A long-standing tradition here is to come up with some prediction for the New Year, and at the end of the year see how right or wrong I was. And this year shall be no exception. So, without further ado, it is time to mercilessly skewer last year’s set of predictions:
- Mitt Romney will be nominated as the GOP’s candidate in 2012. He will defeat President Obama by a small margin, but by a large margin in the Electoral College. Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina, and Florida will all shift to the GOP column on Election Night.
Partially Right: I was right in predicting that Romney would get the nomination, but his campaign failed to take on the data-driven Obama reelection effort, which stomped Romney in key battleground states. No longer will I predict that Pennsylvania will swing into the GOP column, as the chances of that are slim to none. Indiana and North Carolina did swing back to the GOP, but Romney’s losses in critical states like Florida, Ohio, Colorado, and Iowa doomed his candidacy.
- The GOP will retake the Senate as the Democrats lose seats in North Dakota, Nebraska, Florida, Ohio, Missouri, and Virginia. The GOP will hold their margin in the House.
Wrong: The GOP did not retake the Senate—in fact, they lost races that they should have won. The damage to the GOP brand is clear, not only in Romney’s loss, but in the Senate results as well. The GOP did retain the House, but much of their success is due to gerrymandering on the district level. The GOP has serious issues that they need to address if they want to be a competitive national party again.
- Unemployment will remain between 7-8%, and the number of discouraged workers will continue to cause problems. Efforts to spin the economy as recovering by the Obama White House will sound painfully out of touch.
Correct: The Obama team managed to win reelection in spite of a bad economy, but the real state of the economy continues to be poor at best.
- The Eurozone will collapse in 2012 as Greece is unable to maintain its austerity package. Greece will leave the Euro and redenominate its debts in drachmas. Following that Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland will all threaten to leave the Euro, leaving the future of the currency in doubt.
Wrong: The Eurozone teeters on the edge of collapse, but has not tipped over yet. The question is whether German money can keep the Eurozone afloat and whether the Germans have any interest in keeping that spigot running. With France doing its best to kill its economy, 2013 might be the year that the EU faces the biggest crisis in its history, and the Euro goes down.
- Apple will release an iPad 3 with a Retina display as well as an iPhone 5 with a new form factor. They will sell like hotcakes. Apple will not sell a TV, however.
Correct: What I wouldn’t have seen last year was the iPad mini and an updated iPad coming so soon after the launch of the retina iPad. Apple seems to be wanting to push the pace of its product update cycles to keep ahead of the competition.
- Iran will continue to threaten to close off the Strait of Hormuz, but will not actually try. Sanctions will serve to weaken Ahmadinejad and internal corruption will cause a new round of riots in Tehran and other major cities.
Incorrect: Iran has been relatively quiet this year, especially given that Syria has so dominated the headlines.
- Iraq will fall into civil war, with the Shi’ites fighting the Kurds and the Sunnis. President Obama will do nothing to help the Iraqis, but will blame everything on Bush.
Thankfully incorrect: However, the situation in Iraq remains highly restive, and there is a risk of Iraq becoming a powder keg thanks to U.S. indifference. But thankfully, Iraq is holding together despite some flares of violence.
- China will face a banking crisis that will spread throughout Asia. Along with the problems in Europe, the global economy will take yet another beating.
Incorrect: China’s economy may be much more troubled than the Chinese authorities will ever admit, but so far the country’s problems have been successfully papered over.
- “The Avengers,” “Hunger Games,” and “Prometheus” will do well with both audiences and critics, but amount of total box office receipts will continue to decline as even more people discover that it’s cheaper and easy to stay home and watch Netflix.
Correct: Despite some decent tentpole movies this year, the box office continues to take a beating while upstarts like Netflix continue to gain marketshare and support.
- SpaceX’s first resupply mission to the ISS will be a complete success, just as heads start rolling at Russia’s Roscosmos. As Russia’s Soyuz launcher starts having more and more technical issues, NASA will fast-track plans for private companies to lift astronauts to the ISS.
Correct: Despite an engine failure on their second mission, SpaceX has shown that it can perform resupply missions to the ISS and is rapidly moving towards being able to lift astronauts into orbit. And amazingly, the Obama Administration has been willing to support the development of private spaceflight in a way than the Republicans have not. Space policy is the one area that this Administration gets right.
- On December 21, 2012, the universe will end when the Mayan god Kukulkan descends from the heavens and decrees an end to all existence. Unfortunately for Kukulkan, he arrives in the middle of a Lady Gaga concert, where a blood-soaked feathered serpent would attract little notice. Disgusted by everything, he figures that non-existence would actually be better than what we have, so he ascends back up into the heaven and has a few too many glasses of wine with Zeus and Thor as they complain that no one actually believes in them any more.
Incorrect?: While neither the Yellowstone volcano nor a reversal of the Earth’s magnetic poles nor aliens nor Planet X doomed all life on Earth, one never knows how close to doomsday we actually came… Then again, we have our own ignorance which presents a far greater threat to humanity than anything else.
On a more personal note, I have not been blogging much in the last few years, as is obvious from the state of this site. Being employed full-time as an attorney makes the prospect of doing more rigorous analytical writing much less fun. Further, 2012 was an annus horribilis for me in a great many ways, and has left me utterly drained. For those who still come to visit, thank you for your patronage, and hopefully 2013 will be much brighter. (But for those who will read my forthcoming predictions, don’t count on it…)