Long-time readers know I predict Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. I usually wait until November to weigh in as the year is closing out. That long game will not be required this year. Last night on Twitter I made my call for 2022.
There is no doubt as February comes to a close that we are seeing a person who underscores what is best about human nature. We also are witnessing a worldwide lesson, in these years of angst, about something very basic.
Democracy matters. It must be fought for. It can never be taken for granted.
When so many from Madison’s legislature to Moscow, from Trump Tower to Beijing either dismiss democracy or work feverishly to undermine it comes a refreshing– and, oh, so needed reminder–as to why we must never be lackadaisical about its continuance.
With steadfast resolve, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is leading not only his nation but being a teacher to the world.
And the world is watching.
There is no way not to feel his commitment to justice and sincere regard for democracy. There is no way not to fully grasp his correct desire for a heightened international repudiation of Russian thuggery.
When this year ends it will be near impossible to consider anyone more elevated and deserving to be Person of the Year than Volodymyr Zelenskyy. May God keep him and his family safe.
Each year since I was about age eighteen the arrival of the thick final issue of Time has always been something that has created anticipation. Who would be the Person of the Year? Then a deep dive into reading about the newsmaker over the holiday period. I also have enjoyed the way the person was presented on the cover along with reading about the factors that led to the final decision.
This year has been nothing short of a long series of blaring headlines that leaves the front of this upcoming edition wishing it could have multiple covers. The cover of this publication would have been a no-brainer had it not been a presidential election year with a one-termer leaving office, and a new leader elected by a record number of votes. Doctor Anthony Fauci, and the nurses of America, would have commanded the cover due to their intellect, tirelessness, professionalism, and compassion that has been demonstrated in the fight against COVID. I just know that a portion of the magazine will be devoted to these people who truly deserve part of the front cover.
But there is one person who has clearly made a tremendous impression on the nation, so much that his fellow citizens voted him to be the next president. That is what makes Joe Biden Person of the Year. Having said that, I know Joe is the type of man who would be touched if there was a medical professional on the cover in an artful way alongside his picture. It would take nothing away from him, in fact, it would underscore one of the prime reasons Biden was elected. Trump refused to treat the virus as a public health crisis. And America soundly rejected him.
Having a Biden/nurse front cover would be the perfect statement about 2020 as it would encompass the major stories of this nation’s year.
There is no escaping the joy that the vast majority of the nation is feeling with the news that President-elect Joe Biden not only secured the needed 270 electoral college votes, but blew by that to win 306 of them. Today, the two outstanding states finished counting enough of their ballots for major media organizations to report that Biden won the same number of electoral college votes this year as Trump had in 2016.
Biden won his victory by taking back Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. But then he doubled down and expanded the Blue coloring of the nation by winning Arizona, a state not picked up by Democrats since 1996. Biden also flipped Georgia, not seeing Blue since 1996.
That is darn good news. But it gets one better here at the blogging desk. Caffeinated Politics predicted Biden would win 306 electoral college votes. Where the presidential prediction wheels wobbled on the ole buggy was in two states where I made the wrong call. I had predicted North Carolina would be a win for Biden, but Trump won the state. In Georgia, where I had called it for Trump, Biden marched his magic to a win.
There have been a number of reasons for angst, consternation, and fear this year. But in the midst of the storms, we should always strive to find those things that bring smiles. My predictions for each presidential cycle (since 1980) was not about to stop due to chaos or pandemic. It was fun to ponder about as the election neared, and delightful to know we have a new president.
Given the chaotic and bombastic journey we all have been forced to endure it seems like several lifetimes have passed since January 2017. Finally, however, we are now only hours away from the conclusion of the 2020 presidential election. Soon the counting of the ballots from the voters will commence.
I have never before felt compelled to start my predictions with as frank a statement as I do this cycle. We are well aware that more than just the two names of the major presidential party nominees appear on the ballot. Because Donald Trump showed contempt and reckless disregard for our political institutions and constitutional safeguards means that our democracy itself is at stake in this election. Never before have I needed to add such a dire line to my predictions. That, too, is a sign of the times.
For the past four years we have watched Trump supporters applaud and give license to the most outrageous, unprincipled, immoral, and unconstitutional whims, desires, and transactional fancies of Trump. When religious people did not and would not call out for an immediate cessation of removing children from their parents at the southern border I knew there was no moral center left in those who called themselves conservatives. They had sold their souls to Trump. That was, for me, the point of no return when it came to Trump and his base.
