Thursday, January 3, 2019

9 Political Trends (Without Getting Political About Them)

Happy New Year (we hope). We don’t usually make predictions about politics, and we’re not about to change that now. 

That said, there are some issues that touch on politics that will get attention. We mention them below (but not the partisan issues) because these are topics reporters will cover in 2019. (We also broke out some of these trends under our finance sector trends.)

1.   The state of the economy, including a volatile stock market, trade wars, trade deals and tariffs, taxes, deficits and unemployment will get a lot of attention in 2019. We’re not taking sides, merely pointing out what to expect will be top of mind. Recession watch will increase, after 37 quarters of the longest expansion. China will be a big part of the story. (Please note: when we wrote this, in early December, we didn't think there would actually be a partial government shutdown due to a lack of funding for the border wall -- so we got that part wrong -- but there has been growing attention paid to the financial impact of the shutdown on the economy, the furloughed federal employees and others hurt by the shutdown, and we feel the financial impact of the shutdown will be trending.)

2.  Brexit, if it happens, will be big news. It will happen but we think it won’t deliver on the promised benefits. London's role as a finance capital will also be evaluated and discussed in the media. (It is an important issue because as much as many feel that employees can operate remotely, location still matters to finance companies.)

3.  Student debt levels and Millennial’s financial habits. Expect to see articles about how student loans will impact down-the-road growth since millennials, who may be underemployed or working a part-time with a couple of side gigs, may not be able to afford to purchase homes.

4.  The state of healthcare will get attention. Again, not taking sides (although it seems important to maintain coverage of pre-existing conditions) but in the buildup to 2020, there’s going to be a lot of discussion about what healthcare should look like. Expect continued concerns about drug prices with not enough understanding of the costs of drug development, which can take a decade and investments exceeding $2 billion.

5.  Election reforms will get discussed on op-ed pages. Still not taking sides (although it seems important not to suppress votes in a democracy) but poorly designed ballots, early voting, absentee ballots, machines that don’t breakdown while offering a paper trail, and enough polling places in poor neighborhoods are issues certain to be reported on in 2019.

6.  Climate control and extreme weather will be a big story. After a record hot year a more wildfires, hurricanes, floods, heat waves, etc., 2019 will see more debate and coverage about rising sea levels and how to protect people and property, manage Federal and state lands and what we can do or should do and the Paris Agreement. We don’t necessarily expect progress or solutions (in 2020, that will depend on who’s elected president) but the topic will be get a lot of media attention.

7.  Gun control and the state of the NRA. In 2018, the NRA reported a $55 million drop in revenues. We don’t think the NRA is on the ropes, financially, nor politically, despite some 39 new Democrats in the House of Representative. But at a time when schools routinely schedule lockdown practices and people aren’t safe in temples and churches from gun violence, we do believe there will be discussion/coverage in the media in 2019 about what can be done.

8.  The 2020 campaign will unofficially begin in 2019. This is obvious but we feel there will be a lot more coverage of presidential politics in 2019 than during any year prior to the actual presidential election. We’re not going to make any other predictions.

We've tried not to take sides, and hopefully we succeeded. These eight trends will eat up airtime and ink so we feel it's important to at least acknowledge them because it means that the media may not have the resources to cover your story.

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