Sunday, January 3, 2016

Some Fearless And Likely Wrong Predictions For The 2016 Election

I tend to write a blog post predicting events in the coming year each January, but I was going to hold off because it's a fool's game.  The status of the world is so insane right now that predicting the future is about as easy as drinking up the ocean.  I was talking to a close friend on the phone last night about this, and after giving it some thought, just decided what the heck and do it anyway.

Trump Won't Win The Nomination, But Will Make It Interesting
At this point I think that the Republican establishment has made the decision to keep Trump from getting the nomination at whatever the costs.  Those Republicans who aren't Trump voters tend to really dislike him.  Even if he wins a clear plurality of the delegates, he will have to face a brokered convention.  I don't see him getting a majority.  Trump does have a lot of support, obviously, but primary turnouts are low, and his voting base is disconnected and less likely to vote in the first place.  Because he has such weak opposition, however, I don't see one person sweeping in and uniting the "anybody but Trump" forces.

Clinton Will Win The Nomination Easier Than Expected By Going Left
I like Bernie Sanders and intend to vote for him, but I think that his prospects have been overstated by the media due to their interest in making a contest out of it.  He might win one of the early primaries and generate some hype, but that will quickly dissipate. His problem has been that Hilary Clinton has gone left to capture the base.  I think she has gone far enough left that many voters in the base will be satisfied with her.  On top of that, with the international situation getting more uncertain, Clinton gets a huge boost over Sanders.

A Global Event Will Massively Impact the Presidential Election
Didya notice how the Republicans reacted after the terror attacks in Paris?  They know that exploiting fear and ginning up militarism are major winning tactics for them.  That enabled the re-election of George W Bush, and Reagan's appeal to nationalism during the Iran Hostage Crisis was very effective.  Considering the current tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, I am fairly certain that something big is going to happen between those two countries in the coming year.  If not there, then there could be another Paris-style terror attack or San Bernardino shooting or major ISIS offensive in Iraq or Syria.  In the grand scheme of things (like Benghazi), it might not be a huge deal, but the Republicans will do their best to blow it up into something huge.  If it is something huge, then all the better for them.  If Iran and Saudi Arabia go to war, for instance, blame will be laid on the policy of rapprochement with Iran, and by extension, on the Democrats.

Clinton Will Win The General Election In A Squeaker (But A Loss Would Not Surprise Me)
Despite getting the nomination easily, Clinton will have a hard time in the general election.  Turnout is key, and getting voters excited for an establishment candidate will be tough.  A lot of the people who came out for Obama will not come out for Clinton, and the raft of voter ID laws and such will make it harder for Democratic voters to vote.  Polling is showing Republicans who aren't Trump running well against her, and due to super PACs her opponent will be be able to run many more ads.  Clinton will ultimately benefit, however, from the rise of Trumpism, which has continued to alienate Latin and Asian voters from the Republican party.

The Republicans Will Retain Both Houses Of Congress
Because the Democrats will not have high turnout with a Clinton nomination, they will not win the House.  Due to gerrymandering, they need a big wave to move the needle in the House, and they won't get it.  In terms of the Senate, they would need to flip several races, which I don't see happening.  The result of this election will likely be more gridlock and the continuance of the status quo.

Marco Rubio Will Be The Republican Nominee
This is the hardest thing to predict, so I kept it for last.  I really think the election will come down to Rubio or Cruz.  If there is a brokered convention, I think it definitely goes to Rubio, since the establishment will have a greater voice in steering things, and Rubio has a history of getting in good with the big wigs.  In that scenario Cruz loses because everybody who actually has to deal with him hates his guts.  The Republicans always nominate the guy who's "next in line," but there is no one fitting that description this time around, which has enabled Trump.  Bush was the closest to that, but he has clearly screwed up so bad that he has no chance anymore.  I have to think that the establishment will try to make Rubio their man because he is young, smooth, and moderate enough on immigration to prevent further alienation of the Latino vote.  He will provide a great contrast to the elder Clinton, even if Rubio's an old man in a younger man's body.  If he gets the nomination that also gives the Republicans a shot at getting Florida in the general election, and for Clinton to win without Florida will not be easy.  Of course, Rubio still has to win the damn nomination, and his strategy of looking past Iowa and New Hampshire will pay off, I think.  Once the base gets a chance to pitch their little hissy fit early on cooler heads will likely prevail.  If Cruz and Trump split the wingnut vote, all the easier for Rubio.

A Nightmare Scenario Cruz Presidency Is Not Impossible
This isn't so much a prediction as an observation.  As I have mentioned, Clinton has a lot of weaknesses.  She is an establishment candidate when the establishment is reviled.  It is very rare that a party is able to hold the White House for three terms in a row.  Cruz has a shot at the Republican nomination, and he is extremely adept at spinning his bullshit.  If turnout is low, and enough people are seduced by Cruz's bullshit artistry and longing for hawkish rhetoric in a dangerous world, he could win out.  If he gets the nomination he will have a massive propaganda machine at his back, unlimited money to spend, and several swing states where opposition voters will have a harder time getting the ballot.  I think this possibility has maybe a 15% chance of happening, but it still could.  People thought Reagan was too far to the right, too.

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