A new year is finally here and most of us can breathe easier knowing we survived 2020. It was a wild ride, with unforeseen events occurring almost every week. Last year I thought impeachment would be the biggest story. Oh, how wrong I was!
I thought it would be fun and interesting to write down some predictions for 2021, then, at the end of the year, go back and see if I was right. Some of these are based on what I actually think will happen, and some are just wild predictions.
I prefer to see 2021 as a winding down period for 2020, meaning that a lot of the crises that arose last year will be resolved this year.
COVID-19 – The vaccines that came out in December will become wildly available and Coronavirus will cease to be a major issue. Infections might still happen, but not nearly in the numbers they have been. In March, I thought predictions for COVID deaths in the hundreds of thousands was wildly pessimistic, but now I’m predicting a final U.S. death toll of at least 500,000. I hope I’m wrong.
Politics – With Joe Biden being sworn in as president on January 20th, I’m predicting the political chaos and rabid partisanship we’ve experienced over the past four years will calm down. Like “Occupy Wall Street”, BLM will become less active and fade from the headlines as its members and issues get absorbed by the Democratic Party. In the short term, I believe Republicans will win both runoff elections in Georgia on January 5th. Biden’s agenda will get tied up in the Senate and no major legislation will get passed.
Political wildcard – I made fun of pundits who fantasized about Donald Trump being escorted out of the White House on January 6th, but I’m thinking it’s increasingly likely that Trump will hold a separate inauguration ceremony for himself. In all seriousness, I think Trump will try to form his own political party.
Media – COVID was devastating to businesses, and I predict it will be the nail in the coffin for Big Hollywood. Movie theaters will never recover, and blockbuster, big budget movies will cease to be made as studios earn significantly less profits from streaming services. Independent film and television will dominate entertainment.
2020 was the last gasp for mainstream journalism as well. 24-hour news networks like CNN and MSNBC, newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post, and websites like Vox and Buzzfeed News sacrificed everything at the altar of Trump hatred. With Trump out of the White House, their viewership / readership will plummet and layoffs will gut newsrooms.
Media wildcard – News itself (especially political news) will cease to hold such a prominent place in our society. In 2021, viewers sick of the partisanship will tune out and the dollars will flow somewhere else.
Society – I’m skeptical that Big Tech will face new regulations, but I do think websites like Facebook and Twitter will lose popularity in the United States. Facebook has been under attack from all sides, but ultimately I think people will want to get outside more and enjoy life once the COVID pandemic subsides. They won’t be as glued to their computers and smart phones.
The results of the 2020 census will be shocking. I think it will show that US population growth has ground to a halt. Midwestern states like Illinois (especially Illinois) will lose population and political representation in Congress. Immigration of all kinds will have decreased significantly.
What do you think? Am I way off base? Leave a comment with your own predictions for American politics and culture in 2021.