You are here: Home » Uncategorized » Traditional Quadrennial Forecast or What Johnny Football Has To Do with 2016 Election

Traditional Quadrennial Forecast or What Johnny Football Has To Do with 2016 Election

by John on 01/04/2016

For the record, I made my traditional New Year’s Eve pick in the presidential race.

Before I reveal my prediction, a little background.

First this tradition started in 1984 when I really started covering politics. I wanted to put myself to the test of being an analyst or super forecaster.

Keep in mind, this choice is NOT who I am endorsing. This is who I think will win based on political, economic, and psychological factors.

This is clearly me trying to show off my prediction/forecasting skills in politics.

My track record? Good early, but not lately.

I nailed:

  • 1984 but that was easy with Reagan winning re-election
  • 1988 was fairly easy with George H. W. Bush and no real Democratic Party
  • 1992 was my Super Bowl since I told people that the little known Governor from Arkansas would win.
  • 1996 was fairly easy with Clinton’s re-election.
  • 2000 I was wary of George W. Bush and almost went with Gore, but thought the nation was tired of Dems.

But I hit a string of losers:

  • 2004 I thought the nation might be tired of W. and would choose Kerry.
  • 2008 I completely missed Obama and called it for Hillary who didn’t even win the nomination.

I got back winning again: 2012 was easy picking Obama to win re-election.

How could I be so wrong in 2004 and 2008?

Easy. I miscalculated the changing election landscape.

No longer were news stories, campaign ads, and speeches the real reasons candidates got elected. The deciding factor was the candidates’ ground game. In football parlance: who puts the ball in the end zone.

In 2004 and 2008, George W. Bush and Barack Obama had better teams. They got the ball over the goal line by getting people to the polls.

And behind those volunteers driving people to the polls were geeks; nerds who could dig and mine exactly who those voters were and where they were.

That is the game-changer.

One of the best books about this nerd invasion into politics is The Victory Lab by Sasha Issenberg.

The Bush campaign, unknown to the media, was brilliant at getting out conservative, evangelical church members in 2004. In 2008 and 2012, Obama’s team did the same driving and delivering liberal, minority, and poor voters to the polls. If you remember election night 2012, polls had to stay open because so many people were in line waiting to vote in key swing states. That’s the difference between a President Obama and a President Romney.

And today I still think the majority of the media is missing this key factor: the geek/nerd ground game. Why? Because it is a hard story to tell. Nerds don’t video well, I guess.

Plus, it is easier to get the “gotcha sound bites” that Trump seems to deliver.

The irony is that the media is scratching their heads. Very few candidates are spending money on campaign ads what was a big revenue source for networks. Trump is starting. But in the swing state of South Carolina, where I am, there are very few spots. That’s because what works are: social media and the live political events.

Have I left you hanging long enough?


Here is my pick to win the 2016 presidential race.

Hillary Clinton.

Here’s my thinking:

  • Right now, Hillary has the best ground game in most of the primary states based on her years of running before and getting her butt kicked by Obama in 2008. (I think she loses New Hampshire but runs through the South.)
  • Hillary eventually will run to the left to get supporters of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. This helps her since the electorate is leaning more liberal overall. Demographics seem to show we are becoming less white and younger. However, if she doesn’t get this young demo, then she is in trouble because there will be large white and older population that always seems to vote. Past results seem to show younger voters come out for presidential elections.
  • Democratic turnout should be higher since more Democratic-leaning Senate seats are up.

But here are my other predictions:

  • Hillary beats The Donald.
  • It will be a fairly tight race.

Why do I think Trump will stick despite most analysts and GOP establishment saying he is done?

  • Trump will win the nomination at the GOP Convention which will be brokered.
  • I don’t think he has the ground game in place to end the race early.
  • Jeb Bush makes a quiet run at Trump; I think Jeb has the ability to put together some geeks/nerds to get out voters who just don’t like Trump.
  • Trump will choose as his VP John Kasich. Notice that Kasich is not attacking Trump much. (Of course, either are the others.) But Kasich provides real executive experience when it comes to Washington, foreign policy, and dealing with states.
  • Trump will become a different candidate. Sure, he might be a demagogue, bully, and showman. But he is also smart. And he will adapt. He will realize that getting 1% of the market can make you a mogul, but being a successful candidate means you need to get 50% of the vote.
  • Politicians – whether running or working on someone’s campaign – want to win more than anything else. As a result, the GOP establishment will fall in line once Trump holds the majority of the cards.
  • Trump will remain strong through the Super Tuesday primaries in March that are predominantly Southern states where he currently has a fairly commanding lead in public opinion polls and in the crowds he draws. Although he won’t run away and hide because of the GOP establishment pushback, but he will still be stronger going into Cleveland’s convention.
  • The other candidates are not strong enough. Ted Cruz will make a run because he has a fairly good ground base in Iowa and the Southern states. But Cruz unfortunately appeals to the same electorate that Trump does. And for that matter, so does Ben Carson. Now, together those three might have the majority of the GOP voters. To use another football analogy: the other candidates – Cruz, Carson, Rubio, Christie, Jeb, and Kasich — look like Johnny Manziel, RG-III, and Tim Tebow: all attractive in many ways but they don’t know how to win. (The same can be said for Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley on the Democratic side.)

There are plenty of black swans – things we don’t know or couldn’t expect – ahead. Here are some of them that could alter things drastically:

  • Another terrorist attack like San Bernardino or a planned ISIS attack. Two reasons: 1.) as gas prices remain low ISIS revenues are lower but so are the nation states that could fight them; and 2.) as ISIS is bombed relentlessly by US and its allies, ISIS will try to engage us in the US.
  • Speaker Paul Ryan is a key factor. He has masterfully moved The House to do something. Granted, the spending and tax bill is not perfect but at least we can see functioning government. And Ryan has promised to push an ideas focused agenda including a replacement for Obamacare. If he is successful in finally getting some substance into the GOP, then he could turn things around for Donald Trump.


Enough from me. Your turn.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: