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Political Forecast

Items of interest for 2014

Published: Jan 15, 2014

Kurt Menville

2013 was an excit­ing year for politicos.

Story after story filled the head­lines of national media orga­ni­za­tions that have become nearly obses­sive with their polit­i­cal cov­er­age. Even social news sites like BuzzFeed hastily throw together a photo slideshow to cap­i­tal­ize on things like the self-inflicted gov­ern­ment shut­down, (failed) firearm law reform and Anthony Weiner’s wiener.

2014 promises to be filled with more polit­i­cal news than ever and there are some sto­ries I’m excited to see pan out over the course of the com­ing year. Here’s what’s on my radar so far for 2014.

First, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s first big polit­i­cal scan­dal, dubbed “bridge-gate” by the media, broke through to national head­lines last week. The scan­dal revolves around accu­sa­tions that sev­eral senior mem­bers of the Christie team were involved in clos­ing mul­ti­ple access lanes to a bridge that is vital to trans­porta­tion for the city of Fort Lee, NJ. This action led to days of grid­lock in Fort Lee and pro­longed emer­gency response times, accord­ing to city officials.

Critics allege the lane clos­ings were ordered, under the guise of a traf­fic study, as polit­i­cal ret­ri­bu­tion for Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor not sup­port­ing Governor Christie in his suc­cess­ful bid for reelec­tion. So far, more than 900 doc­u­ments have been released and there are no indi­ca­tions that Governor Christie was per­son­ally involved, although some com­men­ta­tors have expressed dis­be­lief that staffers who were that close to the Governor could effec­tively con­ceal their actions from him.

That doesn’t let him off the hook though. Gov. Christie is fre­quently men­tioned at the top of short-lists for the Republican pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion and this scan­dal is sure to fol­low him if he decides to step into the ring for 2016.

Second, we are already chest deep in the cycle for the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, with many ques­tions bounc­ing around at the speed of light. Is the Benghazi scan­dal going to derail Hillary Clinton? Will Joe Biden take another crack at it? Is Gov. Christie going to sur­vive “bridge-gate” intact or will he be sup­planted with new blood like Senator Rubio? Will Obama tear asun­der the con­sti­tu­tion some more and run for a third term while still plot­ting to take our jobs and free­dom? Will Ron Paul run again?

These ques­tions started as soon as President Obama was reelected, and in the infi­nite loop that is the 24-hour news cycle, we can expect them to keep rever­ber­at­ing in the echo cham­ber. Even for a polit­i­cal junkie like myself, the non-stop ref­er­ences to 2016 can be exhaust­ing. It cre­ates a hawk-like media envi­ron­ment that feeds off the slight­est mis­take, and when hun­dreds of mil­lions of fundrais­ing dol­lars are on the line, many politi­cians aren’t as eager to open up to the jour­nal­ists that cover them, lead­ing to a pub­lic that knows less about poten­tial candidates.

Third, we shouldn’t for­get about the 2014 mid-terms elec­tions! Look for a con­certed response to some of the obstruc­tion­ist politi­cians using the ban­ner of lib­er­tar­i­an­ism or the Tea Party to dis­man­tle gov­ern­ment. In an inter­view on CNN, National Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donahue explained his orga­ni­za­tion was qui­etly going into tar­geted dis­tricts in an effort to pro­mote can­di­dates that would work to bring a more respon­si­ble method of incor­po­rat­ing con­ser­v­a­tive ideas into the government.

Michigan is hold­ing impor­tant elec­tions in 2014 too. Governor Snyder is up for reelec­tion against an unknown oppo­nent as of now, although for­mer U.S. Representative Mark Schauer has been billed as the top con­tender by a num­ber of polls taken through­out the state. Longtime Democratic Senator Carl Levin has decided against seek­ing reelec­tion, leav­ing his Senate seat up for grabs. Former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is regarded as a front run­ner, hav­ing extremely high name recog­ni­tion among Michigan residents.

Finally, look for­ward to peo­ple con­tin­u­ing the trend of being gen­er­ally clue­less through­out 2014. Here’s a tip: if you get your news from infowars​.com or any URL with the words “free­dom,” America” or “lib­erty” in it, you’re doing it wrong. The gov­ern­ment isn’t going to force you to implant a microchip in your body and the cause of all our prob­lems isn’t the Federal Reserve. The Fukushima nuclear acci­dent isn’t threat­en­ing the entire world and those maps that claim to show radi­a­tion spread­ing through the Pacific Ocean are laugh­ably fake. Sarah Palin can still see Russia from her house and chem­trails aren’t the result of an inter­na­tional Illuminati con­spir­acy, it’s just water vapor. And if I hear the term “sheep” one more time…

Here’s to 2014! Visit your local library! That is all.

 
 
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