What Politics Will Bring in 2019
Another year has passed, another 365 days of tantrums, threats, and surprising bonk bans, has come to an end. It’s looking to be another chaotic year for the history books. With more than a third of the world’s population heading to nationwide elections, including our own federal election, new leaders may emerge to further shake the status quo. The United States is now out of complete Republican control, leaving a small gap in Trump’s grip on the US political system for Democrats to cause a stir. Brexit will finally take place, after years of domineering over the UK, without a clear deal in site.
As the calendar rolls into a new year, we dive into 2019 with perhaps ill-advised hopes and trademark cynicism. We are entering unchartered waters, so expect 2019 to make a political splash.
Maybe you should bring an umbrella.
In Australian politics this year, expect the campaign trail to be bloody while Labor and the Coalition grapple for power. The Liberal-National Coalition have trailed behind for over 46 Newspolls, a clear indication of a frontier change as we head to the polls. However, don’t believe that the coalition will go down without a fight. Set your election countdown for a predicted May election, with, unsurprisingly, ScoMo holding out till the last minute to see if his luck turns.
Of course, the state of the Coalition’s popularity, or lack thereof, will be cause for change in the political game they play. Pundits expect that ScoMo will try his hand at a more Trumpian rhetoric, using populist tactics to grab back lost voters. In an increasingly polarised world, expect moves that will appeal to the Coalition’s Conservative base as they try to stoke up support in their constituencies. With the backdrop of rising political protests in 2018, expect to be marching for your, and others’, lives in 2019. Anticipate heavy backlash against the Coalition’s moves, with a hashtag or two thrown in.
But the Labor Party’s self-anointed heroism won’t be enough to emerge unscathed from political protest. Expecting praise for the long awaited promise to boost refugee intake if elected, their decision to maintain offshore detention was questionable at best, and saw political protest spark. With their stance on Adani still murky, it brings into question whether students will be skipping school and turning to the streets in protest of inaction over climate change,but this time against the Labor Party.
If you believed that 2019 would bring any relief from the onslaught of twitter rants and human rights abuses from the other side of the Pacific, well, think again. This year may see the news cycle take a sharp left away from the current feed of Trump’s triumphs, to a glorious downfall — unless you’re watching Fox News.
With the Democrats in the House of Representatives, buckle up for even more tantrums and fighting to break out in the war zone named Washington. The Democrats have managed to take a small role in the Trump Show, it’s no longer a one-man act. Republican Bills can no longer be passed without Democratic support, meaning that conservative agenda has ground to a halt. Repealing Obamacare, increasing tax cuts, and stopping food stamps and Medicade are now off the table. With not only having the power to stop Republican policy, anticipate House Democrats to take advantage of their new subpoena power. Axio’s Jonathan Swan stated that, “These demands would turn the Trump White House into a 24/7 legal defence operation.” More aggressive questioning into the Russian Collusion, Trump’s tax returns, and interference with the Justice Department will leave the President with little room to hide.
The House of Reps will undoubtedly be a big source of headache for Trump, but perhaps this will cause the most dramatic change to our news cycles of late: that being the possibility of Trump and the Democrats working together. US pundits and journos are predicting that Trump may seek to boost his popularity outside of his core base by working alongside Democrats. But don’t expect Trump and the Republicans to become best friends — remember, we entered 2019 with a US government shutdown over Trump’s infamous border wall that left thousands of workers unemployed.
Will we get the impeachment we’ve all been praying for in 2019? Not likely. Throughout last year’s campaign season, Democrats were quick to downplay any real talk of throwing out Trump. Unless damning information is revealed in the Muller investigation, or by the Congressional Committees raining subpoenas on the White House, there is little likelihood of a Trump impeachment. After all, the ‘Blue Wave’ was not strong for Democrats to take the Senate, which means any impeachment process will be halted as soon as it leaves the House. So settle in, grab some popcorn: the Trump Show is not over yet, and we’ve got a front row seat.
The reckoning of Brexit is finally upon us, but unsurprisingly, Theresa May has struggled to bring a substantial fix to the table. The concept of a ‘no deal’ exit is becoming more likely as politicians bicker over the Chequer’s deal May has offered them. With D-Day fast approaching on March 29, a hard or soft Brexit will have unique consequences, with the possibility of crashing out of the EU very real.
Expect chaos to ensue in a no deal scenario, a little below dystopian standards. Economic wobbles and issues with trade would arise, with little safety nets installed for tumbles. A hard border would be established between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland with a predicted breakout of violence to follow. Tensions between the EU and the UK would arise, as the economic stakes are raised and each side demands more.
The softer the Brexit, the less the relationship between the EU and Britain will shift. A hard Brexit would see Britain take a sharp turn out of the European Union, and its package of the single market, customs union, and Courts of Justice. Many conservatives demand a hard Brexit, but the closer the UK gets to doomsday, the more people are turning soft. Recent data has revealed that 2.6 million people have changed their mind on leaving the EU, many out of fear of the economic fallout that would result from a hard or no deal Brexit.
May’s ‘solution’ —the Chequer’s Deal —to the Brexit issue, has been labelled an attempt to cherry-pick policy from both sides. An attempt to please everyone, the Chequer’s Deal offers the UK an avoidance of tariffs and border delays for goods, but allow the UK to make trade deals with other countries. Migration would be monitored, but not for Europeans currently in Britain. If May were to have her way, it would be sorted, and everyone would be home in time for tea, but both Europeans and politicians at home are slamming the deal. The EU’s head negotiator Michel Barnier went as far as to tell British MPs that, “The proposals are dead.”
With the March 29 deadline fast approaching, expect to see fights break out between politicians and more protests to take place as May attempts to untangle Britain from its mess.
After the 2014 landslide win of Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India, not many expected the party’s popularity to subside so quickly. But the fervour surrounding Modi has seemingly slowed down ahead of 800 million people heading to election booths in May. In December 2018 the BJP lost three separate state elections, allowing the opposition Congress Party a chance at power. Indians are discontent with rising prices following the introduction of a goods and services tax, and are increasingly concerned about violence against the country’s Muslim population, seemingly spurred by the BJP’s Hindu Nationalist rhetoric. Women are also increasingly turning away from the BJP, the ‘women’s wall’ protest of the Sabarimala Temple’s ban on women of menstruating age from entering the temple was in part a move against the BJP, who supported the ban. Though the challenge to Modi’s leadership is a real one, he’s still leading in the polls. We’ll have to wait until May 2019 to see the outcome.
Populism will grip Europe in 2019 ahead of the European Union Parliamentary Elections, less than two months after Britain exits the union. Populist and Nationalist parties have seized more and more power across Europe, from the League Party in Italy to Viktor Orban’s stronghold on Hungarian politics, with the populist tide set to change the make-up of the EU Parliament. The parties themselves are poised for battle, with Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister (and leader of the anti-EU League Party) describing the election as a “…referendum between the Europe of the elites, of banks, of finance, of immigration and precarious work against the Europe of people and labour.”
Many are calling the election already, saying that the days of the centre ‘Grand Coalition’ are numbered, along with a cohesive and effective legislature process. There is a real risk of a paralysed Parliament unable to implement legislation due to a political divide and groups attempting to fracture the process. The question for the EU is not whether populism will change Europe, but to what extent.
This year will be one of change and disruptions, beyond what we saw in years past. The polarisation of politics worldwide will see many countries fighting within themselves, with real consequences for those living there. Beyond that, we can only look to our crystal balls with a hindered sense of foresight into the coming year. Whatever 2019 holds, we can only hope the memes are good.