This year in particular strikes me as one where the winning side should be careful what it wishes for, especially if it takes full control of all three branches of government. There’s a very good chance that the next four years will be every bit as rocky as the last four, if not more so. Here are just four examples of massive problems looming. Having to deal with any one of them would be enough to sink a political party; having to deal with all four could be catastrophic.

I’ll admit upfront that what follows is awfully negative. That is my overall sense of where things are headed in the short term. It’s always dangerous to predict much beyond that; it is hard to say whether this is 1976, when disaster loomed for four years, or 1980, when bright days were just a few years away. Few predicted the Internet boom in the late 1990s, and for too many, America’s worst days always seem just a few years away.

So this shouldn’t be interpreted as giving investment advice of “guns, canned goods, and land in West Virginia.” At the same time, however, I think it is important to acknowledge the enormity of the short-term challenges we face. The events of the past 15 years have thrown a lot of things out of whack, and I think we probably have a few more years until we return to that equilibrium.