Friday, January 01, 2021

2021 Predictions

It's that time again! As you just saw 2 minutes ago, I have this annual tradition of starting each year posting a bunch of predictions on the internet and then waiting to see just how embarrassing and wrong they are.

Like I say every year, the below predictions are what I think will happen, not necessarily what I want to happen. (Also what I think evolves over time, so this is also a snapshot of my view of what I think I will see in 2021, at this moment, just as 2021 is beginning). I am only posting predictions that can be worded in a way so that they can be determined to be true or false with some degree of objectivity later. This is as much about holding my own stupid preconceived notions to account as anything else. That means, for example, I am not going to predict that 2021 will be a happier year than 2020 (although I do expect that to be the case right now) because that is not something I can measure and later point to some objective measure to tell if I am wrong or right.

Enough stalling! Here is the list:

1. The Republicans will win at least one of the Georgia runoff elections, meaning the Democrats will not control the Senate. (At least not initially)

2. Biden will not have a full Cabinet of Senate-confirmed members throughout 2021.

3. Biden will get confirmed less than 20 federal Article III judges in 2021.

4. Biden will end 2021 with a higher net approval rating (difference between approval and disapproval) than Trump ever had throughout his presidency in the Gallup poll (note: Trump's highest approval rating in his entire presidency was on May 13, 2020, when he had a 49% approval, with a 48% disapproval, a net of +1% approval. I believe that was the only time he had a positive approval in the entire last four years)

5. By the end of 2021, all adults who want a COVID-19 vaccination will be vaccinated, although the U.S. will not be COVID-free by the end of the year.

6. I will get a COVID-19 vaccination in 2021, although it won't necessarily be an injection.

7. The total number of dead in the U.S. from COVID-19 will be between 400,000 and 500,000 by the end of 2021.

8. Trump will be indicted or otherwise charged with a felony in 2021 (most likely a NY state charge, but not necessarily).

9. Trump will issue a pardon for himself before he leaves office, although the legal validity of the pardon will be unclear.

10. Trump will be out of D.C. when Biden is inaugurated (and he will not be forcibly evicted from the White House).

11. The Biden Administration will impose some new sanctions on Russia in 2021.

12. Although the Biden Administration will be willing to rejoin the JCPOA (i.e. the Iran nuclear deal negotiated during the Obama Administration) and Iran will be open to getting some of the Trump-imposed sanctions lifted, the status of that agreement (at least as it pertains to the U.S.) will be up in the air at the end of 2021.

13. Trump will continue to be in the news throughout 2021, and continuing to insist he actually won the 2020 election, unless he dies (which is a possibility).

14. Netanyahu will no longer be Prime Minister of Israel at the end of 2021. (Yeah, I've predicted this one before. But this time I will be right!)

15. Louis DeJoy will no longer be postmaster general at the end of 2021.

16. The Supreme Court will either strike down or severely limit Employment Division v. Smith. By "severely limit" I mean they will issue a ruling that, while not expressly striking down Smith, effectively changes how free exercise cases are analyzed under the First Amendment from how they have been under Smith.

17. The Scottish parliament and/or the Scottish First Minister will either try to schedule another referendum over independence from the UK, or will otherwise submit a plan that could lead to independence. (I am not predicting whether that vote will happen in 2021)

18. Biden will not officially abolish Space Force in 2021, but he will support its formation and, for all practical purposes, will stop any efforts to establish it as a separate branch of the military.

19. The Biden Administration will set a cap for refugees in 2021 which is at least twice the highest cap set by the Trump Administration. (Trump's highest cap was 45,000, which he set in the first year of his presidency. He has cut that number every year since then, to 30,000 in 2018, to 18,000 in 2019. This year's cap is 15,000, the lowest ever. So I am predicting a cap of at least 90,000 in 2021)

20. There will be some kind of international COVID vaccination passport system in effect in at least Europe (if not most of the world, but the official prediction is just Europe).

21. I will not leave the U.S. in 2021. (I really hope this one is wrong!)

22. The unemployment rate in the U.S. will still be over 5% at the end of 2021. (It is currently 6.7%)

23. Noz Jr.'s school will not do any classes by zoom (or any other equivalent videoconference software) at the end of 2021.

Tune in in just 12 months to see just how bad I blow it!