Are the majority of Americans bitter about what Trump has done to this nation, and those from coast to coast who allowed him to undermine our democracy? Absolutely. But we did far more than just get angry. We worked, talked, blogged, encouraged, and then in the last weeks voted. Election Day will be our collective national response to Trump and his supporters.
Every four years since 1980 I have put my predictions down in writing as I have done below. Given the gravity of this traumatic time I will post up front what I view as the outcome of the presidential race.
Joe Biden will be elected President of the United States and Kamala Harris will be elected as Vice-President. Victory comes to the Democratic Party with 306 Electoral College votes. Farmers back where I grew up would report this news as Trump sure got his plow cleaned! Details along with how Democrats retake the United States Senate follow, along with other election predictions. As always thanks for reading, and please, no wagering.
(Please note that Nebraska in map below does not show–due to the program not allowing me the opportunity–to split the 2nd Congressional District apart from the whole. Therefore final Electoral College vote for Joe–and yes, he is the type of guy we can call by his first name– should read 306. We will soon all be calling him Mr. President.)
This year I have listed the 50 states in alphabetical order with each one either being Blue or Red. Biden wins 306 Electoral College Votes, Trump will get 233.
Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida–Pasco County early in the night will provide roadmap for state. If Trump cannot maintain 2016 percentage this will write the headlines. Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois
Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine—Without 3rd party interloper on 2020 ballot all Maine is for Biden. Maryland Massachusetts Michigan—The white male voters in McComb County and the Black turnout in Wayne County will reveal much about the state and our national future. Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana
Nebraska—except for 2nd CD which will cast Electoral Vote for Biden Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina–Wake County is an example of where Clinton did well in 2016. Now how much better will Biden perform with suburban women who consider the thought of Trump back in the White House akin to an outhouse breeze? North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania
Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas.. Follow Collin County as it will provide clues about what is taking place in Texas… Romney won the county by 32%, while Trump won it by 16% and in 2018 Cruz won senate race there by 6%. Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin–All eyes on the WOW counties, not the for winner, but the percentage of loss for Trump compared to 2016. Black turnout in Milwaukee County will be very useful information. Eyes also on white males without college degree in Brown County. Biden wins here by 6 points. Wyoming
United States Senate
Arizona….If you wonder what creates excitement for this prognosticator let me point to this race. A Democratic astronaut who understands the need for gun control is about to undo a Republican xenophobe at the polls. Martha McSally loses yet another statewide election. Meanwhile, Mark Kelly rockets his way to Washington!
Colorado….Democrats pick up up this seat due to yet one more tone-deaf Republican who forgot the people matter more than fealty to Trump. All year Democratic candidate John Hickenlooper has correctly linked the two Republicans, and on Election Day the voters in this state will throw both overboard. Cory Gardner would not champion federal production of needed materials for the pandemic and no one now is going to rush production of lifeboats.
Iowa….Joni Ernst wins.
Maine….One of the long-standing troubling behavioral issues that Republican Susan Collins exhibited was acting like an innocent lamb who had no idea the forest was filled with carnivores. She accepted the craziest promises from the GOP in exchange for her votes and then never received what was promised. Truth is, of course, she knew all along there was nothing to be returned for her conservative votes, but that never stopped her wishy-washy statements to her constituents. On Election Day the voters have a clear unambiguous message for Collins. They will send her back to the potato fields and lift Democratic candidate Sara Gideon up as their new senator.
Michigan…The desire by Republicans to pick off this Democratic Senate seat underscores how desperate the GOP is in making an attempt–any attempt–to show strength someplace–any place this cycle. Gary Peters might have been more vulnerable two years ago, or two years hence. But with the right-wing lunacy of kidnapping a governor and the high unpopularity of Trump means that John James will lose yet another statewide race. A Black man as a Republican candidate in 2020 leaves voters wondering what else he is not wise to when it comes to issues that face the state.
Montana….This was never a real possibility for Democrats but one has to try. Steve Daines prevails.
North Carolina…All summer while following this race I have never thought Republican Thom Tillis would win. He is not popular or found favorable by the voters. While he tried to paint Democratic candidate Cal Cunningham as a cad, and one can agree the texts to a woman other than his wife were most unseemly, we can not forget Tillis supports a three-time married presidential nominee who paid for sex with a porn star. This race will not be won or lost on the field of morality. Cunningham simply wins due to voters liking Tillis even less.
