Predictions for 2019. – You thought 2018 was tumultuous.
December 31, 2018


I‘m back for my annual year end “Predictions” issue… something I’ve been doing for over a decade now with relative success. With Trump’s second year now in the rear-view mirror, and with what I expect will be a tumultuous year for politics not seen since the days of Watergate ahead of us, I’ve returned with yet another round of predictions.

First, as always, a fun/funny look back (read: “reality check”) at what others predicted for the year that was, followed by a scoring of my own Predictions for 2018 (link below), and finishing up with my predictions for the coming year.

As most of you know, I live-blog the three network Sunday political talks shows (Fox “news” Sunday, “Meet the Press” and ABC’s “ThisWeek”) on Twitter every week. I used to tweet via Facebook, but some troll convinced Facebook I’m not a real person, so they deleted my account w/o out explanation or recourse. Anyhoo… for some reason, those shows stopped trying to predict the future last year and didn’t try again this year… which is probably for the best because if you look back at my previous “Prediction” coverage, you’ll see that they were REALLY bad at it (all predicting the “repeal of ObamaCare in 2017″… it wasn’t. And how great certain members of the Trump Administration would do… whom instead were forced to resign amidst scandal.)

I love the predictions of so-called “psychics”. They make the most outlandish predictions… typically dozens… and should ONE of them prove correct (or interpreted that way), they use that as “proof” of their “psychic ability”. If they were truly psychic, wouldn’t their success rate be better? I point out every year that I AM NOT PSYCHIC. Nor have I ever claimed to be. My own predictions are not based on any “clairvoyance”. I’m just really good at spotting political trends.

PBS’s NewsHour posted “18 Predictions for 2018“. I think they got one, maybe two, right. No boom in the sale of human body parts (a frequent prediction I’ve never understood since doctors don’t accept organs they can’t source), Americans did not rally to boycott “Citgo” (Venezuela’s state-owned oil company), governments didn’t start hording fertilizer, nor did they start “taxing robots” to offset job losses. But there were some massive wildfires & earthquakes (a common prediction made by most “psychics” every year.)

But that was 2017. Predictions for 2018 were a bit more scatter-shot: Most people predicted Democrats would retake the house, but few predicted a #BlueWave that early on. And Yes, it was indeed a “Blue Wave” despite the fact Republicans not only retained control of the Senate but actually gained two seats. It took an awful lot of GOP Gerrymandering to undermine the will of so many voters:

Gerrymandering suppressed the Blue Wave
Notice how a smaller popular vote victory in 2010 resulted in Republicans winning more seats in Congress. And a massive Democratic win of the Popular Vote in 2018 resulted in Democrats winning far fewer seats than even the historic “Gingrich Revolution” of 1994? If not for Republican Gerrymandering, Trump would have suffered devastating losses in the mid-terms not seen since 1974 (the year both Nixon & Agnew resigned in disgrace.)

Forbes correctly predicted the Mueller investigation would still be going on by years end, and a sluggish Stock Market would encounter a “correction of at least 10% sometime during the year.” But they also predicted “Justice Stevens would not retire and deny Trump a second Supreme Court pick”, and Democrats would fail to retake the House.

After a bit of scrounging around the web, I’m finding that just about everyone avoided making any dramatic predictions for the U.S.. Even the far-Right Heritage Foundations stuck to only predicting “International” events (North Korea, Iran, Turkey) and for the most part, eschewed trying to predict what Trump would do… which is not surprising since trying to predict what our Toddler-in-Chief will do from one minute to the next is like trying to predict what any child with A.D.D. will fixate on next.

So let’s review my own predictions for 2018:

  • Mixed: – Expect the price of oil to continue to rise in 2018 and depress the economy. – On the final day of 2017, oil closed at “$61.19/barrel”. And while it did climb to $76.73 by the end of October, OPEC panicked when U.S. gasoline prices hit a 4 year high of $2.61/gal in November and inflation nearly broke 3% in July. Both US and Saudi oil production increased, dropping the price of oil to an average of just $50.12/barrel and gas to a national average of $2.27/gal by years end. So for the first 10 months, I was absolutely right. I didn’t count on last minute intervention that would so dramatically affect the price in such a short amount of time. Half-credit.

