Notes on Trump 19

1. Gallup approval day 337 (Dec 18-24) 80%/87% GOP/Conservative GOP. Day 345 (Dec 25-31) 82%/85%. Recovering.

2. Scott Adams has the following list of expectations of Trump that most commentators were wrong about. No doubt it is selected to retrospectively confirm that he got things right. But I found it interesting to add my own responses.

Yes means I got this wrong too.

No means I agree that lots of people got this wrong and join Scott in claiming I got it right.

Pass means I didn’t form an opinion (and/or don’t have one now).

Meaningless means I don’t agree with Scott including it in such a list.

When candidate Trump first set about the job of redefining politics (and reality) back in 2015, people had lots of predictions about how things would turn out. One year isn’t long enough to know everything we need to know about his presidency, but it’s long enough to to check some of our predictions. As a public service, I put together a list of predictions that various people made about Trump that you can use to evaluate your own predictive powers. Count the number of items on the list that you once predicted would be true. I’ll tell you how to evaluate your score at the end.

Did you once believe…

Trump will never win the GOP nomination.

Pass – I only started paying attention at all after it was obvious that he might.

Trump will never win the presidency.

Yes. I started paying close attention when I got this wrong.

Stocks will drop if Trump is elected.

Pass. (Also perhaps Meaningless. It is true that predictions of the opposite of what happened were widepread – but that is usual for stock market predictions, not specific to Trump).

President Trump will deport ten million illegal immigrants.


Trump will be gone (impeached, jailed, or quit) by end of 2017.


Trump’s immigration ban on several Muslim countries will be found unconstitutional.


Trump colluded with Russia, and that’s a crime.


Trump obstructed justice (a crime) by firing Comey.


Trump’s skills as a “con man” might get him elected but it won’t transfer into doing the job of president.

No. (It is a basic qualification for that job). But also meaningless since people “predicting” it were not really claiming anything other than rejection.

Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will cause huge problems.

No. (The huge problems are merely continued)

Trump’s tweeting will cause huge problems.

No. (But somewhat meaningless as both Scott and I do not regard causing liberals’ splodey heads to splode as a problem whereas others naturally do).

GOP will never embrace Trump.

Pass or meaningless. I expect a split.

Trump will get nothing important done.

Meaningless. None of this is fundamentally important but there is no basis for agreeing on what is.

Trump will not work effectively with leaders of other countries.

No. But also meaningless. Others do believe the widespread international rejection would be of some great significance, and I agree with Scott that it wasn’t but that doesn’t mean he works effectively on international issues or is even very interested in them, or that international politics has much to do with leaders working effectively.

GOP senators will vote against GOP priorities because of President Trump’s mean tweets.

No. Also meaningless. Claims that they might were more like denunciations of them for not doing so than serious predictions that they would.

Trump will not nominate qualified judges to the Supreme Court.

Meaningless. The predictions were that they would be ideologically unacceptable to liberals not related to “competence”. Pretty well everybody got that right.

Trump is incompetent.

No. (And I agree that it is staggering how the people he has been out maneuvering become increasingly convinced of his incompetence despite that being his job and him demonstrating that he is unusually good at it)

Presidential approval polls are a good predictor of how a president will perform.

No. Also meaningless “how a president will perform” does not mean anything. But I do agree that current polls do not necessarily imply Trump could not win in 2020, which is one version of “perform”.

The military won’t follow Trump’s orders.

No. But also meaningless. They can and do slow walk eg on transgender and would do more if Trump did give “unacceptable” orders. I am not aware of others seriously expecting much more than that – leaving aside those who expect him to launch a nuclear war or martial law.

GDP will never stay above 3%.

Pass. I don’t try to predict such unpredictable things.

— end —

I didn’t get any of those predictions wrong. But if you got 15 or more wrong, you might want to consider never saying anything about politics out loud again for the rest of your life. Just a suggestion.

So, I claim my record shows as much insight as the author of Dilbert based on his own criteria once I started paying close attention to the politics of his counrtry (and despite sharply opposed political outlooks I don’t think one could be the author of Dilbert without having a lot of insight).

3. On the other hand I cannot claim to have much insight on latest news re Steve Bannon and Trump. Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury” has had a spectacularly successful launch. I plan to read it as, however implausibly, it looks likely to be a major influence on, as well as an expression of, the current bizarre zeitgeist. Library Genesis has had copies since 1:48pm Friday 5 January (zero day release, so endeth copyright!)

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