What to watch in 2018

What to watch in 2018

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At home
Democrats will take back the House “by 
an eyelash” in the 2018 midterm elections, the Financial Times’ Courtney
 Weaver predicts. It’s typical for the party of the president to lose 
seats in the midterms, and the Republican Party could “lose big” given 
Trump’s sub-50 approval rating. A Democrat majority in the House would 
also mean impeachment proceedings against Trump could gain ground in the
 new year.


Trump’s approach to China
 is about to change for several reasons, per Sinocism’s Bill Bishop: the
 administration’s National Security Strategy very clearly reframed the 
U.S. government’s view of China in a confrontational way, the president 
believes China is still not doing enough on North Korea, and the 
administration’s “America First” trade contingent is ascendant. Several 
trade actions are in the planning stages and they will likely hit soon.

Uneasy tension around the North Korean 
nuclear threat will continue — or escalate. Trump tweeted on Dec. 28 
that there won’t be a “friendly solution” to the issue of North Korea if
 China violates UN sanctions against the rogue regime. And Admiral Mike 
Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said on ABC’s This Week 
that the U.S. is closer “than ever before” to a nuclear confrontation 
with North Korea.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May will keep her job, per the Financial Times’ Sebastian Payne. “Sealing a Brexit divorce deal has ensured short-term job security,” Payne writes.

Zimbabwe won’t hold free and fair 
elections in 2018 despite the end to Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule, FT’s 
David Pilling predicts. And Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Phillips writes, 
“Emmerson Mnangagwa will surely prove a more capable manager of 
Zimbabwe’s economy than Mugabe, but there are plenty of reasons to fear 
he’ll be just as ruthless and undemocratic.”

The global economy

Synchronized growth will continue. This 
year, for the first time since the Great Recession, the world’s leading 
economies grew in sync. And that growth will hold into 2018, Goldman 
Sachs research economists predict. They’re forecasting 4.0% GDP growth 
for the new year, up from a 3.7% projection for 2017.

Emerging markets will grow as well. 
Average GDP growth for emerging markets will reach 5%, up from 4.7% in 
2017, per the Financial Times’ James Kynge. “This will mostly be because
 Russia and Brazil, which have stumbled, will bounce back,” Kynge writes.

In tech

Big Tech will get stronger. “Silicon 
Valley got raked over the coals in 2017 about sexism, security and its 
influence on national affairs. But it hasn’t really grappled with the 
bigger problem: There’s too much power in the hands of too few … Expect 
to see tech giants flogging their “social good” efforts in the year 
ahead, but our trust won’t be restored by watching them act like 
benevolent dictators,” per the Washington Post’s Gregory Fowler.

Bitcoin will keep dominating headlines 
with its dramatic crashes and booms. Goldman Sachs became the first 
major Wall Street institution to launch a trading desk for the 
cryptocurrency in 2017, and, as more institutions venture into the 
crypto world, prices will rise accordingly, CNBC’s Eric Jackson 

Augmented reality will rise in 
prominence, Axios’ Alayna Treene reports. “In the next few years, we’re 
going to see AR develop significantly and start to break through to the 
mainstream. Once that happens, it will effect almost every aspect of 
daily life — from entertainment and work to education and 

In media

Transparency will become “the antidote 
to fake news,” Frontline’s Raney Aronson-Rath tells Nieman Lab. Per 
Aronson-Rath, “We’ve seen Facebook make moves towards differentiating between verified and unverified stories. Twitter and Google, too. But the problem is massive, and these are just first steps.”


The #MeToo movement will continue 
toppling powerful men who behave badly in media and every other 
industry. Here’s a list of the 82 men accused of sexual harassment and 
assault in 2017.


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