2016 was a tumultuous year, claiming the lives of beloved pop icons from David Bowie to Carrie Fischer, not to mention the defenestration of the Democratic Party from American high office at the hands of a madman, and further aggravation of existing environmental quandaries.
With that in mind, here is our list of the five top issues set to unfold in 2017 that will reverberate for years to come.
- Trump’s inauguration: January 20 will be the date that bakes in the tone of American politics over the next four years. Will the headlines center around a gracious inaugural address by the new President or will massive protests carry the day?
- Obamacare: The GOP has constantly vowed to “repeal and replace” the sweeping health care law ever since its passage. But to date, no replacement options have been proposed or seriously discussed. This nagging deficiency in Republican plans all but guarantee the law will not be replaced with anything else. Therefore, will Obamacare be merely tinkered with or will millions be stripped of their current coverage and left a bleak future?
- French election: Marine Le Pen is, in many ways, cut from the same alt-right cloth that gave rise to Donald Trump and fuelled Britain’s shock split from the European Union. While she is not expected to win the May election, she is currently seen as the tentative runner-up. As far-right parties see a surge in support across Europe, will France help the anti-immigration alt-right consolidate their gains or will it deal them a blow to their aspirations?
- Supreme Court: This is expected to be contested, with many Democratic politicians (rightfully) feeling that the current vacancy was not Donald Trump’s to fill. Although it is unlikely that they will be able to permanently deny a Trump pick from ascending to the nation’s top court, could a more moderate judge be chosen in the interest of compromise?
- Chinese relations: Already the incoming administration has ruffled China’s feathers over trade and North Korea. So far it appears that Trump is pivoting toward a closer relationship with Russia at the expense of the Chinese, which would represent an axial shift in American foreign relations not seen since the end of the Cold War. Will it all prove to be sheer bluster or will diplomatic and trade relations with the world’s largest country reach a tipping point?