It’s that time of year for reflections and predictions. In 2018, I didn’t make too many predictions. The ones I made were relatively vague and I was generally right. I said that Trump would not get impeached or be removed by the 25thAmendment. I was right but at the beginning of the year, a lot of people believed he would be gone before the end of the year.

The other prediction I made is that Trump wouldn’t change. He would still govern by tweet and still be as outrageous as he had been in 2017. I was right there also. He’s not changed a lick.

The more vague prediction was that Republicans would try to pass some sort of major legislation to run on in November 2018. They passed the tax bill in December 2017, but they didn’t pass any other significant bills during the year. They did, however, confirm Trump’s second Supreme Court justice. 

The 2018 midterms was a disaster that should have Republicans scared going into 2019 and beginning the 2020 election cycle. Trump still dominates most news cycles and surprises his own party as much as the rest of the country, often announcing major and misguided policy proposals by tweet. The GOP will need to recover some of their dignity if they hope to rebuild their party. However, most of the moderates are gone from Congress and Trump allies like North Carolina’s own Mark Meadows will have more influence. That’s probably bad for the party and the country. 

In North Carolina, we will begin 2019 amidst the political chaos that has dominated the Republicans’ tenure controlling the legislature. Their overreach has left the state in a perpetual state of upheaval as they’ve tried to strip power from the executive branch while rigging the electoral process to favor the GOP. Currently, we’re not even sure who controls the board of elections while we’re in the midst of a political scandal. It’s a mess and an embarrassment but the former Party of Lincoln has no shame. 

So, here are a few predictions. Mark Harris will never take a seat in Congress. Instead, he’ll be dumped by the GOP when a new primary and general election are ordered either by a new State Board of Elections or Congress. 

Roy Cooper will see his approval ratings stay solid or even improve. He’ll be the perfect foil for a GOP legislature that continues to try to overreach and continues to lose in the courts. The legislature will sustain a record number of vetoes next legislative session. House Speaker Tim Moore will serve under a cloud of suspicion and the scent of scandal.

North Carolina will be a major destination for Democrats vying for the presidential nomination. In that vein, someone will emerge as a frontrunner before the end of the year that’s not high on many people’s radar screens. My bet is we see Amy Klobuchar’s star rise throughout 2019. 

In the US Senate race, we’ll see several Democratic candidates emerge to take on Senator Thom Tillis. At least one will come from the legislature, possible Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Orange) or Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Mecklenburg). The DSCC will start recruiting Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarland, even though she’s currently registered unaffiliated, and Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles.

By the end of March, we’ll have a bunch of Council of State candidates from both parties. They’ll start spending money way too early and learn the hard way that nobody cares about down-ballot races until shortly before elections. Democrats and Republicans will both recruit heavily for legislative races, but will not have nearly the success they had in filling the ballot in 2018. 

Well, that’s about it for my predictions. I’m ready for 2019. 

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