WASHINGTON: This past year was a roller-coaster ride in the world of politics. While it’s impossible to know exactly how the new year will go, the hot issues and trouble spots have already begun emerging. These are some of my predictions of what will dominate 2019.
Terrorist attacks will become harder to stop
The University of Maryland reported that the number of terrorist attacks has fallen every year since 2015. This may not continue into 2019. Terrorism experts have cited the decline in part to ISIS losing ground across Syria and Iraq. While ISIS may have slowly faded away, other extremist groups still remain intact., While they may not be planning large-scale attacks, they can recruit followers online and lead them to launch lone-wolf attacks.
These lone-wolf extremists are often inspired by localized issues such as immigration, Brexit or racism.
US-China relations will become much colder
While President Trump continues to praise his “great relationship” with China’s President Xi Jinping, the two countries are miles apart when it comes to key issues such as trade and security. This splintered relationship could continue to fracture, leading to a cold war-style conflict.
Trump has focused on changing the terms of a U.S.-China relationship a priority. He has ended up slapping tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese products. The Trump administration has accused China of ripping off the United States, by supporting intellectual property theft.
Vice President Mike Pence even blasted China saying Beijing was “using political, economic and military tools, as well as propaganda, to advance its influence and benefit its interests in the United States.” China responded to the U.S. saying that nobody can stop the Chinese people from marching forward.
Hollywood and Washington finally getting a divorce
Celebrities continually spout their political opinions on social media, in hopes of getting retweets and attention. Politicians look to gain endorsements from the popular celebrities in town. It appears that the love shared between Hollywood and Washington may finally be broken.
During the 2018 midterms, celebrities took to social media to promote certain candidates. However, like Oprah and Stacey Abrams, it was a failure. Taylor Swift supported two Democrats running in her home state of Tennessee, but despite her popularity, she failed to help her candidates win.
Having a war chest of celebrities is not the new look for those running for president. A celebrity finally won, Trump made it to the White House. Being a celebrity has even shown its become a kind of liability. George Clooney has even said that celebrities should not run for president.
2019 will be all about 2020
While it’s only the start of 2019, Democrats will begin to gear up for becoming the Democratic nominee for president in 2020. We already saw Elizabeth Warren announce that she has formed an exploratory committee, signaling she is ready to take on her biggest critic.
We could possibly see Joe Biden run. The Republican race might even be bloody as the divide between the Pro-Trump and Never-Trump in politics continues to grow. This coming summer will start the debate cycle, leading right into the Iowa State Fair, where possible candidates shake hands and kiss babies.
The race could become expensive if billionaires like Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg, and Howard Schultz are taken seriously if they run. We could also see new face Texas native Beto O’Rourke, who lost to Ted Cruz in the midterms. Since Trump ran last time, you could never count out the popular celebrities like Oprah, who did little for Abrams, from running.
Athletes will continue to refuse to play citing health issues
Last summer, the WNBA’s Las Vegas refused to play a game, citing health concerns. NFL star running back Le’Veon Bell refused to play the entire 2018 season. Prior to this season, the focus among protesting athletes was social justice, which drew attention over the past few years, a new trend has emerged and might become more disruptive in 2019.
Some college players have also refused to suit up and risk an injury that could cost them a NFL contract.
This may lead to those who control sports to push back against those who play them.