My political predictions bring the kiss of death

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Posted 3/07/17 (Tue)

Passing Dreams
By Steve Andrist

I’m not an editor any more, but every once in awhile Prairie Public Radio gets desperate for guests on its “Editors’ Roundtable” show and gives me a call.
It’s a show in which a couple guest editors, or news directors, as the case may be, join Prairie Public News Director Dave Thompson to talk about the news of the day.
In January they were desperate. So I drove up the hill to the Prairie Public studio in Bismarck and pulled up in front of one of the microphones on the news desk.
The Trump and Burgum administrations were both brand new and surrounded by gobs of public uncertainty.
And so we spent most of the hour gabbing about the Trumpian uproar and the potential of new Gov. Doug Burgum.
Never a fan of Trump, my take was that less than a month in he was already digging his own grave. Americans, I opined as if anyone cared or I had any clue, would tire of Trump’s angry verbosity and out-of-control blathering.
So I concluded the show with a prediction -- as if anyone cared or I had any clue.
Trump, I predicted, would be a one-term president and his successor would be a woman who is not Hillary Clinton.
“Who then?” Thompson pressed.
Confidently and without hesitation I blurted it out:
“Amy Klobuchar.”
The response from the other news hounds on the show gave me at least some validation that my prediction wasn’t wildly absurd.
In reality, though, it was probably more wishful thinking than informed prognostication.
I have admired Klobuchar, a Democratic U.S. senator from Minnesota, ever since meeting her at a national newspaper event in Washington a few years back.
She is intellectually gifted, socially normal, thoughtful, genuine, moderate, articulate and comparatively bipartisan.
On the other hand, she now likely has received the kiss of death.
That happened the moment I blurted her name to the Prairie Public audience.
My political predictions, you see, have never been what you would call accurate.
It’s as if voters are waiting to hear what I have to say so they know how not to vote.
Case in point: two years ago this week I wrote that with 609 days left before the election, it was becoming clear that Hillary would be our next president.
It wasn’t a preference, I made clear, listing a number of factors that made her a less-than-desirable candidate, but a recognition of the political stars aligning in her favor.
The Republican field was too far right and the Democrats were either too old or too liberal.
To be fair, all this happened before Trump had entered the race.
But it wouldn’t have mattered. I was among the last people in the country to admit that he actually had a snowball’s chance of being elected, so there’s no possibility that he would have been the choice even if he’d been in the race.
At the same time, North Dakotans were getting ready to choose their next governor.
Democrats didn’t have a chance, I wrote as the one prediction that came true.
The Republican nominee and the next governor, I said, would be Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, as soon as he survived a challenge by then Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley.
To be fair, that was long before anyone knew Doug Burgum would toss his hat in the ring.
But it wouldn’t have mattered. I was among the last people in the state to understand that Burgum actually had a chance of being elected, so there’s no possibility that he would have been the choice even if he’d been in the race.
So now Amy Klobuchar is due an apology. Her candidacy, if she’s even remotely considered that there might be one, has been jinxed.
Sorry, Amy.
But I’ll still vote for you.