Here are our sure-fire 2023 predictions

It’s another New Year and time for the Editorial Board’s latest round of predictions. We didn’t review the accuracy of last year’s effort because, well, we’re guessing that not all of our prognostications were 100-percent on the bull’s eye. Nevertheless, it’s another year and another chance for us to redeem ourselves and our prognosticating abilities.

Russia’s former president Dmitry Medvedev predicted that civil war will break out in the United States and that Elon Musk would become president of some remaining portion of the country. Musk called it an “epic thread,” but we’re predicting something even more epic: Musk will stop serving as the nation’s chief Twit, will return to managing Tesla – and will get back to building very cool cars.

Former President Donald Trump will continue to run his not-so-presidential “campaign” from Mar-a-Lago. He will: a) insult people; b) sell more overpriced NFTs that portray him as a cartoon character; c) meet with sketchy people; d) be largely ignored; and e) concoct some excuse to drop out after polls show Florida Gov. Ron DeSantos trouncing him. Frankly, this is as close to a sure thing as you’ll get this year.

After having a historically good mid-term election season based on public revulsion to Trump and his nutty candidate picks, Democrats will misread the tea leaves and embark on a doomed progressive Senate agenda that will attempt to regulate, tax, punish, nationalize and investigate private businesses. As their popularity falls, Dems will gather in the American heartland (Santa Barbara or Maui) and figure out what’s going wrong.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, the slim GOP majority – beholden to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and the Space Laser Caucus – agrees to replace Republican leader Kevin McCarthy with fabulist first-termer George Santos, the New York winner whose backstory doesn’t quite add up. “It’s the perfect choice,” McCarthy will say. “We all bought the fantasy of a stolen election. Certainly, no one does fantasy better than Rep. Santos.”

After enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime $97.5 billion budget surplus, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Democratic-controlled Legislature spent most of it on new social programs and tried to raise taxes. Now that the state is facing a $24 billion budget deficit, Gov. Newsom and his legislative allies will change course – and spend as much money as possible on new social programs and try to raise taxes.

Facing turmoil after its recent takeover by a controversial faction, the Libertarian Party will regroup and a) start taking actual libertarian positions; b) stop mocking Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky; c) reinsert the party’s old platform denouncing bigotry; and d) start operating like a normal-ish third-tier political party rather than a social-media edge-lording operation. Or maybe not.

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Chastened by close legislative races and GOP success in a few U.S. House districts, California Democrats will vow to “do a better job connecting with ordinary working Californians.” They immediately will begin a new legislative strategy that includes EV tax breaks for the wealthy, an attack on oil companies that will eliminate blue-collar oil-field jobs, and higher taxes on everything and everyone.

Gov. Newsom and the Legislature will finally get serious about the state’s water shortages, electricity blackouts and freeway congestion – by continuing to embrace the same policies that have seen California lose population for the third year in a row. “California hasn’t upgraded its infrastructure since the population was half its size,” Newsom will say. “We now are embarking on policies designed to reduce the population to previous levels.”

Once again, we might not be entirely certain about all these predictions, but we certainly wish our readers the happiest New Year.

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