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New Year's Predictions — What to Look for in 2016
New Year's predictions are always tough to make, especially in the realm of politics where fortunes can turn on a dime. Scandals, cultural interests, and world events all contribute to an ever-changing landscape that can knock even the most logical forecasts completely out of whack. Still, in the spirit of fun, I'm going to join many other commentators and venture a few 2016 predictions of my own. Here we go:
Donald Trump takes it to the next level
In a move that stuns the nation, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump takes advantage of an obscure eminent domain law to acquire the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Trump promptly announces plans to build a billion-dollar casino directly on top of former President Reagan's gravesite, drawing outrage from establishment Republicans, and a virtual consensus among national media pundits that Trump has finally gone too far.
In an exclusive interview with Sean Hannity, Trump defends the business deal by saying that the casino will serve as a "beautiful and tremendous tribute" to Ronald Reagan, explaining that the country's beloved 40th president will be commemorated with a line of one-dollar, "Make America Great Again" slot machines bearing his likeness. When asked to address public complaints from an outraged Nancy Reagan, Trump calls her as "a low-energy, unattractive, failed First Lady" — a line that prompts an adolescent giggle from Hannity.
While most analysts deem Trump's explanation absurd, and continue to categorize the billionaire's conduct as political suicide among a conservative base that adores Reagan, Fox News' Eric Bolling calls the acquisition "classy, heartfelt, and the way Reagan would have wanted things." Rush Limbaugh insists it sends a "clear message to ISIS." Ann Coulter takes a more vindictive tone, touting Reagan's desecration as "just desserts for the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986." The most puzzling response comes from Breitbart.com's John Nolte, who cites the deal as "unequivocal proof" that thousands of Muslims did indeed celebrate the 9/11 attacks in New Jersey fifteen years ago.
After legions of anonymous Twitter users aggressively label Internet opponents of Trump's casino "left-wingers", "RINOs", and "cuckservatives," Trump receives a shocking 10-point bounce from Republican voters, and clinches the GOP presidential nomination.
More Islamic terrorist attacks take place on American soil after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry fails to negotiate a successful "Guns for Carbon Credits" deal with ISIS. This prompts President Obama to remove the group from the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list, thus putting the administration on stronger footing to blame future attacks on workplace violence, insufficient gun restrictions, YouTube videos, and the Republican Party.
The plan proves unnecessary, however, after a little-noticed provision slipped into a 2014 spending bill by presidential candidate Marco Rubio kicks in, requiring that all foreign nationals living in the United States be enrolled in Obamacare. After personally experiencing sky-rocketing costs and excruciatingly long waiting periods at doctors' offices, hundreds of radicalized individuals committed to the destruction of America self-deport back to their countries of origins, having recognized the redundancy of their efforts.
Democratic Front-runner Shakeup
In the final Democratic presidential primary debate, aired on C-SPAN 3 at 2am on a Monday morning, all four members of the national viewing audience watch in horror as a softball question from a moderator sends Hillary Clinton into a fit of cackling laughter that just won't stop. After several uncomfortable minutes of hysterics, the network cuts to commercial. Off-air, Secret Service agents approach Mrs. Clinton and discover that at some point during the campaign, she was replaced with a life-sized, pull-string wax figure of Cesar Romero's Joker character from the 1960s Batman television series.
It's later reported that political strategists within Clinton's campaign, recognizing that their candidate's poll numbers dropped with each public appearance, had switched her out with the more genuine and personable mannequin. The stunt, having accounted for an 8% increase in Clinton's likability numbers, is hailed by feminist groups as an important social statement on the inherent sexism of the American electorate, being that voters preferred a male dummy over a real-life female candidate.
And Our Next President Is...
In early November, Independent candidate Jim Gilmore is elected our country's 45th president. This comes after Hillary Clinton is defeated by her wax counterpart in the Democratic primary, and Donald Trump announces that his entire presidential run was actually an elaborate advertisement for a re-launch of Ashton Kutcher's popular MTV series, Punked, of which Trump is the producer.
In a post-election interview with Barbara Walters, Trump admits: "I kept thinking people would figure it out. I mean, I made fun of POWs and disabled people, for God's sake. I insulted every key voting demographic there was, and still my primary numbers grew. I'm not even a Republican! Was no one even listening to me?"
One More Thing...
In all seriousness, I wish you all a happy and healthy new year. Whatever disagreements we all my have in 2016 (and I predict there will be many), I'm hoping we can approach them with civility and— at times — a good laugh.