Thursday, December 31, 2015

Zandar's 2016 Predictions

Welp, prognostication time again.  Let's see if I can stay above 60% two years running.

1) No beating around the...well...Bush.  Hillary Clinton will be elected President of the United States in 2016.  I'll take the half-point if it's Bernie somehow, but if a Republican wins?  We all lose.

2) 2016 in economics?  Unemployment under 5.5%, oil under $50, and the Dow Jones will close above 16k.  Yes, 2015 was the first negative year in the markets since 2008 and the Fed raised rates, but we were due, and I think the country will stay on track.

3) Movies, I see a good year for both Marvel with Captain America: Civil War and DC with Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.  Both will break $200 million domestically.  How will Deadpool, Suicide Squad, Doctor Strange and X-Men Apocalypse do?  Less sure about those, but they'll all do $100 million a piece.  I'll take the split if I get at least 3 right.

4) Half-a-dozen massive Supreme Court cases in 2016 could change everything.  I'll call it 5-4 that SCOTUS will side with the Obama administration on Texas's abortion laws being too strict...

5) ...but you can kiss Affirmative Action goodbye.  Kennedy has repeatedly sided against it, as have the court's other four conservatives.

6) As with 2014's Sochi Winter Games, I predict the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics will be an absolute disaster.  There is no way Brazil is going to be ready for this, and I expect the games will be a nasty, disjointed affair with barely functional venues.

7) I think it's a safe bet that turnout in the 2016 election will be under 50%.  The last time that happened was in 1996 (49%) when Bill Clinton was re-elected and 8 million angry Americans turned to Ross Perot, ironically proving a major third-party candidate reduces turnout.

8) The Oculus Rift and other virtual reality headset systems will bomb.  We're talking "Google Glass" level of bomb here.  Ironically, the rebranded, industrial/commercial version of Google Glass will return in 2016 and probably do better.

9) The 2016 GOP nominee will not be Trump.  Somehow, the voters will nominate either Cruz or Rubio instead, I don't know how but...hey, we shouldn't have gone down this far anyway. I'll hedge my bet and say that I hope he is.

10) ZVTS will still be here going into 2017.  Here's hoping we make it through.

Have a safe and happy 2016, folks. 

Zandar's 2015 Scorecard

So how did I do in 2015?  Let's run the numbers:

1) Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Rand Paul, and Jeb Bush will make it all official in 2015.  All of them will be in the race for the White House.  How far they get, well, that's for this time next year, isn't it?

RIGHT:  All four are running for President.

2) Obama will have 25 or more presidential vetoes by the end of 2015.  Figure that's two a month, plus one for good measure.  Do not be surprised if it's less than this.  Mitch is not going to be able to get passed what he wants in the Senate.

WRONG: President Obama vetoed a GOP defense spending bill in October and a GOP bill to kill Obamacare in December.  Two is, you know, not 25.

3) The Supreme Court will strike down Obamacare subsidies in federal exchange states.  I'm not a lawyer by any stretch, but I know vindictive political backstabbing when I see it coming.  King v. Burwell is going to sorely test the GOP however.

WRONG: And I'm very glad that I was.  6-3 decision in favor of the Obama Administration here as Chief Justice Roberts gave us a solid decision sparing Obamacare once again.

4) Having said that, SCOTUS will also rule in favor of national same-sex marriage.  Hedge here that the decision may not come in 2015, but they'll take up a case to decide it before 2016. I just think Justice Kennedy wants this to be what he's remembered for.

RIGHT: Justice Kennedy for the win, 5-4.  And he will always be remembered for this decision, certainly.

5) Oil will close 2015 at under $60 a barrel.  Pretty huge hedge too, it'll probably be a lot lower.

RIGHT: Boy, was I right here.  Oil went from $55 a barrel in December 2014 to $35 a barrel in December 2015.  A major slowdown in Chinese demand cratered the oil market along with multiple other commodities,

6) Still feeling good about Marvel movies, so I'll say Ant-Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron will break $200 million

SPLIT:  The second Avengers movie easily topped that mark, but Ant-Man came up about $20 million short domestically.  Both crushed the $500 million mark worldwide, however, prompting a planned Ant-Man and The Wasp sequel. 

7) Google Glass will officially get the plug pulled.  At least on the home version.  Watch for the business model to stay viable, however.

RIGHT: Hell, this actually happened in back in January.

8) Apple iWatch will be huge.  Morgan Stanley says it could do anywhere from 30 million to 60 million, I'll peg my guess at 40 million worldwide in 2015.

WRONG:  Not even close!  At best, Apple moved only 7 million watches.  It doesn't mean the device is a failure, not when you sell seven million of the the things at $349 or more a piece...but I was definitely stupid to believe the hyped predictions on this one.

9) My off the wall projection:  A US embassy in Havana will be in place, with ambassador, before the end of 2015.  It'll also be the end of Marco Rubio, but hey.

RIGHT:  Pleasantly surprised at this one, with the embassy made official between President Obama and President Raul Castro in July, and Republicans were unable to block the promotion of diplomat Jeffrey DeLaurentis from Chief of Mission to interim Ambassador.  Wisely, President Obama hasn't picked a fight yet by naming a permanent Ambassador, meaning unless he did, I really wasn't going to lose this one.  Thanks Obama!

10) ZVTS will be here for another year.  Haven't lost on this one yet...

RIGHT:  Here I am.  Again.

6-3 and 1 is a pretty good record, frankly.  I'll take that any year.
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