Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gestures to supporters after she was projected to be the winner in the Democratic caucuses in Las Vegas, Nevada February 20, 2016. REUTERS/David Becker - RTX27V13

10 predictions for the days after Nov. 8

(RNS) Let's say that the majority of the polls are right, and Hillary Clinton wins the presidency rather comfortably on Nov. 8. Let's further posit that the Democrats take the Senate narrowly and the Republicans retain the House. What happens next? Getting out my crystal ball, here are 10 things that I predict will happen:

  1. Donald Trump blames everyone but himself -- biased media, voter fraud, disloyal GOP leaders, etc. Millions believe him. But instead of remaining in politics or marching on Washington, he starts Trump TV, where he remains ubiquitous until 2030.
  2. Paul Ryan remains speaker of the House. Reince Priebus is bounced out of his role as head of the Republican Party. The party remains divided between Trumpists and anti-Trumpists.
  3. A group of political fundamentalist Christians declares the election of Clinton to be a fulfillment of Scriptures associated with the End of Days. New Countdown-to-Armageddon calendars appear. Christ's return is set for July 7, 2017.
  4. GOP senators led by Ted Cruz threaten to block any Clinton Supreme Court nominee. The Democratic leadership pushes through rules changes preventing that from happening. Republicans cry foul. Democrats smile benignly.
  5. Clinton proposes comprehensive immigration reform every year. It is blocked by the House every year.
  6. Cruz, Ryan and Mike Pence are anointed as the leading GOP candidates for president in 2020.
  7. Two new liberal justices are added to the Supreme Court, cementing a liberal majority for a generation. Despair deepens across Red State America.
  8. Christian right organizations continue their failed 40-year-old strategy of attempting to "take back America" by electing GOP candidates to high office. Their organizations continue to shrink in influence.
  9. After her inaugural address, Clinton is attacked by activists for not being liberal enough.
  10. Barack Obama writes an award-winning memoir based on secret journals he has been keeping since 2008. He and Michelle retire to Hawaii, Chicago and Martha's Vineyard.

So what do I really think about the events of this election year?

I think Clinton ran a very smart campaign and made very few unforced errors, with "basket of deplorables" a notable exception. When she saw what was going on with her adversary, she decided to stay out of the headlines and make as little news as possible. This was smart, and disciplined.

I think Trump winning the GOP nomination is one of the most amazing things ever to happen in American politics, and that we will be arguing about how it happened for a long time.

I think Trump could have won the presidency if he had pursued a coherent strategy and were a person of disciplined temperament. But he did himself in, and after a while he lost the persuadables he needed to win the election.

I think that Christians who are pursuing a partisan-politics strategy to bear Christian witness or bring social change have once again been used, abused and embarrassed by politicians far shrewder than they are.

I think that after this election the culture wars are over, and the conservatives have lost. The rest is endgame.

I don't think, but know, that my current interests are with the academy and the local church, ancient institutions far from the madding crowd. There I am fully engaged and find uncomplicated joy in my work of thinking, teaching, preaching and leading. I am more and more persuaded that the long, slow work of spiritual development, intellectual inquiry and moral formation probably matters a whole lot more to public life than does politics itself.

(David Gushee is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University in Georgia. He writes the "Christians, Conflict and Change" column for RNS)


  1. I think one of two things will happen:

    1). Hillary will not address the problems that caused misguided people to vote for a sociopath like Trump.

    2) Hillary will try to address the problems that caused misguided people to vote for a sociopath like Trump. Republicans will block her every move and so defeat any chance for life getting better for the people who voted them into office, thus ensuring that the same people will continue to vote Republican.

    Either way, things will not get better for Trumps’s voters, and next time the will nominate an even slicker, nastier candidate than Trump.

    Prove me wrong, people,please!

  2. Watch for America’s troubles and slo-mo stagnation to continue and even worsen after Hillary wins. The national uncertainties, the troubling headlines, won’t get any better in 2017.

    The liberal Clinton supporters will be happy (for a while), just as the liberal Obama supporters once were happy (for a while), but obviously Hillary doesn’t have any more solutions than Trump did. Most folks, maybe even Dr. Gushee, will soon be acknowledging that much.

    Moreover, Hillary will bring her “hubris” issue (Gen. Colin Powell’s word), and her infamous “honesty” problem, to the White House. And that’s even BEFORE we look at Hillary’s support of national tragedies like legalized gay marriage, unrestricted abortion-on-demand, and de-facto repeal of religious freedom.

    Those items bring a heavy price tag, folks. Don’t be fooled by labels like “progressive.” Those trends are not progressive, they are tragic. America is in some very real trouble, folks.

    Anyway, we all must decide what areas to focus on next, and how best to pray, serve God, and serve people, post-election. May God bless us all in those decisions.

  3. The analysis ignores the possibility of a rise of a third party to challenge the Republican Party and its part in the two party system. Better for America (Evan McMullin/Mindy Finn) and the Libertarian Party (Gary Johnson/William “Bill” Weld) could replace the Republican Party due to grabbing enough Never Trump votes.

