Admittedly, predictions are just fun guesses. But sometimes they come true.
In fact, historians — my profession — are trained to look at the past and recognize “the footprints in the snow” that provide clues to the future.
One such “footprint” — almost 18 months ago — was my then outlandish prediction that Nancy Pelosi would outlast President Trump. It was prophetic.
“The President still has the thunder, the power, and the ability to change course, right the ship and sink the Democrats into oblivion,” I wrote. “However, if he persists in throwing small fits, tweeting “stink bombs” (brilliant and diabolical) to detract from unfriendly fire, and encouraging spiteful in-house warfare, then the damaging ‘leaks’ will continue. And the Republicans will be returned to minority party status.”
Guess what. It has happened.
In keeping with the fun part of making predictions, here are nine for 2019.
1. Jerry Brown will not stay on his ranch and forgo politics in his “retirement.” Rather, look for Dianne Feinstein to resign her new six-year term as a U.S. Senator (after a decent interval) in favor an interim appointment of Brown.
Feinstein was coaxed into running (as an odds-on favorite). Brown endorsed her—as did every northern California Democrat. And Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom would make the choice should any opening occur. Brown would be an experienced, non-controversial pick.
2. There will be a woman on the Democratic 2020 presidential ticket. Why? Because Nancy Pelosi will insist and California will deliver. That candidate will be Kamala Harris (whether as President or Vice-President).
Harris has the home-field advantage in a now early California primary. She’s highly-educated, young, experienced and a repeat statewide winner. She delivers intelligent, razor-sharp questions (as in Kavanaugh hearings) in a calming voice. Calm and tough are the new must-have talents.
3. Special Counsel Robert Mueller will deliver a devastating, detailed and damning report on the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, election and transition. He will prove collusion, obstruction, and the pervasive use of laundered foreign money to elect Donald Trump—making his presidency not just illegitimate, but ironically, and poignantly, “fake.”
4. Look for more Russia-linked indictments, charges “under seal,” and examples of the Trump family fortunes brought low. At least 17 known investigations are in process. Plus more state investigations and lawsuits.
5. Trump will either resign or threaten a strong-man escalation. He has already telegraphed this. He’ll close the border, declare a national emergency (with the arrival of another caravan), or worse, impose martial law.
6. Mitch McConnell, the GOP donor class, and perhaps even Rupert Murdoch will intervene. It will be just as Sen. Barry Goldwater and the Republican elite did with Richard Nixon in 1974—forcing his resignation to halt the GOP demise.
7. The Democrats will get better at tweeting and messaging. Instead of whole paragraphs of scholarly verbiage (boring), they will sling back in more memorable, pithy put-downs. “A beaded curtain” is Nancy Pelosi’s latest description of the ever-changing descriptions of the Trump wall. Or consider the new tag-line for the Trump administration’s foreign policy flirtations with Russia, North Korea and Saudi Arabia—”Hug-A-Thug.”
8. Mother Nature will deliver more ominous disasters to make non-believers wake up to the near-irreversible damage to our planet. No need for that footprint in the snow; Just look at 2018 to foresee the future.
9. Mitt Romney will rise to become the “conscience” of the U.S. Senate—now devoid of anything but Trump enablers. Romney’s mature demeanor, bountiful experience (Governor of Massachusetts, Olympic Games saver, presidential nominee) and his superior intelligence in finance (with a recession looming) will quickly propel him to the top of the Republican leadership.
Keep this list and check back in 18 months to see if it was mostly “fun” or actual “footprints in the snow.”
Colleen O’Connor is a native San Diegan and retired college history professor.