15 More for ’15

I did not intend to publish predictions for 2015.  If you guess correctly, no one really cares.  If you are wrong, it merely provides fodder for those who disagree with you to question your intelligence.

These are the joys of online discourse today.

All of that said, I was discussing the electoral results with a Democratic friend and he noted that my first foray into public political predictions were pretty accurate.  I underestimated Republican gains in the U.S. Senate and overestimated them in the Maine House.

My percentages were off in the gubernatorial race, although I did not predict Eliot’s pre-election press conference saying…whatever he said.

Anyway, my friend challenged me to make some predictions for the upcoming calendar year.  I don’t know if they are bold or bolder, but they are what I guess will happen in Maine and nationwide during 2015.

I hope some of these predictions will occur, while others would not come to pass if I had my way.

Prediction 1: Ranked Choice voting proponents will get the necessary signatures to set their proposal before the Legislature.  It will be deemed unconstitutional under the Maine Constitution and no further action will occur.

Prediction 2: Clean Elections advocates will not get their legislation passed in Augusta, sending it to the ballot box.  It will pass, although many of the statutory requirements – such as the tax provisions – will be effectively ignored.

Prediction 3: The push to amend the constitution and provide for the direct election of constitutional officers will fail in the Legislature, with mostly Democrats opposed.  There may be a compromise that allows for their appointment or a “ticket” election running alongside a gubernatorial candidate.

Prediction 4: There will be another effort at reducing Maine’s income tax.  The result will place the top marginal rate below 7%, with Democrats touting their reasonableness and Republicans declaring it to not go far enough.

Prediction 5:  On at least 5 bills publicly supported by the Governor, Speaker Mark Eves will vote against them and lose.  Enough Democratic caucus members will join with Republicans to overcome the Speaker’s wishes.

Prediction 6:  None of Paul LePage’s confirmable appointments will be rejected, as Democrats reconsider their treatment of Jon McKane and Susan Dench.

Prediction 7:  The Portland mayoral election will have fewer than 10 candidates, and the victor will be someone other than Michael Brennan.

Prediction 8:  DHHS and Governor LePage will be victorious in their lawsuit banning General Assistance for illegal immigrants.  They will pay the share of presently-withheld reimbursement amounts for other GA recipients.

Prediction 9:  Terry Hayes will have success in increasing the availability of information about projects supported by borrowing.  Few people will utilize this resource.

Prediction 10:  Democrats will explore alternatives to Emily Cain as Bruce Poliquin’s 2016 challenger.  Jeff McCabe and Matt Dunlap will both say they are considering the opportunity.

Prediction 11:  Republicans will not have an officially announced candidate to challenge Chellie Pingree prior to January 1, 2016.

Prediction 12:  There will be significant strife within Maine Republican circles over 2016 Presidential candidates.  Paul LePage will be the one person able to make peace among the groups.

Prediction 13: Either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren – but not both – will jump into the Democratic presidential primary as the socialist/progressive candidate.  This will not prevent Hillary Clinton from running.

Prediction 14:  President Obama will appoint an Ambassador to Cuba.  A minority of Republicans in the Senate will join the Democrats to confirm the appointment.

Prediction 15:  Congress will pass a Keystone XL bill that President Obama will veto.  TransCanada will withdraw its application, citing regulatory issues and falling oil prices, to the chagrin of labor unions and delight of environmentalists.   

And, despite all the challenges we face as a state and nation, billions of people the world over would give anything to live in Maine and the United States today.  So whatever 2015 brings, I hope our disagreements remain in perspective.

And for those who vehemently disagree with me, enjoy the fodder to question my integrity and intelligence.  Because, on the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.

Happy New Year!

Michael Cianchette

About Michael Cianchette

Michael Cianchette was the chief counsel to Gov. Paul LePage from 2012-2013 and deputy counsel from 2011-2012. A Navy reservist, he was deployed to Afghanistan from 2013-2014 as a trainer and adviser to the Afghan National Police. He is an alumnus of the Leadership Maine program and holds a BA in economics and political science from Boston College along with a JD and an MBA from Suffolk University. He works as in-house counsel and financial manager for a number of affiliated companies in southern Maine.