The series begins roughly with Garrett Walker being sworn in as a first-time and the 45th President in January 2013. (In reality, Obama was the 44th President from Jan 2009 through Jan 2017; and Trump was the 45th President from Jan 2017.)

Presumably the House of Cards universe follows reality up to a certain year/point X in time, then splinters off. My question is: When is X?

So far I've noted the following references:

  1. The JFK assassination;
  2. Jimmy Carter being a one-term president;
  3. Reagan as president on multiple occasions;
  4. Ross Perot running for President in S03E04 (in reality, Perot did so ran in both 1992 and 1996);
  5. The September 11th, 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers (see here);
  6. Al Gore (seemingly alluding to Gore's famous concession phone call to Bush), though this was while breaking the fourth wall:

Frank Underwood: Oh, what? You think I learned nothing from Al Gore? (S05E04)

  1. What looks very much like a Bill Clinton portrait hanging in the White House in S05E07:

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This is the only Bill Clinton reference I've noticed so far. So far I've never noticed any mention of Bush Sr, Bush Jr, or Obama.

(Note that of course, many other aspects of the universe continue to parallel reality, e.g. news channels like CNN, Fox, MSNBC with their real-world counterparts, Twitter, Facebook, pop culture like Kim Kardashian, etc. My question pertains to the splintering-off of American and also world politics -- where we have ICO instead of ISIS, Viktor Petrov instead of Vladimir Putin, etc.)

  • 1
    Related: In what year is House of Cards set?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Oct 6, 2018 at 11:25
  • 1
    Note that there may not be a conclusive answer here. The absence of any later presidents such as GWB does not prove that they're not part of the universe - they may simply haven't been referenced yet. Also, it's possible for such a split to be partial; some things carry on from real life whereas others can be rewritten. Are you asking about the earliest occurence of the first minor divergenge from real life? Do you count things like e.g. Frank Underwood's birth, or even his ancestry? How about the existence of other fictional characters?
    – Flater
    Oct 8, 2018 at 11:39


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