With 2015 in the rearview mirror we’re all trying to imagine a Texas in 2016: What might change? What might not?
These questions are inextricable from the future of the nation, and the world at large. The future of the Lone Star State can’t be imagined in a vacuum.
With a state as large as ours – the latest official U.S. Census says we’re at 26.96 million people – we’re twice the national average population. We might just crack 27 million this year.
The Standard reached out to some prominent Texans, asking each to give us their top predictions for the new year. As difficult and full of folly as such a request is, we heard predictions of a Texas still coming to terms with it’s outsized pace in the world, while having an outsized impact on that world.
“I often look for contradictions that have to somehow come to an end. One of those contradictions is the Palestinian authority which has not been able to achieve peace and has not been able to advance the cause of the Palestinian people. I fear that it will come to an end soon and that will force Israel to take the role as a complete occupying power.
“Someday the contradictions in North Korea will make themselves apparent. Whether it’ll be in the year 2016 or sometime soon. North Korea cannot endure forever as an occupied beleaguered country as it is right now.
“I suspect that we will hear from the Internal Revenue Service sometime one day in the future that they are going to reexamine Scientology’s tax exemption, which may cause that church to finally begin to reexamine some of its human rights abuses.
“I think if the Republican party continues to put forward extremist candidates, that it’s going to be a banner year election for the Democrats if Hillary Clinton is indeed the candidate. If the Republicans make a more moderate choice, then it could well be a Republican presidency.”
“[In 2016, Texas] finally gets the credit that it deserves. The credit for being multicultural, for being more diverse, for being more open and more – I think – intriguing than anyone gives us credit for. There’s a lot to be learned about Texas. There’s a lot to be seen and known about Texas and there’s a lot to be discovered in Texas.
“I think people are going to start understanding that Texas isn’t as red a state as we’ve been led to believe. I think in the upcoming election Texas is going to prove that. I think it’s gonna prove that we’re a little bit more open-minded about the world we want to live in, about the people that we want to live in that world with us as well.”
Carole Keeton, the first – and only – female Mayor of Austin:
“I’m thrilled that we now have a majority of women on the [Austin City] Council for the first time ever. I predict that the odds are high that a majority of women and men in these United States will elect the first woman president ever in 2016.
“With great certainty I predict that the inaugural class of Dell Medical School in 2016 will be the start of better ways of delivering health care at a lower cost for all our children and all our children’s children for generations to come.”
Matthew Dowd, chief political analyst for ABC News and proud Central Texan:
“We will continue to see a disruption in the status quo of the two parties. By the end of 2016 we’ll see the emergence of a new party that will take a different shape and we’ll see that flower and foster in 2017 and 2018. So continue disruption of our current political system and it growing into something different and more as we move ahead.”
Kacey Musgraves, musician out of Golden, Texas:
“It’s gonna be a good year…. I just feel like there’s a good vibe in the air. People are waking up to things that make them more healthy, just loving all different kinds of people more. Legalizing things that help others.
“It just seems like we’re moving in a positive direction in that way. Of course there’s always going to be some setbacks in different areas with close-minded ignorant people. But for the most part it seems like we’re moving forward.”