Here’s what’s going to happen today, Election Day in America, and in the weeks and years that follow.
(You will notice there are no percentages here. I predict, I don’t quote probabilities.)
Young people will vote in record numbers. But less than half of the young people eligible will vote.
Someone will win control of the House. Someone will win control of the Senate. Those who win will claim a mandate. Those who don’t win will claim the results are ambiguous.
If things go well for Republicans, Donald Trump will claim the election is a justification of his policies and way of governing. If they don’t, Donald Trump will blame congressional leaders, election fraud, Chinese hacking, Democratic spending, George Soros and other billionaires, or illegal immigrants voting.
Election hacking, most likely of voting lists, but also potentially of voting machines, will call results into question. At least one race will be contested as a result of questions about election hacking. President Trump won’t characterize the hacking as an attack on America.
In November and December, the lame duck Congress will pass some legislation that could never pass after the new Congress takes its seats.
Congress will be a lot more female that it ever was. The effect will not be detectable in the laws that it passes.
If Democrats win the House, Donald Trump will claim that he is reaching out to them for bipartisan priorities. This effort will fall apart within weeks, if not days. He will then continually blame Democrats for being obstructionists. These claims will make no difference — they’ll continue to block everything they can, and challenge any executive orders as unconstitutional.
Robert Mueller will complete his report on election hacking in 2016 and release it within days after the election. It will be secret. Parts of it will leak. It will be hugely contentious for the president, but hugely disappointing for the Democrats. Whether it constitutes a clear case for impeachment will depend solely on the party affiliation of who is speaking.
Many cabinet members and presidential advisors will resign or be fired in the next month. The government will continue to be as dysfunctional as it always has been.
If Donald Trump fires Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein, there will be an uproar, but no one will be able to do anything about it. Whoever is left will then fire Robert Mueller. But Mueller will have found a way to ensure that his team’s findings will see the light of day anyway.
Someone will announce that they are running for the Democratic nomination for president before the end of the year. Someone might announce that they’re running as a Republican, too. Someone might even announce an independent candidacy. But you can count on the fact that the 2020 presidential campaign starts tomorrow.
The migrant caravan will creep northward. It won’t get to the border until Christmas. It will be pathetic by the time it gets in sight of the border.
Someone will shoot or bomb a bunch of people in a school, church, mosque, synagogue, concert, campaign rally, or march. Everyone will blame guns, extremism, inflamed media, racial extremism, right-wing extremism, Islamist extremism, or leftist extremism. It will seem as if things cannot go on this way. Even so, things will continue to go on this way.
The result of this election will cause people in media to claim that everything is different now. And everything will be a little different. But change will happen slowly, if at all.
The next two years will be the most contentious period in American history since the civil war. Presidents, congressional leaders, and the Supreme Court will do things that no one would ever have imagined possible. But at the end of these two years, we may know a lot more about the soul of the republic we live in.
I hope it is still standing.