Predictions for 2021

Last year, I made several predictions for 2020. My 2020 predictions were my most accurate in the twelve years that I’ve been making predictions. Critically, I failed to foresee the “black swan” Covid-19 pandemic. Below, red annotations report the accuracy of each prediction.

  • The Senate will fail to convict Trump; he will finish his first term in office. Accurate.
  • The presidential election will be hard fought. Trump’s base will remain loyal. The Democrats, at this time, lack a charismatic candidate who can easily defeat Trump. The race will turn on a handful of battleground states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida. The outcome of the election will hinge on events that occur between now and November. Accurate.
  • Democrats will hold on to a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives; Republicans will continue to control the Senate in 2021. Accurate with respect to the House. The composition of the Senate was not determined by the end of 2020.
  • The stock market’s decade long bull market will end. Wrong.
  • No real improvement in U.S. relations with Iran and North Korea will occur. Accurate.
  • U.S. military troops will remain deployed across the Middle East (Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan). Accurate, although the number of deployed troops has dropped substantially.
  • Global warming will happen faster than science has predicted. Global efforts to reverse climate change will remain chaotic and ineffectual. Consequently, the number of extreme weather events will increase. Accurate.
  • Domestic terrorism and hate crimes will increase in Europe and the U.S. Accurate.
  • Pope Francis will persevere in his efforts to liberalize the Roman Catholic Church. The United Methodist Church will split over the issue of full inclusion of non-heterosexuals. Accurate, although the Methodist split is in process and not yet completed.
  • The number of homeless persons in Hawaii will increase, a small indicator of growing economic inequality in the U.S. Sadly, accurate.
  • Laws limiting a woman’s access to abortion will continue to proliferate among the states. Accurate.
  • Laws decriminalizing or legalizing recreational marijuana use will also continue to spread across the states. Accurate.
  • Federated Department Stores, including their Macy’s flagship chain, will move closer to becoming the next Sears as ecommerce continues to marginalize traditional retailing and stores. Accurate.
  • The U.S. judiciary will apply the brakes to reliance on “alternative facts” and government policies that ignore scientific evidence. Accurate.
Here are some of my predictions for 2021:
  • By December 31, 2021, widespread vaccinations will largely end the Covid-19 pandemic. Mask wearing and social distancing will mostly end.
  • Recovery from pandemic related unemployment and other economic challenges will be slow. Tourism, travel and other service industries will continue to experience severe financial difficulties until the third (probably the fourth) quarter when the pandemic finally ends in most places. People will resume dining out, attending cultural, sports and other events, going to spas, etc., as soon as they think it safe. New businesses will emerge to replace some but not all that closed. Retail will continue its accelerated shift to online shopping causing retrenchment in physical retail businesses and diminished retail employment.
  • Economic recovery in the UK will be much slower than in the US.
  • Brexit will prove to be bad for both the UK and Europe. Unresolved issues will continue to plague both parties throughout the year.
  • State and federal governments will have to intervene to prevent a plethora of post-pandemic evictions and foreclosures. Otherwise, pandemic related moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures, along with increasing amounts of back due rent and mortgage payments, will greatly worsen economic inequality, add to the number of homeless people and slow the economic recovery. If governments intervene, they will do so too late to avoid most problems.
  • The Republicans will retain control of the US Senate (predicted on Jan 3).
  • Congress will pass more bipartisan legislation in spite of efforts by diehard Trump supporters to block all such legislation. The Biden administration, however, will struggle to have the Senate confirm political and judicial nominees.
  • Congress will fail to limit deficit spending. Congress will not raise taxes and will pass legislation authorizing massive spend to relieve Covid-19 related hardships.
  • Attendance at religious services in the US will continue to decline, perhaps at a faster pace because people have lost the habit of attending during the pandemic.
  • Beneficial changes related to the pandemic (e.g., much telework, telehealth, meeting via Zoom instead of in person) will continue post-pandemic.

What are your predictions for 2021?


George Clifford said…
A reader sent me this comment:

You were very accurate in 2020. Sadly your 2021 predictions will probably be accurate except for the pandemic to end by the end of the year. It is worldwide and the mutations may get worse. There will be a massive amount of retraining needed to find jobs for people deemed unnecessary after the pandemic as personal contact is not needed. I hope the Democrats can avoid falling for the defense industry influences and reduce the defense budget and stop producing more ways to kill others.

We should be tired of war. Many people throughout the world are fine with their culture and we should not change it. Years ago I attended a presentation by Benazir Bhutto and she was asked about having democracy in Pakistan. Her response was the people don't want it because they don't know anything about it. The next year she was shot running for election.
George Clifford said…
My prediction that the GOP would maintain a majority in the US Senate has already been proven wrong. Hopefully, two years of undivided government will prove good for the nation.

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