Monday, January 01, 2018

2018 Predictions

Here is my annual list of blind guesses carefully thought-out predictions for the new year. Once again, I will throw this list into the archives, so I can dig them out in 12 months to see how foolish I was.

As always, the below predictions are what I think will happen, not what I want to happen. And I have tried to only include predictions that will be objectively gradable. (So, for example, for #5 below I predict that Trump's approval rating on a particular poll will be below a specific number. I don't just predict that he will be "unpopular."). The more vague feelings I may have about the future are not on the below list.

With that, I hereby predict:

1. No articles of impeachment will be filed in the House of Representatives against Donald Trump in 2018.

2. Donald Trump will still be President at the end of 2018.

3. Mueller will charge Donald Trump personally with at least one crime in 2018.

4. Donald Trump will pardon or will attempt to pardon someone who is charged by the Mueller investigation.

5. Donald Trump will end the year with an approval rating of less than 30% according to the Gallup daily tracking poll.

6. At least three members of the President's cabinet on January 1, 2018 will no longer be in the cabinet at the end of 2018.

7. The Democrats will take the Senate (meaning get at least 51 seats) in the 2018 elections.

8. The Democrats will also take the House.

9. The Democrats will gain at least three more trifectas in State government in the 2018 elections. Currently they have (or are about to have once the NJ governor gets sworn in later this month) 8.

10. The Republicans will lose several trifectas in the 2018 election, bringing their total down below 20 (they currently have 26).

11. Trump will not get any more appointments to the Supreme Court in 2018 (but he will continue to pack the lower courts)

12. Paul Ryan will lose his seat in the 2018 election.

13. Trump will announce that the U.S. is withdrawing from NAFTA.

14. Sisi will win reelection in Egypt after running effectively unopposed (that is, with no serious opposition and he will get more than 90% of the vote).

15. Similarly, Putin will win reelection in Russia after running only against token opposition (Putin will end up with more than 80% of the vote), which will spark protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but not a significant protest movement in the rest of Russia.

16. Maduro will also win reelection in Venezuela after running against a real challenger who is so hobbled by the government he has no chance of actually winning. The loss will prompt large protests who will either threaten Maduro's position or be put down violently.

17. I'm breaking my pattern this year. Usually, in odd-numbered years I predict that all of the current leaders of the five former soviet stans will still be in power at the end of the year, and in even-numbered years, I predict that at least one will not be in power by the end of the year. 2018 is an even-numbered year, so if I follow my pattern that means I should predict that at least one will not make it through the year. But my gut tells me that they are all going to stay, so I will go with my gut and predict that all of the current leaders of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan will be in power at the end of 2018.

18. The Supreme Court will rule against AFSCME in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, effectively making the entire country a right-to-work state for public employees.

19. The NLRB will issue a proposed rule change to rescind the 2015 union election rules, although the rule change won't go into effect until 2019.

20. The JCPOA (commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal) will still be in effect at the end of 2018.

21. Israel will wage war and/or conduct a major military operation (meaning more than a handful of tit-for-tat strikes) against Gaza/Hamas at some point in 2018.

22. Paul Ryan and the like may talk about "entitlement reform" in 2018, but there will be no legislation to enact significant changes to Social Security or Medicare (although Medicare's funding may be cut).

23. Benjamin Netanyahu will not be Prime Minister of Israel at the end of 2018.

24. Congress will never pass a regular budget in 2018. Rather, it will repeatedly kick the can down the road by passing a series of temporary budgetary extensions for the entire year.

25. The Dow Jones Industrial average will be lower at the end of 2018 than it is at the beginning.

26. There were be several (let's say at least three) big stories in 2018 about unintended consequences or mistakes in the tax reform bill that the Republican rushed through at the end of 2017.