Columnists usually settle for writing about what has already happened. But today, let’s not follow the easy course. Instead, take my quiz of what’s to come in the year ahead and see if we think alike.
1. At the end of 2016, Donald Trump caused a stir by …
A. Preparing for his presidential inauguration by renaming the White House “Trump Palace.”
B. Raising funds to renovate the Statue of Liberty so that its arms move, waving immigrants away.
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C. Actually, no stir at all. After being crushed in the presidential race, he has been quietly trying to repair business relations with Mexicans, Muslims, women – well, with everybody.
2. In the Republican presidential race …
A. Ted Cruz built on his Iowa caucuses victory to make further gains on Super Tuesday and win the nomination.
B. The failure of any candidate to win enough delegates led the convention to draft House Speaker Paul D. Ryan.
C. Marco Rubio overcame his failure to win either Iowa or New Hampshire to narrowly win the nomination.
3. Hillary Clinton …
A. Dropped out of the race after a series of scandals, and a last-ditch effort to draft Joe Biden came too late. Bernie Sanders won the Democratic nomination and became America’s first democratic socialist president after Ted Cruz split GOP votes with the independent candidacy of Donald Trump.
B. Easily won the Democratic nomination but then lost in November as Sen. Marco Rubio and his running mate, John Kasich, portrayed her as a crony capitalist whose time had passed.
C. Became the first woman elected president.
4. In Russia, President Vladimir Putin ended 2016 …
A. By appearing in a television documentary riding bare-chested across Siberia on a dragon borrowed from “Game of Thrones.”
B. By dispatching provocateurs to instigate unrest in Estonia, then dispatching troops “to protect Russian lives” there. NATO responded by holding meetings.
C. By crushing growing anti-government demonstrations across Russia.
5. President Barack Obama’s 2016 Syria strategy consisted of …
A. Persuading Sunni Arab countries to battle the Islamic State in conjunction with Kurdish forces.
B. Reluctantly dispatching 10,000 ground troops into northern Syria to destroy the Islamic State capital, Raqqa.
C. Really? You think he has a Syria strategy?
6. Regarding Obamacare, in 2016 …
A. Republicans voted 23 more times to repeal Obamacare, making it a major theme of the 2016 campaign.
B. The unpopularity of fines for lack of insurance made it a growing embarrassment to the Democratic Party.
C. Amid evidence of its success, Republican candidates dropped the subject.
7. In response to the Black Lives Matter movement …
A. Princeton University announced that it would rename the Woodrow Wilson School and invited bids for naming rights. Donald Trump bought them.
B. Not much happened: Attention switched to the presidential race.
C. After the election, Obama announced the formation of a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
8. Chinese-U.S. relations …
A. Were set back after a naval clash in the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands.
B. Deteriorated because of President Xi Jinping’s nationalist policies in the South China Sea and oppressive human rights policies at home.
C. Improved because undetected Chinese government hackers wrote glowingly about China in the President’s Daily Brief.
9. The technological breakthrough of 2016 was …
A. The Amazon-Uber joint venture to send a drone to pick you up and carry you to your destination.
B. The spread of bloodstream bots that roam your arteries and veins, looking for cancer cells to destroy.
C. The formation of a company to operate self-driving taxis.
10. The refugee crisis …
A. Ameliorated as Europe guarded its borders more tightly.
B. Deteriorated but received less attention as Europe bribed Turkey to curb the passage of refugees to Greece and make the problem less visible.
C. Worsened as hundreds of thousands of Iranians, Nigerians, Ethiopians, Afghans and others left for Germany.
11. Democracy …
A. Was the title of a smash Broadway show about early America by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also created “Hamilton.”
B. Retreated in central Africa, as leaders of Burundi, Rwanda and Congo all tried to cling to power.
C. Came to Belarus, often described as the last dictatorship in Europe.
ANSWERS: We’ll see in a year how we all did. My choice for the first six is C; for the remainder it’s B. May our hopes be realized and our fears prove unwarranted. And happy New Year to all my readers!
Contact Nicholas Kristof at Facebook.com/Kristof or Twitter.com/NickKristof.