  • Wrong: As the Mueller investigation draws down on Trump, he [Trump] will respond by trying to make nice with Democrats. – I actually tried to give Trump the benefit of the doubt here. I forgot what a petulant snowflake he really is. Any rational person wouldn’t try to piss off their opponents, rile up the resistance and motivate them to come after you even more. Trump proudly ran for president on what a good negotiator he is. The Art of the Deal no less. But instead, he dug in his heels, continued to attack his political opponents… on BOTH sides of the aisle… and ended the year throwing a hissy-fit that shutdown the government because Democrats refuse to give him Billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to waste on a costly & ineffective wall he repeatedly insisted “Mexico” would pay for. My bad.

  • Right: Expect Democrats to retake the House and possibly even the Senate come November. – (I said “possibly” the Senate <wink>.) The Blue Wave resulted in Democrats retaking the House of Representatives by winning 42 House races to give them a 36 seat majority for 2019. And while Republicans picked up two Senate seats, there was great controversy surrounding how some of those seats were won. Dumb-as-a-stump Cindy Hyde-Smith had to go through a runoff election in (of all places) Mississippi to defeat her opponent after proudly declaring she be “in the front row” for if we brought back public hangings (aka: lynchings), and her public statements explaining herself fell flat. But her opponent was black and Trumpster rednecks flocked to her defense. The GOP had to get creative to defeat Senate Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, passing a last-minute rule that you can not vote if you don’t have a street address… a rule invented specifically targeting Native Americans, whom live on Reservations and made the difference in Heitkamp’s last narrow victory six years ago. There was no such law during the primary, creating much confusion and disenfranchising hundreds.

  • Right: Expect an economic slowdown by years end (brought on by rising oil & gas prices. – As noted earlier, the price of oil & gas DID continue to rise and the economy DID begin to slow. And even with the eventual drop in oil & gas prices, Trump’s Trade-War with China (et al) and threat of a government shutdown sent the Stock Market into a tailspin on Christmas Eve (followed quick by an irrational record-setting 1000+ point gain right after Xmas for a near zero net gain.

  • Right: When the deficit starts to explode, Republicans will use it as an excuse to cut entitlements and programs for the poor. – Almost on cue, Trump announced (right before Christmas) new restrictions to make it more difficult to get Food Stamps. And Trump’s third Chief-of-Staff in two years (Mick Mulvaney) bragged how Trump had proposed a budget that would “cut entitlement spending” (ie: “MediCare & Social Security”) as part of their plan to reduce the Deficit (created by their massive tax cut for the rich.)

  • Wrong: Unemployment will be up by years end. – While I still expect a sharp increase in the unemployment rate early next year thanks in part to Trump’s shutdown, the economic slowdown, Trade War and Market instability, the Unemployment Rate is ending the year at a historic low of just 3.7%, below the 4.1% it was at when the year started, and far below the “6%” I feared we might see. Trump’s economy is still riding on the sugar-high of his massive tax cuts. We have yet to see the hangover of when the bill comes due. (I fear I might only have been slightly premature on that prediction.)

  • Right: No wall. No progress on getting his idiotic wall. Trump has shutdown the government because Democrats are refusing to give him FIVE BILLION DOLLARS to pay for a wall he repeatedly insisted “Mexico” would pay for. They DID briefly offer him “$1.6B for border security” IF he’d restore DACA (protection for the “Dreamers”), but he said “No. It’s $5 Billion or nothing.” They tried again, offering him $1.3B (who’s teaching whom how to negotiate?) to try and avoid a Shutdown, but again he said No. Now Democrats aren’t inclined to give him squat. And the polls are on their side.

  • Wrong: Trump’s approval rating will be below 30% by years end. – Despite the slowing economy and most people blaming him for the Shutdown, Trump’s approval rating is still an unfathomable 43% (down 5% since October.) I’ve been saying all year that the only thing Trump has left going for him is the strong economy, and should that go South, he’s going to be in deep doo-doo. But as for now, his numbers are still hanging in there.

