2016 Election Preview & Predictions: Part One – the Presidency

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Agreeing Loudly contributor Troy Olson predicts Hillary Clinton will make history and be elected the first female President of the United States by a comfortable margin on Tuesday, November 8th and he further predicts that his predictions will be more accurate than Dick Morris, because Dick Morris is professionally and wildly wrong about everything.

Two weeks from today the seemingly endless 2016 Presidential Campaign will wind to a close and the voters (those that have not voted early, which I highly recommend if your state allows for early voting. This will be organized into three parts.

Today will be the Presidential Election itself. One week from today will be the Congressional elections in the Senate and House. And the day before the election will be the Gubernatorial and state legislative elections. I’m doing it this way for two reasons: one, the Presidential election has historically been very static in the weeks leading up to the final vote and especially in this election, everyone has feels very, very strongly about well….something. Two and most important, the President isn’t a dictator. At best, the President has third most control of any politician in this country over daily lives. The individuals that have the most at stake in who becomes President, members of the United States armed forces, vote at alarmingly low rates.

Presidential Election Predictions

The Popular Vote. 

Hillary Clinton (D) – 48.0%

Donald Trump (R) – 43.0%

Gary Johnson (L) – 5.0%

Evan McMullin (I) – 2.0%

Jill Stein (G) – 1.5%

Other – 0.5%

What to Watch For:

  1. West Coast polls won’t close for awhile, the popular vote will look closer than it ends up because heavily Democratic states like California, Oregon, and Washington have not reported yet.
  2. The big surprise here would be Evan McMullin finishing ahead of Jill Stein. This is because I expect some Stein supporters to come home to the Democratic Party and because Jill Stein has been incredibly underwhelming all cycle, just like in 2012. While I respect the enthusiasm and some of the principled stances of members of the Green Party and Jill Stein herself, like Gary Johnson, she has been way out of her element all cycle. In her defense, the normally funny John Oliver struck a low blow when he made fun of her for playing in a very-early 90’s Indigo Girls sounding rock band. There are many other reasons to not support Jill Stein for the highest office in the land, there is no need to ridicule someone’s incredibly healthy hobby or past career.
  3. I rounded to the nearest .5% for simplicity sake.
  4. I also think a good slice of the traditional GOP (as in they voted for Romney and McCain) electorate who are dissatisfied with Trump as nominee come home, we’ve already been seeing evidence of this the past few days.

The Electoral College.


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Hillary Clinton (D) – 323 EVs

Donald Trump (R) – 209 EVs

Evan McMullin (I) – 6 EVs

Explanations: 

This is the danger of making predictions two weeks out but I will discuss a few with you.

  1. Iowa (GOP) – has been trending GOP the last few cycles, has two GOP Senators, a GOP Governor, and is a state I was personally on the ground for in 2008, a spectacular experience, and 2010, still the biggest landslide defeat I and another member of this podcast has ever been apart of. It was a brutal cycle, but unlike other parts of the nation, the red trend and swing in Iowa is real and could be a harbinger of things to come in the Upper Midwest generally.
  2. North Carolina (DEM) – is this the new Virginia for the Dems? I think so. But it will still be razor thin if the polls state as they are in the final two weeks. I think most of the close MoE states will ultimately break Hillary Clinton’s way because she actually has an organized campaign on the ground, unlike Trump.
  3. Florida (DEM) – another state that the GOP could have easily had this cycle on their column had they not nominated Trump. Expect Marco Rubio to run 5-6 points ahead of Trump here. If this state is called for Hillary before 11 PM, we’ll have a shorter night.
  4. Georgia and Arizona (stay GOP, but someday…) – these are two must-holds for Trump. If Hillary pulls off the upset in Georgia, she has won in a landslide. If she wins in Arizona as the polls show now, she has possibly won more electoral votes than Barack Obama did in 2008. I see both of these states ultimately staying the lightest of red, but they will continue to slowly trend blue in upcoming cycles at the local and statewide levels.
  5. Ohio (stay GOP) – this is the state I feel the least confident about, but I think Trump pulls this one out and benefits from lower youth turnout in college towns, combined with a noncompetitive Senate election in the GOPs favor. Large turnout by key Democratic constituencies kept this in Obama’s column in 2012. If Ohio is won by Hillary it will be on the strength of the ground campaign, where investments are considerably less than they should have been due to Hillary having easy paths to 270 without Ohio and incumbent GOP Senator Rob Portman being up by double digits.
  6. Nevada (DEM) – a state that has always been strong for Hillary Clinton, both in the 2008 and 2016 Democratic Primaries and in 2016 General Election polling. This is also part of a broader blue trend over the past decade in the Southwestern United States that includes New Mexico, Colorado, and perhaps soon, Arizona.
  7. Utah (Independent) – discussed further below. I see McMullin pulling this off with just over 30% of the vote, followed by Trump and Clinton being somewhere between 20 and 30% of the vote.

