I’ve been pretty quiet on the subject of politics this year, having burned myself out on the subject back in 2013. It was my prolific year on this blog, but also the most frustrating, in part because I ended up politi-blogging so much that I ended up seeking out content that infuriated me just so I’d have something to write about. That ain’t no way to go through life, son. I also wanted this blog to really focus on fiction more, hence the shift in content.
That said, I’m in a rare mood today and I’d really like to go on the record for just how badly one of my predictions turned out, so here are my thoughts on this bit of news: candidate Scott Walker is going to drop out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
I didn’t write a post about this (see the previous paragraph about political blogging), but I had opinions and predictions. And when the Republican primary process kicked into gear earlier this year, I predicted Walker would be the eventual nominee.
If we could rewind to a few months ago (circa April 2015), here’s what a slightly younger version of Matt would say:
On the subject of the Republican candidates: It’s going to be Walker vs. Clinton in 2016. He’s an obvious choice: he’s from a Democratic stronghold state (Wisconsin has voted blue in every presidential election since 1984) and his big claim to fame is union-busting, which is abhorrent to me, but it’s the kind of thing that can win broad appeal without alienating too many demographics, especially since blue-collar Republicans vote against their own interests so often. He’s not doing great in the polls right now, but let’s look at his competition and you’ll see why I think he’s going to be the guy (not to mention polls this early are basically worthless anyway; just ask President Cain or President Gingrich).
Walker doesn’t have a last name with a ton of baggage like Bush.
He’s not too religious, which gives him more moderate appeal than Jindal or other religious conservatives, but still seems religious enough to win over the base.
Huckabee might be in the lead right now, but that’ll never last. Ditto Santorum.
Christie is damaged goods after the bridge thing.
Paul and Cruz might be serious contenders, but I think they’ve been on the stage too long and people are tired of them.
Of them all, I’d say Rubio could be the strongest candidate for a general election, but I don’t think the current Republican party can handle someone with his background (i.e. non-whiteness) and relative youth, even though he’d be a great candidate to field against the Democrats, especially if he can peel away Latino voters.
Trump is just this cycle’s Herman Cain. Or this cycle’s Trump. Take your pick.
In short: I predict it’ll be Walker vs. Clinton 2016, in which case “go Hillary!”
Obviously, I was wrong; thoroughly, utterly, completely wrong. Walker is the second drop out after Rick Perry resigned a few weeks ago. He was the guy I’d have bet money on. Keep in mind that he’s not the guy I’d have voted for; I’m not a Republican and even if I was, I’m far too pro-union to like the guy. But he seemed like a solid pick at the time, certainly a more sane choice than Trump (who wasn’t even running at that point and was just doing his Trump thing of talking a lot).
Of course, I’d also predicted that Hillary would basically run unopposed, with Bernie Sanders providing a token opposition in an effort to push her platform in a more left-leaning direction. And maaaybe there would be a Biden run, because why not? And now there are a few polls showing the Bern in the lead? Craziness! At this point, I’ve already been so wrong that I’m just going to throw out all my previous predictions and start making new ones.
So, here goes: you saw it here first, I’m calling it for President Bernie Sanders in 2016. Woo, feel the Bern!
But you might not want to take my word on it; after all, my track record for predictions so far has been pretty terrible.