Crowing About 2016 Prophecies—and More

January 05, 2017

Marinate the breasts and legs of Corvus brachyrhynchos in jalapeño juice overnight. Wrap the breasts in bacon and pop them on the grill for 5-6 minutes, each side. Roll the legs in Cavender’s seasoning and fry in hot oil. This actually makes crow into good eating.

Yes, it’s time to review 2016 predictions and offer new ones for 2017. Looking back at last year’s list, I got 16 prognostications right and 10 incorrect—dragged down by bad movie picks. Still, when I was wrong, I was wrong big-time.

Contrary to my prediction, Donald Trump won the White House and Republicans kept the Senate. (Though nearly all of the GOP Senate candidates ran ahead of Mr. Trump.) Republicans did not have a multiballot convention as I had envisioned. I was right that Hillary Clinton would not be indicted over her emails but wrong in forecasting that her aides would be.

More bad calls: President Obama’s approval did not drop as I had expected. It was higher at year’s end than at its beginning—54% versus 44%, in the Real Clear Politics average. The U.S. did not teeter on recession. The Panthers did not win last year’s Super Bowl, though they did make it there, only to fall to the Broncos. I went zip for three on predicting the Oscars for best director, actor and actress.

As to what I got right: The GOP presidential race still included more than three candidates by March 15, allowing Mr. Trump to prevail in a splintered field. Mrs. Clinton spent the election scorching her opponent in speeches and ads, neglecting her own message. House Speaker Paul Ryan delivered an impressive conservative agenda, titled “A Better Way.” Crime and law and order became important election issues. Mr. Obama was worse as president but better as a golfer, playing 64 rounds.

The final Benghazi report named Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes as the whisperer who told U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to blame the attack on an internet video. Iran violated its nuclear agreement, busting limits on heavy-water supplies and testing missile technology. Mosul was still in Islamic State hands by year’s end. The Taliban gained territory in Afghanistan. Syria and Libya deteriorated. The U.S. faced major foreign tests, including Moscow’s hacking and efforts to destabilize Eastern Europe and Beijing’s militarization of the South China Sea.

The Super Bowl aside, my sports picks rocked: Alabama won the college football championship, check. Cam Newton won the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, check. The Chicago Cubs made the World Series, and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors took the record for the best-ever regular season, check and check.

Now for my 2017 divinations: Mr. Trump will tweet often and hold full-scale press conferences hardly ever. A senior White House official will announce his or her departure (or be fired) by year’s end.

The president will nominate—and the Senate will confirm—an originalist to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Republicans will repeal and replace most of ObamaCare using “reconciliation,” a budget procedure that requires only 51 votes in the Senate. In the fall, Congress will pass tax reform using the same process. The tax package will be smaller than Mr. Trump’s campaign plan but will phase out the double-taxation U.S. business face on profits earned abroad.

Congress will raise the debt ceiling in April or May, but it won’t be pretty. Tensions will emerge between Republican lawmakers and the president over Russia, tariffs and infrastructure spending. The funding mechanism for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which draws money directly from the Federal Reserve at its discretion, will be struck down in court.

Sanctuary cities that refuse to turn over criminal aliens will be forced to comply. Arrests of violent criminal illegal immigrants will rise, but there will be no deportation force rounding up millions of undocumented workers. Mr. Trump’s border wall will largely be “virtual” and Mexico won’t pay for it. A compromise for “Dreamers” brought here as children will be worked out.

Ed Gillespie will be elected Virginia’s governor, helping the GOP keep a record number of state chief executives.

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