South Carolina…Aunt Lindsey wins. But what an amazing race Jamie Harrison waged, and it shows again Democrats in the South need to be aware of the powerhouse political potential of African-American candidates in statewide races. Meanwhile, Aunt Lindsey needs to find a man and in so doing lose his inside-the-closet rage that he too often unleashes in his politics.
The dream of legislative Republicans to further strengthen their political hand with a veto-proof majority in each house crumbled degree-by-degree with the hour-by-hour implosion of their presidential nominee. Slow motion train wrecks are the hardest thing for a political party to endure, while the opposition makes popcorn and settles in to see how many cars careen off the track.
I am not predicting, but all the same would not be surprised, to see the voters of the 8th State Senate District unend the political life of Alberta Darling. College educated women would be the reason for a GOP loss, should it occur. If it should happen means time to eat another Election Night celebrity brownie. (Yes, Election Nights at our home over the decades have traditions!)
In the 10th Senate District I predict a loss for the Democratic incumbent. Patty Schachtner, due to a special election victory not being able to be sustained with a general election turnout.
All in the family will be the outcome in the Green Bay area as Jonathan Hansen wins the 30th State Senate district. His uncle, Dave Hansen, has been a steadfast example of constituent-centered representation and that bodes well for the hand-off to his nephew. The ‘bread-and-butter’ style of running a legislative office is the smartest way to operate, and Dave’s’ good name counts far more than a bucket of Republican money for Eric Wimberger.
In the 32nd Senate District Donald Trump will help Democratic candidate Brad Pfaff. If not for Trump’s disaster in Washington Pfaff would lose as he is just too politically slick (and irksome) for many voters. But in a heavily Democratic election cycle the more down-home type candidate Dan Kapanke will lose. While disagreeing with Kapanke on the issues I would enjoy having dinner with him. Not so much with the other contender.
I predict Robyn Vining in the 14th Assembly District loses her seat. She has energy and intellect but the district is not drawn for a Democrat to win in a general election. Winning the seat in a special election is not a true indicator of the voter makeup of the district.
I add a few thoughts about statehouse chambers as my nerdy readers well understand to be vital as redistricting lines are created following the census. I note here Iowa is in this mix, even though they have a commission process (which has my support) of removing the partisan hands from the task.
I predict Republicans winning Iowa for Trump and Ernst therefore I do not predict the goal of Democrats picking the needed four seats for a takeover of the lower chamber.
I do, however, predict four seats are going to flip to the Democrats in Michigan where they will take over the House. This state has seen the dangers of Trump, lunacy from right-wing fanatics, and this all will aid in the public response via the ballot. The trend lines with polling in Michigan allow my confidence in this prediction.
Some of the ballot measures that will be settled this election strikes to the heart of what interests CP.
Alaska–Ranked-choice voting, which lets voters rank the candidates in their order of preference instead of choosing just one is on the ballot. In fact, this measure would also establish a top-four primary, where the top four vote-getters in the primary advance to the general election ballot, regardless of party. It will pass.
Colorado–A measure to change language in statutes from “every citizen can vote” to “only a citizen can vote.” In this state 17-year-olds can vote in primaries if they will be 18 at the time of the general election. This measure, if passed, would remove that. I predict it loses. We should not in any way discourage soon-to-be adult voters from this civic responsibility.
Massachusetts–Here is yet another state that is primed to accept ranked-choice voting, which lets voters rank the candidates in their order of preference instead of choosing just one and this one is bound to win by a large percentage.
Mississippi–Voters have a chance to put an end to their Confederate flag and vote for a new design—a big magnolia flower. If for some reason they can not abide that there is comfort in knowing these folks can not revert to their racist past as the state legislature is committed to getting rid of the Confederate emblem. Since many voters there use their bed sheets as tablecloths and then night vestments means making a prediction on this measure would be folly. So CP will just watch the votes be counted.
This will be the first presidential election since being an adult and away from home where there will be no election party to attend or one to be given. The pandemic has marred everything in our land.
When working in radio in 1984, and after the station went off the air I headed to a political party in Sturgeon Bay where barbecue sandwiches abounded. I recall Mrs. Mosgaller bringing me a plate of food. Democrats lost to Reagan but the energy of America on such a night rises above the fray.
That election would prove to be one of the more gratifying ones as I was able to broadcast from WDOR as the results were coming in from the nation and around Door County. With our national feed from ABC News, along with a reporter at the local courthouse, I was able to weave the narrative of the night, throw in tidbits and trivia, and anchor the proceedings from the studio. I had prepared a binder of all sorts of information on state races and historical oddities that made their way over the airwaves that night. If one can ever be ‘in their element’ that was certainly the moment for me.