  • Right: Mueller might wait until after the 2018 mid-terms to announce anything significant regarding the case against Trump, [but] will release some controversial findings before the mid-term election. – Mueller has not yet started levying charges against Donald Trump, and he waited until after the midterms to sentence Michael Cohen and Mike Flynn. A few “revelations” came out during the year, but the most notable ones (Trump’s lie about never pursuing a “Trump Tower Moscow” not only turned out to be a lie, but he pursued it for far longer than he claimed. And news of corruption of “The Trump Foundation” didn’t come out until after the election as well.)

  • Right: As controversy over GOP misconduct grows, Dem chances in the mid-terms improve. – Indeed, the Blue Wave was very much a result of people being fed up with a GOP that refused to hold Trump accountable for anything.

  • Right: [Trump] will find ways to distract the public from the growing controversy swirling around his Russia ties. – Master of Distraction that he is, Trump always knows how to concoct a new controversy to distract people from the last one. Most recently, when Michael Cohen was sentenced to 3-years in prison and his former National Security Advisor was about to receive the same, Trump chose that time to spontaneously declare (in a tweet no less) without consulting anyone that “we had defeated ISIS and were pulling all of our troops out of Syria”… which I’m sure was music to Putin’s ears but prompted his Secretary of Defense to resign in protest (a U.S. first.) I wish I still had access to my old Facebook account because I must have posted the following image a dozen times last year every time Trump found a way to change the subject:


Distraction Accomplished

  • Right (arguably): One of the revelations to come out of the Mueller investigation is Trump’s business ties to the Russian Mob. – While no one revealed a direct connection between Trump and The Russian Mob, ample evidence turned up that all sorts of criminal enterprises knew Trump was more than eager to turn a blind eye to the origin of hundreds of millions in criminal cash being laundered through Trump’s “legitimate” real estate empire (in violation of U.S. law.)

  • Right: Republicans will grow increasingly desperate to discredit him. Possibly with Republicans launching an investigation of their own… into Mueller. – This one was a bit of a tough call because Congressional Republicans didn’t launch an “official” investigation into Mueller, but some Republicans were sufficiently worried enough about him to solicit a Vermont Law School professor to falsely claim she had been “sexually harassed” by Robert Mueller… someone she had never met. She described the email she received as “creepy” and forwarded it to the Special Prosecutor’s office.

  • TBD: Will Bernie Sanders declare he’s running for prez again after mid-terms? I suspect he will. Senator Sanders has not yet “officially” declared his candidacy, but he has given every indication that he is certainly thinking about it, which is understandable considering he came in second behind former VP Joe Biden as the preferred 2020 Democratic candidate (both of whom came in behind “someone new”.) No score.

  • Right: Cooler heads prevail and we see no significant conflict between the U.S. and North Korea in 2018. – It’s easy to forget that towards the end of 2017, tensions between the U.S. and North Korea were heating up with a flurry of provocative talk on both sides between two man-child leaders that crave attention and love talking big. But once the spotlight disappeared, so did their obsession with each other.

  • Wrong: Michael Flynn will testify in open court. – While Gen. Flynn did indeed go to court to be sentenced following pleading guilty to lying to the FBI (among other things), he never testified. But the judge basically urged Flynn’s lawyers to reconsider sentencing him now until he had done more to mitigate his crime (of secretly representing a foreign nation while serving as National Security Advisor to the President of the United States after lying about that conflict of interests to the FBI.) But it may still happen. Watch this space.

  • Mixed: Past tweeted statements [by Trump] will be used to contradict assertions he makes. – Like any Republican, when they become conspicuously indignant about something (like Bill Clinton’s affairs), just wait a bit and eventually you will discover they’re total hypocrites. And while Trump too has repeatedly proven himself a hypocrite many times over doing things he once criticized President Obama for doing, he has repeatedly falsely claimed he has said or done things that were contradicted by his own tweets (and typically video). For example, accusing Democrats of incorrectly believing his border wall “would be made of concrete”, only for video and a tweet to turn up of Trump on the campaign telling everyone “the wall will be made of concrete”. Or telling Chuck Schumer & Nancy Pelosi in a televised Oval Office meeting that “I won’t blame you if there’s a shutdown” [over refusing to pay for his border wall], only to then immediately blame Democrats for the Shutdown. But my thinking on this prediction was that buried deep in Trump’s tweet history, someone would uncover Trump admitting to doing something (like business with Russia) or being in a particular place/time when he was actually philandering with pornstars or some other activity connected to a crime he may be charged with. So in that regard, I was wrong. So this gets a “mixed” rating. Half-credit.