Turnout. 

54% 

Clinton – 5 best and 5 worst states.

Best: California, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Vermont.

Worst: Utah, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Idaho, West Virginia

Trump – 5 best and 5 worst states.

Best: Wyoming, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Kentucky, Kansas

Worst: Utah, California, New York, Vermont, Maryland

Bold Predictions: 

  • Evan McMullin wins the state of Utah and its 6 electoral votes.
    • Why? Because the significant Mormon population in Utah does not trust or like Trump for a variety of reasons and because he is a favorite son who is on the ballot there, as well as 10 other states (a few of which he will also do relatively well in considering he has received next to no attention by even non-major party standards). Overall, McMullin is on the ballot in 11 states and those states, especially Utah and Idaho will drive his 2% national margin.
    • Evan McMullin, a career CIA officer and former Peace Corps member and just 40 years old, will then run and win office statewide in Utah once Orrin Hatch retires, which he will do relatively soon because unlike the Democratic Party, the GOP actually builds a bench, cares about its farm system, cultivates talent, and despite its image as being an old white guy who is afraid of change, they have considerably more young leaders than the Democratic Party does.
  • Voter Turnout, despite this historic election, is lower than in 2012 and is the lowest since 2000 when George W. Bush controversially defeated Al Gore to win the Presidency.
    • Why? Because despite declarations on the ALC2C podcast and on The Margin of Error podcast – fear and hatred of the other side only drives turnout to a point. To reach historic or large (by American standards) turnout you need a positive, optimistic, and hopeful message and the candidates need to have above-the-water favorability ratings. 
    • Favorability ratings are about likability and are a better assessment of a candidate. Approval ratings are the assessment of how well a President is doing their job.
    • In the last six decades, the two years where turnout was the highest were in 1960; where both John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon had sky high favorability ratings. In 2008, while much lower than the famous Kennedy-Nixon election, Barack Obama and John McCain had the highest favorability ratings of the modern political age throughout most of the campaign. This was quite an accomplishment considering the era we live in right now – characterized by increasing government gridlock and partisanship, vitriol, and the public losing trust and confidence in American institutions.
    • Simply put, voting FOR something is always more desirable than voting AGAINST something. Fear and hatred of the other side does and has worked politically in past decades, but only if it is combined with lower turnout, which is ultimately the goal with those campaign tactics.

Winners: 

  • Clinton, for breaking that glass ceiling and making history.
  • The world, for avoiding a Trump Presidency, an idea that terrifies many around the world to no end. Gambling on a personality as volatile as Trump with the largest nuclear arsenal at his fingertips would strike fear into the hearts of a lot of people. They’re not alone.
  • 2020 GOP nominee, who gets to face an incumbent that enters office with -9 to -10 favorability ratings and the general historical trend of an incumbent party not securing a fourth consecutive administration unless it is the Great Depression and WWII. In other words Hillary Clinton will have to do a very, very good job as President and have a lot of voters actually think that to have a fighting chance at re-election. Of course the caveat to this is if the GOP still… cannot get its act together for a national election, which brings me to…

Losers: 

