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Deace: Crystal Ball 2022 — Top 10 predictions of what will, and won't, happen in the new year

Op-ed
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It’s time to renew my annual tradition.

I like to start off each New Year putting my anemic forecasting skills and substandard intellect to the test, by analyzing current cultural trends and then issuing my top 10 predictions for the next 12 months. These won’t just include the world of politics, but pop culture, sports, and more. If it turns out I get any of these right, a year from now I shall take full credit. But if I’m proven unworthy once more, rest assured I shall disavow all knowledge of this exercise. If you’d like, feel free to go back and see how last year’s predictions did by clicking here.

And with that, let us begin:

10. An unsettling year in foreign policy.
Russia takes over Ukraine and China topples Taiwan, with each choosing to strike in response to the weakness projected by the Biden presidency. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Bennett doesn’t last long in Israel, toppled by a populace tired of COVID tyranny. Speaking of which, anti-mandate protests in places like Germany, Austria, Australia, and New Zealand will turn violent, as governments there continue to both ignore and trample on the rights of the people.

9. The Green Bay Packers win Super Bowl 56.
This was my preseason pick, and I’m sticking with it. Green Bay has been the most consistent team all season long. Plus, wouldn’t it be downright serendipitous for Aaron Rodgers to be rewarded for pimping "Atlas Shrugged" and trolling woke scolds with his second Lombardi Trophy?

8. For the second straight year, a Spider-Man movie will be the top-grossing film at the box office.
This time it will be "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse," the much-anticipated sequel to its 2018 Oscar-winning predecessor — which some (myself included) believe to be the best animated film ever made.

7. "Obi-Wan Kenobi" will surpass even "The Mandalorian" and inspire Disney to make a surprising feature film announcement.
Disney will release "Obi-Wan Kenobi on Star Wars Day, May 4, and the series will be so celebrated and beloved that by the end of the year Disney will make a follow up surprise announcement about the next feature film in the Star Wars universe — a movie based on Darth Vader’s exploits and exploration of the Dark Side of the Force set during the same time period.

6. Omicron destroys the Covidstan narrative.
The strain will show the coronavirus is finally attenuating, and it spreads so much throughout the country that herd immunity is finally achieved. By summer, several European countries will return to close to normal, and that debate will be raging here as well. Which leads to my next prediction ...

5. There will be open dissension within the Democratic Party about whether to smartly choose the Omicron off-ramp.
Every Branch Covidian cultist is a Democrat, but not every Democrat is a Branch Covidian cultist. The Democratic governors of Colorado, Kansas, and Connecticut have already sent some signals that they’re ready to sell their Covidstan stock now before it shorts out. And in an election year, they won’t be alone as a growing chorus of Democrats up for re-election realize they are doomed in November if they can’t return the country to some form of normalcy in time to boost the economy and overall mood. However, in the end, the gravitational pull of their Branch Covidian/Twitter/Woke/Cable News base will prove to be too strong, and systemically Democrats are incapable of choosing sanity. Which leads to my next prediction ...

4. Republicans surpass the net gain of House seats won in the Contract With America election of 1994.
That was the biggest mid-term election for the Republican Party since the historic landslide of 1894. The Contract With America led to a 54-seat gain for Republicans in 1994, and Republicans will eclipse that in November with the American people tired of COVID, malaise, divisive messaging, economic downturn, and a feeble president.

3. Cracks in Trump’s base continue to emerge because of the jab.
As jab mandates grow increasingly unpopular, and the jab itself becomes increasingly ineffective, Donald Trump’s ego and loyalty to his base will clash consistently for the first time since his political ascension. Several high-profile Trump loyalists will publicly break with the former president on what he considers to be his crowning achievement (Operation Warp Speed), and at least one Trump rally will be disrupted by discontentment with the jab. At the same time, Trump doubles-down on the belief he’s the Winston Churchill of COVID who saved Western Civilization from the virus. Which leads to my next prediction ...

2. Republicans also emerge with a narrow Senate majority, which causes Trump to badger Mitch McConnell into announcing his retirement.
After months of sniping with his base over the jab, Trump decides to change the subject and attempts to reunite his base by going beyond rhetoric to all-in on an effort to topple McConnell — whom Trump's base rightfully loathes — as Republican Senate leader for life. The move works, and McConnell announces his retirement from the Senate. However, the long-overdue lancing of the Ditch boil comes at a hefty price. Trump agrees to elevate his surprising ally in this fight, the one and only Lindsey Graham, to become McConnell’s replacement. Because it can always get worse.

1. DeSantis dominates
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis posts a double-digit victory in his re-election campaign, and by the end of the year polls show he is the most net-favorable Republican politician in the country. Which only increases the intrigue and odds he will indeed challenge Trump for the GOP nomination in 2024.

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