Monday, December 26, 2016

Last year I made predictions for 2016. How correct was I?

Last year I did a predictions post about what I thought was going to happen in 2016, which can be found here. I will probably do another predictions post for 2017, but this is not that post. Though we still have a few days left in 2016 I thought I could take a look back at the old post and see where I was wrong and where I was right. There is no point in making predictions if you don't look back later and see if you were right or wrong, right? I think I did ok and I was correct about some things that other people were wrong about.

A quick note on how I originally did my predictions. I gave everything a percentage value but it was more about how likely I thought something was. If I said something had a 95% chance, I meant that it was almost certain to happen and a 5% chance would be an almost certain chance of it not happening. I'll give myself credit when I was correct but if I hedged I will only give myself partial credit. I also realize that some of my percentages don't add up. Blame that on my poor math skills that fill me with shame. An easy early prediction for 2017, I will still suck at math! 99%

Let's begin:

2016 Presidential Election:
-Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic Party's candidate for President. 90% (I was obviously correct here. It turned out that she rigged the primary but even if she hadn't this was a safe bet)
-Hillary Clinton will not be president because she will be arrested and awaiting trial or actually be in jail. 5% Should be 100%... (Actually came closer then I thought it would, but I still get credit)
-Bernie Sanders will be the Democratic Party's candidate for President. 1% (Didn't happen)
-Bernie Sanders will run third party after losing to either Hillary Clinton or Martin O'Malley in the primaries. 5% (I was correct that Sanders would bend the knee, even after it was clear that Clinton cheated)
-Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will drop dead allowing Martin O'Malley to become the candidate. >1% (Probably should have been higher given the fact that Clinton was in poor health and Sanders was a dinosaur. Still, correct.)
-Martin O'Malley becomes the presidential candidate on his own merits and not because the other candidates died or had their campaigns explode, literally or figuratively. 0% (How many people even remember that he ran? )

Total: 6/6

-Donald Trump will be the Republican Party's candidate. 90% (Correct and wasn't even close)
-If he is the candidate, the Republican Party will back him and won't try to undermine him. 75% (Mostly correct, though there were prominent people that didn't back him. Partial credit)
-Ted Cruz ends up as the Republican Party's candidate. 5% (Correct)
-Combined chances of anyone else ends up as the Republican Party's candidate. >1% (Correct as well. There were some long shot chances but none of them were realistic)
-Jeb Bush will be the Republican Party's candidate. 0%. I'd go lower if mathematically possible. At this point it would take divine (or diabolical) intervention... (Correct)
-Donald Trump will run as a third party candidate. 1%  (Correct)

-Someone will try to kill Donald Trump either before or after the election. 1% (much higher then I would rate the chances for all the other candidates combined) (Very wrong. Someone actually did try and assassinate Donald Trump. He failed miserably, but the attempt was made)

Total: 5.5/7

-The election will be between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. 90% (Correct, safe bet even back then)
-Donald Trump will win. 65% (Correct and I deserve credit for calling it this early. So many other people said that he never had a chance, but I said he would probably win even further back then this post.)
-Trump will also gain more African American supporters then any Republican in recent memory. 90% (Trump did better among African Americans but not amazingly so. Still, correct)
-Trump will also gain Asian and women supporters compared to past candidates and will not lose a significant chunk of Hispanic voters. 60% (Correct, but only half credit because I hedged pretty hard here, plus Trump gained Hispanic votes.)

-If Trump is the Republican candidate, I will vote for him. 90% (I don't want Clinton to win and I don't really like any of the third party options) (Correct)

Total: 4.5/5

Other Political Predictions:
-Barack Obama will try to ram through some kind of gun control before the end of his term. 99% (Correct, he pushed through a measure targeting people on government assistance who can't manage their finances)
-This will result in a civil war. 1% (Correct, no civil war so far due to gun control)
-No national gun control legislation will be passed by the Federal Government. 100% (Correct)

-There will be a mass shooting not related to foreign terrorism in 2016. 100% (I'm actually struggling to think of one, but a quick wikipedia search shows a couple, most notably the Kalamazoo Uber shooting. Plus I think the Black Lives Matter attacks on cops probably fit, even though I consider them to be terrorist attacks, they weren't foreign terrorism)

