Friday, January 01, 2016

2016 predictions

With my usual false confidence, I'm back again to make another series of semi-blind guesses about what will happen in the upcoming year. That way, in one year's time, I  can go through this list to see just how full of shit I am.

My standard boilerplate: The below list is what I currently think will happen, not what I necessarily want to happen. And the predictions aren't listed in any particular order. I have tried to come up with predictions are are relatively easy to grade at the end of the year. That is, I'm not going to say "the U.S. economy will improve" or "get worse," because in most years you could argue that either way. I am trying to list things that I can later label as either "right" or "wrong" later on.

Here's the predictions:

1. Obama will end the year with a higher approval rating than he has right now. Like last year's prediction #1, I will measure this using the Gallup Daily: Obama Job Approval number, which is really a three day average. Currently that number is at 44%. Yes, this is just like last year's prediction, except this time I will be right!

2. Bernie Sanders will win the New Hampshire primary.

3. Sanders will drop out of the race without winning any other primary or caucuses.

4. Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic Party's candidate for president in the 2016 general election.

5. Donald Trump will not win any more than five of the primaries or caucuses. For states that don't use a winner-take-all system, by "win" I mean get the most delegates. A plurality of delegates still counts as a win.

6. Marco Rubio will be the Republican candidate for president in the general election.

7. Donald Trump will not run as a third party candidate.

8. The Republican vice presidential candidate will not be anyone currently running for president.

9. The Democratic vice presidential candidate will be someone named Castro.

10. Hillary Clinton will win the general election.

11. No new Justices will join the Supreme Court in 2016.

12. There will be fewer than 90 detainees in the Guantanamo Bay by the end of 2016. (There are currently 107)

13. There will be no government shutdown in 2016.

14. The Supreme Court will rule against the union in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, effectively making the whole country a "right to work" state for public employees.

15. Russia will still be bombing in Syria and propping up the Assad government (and Assad will still be there to prop up).

16. At least one of the current leaders of the five former soviet stans will not be in power at the end of 2016. (Yes, I'm flopping back on my annual flip-flop prediction. This year I'm giving the opposite prediction of prediction #12 from 2013 and prediction #4 from 2015, but the same as prediction #8 of 2014. I guess it's an even-year/odd-year thing.)

17. Although the U.S. will continue to intervene in Iraq and maybe will start doing so in Syria with relatively small number of special forces, there will be no large deployment of land troops in either country in 2016. By "large deployment", I mean at least 1,000 soldiers.

18. ISIS will end 2016 in control of less territory in Iraq and Syria than it holds at the beginning of 2016. (This is basically a repeat of prediction #10 from last year. But that prediction actually panned out! And I'm still convinced that the Islamic State is not a sustainable enterprise, no matter what the U.S. does about them)

19. A member of ISIS will be brought before a court in 2016 for crimes against humanity.

20. Iran and the P5+1 will still be abiding by the terms of the Iran nuclear deal reached in 2015, but there will be no major improvement in relations between Iran and the U.S. in 2016.

21. United Russia (Putin's political party) will increase its share of seats in the Russian Duma in the 2016 legislative elections. (It currently holds 238 seats)

22. The Democrats will retake the U.S. Senate in the November elections, and will gain a small number of seats in the House, that that chamber will remain in GOP control.

23. Russia will not intervene militarily in any other country, other than continuing with its already-existing intervention in Ukraine and Syria , in 2016. By "intervene militarily" I mean any ground forces operation (whether acknowledged or not, what Russia did in Eastern Ukraine would count). A pin-prick type strike would not count.

24. No other country will agree to join the Eurasian Economic Union in 2016 (that is, no more countries will agree to join beyond the current 5 members: Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan.

25. The Tenge will end 2016 less valuable (compared to the U.S. Dollar) than it is now. Put another way, currently, $1USD equals 341.588 KZT. The amount of Tenge one can buy for a dollar at year's end will be higher than 341.588.

26. Congress will not confirm any ambassador to Cuba in 2016.

27. More States will adopt the Medicaid expansion under the ACA by the end of 2016 than have currently adopted it. (By my count, 30 states + D.C. have expanded Medicaid and 20 states have not expanded. Both "Not Adopting the Medicaid Expansion at this Time" and "Adoption of the Medicaid Expansion under Discussion" from this list count as states that have not expanded.)

I think this is the first time I am not making a prediction about the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

How will I do? I have no fucking clue. That will change later and I will grade my predictions at the end of the year.