17 bold predictions for 2017

For the uninitiated, every year I give you bold predictions for the coming year, guaranteed to be right, 87.64 percent of the time. This is something I’ve done every year since 2011.

Last year I correctly told you that marijuana legalization would pass, as would the minimum wage referendum, Emily Cain would again lose, Ted Cruz would win Iowa, and Hillary Clinton would select Tim Kaine as her running mate. I also told you that Leonardo DiCaprio would finally win an Oscar.

On the “miserable failure” side, I told you that Ranked Choice Voting would fail, Marco Rubio would end up president, and that the state Senate would end up Democratic while the House would flip to be Republican.

So let’s try this again, shall we?

Bold prediction 1: The Legislature will pass a massive tax cut, and will increase funding to education.

Even the Democrats in the Legislature know that Maine simply can not be the second highest taxed state in the country and survive. The governor’s budget will propose a massive tax cut. He won’t get everything he wants, but a major tax cut will ultimately pass.

Bold prediction 2: Some major changes will be made to the marijuana legalization referendum.

The Legislature will keep pot legal, of course, but also enact new restrictions to attempt to address many of the dissenters’ concerns.

Bold prediction 3: Sara Gideon will have a very difficult time keeping the Democratic House caucus together.

Only two defections are really needed on any piece of legislation for Republicans to score a win. A number of conservative priorities will end up passing this year.

Bold prediction 4: Gov. LePage’s relationship with the Legislature will be far less vitriolic.

The high-profile war of words that existed last session will not happen again. LePage will basically keep his head down and try to get as much done as possible.

Bold prediction 5: The tip credit will return.

There is no way lawmakers can let the tip credit for restaurant workers be eliminated. It will, mercifully, return. Unfortunately that is the only change that will be made to Question 4.

Bold prediction 6: A major grassroots conservative organization will materialize, finally.

Long a wish of the conservative base, the small, disparate conservative groups in the state will form Voltron and create a true grassroots group that matters.

Bold prediction 7: Medicaid expansion will fail twice.

It will die in the Legislature again. Then, as Congress eliminates the 90 percent reimbursement rate and expansion’s cost explodes, Maine voters will say no at the ballot box.

Bold prediction 8: Right to shop will pass.

A health care reform proposal I wrote about earlier this year will finally pass, eventually saving consumers millions.

Sen. Susan Collins speaks in Houlton last month. Joeseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times

Sen. Susan Collins speaks in Houlton last month. Joeseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times

Bold prediction 9: Susan Collins will decide not to run for governor.

The historic opportunity to get things done in the Senate will compel her to stay put.

Bold prediction 10: Bruce Poliquin will decide to run for governor.

With Collins not running, Bruce will sense an opportunity as the highest-profile, most popular Republican in the state.

Bold prediction 11: Poliquin’s run for governor will set off a mad dash for his congressional seat.

Some people currently considering a run for governor will look at the newly open Second District race and decide it is a better bet.

Bold prediction 12: Mary Mayhew will announce a run for governor as well.

In fact, Mayhew may be one of the first out of the gate with an announcement, styling herself the heir apparent to LePage.

Bold prediction 13: On the Democratic side, Janet Mills will announce a run early.

She will be viewed with suspicion by her party’s hard left, but will make the case that she can win statewide to a party sick of losing.

Bold prediction 14: So will businessman Adam Lee.

Adam has been buying digital ads for his business on political sites like Politico, and is very obviously eyeing a run for governor. He’ll pull the trigger.

Bold prediction 15: A lot of the names you hear mentioned for several offices will decide not to run.

But plenty of people we aren’t thinking of today will throw their hat in the ring.

Bold prediction 16: Nationally, the Democratic Party will be in disarray.

They will look a lot like the Republicans have for the last several years, with no leadership and a lot of infighting. Donald Trump will get most of what he wants accomplished and will end up having a very successful first year.

Bold prediction 17: My predictions for this year will be more accurate than those of last year.


Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all.


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.