Most of the predictions for the coming year have something about Trump and his agenda, as he faces a divided Congress. What will be revealed is the Congress is not so divided after all, as both parties will boldly lock shields to thwart the Trump agenda. The House will spend the year issuing subpoenas and holding hearings so their more clownish elements can perform for the cameras. The Senate will go on strike, doing nothing other than quietly pushing through Trump’s appointments to the Federal bench.
The Mueller probe will take a different turn in 2019. Now that it has been established as a semi-permanent oversight office, charged with keeping Trump from doing anything, the cover-up of the FBI subversion will be completed. All Congressional inquiries will end and the IG reports will contain nothing. Team Mueller will then turn to watching everyone working in the White House to make sure nothing can be done without the approval of official Washington. Team Mueller will be the shadow cabinet going forward.
The race to see who succeeds Trump in 2020 will be where the action is as the Democrats start to get serious about building their field. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris will be working the donor circuit, using exploratory committees to help build their brands in early states. The Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary are just 13 months away. Elizabeth Warren will turn out to be Howard Dean in a dress, as her campaign will make a lot of noise in the media, but not appeal to actual voters.
Because the Democrats will be shifting their focus to winning the White House in 2020, the censorship trend will take a different turn, as the tech giants begin to censor the Left. Look for the social media companies to begin cracking down on the BernieBro wing, in an effort to boost the standing of party approved candidates. Suddenly, groups like Antifa are going to find themselves without the protection they have enjoyed. They were always corporate tools, they just never knew it. In 2019, they find out who signs their checks.
The volatile bear market will continue as the financial world adjusts to some big new realities. One is the white retirement will quicken, slowing the flow of cash into retirement funds. Second, the Fed will continue to unwind its positions, thus raising the value of cash, while managing a mild deflation in asset values. Home prices will start to fall in certain markets and categories. The great demographic turnover has begun and the financial world will begin learning why no one cares about the Mexican stock market.
The world will start to notice that the Chinese economy cannot transition to one reliant on domestic demand fast enough to avoid a correction. China built its economy on currency manipulation and exploiting loopholes in global trade arrangements. Those loopholes are now closing. The Fed and ECB are much less tolerant of currency manipulation. The transition to a more normal economic model will require breaking more than a few iron rice bowls. That means China will get more authoritarian in the near term.
Theresa May will not get her fake Brexit bill through the Commons. Instead, there will be a second referendum later in the year so the Brits can vote correctly this time. The original deadline will be suspended pending the outcome of the new referendum, which will be rigged to make sure the remain side wins. Theresa May’s government will fall and new elections will be held. All concerned will accept a Tory defeat as the price that must be paid in order to defend British democracy.
On the Continent, populist unrest will give momentum to the Three Seas Initiative as part of a corrective to the European project. This year will see two camps emerge with one favoring the decentralized model championed by Poland and another camp favoring a centralized model with Germany in charge. The irony of the decentralized model being favored by all of the former communist nations will not be lost on anyone. The great test for both camps is their approach to immigration, which is becoming untenable.
Cord cutting will begin to have a real impact on the sports entertainment business. The rapid growth of American sports was driven by television money. That television money came from the cable monopolies that were given the right to tax households for content they would not otherwise purchase. Cord cutting and the demographic changes mean fewer households willing to pay the Hollywood jizya. This is the year when college and professional sports leagues begin to feel the pinch.
Finally, this is the year when serious questions about the authenticity of the Facebook business model go mainstream. For years, everyone has accepted their word, as far the number of users looking at ads on the site. Every six months they have to apologize for another “bug” in the metrics that overstated their claims. No one really knows how many humans actually use the site and advertisers have no way to know if humans really view their ads. This year people begin to wonder if Facebook is on the level.