  • Trump, not for losing the election, although that I’m sure will bother him considerably. No, he is a loser even if he wins by some miracle because he has dragged American politics and the honor of the highest office in the land to perhaps its lowest point in our history. Barack Obama, no matter what you thought of his policies, is a basically good and decent man. While I disagree with Mitt Romney, John McCain, and George W. Bush on policy, I always believed they woke up each day wanting to do what is best for their country. Trump has ran this campaign for the glorification of his own ego, has further divided an already divided country, and through his hateful and spiteful rhetoric, has brought out the worst sides of some of us.
  • His supporters, who will be cast aside and derided by most of the GOP elite after this loss. Some have reached Donald Trump’s levels of despicable behavior throughout this campaign cycle, many have lost faith in the two-party system and the economic system as well, and no matter why they are voting for Trump, they all still deserve a country and political leadership who serves the public trust and common interest, rather than special interests. As do all Hillary Clinton, Evan McMullin, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Pirate Party, etc. supporters.
  • 2018 Democratic candidates for office, who will have their work cut out for them at the start and suffer from a third straight midterm backlash to a Democratic administration.

Two weeks to go. Congressional predictions to come next week. Gubernatorial and state predictions to come the day before election day.

Don’t boo. Vote. 

The Agreeing Loudly Reboot

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Catch the Agreeing Loudly Coast to Coast (ALC2C) flagship podcast on a monthly basis now, via iTunes, AgreeingLoudly.com, stitcher, etc. Follow us on Twitter and be sure to tune into the Margin of Error podcast as well, featuring AL.com contributors Alan Branstiter and Carson Starkey.

Is banding together as a generation from coast to coast each week too much for you? It sure was for us. But is once a month the ticket? I agree.

AL.com announces its new format of one podcast per month. Less is more, unless you are Marvel or Star Wars, in which case more is more and we’re going to make you double-dip until the end of time because you cannot help yourself.

If once per month doesn’t do the trick, and you want more high-brow pointy headedness instead, go on over to our Friends of the Podcast section or click here to check out Margin of Error. Simultaneously overeducated and under-qualified, MoE continues on similar threads and themes we have discussed at AL.com and on the podcast but goes more in-depth, more thorough, and generally speaking, is the NPR to ALC2C’s MSNBC or Fox News.

Tune in to the 8th episode where The Margin of Error will be featuring an interview with a contributor from Rick Perlstein’s and Thomas Frank’s “The Baffler” magazine. Join them (and us) on a relentless and unforgiving journey on our way to advertising dollars, pointy-headed intellectualism, and further millennial musings from public citizens, because someone has to be….

Furthermore, stay tuned to AgreeingLoudly.com for an Election Predictions and Analysis article in the next week and much more to come after that.

Agreeing Loudly Episode 42: Terrible Legal Analysis

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Now coming to you on a monthly basis, Agreeing Loudly is back with an exciting conversation about the 5-0 Minnesota Vikings, the upcoming holiday movie season, and the latest political nonsense surrounding the presidential election. And if all that wasn’t enough, a prodigal son returns to the podcast with a groundbreaking realization.

What are you waiting for? Listen now! You can also direct download instead.

The Greater Recession: Boomers and the 401(k) Cash-In

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“Those born between roughly 1946 and 1964, are now 52 to 70 years old. Starting in 2015, more money is coming out of the 401K retirement market than will ever be going in for quite some time.”                                                                               Source for Birth Rate Graph: Wikipedia 

Months ago during the Presidential primary election, during the peak of this nascent website’s readership (so far, perhaps forever), I wrote about what could be appropriately called the “Greater Recession.” It’s detailed focus was on the millennial generation (those born between circa 1980/81 and 1998 or so) and housing and the role that will play in contributing to the next recession. At the end I teased that housing will not be the chief driving force however behind the next recession, rather it will be the fact that baby boomers, retiring en-masse starting a few years ago, will be cashing in their 401K’s and this outflow will outpace the money that is going into retirement markets. What sounds alarmist now and overly complicated will sound stupidly simple when history is written: retirement accounts need money in them. Duh.

In the wake of the silliest U.S. Presidential Election and national conversation on record and for a country whose youngest working generation and middle class is still reeling from the previous Great Recession, it’s completely understandable why no one wants to hear or read about the next one (don’t worry, they won’t). But demographics are still destiny.

They are a chief driving reason Italy cannot grow more than 1 percent annually because Italy cannot replace its own population. Birth rates. If it were not for their relatively more modern and diversified economies, France and Spain would suffer from similar systemic growth problems because most of Europe is suffering from historically low birth rates. The United States has its own birth rate crisis too, but at the other end of the spectrum. The post-World War II baby boom from 1946 to roughly 1964.

