by Frank Schnittger
Wed Jan 20th, 2016 at 08:00:53 PM EST
I've long held the somewhat controversial view that political analysis is only as good as its ability to make verifiable or falsifiable predictions about the future course of events and thus have tended to be impatient with those sorts of "on the one hand, and on the other" analyses which can allow the analyst to claim vindication regardless of the outcome. If nothing else, clear predictions can allow a better understanding of underlying assumptions and a gauging of ones own ignorance.
So here goes, my predictions for 2016, which I am happy to see disputed, and ultimately proved wrong if only to improve my understanding of underlying trends.
- Fine Gael will score a resounding victory in the Irish general election compared to current polls which will nevertheless see them some way short of an overall majority and thus requiring Labour or perhaps some independent/small party support to form the next Government. Labour will do badly, Sinn Fein will fail to make a decisive breakthrough, and Fianna Fail will tread water.
- David Cameron will succeed in avoiding Brexit despite the increasing unpopularity of the EU and a failure, on his part, to secure dramatic concessions from the EU as part of his renegotiation strategy. However the result will be close and test his marketing skills to the limit. Paradoxically, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn will come out of the campaign with his reputation and standing in the polls enhanced.
- A combination of low oil prices, low interest rates, and low Euro valuations will allow the EU economy to slowly recover despite quite a few external shocks in the shape of the refugee crisis, terrorist atrocities, and a slowdown in China and emerging markets. Even peripheral countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal will recover somewhat off a low base, and Ireland will experience another year of near Celtic Tiger like growth.
- Donald Trump will win a resounding victory in the Republican Primary elections and probably nominate someone like Ohio Governor John Kasich as his VP pick in order to re-unify the party ahead of the General Election. Somewhat ironically, given the much lower media profile of the Democratic primary elections, Hillary Clinton will struggle to shake off the Vermont Socialist, Bernie Sanders, in the Democratic primary and struggle, initially, to ignite her campaign against Trump. She will end up winning the Presidency resoundingly, however, with an increasingly popular President Obama's support, and probably lead the Democrats to victory in the Senate (and currently implausibly) in the Congressional elections as well.
- Climate change will continue to wreck havoc with extreme weather events causing ever greater economic and social dislocation. Oil and commodity dependent economies in the middle east, Africa and Russia will struggle and political instability will increase world wide with some regional conflicts re-igniting as elites seek to distract their polities from economic hardships. Netanyahu might do something seriously stupid to try and preempt Iran' rise as a regional power and Syria will continue to be an unresolved humanitarian disaster.
Discuss. Perhaps you can add your own predictions.