The Divide: ‘Tis the Season to Raise Questions

The Divide: ‘Tis the Season to Raise Questions


The end of the year brings out everyone’s Top Ten picks for the year. The top ten movies, the top ten albums, the top ten books, etc. Sorry to disappoint you, I don’t have a list of top ten anything, what I do have is a stocking full of questions leading into 2018. I’ll divide these into three categories: federal, state, and local.

On the Federal level: Can America survive another year of Trump? Can Trump survive another year in office? Will Trump resign because he has done a “great” job, if he does say so himself, and there is nothing left for him to do? Will Trump be forced out of the White House because of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign? Will Mueller be another in a long line of Friday night firings by Trump? Will Trump stop lying to the American people? Will Trump get Mexico to pay for his ill-conceived, multi-billion dollar boondoggle wall? Or will we, despite Trump’s promise that not one cent of taxpayers’ money would fund the building of the wall? Will the Defense Department allow Trump near the proverbial “button” in order to start a nuclear war with North Korea? Will Republicans start to take a stand against the insanity in the Oval Office and enact the provisions of the 25th Amendment when it is determined that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office?” Will Trump’s historically low poll numbers continue to fall to levels never seen before? Will Trump’s supporters stop inventing excuses for why he continues backsliding on his “Day One” promises? Will Trump continue to isolate the United States from the rest of the world through his “America First” agenda? Will Trump endorse any more Republicans running for Congress? Will the Republicans running for office ask for Trump’s support or will they stay as far away from him as possible (Guilt by association)?

More questions: Did Nikki Haley’s asinine statement at the United Nations threatening “to take names” of the countries who rebuked Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital tarnish her standing among both Republicans and Democrats? Did Haley’s action remove her from any serious consideration as a future GOP presidential candidate? Was anyone surprised that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan admitted almost immediately after the passage of the corporate tax cut, that the tax bill most likely will not be able to pay for itself through an upsurge in the economy driven by the “big, beautiful” tax cut?  And that social programs will have to be trimmed to help offset the deficit caused by this government give-away to the one percent? Will the Democrats take control of the House in the 2018 mid-term elections? Or the U. S. Senate? Will Kirsten Gillibrand win re-election as New York’s junior senator with such a huge number that she will move to the top of the list of possible Democratic presidential candidates in 2020? Will the Democrats in Congress hold strong and not pass any further Continuing Resolutions to keep the government funded unless the GOP include Democratic Party agenda items like continuing the Dream Act (DACA) and funding the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in the federal budget?    

On the State Level:  How high will the anticipation meter reading go for political junkies watching the NYS election returns in November to see who fares better, Governor Andrew Cuomo or U. S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as they use their respective 2018 re-election bids to set themselves up for consideration as the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential candidate? Which of them has a better chance to be the Vice-presidential pick in 2020? Will Cuomo deliver on his promise to make NYS election-friendly? Will Cuomo go back to being the “fiscal conservative Cuomo” with his proposed 2018/2019 state budget? Or will he blame Trump’s tax cuts for forcing NYS to raise income taxes in order to keep popular social programs funded at current levels? Will the Senate Democrats and the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) join forces and take control away from the Republicans next year? Will the state-related corruption trials “stick” to Cuomo, or is he the “Teflon” governor? Will climate change actions, such as implementing a carbon tax, requiring state agencies to purchase Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEVs), and pursuing alternate forms of energy production (wind, solar, geothermal) be a top priority in the 2018 legislative session? Will there be a Democratic primary for governor? Can the Republicans field a candidate who could actually put a scare into Cuomo? Will the Democrats coalesce around one strong candidate who might actually win against Republican Representative Stefanik? What are the odds that a sitting state legislator will face criminal charges in 2018? If New Jersey wins its court case on legalizing sports betting, will New York’s under-performing casinos lobby for sports betting as they have failed to come close to meeting their revenue projections?

Locally: Will Albany’s Mayor Kathy Sheehan get a repeat of the $12 million in additional, and deserved, state financial aid with the state facing a $5 billion deficit? Will the DEC approve the Town of Colonie landfill expansion? Will the state police investigation into Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse’s domestic dispute with his wife lead to any criminal charges? Will Saratogians get a heart (remember the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz – “if I only had a heart”) and stop fighting the Code Blue shelter in their city? Will Amazon locate a facility in the Capital District? Will the gondola across the Hudson River get serious consideration from a private entity or the government? Will the Albany Convention Center have more multi-day bookings than ‘one-a-days’ so that downtown businesses can reap a financial benefit from the facility?  Is the Albany Arena Football team going to get a chance to play a game in 2018 given the league’s inability to field even a handful of teams in 2018?

Two thousand seventeen was an eventful year (and not in a good way) with the Trump regime running the country. By turning back the clock on Obama’s eight years in office and placing our country in a precarious position by isolating us from the rest of the world, Trump has caused many questions to be raised on the direction our country is going in. It will be interesting to see what answers await us as Year 2 of Trump takes center stage in 2018 and with Republicans in Congress facing mid-term elections with the weight of Trump hanging around their necks.      

Happy New Year and “May the Force be With You!”       

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