As we just learned from this election, it’s hard to predict things with lots of variables.
I like making predictions not for the fun of being able to say I was right, but because I enjoy capturing and reviewing errors in my models.
When you just make random predictions about things and tell your friends about them, all sorts of mental biases get in the way. You forget what you predicted, you start changing what you predicted in your head without even knowing, and then you remember the whole thing differently after it’s over.
I like capturing the thought process and any predictions that come from them because it might help me improve my models in the future.
So here (and elsewhere) I am not making some big prediction that I intend to gloat about. I have done this, such as where I predicted that if Trump wins he’d either quit or be impeached within 6 months, but I’m not doing that here. I’m simply exploring possible lines to see where they are wrong or where I missed some.
Right then—enough with the throat-clearing.
Here are two possible outcomes, with each written as if it’s the real one.
1. Massive protests and calls for removal
The people are extremely uneasy right now, but they are holding their anger and frustration because Obama is telling them to chill out. Once Obama leaves, though, and we are seen to truly be in the hands of an administration who doesn’t care about black, brown, Muslim, and non-hetrosexual people, things will get ugly fast.
The events are likely to be sparked very quickly due to the way he speaks and acts, with his tendency to say very incendiary things without much regard for how they might be interpreted.
The result is tens or hundreds of thousands of people protesting. Calls for impeachment. Upheaval in his ranks because they see the harm he’s doing, and because they don’t want to be associated with this scale of failure.
He is encouraged to leave on his own, or he is forced out. Not legally, because that would take too long, but through blackmail and shame.
The outcome is that he’s ejected and someone takes his place—someone not in his current administration.
2. Much needed clarity and force, which is seen as leadership
People respect strength and conviction, and these traits earn loyalty at far higher potencies than logic and compassion. This is especially true when the former is sure of itself and the latter is confused or appears to give many right answers.
Trump will make a series of statements like “Criminals don’t deserve our money.” “We deserve to be the best and we will be.”, and other similarly emotional appeals that will resonate massively. Not just with old white people in the midwest, but with black, brown, and poor people of all ethnicities.
There’s a sad truth that simple power and strength is respected more by the ignorant and the unsophisticated. So even if there is a lingering smell of racism present, the poor—even those who are black or Latino—will flock to this strength. They’ll love it. They’ll respect it.
Trump will say we need to respect the troops. That we need to respect the police. That the man is the man, and the woman is the woman. And minorities will embrace this narrative because many minority communities are deeply conservative and have a hidden and secret distaste for the changes that liberals are trying to make.
So Trump ends up inspiring millions. He makes people believe in America again by being strict, forceful, and doing a number of things that actually are positive.
He starts building infrastructure. He forces China to start importing U.S. goods. He tells people to to take responsibility for their own behavior and the behavior in their communities.
He also gets a bunch of respect from the world community as well, because they, like children in some ways, only respect strength combined with clear convictions.
It’s like a grandfather from a previous generation coming to discipline a wayward and confused 16 year old boy. He’s been dressing like a girl because some guys at school are doing it. He hates America. He cuts himself. He takes pills. He gets arrested a lot.
And here comes grandpa to push his parents out of the way, tell them to shut up because they’ve failed, and tells the kid to dress right, to act right, and to stop his goddam sniveling. Grow up, be a man, graduate from high school and get a job.
The kid hates him at first, but he actually likes that he’s at least being forced to do something. It’s a conviction he’s missed coming from his parents, and it feels good.
Being told what to do feels good when you’re lost. When you’re lost you don’t want to be given options and shades of truth and morality. This is this, and that is that. End of story.
This seems to apply to all sorts of things. Government. Relationships. Etc.
The Philosopher King is only respected by philosophers, and we don’t have many of those.
We need someone on a horse, with a sword, and that’s what he’s bringing.
People will be scared when he rides into town, but they’ll also be happy that he’s there to keep people in line, the way they’ve always wished someone would have.
The outcome is a massive boost in GDP and an unexpected period of increased confidence and prosperity.
3. Something in between
Some people hate him and we get number 1. Some people love him because of number 2. The country is massively divided for four or eight years.
I honestly don’t know what this looks like because predicting it is basically predicting anything and everything. Nobody has a clue the shape that will take.
[ NOTE: I’m using numbers here rather than bullets to indicate what I think is most likely, although I think with Trump these predictions are already quite tenuous due to his unpredictable nature. So the order doesn’t mean as much as it might where I was making stronger predictions. ]
It could very well be that the most likely option is 3. But I’m going to keep these here. I won’t be updating this post other than to add edits to the bottom as time progresses. Hopefully I can learn from my own broken models for prediction.