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As of mid-2015 withdrawals from 401K plans exceed new contributions, a shift that could shake up the U.S. retirement industry and a trend that will continue well into the next decade and perhaps beyond. Three to four million baby boomers will be retiring every year between now and 2020, and it is expected to accelerate beyond that. The direct result will be on asset management firms and the retirement portion of investment banks being squeezed of large amounts of money because they rely on fees charged to employers and investors as their chief profit engine. Before I move on, let’s go through a quick primer on the history of 401Ks.

401K retirement plans came into wide usage in the 1980s as more companies embraced them as a replacement to their more costly pension fund counterpart. In other words, 401Ks are the privatization of pension plans. Along with the general erosion of big labor and private (as well as some public) sector unions in the U.S., this trend has contributed to declining and stagnant middle and working class incomes. The financial capitalism model that rose in the United States in this decade coincides with globalization ascendent generally, with the post-War political and economic consensus fading into history. Pensions were out. Privatization was in. The prevalence of 401K plans coincide with the major working years of the baby boomer generation, the largest cohort in American history until millennials.

A 401K bubble, unlike the housing bubble, will be far more fundamental than Senator McCain could ever conceive of because it will be demographically and systemically driven. We have seen so many cracks in globalization’s inevitability this past year, whether it is Brexit, the rise of nationalism generally, or the entire 2016 Presidential Election cycle. The final nail in the coffin to its inevitability may very well be another recession, which will no doubt have global implications as well because nearly everything does now. If we’ve learned anything since 2007-09 it’s that globalization and interdependence is failing, and will likely keep failing, rightly or wrongly. We have also learned that nation-states still matter and they matter the most. Rising nationalism that borders on jingoism and xenophobia in some quarters is frightening to anyone who has read history, but at the most basic level–the primacy and importance of national leadership and its ability to control and secure national interests is still incredibly relevant. Much of this development is political and populist in nature, and often very much to the chagrin of the global system, especially those in the financial community.

It has been said, and I think this is still the best case for globalization (although slipping a bit each year), that countries that trade together and are dependent on one another will not fight each other. A free trade and globalized world order is a peaceful world. With each passing year though, this gets harder and harder to believe. When Iraqi civilian casualties are 1/4th the total of the holocaust, you know instinctively that you are not living in a more peaceful world. Rather, you are merely avoiding the most dangerous parts of the world.

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In fairness to those who would call this alarmist thinking, there are three economic developments and one political, that could at the very least, stem the tide. Starting with the most unlikely to succeed.

1. Millennials putting enough money into their own retirements (very unlikely).

Despite the demographic ability to do it, millennials are squeezed out of good paying jobs still and even if they obtain those jobs (a big “if”), significant student loan debt and other costs will limit our ability to save for retirement in the years to come.

 

2. Asset management firms reinvesting a good potion of boomer-held wealth back into the market (more likely).

This may not be enough either though. Aging costs money and boomers are not nearly as wealthy as we all think they are. After all, their entire working lives coincide with America going from an FDR / New Deal / “We take care of our own” – model to a Reagan / “trickle-down economics” / financial capitalism – model.

3. Wall Street downsizing (most likely, already happening). 

 

An interesting facet of the Greater Recession could very well be the great irony: just as the Great Recession could be characterized as Wall Street driving an economic recession that left millennials with few paying jobs, the Greater Recession could be characterized by millennials lacking the assets, paying jobs, and income to prevent an economic recession that will in turn, leave many on Wall Street without their high-paying jobs.

And then there is the political solution.

We all saw how swiftly both parties acted in the wake of the global financial meltdown in 2008. But even in success, we also saw how readily evident it was that the United States has a public policy that is so incredibly friendly to wealthy elites and corporations that more and more publications are taking to calling the United States an oligarchy. Furthermore, political gridlock in the Obama years has made another swift action in response to an economic crisis harder to imagine. It’s far more likely any political response is an incredibly partisan one, carried out by a Republican Party in complete control of the United States government after 2020.

Therefore it’s far more likely that social insurance programs get privatized due to the political winds of the time, bad luck, and poor party-building and planning by the Democratic Party, which will be the chief purpose of the third and final part of the Greater Recession article series.