Predictions for 2008

Looking through my predictions for 2007, it appears that I was on the mark in some areas and quite a bit off the mark in others. For instance, I was unfortunately correct in predicting that the number of American forces in Iraq would not decrease and that the economy would be heading towards recession even as the stock market continues to appear fairly strong. I was also not too far out in predicting that the Democrats would be able to pass a good deal of their agenda through the House but have more difficulty getting it through the Senate. In other areas I was more far off, however. Al Gore and Newt Gingrich didn't get in the race while Rudy Giuliani actually did, and the Jack Abramoff scandal has appeared to wane. As for some thoughts on 2008...

  • I'm not going to touch my picks for who will secure the Republican and Democratic nominations, but more broadly I see the Democratic nominee winning with about 52-53 percent of the popular vote and somewhere in the range of 325 electoral voters.

  • In the race for control of Congress, I see the Democrats maintaining their majorities in both chambers and in fact growing their numbers. In the Senate, I see the Democrats netting a pickup of 3-5 seats, with the number more likely falling above than below that range. I also see the Democrats picking up a net 10-15 seats in the House, again with a greater potential to be above that mark then below it. A half dozen or fewer freshmen Democrats in the House will lose their seats.

  • The number of American troops serving in Iraq again will not significantly decrease in 2008. There may be some minor ebbs and flows, with perhaps even a few tens of thousands of troops coming home ahead of election day in November (particularly if the Republican nominee is trailing in the polls). But overall America will not be much or any closer to extricating itself from Iraq come next December than it is today.

  • The economy will continue to see a very low level of growth, perhaps even dipping into a recession during the middle of the year. As such, the state of the economy will weigh heavily on the minds of most voters.

  • The Democrats' agenda will largely continue to stall on Capitol Hill as Republicans continue to stand arm-in-arm with the Bush White House in attempting to inhibit change. This is a large part of the reason why the Republicans will face such difficulty in the congressional and even presidential elections next fall, and at least one or two (and possibly more) Republican members from fairly Republican districts will be amazed to find themselves out of office on account of their knee-jerked support for the President.

That's all I've got right now. Still not feeling particularly well with whatever is going around these days. But what say you about these predictions? What do you foresee happening over the next year?

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2008 predictions

For the record, here are my current 2008 presidential predictions. Predictions that I made and still hold from previous years are in parentheses.

  • Dem nominee: Obama (2004)
  • GOP nominee: Romney
  • Dem running mate: Edwards (2006)
  • Dem running mate if Clinton wins: Richardson
  • next president: Obama (2004)
  • Regardless of who the Dems nominate, the Dem nominee will win the general election with at least 55% of the vote.

2009 Cabinet:

  • State: Holbrooke (2006)
  • Defense: Clark (2006)
  • Justice: crap, I can't remember...
  • State if Clinton wins: Bill Clinton
  • 1st Supreme Court Justice if Clinton wins: Obama

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My 2007 Predictions

Following up on the moderate success of my predictions for 2006 (which, as luck had it, were significantly closer to reality than my, in retrospect, completely off-base predictions on the eve of election day 2004), it's about time for me to offer some thoughts on the year to come.

