16 bold predictions for 2016

Traditions. We all hold some very dear. Going on a yearly vacation to somewhere special. Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Putting up your Christmas tree on the same day each year.

One of my most time-honored traditions is using my final column of the year to present to you, the good people of the state of Maine, a gift. The gift of bold predictions for the coming year, which is something I have done every year since 2011, guaranteed to be right 78.9 percent of the time.

Last year, for instance, I told you that the governor was going to “go big or go home” on the issue of tax reform, and boy was that ever right. I also predicted Angus King would continue to be invisible in the U.S. Senate, that talk of Susan Collins, Mary Mayhew and Roger Katz for governor would already begin, Bruce Poliquin would become a pragmatist and raise an incredible amount of money, Maine’s economy would continue to improve and presidential candidates would actually spend time and set up operations in Maine.

Of course, I also told you that, “Republicans will be a great deal more cohesive, compared to 2011.” Oops.

Still, my predictive powers are indeed remarkable, and here is what you can expect in 2016:

Bold prediction 1: The Maine Legislature will do everything possible to adjourn before anyone even notices they are in session.

Bold prediction 2: Ranked choice voting will fail.

Bold prediction 3: The marijuana legalization referendum will pass, as will, regrettably, a massive minimum wage hike.

Bold prediction 4: Political ad spending in the U.S. will reach $6 billion. Six. Billion. Dollars. In Maine, every single one of you will consider turning off your television because it will be so bad in the fall.

Bold prediction 5: Community Health Options will close its doors due to financial insolvency.

Bold prediction 6: Emily Cain will defeat Joe Baldacci in the Democratic primary for Congress in the Second District, then go on to lose to Bruce Poliquin in their general election rematch.

Bold prediction 7: In an odd twist, the Maine Senate will return to the hands of Democrats, while the Maine House actually turns back to the Republicans.

Bold prediction 8: America will not actually #FeelTheBern, with Bernie Sanders dropping out and endorsing Clinton after Super Tuesday. He will also lose Maine to Clinton.

Bold prediction 9: Ted Cruz will win Iowa. New Hampshire will end up a three-way deathmatch among Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie. If Trump wins, Rubio, Christie and the others will disappear, and Trump will duel Cruz for the nomination (and lose), with the establishment ultimately (and hilariously) backing Cruz as the less terrifying candidate to their interests. If Rubio or Christie wins New Hampshire, they will become the clear establishment alternative to Cruz, Trump will fade after losing the first two nominating contests and having been supplanted by Cruz, and the remaining primary fight will be a long, bloody battle.

Bold prediction 10: That battle will end with Sen. Marco Rubio becoming the Republican nominee. He will choose Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina as a running mate, and position his campaign as a choice between a young, diverse, optimistic vision of the future, and an old and tired representation of the divisive political battles of the past in Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia.

Bold prediction 11: Donald Trump will stay true to his word and will not run as a third-party or independent candidate. Unless, that is, there is a brokered convention and he ends up on the losing end of the brokering. Then all bets are off.

GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio speaks at a campaign town hall meeting in Rochester, N.H., on Dec. 21. Brian Snyder | Reuters

GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio speaks at a campaign town hall meeting in Rochester, N.H., on Dec. 21. Brian Snyder | Reuters

Bold prediction 12: Rubio will be elected the next president of the United States and will be the first Republican to accumulate 300 electoral votes since 1988.

Bold prediction 13: The U.S. Senate will end in a 50/50 tie. The House will remain solidly Republican.

Bold prediction 14: The new Republican administration will end up looking like a modern day team of rivals from the primary. Chris Christie will be named Attorney General. Bobby Jindal will be Secretary of Health and Human Services. And Rand Paul will be the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve (just kidding).

Bold prediction 15: Leonardo DiCaprio will finally win that Oscar. No, seriously, the man is fighting a bear in his latest flick. Just give it to him, already.

Bold prediction 16: In July, I will be — in my single-minded quest to repopulate Maine — welcoming a third child into my family. Since I already knew that but don’t know the gender, my official prediction is that it will be a baby girl.

Happy New Year, everyone. Save this column, and I will see you next year.

Matthew Gagnon

About Matthew Gagnon

Matthew Gagnon, of Yarmouth, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a free market policy think tank based in Portland. Prior to Maine Heritage, he served as a senior strategist for the Republican Governors Association in Washington, D.C. Originally from Hampden, he has been involved with Maine politics for more than a decade.