Monday, December 31, 2018

Grading my 2018 Predictions

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.

Wrong. Even if Trump deserves it, Mueller is apparently following the DOJ policy to not indict a sitting president.

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.

Wrong. That poll currently has Trump at 39%. The lowest it ever got in 2018 was 36% on 1/21/18]

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.

Right#1 (Secr of State)#2 (VA Secr)#3 (EPA)#4 (UN Amb)
#5 (Atty Genl), #6 (Secr of Interior), #7 (Secr of Defense).

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

Wrong. I knew it was a long-shot with a very GOP-friendly map. I thought that Trump would be even less popular, which would have dragged Republican candidates down in the other races.

8. The Democrats will also take the House.

Right. With all the Gerrymandering I think this was a major feat.

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.

Right. Democrats gained six trifectas and did not lose any of their existing eight, giving the Dems a total of (um, six plus eight, uh, carry the one...) 14!

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

Wrong. The GOP only lost three. Which is really good! Just not as good as I predicted.

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

Wrong. (I was right about Trump continuing to pack the lower courts, but I am counting this 100% wrong because really it was a prediction about the Supreme Court).

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

I'm going to call this one half-right, although I'm on the fence whether I am being too generous with myself on this one. Ryan decided not to run for reelection but Randy Bryce, the Democrat who was going to challenge Ryan, lost to another Republican. We don't know what would have happened if Bryce got to challenge the speaker, however.

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

I'm going to count this right. Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw, but he used that announcement to cut a deal with Mexico and Canada that is a renegotiated version of NAFTA, with a new name so no one notices that it is still basically 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).

Right, by an even bigger margin than I predicted.

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.

Putin won with no real opposition. But he only got 76% of the vote and the protests really came a couple of months later when a Putin ally was elected mayor of Moscow. I'm calling this half-right.

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.

As predicted Maduro won against a hobbled challenger. The opposition was so hobbled, it called for a boycott of the election, which further assured Maduro of the win. There were small protests, but mostly the opposition stayed off the streets, which meant no violent crack-down was necessary. I'm calling this one half right.

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.

Right. They are all still sitting in the same chair there were at the beginning of the year.

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.
Right (pdf).

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.

Wrong. The new Republican NLRB General Counsel is teeing up a bunch of Obama-Board cases to be overturned by the Trump Board, but so far neither the GC nor the Board itself has focused on the 2015 overhaul of the representation election rules.

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

Wrong. It is funny to look back and see how badly I predicted which deals he would stick with and which he would dump.

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.

Wrong. This wasn't big enough to count as a "major military operation." In fact, it was so not-major that one of the more bloodthirsty member of Bibi's cabinet quit.

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).

Right. No cuts, some talk. But there is always some talk of entitlement reform.

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.

Right. Considering that the U.S. hasn't passed a regular budget in years, this was not at all surprising.

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

Right. The Dow closed at 24,719 at the end of 2017. It closed at 23,167 today.

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.

Right. They got drowned out by a lot of other news stories in 2018, but there were a bunch. To prove I met my threshold, here are three: 12, 3


I got 14.5 right and 11.5 wrong, which is a 55.769% success rate. Compared to other years, that is pretty low. The second lowest I have gotten in all the years I have made these predictions (only 2015 was worse at 46.000%)

Check out the record:

2008: 20 right to 4 wrong (83.333%)
2009: 14.5 right to 7.5 wrong. (65.909%)
2010: (none because Kazakhstan)
2011: 15.5 right to 6.5 wrong (70.455%)
2012: 15.5 right to 6.5 wrong again (70.455% again)
2013: 15.5 right to 9.5 wrong (62.000%)
2014: 17 right to 9 wrong (65.385%)
2015: 11.5 right to 13.5 wrong (46.000%)
2016: 17.5 right to 9.5 wrong (64.815%)
2017: 18 right to 8 wrong (69.923%)