I know everybody likes the year in review stories. Instead, this is a year to come story. We all know that there will be unexpected stories, and tragedies as well. One of those tragedies, because we live in the United States, will be more school shootings. And as the year goes by, we will also have more mass shootings in general.
One of the reasons is quite obvious, the wide availability of guns, there is something more going on. And this is the fact that the great economy we live in has not benefited the swaths of our population. Desperate people will look for reasons and for somebody to blame.
This is why you are seeing a sharp increase in antisemitic attacks, and anti-minority attacks, etcetera. And sadly, the President of the United States is not going to speak against them. It’s gotten to the point that we know teleprompter Trump does not mean it. They are more like hostage videos than let us unify the country against this.
We are as a society not dealing with the panoply of reasons people are radicalizing, and where. The income divide, having to work three jobs, and populism are a toxic mixture. Add to that places online where people can go and anonymously learn every conspiracy theory you could ever dream of. These include antisemitic theories as well as white supremacy, or lesser-known Black Israelites.
We have not dealt with a medical system that seeks to deny coverage, and that drives people to poverty. That will continue, and a promise to fix the system will prove a powerful thing for many. So will a college system that has grown faster in cost than the cost of inflation.
We are also seeing a sharp increase in homelessness. Though the State of California may start to reverse this trend. Why? We have new legislation that caps what landlords can charge for rent. Will this be immediate? No. And it is not even the full solution. We NEED a lot more affordable housing stock. The legislation that was passed last year to make sure that happens, will take at least half a decade to bear fruit.
Perhaps, because California tends to lead, we will see similar legislation in other states that are facing this crisis.
The Information War
Not news here, and it should not be a surprise. If you are a participant in social media, you are on the front lines. And by that, I mean the front lines of the information war. You will continue to see bullshit stories pushed by the Internet Research Agency and others, now the Indians, and the Chinese are getting into the game as well. I suspect others will as well, and why not? Hybrid Warfare is far cheaper than the traditional type, and the payback has been spectacular for the Russian Federation.
The stories that you see are meant to increase divisions across the nation and not just the United States. But for the moment, let's concentrate just in this country. Why? Elections of course, and the FSB and other deplorable in the Russian Federation found out that Americans can easily be manipulated into voting the way they want. It does not have to be a national effort, but rather a very targeted one.
It also decreases confidence in democracy itself, and the efforts of the Republican Party are not helpful. See the coming Senate Trial, for example. Incidentally, a refusal to deal with emerging information is part of the problem. This pattern will continue with the Trump Party.
The front lines of this are Facebook and Twitter. Being wise to the propaganda is the best way to make it impotent. However, there are many people who are desperate to believe it, because they have been radicalized to some extent. It is not just your crabby, Fox watching, Breitbart reading, uncle ok. It can be your granola-eating, Birkenstock reading, Democracy Now watcher. Neither believes mainstream media, and they both tend to read certain media that has a bias. That media tends to pick on this propaganda, and we have increasing information silos. In fact, I do not expect this to be read by people who like those silos. I know that I am too close to the mainstream, or as we like to say reality.
This will increase as we get closer to the elections, as competing narratives take over. When the election is over, if President Donald Trump loses, we may see some localized violence. Incidentally, reading state-level polls, I expect him at this point to lose. In 2016 I was one of the few working media that predicted his win as early as December of 2015. But I also expect it to be close and I hope the margin is significant for all our sakes.
Predicting this early who the nominee for the Democratic Party will be is like trying to read entrails or tea leaves. Forget about it. However, Mike Bloomberg is following a similar method to that of Donald Trump. He is being as unconventional as you can get, and unlike Trump, he has completely eschewed the debate stage. Unlike Trump, he has government experience.
So I will say it now, do not be too shocked if Bloomberg does well. Americans are desperate for an outsider (how could he make that argument as a former mayor, but he will.) The other two that could still surprise all are Andrew Yang and Tom Steier. There are similar reasons as to why, and while they are not polling up there, we may still see a surprise from them in early states.
Am I making an absolute prediction? No. After all, we live in a populist moment and Bernie Sanders continues to poll extremely well. So is Elizabeth Warren and both scare the living daylights out of the Establishment. The other three, well two are a product of that Establishment, and we really do not know enough about Yang.
However, I do not think Joe Biden will even get close to the nomination. Partly it is his ability to put his foot in his mouth. Partly, HE IS the Establishment. But he is leading! And over the course of recent political history, those who lead this early rarely (if ever) make it to the nomination. It seems the party has concluded the same, but time will tell.
It will be a strange year, and sadly, full of some predictable tragedies, as well as surprises. One of those surprises, (not really if you have been paying attention) is the number of moderate Republicans who have vowed to vote blue no matter who in November. So that is a block that is also important. We shall see if that promise remains since Republicans tend to go home more often than not. So buckle up, enjoy the last of the eggnog, and prepare for a wild ride.