2016 is going to be huuuuge.
With a presidential election, a legislative session, and countless referenda, there will be many political conversations occurring throughout Maine. My old sparring partner and I had one such discussion, trying to forecast what 2016 would bring before she left me for different pastures. Looking back, some of those predictions might not have been fully thought out. (A year ago, I developed my forecast for 2015. Check those out here to see how I did.)
Luckily, with a new year, there is an opportunity to make new predictions. Therefore, following a tradition that once included the Mayor with the Hair — Ethan Strimling — here are 16 predictions for 2016.
- The next president of the United States will be a Republican…and a Latino. The question will be whether he is from Texas or Florida.
- Mark Eves’ lawsuit against Gov. Paul LePage will be dismissed. The nascent impeachment talk will invigorate a small, engaged minority, but Articles of Impeachment will not be put before the House for a vote.
- After a hard-fought primary, the Democrats’ nominee in the 2nd Congressional District will be Emily Cain.
- She will lose — again — to Rep. Bruce Poliquin.
- Whoever it may be, the Republican challenger to Rep. Chellie Pingree will ride the angry anti-incumbent wave presently propelling people like Trump. It won’t be enough, although the final margin will be less than 5 percent.
- Maine and Nebraska are the only two states that split their electoral votes. There will be lots of quadrennial hype that Maine’s 2nd District electoral vote might go to the GOP nominee. It won’t.
- Two presently serving lawmakers will leave their party in 2016, unenrolling and identifying as “independent.” It will have little practical effect.
- Medicaid expansion will fail to reach Gov. LePage’s desk, despite the efforts of Sen. Tom Saviello.
- Democrats will continue to try and seize the “welfare reform” narrative from the Republicans, with little success.
- In State House races, outside spending will favor Democrats. Opponents of the Clean Elections expansion will point out this irony, with limited results.
- Republicans will hold the Maine Senate, losing one seat. Democrats will keep the House, gaining two. Attorney General Janet Mills won’t lose her job.
- Republicans will maintain their hold on the U.S. House of Representatives. There will be 50 Republican U.S. senators, giving the GOP VP the tie-breaker vote.
- Sen. Angus King will remain in the Democratic caucus, publicly declaring himself a bridge between the two parties.
- Gov. LePage will appoint three new commissioners, not counting the new Adjutant General. All will be confirmed without issue.
- The marijuana referendum will pass with over 55 percent support. None of the other statewide referenda will get more than 52 percent support.
- And last, but certainly not least, on Feb. 7, sometimes-Maine resident Roger Goodell will hand the Super Bowl MVP trophy to Tom Brady. I don’t care who you are, that will be fun to watch. (Okay, that last prediction may not be political.)
Some of these things I hope come to pass. Others I hope will not. But we all deal with reality as it is, not as we wish it to be. And the reality is we have real challenges facing our state and nation, and we need men and women in leadership who are willing to confront them head-on.
So, ladies and gentlemen, Happy New Year! Let’s get to work.