Editors Note: Back at the start of 2010, I wrote an article with my predictions for the next decade. It was a pretty popular piece, which earned me an invitation as an after-dinner speaker at a luncheon in Greenwich, CT, which is the most white-bread, Republican town anywhere (I know this because I grew up there, and now live one town over). The listeners absolutely hated me, which was a lot of fun, since I made no effort to get them to like me, and would have been disappointed in myself if anything I said had been warmly received. I’m pretty sure this update of that article here in 2020 is not going to get me any meal invitations ... as someone (not sure who) once famous famously said, “There’s no free lunch.”


20-20 Predictions

As 2020 ushers in the new decade, journalists are compiling lists of their annual predictions on news and politics, while phony psychics (which is surely a redundant phrase) and TV preachers are prophesying about future prosperity, as well as imaginary events like the Rapture. However, unlike the latter groups of commercial con men, I plan to post my predictions on social media at year-end, so you can see how accurate I was (or wasn’t).

Some prognostications are obvious. Pretty much every year for the past two millennia, prophets have announced the date of the Second Coming. But I’m predicting less “end of days” activity this year, because so much evangelical fervor is now focused on the new, spray-tanned messiah. Facebook is rife with group photos of conservative Christians laying hands on the “anointed one” and basking in the orange light of his received wisdom.  

 

 

Right-wing fundamentalists will continue identifying the president — who’s being called “blessed,” “holy” and “chosen” — as “the savior.” Mr. Trump will, of course, welcome such comparisons, because, as he’s stated himself, he’s “done more for Christianity than Jesus.” With his victory over the heathen during 2019’s annual War on Christmas, it’s easy to predict that, once again in 2020, he’ll heroically defend our right to put wise men on our lawns, and say “Merry Christmas” whenever and to whomever we choose.

In this new year, the GOP will satisfy the devout in its base, as well as the oil companies that fund it, by continuing its war with science. As Australia and California burn, sea levels rise, and the weather becomes more extreme and dangerous, the federal government will continue to treat climate change as a hoax, and mock those who cite the prevailing scientific consensus on the subject. As 2020 becomes another in a series of hottest years ever (the 2010s were the hottest decade ever recorded), new records will again be set, then be explained away or simply ignored.

With so many conspiracies riling the sheep — from the “deep state” to the claim that the Newtown massacre was a liberal hoax aimed at embarrassing the NRA — I predict the next nexus of pseudoscience and paranoia will be flat-earthism. In a country where large numbers of evangelicals believe the universe to be less than 7,000 years old, between 6% and 20% of the population think the moon landing was “fake news,” and 25% of Americans think the sun goes around the earth, it should come as no surprise that flat-earthers will be 2020’s version of creationists, Mormons and Scientologists.

In 2019, the U.S. set a record for mass shootings, and, in a country that loves its guns more than its own children, there’s no reason to expect fewer gun deaths in 2020. More likely, the only remedy we’ll agree on to combat “Second Amendment fever” will be thoughts and prayers, which I predict will be as effective in the new decade as they’ve been in the past.

In another area of arms control, I forecast that, despite the president’s denials, 2020 will be the year the Iranians join the nuclear club. With no “Iran deal” in place, they have no motivation to rein in development. And why would they negotiate with us, when we’ve shown we won’t honor the accords we sign, even if they adhere to them? At the same time, Orange Mussolini will continue his one-sided “bromance” with Kim Jong Un, who’ll add longer-range ballistic missiles to his arsenal in 2020.

We can also expect a record-setting deficit this year. With a trillion-dollar 2019 shortfall (nearly double Obama’s 2016 deficit), conservatives have established a new baseline. If it wasn’t already obvious, erstwhile Tea Baggers care about spending only when a Democrat is president, so the sky’s now the limit for Trumpian debt. And the deplorables will accept whatever lies he tells about paying off the debt in his second term.  

Although he’s put the “con” in “conservative” (and in “McConnell”), The Teflon Donald won’t be convicted of anything he’s being impeached for, even though polls show more than half the country favors his removal. I predict senators “Moscow Mitch” and Lindsey “Southern Belle” Graham will honor their pledges to forgo their constitutional duty to be unbiased jurors. And, once the “trial” concludes with a party-line vote, we’ll be treated to endless repetitions and redefinitions of the terms “exoneration” and “acquittal.”

Despite one more Justice Dept. investigation, and the rantings of Republican conspiracy theorists, Hillary Clinton has recently been cleared, once again, of any crimes. Still, we’ll never make it through the year without a few more Benghazi and email server probes, and, perhaps, a couple of Whitewater hearings. And, thanks to AG Bill Barr, Trump’s bagman at the Justice Dept., there are sure to be “wag the dog” distractions from impeachment, as one or both Bidens are investigated and slandered.

Regardless, I predict a second Trump term. As he continues to claim credit for the Obama recovery from the Bush meltdown, he’ll end the year one step closer to Putin-style, one-party rule — what comic Bill Maher has ominously labeled, “a slow-moving, right-wing coup.” I wouldn’t have believed Americans were gullible enough to give this train wreck four more years, but never understate GOP voters’ utter shamelessness or the Democrats’ ability to mishandle a presidential campaign.  

And, finally, no longer restrained by the need to be re-elected, the president will be free to staff his administration in his own image by hiring officials even worse than their predecessors. I predict a Banana-Republican cabinet filled with his children, his in-laws, Roseanne Barr, Kanye West, a couple Kardashians, Ted Nugent, a few KGB agents named Igor, Caitlyn Jenner and, maybe, as Asian envoy, Dennis Rodman.

And donning the robes of a Supreme Court Justice — family consigliere, Rudy Giuliani, and, perhaps later, Judge Roy Moore. Thoughts and prayers … god help us, everyone.


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