2017 will almost certainly be worse than 2016.
The logic that Trump being sworn in will be worse than his election and that the triggering of article 50 will be worse than the impact of the actual brexit vote may be tempered by the fact that we have had time to prepare psychologically but both events may still lead to many surprises and many unknown unknowns we cannot yet anticipate.
Eyes will quickly turn to France. Marine Le Pen’s election was once considered much more plausible than either a brexit or a Trump victory and she remains the woman to beat. Her election would almost certainly lead to a lengthy period of “cohabitation”- that is to say when the French President’s party has no majority in the National Assembly as her Front National currently has just two MPs. This also means that she would find it very difficult to get much of a legislative programme through without making broad alliances and compromises with other parties.
On the surface, the German election looks very boring. Angela Merkel looks almost certain to be re-elected Chancellor one way or another. But we are all far too wary of inevitabilities at this point. She may find herself in a similar to situation to Enda Kenny immediately after the 2016 election-, at the head of the largest party but unable to put together a coalition. The Social Democrats may make loses that would make them think twice about yet another “Gro-Ko” or Grand Coalition, the liberal FDP may return to the Bundestag but not in the numbers that would ensure her a majority and the far right AFD will almost certainly make substantial gains but will remain ideologically toxic for the foreseeable future. The Greens may prove the least bad option for Mutti especially after her decision to wean the country away from nuclear power.
An Irish election can not be ruled out in 2017. The most radical change I would see another election here delivering would be Fine Gael and Fianna Fail trading places. FG will support and FF minority government instead of the other way around. Op-ed writers will have great craic playing spot the difference. The Citizens’ assembly is due to deliver a report on the 8th amendment during the year. Regardless of what it says it will invariably piss off at least a solid 20% of registered voters. Should a referendum happen it will be the most divisive thing the country has seen in decades.
In the US, I would have Trump’s senate confirmation hearings throwing up a few surprise rejections, withdrawals and close results that leave him reeling. The principle question of 2017 surrounding Donald Trump is how much or how little will he reconcile himself to working with the Washington establishment.
A UK election on current figures would only reaffirm Theresa May’s position. It would be interesting to see if Corbyn can hold on. The triggering of article 50 might initially be dramatic but will soon descend in the most banal discussions with more and more people loosing interest. The article in question allows for the negotiations to be extended beyond the initial two year window. This will happen. This is the one thing I would stick my neck out here. The brexit negotiations will be long, arduous, dull, and fruitless for both sides.