In 2004 James and I started hosting every four years a huge party where people could arrive at any point they wished and encouraged to linger long into the early morning hours. Several always did! We always made food that promoted carbs and high-energy so no one would miss a single state being called.
This year James and I will still be creating in our home the same great culinary delights–lasagna, homemade bread with garlic, chips and dip, seafood with melted butter to bring a touch of Maine to Wisconsin, and of course desserts. And we have our home decked out for Election Night!
So to be safe in this pandemic we will be on the phone with those who share our love of politics. They may not be here in person but are in spirit as we watch the nation…….
Over the past year, there has been a continuing undermining of the foundations of our republic. One of the most insidious tactics used by Donald Trump, and his Republican supporters, is the sabotaging of truth. To constantly use dishonesty as a political tool, and to besmirch reporters and news organizations who use facts to report and inform, has left our nation in a weakened state.
That is why there has been such a remarkable appreciation of, and attention paid to, the State Department employees who have stood up and spoken out about the abuse of power and the crippling impact of Trump’s partisan desires in Ukraine. When citizens speak the truth and present themselves in honorable and forthright ways, in this time of a disreputable president and a cowering and feckless Republican Party, the nation pays heed. Because it stands out. Because it is not something we get to see much anymore on a day-to-day basis.
Therefore, I predict that the 2019 Time Person of the Year will be the State Department Truth-Tellers who have proven to the nation that there are still bedrock values of honesty and virtue alive within this government.
A quote that seems perfect for the 2018 mid-term elections comes from 1880. (Would you really want me to start this bi-annual event, which started in November 1980, without some historical foundation?) The quote comes from the party, which this year, will suffer at the polls.
During late summer, when warm breezes were more than a memory, I was reading Mr. Speaker! by James Grant. On page 135 Maine Republican Congressman Thomas Reed, while making comments to the party faithful following a renomination, said the following.
“We are going to bury these worse-than-Egyptian foes of ours in a sea of popular wrath. But we must expect no direct interposition from above. We must be the Red Sea ourselves.”
Those words from 138 years ago seem most apt for the current mood of the voters. That tone is also a necessity if we are to pull our Republic from the edge of the cliff. In about 48 hours (from the publication of this post) the electorate will head to polling places around the nation. Since there are so many races that merit our attention, given the enormity of history which hangs about us, I will cut to the core this election cycle. I will just post what I view to be the eventual outcome of the races.
Thanks this year goes to Eddy Allen III, program director at WDOR Radio, who continually urged me to learn how to report sport scores when on-air. The same lingo from decades ago can be used in politics, too. Who knew sports could come in handy? The degree of the win below is measured by the tone of my verbs.
Evers defeats Walker by 2.5%
Baldwin routs Vukmir by 6%
Schimel slips by Kaul by 1.5%
State Senate Race
–First District Jacque edges Frostman
–Seventeenth District Marion replaces Marklein
First Congressional District Steil bumps Bryce by less than 2%
About three weeks ago I entered a national contest for election predictions and listed the net gain for Democrats in the House at 27 seats. I stand by that number. If my math is correct the makeup of the Senate will be 52-48 with the GOP holding the majority. I list the races below. While there will be a Blue Wave in certain sections of the nation on Election Night it will not a Blue Tsunami.
U.S Senate Races
Sinema rolls McSally
Nelson ekes out a win over Scott
Donnelly drubs Braun
Smith smears Housley
Klobuchar echoes Smith and downs Newberger
Hawley stuns McCaskill (This one hurts.)
Tester roughs up Rosendale
Cramer takes out Heitkamp
Menendez tops Hugin
Heller hangs on over Rosen
Brown blocks Renacci
Cruz takes out the best looking candidate in 2018 (Can you see Beto as a Haggar shirt model?)
Manchin wins over Morrisey
Polis scores mightily over Walker and becomes the first openly gay man to be elected governor in the U.S. Democrats–again–making sure our politics mirrors our citizenry.
Gillum plants DeSantis
Abrams bests Kemp First black woman to be elected governor in the U.S.!
Pritzker wins over Rauner—but will not serve a full term as the law will ultimately prevail
Scott prevails over Hallquist who would have been the first trans-gender governor in U.S.
Countless races on the radar so let me start with two that will come in early–and start the ball rolling for Democrats in Virginia. The congressional races I list are to underscore what a great night would look like for the Democrats. I list them in order of polls closings.
