Predictions for 2018

In spite of my lackluster performance on my predictions for 2017, I thought I would give it another try.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Financing will be secured for a southern border wall and construction will begin.  In spite of Anne Coulter’s frowny face, there will finally be movement on the wall.

The Mueller investigation will officially wrap up before the fall midterm elections.  You can’t continue to draw a paycheck for nothing forever.  Muller will have to wrap this nonsense up this year and what better time to do it than before the midterms?

Mueller’s Investigation will not show any collusion between Trump or the Trump campaign and Russia to “hack” the election.  But how could it?  It’s ridiculous.  If there really was any information along these lines, it would have leaked long ago.

The Republicans will keep control of the Senate after the 2018 elections.  This isn’t a prediction so much as a statement of math.  The Democrats are defending more senate seats than the Republicans and 5 of them are in red States.

The Republicans will keep control of the House after the 2018 elections.  The conventional wisdom as of this writing is that there will be a blue wave that gives the Democrats a good shot at winning the House.  From that point, one assumes: Impeachment, then…magically Hillary?  Not holding my breath.

The price of Bitcoin will crash in 2018.  This is not because I know anything about digital currencies, but painful experience has taught me a lot about bubbles, and it looks like Bitcoin is in one.

At least 3 terrorist attacks in Western Europe with double digit casualties (Injuries and or deaths). This one came through last year, so I have to ask myself, have the Europeans learned anything?  I’m predicting no.  They have not.

Kim Jong-un will still be the supreme head honcho of North Korea throughout 2018.  So no successful coups and no major military assaults that will take down the regime.

US Housing prices will continue to steadily increase throughout the year.  Again with the bubbles, we’re not near one for housing.  So don’t sell your home and put the profits into Bitcoin.

There will be an infrastructure bill that will pass with some Democratic votes.  The Democrats have been in lockstep in voting no the past year but the promise of money going to localities and union pressure will peel off the normal leadership opposition.

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2017 Prediction Wrap Up

Well this year was not one of my better performances.  After 2016, I guess I got a bit cocky, so I’ll have to lower my expectations, but I did win a few and lose a few, but 2017 was not my year in predictive punditry. Still, let’s look at the results:

The Winners

At least 3 terrorist attacks in Western Europe resulting in double digit casualties. This should have been a no brainer but actually it’s a win on a technicality.  There were multiple terrorist attacks all year but it took until the Manchester Attack on May 22nd before we had a double digit casualty attack, 22 killed and 59 injured.  This was followed by the Barcelona Truck attack on August 17th, with 13 killed and more than 100 injured.  The technicality comes in on the fact that I didn’t specify causalities as fatalities. So although in Western Europe there were only two attacks with fatalities in the double digits, there were several other attacks; the March bridge attack in London with 5 deaths and 29 injuries, the April truck attack in Stockholm with 5 deaths and 14 injuries, the other London bridge attack in June with 8 deaths and 48 injuries, and a September train attack in London with no deaths but 29 injuries. So Western Europe did have a full year of terrorism, but many of the attacks didn’t quite push up the fatalities in a way that the Islamic State might have hoped.

The FED will raise interest rates by at least three-quarters of a point. Janice Yellen lived…up?  Or is it down; to my expectations and more and raised interest rates.

Articles of Impeachment against Donald Trump will be introduced in the House. I’m definitely claiming this one as a win.  Congressman Steve Cohen introduced articles of impeachment last month.  My only surprise was what took so long.

The Losers

Angela Merkel wins the Nobel Peace Prize. A funny idea, but no, she didn’t get it.

Most of the Obama Care (ACA) legislation will be repealed. I was really surprised by this.  I figured that in spite of the ongoing Republican Civil War if there was one thing I thought the Republican Party was united on was the idea of getting rid of Obamacare, however it turns out that delivering defeats to President Trump was a more important goal of the Republican leadership.

There will be at least one assassination attempt against Donald Trump this year. Thankfully wrong on this one.  That’s not to say there have not been assassination threats against Trump; I see them almost every week online, but an actual public attempt to take him out hasn’t happened this year.  The last one that I know of happened in Nevada in 2016.

