What Will The Next 11 Months Look Like For America's Government?
Last November brought sweeping change when voters across America dictated who will dominate the United States government for the next four years. Not since 2007 have Republicans led both the executive and legislative branches of government. They now control the presidency, the Senate and the House of Representatives.
As this political earthquake mounts a new government landscape, Americans can expect its tremors to settle into reforms and perhaps even Constitutional amendments in 2017.
A New Supreme Court
February 2016 saw the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scilia. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony M. Kennedy and Stephen G. Breyer are aged 83, 80 and 78 respectively. Outgoing President Barack Obama fought vigorously to appoint a nominee, Judge Merrick B. Garland. The GOP successfully thwarted the appointment. The highest court's liberal, Left-leaning presence has withered with age. A new court dominated by conservative justices is on the horizon.
President-elect Donald Trump has indicated a new appointment to the Supreme Court will be a priority his first few weeks in office. Most likely, his strategy will be to appoint justices to strengthen conservative interests and legislative power in government for potentially decades.
A Rebuilt Cyberstructure
Government officials broke with party loyalty to address the alleged election cyberattacks from Russia and their compromise of the American democratic process. Economic sanctions and the eviction of Russian intelligence officials from authorized U.S. compounds were consequences for the European superpower's hack into National Convention computer systems, email accounts and passwords.
The government is still working to understand how infrastructural vulnerabilities arose and how cybersecurity went wrong. Party leaders agree new systems and technical measures to protect U.S. military intelligence, government data and top-secret correspondence are urgent expenditures to invest taxpayer dollars in.
Electoral College Reform
Hillary Clinton's landslide popular vote victory was unprecedented. At last count, she had earned more votes than any other presidential candidate in history including such distinctive presidents as Richard Nixon, John Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln. Yet the Constitution's mandate of an Electoral College intercessor between the people's vote handed the office to her opponent instead.
Critics have long pointed out the Electoral College's antiquated system and outdated logic. For instance, the Electoral College was originally a measure to balance state representation in presidential elections between Northern and Southern states during the nation's Antebellum period. Given the number of protests and efforts to inspire "faithless electors" to install the most popular presidential nominee, many Democrats and even GOP leaders say it is time for change. To make sure the attendant Constitutional amendments are firmly in place by the 2020 presidential season, the race to Electoral College reform or abolition begins in government now.
Affordable Care Act Reform
The outgoing president's signature "Obamacare" provided low-cost and subsidized health care to millions of uninsured Americans. Yet, this complicated and burly piece of legislation is not without downsides and its critics. From a disgruntled health care industry forced to take on patients with pre-existing conditions to big business health insurers forced to skyrocket rates, many Americans want the Affordable Care Act dismantled. Government negotiations and legislative proposals have already begun to reform, eradicate or amend the act. This legislation will most certainly continue to be a centerpiece of government activity and talks over the next year.