Doug Wilson

Lots of political headaches ahead in 2017

Posted: Jan. 8, 2017 12:01 am

No matter how bad things look in your life, at least you're not facing the huge challenges top political figures must confront in 2017.

Donald Trump may be basking in the glow of the November election, but later this month, he'll be saddled with complex national and international problems that will defy the simple solutions that get proposed during campaigns.

Obamacare may be unpopular with many Americans, but if too much of it is abolished, it will collapse as insurance companies flee the open marketplace that already is a mere shadow of what it was in the first couple of years. Millions of people could lose health coverage. If people hated the health care reform that was rammed down their collective throats by the Democrats, they'll hate the wreckage that could be done if Trump and the Republican Congress don't take a measured approach.

Trump also has to figure out how to deport millions of illegal immigrants, force Mexico to pay for a wall, create jobs in the private sector, and preserve the United States' status as a world military and ethical leader without stumbling into armed conflicts. And that's just for starters.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has to figure out how to lead a Republican caucus that has a small, but very vocal contingent that wants specific, absolute results -- abolishing Obamacare is one example. Meanwhile, Ryan has a much larger segment of his caucus that will be looking for revisions, but not outright repeal. His predecessor was toppled over similar disputes within the GOP.

Democrats are not going to have a great 2017, either.

Hillary Clinton will have to sort through the emotional wreckage caused by her loss in November.

Barack Obama will be adjusting to life as a past president, while watching some of his proudest accomplishments wiped out.

Without a doubt, the Obamas will be running the speaker circuit and bringing in big checks, but their influence will be greatly dimmed after leaving office.

For the Democratic Party leadership, the challenges will be even greater. They must consider how to connect with millions of Americans who rejected the party's top candidates.

Not only did most states reject Clinton, they also rejected congressional candidates, gubernatorial hopefuls and state legislators. Republicans hold a 52-46 majority in the U.S. Senate with two independents. There are 241 Republicans in the U.S. House and 194 Democrats. Republicans also have majorities in 67 of the 98 partisan state legislative chambers nationwide.

Some party leaders will undoubtedly try to figure out what parts of the Democratic game plan are not acceptable to so many voters. Others will try to figure out how to "package" the Democratic agenda more attractively without really changing a thing.

Both Republicans and Democrats also will have to look at who they can back in upcoming election cycles. Many people vote for the person, rather than the party, so it will be important to find candidates who voters trust and like.

Even though 2017 won't be a national or statewide election year, all of these political challenges are going to make it rough on politicians -- and maybe on voters.