Dec 10, 2021

19 predictions about the future.

Each come with a confidence rating.

I’m Isaac Saul, and this is Tangle: an independent, ad-free, subscriber-supported politics newsletter that summarizes the best arguments from across the political spectrum on the news of the day — then “my take.”

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One of my favorite things to say in Tangle is that I'm bad at political prognostication. Or at least that I don't like to do it.

The reason being that anytime you make a political prediction — especially as a reporter or pundit or whatever I am — it ends up being lorded over you for years. Usually held up as a sign of your ineptitude, or your disconnect with the country, or your inability to think clearly.

In other words: Prognosticating about the future has near-zero upside and offers almost exclusively a little or a lot to lose.

Last April, I tried to reflect on my own conjecture by writing an entire issue dedicated to evaluating whether I was "right" about the things I had written. It was one of the most popular subscribers-only editions I've ever published, something I plan to do again at the end of this year, and went surprisingly well — I was happy with how much of my writing had held up.

Which got me thinking: Maybe I'm better at prognostication than I think? That also made me think: Why not test it? Just for fun, and maybe a touch of masochism?

So today, I decided to publish 19 predictions about the future that I can look back on and track. Some of these are, in my opinion, slam dunks. Others are a little closer to "hot takes" — things I have only moderate confidence will come true, but would like to be the guy to rightly predict. To gauge that, I've also rated every prediction on a confidence scale of 1 to 10 — with 10 being maximum confidence and 1 being lowest confidence. However, I'm not including any prediction that I don't think has a higher than 50% chance of coming true (otherwise I'd just be throwing darts randomly at the wall). So the rating of 1-10 is the strength of my belief as it exists above the threshold of being a 50% or better chance.

I'd love to hear what you think, or analyze any other predictions you might have about the future. So, without further ado, here they are...