2023–The Year Ahead

A new year and what do we Americans expect for the year ahead?

New year, new country? Not the way most Americans see it, according to Gallup. Given the partisan politics and economic struggles of 2022, a new poll finds Americans are “largely pessimistic” about the state of the US in the coming year. Some 80% expect economic difficulty, with tax increases and a growing federal deficit; 85% expect international discord; and 90% expect internal political conflict, per the Washington Times. In the web survey of 1,803 members of Gallup’s probability-based panel, 72% said the crime rate would climb, 72% said China’s power would increase, and 64% said the US would decline as a global power.

There was only one of 13 areas in which a majority of Americans expected what the Times calls “a positive outcome,” meaning a decline in Russia’s power, with 62% predicting that would occur in 2023. This is “likely a reflection of that country’s recent setbacks in its war against Ukraine,” Gallup said. Otherwise, “Americans are greeting 2023 with great skepticism and little expectation that the economic struggles that closed out 2022 will abate.” More than 60% of respondents said consumer prices would continue to rise at a “high rate” and the stock market would continue its fall. More than 50% said unemployment would increase and 56% predicted “many strikes by labor unions.”

Republicans were more pessimistic than Democrats, though, with “Democrats more likely than Republicans to offer positive predictions for all of the dimensions,” per Gallup. “This is a typical phenomenon whereby Americas who identify with the sitting president’s party are more positive in general in their outlook for the year ahead.” Some 69% of Democrats predicted full or increasing employment (compared to 23% of Republicans), 56% expected an increase in US power (compared to 11%), 53% expected the stock market to rise (compared to 15%), and 53% predicted a reasonable rise in prices (compared to 16%). The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Do you agree with these ‘predictions’?

If not….what are yours?

Plus the House cannot find a leader after 3 rounds of voting….

After a chaotic first day of the 118th Congress, the House has voted to adjourn for the day, with no speaker of the House elected. GOP frontrunner Kevin McCarthy lost all three rounds of voting Tuesday, with 19 conservative Republicans voting against him the first two rounds and 20 in the third. The swearing-in of new House members was delayed due to the stalemate and family members of lawmakers, including children, fell asleep or left the chamber as the voting dragged on, the Hill reports. This is only the eighth time in history that a House speaker hasn’t been chosen after three rounds of voting, and it’s the first time since 1923 that it has taken more than one ballot, CBS reports. In 1923, there were nine ballots over three days.

Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries got all 212 Democratic votes in the three ballots. “House Dems are united and ready to get to work,” he tweeted. “Complete chaos on the other side of the aisle.” The House will reconvene at noon on Wednesday. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the most recent speaker of the House, denied that Democrats would cut a deal with Republicans to give McCarthy a majority, the New York Times reports. “That may be a Republican rumor that has no currency among Democrats,” she said. McCarthy vowed to continue seeking the gavel, saying, “We stay in until we win,” the Washington Post reports.

The Republican who switched from McCarthy to Rep. Jim Jordan in the third round was Rep. Byron Donalds. His vote made it 20 for Jordan, who had urged Republicans to vote for McCarthy. “The reality is Rep. Kevin McCarthy doesn’t have the votes,” Donalds tweeted after voting in the third round. “I committed my support to him publicly and for two votes on the House Floor. 218 is the number, and currently, no one is there.” He added: “Our conference needs to recess and huddle and find someone or work out the next step but these continuous votes aren’t working for anyone.”

If not McCarthy then who?

After a historic day in the House of Representatives that ended with the legislative body adjourning without having elected a Speaker, it’s not clear what will happen next—other than the fact that representatives will reconvene at noon Wednesday, PBS reports. A fourth round of voting is expected at that point, USA Today reports, but as the Hill puts it, Kevin McCarthy’s failure to secure the necessary votes after three rounds “will lead to questions about whether Republicans need to move to a different candidate to unite their members.” The site looks at three lawmakers who could possibly take his place: Steve Scalise, the House Majority Leader; Jim Jordan, “widely considered the leading conservative in the House”; and Patrick McHenry, who was Scalise’s deputy whip when Paul Ryan was House Speaker.

While it’s technically possible for a non-House member to become Speaker, the Hill says most find that possibility “extremely unlikely.” The site also reports that McCarthy on Tuesday night floated the idea that he could win the position with less than the 218 votes he currently needs. If lawmakers are absent, or vote simply “present” rather than voting for a particular candidate, the threshold goes down: “Democrats have 212 votes. You get 213 votes, and the others don’t say another name, that’s how you can win,” he said. But it’s not clear how he’d convince at least 11 people who voted against him to vote for him, and then convince the other nine to decline to name a candidate in their votes.

Chaos looks like the agenda for this first year of the 118th Congress.

Pay Attention!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

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4 thoughts on “2023–The Year Ahead

  1. If we don’t get an election here in 2023, we can look forward to more cuts in social services, the part-privatisation of the NHS, and new laws banning strikes. It feels like we are living in a totalitarian society, as because of the government’s large majority, they can pass any laws they desire.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Withe the inmates running the asylum now, there is no doubt in my mind that every dark prediction you have indicated at the beginning of your post will definitely be the very things that Americans will endure for the next couple of years.

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