Political forecast

Items of interest for 2014

Kurt Menville

2013 was an exciting year for politicos.

Story after story filled the headlines of national media organizations that have become nearly obsessive with their political coverage. Even social news sites like BuzzFeed hastily throw together a photo slideshow to capitalize on things like the self-inflicted government shutdown, (failed) firearm law reform and Anthony Weiner’s wiener.

2014 promises to be filled with more political news than ever and there are some stories I’m excited to see pan out over the course of the coming year. Here’s what’s on my radar so far for 2014.

First, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s first big political scandal, dubbed “bridge-gate” by the media, broke through to national headlines last week. The scandal revolves around accusations that several senior members of the Christie team were involved in closing multiple access lanes to a bridge that is vital to transportation for the city of Fort Lee, NJ. This action led to days of gridlock in Fort Lee and prolonged emergency response times, according to city officials.

Critics allege the lane closings were ordered, under the guise of a traffic study, as political retribution for Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor not supporting Governor Christie in his successful bid for reelection. So far, more than 900 documents have been released and there are no indications that Governor Christie was personally involved, although some commentators have expressed disbelief that staffers who were that close to the Governor could effectively conceal their actions from him.

That doesn’t let him off the hook though. Gov. Christie is frequently mentioned at the top of short-lists for the Republican presidential nomination and this scandal is sure to follow him if he decides to step into the ring for 2016.

Second, we are already chest deep in the cycle for the 2016 presidential election, with many questions bouncing around at the speed of light. Is the Benghazi scandal going to derail Hillary Clinton? Will Joe Biden take another crack at it? Is Gov. Christie going to survive “bridge-gate” intact or will he be supplanted with new blood like Senator Rubio? Will Obama tear asunder the constitution some more and run for a third term while still plotting to take our jobs and freedom? Will Ron Paul run again?

These questions started as soon as President Obama was reelected, and in the infinite loop that is the 24-hour news cycle, we can expect them to keep reverberating in the echo chamber. Even for a political junkie like myself, the non-stop references to 2016 can be exhausting. It creates a hawk-like media environment that feeds off the slightest mistake, and when hundreds of millions of fundraising dollars are on the line, many politicians aren’t as eager to open up to the journalists that cover them, leading to a public that knows less about potential candidates.

Third, we shouldn’t forget about the 2014 mid-terms elections! Look for a concerted response to some of the obstructionist politicians using the banner of libertarianism or the Tea Party to dismantle government. In an interview on CNN, National Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donahue explained his organization was quietly going into targeted districts in an effort to promote candidates that would work to bring a more responsible method of incorporating conservative ideas into the government.

Michigan is holding important elections in 2014 too. Governor Snyder is up for reelection against an unknown opponent as of now, although former U.S. Representative Mark Schauer has been billed as the top contender by a number of polls taken throughout the state. Longtime Democratic Senator Carl Levin has decided against seeking reelection, leaving his Senate seat up for grabs. Former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is regarded as a front runner, having extremely high name recognition among Michigan residents.

Finally, look forward to people continuing the trend of being generally clueless throughout 2014. Here’s a tip: if you get your news from infowars.com or any URL with the words “freedom,” America” or “liberty” in it, you’re doing it wrong. The government isn’t going to force you to implant a microchip in your body and the cause of all our problems isn’t the Federal Reserve. The Fukushima nuclear accident isn’t threatening the entire world and those maps that claim to show radiation spreading through the Pacific Ocean are laughably fake. Sarah Palin can still see Russia from her house and chemtrails aren’t the result of an international Illuminati conspiracy, it’s just water vapor. And if I hear the term “sheep” one more time…

Here’s to 2014! Visit your local library! That is all.


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