Making predictions is a perilous business. Even if you end up correct on your prognostication, some folks will claim you were just lucky or could accuse you of possessing
insider knowledge of the eventual outcome and/or suggest it didn’t cost you anything to boast about something that was so obvious all along.
Then again, if your prediction ends up a stinker, many of the same people will chide you – “You sure tanked on that one.”
With American politics probably being the most difficult subject to ever truly get right, it’s nevertheless the easiest type of personal reputational hit to withstand when things don’t work out the way you figured. Think back to the beginning of the 2016 Republican presidential primary season and you’ll understand what I mean.
Recall that George H.W. Bush’s youngest son – and George W. Bush’s little bro – Jeb Bush was banking on being the next “next in line” Republican candidate to appear on the 2016 general election ballot, most likely alongside another “next in line” candidate for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton. “Jeb!” had all the advantages one needed to succeed in the Republican Party – near universal name recognition, deep ties to the blueblood contingent of deep pocketed donors, a semi-likable persona and a reputation as a “moderate” who wasn’t afraid to tick off the party’s conservative base to “do the right thing” on immigration and neoconservative foreign policy.
At the time, pundits declared that every other 2016 candidate – particularly the “radical” conservatives -- wouldn’t have a chance, and that the large field (seventeen candidates) would only help consolidate the anti-establishment vote and leave Jeb an open path to the nomination, just as John McCain had successfully navigated in 2008 and flip-flopper extraordinaire Mitt Romney did in 2012.
Republicans were eminently predictable. Who would’ve thought otherwise?
The emergence of Donald Trump and the New York real estate developer/reality TV show star’s early poll standing drastically changed the dynamic. The equally impressive success of African-American conservative pro-family doctor Ben Carson was also not evident from the outset. Throw in the heightened profile of bomb-throwing conservative Ted Cruz and the surprise introduction of outsider business leader Carly Fiorina and nothing about 2016 was foreseeable after the calendar turned from 2015 to 2016.
Jeb(!) never caught on, anywhere. The Bush legacy candidate spent gobs of money hoping to assume the main establishment candidate role but soon flamed out, partially due to effective attack ads from Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Trump’s debate barbs, and former Governor Chris Christie vying with the low-energy purveyor of sameness for the establishment mantle.
Everyone knows the end of the story. Trump beat Cruz for the delegates needed to secure the GOP presidential nomination, then assembled a winning campaign team headed by Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon, and the rest is history. The “impossible” happened. Political forecasting became harder than ever, because the parties had changed. Hillary Clinton won the Democrat nod, but only after fending off the populist challenge from avowed-socialist Bernie Sanders. Clinton and the Democrat establishment used “super delegates” to put her over the top.
Nearly eight years later, the game is much more difficult to see several moves ahead. But our end-of-year 2022 predictions for 2023 wouldn’t mean much if we didn’t try to guess what’s going to happen in the coming 12 months, would they? So here goes:
The 2024 Republican field will be larger than anyone anticipated six months ago.
For the longest time, conservative and Republican political observers have debated whether any political soul would dare challenge former President Donald Trump for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, but it now looks as though not only will there be several other contenders for the crown, there could even be so many that a second “cocktail hour” debate might be required to hold all of the pretenders and wannabes – just like in 2016.
Trump is being attacked from all sides – by the typical Democrat establishment media tormenters, the singularly focused and corrupt Joe Biden Justice Department, the stupid January 6 ex-committee, Liz Cheney, a growing contingent of Trump doubters in the Republican party itself – and even by some of his closest allies from 2016. By all appearances, Trump’s shield of invincibility has been dented, if not shattered.
This surprising turn in fortunes – fueled in part by a series of Trump public relations mistakes as well as his legal troubles (real or otherwise) – will likely result in an expanded field of Republican hopefuls tossing their hats into the ring. Whereas Republicans like Nikki Haley and Chris Christie might’ve waited to see what Trump decided before committing to a campaign, the fright factor is considerably reduced now.