  • Right: [Some] Democratic leaders will (stupidly) do their best to downplay the possibility of “impeachment” in the lead up to the 2018 mid-term election. – Nancy Pelosi already did this once before during the 2006 midterms, so it was no surprise some Democrats might do so again in 2018. Republicans in 1994 practically campaigned on impeaching Bill Clinton and won in a landslide. But wishy-washy Democrats think voters don’t want them to hold a criminal Commander-in-Chief responsible for what appears to be an ever-growing litany of crimes. Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke was not shy about saying that he believed we should impeach Donald Trump, and ended up losing in deep red Texas by only 2.6%, putting the fear of God into his opponent Ted Cruz.

  • Right: Puerto Rico will still be far from recovered from the devastation of the 2017 hurricane season. – I’m marking this one as right even though I predicted they might suffer additional damage in 2018. 2018 has ended with Puerto Rico STILL not fully recovered from being struck by Hurricane Maria in 2017. No additional recovery assistance has been forthcoming from the Trump Administration.

  • Right: The war in Afghanistan will still be going on by years end. – A bit of a gimme, SEVENTEEN YEARS LATER, we are still no closer to getting out of Afghanistan than were a decade ago. World War II took two & a half long years to finally win. Vietnam ended in shambles after 10 long years with no strategy on how to “win” the war (and long after it was decided there was no way to win.) The war in Afghanistan is on course to last twice that long with no end in sight.

So how did I do? 14 right, 4 wrong with one TBD: 78%. I think that’s a record, exceeding my previous record of 73% set in 2015, and well over my 10 year average of 59.5%. Not bad. Not bad.
Okay, so on to my predictions for 2019 (in no particular order.):

    1. Trump will not participate in most (or perhaps any) GOP presidential debates. – 2019 will be the start of the 2020 Presidential Race. Around the middle of the year we will see the first Presidential Debates, and at least several Republicans will challenge Trump for the 2020 nomination… particularly if the economy starts to go South (or if criminal charges against him begin to mount.) Trump will initially say he will take part in the debates, and might even take part in one or two early on, but just as he once declared he “100% would testify under oath” in the Mueller probe only to eventually only agree to answer written questions, he will also promise to take part in any GOP debates only to eventually refuse.
      (Sept 16: GOP starts canceling primary debates.)

    3. The economy will reverse course sharply before the end of the year. – I’ve been warning people to expect this sometime in late 2019 or early 2020 since before I wrote this Op/Ed last May. There is an economic crash coming that will make 2008 look like an economic hiccup. Interest rates MUST rise to compensate for Trump’s massive tax cuts. We saw a dramatic rise in oil prices that wasn’t reversed until serious intervention by U.S. oil companies and OPEC to increase production. But lower oil prices hurt the profits of oil producers, so don’t count on them coming to Trump’s rescue over & over again. Trump and the GOP will blame Democrats for this turnaround (natch), falsely claiming the reversal began after they took power (2018 ended with the DOW in freefall due to Trump’s Shutdown threat and eventual closure, as well as the protest-resignation of Defense Secretary Mattis in response to Trump’s spontaneous announcement of our complete & total withdrawal from Syria, threatening international stability.)

    5. And it almost goes without saying that if the economy reverses course, Unemployment will jump. First due to the Government Shutdown taking place here at the end of 2018, and later due to interest rate increases and higher energy prices as Trump creates more instability in the Middle East. I was vastly over-estimating when I predicted a dramatic reversal hitting 6.0% by the end of 2018 last year, but I’m quite certain unemployment will be over 1% higher by the end of 2019 than it is as of this writing (3.7%).

