I've been meaning to make this one for a while.
Cold War II: Shyamalan Version
2016: the US elections devolve into complete and absolute anarchy. Revolution begins, and Washington D.C. falls. Though there are two main forces— the Grandsons of Liberty (right-wing, libertarian-capitalist) and the Pentagon forces (trying to establish a military dictatorship), a small group of Marxist-Leninists manage to take Washington D.C. They have their fingers on the nuclear launch codes, and demand loyalty. They promise they won't prosecute any generals who defect to their side. Well, it's whatcha gotta do.
2017-2020: ultraviolent civil war. The Grandsons of Liberty ain't takin' the Dictatorship of the Proletariat sitting down, so they fight. Some generals also refuse to align with the new party, the Worker's Vanguard Party of America, better known as "Wovan". The revolution and subsequent civil war get ultraviolent, and the death toll stacks up quickly. 1,000 dead in the first week; 20,000 dead by June; 100,000 dead by New Year's; 1.2 million dead by New Year's 2018; 17 million dead by New Year's 2019. The Wovanists refused to give the reactionaries any ground, while the Grandsons refused to compromise with the new ruling party at all.
In 2018, during the Wovanists' darkest and weakest period, the map looked like this
(God DAMN there are a ton of counties/parishes in America!)
The New Confederacy, which allied with the Grandsons of Liberty, was expected to badly lose by all countries who watched the civil war erupt. Instead, by the end of 2017, it looked like it was the Wovanists who were destined to lose.
By 2019, though...
The Wovanists were not afraid to nuke the "bourgeoisie bastards" who dared to resist them (now that they had knocked out all Confederate nukes, mind you).
By February 2020, the Civil War had ended with a brutal defeat for the Confederates for a second time. Their first capital in Houston, Texas, had been sieged. Their backup capital in New Orleans, Louisiana had been nuked. Their government had been arrested, and the insurgency that continued to fight was beaten back into the Appalachian mountains. When it looked like the communists had won, a massive wave of emigration began as people fled from the Confederacy to escape persecution. The Grandsons' militia collapsed, and the Confederate economy did the same. Hyperinflation ensued, strikes began, and the war effort came to a screeching halt.
The Wovanists secured and militarized the Mexican-American border to prevent any more from escaping, vowing to hold the Confederacy to task for "war crimes against humanity".
The Wovanists made sure that the South would never rise again by beginning a process of "Cultural Revolution" to destroy anything and everything the Southern states held dear. They established Studentries, justifying it by calling it "the ultimate act of socialist expropriation"— you could expropriate the capitalists' property, but as long as they still had their children, they could always raise a new generation of rebels. So what better way to quash any future rebellion than by expropriating their children, raising them to be the ultimate Marxists?
On March 19th, 2020, the Wovanists officially renamed the United States of America to something that shocked the world— the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. They retroactively established soviets, communes, kibbutzes, and cooperatives, finishing with a Grand Soviet headed in New York City. Globally, it became known as the American Soviet Union— notable by its initials, "ASU", the reverse of "USA".
In 2021, suspiciously powerful coups in Canada and Mexico led these countries to join the ASU. In 2022, a coup in Greenland led to the same. The Soviet Union, thus, became the largest country on Earth. Its population was 540 million, and it possessed well over three thousand nuclear weapons. By 2026, it raised the largest standing army on Earth— 20 million active troops, with 100 million passive troops. They were led by a man named Jeremiah Smith, a former farmer from Alabama who was once as conservative Christian capitalist as they came, only to be radicalized by Leftism after becoming disillusioned with the Right in the late 2000's.
NATO lost their most powerful member, but it's not like Russia was going to make any moves. Indeed, Russia itself was far too stunned by this laughable development, moreso than any other country on Earth.
After all— weren't they the Soviets? And wasn't "soviet" their word? Why not the Union of Council Socialist Republics? It's like America was trying too hard or something.
A Tri-State global order arose. NATO and BEA were adversaries, as usual, but both had a common enemy— the Soviet Union and the Chicago Pact. The ASU quickly engaged in Red Imperialism, spreading Marxism-Leninism-Smithism throughout South America, Africa, and even Oceania (though with limited success).
By 2029, things had become so damn backwards. The former Confederacy, the former Bible Belt, had subsequently become one of the most radically pro-Communist regions on Earth.
By 2029, that old Alternate History concept had come true.
Russia vs. the Soviet Union. Capitalist Russia vs. Communist America.
