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Culture

Here's What's Going to Happen in 2017

The bad: a return of the Cold War. The good: a return of Star Wars.

Earlier this week I reviewed my predictions for 2016, many of which came true and many of which (particularly about politics) ... did not. It’s time to try again. Here are a baker’s dozen of predictions for 2017, on a mix of serious subjects and light ones. I have appended a trio of resolutions, which, with the help of my loyal readers, I will do my best to keep.

So, without further ado:

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The so-called new Cold War between the U.S. and Russia will continue to heat up during the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, because its ultimate causes are not personal but geopolitical. Trump will surprise everyone, including himself, by piling additional sanctions on Russia atop those announced in late December by President Barack Obama. Russian President Vladimir Putin will scarcely bat an eye.

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Once Trump takes office, the left will swiftly rediscover the virtues of limited government and, in particular, strong constitutional restrictions on the independent exercise of authority by the executive. In a further turnaround, the left will celebrate corporate power as a check on government.

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Arctic sea ice will continue to melt. The ice cover is at its minimum in September, and is getting smaller each year. Skeptics will offer plausible causes for the pattern other than our changing climate, and they could be right -- but none of their suggestions will be as simple as the hypothesis that the globe is getting warmer.

* * * * * * *

The New England Patriots will complete the Tom Brady Revenge Tour by beating the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl LI. (Okay, yes, I pick them every year. But still.)

* * * * * * *

Anger over immigration will make it impossible for the Republican Congress to enact the much-needed expansion of the H-1B visa program for highly skilled workers. Meanwhile, the rate at which the U.S. deports those in the country illegally will barely budge from recent levels.

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The surging bitcoin will continue to see a price rise during the first few months of 2017, but as investors realize that little of the expected new federal spending is on the way, we will pass peak bitcoin-hedging. The price will fall, although not to 2015 levels.

* * * * * * *

The latest Syrian cease-fire, like the others, will collapse at the whim of Bashar al-Assad’s regime and its Russian patrons. As the slaughter continues unabated, partisan talking heads will snipe over whose fault it is. The outcome of the argument will make no difference to dying Syrians.

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Despite all of their rhetoric, the Republicans will not be able to come together around a sensible rewriting of the Affordable Care Act. (I am not saying that there are no better ideas out there, only that the party will not coalesce around one.) Although new legislation will only fiddle around the edges, congressional leaders will announce a successful “repeal.”

* * * * * * *

The trickle of well-educated young adults into Detroit reported by demographers will become a flood.

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Counting its entire 2017-2018 run, “Star Wars: Episode VIII” will easily be the top-grossing movie of the year. The heroic end the film makers develop for General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher’s character) will not be a throwaway but will heavily drive the story.

* * * * * * *

More courts will hold that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as currently structured is unconstitutional. Republicans will refuse to create a new agency with the same mission that complies with the separation of powers. This will leave the CFPB without operating funds. Democrats will charge that consumer protection is being gutted. They will not mention that they could have done it right the first time (lots of sympathetic law professors tried to warn them), but decided to go ahead and do it wrong.

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Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee will be Allison Eid.

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The San Antonio Spurs will shock the experts and win the National Basketball Association championship.

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Those are my predictions for 2017. We’ll see how well they hold up. Here are my resolutions:

  1. My mentor Thurgood Marshall used to say that he didn’t care what a man had to say to get elected. He cared whether you could do business with him. In that spirit, I am going to keep an open and optimistic mind as the Trump presidency begins. No prejudging. I resolve to do my best to ignore what he says, and to wait and see what he actually does.
  2. It’s a cliché that we learn more from our failures than from our successes, but it’s also true. Writing too hastily, I made a whopper of a mistake in a column last week, and a slew of readers quite properly, if sometimes rudely, called me on it. Despite my best efforts, I will surely make more mistakes in 2017. I resolve to learn from each.
  3. “Water is necessary to us, but a waterfall is not,” wrote the novelist Richard Adams, who died last week. “Where it is to be found it is something extra, a beautiful ornament.” The quote is from Adams’s masterpiece, “Watership Down,” itself a beautiful ornament, a book I heartily recommend. I resolve to spend 2017 searching for waterfalls.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

    To contact the author of this story:
    Stephen L. Carter at scarter01@bloomberg.net

    To contact the editor responsible for this story:
    Stacey Shick at sshick@bloomberg.net

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