I know, there’s already a fantastic 2016 predictions thread going. But, editor’s prerogative. Here goes:
- Trump/Cruz. I’m sticking with my prediction of over four months ago that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president. However, due to the truly epic flame-out of my original VP prediction (Ben Carson), I’m now going with Ted Cruz as the VP. It makes lots of sense ideologically, geographically, ethnically, religiously, and insider-outsider-wise, and in addition, they are the only two on the GOP side who don’t seem to viscerally hate each other. I think Cruz probably wins Iowa with Trump second; Trump wins NH (Christie second, but that’s his high point) and SC; and at that point, Trump realizes that he might actually win the nomination and starts dumping serious cash into a ground game. Rubio remains the favorite of the media but not many voters and fades after placing third in the first few contests; nobody else ever really catches fire. It’s Trump vs. Cruz down the stretch, and it gets closer than the current polls but Trump holds it together.
- Subpoint: if Trump looks like the nominee going into the convention, I do think there’s a real chance of shenanigans from the party pooh-bahs to deny him the nomination, probably in favor of someone not currently running (since they hate Cruz as much as Trump, if not more). I don’t know enough about the delegate process to know how that would actually work, but every political junkie in America is surely hoping that it comes to that. Could be some of the best political theatre in ages.
- Clinton/Ju. Castro. This is totally conventional wisdom, and in this case, I’m going with it. Bernie might win NH, but that’s about it; Hillary pretty much runs the table after that. Julián Castro, the former San Antonio mayor and current HUD secretary, is on everyone’s VP short list, and the numerous ways in which he makes sense (ethnicity, Texas, etc.) hardly need to be detailed. Plus, who could resist the prospect of hilarious pranks involving his identical twin brother, US Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-TX).
- President Clinton. A Clinton vs. Trump general election is a blowout win for Clinton. Pretty much every swing state goes to her; it’s the most lopsided victory since 1988.
- Casino woes. Closer to home, the disappointing numbers from MA’s only functioning casino, the Plainridge Park slot barn, continue. Plainridge starts making noises about relief from the state, but for now its pleas fall on deaf ears. MGM’s effort to stop the new Foxwoods/Mohegan Sun joint venture from moving forward in Connecticut fails, raising the prospect of two resort casinos going up simultaneously within a few miles of each other.
- Uber wins a round. The legislature acts on the question of regulating Uber and similar services by more or less going with Governor Baker’s proposal, which is what Uber is hoping for. Sadly, no serious effort is made to reform regulation of the taxi industry, which inevitably leads to a deepening crisis there.
- Ballot questions. The legislature passes the proposed “millionaire’s tax” constitutional amendment through to the next legislative session, potentially setting it up for the 2018 ballot. Voters approve the question regarding cruelty to farm animals, but reject everything else.
- Status quo on Beacon Hill. Governor Baker’s approval ratings stay strong as generally good relations between him, the Speaker, and the Senate President continue. Paradoxically, this translates into a bad year for Republicans at the polls; they lose one Senate seat and a handful in the House, as voters see little reason to try to engineer a dramatic shake-up.
- Sports. The Patriots don’t make it to the Super Bowl. The Celtics make the playoffs and do pretty well but don’t make the finals. The Bruins exit the playoffs early. The Red Sox just miss a wild card spot. David Ortiz’s final appearance in his last game at Fenway generates one of the longest ovations anyone can remember.