Any good prognosticator has predictions for the New Year, right? Here are some you might not see anywhere else.
- Trump will fill a second Supreme Court vacancy – but not one anybody expects.
While all eyes are on Ruth Bader Ginsburg (age 83), Anthony Kennedy (80), and Stephen Breyer (78), we predict that a vacancy will in fact materialize on the Court (aside from the open Scalia seat) in 2017, but that it won’t be one of those three. It will be Clarence Thomas, who has now learned from watching those three that a justice can overstay his or her useful existence by assuming the predictability of unpredictable elections. While Ginsburg and Kennedy and Breyer struggle to hold on to avoid being replaced by mini-Scalias, a mini-Scalia is exactly the kind of replacement Thomas wants for himself. And since that is what he wants, he needs to act fast: Trump may be a one-term president, and if he causes the kind of mess he’s capable of causing, Trump’s political capital might dry up faster than the house’s cash at a Trump-owned casino. It may not be long before, even if Thomas wants to get off the Court, Trump no longer has the wherewithal to replace him with someone equally awful. So look for Thomas to retire in 2017.
2. Obama and George W Bush will become unlikely friends.
Douglas MacArthur once said, “Old generals never die; they just … fade away.” The same can often be said of former presidents. They can live for a while, but as they continue on after descending from power, no matter how active they might remain (think Jimmy Carter), from a historical standpoint, they fade into obscurity as surely as we are all destined to be forgotten. (Yeah, we know, Happy New Year!)
But think about this. Have you ever been in charge of something and then turned it over to someone else only to find that person leaning on you to do their new job for them because they didn’t know what the hell they were doing? Well, the Chimps predict that this is going to happen on the macro-est macro level possible sooner than later after January 20. Donald Trump is a personality-disordered assclown and an imbecile, and he is surrounding himself with people just like him.
Expect sane professionals in the federal government to start lobbing SOS flares against the empty darkness of our national nightfall by the end of this month. It’s not often that a former president – a fading relic of the naïve hopes of some bygone time – must be called out of mothballs to save the country from his successor. In fact, it might be – to put it as Trump himself might – “unpresidented.” But the demands for former presidents’ time will soon be many and merciless as Trump and his minions seek to save themselves from themselves and bona fide pros seek out the counsel of their former bosses. And the only two former presidents still young and vital enough to come out of mothballs will be Obama and, of all people, W. (Oh that the Chimps did not long for the days of George W Bush, for fuck’s sake.)
Look for Barack Obama and George W Bush to form an unlikely bond, and not just as two men who acutely understand the office they both once held, but as the last two men ever to hold that office while it was still taken seriously by our friends and foes around the world. Obama and Bush will never be able to restore dignity or nobility to that office after what the American people did to it last November 8, but they will be called upon to calm and coddle the country they once lead as it descends into oblivion.
3. A new leader of the free world will emerge.
Meanwhile, as the USA sheds whatever credibility and respect it once commanded as a nation that was not just powerful, but also took itself seriously, the tag “leader of the free world” will have to find a new home to replace the old and obsolete one that had been in use until, well, now: “president of the United States.” The Chimps think that when international commentators speak of the “leader of the free world” for the near future, they will be talking about the Chancellor of Germany – Angela Merkel.
The United States forfeited the right to lead when it elevated a buffoon to the position of national spokesperson. If a squinting, orange, hirsute manchild speaks for a country, then the country he speaks for, no matter how many nukes it might have rusting in their silos, is not to be listened to. And trust the Chimps – nobody in their right mind will be looking to the United States of America for serious leadership after January 20, 2017.
Who will fill the void? Vladimir Putin is in good geopolitical shape with his own stooge in the White House , and Xi Jinping will easily outwit the nitwit of the West. But we’re talking about the free world here – who will lead the free world?
Theresa May (UK prime minister) is an accidental leader installed because of that other idiotic vote: Brexit. The UK is a has-been. Its once fearsome navy could barely take back the Falkland Islands a few decades back. Their best military helicopter pilot is Prince William. They still haven’t discovered what fluoride can do for your teeth; their food sucks; and who drinks tea anymore, anyway? So the Brits are out.
France? Once they canceled the Concorde, their marginal relevance evaporated altogether. Canada? We like Justin Trudeau, but frankly he’s far too pretty, and besides, it’s not clear that Canada wants the job.
That leaves us with Germany – a solid, advanced, and (for now) democratic state with the infrastructure, technological chops, and political sophistication to reemerge not only as the locus of power in Europe, but also, with the United States in sudden and precipitous decline, the entire world.
4. The White House will decline as a national symbol.
Speaking of decline, the Chimps are sad for the White House – not as in the presidential administration or the staffers for which “White House” is often a trope – but for the physical structure itself. The building was once a symbol not just of national power, but of whatever president and first family occupied it. It is likely now to be treated like some sort of rustic campsite — a barely habitable oversized wedding tent appointed with fixtures hewn from mere alloys and fitted with standard ceramic shitters — by a president and first lady who have no appreciation for its history, no regard for the simple elegance that defines it, and no interest in spending time outside their own gaudy accommodations. For the first time since John Adams, we are likely to have a president who doesn’t consider the White House a home or even a suitable work space. The White House itself, like the office it represents, has likely lost its luster for good.