In my view there are two givens in the political equation for the coming year. In Canada there will be a federal election. In the United States there will be a democratic president.
First, Canada. There is simply no way Stephane Dion and the Liberals can go on condemning Stephen Harper’s conservative policies in the country at large and refusing to vote against them in Parliament. So around about the time of the next Tory budget in late February or early March, Liberal leader Dion will pull the plug on the present government and an election will be called for some time in the spring.
At this point I will make another prediction. There will be no majority government elected. Harper is too unpopular in Ontario and the big cities. Dion’s weakness in his own province of Quebec will thwart his ambition for a majority.
Now I will go out on a long limb. I think Stephane Dion will lead the Liberals back to a minority government. The reasons are clear enough. Dion is a straight shooter and he will be perceived by the voter as such. Further, he will make his own the most important issue of the century, climate change.
In contrast, Stephen Harper is a mean-minded control freak who spends too much energy cozying up to the discredited George Bush. He is also tied to the war in Afghanistan which will become more and more unpopular with Canadians as the year 2008 goes along.
Now, for the United States. It doesn’t take much courage to predict that a Democrat will be elected president next November. Even if the Republicans had a strong candidate (which they don’t) it would still be a democratic year because of George Bush’s lamentable record.
Just look at the Republicans. Giuliani sees a terrorist under every bed including that of his third wife. Huckabee rejects income taxes and evolution. John McCain is too old. Mitt Romney is too slick. (However if I had to predict a Republican winner less than two days before the Iowa caucuses, I would have to go with Romney.)
The Democrats are in a tight race, probably too tight to call. Today’s Des Moines Register poll shows Obama on top followed by Hillary and John Edwards. However these polls are notoriously unreliable because they are based on the total population of Iowa (three million) while fewer than 10 per cent of those will actually show up at the caucuses.
If John Edwards does not win Iowa he is probably finished. (Even if he does win it is difficult to see how he has the resources to mount a national campaign before super Tuesday on February 5.) Clinton and Obama could both lose in Iowa and live to fight another day.
During most of the year just ending I considered myself a supporter of Hillary Clinton. Now I am taking a serious look at Obama.
So there you are:
In Canada a minority government led by Stephane Dion and the Liberals.
In the United States a Democratic president – either Hillary or Obama.
Do you have a prediction for 2008 in the area of politics, religion, sports, culture or anything else? Do share it with us.