Time for my annual recap and predictions for this year and next. Let’s look back at how I did a year ago.
- There will be indictments at a very high level in the administration as the Mueller investigation rumbles on. Plea bargains and deals will be made and revelations will come forth, and by summer there will be genuine questions about whether or not the administration will survive. But there won’t be a move to impeach Trump as long as there are Republican majorities in the Congress, and invoking the 25th Amendment is a non-starter.
I’ll give myself a B on that since it was pretty much that way a year ago and the gears of justice grind slowly but irresistibly. No high-level members of the administration were indicted, but shame and scandal did bring down an impressive number of folks who had hard passes to the West Wing.
- The Democrats will make great gains in the mid-term elections in November. This is a safe bet because the party out of power usually does in the first mid-term of new president. The Democrats will take back the Senate and narrow the gap in the House to the point that Speaker Paul Ryan with either quit or be so powerless that he’s just hanging around to collect pension points. (No, he will not lose his re-election bid.)
I’ll go with a C on that since I hit the nail on the head in the first sentence; I should have just left it there. But no; I had it backwards: the House flipped but the GOP still has the Senate, and who knew that Paul Ryan would decide to quit?
- There will be a vacancy on the Supreme Court, but it won’t happen until after the mid-terms and Trump’s appointment will flail as the Democrats in the Senate block the confirmation on the grounds that the next president gets to choose the replacement.
I’ll take an A- on that since I got the timing wrong, but I think Brett Kavanaugh did a great job of flailing (“I like beer!”) before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The predator still got on the court, though, and we all hold RBG in the Light for at least another two years.
- There will be irrefutable proof that the Russians not only meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, but they’ve had a hand in elections in Europe as well and will be a factor in the U.S. mid-terms. Vladimir Putin will be re-elected, of course.
- Raul Castro will figure out a way to still run Cuba even if he steps down as president, and there will be no lessening of the authoritarian rule.
Another A+, but what did anyone expect? Trump’s half-assed attempts to restrain trade with Cuba, along with Marco Rubio doing his yapping perrito act, only make it more ironic when it’s the administration’s policy to cozy up to dictators like Putin and the Saudis. If Trump owned a hotel in Havana he’d be down there in a second sucking up to the regime with video to prove it.
- The U.S. economy will continue to grow, but there will be dark clouds on the horizon as the deficit grows thanks to the giveaways in the GOP tax bill. If the GOP engineers cuts to entitlement programs and the number of uninsured for healthcare increases, the strain on the economy will be too much.
I’ll take a B on this since I didn’t factor in tariffs and the trade war(s) he’s launched that led to wild uncertainty in the markets, not to mention Trump’s bashing of the Fed chair that he appointed and told him to do what he’s doing.
- This “America First” foreign policy will backfire. All it does is tell our allies “You’re on your own.” If we ever need them, they’re more likely to turn their backs on us.
I get an A on this because it has and they are.
- The white supremacist movement will not abate. Count on seeing more violence against minorities and more mass shootings.
Sadly, a very predictable A on that.
- A viable Democratic candidate will emerge as a major contender for the 2020 election, and it will most likely be a woman. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is considered to be the default, but I wouldn’t rule out Sen. Kamala Harris of California or Sen. Kristen Gillibrand of New York just yet. (Sen. Gillibrand would drive Trump even further around the bend. She was appointed to the Senate to fill Hillary Clinton’s seat when she became Secretary of State in 2009.)
I get a B on this because it was rather easy to spot and I’m already getting begging e-mails from Ms. Harris.
- On a personal level, this will be a busy year for my work in theatre with a full production of “All Together Now” opening in March and several other works out there for consideration. I will also be entering my last full year of employment in my present job (retirement happens in August 2019) but I’ll keep working.
This was a great year for my playwriting with a lot of new friends and opportunities out there and more to come in 2019 (see below).
- People and fads we never heard about will have their fifteen minutes.
Yep. I’ve already blocked them out.
Okay, on to the predictions.
- Barring natural causes or intervention from an outside force, Trump will still be in office on December 31, 2019. There is no way he will leave voluntarily and even with the House of Representatives in Democratic control and articles of impeachment being drafted they will not get to the Senate floor because the Republicans are either too afraid to rile up the base or they’re too enamored of their own grip on power to care about the government being headed by a poor imitation of a tin-pot banana republic authoritarian douche-canoe.
- The Mueller Report will be released to Congress and even though it’s supposed to be classified it will be leaked with great fanfare and pundit predictions of the end of the Trump administration with calls for frog-marching him and his minions out of the West Wing. Despite that, see above.
- There will be no wall. There never will be. Immigration will still be a triggering issue as even more refugees die in U.S. custody.
- There will be no meaningful changes to gun laws even if the NRA goes broke. There will be more mass shootings, thoughts and prayers will be offered, and we’ll be told yet again that now is not the time to talk about it.
- Obamacare will survive its latest challenge because the ruling by the judge in Texas declaring the entire law unconstitutional will be tossed and turned into a case study in law schools everywhere on the topic of exasperatingly stupid reasoning.
- Roe vs. Wade will still stand.
- With the Democrats in control of the House, the government will be in permanent gridlock even after they work out some sort of deal to end the current shutdown over the mythological wall. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will become the Willie Horton for the GOP base and blamed for everything from budget deficits to the toast falling butter-side down.
- We will have a pretty good idea who the Democratic front-runner will be in 2020. I think Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s chances are still good (she announced her exploratory committee as I was writing this), as are Sen. Kamala Harris’s, and don’t count out Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, but who knew that Beto O’Rourke, a charismatic loser in the Texas senate race, would raise a lot of hopes? That said, fifteen years ago when I started this blog, Howard Dean looked like the guy who was going to beat George W. Bush.
- The economy will continue with its wild gyrations, pretty much following the gyrations of the mood of Trump and his thumb-driven Twitter-fed economic exhortations. The tax cuts and the tariffs will land on the backs of the people who provide the income to the government and the deficit will soon be out there beyond the Tesla in outer space. But unlike that Martian-bound convertible, the economy will come crashing back to Earth (probably about the time I retire in August) and Trump will blame everyone else.
- There will be a natural event that will convince even skeptics that climate change and sea level rise is real and happening. Unfortunately, nothing will be done about it even if lots of lives are lost because [spoiler alert] nothing ever is done.
- I’m going out on a limb here with foreign affairs predictions, but I have a feeling that Brexit will end up in the dustbin of history.
- Personally, this will be a transition year. My retirement from Miami-Dade County Public Schools occurs officially on August 31, 2019, and I’m already actively looking for something both meaningful and income-producing to do after that. (E-mail me for a copy of my resume; nothing ventured, nothing sprained.) My play “Can’t Live Without You” opens at the Willow Theatre in Boca Raton, Florida, for a two-week run on March 30, and I’m planning on returning to the William Inge Theatre Festival for the 28th time, either with a play or most assuredly with a scholarly paper. I have my bid in for a variety of other theatre events and productions; I think I’m getting the hang of this playwriting thing.
- I will do this again next year. I hope. As Bobby says, “Hope is my greatest weakness.”
Okay, your turn. Meanwhile, I wish continued good health and a long life to all of you and hope you make it through 2019 none the worse for wear.