Marine Le Pen will be elected President of France. This definitely falls within the “close but no cigar” category. Emmanuel Macron beat Le Pen, in an election that turned out be just as weird as the 2016 US election was.

So getting 3 out of 7 isn’t great.  I failed this year’s challenge. That’s OK though, I can learn from my mistakes, and still beat never trump neo conservative Bill Kristol’s wretched predictive record!

Predictions for 2017

Given how well I did with my 2016 Predictions I thought I would give it another go and see what I thought would be likely for 2017.

At least 3 terrorist attacks in Western Europe resulting in double digit casualties.  Why?  Because Muslims will continue to be Muslim.

Angela Merkel wins the Nobel Peace Prize.  Because that is exactly the kind of retarded thing the Nobel Prize Committee would do.

Most of the ObamaCare (ACA) legislation will be repealed.  I say most because there are a few items that may be either too politically popular (keeping kids on their parent’s plan until 26) or were already part of Republican replacement plans (pre-existing conditions).

The FED will raise interest rates by at least three-quarters of a point.  The FED just recently raised the short term interest rates by a quarter of a point, the first increase in 2016.  This strikes me as a totally political decision, since Janet Yellen was a target of Trump and I’ve no doubt she’ll raise rates at least another ¾ of a point in 2017 in hopes of stalling the economy to punish Trump for his impertinence.

Articles of Impeachment against Donald Trump will be introduced in the House.  Why?  Because the Democrats are already talking about that now.  Waiting until Trump is President is merely a formality.

There will be at least one assassination attempt against Donald Trump this year. When the media has been promoting the “literally Hitler” meme for the past year, would it be surprising that some earnest liberals take the Dead Zone option and try to take Greg Stillson out?

Marine Le Pen will be elected President of France.  Although Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission predicted an establishment deal to elect a Muslim political party winning the Presidency of France, in real life the current populist uprising may hit the French shores quicker than you can say The Camp of the Saints. Brexit, Trump, and the constant Islamic terrorist attacks may cause a public revulsion where people will just say, “enough.”  In some ways, that would be a bigger deal than Trump winning the Presidency.  The French establishment has been fighting populist nationalism a lot longer than the American GOP-Democratic-Media alliance.  So if that goes, dominos will fall all over Europe with dismal prospects for the EU.  That would slide in nicely with another prediction of mine, that the EU will be mostly undone by 2020.

Not really a prediction, more of a certainty, but every foreign policy decision made by the Trump White House will be called either idiotic or ignorant.

Did Russia Hack the Election?

In the continuing post election fake news trend, “Russia hacked election” gets over 45 million hits on Google. Russian hacking as been going on for quite a while and it would be no surprise that the Russians would want to hack both political parties. They are bad actors on the world stage and they are adversaries. However, just a couple of points:

* The hack allegedly occurred in the March-April time frame. Long before Trump was assured of the nomination and when almost every talking head, poll, and jackass was proclaiming it would be impossible for him to win. So the intent could hardly be to help Trump.

* The Wikileaks data was not a hack; it was an inside job according to the people who would know, Wikileaks. Assange has said this for months.

* That doesn’t mean the Russia hack didn’t happen, just that it’s not the source of the Wikileaks material. This makes sense as I would imagine that Russia would rather keep that info close to the vest rather than devalue it by releasing it.

* So Russian hacking (which is a big issue) and the Wikileaks data dump, seem to be unrelated issues. I’m open to new information on this, but when the CIA refuses to brief Congress on the issue, forcing a cancellation of a scheduled hearing, my BS meter goes off.

* Hillary Clinton actually won the popular vote by 2.8 million votes.  So, in what sense was the election hacked?  Were the Wikileaks disclosures designed to only affect certain counties in 4 or so States?  Good Grief…

I honestly have a hard time believing anything the media says anymore; particularly when they are trying as hard as they have been to push this narrative. It’s like the #fakenews nonsense. Simultaneously every major newspaper and every major news network suddenly made this non story of fake news a 10 day long major blockbuster.

