Lots of people make predictions, but few check them for accuracy. We here at the Cranach Institute do! Be here on Monday for our review of the 2018 predictions made at this blog, at which time we will also virtually crown the winner of the best prediction. And be here Tuesday to make your predictions for 2019, in hopes of winning the competition on the next New Year’s Eve.
In the meantime, Zack Stanton and Derek Robertson at Politico have also been checking people’s predictions. They have compiled a list of the worst political predictions of 2018. We’ll do the same on Monday, as we also have the custom of awarding virtual booby prizes to the most humorously inaccurate of the predictions.
Below are the 20 predictions that Stanton and Robertson considered to have earned the distinction of being the “worst.” They are ranked in reverse order. Go to the article link to read about each one. The Politico writers also give the name of the person who was wrong along with a useful link to the prediction. Read these, and then I will show some predictions that were much worse than these.
20. In 2018, Trump will resign as president, Netanyahu will resign as Israel’s prime minister and Trump will not move the U.S. Embassy in Israel.
Made by: David Rothkopf
19. [Democrat] Joe Crowley will be the next speaker of the House.
Made by: Matt Fuller
17. John Kelly will root out and “publicly humiliate” the author of the anonymous New York Times op-ed [about staff members controlling Trump] within days of its release.
Made by: Sebastian Gorka
15. Mueller will end his probe before the midterm elections and declare Trump “innocent.”
Made by: Bill Mitchell
14. The Mueller investigation will “be put to rest” and “no significant charges will be leveled against anyone.”
Made by: Glenn Beck
13. Mueller’s investigation will end by September.
Made by: Rudy Giuliani
12. The New York Times would be proven wrong in reporting that Trump tried to fire Mueller.
Made by: Sean Hannity
11. “Trump will not pardon anyone, unless it’s a family member.”
Made by: Steve Deace
9. Republicans lose the House and Senate, leading to the impeachment of … President Paul Ryan.
Made by: Scott Dworkin
8. A “RED WAVE!” would crash over the 2018 elections.
Made by: Donald Trump7. “The great political surprise of 2018 will be the size of the Republican victory.”
Made by: Newt Gingrich, Fox News
6. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski will kill Brett Kavanaugh’s court nomination.
Made by: Ben Shapiro
5. Trump will end the year with a 25 percent approval rating.
Made by: Frida Ghitis, CNN
4. Dianne Feinstein will be vulnerable to a challenge from her left.
Made by: Sean McElwee and Jon Green
3. More black Americans will be “on the Trump Train” at the end of 2018.
Made by: Diamond & Silk
2.“Our economic news is only going to get brighter in 2018.”
Made by: Laura Ingraham, Fox News
1. Amazon will place HQ2 in Boston.
Made by: Wells Fargo AI [A computer tasked with predicting where the new headquarters will be located.]
Yes, this list reads like crowing over some over-optimistic comments by Trump supporters. So here are some others I found.
Vikram Mansharamani of PBS made some predictions for “2018 and Beyond.” Some of them were pretty good, having to do with economics and international affairs. There was the obligatory global warming apocalypse prediction of melting ice-caps forcing coastal cities to start moving their populations. He was right that there was a major earthquake in the Pacific Northwest–in Alaska–but it didn’t displace millions. And he was quite wrong about some countries tying their currencies to Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency whose value has plummeted this year.
But the worst prediction, which beats any of Politico’s top 20 in my opinion, is that consumption of edible insects “surges.” I know there have been efforts to encourage the general public to move to this abundant protein source, but I haven’t noticed a great “surge” in demand. Has that happened where you live?
A particularly interesting set of predictions came in 1968 when 1,000 guests were invited to a conference to hear a dozen experts predict what things will be like 50 years later in 2018. Amidst the obligatory environmental apocalypse and the extrapolations of 1960s peace and free love, the experts did foresee the expansion of computers and predicted their interconnection in something like the internet.
But then there were some that were off the mark. We have not, for example, suppressed lightning (which was to have happened by the 1980s). And we have not, to my knowledge, perfected the anti-gravity belt.
Paul Collins tells the tale in the New Yorker. Read his account of the gathering, including the controversy it provoked from 60s radicals and its failure, by today’s standards, to invite any women to participate. He quotes the blurb on the book, which will give you a flavor of not only the predictions but the excited optimism of the time:
“More amazing than science fiction,” proclaims the cover, with jacket copy envisioning how “on a summer day in the year 2018, the three-dimensional television screen in your living room” flashes news of “anti-gravity belts,” “a man-made hurricane, launched at an enemy fleet, [that] devastates a neutral country,” and a “citizen’s pocket computer” that averts an air crash. “Will our children in 2018 still be wrestling,” it asks, “with racial problems, economic depressions, other Vietnams?”
We do have pocket computers in 2018! We are also still wrestling with racial problems, economic depressions, and other Vietnams. Such facets of the human condition do not change.