked off by the overthrow of a pro-western Ukranian government in early 2014 -- some more worried types are wondering if the world is in the early days of a shift to a new era, like was seen with the assasination of an archduke in Sarajevo in summer 1914. The European Union and NATO's generally's weak responses impressed nobody, which is not helping people's confidence(or stock prices).
The European Union is looking creaky, unstable and about to fall apart. Seperatist protesters are rioting in the street, with the effect of peeling off a few of the newer members like Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Iceland, Slovenia and now England. There is also increasing violence between the native-born and immigrant minorities, the specific issue is muslims.
Scotland, Flanders, Kosovo, Azawad, Catalonia, Padania, Euzcadia, England and a Darfur that took advantage of international mood favoring secession are all independent and recognized by the UN. Perhaps in retaliation for the US recognition of Kosovo, Russia and China recognize the Islamic Republic of the Levant, a warlord state consisting of most of Syria along with the sunni bits of Iraq. The Assads still rule Latakia and have managed to 1) get a treaty with Levant's government 2) recognition by 30 countries. Boko Haram rules a third of northern Nigeria.
France, England, Flanders, Denmark, Spain, Cyprus, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Romania, Euzcadia, Padania, Poland and the Czech republic are ruled by either anti-EU and/or anti-immigration parties. Despite fearmongering, only about a third of these parties are neofascist. Even then, only the Hungarian and Greek ruling parties have done things like rewritten the constitution or gerrymandering to help their parties.
The English Commonwealth under Lord Protector Farage is being rocked by government-sponsored anti-immigrant violence. Capital is fleeing the city of london to go to wall street, along with wealty britons being unhappy about the end of the UK.
The two remaining members of the United Kingdom of Wales and Northern Ireland are considering going with the flow and splitting up. Dublin's offering extensive autonomy to Ulster is encouraging this mindset. Betting people say the UK won't be long for this world.
The muslims in western-central europe's cities are responding to the rise of local populists by living down to the worst stereotypes of neocons and doing all-too predictable terrorism. As a result, even the SWEDES oh all people are increasingly with them.
The energy situation is much like OTL, if a bit worse. Gas in the US peaked at $5.50-$6 in 2012 and has gone down to 4.50. John Michael Greer is giving quite a few radio or podcast interviews these days.
Ebola has spread to 19 west and central African nations, with 50,000 dead. There is also an ongoing marburg epidemic in East Africa, with 5,000 dead. The "interesting" nature of the world economy has prevented real attention on either except for a few people on 4chan...
E) AIDS delayed 5 years
A bit of a shorter one, where the main focus is on AIDS being delayed by 5 years. Think of this as sort of an opposite to my AIDS in 1971. There aren't any 'good' scenarios to have AIDS appearing in, but at least this isn't any worse than OTL in most areas, economic policy aside.
Before HIV, the world followed roughly the same path as it did in the early 80s but without the backlash. The most visible changes of note are that the culture of that era ended up being slightly more outgoing than even our 1980s, and most importantly the first greenshoots of gay acceptance got a bit further. The religious right was weaker than say OTL 1986 when the backlash got going.
Come 1986, with the revelation of there being an AIDS epidemic there is a backlash -- this backlash was enough to keep the GOP in power until 2012, with the only gap being a one-term Hart/Clinton administration from 1997-2001 which due to scandals killed any hopes for reelection. The backlash affected both economic and social issues. Due to the fact that various ideological trends were baked in, despite the sharp backlash there weren't that many policy turns -- the differences mostly come from the fact that the hardline parts of the GOP get more of what they want and it's republican pro-business types who get the perks and not democrats(subsidies for farms or oil companies yes. Extension of copyright no as examples)
* * *
The United States's economy is largely recognizable compared to OTL -- still with much the same economic policy due to similar partisan divides so it's currently in a recession. However, a conservative movement of more the 80s or 90s sort, which at least pretended to support small or medium-sized businesses too did slightly less stupid economics in some ways -- being more anti-regulation for small businesses than OTL helped, even if the "scrap all welfare besides the bits going to old people" was uh unhelpful -- the economy is a fourth smaller than OTL and inequality is as high as Brazil.
As mentioned above, the specifics are mostly as OTL besides the welfare reform. The notable change happens to be the raft of welfare reforms passed in the late 80s and early 90s that had the effect of 1) ending various federal programs besides social security/medicare for people born before 12/31/1965 2) forbidding states from using even a dime of federal money to run any programs of their own.
In terms of various 'moral' issues like gay rights, marijuana, abortion or TV censorship/self-censorship by networks the US is mostly like OTL if slightly more relaxed in both legislation and personal attitudes -- 5 states have legal marijuana, President Biden early on in his second term tossed the partial-birth abortion ban and the FCC no longer increases ratings for gay-related content(popular culture is largely recognizable, even if they did manage to get various gay-related tropes out of the way 2-3 years early. ). Gay marriage just got legalized by the supreme, but before legalization had made it to 45 states due to prior rulings.
As for foreign policy, it's much the same as OTL even down to various mistakes. Baghdad has just been overrun by the Islamic State and the footage of American soldiers being beheaded with their dependents at where the US bases used to be has not done anything positive to President Biden's poll numbers.
* * *
By now, gay rights in western nations tends to range from certain european countries where it's on par with OTL with several other nations lagging several years. The United States just had legal gay marriage set up by the supreme court, but before Oklahoma v. Kleiman's ruling was decided 45 states already had gay marriage. However, this was a messier process with more blood than OTL -- in some red states there was attempts to stone gay teenagers by armed mobs that ended messily. The Conservapedia compound ended up being bombarded by the national guard from the air after they decided to behead the hostages kidnapped from local gay bars.
The AIDS epidemic kicking off in the second half of Reagan's term when he's in a less cut-happy mood meant that funding stabilized at a useful, rather than turgid level so there's been some improvement there -- there's an AIDS cure that's only now moving into human tests, after a decade of tests on monkeys.
Faster advances in AIDS medicine, with the resulting new drugs(both officially released and illegal pirate clones made in africa) has had the effect of creating a larger surviving population of AIDS survivors even in Africa. This large group of people, while their living in better health, or simply living at all is good both for themselves or their relatives has had the side effect of essentially having a bunch of people to serve as petri dishes without real immune systems for any soil bacteria or virus to mutate and latch on. There have already been a couple hundred deaths from extremely new diseases that will in this timeline lead to the global population peaking in 2020-21 before 2-3 billion people turn up dead within a year.
One side effect of the more chaotic and messy struggle for gay rights in the US was that the energy that in OTL went towards "Social justice" got diffused in that movement instead. The practice of getting people fired for saying something that tumblr types disagree with has thankfully yet not caught on.