Yesterday was election day for a lot of things that didn't matter much. That means we're one year from picking a new president. I have some expectations for that election. This is almost certainly unwise, you should never put out a record of predicting the future in a way where you can be proven wrong later. But I think it's fun, and I think I have a pretty good track record for broad predictions in the last two presidential races. So here comes my prophecy for 2016. Succeed or fail, you can expect me to link back to this post one year from now.
This post is probably going to make some of my friends angry, so please bear in mind that (1) this is what I EXPECT will happen, not necessarily what I HOPE will happen; and (2) This is far from certain, and I am open to admitting how wrong I was, but I do have enough arrogance to say "I told you so" if I am right. Arguing in the comments will probably not be educational to me or any other participant, but I predict it will happen anyway. :)
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will be the only candidates in the race very soon. The national polls today show Clinton ahead of Sanders by roughly a factor of 2:1. That gap will shift around a little, he may get as close as 3:2 at some times, but after the day when a bunch of Southern states vote, it will be fairly clear he's not going to win. He will remain in the primary race until at least half the states have voted, but not much longer.
Sanders will accept defeat with relative grace, and will announce that he supports Clinton (with clearly stated reservations). He will probably be offered a cabinet position or even the VP spot. He won't necessarily accept. Many Sanders fans, on the other hand, will be very angry. They will declare that the system is rigged, and threaten not to vote for Clinton or anyone. Some of them will definitely follow through on this threat, although if Sanders does join the ticket then all bets are off.
Donald Trump will continue grabbing headlines for a while. He still be in the news all the damn time six months from now, because he's hilarious to talk about, but he won't be the candidate. After the first few states vote, there will be one or two very obvious choices for the most viable "anti-Trump candidate." Many other Republicans will finally start to drop out, and the remaining primary voters will coalesce around the anti-Trump. I have no idea who this candidate is right now, but I don't think it's Ben Carson. Wild guess: Marco Rubio has a shot. Don't hold me to that one.
Trump will call the eventual anti-Trump a loser in public many, many times, before that person becomes the official GOP candidate. Trump's concession speech will be incredibly petty. The Republican candidate will be more moderate than most of the candidates running today, and Republican voters in general will be really tepid in their support for him, but they'll grumble and go along with it anyway and pretend to like him.
Not-Trump nominee will try to fire up the base by saying and doing things that will alienate a lot of voters who aren't Republicans. He will especially be a complete dick to women, racial minorities, and non-Christians.
Clinton will have a lot of Barack Obama's campaign team on her staff. They will make very careful plans about which states they need to focus on in order to guarantee victory, and they will ask a lot of volunteers to help keep Democrats interested in the race. Republicans will constantly repeat that most people agree with them on all the issues, and that the polls which say otherwise are just the liberal media lying as usual.
Hillary will win the popular vote by a relatively small margin, but her strategists will ensure that she wins the electoral vote by a ridiculous number that is an obvious landslide. Republicans will say the election was stolen, and they'll also focus on the popular vote to say that Clinton has no mandate.
Gerrymandered districts will guarantee that Republicans keep the house, but it's a toss-up whether they keep the Senate. They will immediately begin discussing how to impeach Clinton before her term starts.
I have spoken. You are hereby invited to bookmark this post and dredge it up so you can make fun of me once I am proven wrong.