Premier Proletarian, Jeremiah Smith, held the 8th Communist International in 2029 in Havana, Cuba, to honor the late Fidel Castro (who had lived long enough to see Soviet America but not the present situation. The Chicago Pact established a common goal to turn all of the Americas red. Brazil was, by far, the largest and most staunch hold-out. However, they were not nuclear-armed. An invasion would be costly, but manageable. Afterwards, they would turn their attention to Africa and the Middle East.
China and Russia never intended for the ASU to be so wildly uncontrollable. They supported the Wovanists because they believed they could turn America into their own puppet state, but you'd think these two countries would know better by now. You don't just "control" a powerful, nuclear-armed communist state. The American Soviet Union resisted both NATO and BEA, and presented headaches for both.
In 2030, the first major hot spot in this new, bafflingly backwards cold war had begun as government of Brazil "mysteriously" collapsed following a coup, and the American Soviet Union moved in.
Russia and China acted, sending troops into Brazil to resist communist expansion. They warned NATO that they had to join on their side, lest a domino effect would begin, and the entire world would be under the thumb of the American Soviet Union.
"Smithism", after all, had become the 21st century Stalinism. Jeremiah Smith, in power ever since 2020, believed intensely in Red Imperialism, that the ASU must expand and create "Marxist colonies" if it wants to survive. If this meant a nuclear standoff with the West and East, then so be it. If anything, a nuclear World War III would usher in communism even more quickly.
These kinds of words were the worst kinds to hear, because it meant Smith was not sane. He would be more than willing to let the world explode if it meant his ideal world order could be achieved. He was a threat to world peace. And his actions in Brazil proved that he wasn't kidding. So NATO assessed the situation and realized that it was true, that the only way to prevail would be to ally with their former enemies.
2031: NATO dissolves, joining the Beijing-Eurasian Alliance, dedicated to protecting capitalism and democracy. Everyone joked with Russia about how ironic it was to be back in a cold war against America, except this time on the side of capitalism. The war in Brazil escalates quickly, becoming a modern day Vietnam. Despite their best efforts, the BEA could not protect Brazil, and by 2038, after a long, drawn out, and tiring war, Brasília fell to communist forces. The BEA retreated, instead deciding to strengthen themselves against communist aggression rather than halt communist expansion elsewhere.
Of course, it was awkward that a few of the countries in BEA were nominally communist themselves— including the host country, China. The Chinese Communist Party, however, distanced itself from American communism by proclaiming its loyalties to market socialism. North Korea was the wild card, always threatening to join the Chicago Pact but never going through with it due to being surrounding by the superpower, China, and the resurgent world powers, Japan and South Korea. China was no longer going to tolerate the DPRK if they chose to attack South Korea or Japan, vowing to side with South Korea even if South Korea attacked first. It is this betrayal that keeps North Korea on the fence between a suspicious and hostile BEA and a welcoming, if untrustworthy Chicago Pact— if the DPRK joined the Chicago Pact, they would be forced to declare their total allegiance to Jeremiah Smith, who had long harbored deep hatred of North Korea and its "bastardization of Marxism-Leninism" known as Juche.
The last hold-out of capitalism in the Americas was the tiny nation of the Dominican Republic. The ASU left it alone, more as a novelty to show their communist comrades about the exploitative effects of capitalism as opposed to the liberated effects of communism. Of course, their intention was to set up a blockade around the DR and force it to wallow in poverty and corruption, exaggerating the effects of capitalism. The BEA recognized there was little they could do, and left the imprisoned nation alone.
By 2039, it seemed like the global Dual-State order had become firmly established. BEA was far wealthier than the Chicago Pact— it possessed 8 of the 10 largest economies on Earth, including the #1 largest economy, China, and the #2 largest economy, India, and the #3 largest economy, Japan, and the #4 largest economy, Germany, and the #5 largest economy, Russia. The American Soviet Union came in 6th, while Mexico came in 9th. They had staved off World War III, and the death of Jeremiah Smith in 2040 further eased tensions. His replacement, Chelsea Clinton, rose to power in 2042 and further reduced fears of World War III. Instead, Cold War II was in full swing as tensions between BEA and the Chicago Pact kept the two circling each other.
Capitalism prevailed in 1991. But would this new conflict prove to be communism's ultimate victory?
As for how the ASU remains in power? Harsh brutality, purges, and a totalitarian system of government. The Confederacy did it to itself— the Civil War gave the Wovanists reason to establish totalitarianism, to safeguard the revolution, and they kept the civil war going in the minds of their citizens by claiming "Bourgeois Agents of Cultural Destruction" were always at work trying to undermine the revolution, and that's why they had to accept pervasive surveillance, a secret police force, and a complete intolerance of any dissent.