As the holiday season winds down, it’s time to think ahead to 2015 and what lies before us. This past year didn’t hold many surprises, unless you count $2-a-gallon gasoline or the Dallas Cowboys making the NFL playoffs. Republicans took control of Congress in the November mid-term elections, as expected, and there was turmoil in the Middle East, as usual.
So as 2015 begins, here’s a rundown of what to expect this next year:
College football playoff: Oregon wins it all, easily.
Super Bowl: Pittsburgh beats Dallas in overtime in the most-watched Super Bowl of all time. The NFL playoffs are increasingly won by teams getting hot at the right time — and nobody’s hotter than the Steelers and Cowboys right now.
Politics: President Barack Obama will become increasingly irrelevant as his penultimate year in office gets going. Executive action and the veto pen are his only options, and he’ll have to use the latter often. Without Harry Reid to keep his desk clear, the president will have to veto a bevy of bills sent to him by the GOP-led Congress. It will mark the first sign of a functioning government in years, even if the first order of business will be to shut down for a few weeks.
Immigration: There will be no change in the status quo in 2015 or any year after that. Both parties learned long ago that demonizing each other over immigration reform is much more valuable than doing something about it.
Net neutrality: This is probably the single most important legislative issue of the year. If the powers-that-be can get it done before the public figures out what this issue is all about, expect to pay more for your online on-ramp in the future.
Dallas Cowboys: Sam Bradford will be the backup quarterback for the 2015 season and will start Week 1 with Tony Romo continuing to nurse an ailing back.
Big 12: Baylor will host Texas, with a share of the Big 12 title on the line for both teams. The Big 12 will once again crown a pair of one-loss co-champs and spend another year on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs.
Gov. Abbott: Texas’ new governor will move to the center and govern from a reasonable platform, in spite of running from the right in 2014. Greg Abbott will be one of a handful of adults in Austin, along with House Speaker Joe Straus, who together keep the state on the rails and moving forward.
Oil: Gas is cheap, so we’re driving more. Look for $3 a gallon by Nov. 1. Sorry!
Economy: Stocks are at an all-time high. Unemployment is back to pre-recession levels. Corporate earnings continue to set records. What’s missing here? Oh, yes, jobs. Could this be the year that the unemployment rate drops because people are actually going back to work rather than no longer looking for it?
Economy, part two: As of this writing, 22 states have increased minimum-wage standards to a level higher than the $7.25-per- hour federal rate. On Jan. 1, the minimum wage will go up in 20 different states. An increasing number of these wage hikes are being driven by initiative petition and passing with ease. On this front, gridlock in Washington is irrelative. Look for more wage hikes driving from the bottom up in 2015 and beyond.
Election 2016: Precinct caucuses begin in Iowa on Jan. 5, 2016. The state caucus is Jan. 18. Between now and then, a dozen or so Republican candidates will enter the race — and more than a few will drop out. Who will emerge as the front-runners? My money’s on Chris Christie and Jeb Bush on the GOP side, and Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren on the Democratic side. Either way, the 2016 nominees will be known earlier than ever before. Indeed, the race is already well underway.
Steve Boggs is editor of the Waco Tribune-Herald. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.