My Prediction:  Now that the Electoral College Debacle is over, the next fake news spasm will be “conflicts of interest.”  Stay tuned to your local fake news media outlet for further coverage.

Getting it Wrong

Or…Revisiting my Prediction Model

It’s worth looking back to try to understand why I got my Presidential Prediction so wrong.  I take no comfort that virtually every Pundit and pollster got it wrong.  After all, they don’t care, are usually wrong anyway, and have no record to protect.  I do have a record, and it’s been a pretty good one until November 8th.  Not that I’m complaining mind you.  I’m (still) over the moon at The Trumpening.  Election night was like a dream, and as the kids say, a dream is a wish your heart makes.  By the way by “kids” I’m not referring to millennials, I mean actual little kids.

But I did make a prediction…that Donald Trump wouldn’t win.  Back in August, I said this:

“Trump is deliberately using language that can be construed in the worse possible way in order to generate publicity.  With decades of experience at being a celebrity, he has taken to heart the publicist adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity.  And in terms of generating publicity, he’s been an outstanding success if you count it by minutes of airtime or lines of copy in print.  Certainly there would have been zero media coverage discussing poor decisions by the Obama administration leading to the creation of ISIS without Trump.  Getting those issues out there and forcing a hostile media to talk about issues they don’t want to discuss is also a success.

However in politics, that isn’t reflected in the polls.  Kanye West is great at generating publicity for him, but at the cost of it being almost uniformly bad publicity.  This may be a great strategy for getting on Page 6, but it’s a terrible one if your goal is to win a general election.  So my reason for not making a prediction on the election earlier was because I thought that Trump could easily fix his problems; stop attacking other Republicans, stick to prepared speeches and stump speeches, ease off twitter, and his polling would go back up because after all, people really don’t like Hillary Clinton and would love for an excuse not to vote for her.  But Trump thinks that generating unfavorable publicity is the ticket to success, and as long as he both thinks and acts like it is, Hillary Clinton is the next President.”

But something happened in the final few weeks of the campaign.  Trump started taking my advice (well…delivered by Kellyanne Conway).  He did stop attacking other Republicans, he stuck to prepared speeches, and somehow, someone got hold of his phone and locked him out of twitter.  All things that started to allow Trump to start rising again in the polls.  For sure, there were outside factors that helped too.  FBI Director Comey reopening the email investigation for half a minute was too much for some wavering Clinton voters to handle.   The fact that he closed it again almost as soon as he reopened it didn’t fix the damage.  Even the Clinton campaign realized that.

So what made Trump change direction and start doing things he should have been doing ever since the Republican convention?  I can only imagine that he finally realized that he was close to becoming a loser, the worst thing imaginable in Trumpland, and Conway and other assorted advisors were giving him a pathway to avoid the hated L word.

And it worked.

Does this make me look again at my underlying factum regarding elections?  No, I think my “demography is destiny” thesis is still sound.  The white share of the electorate will probably be 68% in 2020, 2% less than 2016.  That makes it a much harder slog for Republicans then, regardless of any other underlying issues or current events of the campaign.  However as I’ve stated previously, Donald Trump, a totally unconventional candidate in almost every way, is a Black Swan Event.  And as a commenter stated, “Black Swans matter.”  But the election of Trump throws trends up in the air.  As Yoda might say: “Difficult to see.  Always in motion is the future.”

 

 

 

 

 

Back in the Presidential Prediction Business

After a week in which the media has gone apoplectic over Trump saying Obama was a founder of ISIS, I was finally able to get some clues as to what is actually going on in Trump’s head.  First it should be noted that the entire kerfuffle is all Media generated.  When Hillary Clinton said that Trump was “the recruiting sergeant for ISIS” a few months ago, there were no equivalent media spasms that Clinton has gone too far. Instead Trump had to explain how he wasn’t recruiting for ISIS.  But of course there is no point in once again pointing out the biased coverage against any generic Republican nominee.  They have all been racist, sexist, homophobes who are literally Hitler.  But what makes Trump different is that the media has always pretended to be “objective.”  Now, they’ve taken off the gloves and admitted it’s impossible to be objective.

