SOUTH FLORIDA, December 20, 2016 — Just 31 days from today, Barack Obama will be a private citizen. His successor will have a host of problems to deal with, ranging from a world on fire to domestic unrest at home.
As 2016 fades to black, what better time than now to look back on what made this year so incredibly special? In this case, special is a euphemism for much darker verbiage. With that in mind, here are the top ten news stories of 2016.
10) Roger Ailes and Fox News — When the media is the story, that is rarely good. Ailes was with Fox News from the very beginning, and under his guidance, that once minor cable network was transformed from an idea into a ratings colossus. But this summer, on July 6, 2016, former anchor Gretchen Carlson sued Ailes for sexual harassment. Multiple women from Andrea Tantaros to Megyn Kelly followed with similar allegations. On July 20, Ailes stepped down. Once a rock of stability, the evening lineup saw the departure of Greta Van Susteren. Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity both have opt-out clauses in their contracts allowing them to leave if Ailes leaves. 2017 will show the world whether Fox News can survive the loss of Ailes.
9) Devastating fires — Fire has existed long before man was able to rub two sticks together. This was a year where many fires raged and destroyed lives. Tennessee and North Carolina saw devastating wildfires that began with arson. At its worst, eight states and over 100,000 acres in the Southeast were burning. A fire at a club in Oakland, California killed 36 people. The Texas Panhandle had firefighters in full attack mode. In the Middle East, Israel dealt with wildfires started by Palestinians.
8) Orlando shooting — A gay Muslim went into a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016 and murdered 49 people. It was the deadliest mass shooting by a lone gunman in American history. The political ramifications were immediate. Liberals quickly demanded new protections for gay Americans while conservatives declared the shooting a radical Islamist act of domestic terrorism. The gun debate renewed as liberals called for more gun control while other new groups such as “Gays for Guns” formed.
7) Chicago Cubs win World Series — Normally sports stories are overinflated, but the 2016 Cubs were the feel-good story of the year. They won the World Series in 1908, and then waited 108 years to win again. Manager Joe Maddon saw his team fall behind three games to one against the Cleveland Indians. The Indians themselves had not won a World Series since 1948 and were equally hungry. But the Cubs finally ended up on top, winning a thrilling Game 7 in 10 innings by an 8-7 score. Actor and former Second City and SNL star Bill Murray turned into a sportscaster, interviewing anyone and everyone. A city normally known for violence and corruption for a few brief days turned into a city of love, hugs and peace.
6) Societal breakdown — 2016 was the year that social disorder exploded into societal breakdown. Any attempt to demand law and order was met with automatic accusations of racism. Black Lives Matter activists routinely committed acts of violence during protests that were rarely peaceful. Illegal immigration spiraled out of control. Syrian refugees flooded American cities. President Obama vowed to fundamentally transform America, and this came in the form of trying to change the overall racial and ethnic makeup of the American electorate.
5) Fidel Castro dies — On November 25, 2016, Fidel Castro died. He came to power in Cuba in 1959 and fundamentally transformed a relatively prosperous nation into a Communist hellhole. He committed genocide against many of his own people. He had dissenters beaten, jailed and tortured. As expected, leftists praised him and lamented his death. Of special note: Castro died on Black Friday, the ultimate American celebration of capitalism.
4) Bernie Sanders — Hillary Clinton was supposed to cruise to this year’s Democrat Party nomination. Then along came a feisty 75-year-old Vermont Socialist. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders quickly became a cult figure among college students, promising free everything without any consequences. Despite evidence showing collusion between Democrat National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the Clinton campaign to derail his campaign, Sanders kept plugging away. While he lost the nomination battle, he won the war. He forced Clinton to the left, and the Democrat Party is now clearly a hard leftist party.
3) BREXIT — Before the United States presidential election, there was another vote that the elite media and the pollsters got entirely wrong. Nigel Farage headed the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) that demanded Great Britain leave the European Union. Despite polls showing that BREXIT was headed for defeat, it won the national vote by four points. Prime Minister David Cameron, who strongly opposed BREXIT, resigned immediately after the humiliating defeat. This was a victory for those demanding freedom from the EU’s failed statist bureaucracies. While the American media predicted such a revolution would not happen in the United States, BREXIT absolutely was the match that ignited a similar anti-elitist bonfire in America.
2) Election 2016 — At the outset of primary season, there were 17 major Republican presidential candidates, 5 major Democrat contenders, and many candidates joining the contest from other less prominent political parties. Yet every prediction confidently made by pollsters and the media elite alike was turned on its head. The predicted Democrat coronation of Hillary Clinton turned into a street fight. The Republican coronation never happened either as highly favored and well funded candidates like Jeb Bush fell relatively early in the season. The reality was that voters for both major parties ruthlessly punished anyone deemed establishment, no longer wanting to tinker around the margins of the system. They wanted to take a keg of dynamite and blow the current political system in Washington to kingdom come. In the end, they did.
1) President Donald Trump — He was a New York City real estate developer who gained global fame as a television star on “The Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice.” Every four years he would tease the public about making a presidential run and then back away. This time, he defied expectations of nearly everyone and actually ran. Every media prediction about him was proven wrong. He eschewed traditional campaigning in favor of massive rallies. He argued with his critics on Twitter. He beat 16 substantial rivals in the GOP primary. He then took on the Clinton machine and won again. While his critics point to the popular vote, Trump upended the Electoral College by winning Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania in addition to the key state of Ohio. In so doing, he shattered the supposedly Democrat Blue Wall. Then as now, everything he says and does is news. His cabinet appointments appear to be exactly what he promised during the campaign, strong, principled individuals who would shake up the current corrupt political system. His critics still cannot come to terms with his victory, blaming anyone and everyone from Russians to white nationalists. Trump won, however, because he understood the American people and crafted a campaign that promised to return dignity to the vast number of Americans who have long felt disdained and forgotten. Again surprising media pundits, stock market reacted enthusiastically to Trump’s victory by skyrocketing ever upwards, hitting repeated new all-time highs as 2016 draws to a close.
Donald J. Trump is now the President-Elect of the United States, and is easily the biggest story of 2016.