And the Award Goes to…

Time for the classic New Year’s parlor game. No, I’m not referring to smooching the rando bird in the short skirt at midnight—haven’t you heard we banish lechs who don’t get notarized consent now?

I’m talking 2024 predictions. Let’s not bother with the whole 2023-mea-culpa-melee many publications are churning out. Far easier on you, dear reader, and myself to assume I had a pristine predictive record last year, all home runs and zero whiffs. See how simple it is to not pull up a carrell and scrupulously dissect the archive?

Also please, please, don’t bother with presidential election conjecture. Who knows if Joe Biden will still be kicking come fall. Or if Kamala Harris will surreptitiously cyanide his morning muesli to claim her rightful top-ticket position. Or if Donald Trump will take a powder to a non-extradition country, like Bhutan. In a race marked by indictments, ballot shenanigans, and pending Supreme Court decisions, anything can happen. Ron DeSantis might even develop a personality.

Let’s keep it lighter than the dark overhanging cloud shadowing next November. My big forecast for ‘24: There will be a major upset for best actor at the Oscars.

Forget Cillian Murphy’s gaunt regret over incinerating millions of Japanese civilians. Never mind Bradley Cooper’s prosthetic nose. So long, Jonathan Majors, you never got to take on the entire Avengers crew. (Not that he was in the running outside my own hopecasting.)

The real black horse candidate for most sterlingly dramatic performance hasn’t starred in any major-motion picture, nor is a qualifying SAG-AFTRA member. He probably doesn’t even consider himself a thespian, despite regular visagiste visits to have his pale mug carpet-bombed with foundation before cable-news hits. He probably won’t even be nominated.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott should take home the statue for his commanding, convincing, even concretizing, role in pulling off the politically impossible: making liberals live with their decisions.

The governor’s campaign to ship illegal immigrants overland—by plane, train, and automobile—to liberal “sanctuary” cities is, not to overstate it, the most brilliant political play since the Bush administration convinced Congress to pony up for the Iraq War. Listing every news article labeling the maneuver a “political stunt” would exhaust the inches of this column. You’ll just have to Google the widely used pejorative to see for yourself.

The White House may be coordinating with prestige media amanuenses to smear Abbott as a cruel-hearted schemer, but the entire production has been more than a success at the Fox News box office. Blue-city mayors are crying uncle while smearing the Biden Administration as ineffective—a normal no-no ahead of an election year. One Twitter commenter posited: “As a political stunt, border states busing/flying migrants to sanctuary cities might be the greatest of all time. Highlighted an untenable problem, exposed the empty hypocrisy of the opposition, and changed the policy landscape.”

How about that: an own-the-libs ploy that actually accomplishes something. Take notes for term two, Mr. Trump! (If you aren’t booked in the federal pen that is.)

If politics is blood sport, Gov. Abbott is laying in kidney punches like Agent Smith in “The Matrix”—not roundhouse kicks for obvious, paraplegic reasons. He’s taken an untenable position for his constituents—housing thousands upon thousands of new migrants every day—and made the problem his political enemies’. Liberal mayors have been forced onto a sticky wicket, having to match sunny word with grim deed.

The best part: how easily these normally big blue-hearted burgomasters slip into Mein Kampf-ian lingo over the flood of newcomers. “Gov. Abbott is determined to continue to sow the seeds of chaos,” whined Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. Quick, someone call Mike Godwin up to see if “seeds of chaos” is Hitlerian enough for an appropriate comparison.

Big Apple polisher Eric Adams really isn’t hiding his displeasure with President Biden, publicly and privately excoriating his administration’s lack of attention over the issue. “There’s no leadership here,” Adams reportedly said while visiting The White House last year. The NYC mayor is doing his part to heighten the second-act conflict by suing over a dozen Texan bus companies for the apparent crime of shuttling dream-seekers to his city of dreams. What? The Emma Lazarus poem is chopped liver after it was treated as the 11th Commandment during the Trump years?

Ordinarily, the political gotcha-game of whataboutism, calling out hypocrisies, and heightening contradictions is all for show. But this isn’t a made-for-Netflix special. It’s a full-length feature film, complete with a dramatis personae of elected personalities, teeming hordes of unwashed extras, and a completely unpredictable ending.

How will large metros like New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and even second-tier cities like Denver and Philadelphia, house, feed, and clothe the influx of undocumented migrants? Will they all be bussed back to Texas, like so many Amazon returns? Will President Biden do anything to intervene? Will Eric Adams take a swing at a man confined to a wheelchair? Will “In This House” signs be stripped of the “No Human Is Illegal” line? How will the entire migrant mishigas shape the election?

House Republicans are doing their part to earn the best supporting actor(s) nod by refusing to reach any deal on tougher border security, lest it give Biden a win before the election. The Administration meanwhile just dropped a plot twist in asking the Supreme Court for a legal OK to lop razor wire Texas law-enforcement constructed at Eagle Pass—ground zero for illegal inbreaking.

The tension couldn’t be tighter as the production enters its third act. For his part initiating the show and gracefully managing its starring role, Gov. Abbott deserves the gold statuette.

And like with all showbiz success, a sequel is assuredly in the works.

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Taylor Lewis

Taylor Lewis writes from Virginia.

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