The New York Times columnist Jim Rutenberg made that point clear in last Sunday’s column:

“If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?

Because if you believe all of those things, you have to throw out the textbook American journalism has been using for the better part of the past half-century, if not longer, and approach it in a way you’ve never approached anything in your career. If you view a Trump presidency as something that’s potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional. That’s uncomfortable and uncharted territory for every mainstream, non opinion journalist I’ve ever known, and by normal standards, untenable.

But the question that everyone is grappling with is: Do normal standards apply? And if they don’t, what should take their place?”

Clearly it’s laughable that the media thinks it’s been objective the whole time, and only now, in 2016, is that wavering.  But this is a signal I think to the rest of the MSM, that it’s time to pull out all the stops and sabotage Trump by any means necessary.  After all, if you could go back in time and take out Hitler before he became chancellor, wouldn’t you?  That seems to be the media’s position on Trump; stop him at all costs.  What are journalistic ethics compared to stopping “literally Hitler?”

But I say that just to point out the media environment that Trump is facing.  Getting back to my main point, I think I’ve figured Trump out (or at least a part of how he thinks).  A few weeks ago I wrote a post about predictions and said this regarding this year’s Presidential race:

“So when it comes to predicting this year’s race…I’m out.  I think Trump could win if his campaign confiscates his twitter account, keeps him on a steady diet of prepared speeches, and Muslims continue to be Muslim.  However all of the default conditions that make me think the Democrats have a natural advantage in Presidential years are still in play. “

But now I’ve got a clue to how Trump thinks, so I think I feel comfortable in actually making a prediction.  A few days ago on the Hugh Hewitt Show there was this interesting exchange between Hewitt and Trump regarding the “Founder of ISIS” situation:

HH: Well, that, you know, I have a saying, Donald Trump, the mnemonic device I use is Every Liberal Really Seems So, So Sad. E is for Egypt, L is for Libya, S is for Syria, R is for Russia reset. They screwed everything up. You don’t get any argument from me. But by using the term founder, they’re hitting with you on this again. Mistake?

DT: No, it’s no mistake. Everyone’s liking it. I think they’re liking it. I give him the most valuable player award. And I give it to him, and I give it to, I gave the co-founder to Hillary. I don’t know if you heard that.

HH: I did. I did. I played it.

DT: I gave her the co-founder.

HH: I know what you’re arguing…

DT: You’re not, and let me ask you, do you not like that?

HH: I don’t. I think I would say they created, they lost the peace. They created the Libyan vacuum, they created the vacuum into which ISIS came, but they didn’t create ISIS. That’s what I would say.

DT: Well, I disagree.

HH: All right, that’s okay.

DT: I mean, with his bad policies, that’s why ISIS came about.

HH: That’s…

DT: If he would have done things properly, you wouldn’t have had ISIS.

HH: That’s true.

DT: Therefore, he was the founder of ISIS.

HH: And that’s, I’d just use different language to communicate it, but let me close with this, because I know I’m keeping you long, and Hope’s going to kill me.

DT: But they wouldn’t talk about your language, and they do talk about my language, right?

HH: Well, good point. Good point. 

 

And that is when I had my epiphany. These are not gaffes or slips of the tongue.  Trump is deliberately using language that can be construed in the worse possible way in order to generate publicity.  With decades of experience at being a celebrity, he has taken to heart the publicist adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity.  And in terms of generating publicity, he’s been an outstanding success if you count it by minutes of airtime or lines of copy in print.  Certainly there would have been zero media coverage discussing poor decisions by the Obama administration leading to the creation of ISIS without Trump.  Getting those issues out there and forcing a hostile media to talk about issues they don’t want to discuss is also a success.

However in politics, that isn’t reflected in the polls.  Kanye West is great at generating publicity for him, but at the cost of it being almost uniformly bad publicity.  This may be a great strategy for getting on Page 6, but it’s a terrible one if your goal is to win a general election.  So my reason for not making a prediction on the election earlier was because I thought that Trump could easily fix his problems; stop attacking other Republicans, stick to prepared speeches and stump speeches, ease off twitter, and his polling would go back up because after all, people really don’t like Hillary Clinton and would love for an excuse not to vote for her.  But Trump thinks that generating unfavorable publicity is the ticket to success, and as long as he both thinks and acts like it is, Hillary Clinton is the next President.

