For my final column each year, I like to go out on a limb and predict 10 big news stories I believe will happen in the coming year. Usually I get two or three right, come close on a few others, and then I’m way off on the rest.
Read last year’s predictions, and see how I did for 2016.
- 10. The New England Patriots will win the Super Bowl.At the very least, we know they’re getting there, because the Patriots tend to end up in the Super Bowl when they get busted for cheating. Almost like they’re saying “Yeah, we cheated, but it’s not because we have to.”
Look for Tom Brady to continue the tear he’s been on since that opening four game suspension all the way to Houston.
- 9. Star Wars: Episode VIII will be the top grossing film of the year. This is not as obvious as you might think. Next year sees the return of blockbuster franchises like Transformers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, Pirates of the Caribbean, Fast and Furious, Despicable Me, Thor, Alien, Lego, and Cars (whew!). That’s before we mention the expansion of the DC Cinematic Universe with Wonder Woman and the Justice League. However, Star Wars is the one franchise to rule them all. Especially when it includes Luke Skywalker’s long-awaited return to the silver screen. (A brief scene consisting mostly of a solemn stare at the end of Episode VII doesn’t really count, does it?)
- 8. Barack Obama will pardon Hillary Clinton before leaving office. One of our outgoing president’s final acts in the White House will be pardoning his former secretary of State for her alleged malfeasance/pay-for-play scheme while she served in his administration.
- 7. Either Russia, China, Iran, or North Korea will launch a military action to test President Trump’s leadership in his first year. While Trump talked tough during the election, you don’t get the sense the rest of the world is shaking in its boots at his pending presidency. Probably because he’s such a wildcard known for completely reversing his previous positions on a frequent basis. That’s exactly why I expect one of these four countries to launch a military action at some point next year to test his resolve.
- 6. There will be no substantive increase in deportations nor a single move made to ‘build a wall.’ Despite the fact these were two of the talking points that turned Trump from a vanity candidate into a force of nature.
- 5. The Chicago Cubs will repeat as World Series champions. They return the strongest nucleus of talent in the major leagues, and now that the curse is over, they really have no pressure on them despite being the defending champs. Look for them to make a move mid-season for a stud closer, just as they did last year, to put themselves over the top.
- 4. Ted Cruz will not finish the year as a U.S. senator. No inside information here, just a prediction that by the end of the year, Cruz will be offered an appointment that gives him more of a chance to make a difference than pushing pencils and taking cloture votes in Ditch McConnell’s Senate does.
- 3. Reince Priebus won’t last as Trump’s chief of staff. When a guy goes through three campaign leadership shakeups in a year — Corey Lewandowski, Paul Manafort, and Kellyanne Conway/Steve Bannon/David Bossie — that’s probably a sign his chief(s) of staff better keep their résumés handy.
- 2. Ivanka Trump’s political influence will prove to be overrated. Just look at this past week, when Trump followed up his daughter’s much ballyhooed shindig with discredited alarmist Al Gore by appointing Oklahoma attorney general — the scourge of the global warming cult — as head of the EPA. Trump wouldn’t be the first rich guy from Manhattan to humor his princess before doing what he was always going to do anyway.
- 1. There will be no Brexit. Look for the powers-that-be in the EU to make sweeping concessions to the U.K., both as a response to the populist wave sweeping the West as well as to avoid the crushing precedent the U.K.’s departure would set.
The largely progressive parliaments in the U.K. will then use those concessions as an excuse to bypass the will of the people and remain, gambling the current populist trend is as fleeting as the so-called “libertarian moment” recently was. How the people respond to this voter nullification will show us whether or not they’re right.