Total: 4/4

-Race relations will continue to deteriorate. 99% (Subjective, but I would argue correct)
-This will also result in civil war. 1% (Correct)
-Someone directly involved with Black Lives Matter will either intentionally kill police officers or commit an act of racially motivated terrorism. 85% (Correct, tragically. Multiple cases)
-Opinion polls on Black Lives Matter will shift until the majority of people admit to disliking them. 75% (I'm tossing this one because I haven't seen the polling data. I hope it is correct though)
-Racial violence between blacks and whites will be more common next year then they were this year. More Dylann Roof's and equivalents on the black side. 70% (Wrong. Though there has been an increase of racial crimes, there weren't any more Dylann Roofs that I am aware of. )
-The media will be held at least partially accountable for their role in this mess. 0% (Correct)
-The media will blame the mess on racism, the police and gun rights, while avoiding blaming themselves, Democratic polices, and gun control. 100% (Correct, though I probably should have said mainstream media)
-Crime rates will increase due to police abandoning tactics that could offend Black Lives Matter. 60% (Partial credit. Crime rates have risen, but I can't prove why it has happened)

-Some police officers will die because they will hesitate to shoot a suspect out of fear of being the next Darren Wilson. 80% (As far as I have been able to tell this was was incorrect). 

Total: 5.5/8 +1 tossed question.

-Republicans will retain control of both the House and Senate. 90% (Correct)

-Republicans will also retain their lead in Governor's offices and State legislatures. 70% (Correct)

Total: 2/2

-Social Justice will continue to face an even larger backlash then they did during the later half of 2015. 90% (Correct. Trump's election is proof of that alone, but other things have happened as well)
-Social Justice will face such a backlash that it will hurt the Democrats chances in 2016. 75% (Subjective, but I think I was right. Social Justice's overreaction to things were used as a rallying cry for the right.)
-Social Justice will still be a large force by the end of 2016. 70% (Correct. They are on the decline since the height of their power, but they are still powerful)
-Criticism of Social Justice, such as using the term Social Justice Warrior and anger over political correctness along with a general shifting of the Overton Window will push SJ out of the mainstream 25% (Correct)
-Social shaming campaigns will lose some of their effectiveness in 2016. 33% (Correct, they are still effective. The right is also starting to use them as well, with today's incident with a professor talking about wanting White Genocide launching a campaign against him from the right)
-Barack Obama will finish out his term as president and won't be assassinated or removed from office. 99.9999% (Barring something horrible happening in the next few weeks... correct)

Total; 6/6

Foreign Policy:
-Relations with Russia will continue to falter. 55% (Half credit. Though I was right, I hedged quite a bit. Plus the election of Donald Trump helped quite a deal)
-Relations between Turkey and Russia will deteriorate to the point that war erupts. 10% (Correct)
-NATO will be drawn into that war. 1% (Also correct)
-The Ukraine conflict will largely stay the same as it is now. A stalemate with little actual fighting. 80% (Correct)

-Vladimir Putin will still be in charge of Russia by the end of 2016. 95% (Correct)

Total: 4.5/5

-China will get into a conflict with one of its neighbors, over maritime claims. 55% (Half credit since I hedged, but basically correct)
-That conflict will lead to an actual war. >1% (Correct)
-China's economy will collapse for any reason. 25% (Correct)
-The Mexican Drug War will continue with it's current intensity. 80% (Correct)

Total: 3.5/4

-The Syrian Civil war will still be going on by 2017. 99.9999% (Correct)
-The United States will deploy major ground forces in Syria and/or Iraq. 10% (It really depends on how you define "major forces". I was correct that there weren't any major combat troops deployed, but the number of troops were increased in Syria. Still, I think was correct)
-Some other country will deploy major ground forces. 1% (Completely wrong. I did not predict Turkey joining the war in Syria)
-Bashar al-Assad will be the president of Syria by the end of 2016. 90% (Correct)
-China will join the war in Syria, in a role similar to Russia's. 60% (WRONG!)

-The Iraqi government will survive 2016. 98% (Correct)
-A major international war will break out due to reasons I did not mention above and not related to terrorism. 2% (Correct)

Total: 5/7

-ISIS will still control significant parts of both Iraq and Syria. 99% (Correct)
-ISIS will lose either Mosul or Raqqa and have their territory shrunk in both Iraq and Syria. 45% (Correct, but half credit for hedging)
-ISIS will actually expand in Iraq and Syria. 35% (Correct, though ISIS did retake some minor territory, such as Palmyra. Overall they lost much more then they had)
-ISIS will lose control of most of the major cities they currently hold in Iraq and Syria and will be reduced to holding onto backwater towns and the country sides. 5% (Correct, ISIS still holds Mosul, Raqqa and several other cities)
-ISIS will expand in the other countries they control territory in, such as Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Nigeria and Afghanistan. 99% (Very wrong. ISIS has been decimated in Libya and Nigeria and their operations in Nigeria, Yemen, Egypt and Afghanistan haven't really changed much)
-ISIS will also expand in other countries, to the point of taking and holding territory. 95% (Wrong)

-ISIS will be the main jihadist group in Syria. 99% (Correct)

