Remember ‘annus horribilis?’ Queen Elizabeth used that Latin term to describe 1992, a ‘horrible year’ for the British monarchy. Right now some people are looking back on 2016 as a lousy year, but for others it was actually an ‘annus mirabilis,’ a year of miracles.
To steal from another Brit named Dickens, it was the best of years; it was the worst of years.
Among the biggest losers were pollsters, who blew it big time on the world’s two most significant votes. First, they were dead wrong about the United Kingdom’s decision to withdraw from the European Union. The polling wizards, like the elite British establishment, assured everyone the unwashed and ignorant masses would be trounced in the Brexit vote. Bloody wrong, they were.
A few months later, American polling gurus, unchastened by the British revolution, were just as certain that Donald Trump would go down in flames, taking the Republican Party along for the fiery ride. Again, their sophisticated computer models badly misjudged the mood of the American people.
But a few observers were prescient, discerning that Donald Trump was tapping into a widespread sense of anger and despair.
We humbly take you back to January 4, 2016, and the very first Talking Points Memo of 2016:
‘Watchful Americans know the economy is shaky, the jihad is on the march, and illegal immigration continues without restraint. The country is in trouble. The establishment has failed. And here comes Donald Trump.’
Three days later, Talking Points said this: ‘Many Americans are fed up with what has happened to America. They’re tired of standard politicians lying to them and they believe Trump will blow up the system.’
Like Poe’s purloined letter, the Trump phenomenon was hidden in plain sight, there for all to see. But most pollsters, with very few exceptions, relied on methods that had served them well in the past. Their reputations are in tatters, although that won’t stop them from polling again.
It was also a stinkin’ year for the mainstream media. TV networks used Donald Trump to pump up their bottom lines during the primaries. He was ratings gold and willing to go on any network at any time of the day. CNN and MSNBC were almost giddy, secure in their knowledge that a Trump nomination would mean certain victory for Hillary Clinton.
Some pundits were open and honest about their Trump-hatred. Others were downright corrupt. John Harwood of CNBC, who colluded with the Democratic Party, may have set the world indoor record for smug perfidy. But he’s still at it, now blaming ‘white fear’ for his party’s big losses. Makes you wonder what it takes for a far-left hack to get fired these days.
Neither was it a great year for Republican establishment types. Mitt Romney called Donald Trump ‘a phony, a fraud,’ and seemed willing to prefer a GOP loss to a Trump victory. Jeb Bush’s lofty campaign sputtered and stalled when Donald Trump questioned his energy.
Other losers of 2016 include a motley crew of malcontents and misfits: Racial hucksters like Al Sharpton and Black Lives Matter; universities that spend half their time raising tuition, the other half enacting speech codes; radical professors who are finally being exposed as hateful and intolerant bigots; climate profiteers whose gravy train is speeding toward a head-on collision with the Trump Train; and all those open-border advocates and sanctuary city leaders who put illegal immigrants ahead of their own citizens.
Speaking of world records, Mayor Rahm Emanuel set a new standard for chutzpah. He assured illegal immigrants, ‘You are secure in Chicago,’ even as his city’s south and west sides were bloody war zones. The nation’s tied-for-worst mayor (with New York’s Bill de Blasio) actually created a $1-million fund to protect illegal immigrants. It just doesn’t get much worse.
The year’s big winners, of course, aside from the Chicago Cubs, were Donald Trump, his campaign gurus, and the Americans who put their confidence in this billionaire tycoon. Talking Points described the victory as ‘perhaps the most stunning political story in American history,’ and it was just that.
But now the time to govern is fast approaching, and therein lies the rub (lots of British folks in this column!) Donald Trump has to create an environment where good-paying jobs are created, and he must enforce our immigration laws. Those two things alone would put him on the road to a successful presidency; failing to deliver on his oft-repeated promises could make him a one-termer.
No one, absolutely no one, knows whether Donald Trump will be a tremendously effective leader who will usher America into a new era of prosperity, or whether he will go down in history as little more than a prodigious tweeter. We are in uncharted waters, bringing to mind that ancient Chinese curse: ‘May you live in interesting times.’ Interesting times they are, although not very predictable.
But looking ahead, we can confidently offer one prediction for the coming year – The Factor and Fox News will continue to destroy the competition and dominate the cable news ratings. So thank you, everyone, for giving us your time and your trust. All of us at The Factor hope 2017 brings you unparalleled success and joy. Put another way, we wish all of you an annus mirabilis.