    7. The first U.S. soldier born after 9/11 will die in Afghanistan (the amorphous “War on Terror”.) – A tragic and sad milestone never before seen in American history. By the end of the year, we will have been at war in the Middle East for longer than most new recruits have been alive. And tragically, it’s almost inevitable that one of them will die in combat. I can only hope that this person’s tragic death will be a wake-up call for millions of Americans who’ve grown numb to the fact we have been in a state of perpetual war for a generation. And if this does occur, it is likely to become a subject of debate during the 2018 campaign.

    9. Investigations of Trump will become more public. – To date, much of the Mueller investigation has taken place behind closed doors, and The Special Counsel’s office has done an amazing job of not leaking or responding to attacks that could reveal the status of their investigation (or allow anyone to paint it as “biased”.) But all that changes as the investigation begins to wrap up sometime in 2019, charges are filed, and Democrats in the House are freed up to reveal what they know and campaign on criminal prosecutions. Expect Trump’s most rabid supporters to go into deep denial… deeper than most already are… to the point of absurdity, as the walls start closing in. I’m not going to predict Trump’s Approval Rating by year’s end, but it will be low enough for the GOP to seriously debate whether or not he should be their 2020 nominee.

    11. If economy turns, even many Republicans will begin to support impeaching Trump. – And to that end as described in the prediction above, expect just enough Republicans (including pundits) to openly consider impeaching Trump, to put the fear of God into him. How he responds to that is anyone’s guess (but it will almost certainly be characteristically childish.)

    13. Hillary Clinton will NOT run again for president of the United States. – As the poll cited earlier (see: Biden reference above) shows, Hillary has the lowest “excited about” numbers and the highest “shouldn’t run” numbers of any major potential candidate of the 2020 election. Trump vs. Hillary? “Been there, done that, and we know how it turns out.”

    15. Someone most people aren’t currently talking about will become an early front-runner in the Democratic race as voters look for “someone new” to take on Trump. – Democratic voters are not particularly excited about any of their choices. What they REALLY want is someone with “gravitas” that can effectively call out Trump’s bullshit when he starts making crap up in a debate. Some potential dark horse candidates include Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, though I wouldn’t place bets on either becoming overwhelming favorites without some help.

    17. And that help is likely to come in the form of Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke topping the list of every candidates’ shortlist of potential VP picks. – O’Rourke narrowly lost to Ted Cruz in deep red Texas. And a Democrat who could potentially bring in both California AND Texas is extremely attractive to many Democrats (though it wasn’t enough to help Mike Dukakis when he picked Texas Senator Lloyd Benson to be his running mate in 1988.) But in the end, O’Rourke DID lose his last race, and comes with some controversy of his own (chief among them, a claim he fled the scene of a traffic accident, supposedly the result of a DUI, when he was 26.) And we haven’t elected a Representative president since James Garfield in 1880 (I believe the ONLY person ever elected straight from the House to President.)

    19. Another potential dark horse candidate is General Stanley McChrystal, the former Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. IF he should decide to run, he would likely jump to the front of the pack, particularly following his very public criticism of his former boss on national TV last weekend, calling Trump “immoral” and “doesn’t tell the truth”. McChrystal is a Registered Independent and I know absolutely nothing about his politics, but he certainly has the gravitas and seriousness of someone I think could seriously worry Trump about his reelection prospects. But he would need to change Party’s, run as a Democrat, and impress millions with his debating skills to get the nod from most voters. Will he or won’t he? I’m not hearing any rumblings from him about potentially running, so at this point I think it is unlikely. But if he does, he’ll be an early favorite.

    21. Paul Manafort will not flip and start dishing dirt on Trump. He can’t. He’s terrified. Both the Trumpsters and Russia would ensure he (or someone close to him) died a horrible death should he implicate either side… and there’s no question he has the evidence to do so. Manafort was brought in to be Trump’s Campaign Manager specifically for his access to people (crime bosses, et al) with access to boatloads of dirty money. Russian (and Ukrainian) oligarchs, the Russian Mob, and the Russian government itself (his own business partner was Konstantin Kilimnik, Russian “political consultant” whom reportedly worked (works?) for the GRU (the Russian CIA.) But what he knows WILL come out eventually either in the form of documents, emails, phone calls or other records. Manafort is going to spend the rest of his life in prison… however long that may be.