Another prediction to go along with this one: The larger field will only improve Trump’s chances, especially in the early contests where the Ron DeSantis/not-Trump vote will be divided among several rather than concentrated on one lone Trump alternative.
Here’s thinking that most of them, once it appears certain Trump would walk away with the nomination in a large field, will get out after a couple contests. Too many people now consider it Republican suicide to have Trump run again. Either way, it’ll be fascinating to watch.
Senile Joe Biden will run for reelection and there will be at least two or three challengers from his left for the Democrat bid.
Joe Biden’s never made any secret about his desire and intention to run for reelection – and make that double if Donald Trump runs (which he is) – and it now seems almost certain senile Joe will go through with his vow. The man has always been arrogant and full of himself, to the point where he considers his doddering shadow candidacy to be politically invulnerable.
Plus, Biden is delusional and believes he’s actually an effective and popular leader. Buoyed by his lifelong career of representing a “safe” Democrat state and then riding on the coattails of Barack Obama and then the Chinese Communist Party (or Wuhan, if you prefer) virus, Biden earnestly thinks his success is attributable to his “good guy” reputation and his back slappin’, hair sniffin’, shoulders massagin’, nude swimmin’, staffer molestin’, prodigal son protectin’ corrupted political nature.
He's got an ego the size of Mount Everest and there won’t be any friend or foe telling him otherwise that he’s too old or mentally feeble to handle another four years as the leader of the free world. Based on recent history with the Democrat base eagerly accepting brain-dead candidates – and dead ones, too – who’s to blame Joe for his illusions?
That being said, there are many, many skeptical Democrats who consider Biden too age-challenged – and moderate – to let him skate by with a months-long primary coronation. Expect a leftwing challenger – or challengers – to at least make it more than a cakewalk. Is the ghost of Teddy Kennedy available?
Mitch McConnell and the Senate RINOs will join with Democrats to pass major Democrat priorities – and the Republican House won’t stop them.
This isn’t really a prediction as much as it’s a statement that the modus operandi of the Republican establishment – as embodied in human form by gutless senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and almost certain-to-be Speaker Kevin McCarthy – will continue to defy conservatives well into the next Congress.
As highlighted by Senator Rand Paul last week during the omnibus “negotiations” between Cocaine Mitch and Chucky Schumer, many Republicans don’t give a lick about spending and deficits. McConnell has always been a big government Republican, the type of pseudo-Democrat who loves spending as long as it’s for GOP “stuff” – like the military industrial complex -- and pleases the Chamber of Commerce crowd.
Kevin McCarthy is talking a good game now, but will he punish the so-called “moderates” in the House GOP caucus if they start powwowing with the Democrats to divide half a moldy loaf? Call me skeptical.
Establishment Republicans in 2023 will keep up their sell-outs and conservatives will continue to gripe, and many of the complainers and whiners will concentrate their anger on Donald Trump instead of the real, less popularity-inducing sources of GOP malaise. The more things change the more they stay the same. Unpredictable? So is the short-term weather and the tides. Not.
The economy will become so bad in 2023 that Democrat voters will forget about abortion, LGBTQ+ issues and racial fearmongering.
This is a prediction of sorts – the above won’t happen. The united Democrats are smart, and they always go with what works. Gas prices will keep creeping upward, especially when the U.S. petroleum reserve is drained down to crisis levels – and inflation will stay at current levels, or even go back to their summer ’22 highs. Watch what happens when the government pumps another nearly $2 trillion (from the omnibus bill) into the economy. Boom!
Both parties will hem and haw and point fingers, but the swamp will not be beaten, at least not by this collection of RINO establishmentarians and emboldened, shameless Democrats.
Going into 2023, the only certainties Americans can expect from the political leadership is more of the same. Senile Joe himself said he doesn’t think he needs to do anything different, and the cowardly Republican leadership won’t force him to change through passing would-be popular legislation to force him to veto. Most things are hard to predict – but not the Washington swamp.
Joe Biden economy
Biden cognitive decline
January 6 Committee
Build Back Better
Marjorie Taylor Green
2024 presidential election