  • 2007 will not be a year of transition in Iraq, despite the clear mandate of the electorate and the determination of many Democrats in Congress for it to be so. The level of American troops in Iraq at the end of 2007 will be similar to the level at the beginning of the year -- significantly more than 100,000 -- while, tragically, large numbers of Americans, as well as Iraqis, will continue to lose their lives in the course of the country's violence.
  • The economy, which grew in 2006 despite leaving many behind, will head towards recession, either settling on a rate of growth below 1 percent or actually retracting slightly while not technically attaining recession status (in terms of the duration of the downturn). And though the stock market might not reflect this situation, many Americans will feel the brunt of this economic malaise.
  • For the first time in more than a decade the Congress, now under Democratic control, will pass every requisite appropriations bill -- something the Republican Congress was never able to do. The Democratic Congress will also agree on a budget framework, which Republicans failed to several times in recent years.
  • A scandal brewing since at least 2006 -- Jack Abramoff, shady land deals, Brent Wilkes -- will nab at least one more Republican member of Congress before the year is out. In response, Republicans will point to minor ethics violations by Democrats in an attempt to shield themselves.
  • The Democrats will pass the bulk of, if not all of their 100 Hours program through the House, though find some difficulty in the Senate, where they would have trouble passing legislation even with eight Republican Senators voting at their side. The bills that do eventually make their way to the White House will have even more difficulty getting past the President's desk as George W. Bush finally finds the veto stamp that has been so notably missing throughout his tenure. Over the course of the year, President Bush will issue several veto threats, of which he will follow through on a number, perhaps as many as a dozen.
  • In terms of presidential politics, on the Republican side of the aisle, history will repeat itself as Rudy Giuliani, who for so long flirted with a Senate run against Hillary Clinton in 2000 only to drop out before actually getting in, opts not to run. Someone previously overlooked by the pundits -- perhaps Mike Huckabee, perhaps Sam Brownback but more likely Newt Gingrich -- will emerge as the more traditional conservative alternative to John McCain, who is not entirely trusted by the Republican base.
  • In the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, at least one candidate outside of the current leadership trifecta of Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama will break through the static and begin polling consistently in double digits in the key early states. This person might be Bill Richardson, Joe Biden or even Tom Vilsack. Towards the end of the year -- perhaps as late as Thanksgiving or even December -- a significant effort is mounted to recruit Al Gore to run. Regardless of his consistent demurring, Gore will have significant support in polling that includes his name.
What are your thoughts on the year to come? On my predictions?

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Tapped Senate Predictions

Scott Lemieux of Tapped had the best Senate predictions of anyone today.

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Reviewing, Rethinking My 2006 Predictions

On December 31, I offered these predictions about the year to come:

  1. Democrats will gain control of the U.S. House, albeit by a somewhat narrow margin. The Democrats will have a tougher go in the Senate, where the Republicans' share of seats will be trimmed to 51 or 52. In gubernatorial contests, the Democrats will pick up seats in some of the most Democratic states in the country -- California, New York, Maryland, and Massachusetts, for example -- as well as in more competitive states like Ohio.
  2. At least one more Republican member of Congress will be indicted.
  3. Despite attempts to squelch the media by the Bush administration (or perhaps as a result of them), major media outlets will continue to unearth stories that are politically painful to the White House -- with help from inside the bureaucracy. Nevertheless, the media will also continue to peddle the incorrect meme that the Democratic Party is devoid of ideas (in the interest of "balance," of course).
  4. The situation in Iraq will not noticeably improve.
  5. The economy will strengthen, but President Bush's approval will not significantly rise.
  6. The Republican agenda in Washington will continue to be stalled as Republican members of the House from marginal districts defect on major pieces of legislation and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, distracted by the ongoing SEC investigation into his stock sales, is still unable to effectively control the chamber.

I'm still generally comfortable with my electoral predictions contained under (1), though today I am a bit more optimistic about Democatic chances than I was ten months ago. Looking at the House, I see the Democrats picking up closer to 30-35 seats (32 is the number I'm settling on today) rather than the 15-20 range I forsaw late last year. In terms of the Senate, I see the Democrats picking up six seats rather than the 3-4 I estimated in December, leading to Democratic control rather than Republican control. And on governorships, I still see Democrats picking up New York, Maryland, Massachusetts and Ohio -- as well as Colorado, Minnesota and Arkansas -- though not picking up California. Taken with my sentiment that the Democrats will not lose a single governorship, I forsee the party netting seven new governor mansions (this number is still a bit in flux and could actually increase).

(Below the fold: examining my other predictions and finding out what you think will happen on Tuesday.)

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