God help us all, as her vengeance will be mighty!

 

 

On Making Predictions

Watching the breaking news of the terrible terrorist attack in Nice, during Bastille Day celebrations, I felt a morbid interest as the casualty count marched upward.  After the initial shock on hearing of the news of the attacks however, I skipped over the part about mourning a senseless tragedy, or whatever the current buzzwords are.  As I described last November after the Paris Attacks, I’m over it.  Europe would rather have regular terrorist attacks than recognize why they have regular terrorist attacks.  No, my interest was in the causality numbers, 30, 40. 70, and then finally it went over 80.

“I win.”  And I say that with no satisfaction.

On January 1st I listed these following predictions for 2016 on a forum:

The Syrian government will be in a better position than today against the IS and the other rebels, thanks to Russian help. Also Assad will still be in power.

There will be another terrorist attack in the US resulting in the deaths of at least 10 people.

Oil will be back over $40 bucks a barrel.

Trump gets the Republican nomination.

Hillary will NOT be indicted.

And finally…

There will be another terrorist attack in France resulting in the deaths of at least 80 people.

So with the Bastille Day attack, the last open prediction I had came true, and we’re only half way through the year.  Of course you could argue that the year is still not over and something could still happen to Assad’s government, or there could be a convention coup next week to put Jeb! Back on the Iron Throne, but if I had to call it now, I would say every prediction I made almost 7 months ago was right.

I don’t think this makes me a super forecaster, like the ones being sought for the Good Judgment Project, a crowd sourcing website for predictions.  But amateurs often beat the experts on these kinds of things.  My accurate prediction that the Supreme Court would uphold Obamacare had nothing to do with my (limited) legal knowledge, or the disastrous oral arguments, even though multiple “experts” declared Obamacare dead after the Solicitor General stumbled and fumbled his way through them.  My view was more holistic, and simpler: The left leaning judges will always vote left, regardless of the law or the Constitution.  With the right leaning judges, it’s more of a crapshoot.  They actually peek at the Constitution and case history.  And as Judge Roberts demonstrated, they can be intimidated by media pressure.  That’s why the Burwell case on the Obamacare State Exchanges was easy to predict.  No knowledge of the law was required, only the knowledge that the right leaning judges could crumble under media pressure.

And as for gay marriage, that was about the easiest prediction I’ve ever made.  Who didn’t know that as soon as it hit the Supreme Court, they would find a way to make sure love is love?

I applied the same holistic thinking to Presidential elections.  I called the 2012 election for Obama by the end of summer, and after the 2014 midterms, which was a huge Republican success; I went head and predicted that Republicans would lose both the Senate and the Presidency in 2016.  Again, I took a holistic approach.  I didn’t think I needed to know each county’s voting history, aka Michael Barone.  I just knew that overall demographic trends, media bias, and the increased tribalism of American politics favored the Democrats.

But I couldn’t anticipate Black Swan Events, and that very much describes Donald Trump’s impact on the 2016 election.  Minus Trump, this election would have gone pretty much as I had predicted it would in 2014, one of the other 16 primary candidates would have won the nomination, they would have run an honorable campaign, and would give what everyone would later acknowledge as one of their best speeches when they conceded on election night. But Trump was a wildcard not only in showing how Republicans could beat the media’s political correctness game, but he pushed the Overton Window on Immigration and single handedly threw out one of the Republican Party’s golden platform planks on trade.  By doing so, he changed the calculus on which votes he might attract.

So when it comes to predicting this year’s race…I’m out.  I think Trump could win if his campaign confiscates his twitter account, keeps him on a steady diet of prepared speeches, and Muslims continue to be Muslim.  However all of the default conditions that make me think the Democrats have a natural advantage in Presidential years are still in play.  If nothing else, this particular black swan has made this the most interesting Presidential race in my lifetime, and who could have predicted that?