2018 will launch in 24 days, and it’s likely to be even more volatile than ’17. Certainly in terms of the Mueller investigation of Trump-Russia collusion and quid pro quo corruption, which will be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Boiled down to basics, Trump and his hooligans plotted to favor Russia on various financial and diplomatic fronts in return for Russian financial assistance for Trump’s failing empire plus providing major assistance in the cyber-takedown of the Clinton campaign. This will naturally lead to impassioned, across-the-board calls for Trump’s impeachment, but that won’t happen unless the November midterms result in significant Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, which, given the alt-right racial animus in Bumblefuck regions, is less likely than you might think.

Trump is facing three possible scenarios. One, he’ll decide not to run in 2020, a practical decision based on his pathetically low approval ratings plus his own lack of interest in wanting to endure a second four-year term. Two, he’ll be impeached in early ’19 and then decide to resign before a final Congressional vote, depending upon assurances from the feds that he won’t be prosecuted for treason. Or three, he’ll be impeached but not convicted a la Bill Clinton, and then will run out of dumb pride but suffer defeat due to a strong Democratic candidate.

In all three scenarios Trump is out as of 1.20.21, if not before.

The problem is that right now there’s no strong Democratic candidate, no heir apparent, no rock star. By the end of this year somebody with the chops and the nerve has to start testing the waters and coming into focus.

I would vote for Bernie Sanders in a New York minute, but I think his moment came and went in 2016. He would appeal to big-city multiculturals and progressives as well as a certain percentage of hinterland dumbshits, but low-information Southern blacks blew him off last year. I also suspect that people might feel a bit squeamish about electing a 79 year-old. (Same deal with Joe Biden, who’s a year younger than Bernie.)

I would also vote for the brilliant and ballsy Kamala Harris, currently the junior senator from California, but she needs to start conveying her intentions and making noise. Being a 50ish woman of mixed ethnicity, Harris would of course scare the wilies out of white working-class rurals and their girlfriends and wives, but these people are trash — the dregs of society. They’ll always, always vote for the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

Harris might become a bolder, more exciting figure when and if she steps up to the plate. I nonetheless have a sense that swing voters may turn out to less than fully aroused by her candidacy; ditto Bernie and Joe. I have a feeling that someone else needs to emerge, and I mean no later than a year from now.

Dwayne Johnson would probably be better than Trump, but only somewhat. We could do better.

Following the traumatic Trump downfall, the election of 2020 will probably be like the election of 1976, which Jimmy Carter won by making it plain he was no Nixon and pledging that he wouldn’t lie, etc. A voice is telling me that big-city and middle-region voters will probably be inclined to vote for almost anyone who represents a big swing away from Trump.

I’m sensing that a liberal version of Ronald Reagan — a likable, decent, intelligent-sounding man or woman with vision and character, a person with the right kind of looks, manner, common sense and fair-minded convictions — could do pretty well.

It’s taken me nine paragraphs to get to the point of this piece, but what about Tom Hanks? I’m dead serious. Michael Moore suggested a Hanks candidacy last August. The bumblefucks would vote for Hanks because they like him — who doesn’t? — and because you know he’d bring back the integrity factor, and that he’d play his cards in a moderately liberal way that would at the very least represent an upswing for the environment.

If Hanks were to make it clear that he’s really thinking about running, he’d shoot right to the top of the popularity polls. If Reagan, a B-level actor, made it into the White House, Hanks, an A-level guy since the late ’80s, would be a cinch. Maybe he could team up with Harris in some capacity.

Who would you rather see as a Presidential candidate, Hanks or Dwayne Johnson, an alpha Republican who has said in so many words that he might be half-serious about running? If Hanks doesn’t run what about Meryl Streep? I’d probably vote for her, but she wouldn’t be as popular as Hanks. What about Michelle Obama? Or Bill Maher? Or Seth Rogen?

There’s no Barack Obama figure in the wings right now — that’s for sure. I’m convinced Democrats need a big charismatic figure to run, and that Candidate X, whomever he or she may be, has to start making moves and sounding the alarm by the end of ’18.