Thursday, February 4, 2016

Political Prognostication

So I just thought that I would write this out to get it on the record, especially since I am feeling like maybe I could be wrong.

I have managed to predict presidential elections correctly pretty well for the most part.  When I was 7 I predicted Dukakis would win the Presidency, and I was wrong, but other than that I have been pretty good.  Starting in 2002, I really started to feel like the social currents were so clear that it was obvious years before the election that by the time the elections came around an honest analyst would have known who was going to be elected for years ahead of time.

So I started making my predictions the October prior to the election year.  Obviously the Bush prediction was simple.  I thought the 2008 Obama prediction was also easy, since by October 2007 Obama already had a secret service detail (You don't get secret service protection unless there are credible threats against your life related to the office of the Presidency.  I figured that if people were already actively trying to murder Obama before there had even been a single primary that momentum was overwhelmingly on his side.).  Likewise, Romney clearly had the momentum in the Republican field in 2011, and even if the US was ready to elect a Mormon I have a hard time imagining it would be someone like Romney, not to mention that the electoral map was very stacked against any possibility of Republican victory.

So that was my record.  I've been able to make good calls more than a year out over the last couple elections, so that was going to be the subject of a blog post back in October,  but I didn't write it, because I no longer felt confident in my prediction.  But I decided to go ahead and share my prediction:  I predicted Hillary in 2016.

I actually originally predicted Hillary in 2016 back in 2012, but for years I saw no reason to change my prediction.  The Republicans are too busy nominating either hate mongering radicals that appeal to the extremely vocal subset of extremists within the party or bland panderers that cater to just enough regressive policies to appease the people who want to roll back freedoms for people they don't like.  When we got to 2015 with no serious Democratic challengers and passel of theocrats on the Republican side I felt very confident in my prediction.

But the Bernie Sanders happened.  He was very out of the blue for me.  My politics tend to favor more centrist candidates, so I have been pretty optimistic about Hillary--

(Parenthetical digression:  If you think that Hillary is super liberal then you have probably been pretty well indoctrinated by the decades of anti-Hillary bull that has been spouted Right Wing extremists.  Back in the early 90's you may recall that the strong opinions that Hillary held were treated as a threat to the fabric our nation since she was supposed to shut up and smile like a good woman.  Her political aspirations were seen as evidence of Bill's emasculation.  There was a popular t-shirt at the time that said "I don't trust President Clinton or Her Husband."  The fanatical and endless attacks against Hillary on all levels--political, personal, sexual, wifeliness, age, emotionality, etc. ad naseum--are pretty transparently anger about her failure to submit adequately to traditional female roles.  So you can think of Hillary as a liberal if you want, but as far as I am concerned you are wrong.  Don't drink the Kool-Aid.)

--though I will probably vote for a third party candidate as per usual myself.  But I did not expect an honestly liberal candidate to rise up on a wave of Democratic anger.

I also did not think that Republican anger could actually lead to a populist candidate rising to prominence on a platform of fascist nationalism predicated the oppression, marking, and exclusion of a religious minority.

Clearly I was wrong on both ends.  Rather than the predictable show off between Jeb/Rubio and Clinton that I expected, the primaries are turning out to be real races.

On the Republican side there is the execrable Trump who has not fizzled like I expected (I'm still hopeful that he will. His popularity leaves me scared for the spiritual health of our nation.), and the even more extreme--though not as bombastic--Cruz (Who has the same citizenship status as me, and who I think does not qualify as a Natural-born citizen.  McCain was born in US occupied and controlled territory as a part of a governmental service obligation on the part of his parents, that was a totally different ball of wax.).

And on the Democratic side you have the once-presumptive nominee, Hillary, and the very liberal upstart campaign of Bernie Sanders.  I never thought that Sanders could get this far.  At first I thought that he was just going to force Hillary leftward (and thereby open the door a little more for the Republicans), but instead he has turned into a real force in his own right.  He has somehow managed to make the liberal Democratic anger feel somewhat hopeful, and I feel like it is that hopefulness that really makes him dangerous to the status quo in the primary race.

Now I don't know who is going to win.  And that is kind of exciting, but it also kind of upsetting since I usually like to think I am pretty good at political prognostication.

But back to this last October.  I was already feeling uncertain.  But I stuck to my Hillary prediction.  I just wanted to actually publicly state my prediction so that I can't go back and retroactively ascribe foresight to myself if it turns out I was wrong.

My official prediction is Hillary, but my unofficial prediction is I'm just not sure anymore.