2023: A Look Ahead

It’s time for the Spirited Reasoner to dust off his crystal ball and gaze into the future. As he does so, it appears he finds more questions than answers. But that fact does not bother him in the least. He knows that questions can teach Spirited Reasoners more than answers can, anyway.

Let’s start by gazing into the political corner of the ball, then work our way outward to the greater questions.

Will Florida Governor Ron DeSantis decide to enter the Presidential race? And, regardless of the answer to that question, will other Republicans enter the race to challenge Donald Trump? According to my crystal ball, the answer to that second question is undoubtedly yes. And we will almost certainly know the names of all those challengers before the year 2023 comes to an end. In fact, given political realities relating to the filing deadlines for early primaries, we should know their names before the end of this summer.

Will Joe Biden decide to run for reelection? And, regardless of the answer to that question, will other Democrats decide to engage in primary challenges against him? According to my crystal ball, the answer to the first question depends almost entirely on Mr. Biden’s perception of his own health and longevity. Assuming he remains in good health and decides to run again, any challenges against him would appear to be quixotic at best, given the normal deference accorded to a sitting President by his own party. In the event of a sudden illness or other indication that Mr. Biden might no longer be fit to serve, then my crystal ball tells me that all bets would be off, and we would expect the usual Democratic Party food fight involving at least a dozen or more contenders.

Will we suffer a deep and prolonged recession, coupled with persisting inflation and high interest rates? On this question, my crystal offers reassurance. Rather than displaying a pessimistic vision, the picture is one of a relatively brief, but comprehensive logistical reorganization. As supply chain issues are resolved, respiratory illness rates (including COVID, flu, and RSV) decline, and life returns to a state of relative normality, we can expect the stock market to roar ahead with a new sense of purpose. Believe it or not, my crystal ball displays a vision of Americans purchasing plug-in hybrid and all-electric cars and trucks without having to place their names on six-month waiting lists or paying outrageous premiums. I see grocery stores stocking their shelves with essential items and even offering discounts to entice purchasers.

Will Vladimir Putin continue his cowardly crusade of war crimes against Ukraine? Is the gossip true about his suffering from cancer and/or Parkinson’s disease? What happens to Russia and its relations with Western nations if Putin is replaced by another leader? On all of these questions my crystal ball becomes obstinately murky. The only clear vision is its reminder that a change of leadership in Russia would not necessarily be a good thing, given the number of hawks in Putin’s inner circle urging him to use nuclear weapons as the only remaining strategy to (in their warped opinion) save Russian face. It also shows a continuation in the Ukrainian spirit of freedom and self-determination, serving as an inspiration to the whole world.

Will Secretary Xi Jinping launch a war against Taiwan and/or the United States? Would such a war serve as a catalyst to World War III, as North Korea uses the opportunity to attack South Korea and Japan? On these questions, my crystal ball assures me that Secretary Xi is smarter than that; however, it also reminds me that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un appears to be cut from the same psychological cloth as President Putin and former President Donald Trump. In other words, even crystal balls are worthless when it comes to predicting the behavior of madmen.

Spirited Reasoners can expect the year 2023 to be a year much like other years: one in which we experience both good news and bad. But here’s wishing to you, my faithful readers, a year replete with the former and sorely lacking in the latter.