    23. I’m torn on the subject of when impeachment hearings might begin (and they will. Eventually.) On one hand, I think investigations take a long time and public support needs to grow before any serious action can be pursued. On the other hand, an impeachment smack-dab in the middle of the presidential race in 2020 would look purely partisan and surely backfire on Democrats before the election. In 1998, Republicans began threatening the impeachment of Bill Clinton during the midterms, helping them in those elections. But avoided waiting until the presidential race in 2000. Democrats didn’t control the House prior to the midterms to impeach Trump at that time, and they’d be loath to start such a fight in the middle of the 2020 Primaries. So while I can’t predict the outcome, I’m reasonably confident we will see the first movement towards Impeachment Hearings by September… depending on the state of the economy or any increase in the number of “ISIS-related” acts of terrorism resulting from his precipitous withdrawal from Syria. (Trump better pray the economy holds out and Syria doesn’t dissolve into violence. If Republicans start to turn on him, they might grow just as eager to get rid of him.)
      (Sept 12: Democrats open Impeachment Inquiry upon return from August Recess.)
      (Sept 24: Speaker Pelosi announces formal impeachment inquiry.)

    25. No border wall. Not gonna happen. Democrats have exactly ZERO incentive to give Trump FIVE BILLION DOLLARS of U.S. taxpayer money to pay for a Monument to his Racism along our Southern border. Democrats will likely give him a substantial (around $1.5B) amount for “Border Security” in exchange for reinstating DACA (which to me would be giving in to extortion, giving him incentive to take something else away, only to give that back in exchange for some concession), but as for a giant 2,000 mile long concrete wall, forgeddiboudit. Trump will, of course, declare victory, even if it takes convincing his Luddite supporters that “a virtual invisible security fence” is as good as a concrete wall (or “steel slats”, or whatever he’s calling it by then.)

    27. The DOW began the year at 24,922.68, and peaked at 26,616.71 on January 26th. It ended the year at 23,327.46… a loss of over 3,000 points. The last time the DOW ended the year lower than where it began was The Great Recession of 2008. If the economy goes South like I predict the DOW is likely to close lower than where it began by the end of 2019 for the second year in a row. The DOW has NEVER closed lower than where it started two years in a row, and would completely destroy Trump’s leading credential as “a great businessman”. Not once during the Obama presidency did the Stock Market end the year lower than it started that year, and the only time it did so under Bill Clinton was during the 2000 Presidential election when Bush & Cheney were crisscrossing the country, talking down Clinton’s record economy, telling voters at every campaign stop that “the economy isn’t as good as they say” because he knew he couldn’t beat Gore on the economy. Bush ended up handing himself the first of two Recessions (and blaming them on the Democrats.)

    29. Uh oh! Melania won’t be joining her hubby for New Years Eve after they spent Christmas apart as well (her at “Mar-a-lago” in Florida while Donnie whined about being “all alone” in DC.) While I don’t think we’ll see the first ever divorce in presidential history, much like the first few months of his presidency where she lived in NYC for months before finally moving to Washington, I expect we’ll see less & less of Melania in 2019, conspicuously missing some major events that will become harder & harder for the White House to explain.

    31. More people connected to the 2016 Trump campaign will be indicted in 2019. Most likely suspects: Jerome “Swift Boaters for Freedom” Corsi and Rodger “proud Ratfucker” Stone. By the end of the year, the number of people connected to the Trump-2016 Campaign whom have either been indicted or confess to committing crimes will near a dozen (it is already over five.)

    33. If Trump does indeed pull all U.S. forces out of Syria, expect the first attacks on The Kurds in Northern Iraq by Turkey and/or Iran. – And with Russia’s help, the genocide of Syrian rebels opposing Assad will be nearly complete.

    35. And last but not least: We will finally see Trump’s tax returns. – Now that House Democrats will have subpoena power, we will finally get to see Trump’s tax returns (who knows how far back) as part of the Congressional investigation of Donald Trump’s business dealing both prior to & during the 2016 campaign.

    And that’s about it. We’ll see if I do as well next year as I did this past one. – Mugsy


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December 31, 2018 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Economy, Election, General, Middle East, Money, mystery, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Right-Wing Insanity, Russia, Scandals

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