Friday, December 31, 2021

Grading my 2021 predictions

It's that time again! The most wonderful time of the year when I look back at all the predictions I posted at the beginning of the year so I could appreciate just how bad I am at predicting stuff. While I actually did pretty well the first few years I've done this, more recently that has not been the case. Will I beat the odds this year and turn myself into the Nostradamus that most people believe themselves to be? Let's find out!  

The original prediction post is here. But because this is a full-service blog, I am cutting and pasting all my predictions from last year into this post you don't even had to click back. What an awesome blog this is.

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

Very happy to be wrong right off the bat with this one.

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)

Wrong. As of 12/30/21, the Gallup poll has his approval/disapproval at 43/51. (Biden is still more popular than Trump was at this point in Trump's presidency--on day 330 of Trump's presidency he was 36/58, but my prediction wasn't about comparing Biden to Trump at this point in Trump's presidency.

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.

Right. All adults have been eligible since April and by May or June, the backlog of people desperate for the vaccine had cleared and any adult who wanted one could get vaccinated pretty much on demand. And we are definitely not COVID-free.

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

Right! Although it was an injection. Also I got three injections of COVID vaccine this year (2 Pfizer plus a Moderna boost). I'm not exactly sure why I thought there could be an oral vaccine, or one of those Star Trek transdermal thingies in 2021.

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.

Wrong. I seemed to have assumed that the 2020-21 winter surge was the last gasp of the disease before we got it under control with vaccines. Not only did I fail to foresee the effects of Delta, I grossly underestimated the extent to which people would refuse to get vaccinated in the U.S.

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

Wrong. I still think a criminal indictment is likely, although it probably will be directed at the Trump Org and not Trump himself.

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

Wrong. I still am pretty surprised that he didn't try it.

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.

Right. I think I got this one dead-on.

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).

I'm going to call this one right.

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!)

Right. If I keep predicting it, It's going to be right eventually.

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

Wrong. Also, WTF? Yeah I know there weren't enough votes to remove him on the USPS Board of Governors. Hopefully ten seconds after Ron Bloom's replacement is confirmed, DeJoy will be out the door.

I hate that I not only know the name of the Postmaster General, but even the names of a bunch of USPS Board Members.

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.

I'm going to count this one as wrong although you could argue that in the Roman Catholic Diocese v. Cuomo shadow docket ruling the Court effectively signaled that Smith is a dead letter even if it hasn't been overruled. But in terms of precedent in the rest of the federal judiciary, Smith is still good law, so my prediction isn't right... yet.

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)

It is just "proposed" not "scheduled" so I'm going to have to call this wrong. After all, people propose shit all the time. It doesn't mean anything until it is scheduled.

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

Although I was right that Biden did not officially abolish Space Force, he is clearly supporting it, so I'm going to have to call this wrong.

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)

Right. For this fiscal year (beginning October 1) Biden set the refugee cap at 125,000.

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).

Well, the EU does have its Digital COVID Certificate program but that's just for the EU, I don't think it is always used in much of the EU, and I'm sure it isn't recognized anywhere else. So I'm going to have to count this one as wrong.

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

Right. woo-hoo for being right?

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

Wrong. The most current (November 2021) unemployment figure the BLS has gives the unemployment rate at 4.2%. I definitely did not foresee the U.S. reaching close to full employment this year.

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

Right. He has been fully "in-person" since April. This entire school year has been in-person so far. (We shall see if Omicron changes that.)

The Tally

10 right, 13 wrong, a 43.478% success rate! Why that's my worst rate ever. Monkeys flipping a coin would have beat me. Like I said, I used to be pretty good at this. 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%) 
2018: 14.5 right to 11.5 wrong (55.769%)
2019: 15.5 right to 11.5 wrong (57.407%)
2020: 10.5 right to 10.5 wrong (50.000%)
Two minutes after this post is scheduled to go up, another post with my predictions for 2022 will appear. If you happen to be reading this in that circa-midnight 2 minute window, keep reloading! The predictions post will appear really soon.