(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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Clinton proposes comprehensive immigration reform every year. It is blocked by the House every year.
- Cruz, Ryan and Mike Pence are anointed as the leading GOP candidates for president in 2020.
- Two new liberal justices are added to the Supreme Court, cementing a liberal majority for a generation. Despair deepens across Red State America.
- 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.
- After her inaugural address, Clinton is attacked by activists for not being liberal enough.
- 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)