It always seems like whatever year just ended was our most significant. But 2017 really seems like an unusually newsworthy, crazy year. From elections to national disasters to unrest to a new – and different – president, 2017 was packed with incredible events. Let’s review briefly. These are our picks for the ten biggest stories of 2017.
1. President Trump
Before the election of 2016, Trump was constant headline news. That has not changed in the first year of his presidency. The Trump Administration is a daily feeding frenzy for the national press. Trump is in the news every day – for his policies, actions, and, most of all, tweets. Though his approval rating is stuck at about 39 percent, Mr. Trump is clearly the top story of 2017.
2. Neil Gorsuch
Perhaps the most significant and far-reaching thing Trump will do in his entire four or eight years in office was the naming of conservative judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. This pick, along with dozens of other lower court selections, will shape the nation’s judiciary for the next generation.
3. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria
My hometown of Houston will be rebuilding for years. Harvey, the costliest hurricane in history, dumped 1 million gallons of water per person in the region. Over 70 percent of Harris County was under 18 inches of water. A few weeks later, Hurricane Irma hit my new home state of Florida as a Category 4 beast. And then Maria hit Puerto Rico, where half the island is still without power.
4. Tax Cuts
I put this one this high because it will have such a lasting impact on American families and the national economy. The average family will see about $2,000 in annual savings. Corporations will come back home to America. Pay increases will come and corporations will flourish. If you liked the 2017 economy, you should love 2018.
5. The FBI, Mueller, and Comey
President Trump’s decision to fire Director James Comey shocked everybody. On his way out the door, Mueller leaked information to trigger a Special Council and a far-reaching investigation, to be led by former FBI Director George Mueller. The investigation into collusion by Trump with the Russians – which would not be illegal, by the way – is the investigation that knows no end.
6. Sexual Harassment Scandals
They have hit politics, the media, and corporate America. Sexual harassment accusations have cost several longtime leaders in Washington their jobs: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV), and Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) among them. Rumors suggest as many as 40 others will resign for similar reasons in the coming months.
7. North Korea and Iran
The continued flirtation of North Korea with nuclear development threatens to be the story of 2017. Sanctions have not worked to deter the madmen in Iran and they don’t appear to be working in North Korea, either. Where will this end? No one knows, but it could end very badly.
8. Judge Roy Moore
Democrat Doug Jones won the Alabama Senate seat, but make no mistake. The story was all about Roy Moore. An “unnamed Republican” could have won that seat; Alabama is that “red.” But sexual allegations against Moore – and the way he handled those allegations – cost him dearly. No Senate election was such big news in the past several decades.
Republicans’ promised repeal of Obamacare failed by one vote – as Senator John McCain (R-AZ) threw a wrench into the plans. With a last-second vote with the Democrats, McCain violated his own promise to repeal the law he has screamed about for years.
10. Massacres of Las Vegas and Texas
On October 1, a lone gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, killing 59. On November 5, an armor-clad shooter entered a church in rural south Texas and opened fire, killing 26. Predictably, both shootings led to heated debate over gun control. And predictably, this debate has calmed down. It always does.
Many other significant events shook America and the world in 2017. These are deserving of mention, at least: soaring Stock Market, Charlottesville, the Trump travel ban, the total solar eclipse, culture wars, and my favorite – the Houston Astros’ World Series Championship.