It kind of hit last week when my wife (a CPA) wanted to discuss taking a vacation in October 2016. 2015 was a huge news year, but things were about to get real crazy. “No good,” I told her. “You know how you can’t, take vacation between January and April 15th because it’s your busy season? Well, in a Presidential election year my busy season begins a month before the Iowa caucus and ends about a week after election day when all the post-mortems have been posted.”
Some say the phrase, “may you live in interesting times ” is an old Chinese curse. While the phrase’s origin may be disputed, one thing that can’t be disputed is that the next twelve months will be very interesting. Below are my 2016 predictions.
Saturday January 2nd is exactly one month before the Iowa caucus. That’s when the the voting starts and presidential race kicks in for real. Later in January Barack Obama begins his final twelve months as President. Both those events will dominate the headlines in the next twelve months.
President Obama faces a huge paradox in 2016.
On one hand he desperately wants a Democrat to succeed him so the progressive (and sometimes unconstitutional) changes he made domestically, and to America’s situation in the world become institutionalized. He knows that a Republican president might kill Obamacare or the Iran deal, protect the borders from illegal immigration, slash the national debt, eliminate the oppressive EPA regulations, actually try to win the war on Islamic terror, try to reestablish good relations with our traditional allies, stop favoring the terrorists over Israel, and turn away from his fight to ignore the Second Amendment just to name a few.
On the other hand he knows that many of his policies are unpopular, especially in a year when national security is going to be a key issue. Obama knows if he pushes too hard on his domestic or foreign policy agenda it will damage the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic Party candidate. However, he knew that pushing through Obamacare would lead to the party losing congress and that didn’t stop him.
Domestically Obama’s big agenda will be to weaken the Second Amendment. Understand that to this president (and to most progressives) this is not a political issue, they really believe that chipping away at the Second Amendment and taking people’s guns will reduce violence. The problem is that when one looks objectively at their proposals all they do is take away guns from the law-abiding Americans. In the next year look for president Obama to renew his push for “gun control,” and as hard as he’s pushed before, it will be much more vehement in 2016. Gun control will be Obama’s “Iran deal,” something he is pushing for his political legacy.
Obama will continue to wage the war on Islamist terrorism reactively vs. proactively. He will “ramp up” his efforts only after a national (or international) incident incites a public demand for action. Unfortunately, those major terrorist attacks will continue, overseas and here in the United States. Victories are the number one recruiting tool for ISIS, and a major attack in the U.S. would be their biggest, and most impressive victory.
Obama and his Secretary of State, John Kerry, truly believe they can bully Israel into signing an agreement with the Palestinians which will put the Jewish state in danger of not being able to defend herself. After all, they created a deal with Iran which did that, and were able to hold the democratic party ranks together in congress.
On the other hand, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu puts safety of its citizens first. Look for even tougher Obama anti-Israel language and policy in 2016, and look for continued use of Jeff Goldberg of the Atlantic as his personal tool for the really tough “chicken-shit-type” talk.
Obama doesn’t worry that a more intense anti-Israel strategy may hurt Hillary in the election. After all, the Evangelicals aren’t going to vote for her anyway, and the Jewish vote–well, it only hurt him slightly in 2012 (the percentage of Jews voting for Obama fell from 78% to 69%). The prediction here is that he is wrong. The Iran deal will not only hurt Hillary’s campaign, but will hurt other Democratic Party candidates in areas with a large Jewish population (to what extent depends on how the GOP takes advantage of the Iran and anti-Israel blunders).
The FBI will not finish its investigation of Hillary Clinton until after the election on November 8th. No matter the evidence, if she wins the election there will be no indictment, but if she loses she will be tried.
Trey Gowdy’s special committee on Benghazi will continue to follow the evidence, the Democrats will continue to politicize the investigation, and the mainstream media will continue to deny each and every revelation which exposes Ms. Clinton and President Obama as lying about the 9/11/12 attack.
In the Presidential race Hillary will win the Democratic party crown easily (unless I am wrong about the timing of the FBI investigation).
