Monthly Archives: December 2016

End of year prediction wrap-up, 2016 edition

As I look bad at my January predictions for 2016, I wonder to myself – why would anyone read this blog (thanks, by the way)?  Clearly, I have no idea what I’m writing about.

2016 was, in fairness, a rough year for a lot of prognosticators. However, I clearly batted below .500.  Here’s a look at some of the things I got wrong. . .

1). The election – mostly.  Rubio for President?  What was I thinking?  Epic failure. Well, at least I got the party right in January.   I wrote that the makeup of Congress would remain largely the same plus a few Republican seats.  I got that right too.

2).  Boko Haram will flourish in Nigeria.  I’m happy that I got this one wrong.  While the Nigerian government’s proclamations that Boko Haram has been crushed should be taken with a grain of salt, clearly it has made inroads against the group this year.

3).  The Transpacific Partnership will pass in a lame-duck session of Congress.  In the words of Miracle Max, the agreement is definitely mostly dead.

4).  Mahmoud Abbas will exit the scene.  Nope again – still hanging on.

5). Cypriot leaders will be “serious” about negotiating a peace agreement on the divided island nation of Cyprus.  Serious, maybe.  Successful, no.

6). Epidural stimulation for spinal cord injuries will be big news.  Sadly, not a peep this year – but I am hopeful the good scientists in Louisville and elsewhere are working hard and have a great journal article in store for the upcoming year.  I also suggested that something called the Zika virus would be big news as well.


What did I get (mostly) right?

1). The Iraqi government will re-take Mosul in December 2016.  They’re pretty close . . .

2).  Syria will look more hopeful, in part, due to Russian intervention.  Depends on your definition of hopeful, I guess, but with the government in control of Aleppo and most major cities, there’s finally an end in sight.  Maybe not a good end for the cause of freedom, but not a good end for ISIS either.

3). Spotlight will win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

So, all in all, I got most things wrong about domestic (and some international) politics but had a pretty good read on how ISIS would fare in 2016 and continued my Academy Award streak.  In order to cheer myself up over this year’s admittedly dismal performance, let’s take a look back at the best ten of my predictions over the last five years . . .

1). Syria’s Bashir al-Assad will cling to power despite opposition and instability (2012).

2). Boko Haram will become more of a household name (2012).

3). President Obama will beat Mitt Romney and win all the battleground states except Florida (he won Florida, but lost North Carolina).  Otherwise, pretty close for a January prediction (2012).

4). The weak mandate of the Affordable Care Act will cause healthcare reform to remain more controversial than it would otherwise be (2014).

5). The Iraqi government neglects northern Iraq and it becomes a staging ground for Islamic militants (2014).

6). Iran and the US strike a nuclear deal (2014, 2015)

7). Thailand’s military takes over (2014)

8). Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Party win Israeli elections (2015)

9). The Colombian government and FARC will reach an agreement (2015 . . . a year early)

10). All five Academy Award Best Picture nominees!  This year I have my eye on Lala Land. . .