How much does it really matter if the next President is Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, or someone else? Realistically, the following things are going to happen no matter who sits in the Oval Office:
We're still going to have troops in the Persian Gulf region, with high tensions brewing with Iran and continued unrest, civil disorder, and outbreaks of violence in Iraq.
Israel will continue to be our catspaw in the region and because of the religious tensions involved, will continue to be the locus of hatred and political agitation within the Arab and Muslim worlds.
Russia will continue its degenration from fledgling democracy into a quasi-autocracy, while also continuing to lurch forward on an economic modernization program that will be, at best, only half-successful.
Nothing will be done to challege the economic growth of China and India as industrial and high-tech competitors against the United States and the EU.
The dollar will remain weak against the Euro and strong against the yuan.
Taxes will not be reduced or raised in any significant way.
Some kind of incremental health care reform is going to slowly work its way through Congress and once it takes effect the only real change in the government's functions will be increased spending and there will be no substantial improvement in either the quality or quantity of healthcare dispensed in the US.
Muslim terrorists will continue to try to blow things up that will hurt or offend us greatly, and we will have to take pro-active action to prevent those things from happening.
Immigration reform will continue to fail and whatever problems currently exist with immigration will persist and probably increase.
Our roads and highways will continue to deteriorate. More people will continue to die on those roads and highways every month than do every year in overseas military operations, and no one will care.
Kids will continue to graduate from high school barely able to read and locate their own country on a world map, but they will continue to have the lyrics to rap music songs memorized on or before the release dates of the albums. At the same time, our universities will continue to graduate some of the best-educated people on the planet and international student exchanges will continue to be the best method available to us of attracting the best and the brightest from around the world to come to our land and work to make us prosperous.
The stock market will continue to climb, with occasional market corrections. The real estate market will stagnate for about a year and then begin to climb again. Low levels of inflation will occur. The national debt will continue to increase unabated. Some businesses will make money, some businesses will fail.
There will very likely not be any kind of miraculous technological breakthrough that makes energy cheap and plentiful. There will be no meaningful progress made on global warming nor any effective action taken to protect the environment from this or any other of the depradations of global industrialization. Species of animals and plants will continue to go extinct, but probably not the cute fuzzy ones.
Incremental improvements in technology, particularly in the areas of consumer electronics, information transmittal, and biotechnology, will continue and the level of material comforts and conveniences will rise. Little of this will make any of us any happier, although those fortuante enough to sample these technological miracles will probably experience increased levels of pleasure.
There will be natural disasters, and the government's response to them will be sharply criticized regardless of how effective the response may be.
Despite well-intentioned efforts to make a meaningful difference, racial and gender equality will not be achieved by 2016. Even if the President is a woman.
The Supreme Court will not overturn Roe v. Wade; it will, however, continue to carve away the focus of those rights at the margins. No one will actually come to take away your guns, unless you're convicted of a felony.
The New York Times and the Los Angeles Fish Wrapper will continue to be dominated by liberal writers and editors seemingly out of step with the ideas and world views of mainstream America, as will the holders of most administrative and prestigious academic positions at most of the major universities and colleges around the country. The Fox News Channel will continue to be praised as the paragon of "fair and balanced" reporting, but only by people who self-identify as "conservative" to "very conservative" and who are more likely to vote Republican than the average resident of Utah -- or the average registered Republican.
We will continue, inconclusively, our debate about balancing civil liberties and protecting our national security. Almost no one will be happy with whatever equilibrium is reached in that discussion and very few people will ever understand that this debate is not a zero-sum game.
Sprawl in suburbs and exurbs surrounding our major cities will continue.
People will be born, go to school, fall in love, get married, have sex, have children, grow old, and die. (Not all the same person at the same time, of course.) All of this will occur at rates that we can demographically predict right now with reasonably high degrees of accuracy (except the falling in love part; we'll just have to take their word for it there).
As a practical matter, the identity of the President will have very little effect on any of this. So why do we care so much about who that person will be?
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