On the GOP side…well it depends. This has been a strange political year. Every time Donald Trump uttered something that would destroy other campaigns, his support increases. Every time, I’ve predicted one of his crazy outbursts would kill his campaign, his supporters bring out the clubs and pitchforks. Trump’s supporters are not crazy or stupid as many believe, they are just angry and believe Trump will actually do what others promised but failed to implement.
But that doesn’t mean Trump will be the nominee. As you may remember during the 2012 primary season the front-runner on the GOP side changed weekly depending on the debate or the primary performance.
The keys this time will be Iowa, New Hampshire.
The Iowa caucus is meaningless except for momentum, and the same thing with New Hampshire. Right now, a month out, it looks as if Ted Cruz will win Iowa. Two things will happen after Iowa.
First the field will be reduced even further. Paul will drop out to concentrate on his senate reelection, Huckabee and Santorum will be gone also as they would have done poorly in the most socially conservative of the early primaries.
The second thing to happen is the big donors (and the polls) will shift toward the ones who did well and way from those who disappointed. By disappointed it is meant the ones who expected to do well in Iowa but didn’t, so the ones such as Bush and Christie who were pointing toward New Hampshire won’t be hurt by the Iowa results.
New Hampshire will be the Waterloo for Jeb Bush and Chris Christie. While the news reports claim a rise in the polls for the New Jersey Governor, Donald Trump is still a dominant 15-20% ahead. Unless Cruz gets a big jump out of Iowa (which is very possible) Trump will win this state but with a smaller margin than expected.
Earlier this week Bush canceled his TV advertising in both Iowa and South Carolina, indicating that New Hampshire will be his last stand. If Carson doesn’t finish in the top three in Iowa or New Hampshire he will be out. The prediction is that after New Hampshire the field will be down to five Trump, Rubio, Cruz, Christie, and either Kasich or Carson.
South Carolina is next, and it all depends where the supporters of the candidates who drop out go. Most likely Bush’s supporters will go to Rubio, who despite his 96 ACU rating is seen as a moderate. After that it’s up for grabs, Carson supporters like Trumps are looking for someone who isn’t part of the Washington establishment. But IMHO they do not like the Trump tactics, so they go for the “softer” former surgeon. If they go towards Rubio or Cruz that candidate may win that primary.
There hasn’t been a poll in Nevada in almost three months, so who knows where it stands today. However, Rubio who has been playing under the radar, has strong contacts in Nevada, and he might have a good performance in this heavy Mormon, heavy immigrant state.
At the end of four primaries, despite his standings nationally we may see that after four primary/caucus states Donald Trump the winner of only one, and either Cruz or Rubio at two.
After Nevada there will be only three left, Trump, Cruz, and Rubio.
Who will win from there? Well, every time I pick against Trump I am wrong…so I gotta go with Trump.
Okay just kidding.
If Trump’s balloon of invulnerability has popped by Nevada the prediction here is that he will fade quickly. To be honest, both Cruz and Rubio will be able to beat Hillary and will (IMHO) make a fine POTUS. The question of who wins the nomination will depend on whether or not Rubio will be able to shake the immigration bill he helped to write and then abandon. And whether Cruz can saddle Rubio with the “RINO” label (which is untrue), and the whether the debates or stump speeches end up swaying more voters.
Both Rubio and Cruz are conservatives. Rubio’s American Conservative Union (ACU) rating is 96% and his Family Research Council (social conservatism) is 100%. Cruz has a 100% ACU rating and a 93% FRC rating. In other words, the suggestion that either one of them is a RINO is nonsense.
Both of the senators are excellent speakers and debaters. Each of the senators won senate races in which they weren’t even supposed to get the nomination. Each of the senators were seen as Tea Party candidates when they ran for the senate.
Rubio is probably a slightly better speaker than Cruz–Cruz is probably a slightly better debater than Rubio. If, as expected, these are the last two Republicans standing, it will be a contest too close to call right now.
Now please remember to hold on to this post: as I go to Cleveland in 2016, I will remind you of the correct predictions made above (if I am wrong I may store them with Hillary Clinton and Lois Lerner’s email).
Whether right or wrong, I will be here every Sunday-Friday giving you the best and most honest insights possible. 2016 will be interesting times, and Lidblog will be the best place to read about them.