by Carl P. Leubsdorf
Each December, I speculate about what political headlines might emerge in the coming year. Last year, I correctly predicted the Dow would hit 35,000 and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy would be re-elected, but I missed almost everything else. Undeterred, I try again by looking at what might happen in 2022:
JANUARY — Congressional Republicans boycott anniversary observance of the Jan. 6 insurrection but 23 join protest outside. In Florida, former President Donald Trump reiterates unsupported claim he was fraudulently denied re-election, commends “peaceful patriots” who tried to prevent Joe Biden’s certification. In State of the Union speech, President Biden says agreement on revised Build Back Better bill is “within reach.” West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin declines comment. Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner named new Israeli finance minister. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticizes Biden and Democratic leadership, announces she will challenge Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in New York Democratic primary.
FEBRUARY — New COVID cases drop for first time in two months. Kansas City defeats Tampa Bay in Super Bowl LV. Vice President Kamala Harris unveils new government plan to limit illegal immigration and increase processing of legal arrivals. New government reports show inflation rate dropping sharply to 4%, unemployment at 3.9%. Atlanta grand jury indicts Trump for interfering with election certification in Georgia. Former president calls it “fake news.” Donald Trump Jr. says he’ll seek the presidency in 2024 if his father can’t.
MARCH — In the Texas GOP primary, George P. Bush upsets Attorney General Ken Paxton, Gov. Greg Abbott routs Don Huffines and Allen West. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces she won’t seek re-election. Manchin says he is near agreement with White House on Build Back Better bill. Trump calls Georgia indictment an attempt to stop him from seeking the presidency in 2024, sues to void indictment. Jared Schneck, the Oregon father who said “Let’s Go Brandon” during Biden’s Christmas call, says he’ll run for governor.
APRIL — Trump endorses Schneck. At House Jan. 6 Committee hearings, three leaders of the 2021 insurrection say Reps. Paul Gosar and Jim Jordan told them Trump supported their efforts to challenge congressional certification of Biden’s election. Text messages confirm their discussions. The Supreme Court votes 5-4 to allow the Jan. 6 Committee to get Trump’s emails, texts. Biden and Manchin announce agreement on reduced $1.7 trillion Build Back Better bill. Senate passes it 51-50 with Harris casting the deciding vote.
MAY — House rejects revised Build Back Better bill, as 27 progressive bolt ranks, denouncing its cuts. Biden’s job approval hits new low of 38. With Trump’s support, former state chair Jane Timken wins Ohio GOP Senate nomination, and TV personality Mehmet Oz wins in Pennsylvania. Democrats nominate Rep. Tim Ryan and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. The Supreme Court upholds Mississippi’s 15-week abortion limit, rejects stricter Texas law.
JUNE — After monthlong “persuasion” by Speaker Pelosi, the House passes a revised Build Back Better bill, 218-216. Biden’s job approval climbs to 42. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announces retirement. The Colorado Avalanche defeats the Tampa Bay Lightning in Stanley Cup finals. Brooklyn Nets win NBA title. New York Democrats reject Ocasio-Cortez, renominate Schumer in close vote. In upset, Republicans pick Andrew Giuliani to oppose Gov. Kathy Hochul, who easily wins Democratic primary.
JULY — Biden nominates Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as first Black woman Supreme Court justice. Giuliani asks his father, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, not to campaign for him in New York governor’s race. Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon is found guilty of contempt of Congress, sentenced to one year in prison. He immediately appeals. Reports say top Democrats prefer Jill Biden’s campaign appearances over her husband’s.
AUGUST — In multi-candidate Missouri GOP Senate primary, Trump-backed former Gov. Eric Greitens emerges as winner and will face ex-state Sen. Scott Sifton. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says he’ll back Judge Jackson, virtually ensuring her confirmation. Liz Cheney narrowly wins Wyoming GOP primary. Texas secretary of state finds no significant fraud in review of 2020 vote in four large counties. Dow Jones average hits 38,000. Biden’s job approval is 45.
SEPTEMBER — Georgia Supreme Court voids Trump indictment. Judge Jackson confirmed as Supreme Court justice, 53-47, including three Republicans (Sens. Susan Collins, Graham, Lisa Murkowski). Government says illegal immigration has leveled off. Trump urges removal of Texas secretary of state. Abbott refuses.
OCTOBER — House Jan. 6 Committee issues report urging Justice Department to consider criminal action against Trump for effort to obstruct Congress from certifying 2020 election result. Sen. Bernie Sanders says he may challenge Biden’s renomination in 2024. The New York Mets defeat the Texas Rangers in World Series with Max Scherzer winning two games. Amid concern about new sigma COVID strain, CDC urges fourth shot for all.
NOVEMBER — Republicans capture House with 232 seats, fewer than expected. Senate Democrats unexpectedly gain three seats for 53-47 margin, defeating Trump-backed GOP candidates in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Missouri. Texas stays red, as Abbott edges Beto O’Rourke by 2 points. House Freedom Caucus urges former President Trump to challenge Rep. Kevin McCarthy for speaker. Trump demurs. After deadlock, GOP Whip Steve Scalise emerges as compromise choice.
DECEMBER — President Biden announces he won’t seek re-election and, in a blow to Harris, says he’ll stay neutral in Democratic race. Trump says he’ll announce in January if he will run in 2024. Outgoing Speaker Pelosi named U.S. ambassador to Italy. Washington grand jury indicts former President Trump for obstructing congressional certification of 2020 election. Cheney says she will run in 2024 Republican primary. Eric Trump says he may challenge brother Donald Trump Jr., declaring “It’s our party and I’ll run if I want to.”