Total: 4.5/7

-ISIS's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will still be alive by 2017. 75% (Correct, though he has been reported dead a couple of times)
-ISIS will conduct an assassination or terror attack that kills a world leader. 65% (Results pending. The assassination of the Russian ambassador in Turkey would certainly count, but we still haven't figured out who the assassin was working for. Since we don't know, I am tossing this question for now)
-ISIS will assassinate the Pope. 50% (Wrong)
-ISIS will execute another US citizen; 80% (Also wrong)
-ISIS will still exist by 2017. 100% (Correct)
-Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States will admit their role in creating, funding and supporting ISIS, either currently or in the past. 0% (Correct)
-The United States will admit their role in creating ISIS. 1% (Partial credit. though the mainstream media and our current president have denied this, President elect Trump argued this at the debates, along with many people on the right)

Total: 3.5/6 +1 tossed question

-There will be a terrorist attack that kills a similar amount of people to the San Bernardino attacks in the United States in 2016. 90% (Correct, the Pulse shooting)
-There will be a terrorist attack that kills a similar amount of people to the Paris attacks in the United States in 2016. 75% (Feel free to argue this one, but I think as the worst terror attack since 9/11, the Pulse shooting qualifies. Not quite as many deaths but the impact was about the same)
-There will be a terrorist attack that kills a similar amount of people to 9/11 in the United States in 2016. 20% (Thankfully correct)
-There will be a terrorist attack that will occur but will fail to kill anyone due to incompetence on the part of the terrorists. 99% (Correct, the New Jersey and New York bombings. Still amazed that nobody died there. Also the mass stabbing by the Somali man in a mall. Probably a few more)
-Canada will experience a terrorist attack. 80% (Partial credit. The attack was disrupted by police before it could be carried out)

Total: 4.5/5

-Europe will have multiple smaller terrorist attacks and at least one on the scale of the Paris attacks. 90% (I'd argue that the Brussels bombing probably counts given how complex it was, but in terms of casualties I'm probably wrong. Partial credit I guess)
-Europe will have a attack on the scale of 9/11 with 1000+ casualties. 45% (Correct, but partial credit for hedging)
-Europe will have a terrorist attack using nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. 33% (Correct, but probably closer to being wrong then people would like to admit)
-North Africa will see more attacks like the ones that occurred in Egypt and Tunisia this year. 75% (Wrong)
-Boko Haram will still conduct the majority of terrorist attacks throughout next year. 80% (I'm tossing this one because I haven't seen the data yet. Probably correct though)
-Egypt will be a hotbed of terrorism and westerners will be attacked much more frequently. 60% (Wrong)

Total: 2/5 + 1 tossed question

-Asia will suffer a major terrorist attack on the scale of the Paris attacks. 75% (Depends on how you define Asia. Pakistan and Afghanistan are in Asia but I think I was pretty clearly talking about China/Japan/Korea and other East Asian countries. No credit)
-South America will have a major terrorist attack of any scale. 15% (Correct)
-At least one major terrorist attack will involve people that infiltrated the United States or Europe as a refugee. 80% (Correct, the Berlin attack was the most recent one)
-The vast majority of terrorist attacks in both Europe and America will be conducted by 2nd generation citizens. 75% (Correct as far as I can tell)

Total: 3/4

-Other terrorist organizations besides ISIS will pull of a major terrorist attack in 2016. 90% (Correct)
-Al-Qaeda will become relevant again. 50% (I would say that I was wrong here. Al-Qaeda still exists but they haven't done much. Even al-Nusra has abandoned them)
-The vast majority of terror attacks in Europe and North America will either be directly conducted by ISIS or inspired by them. 99% (Correct)

Total: 2/3

Final Total: 66/79 + 3 tossed questions. 83% correct.

I think I did a fairly good job at my predictions. I was much more correct with my political ones then my foreign policy ones. I had a couple that I was completely, embarrassingly wrong about, most notably about ISIS expanding outside of their current holdings in Syria and Iraq, but overall I was more right then wrong. I think there is an argument to be made against some of my conclusions and I did have a few easy predictions, but despite that I still think I deserve a bit of credit for getting a lot right. 

Will I do this again? I think so. I will probably have a post up this weekend for my predictions for 2017. I don't think I will do as good as I did for 2016 though. Why? Because the election answers kind of bolstered my numbers a bit and I won't have an election to deal with this year. Still, I hope that when I do them I will still be mostly correct. 


  1. You did a lot better than the highly paid political pundits! The Trump win put them back on their heels and scrambling to find excuses as to why they were wrong. It is difficult to predict what terrorists will do but predicting there would be attacks was a little too easy.

  2. Thank you for the comment! I really think that more people should have seen the signs that a Trump victory was imminent...