    Gary Johnson has floated the idea of Jonathan Turley and Tom Campbell as his Supreme Court nominees. They’re libertarian rather than liberal or conservative which would be interesting by having a third perspective on the Court. There are also down ballot Libertarians running for Congress, Senate, Governor, and other things which also could affect the political balance. A third caucus in the Senate would be an interesting tie breaker between Republicans and Democrats. The same goes for the House.

    Anyways, can you make predictions for how your ten predictions would be affected in my Yellow Revolution scenario? Yellow Revolution is my scenario where each and every Libertarian up and down the ballot in the whole country wins where they are running. It may be an unlikely scenario, but I want to see predictions of what would happen in that timeline from you.

  4. Usually what happens in these instances is that someone notes the time and the doctor attending calls it.

  5. I think Trump could have won the presidency if he had pursued a coherent strategy and were a person of disciplined temperament.

    That’s not what got Trump the Republican nomination, and Trump can only be Trump.

  6. Very reasonable predictions, with a couple of exceptions:

    1. It will more likely be Ruth Bader Ginsberg that retires instead of Clarence Thomas. The court will be 5-4 majority progressive. If any conservative Justice retires it would likely be Anthony Kennedy who’s 80.

    2. The GOP has an internal “civil war” after the defeat of Trump. I don’t see both factions remaining together. One or the other will go. If the regular conservatives leave, the GOP’s future is doomed as a major party, and a new center-right party is formed. Or else we’ll see the formation of a right-wing nationalist party.

    3. Marriage equality dies as an issue as the vast majority of Americans move on.

  7. As weird as this political season has been, in my view all bets are off, and I wouldn’t stick my neck out to predict anything. This nation is presently as unsettled as it has ever been, and the pendulum will continue to swing as it always has. It will probably get worse before (and if) it gets better. This is where I am required to put my trust in God and leave to Him, while continuing to try to live a just and compassionate life, the questions and judgements of the future.

  8. I’d implore the most fundamentalist devout in this forum to ignore the author’s disregard for the prohibition against fortune telling in Leviticus 20:27 and not put Brother Gishee to death by stoning, particularly if/when he’s shown to be eerily correct…

  9. The GOP will split into two factions. The Dems will remain solid. Trump fked the GOP for decades.

  10. The Republican party will do a study to find out why they lost so badly (as they did in 2012) and then refuse to make any of the changes recommended by the report to broaden their appeal (as they did in 2012).

  11. I agree. Crooze and Kasick are slicker, nastier and much sneakier and smarter than trump. I fear one of them will be the next nominee. Republicans can do better, and I hope they will.

  12. Stephen, your “Yellow Revolution” scenario is interesting, but I think it would be short lived. There are aspects of libertarianism that I like, such as getting government out of the day to day aspects of people’s lives, especially in their own homes and doctor’s offices, and keeping religion out of government. But I think when people see what libertarianism does to our caring for one another, support will melt away.

    If you’re thinking about a modified libertarianism, I’d have to see the details before I could support it.

  13. I think the internal activities of the Republicans will be very interesting. I’m really hoping for an active center right party. That would be good for America. I can’t see any benefit in a far right nationalist party. There are plenty of patriotic Americans all across the political spectrum.

  14. Good points Edward. I fear you are right about the “worse before it gets better.” (I think it will get better eventually.) Anyway, a lot of that will be determined by how Congress turns out. A House that remains Republican does not bode well because I think they’ll continue to be the Party of No and America will continue to be stuck. If the Democrats get the House, unlikely but possible, this nation will be freed to move forward, fix Obamacare, resolve immigration issues, repair infrastructure, reform banking, etc.

    My biggest concern with a Madame President administration is the Middle East. It’s so intractable and I want Clinton to be less hawkish.

  15. Dr. Gushee, good article. The thoughtfulness of most of your commenters has been fun to consider.

    The majority in the House is critical. Minnesota, my state, is poised to flip retiring Rep. John Kline’s seat to a Democratic woman and the same may happen to Rep. Paulsen’s seat.


  16. Trump doesn’t deserve that much credit. The GOP did it to themselves. This is just the Southern Strategy coming home to roost.

  17. Who ever the new President is, and it appears that it will be Mrs. Clinton, I fully expect that the more intractable regimes of the Middle East will test her early and often, as no doubt will our friend Mr. Putin.

  18. I agree with all the above with the exception of #7. The problem with #7 is that we already do that – Ms. Clinton is a Centrist of the first-order; those who feel she is Very Liberal reveal themselves as Far Right (many Far Right people seem unwilling to admit they are Far Right). Ms. Clinton’s positions on pretty much anything align closely to popular opinion and are not in the least bit Extreme. The other problem with #7 is the use of the term “Liberal”. We don’t use that term, we are “Left”, not “Liberal”. Liberal is a term of centrists and those on The Right, it does not mean much of anything. I am Left-of-Center, Ms. Clinton is Center [aka Liberal]. Ms. Clinton panders to The Left just as many Republican candidates pander to The Right.

