December 26, 2013

2014 Predictions

Later I'll do a Top 10 list for 2013 stories, but today let me make a fool of myself by making some predictions for 2014.  I have a track record for getting predictions wrong.  It's not exactly forecasting because I don't have the data I need to forecast things in a really scientific fashion.  So this is just gut instinct, and that has a bad track record, much like when I try to pick NFL winners based on instinct rather than statistics.  So, more for your merriment than anything else, here goes.

(1)  The GOP will make gains in Congress, but they won't be big.  Congress currently consists of 233 Republicans and 201 Democrats.  It's early and a lot can happen to change voter intentions between now and next November, but I don't see this as being a wave election like 2010 unfortunately.  I think the GOP will only net out up a handful of seats - less than 6. And probably one 1 or 2.  There is an element of not voter fatigue but partisanship fatigue from those not politically engaged and as a result, most of the 50 or so true swing seats will even out as normally expected.  That said, I'd love to be wrong on this, but in many ways I expect to see too much political apathy in 2014 to send a message to Washington.

(2) The GOP will make gains in the Senate, but they won't be big.  The Senate currently has 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans and 2 Independents who vote with the Democrats.  The GOP will make gains. They could take as many as 6 and become the majority but to be, pardon the wording, conservative, I expect them to win 3-5 in another classic GOP under-performance and a missed chance to make a difference before 2016.  Sadly, this could be a GOP blessing in disguise.  Any improvement in the economy and/or national mood prior to 2016 will undoubtedly be attributed to Obama by the media and only serve to help Hillary Clinton (or God help us, Joe Biden) in 2016.

(3) Hillary Clinton will stump for secure Democratic candidates in 2014.  This is a no-brainer, not a prediction.  Hillary Clinton still has Democratic star power and the air of the inevitable first woman president in the United States.  Sadly.  The Democratic party will want to use that cache to mitigate any Democratic losses in the 2014 midterms, so she will be pressed into service.  But she will serve the party selectively and only endorse where they are confident her endorsements are safe and are guaranteed victories for the Democrats.  If this prediction comes true - you don't see any of her endorsed candidates take a loss, then you can bank on the fact that she is running for president in 2016.

(4) Obama's approval rating will remain flat throughout 2014.  His approval rating is stubbornly high at 40% for such a poor track record, but a lot of liberals remain locked in and the Democrats can rely on the low information voters to be swayed by a still mostly compliant media to believe the Democrat story line. Nevertheless, for Obama to remain at 40% popularity it means a number of things of national importance.  It means no more Obama scandals (bucking a trend to date).  It means Obamacare will no longer continue to suck the air out of Obama (i.e. it won't get any worse than it has been, but it won't get any better).  That's a bold prediction from a conservative.  Obamacare is fraught with perils and pitfalls and is a true clusterflop.  But my prediction is that anything that goes wrong will either be mitigated with promises to fix it, or else postponed beyond 2014 if the White House cabal can see it coming ahead of time.  In summary, all the upcoming problems will be mitigated by finger pointing, promises, delays and a compliant media corp (or "corpse" if you speak like the president).

(5) The Seattle Seahawks will win the Superbowl.  I'm suggesting you don't take this one to the bank.  My football predictions used to be pretty good when I kept on top of team stats and used formulas to make predictions.  This one is nothing more than a hunch, and a weak one at that.  I'm actually rooting for Peyton Manning and the Broncos this year.

(6) Nobody will attack Iran.  Not some bizarre Saudi-Israeli alliance, and certainly not the United States.  Consequently, Iran may announce having nuclear warhead capability before the end of the year. I'm not willing to predict how soon they use one...

(7) Flight of the Rich.  Given Europe's taxation schemes and a similar trend, further down the curve in the United States, and persecution of the non-Putin oligarchy rich in Russia, we'll see continued movement of the super rich from various countries to the diminishing number of tax haven countries of the world.  After that, at some point in the more distant future, you might either see the same happen with the rich in China.  Either that, or a flight of the rich to China where society seems happy to accept that the party apparatchiks can be treated differently, so why not the rich?

(8) Edward Snowden will remain an unwelcome, no longer useful guest in Russia as nobody else will accept him.  His relevance/newsworthiness will evaporate and he'll have to find a job over there.  The only people who will care about him are the NSA.

There we go, my predictions for 2014.  Cue the laugh track.

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