We hear a lot about losing weight and getting organized for New Year’s resolutions. But the hot commitment this year should be to pay more attention to politics.
Why? Here are 5 reasons you need to watch politics in 2013…
- It’s the economy, stupid! After four years of recession and frustratingly slow growth, the U.S. economy is poised for a comeback. Pent-up demand is finally beginning to leak out, and the green shoots of a resurgent stock market and stabilized home prices are signs that another expansion is on the way. That is, of course, if congress can manage to stay out of the way. The current fiscal cliff snafu is a sign they don’t intend to.
- The Supreme Court takes up gay marriage. From CNN legal analyst Jeffery Toobin:
“There are two cases, and there are a Rubik’s Cube-worth of possibilities for their outcomes. On one extreme, the court could say that the federal government (in the Defense of Marriage Act) and the states can ban or allow same-sex marriage as they prefer. On the other end, the Court could rule that gay people have a constitutional right to marry in any state in the union. (Or somewhere in between.)”
That’s kind of a big deal – a decision in any direction (but especially in favor of gay marriage) will put 2013 in the textbooks.
- Big changes to higher education. There’s no one bill, movement, or even political party that sums it all up, but high schools and colleges could be seeing some major reforms rolling their way. President Obama has made “making college more affordable” a key goal of his second term. The Supreme Court will decide whether or not to allow affirmative action to continue in college admissions. Federal spending cuts are shrinking college aid. Tuition costs are exploding. Locally, governor-elect Mike Pence and the GOP statehouse have vowed to expanded a school-choice voucher program while cracking down on teachers’ unions. Across the country, youth turnout in the 2012 election has scared government into action. Nice work, guys.
- The return of gun control. A series of tragic mass shootings by deranged gunmen has left a country mourning and furious. Reform-minded congressmen try to put laws in place to stop the violence, but they’re met by a committed gun lobby and a skeptical population. Who will give, and what will get done? We can expect some indicators of the Obama administration’s plan – and any opposition to it – when the committee headed by his VP reports back later this month.
- Republicans find their footing on immigration. The GOP’s been woefully off the ball on immigration. I’ve been saying for months that the party needs to get together, come up with one cohesive plan on immigration reform, run on it, and enact it. Instead, we’ve got a thousand voices shouting out plans that range all the way from deportation to amnesty. But while in the past immigration was a convenient issue to avoid addressing, the Hispanic shellacking Mitt Romney got at the polls has defibrillated the party. Look for a major Republican immigration reform bill to be offered in the next 12 months – likely sponsored by 2016 contender Marco Rubio.
Think I missed something, or want to offer up your own reason to follow politics this year? Let it out in the comments below. Every blogger loves feedback!
Here’s to a stronger, smarter America, and to more fascinating politics in 2013!