  19. I doubt there will be another Trump as the absolute count of his supporters is declining. In another 4 – 8 years much of their political capital will have been spent.

  20. I don’t think the cultural wars will be over. Yes the left has won. And Hillary Clinton is now their champion. But how long can half of the people continue to get by with putting down the other half? Just as conservatives have often overstepped their rightful boundaries, the liberals are going to overstep too. I don’t know what the issue will be. But some issue will arise and bring a big backlash.
    If you disagree with liberals they call you a xenophobe, or worse. The Huffingtons would call Jesus a xenophobe. I don’t know how Jesus would address every current issue. But he would not agree with everything that Huffington says. And when he disagreed on even one thing, they would trash him.
    He would not agree with Trump. The Trumps and the Huckabees would lambast him.
    Divisive language from the right and left are both destructive.
    Ronald Reagan asked, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” We should ask, “Are we more at peace amongst ourselves than we were eight years ago?” The answer should totally demolish Obama-Clinton-Kaine. Except that the Republicans nominated Trump.
    If Jesus told the story of a good Samaritan today, nobody could praise the Samaritan without first determining that his politics agreed with their’s. If the Samaritan didn’t agree, they would lambast him, and also Jesus for complimenting him.
    That is where we are. Where do we go from here? We had better make a U turn. Four years from now, we need to be able to ask, “Are we more at peace among ourselves than we were four years ago?” And we can’t get there with Trump or Clinton. See Donald Trump and Arianna Huffington Are The Same Person on Sendspace and Docdroid. A lot of things that nobody is saying, but need to be said.

  21. “If you disagree with liberals they call you a xenophobe, or worse. ”

    Thus demonstrating exactly where the problem is actually coming from.

    For someone who seems to be decrying demonization, you were quite happy to go there just as soon as you could.

  22. A slicker, nastier version who learns from Trump’s mistakes will appeal to more people.

  23. If by some miracle Hillary wins she won’t be able to get a thing done.

  24. “I think that after this election the culture wars are over, and the conservatives have lost.” The culture wars are never over. Progressives always are on the search for some new social injustice that they must rectify. Then when challenged by conservatives,Progressive will accuse them of “waging war on . . . .”

  25. When we take politics, or religion, or worse both, and use them as a drug to feel better about this world we become deeply disappointed in one, or the other, or both after awhile. Neither makes the bad things go away. Used the right way they can help us live with some bad things around us. We seem to be along way from understanding why both are becoming more and more ineffective.

  26. These are interesting predictions, which I think have a lot of likelihood to come to pass.
    I fear that there are less savory predictions that are not listed. Hillary will strut her machismo with war posturing and worse. Climate will be addressed somewhat more vigorously but not enough to turn the tide (witness nothing on climate during the three debates). Policy making will still be unduly influenced by special interest megabucks. Israel will still confiscate Palestinian lands and build settlements with impunity and U.S. subsidization.

  27. You mean the main stream media ran a smart campaign, and covered up Hillary’s errors, don’t you? Because there was plenty to go after her on, and frankly, had the Republicans had a candidate that actually has half a clue, this race would have been all but over by now…and Clinton would not even be in the discussion. Here is a hint: please note that a couple weeks from the election, and Clinton has still not delivered the proverbial knock out blow. Most, including me, expect she will win…but the truth is, Trump has actually closed the gap. We really don’t know who will win. Not that it matters, because whomever wins, the rest of us loose.
    As for your predictions, I am not sure about #2…there does not seem to be many Trumpists, but alot of anti-Clinton folks.
    I agree…the proverbial ‘culture wars’ are about over. Who lost? Actually, I don’t know. But with at least one, and possibly 2 liberal SCOTUS justices, our life is going to change. How much, and to what extent is anybodies guess.
    Enjoy the next 4 years. If nothing else, it’s gonna be interesting.

  28. Are you suggesting Clinton won’t be right enough for wingnuts such as yourself? *Shock horror*

  29. Crooze ? (If you mean Cruz, the anointed [messiah-christ] according to his father, I believe he is worse than Trump in the sense that C sees his political ideology as Christian, and therefore endorsed by God.) I think his wife Heidi sees her husband as the face of God!

  30. Agreed. Actually, I call him Oozy Croozy because he is awfully slimy. Ick.

  31. I think you re way ahead of yourself. although I am glad you assume Clinton —-this is what I hope, but an old rural proverb: don’t count your chickens before they hatch (that could be aptly included in Sirach or Wisdom somewhere) I am just praying and working the polls this point. but I would make no predictions…..

  32. I hate to rain on your parade, but it looks like things are quite turning out like you expected.

  33. In case you missed it, you are wrong. Trump won and it is the Democrats who are in disarray and denial. Who will they nominate in 2020? Who knows since their bench is either geriatric or non-existent.

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