A mixed score for this one. I got the winners right in all cases, but overstated the presidential margin, understated the congressional margin, and failed to predict the Dean collapse of early 2004. Perhaps if Dean had kept his mouth shut....
George W. Bush will soundly defeat his Democratic opponent, Howard Dean, in November. The Republicans will maintain control of both houses of Congress, with roughly the same margins as today.
My big winner for the year. One commenter even asked if I was "joking". Nope--just being my usual serious-but-eerily-insightful self.
Paul Martin will not win a majority government in a Canadian federal election.
Did I say reduced? Silly me. I meant increased, of course.
US troops will still be in Iraq in substantial (though somewhat reduced) numbers at year's end.
To refresh your memory, those leaders were Yasser Arafat, Kim Jong Il, Ayatollah Khamenei and Hugo Chavez. Arafat died peacefully in a hospital near Paris, and the rest are still going strong. (This is a fairly easy prediction to make, of course, but it's meant to counter the remarkable number of commentators who like to predict the imminent ouster of one or another of these characters each time he appears to be encountering a patch of political turbulence. Plenty of people were expecting a defeat for Chavez in the past year's referendum, for instance.)
Of the four leaders I mentioned last year, all will remain in power by year's end (Chavez by falsifying or ignoring the results of the upcoming referendum), barring death by natural or accidental causes.
Another mixed bag. The markets ticked upward again, earning people who don't follow my advice yet another year of respite from the inevitable decimation of their savings. Growth also outstripped my prediction. The dollar, inflation and interest rate predictions, on the other hand, were pretty good.
This year the overpriced major American markets will experience a net decline (and this time, I mean it!). The US dollar will also fall, relative to foreign currencies. Inflation and interest rates will tick upward, in reaction to the falling dollar--but not by that much. Economic growth will slow substantially, but will not tip into recession until after the election.
Well, neither set of disputes had a particularly high profile in 2004, although I suppose the American election did temporarily highlight European hostility to the current US administration, making my prediction, technically speaking, "wrong". (Or, as I prefer to say, "premature".)
Conflicts between the US and Europe will be overshadowed by conflicts between the US and China (over trade, exchange rates, weapons proliferation, North Korea, and human rights).
Now for this year's predictions:
Note: These predictions were made on a closed course by an untrained non-professional. Do not attempt to emulate them, if you hope to retain a shred of your dignity.