Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bad Prophet! No Sushi!

Well, I guess it's time to face the music. I can't put it off any longer. I have to, in the interests of “transparency”, resurrect my predictions from last February concerning the presidential election and provide, as promised (or at least implied), a final rating of my talents as a prognosticator. So here goes.

Prediction #1: Obama will nominate someone (not a “flaming liberal” but a “moderate” according to his frame of reference, who will seem like a flaming liberal to conservatives) for the Supreme Court.

Result: True! So I get one point.

Prediction #2: The Republicans will hold hearings (re: confirmation of the nominee)

Result: False! They at least had the cojones to resist all of that pressure, and Obama apparently felt that he had better things to do than threaten “the nuclear option”, i.e. a government shutdown, if the hearings didn't take place. Plus, he was confident enough that Hillary was going to be president that he preferred to toss the matter into her lap. No points.

Prediction #3: Whoever it is will be confirmed because enough Republicans will cave, fearing “voter rage” in the election and/or a “government shutdown” (and how that relates to the Supreme Court is beyond me, but the Democrats are already talking about it – and of course the Republicans will be blamed if it occurs).

Result: See Prediction #2. No points.

Prediction #4: Some of the Republican “base” will be annoyed and skip voting in the November election as a result, giving the Democrats even more of an edge than they already have.

Result: Hard to tell. What I should have said is that some of the Democrat base will skip voting. I underestimated the advantage Obama had in 2008 and 2012 by being a political rock star (and black, by the way). Apparently many of the Democrat stay-at-homes were black and were less than inspired by Hillary (and who can blame them?). No points (due to a minor semantic issue).

Prediction #5 (oh, this is a good one): The Republicans will NOT – repeat, NOT – nominate Trump for president. They would rather lose the election (they've said as much). They are almost as unlikely to nominate Cruz. There will be a “brokered convention” and the mainliners will put up someone they consider a “moderate” -- but who? Bush has dropped out, so that leaves Rubio, and maybe Kasich for VP.

Result: Well, you know. I think what happened was, basically, as follows. The Republican mainstream saw the handwriting on the wall – they had, basically, a mutiny on their hands – and it was easier to just let it run its course than try and fight it off. Plus, they figured that by losing (and they were positive Trump would lose, make no mistake – they were as much believers in Hillary's inevitability as the Democrats were) it would teach those populists – that rabble – a damn good lesson, and give them (the establishment) an excuse to banish them from the party once and for all. They never dreamed in a million years that Trump would actually win, and that his takeover of the party would be set in concrete for at least 4 years. (How he handles this windfall is another question. He could just kick all of the country-club types out and turn the party entirely over to his supporters, but that doesn't seem likely. What's more likely is an uneasy truce, with each side hoping to make gains in 2018.) No points.

Prediction #6: Bernie will be crushed to fine powder by Hillary long before the Democrat convention.

Result: True! Not only that, but it turned out (surprise, surprise) that Bernie was a dead man walking since Day One because there had been a conspiracy against him within the party all along. The dismay his supporters felt could only be exceeded by the fact that, within five minutes after Hillary's nomination, he got down on his knees and became her footstool. A man of principle, right... One point, for a total of 2 so far!

Prediction #7: Hillary will beat whoever the Republicans put up because she already has a solid base of nearly ½ the eligible voters.

Result: Well, I was right about her base. I said at some point that she had 47%, and guess what, she won a bit under 48% of the popular vote. What I failed to anticipate was that she would be unable to add much of anything to her base, i.e. to inspire very many independents or “undecideds”. Whether they switched to Trump, or voted third party, or just stayed home is another matter, but the fact remains that, when it comes to the rock star, AKA charisma, factor, Obama had it and Hillary... not someone you'd exactly want to cozy up to, right? (And Bill agrees.) I'm going to be generous and grant myself half a point on this one, because I called the solid base correctly. (Total: 2 ½ points)

Prediction #8: Once inaugurated, Hillary will dramatically pivot away from the Islamic world and from Muslims in the U.S. But it's unlikely she'll start World War III – for one thing, she and Putin are too much alike. Foreign policy overall will change little from Obama's, which changed little from Bush's.

Result: “Not applicable.” But while we're on the topic, Trump is sliding into the neocon camp faster than you-know-what slides out of a goose. What ever happened to his skepticism about America being involved in countless conflicts overseas? About the American Empire? I knew that kind of loose talk was over with when John Bolton appeared at Trump Tower. He never saw a proxy war he didn't like... and, for that matter, any other kind of war he didn't like. If you think we're already fighting a war on Islam, oops, I mean “terror”, wait until this joker takes the reins at State. No points.

Prediction #9: Domestic policy will be a seamless continuation of Obama's.

Result: “Not applicable.” But I don't think it's going be as radically different as all of the rioters expect. Trump is too much of a realist to go off on any wild pursuits when it comes to domestic policy. I mean, what's he going to do about entitlements? You can't un-scramble eggs, as they say. But we'll see what happens. No points.

Prediction #10: A bachelor pad for Bill Clinton will be built in the White House, with a secret door leading out to Pa. Ave. Also, the Clintons will bring back the furniture they took with them when they moved out in 2001.

Result: These could still happen, but it's unlikely. Especially the furniture part. No points.

Grand total: 2 ½ points out of 10, which would be enough to earn me a passing grade in the Chicago public schools. I think I deserve a participation trophy at least; don't you?

And BTW, is this so-called “failure” going to deter me from making predictions in the future? Surely you jest...

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