VA-7th–David Brat is one of the Tea Party types whose race will set the stage for the BLUE MARCH all through the night as the polls close moving westward. I feel that Brat gets removed. Brat has been on the radar at CP for years.
VA 10th–Comstock needs to start assembling boxes for her move out of office—like now. She is creamed by Weston
NY 22nd–Brindisi nips Tenney–this is one of those races that would show the power of the Blue Wave if we can win in a seat such as this one. If Democrats can win in places like this than the net gain will exceed my prediction of 27 pickups.
PA 17th–Lamb sweeps the floor and Rothfus has to even bring the broom—yes, that type of a win–they are the nation’s only two incumbent members of Congress pitted against each other in midterm elections
IL 6th–Casten nip and tucks over Roskam–again this would show a wave if Democrats can prevail
Lets move quickly–for the sake of length with these predictions–to California.
CA 48th–Rohrabacher simply needs to be flushed–and the man pushing the handle is Rouda. Bye, Bye Dana. One really has to hope in some nursing home many years from now Dana has all immigrant employees to rely on for his every need
Wardlow over Ellison
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed a non-discrimination bill into law in July 2016, and it went into effect in October 2016. Since then, opponents of equality used anti-transgender tactics and messages to get Question 3, which would repeal these non-discrimination protections, on the ballot this election. It will be soundly defeated.
The GOP holds a one-vote majority in the N.Y Senate and the Democrats are coming after Martin Golden from Brooklyn. He is the last remaining GOP senator in the borough. Dems hold a 2-1 voter registration advantage—but he has run unopposed in four of his elections. This year–this cycle–Andrew Gounardes will stop him from re-election—and in so doing stop the legislative blockage in their legislature.
Carol Corrigan voted twice against marriage equality and she took a misguided position in the second case, which eventually took the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn in 2015. She needs to find moving boxes as she will be defeated.
As I conclude this edition of Election Predictions I wish to end with another quote that sums up the mood of 2018.
“Whenever our affairs go obviously wrong, the good sense of the people will interpose and set them to rights.” –Thomas Jefferson, 1789.
This is the time when politics can be just pure fun. (Unless you are a candidate.)
The race for Democratic nominee for Wisconsin governor has been one of the most candidate-heavy races of any that I can recall. I am sure it set a record. But come Tuesday night only one name matters–the person in first place.
First Place–Tony Evers 52%.
Second Place–Kelda Roys will show power with the young female vote that has been showcased elsewhere around the nation in primaries.
Third Place–Kathleen Vineout
Fourth Place–Matt Flynn had a hard and hurtful ending to a race that was never going to be his to win. Lifting one’s sails does not mean drilling holes in your opponents boats during a primary.
And then there are the other contenders–all who need to be applauded for their time and passion for our state.
For Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes easily defeats Kurt Kober in the Democratic Primary.
Meanwhile there is nothing that can be said of encouragement when it comes to the Republican Senate Primary. Who loves and supports Donald Trump the most made both Leah Vukmir and Kevin Nicholson look simply ridiculous and not at all ready for prime time. Leadership is not licking the boots of the classroom bully but instead showing the fellow students how best to rise above bad behavior and work to achieve common goals.
But since the campaign was all about how there was no daylight between Trump and either candidate means predictions must be made in a stilted manner, too. Nicholson wins in a narrow margin as angry voters in the party are not going to ponder who might actually have skills to govern–which would be Vukmir–but make a choice based on resentments. There will be some conservatives that will not vote for a woman or an ‘establishment’ candidate.
Dawn Marie Sass wins nomination for Democratic State Treasurer. Doug La Follette wins nomination for Secretary of State. The breathtaking comment of Jill Millies should–in a just world–torpedo her in the primary. But conservatives will roll over and vote Millies as the nominee for State Treasurer.
I have given the subject of Time magazine’s Man of the Year a fair amount of consideration over the past several months.
The winner of the final magazine’s cover of 2016 was clearly never in doubt with the election of Donald Trump to the presidency. But as I think about the big thematic issues that developed this year, and which shaped almost every headline in the morning newspapers, my mind keeps going back to that 2016 Time cover.
The driving force for what happened in 2016’s election night shocker is now playing out with policy fights, media bashing, court challenges, marches, and very deep clashes within our culture.
Therefore I do not see a personality or an event that drives Time’s final cover this year. Instead it is the deep resentments and frustrations not only in our politics but among, and between the citizenry that will be the cover subject this year.
For a lack of a better summation I predict The Great American Divide will be the idea that makes for Time’s Idea Of The Year.