A mural on the Mexican side of the border wall
A colorful mural painted on the Mexican side of the border. Photo taken with a fish-eye lens. Photo by Chris Stone

It’s still early in the new year, but the surprising political events of the first month, from President Trump’s second impeachment to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s coronavirus infection, set a baseline for these predictions for 2021 from both sides of the border

Don’t cry for Liz Cheney. The stalwart Republican who stood up to Trump on mask mandates, and voted to impeach him, is now beating back calls to resign her post as the no. 3 in House GOP leadership. Her response is, “I’m not going anywhere.

Cheney is set to be the first Republican female minority leader after Kevin McCarthy is ditched. She sees the future and it isn’t Trumpism. And McCarthy’s quote that “everybody in the U.S. has some responsibility” for the Capital riot has greased his skids.

The impeachment of Trump is a win-win for Democrats. Trump’s conviction would be a win for the rule of law. His acquittal at Republican hands guarantees the Democrats will pick up more seats in 2022.

Trumpism is radioactive. Economic boycotts, internal GOP strife, and more damaging court cases and investigations will infect all things Trump in 2021.

Vice President Kamala Harris’s photo on the cover of Vogue will remain a classic. It demonstrates her style, grace, and touch of the emblematic. She is going to need those sneakers!

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will be a surprisingly effective. He will check President Biden’s “come together” moments, while delivering legislative victories for Democrats via the reconciliation process. The campaign finance and gerrymandering reforms in Senate Bill 1 will be a top priority for Schumer.

As Josh Silver remarked in Esquire, “Frankly, Bill Clinton running for office gave lots of lip service to these kinds of reforms and sat on his hands. Barack Obama gave lip service to these kinds of reforms and sat on his hands. And we expected the same this session, but that all changed when Senator Schumer offered the companion piece to H.R. 1, the For the People Act, as their first piece of legislation.”  

Mother Nature will drive the political agenda. COVID-like epidemics that defy quick remedies and the massive economic damage from climate change will push the green agenda ahead and target technology villains.

As author Kirkpatrick Sale explains in The Collapse of 2020, the risk is “an economic disaster that would render the dollar worthless, causing a depression worse than the one in 1930; a rebellion of the poor against the monied; and a significant number of environmental catastrophes.”

Biden and “AMLO,” Mexico’s Lopez Obrador, will rebuild business, immigration and cultural relationships. The halt in building the divisive wall will be just the beginning of gestures of make up after Trump. 

Former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Johnson will play a key role. She is a highly respected, well-educated, skilled diplomat who loves Mexico. 

The drug war will focus on addiction rehabilitation. Political leaders will recognize the enormity of the demand for illegal drugs in the United States and it’s central role in cross-border narcotics and arms smuggling. A new special council will be created to address drug use and abuse.

North American trade will boom. Trade between the United States, Mexico and Canada in manufactured goods, tourism, agriculture, culture and education will come back in 2021. 

Arizona will become Mexico’s leading trade partner. The state has a long-lasting, unique relationship with its southern neighbor. More U.S. companies will be re-locating their trade-related operations to the Arizona. 

Many more retiring Americans will move to Mexico. They’ll find a more affordable place to live with diverse educational and cultural options as well as warmer climates. 

Foreign investment will increase and diversify. Money will flow into advanced petroleum-related projects, auto and parts manufacturing, and infrastructure improvements throughout Mexico.

Agriculture will continue to be a top income producer. Mexican growers will expand beyond ever-increasing avocado yields into the export of a wide variety of excellent wines.

AMLO will continue to focus on the poor, infrastructure, job creation and combatting corruption. Mexicans have a long history of hatred for sitting presidents. However, some Mexicans will be won over by healthcare and rural development efforts.  

AMLO’s popular appeal will prompt Mexico’s political parties to shuffle alliances, ultimately reducing competing forces. This will be in marked contrast to the splintering of the Republican Party in the United States.

Cartels will break up as the flow of illegal drugs into the United States slows. The cartel splinter groups will continue killing for territory, but be more creative in finding ways to rob the rich and institutions to enrich themselves beyond extortion, gasoline pipe taps, train robberies and highway toll-booth gangstering. 

Mexico will be a leader in COVID-19 vaccinations. It has access to more sources, including China and Russia, plus a massive nationwide network of medical facilities. But sadly its mortality rate from the virus will continue to be higher than other nations in 2021. 

Colleen O’Connor is a native San Diegan and a retired college professor. G.L. Goggin is a Mexican-based writer with a degree in international business management. A version of this op-ed also appeared in the OB Rag.