Opinion

19 bold predictions for 2019

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Christmas is a time for giving, and boldly predicting what will happen next year has been my gift to you every year since 2011.

As usual, I got a lot right last year. I told you what would happen in the Republican primary, that there would be a ranked-choice voting people’s veto, that 2018 would be a bad election year for the GOP but that they would make gains in the Senate, that Paul Ryan would retire and that Sen. Susan Collins would call all the shots in Congress.

I didn’t get everything right, though. I said Mark Eves would win the Democratic primary, that the Republicans would keep the Blaine House and the state Senate, and that Bruce Poliquin would win re-election (though I still maintain that he really did.)

This year, I have adjusted my crystal ball to eliminate any and all errors, and I promise, you can take all of these to the bank:

Bold prediction 1: The Maine state budget will pass by April. Democrats, in control of literally every branch of government, will push it through as quickly as possible, and will be relatively unified on it.

Bold prediction 2: That budget, however, will feature explosive spending growth, and in retrospect will be viewed as a major overreach that serves to be the party’s undoing in the 2020 elections.

Bold prediction 3: A particularly horrifying version of the paid sick leave proposal will pass the Legislature, entirely bypassing the referendum process.

Bold prediction 4: A local-option sales tax will sail through the Legislature. It will not reduce any town’s property tax collections by a penny, and it will simply be a new revenue stream to feed bloated municipal budgets.

Bold prediction 5: Janet Mills’ biggest problem in 2019 will be with Democrats, not Republicans.

Bold prediction 6: Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling will be defeated in his run for re-election by City Councilor Spencer Thibodeau, but it will be very close. Fresh off his defeat and with dreams of $3.5 million of campaign dollars in his head, he will seriously consider running against Collins in 2020.

Bold prediction 7: Poliquin’s legal challenge of ranked-choice voting will go all the way to the Supreme Court. No matter how it is resolved, Poliquin will announce a run for the seat in 2020.

Bold prediction 8: Democrats in the Legislature will attempt to amend Maine’s Constitution to allow for ranked-choice voting in all races. Republicans will remain unified in opposition, though, and the attempt will narrowly fail.

Bold prediction 9: Robert Mueller’s investigation will finally, mercifully conclude, and his report will result in criminal charges for someone close to President Donald Trump — possibly a member of his family — but Trump himself will be spared. Those charges will be irrelevant when Trump starts issuing pardons.

Bold prediction 10: The House will not impeach Trump. Democrats in swing districts will understand that doing so would be damaging to their re-election chances. Censure, however, will sail through.

Bold prediction 11: Sen. Angus King, as usual, will be completely irrelevant in Washington.

Bold prediction 12: More than 10 major Democratic candidates announce that they are running for president in 2020.

Bold prediction 13: Joe Biden will be your early frontrunner, capturing those Democrats interested in “electability.”

Bold prediction 14: Beto O’Rourke will emerge as the well-funded dark horse progressive hero, staffed by former Obama campaign hands, and he will threaten Biden by appealing to the heart, rather than the head, of progressives.

Bold prediction 15: In the United Kingdom, Brexit will occur without a final deal being passed by the House of Commons, throwing the country into political chaos. Eventually, after this happens, a deal with Europe will be struck and passed.

Bold prediction 16: Prime Minister Theresa May will not survive her Brexit failure.

Bold prediction 17: There will be a recession in 2019. It will not be cataclysmic, but it will be unwelcome news.

Bold prediction 18: Tom Brady will announce 2019 will be his final year playing football. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Bold prediction 19: Next year, I’ll do a top 10 list of bold predictions for the year, instead of “20 Bold Predictions for 2020.”

Have a wonderful holiday season, everyone.

Matthew Gagnon of Yarmouth is the chief executive officer of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a free market policy think tank based in Portland. A Hampden native, he previously served as a senior strategist for the Republican Governors Association in Washington, D.C.

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