Though last year’s annual not-totally-serious forecast missed by predicting Ivanka Trump would become White House chief of staff and Vladimir Putin would formally endorse President Donald Trump for reelection, we did foresee the Washington Nationals winning the World Series and the House impeaching Trump.
Looking ahead, 2020 promises to be even more challenging to predict:
JANUARY: Senate Republicans reject both House impeachment articles, but four Republicans join the 47 Democrats to provide a majority voting the president obstructed Congress. The Des Moines Register endorses Joe Biden, saying the former vice president’s experience means he’ll be “a president we won’t have to train.” Trump fires FBI Director James Wray, nominating Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan to replace him. Ukraine President Zelenskiy renews plea for White House meeting with Trump.
FEBRUARY: Baltimore Ravens win Super Bowl. Iowa caucuses finish in a tight four-way race, with Mayor Pete Buttigieg getting the most votes and Sen. Bernie Sanders the most delegates. Biden is a close third, followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Sanders repeats his New Hampshire primary win, followed closely by Mayor Pete, Biden and Warren. Biden edges Sanders in Nevada and trounces the field in South Carolina, followed by Sanders, Mayor Pete and Warren.
MARCH: On Super Tuesday, Biden wins Texas, Virginia and four other states. But Buttigieg wins California, Colorado, Minnesota, North Carolina and Warren’s home state of Massachusetts, taking the delegate lead. Sanders, like Alf Landon, wins only Maine and Vermont. Ex-New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg peaks at 8% in California, and nets just three delegates. The next week, Sanders edges Biden and Buttigieg in Michigan, and Biden wins two states. But Buttigieg wins four and follows that up March 17 by beating Sanders and Biden in Arizona, Illinois, Ohio and Florida. Trump clinches the GOP nomination.
APRIL: Mike Pompeo resigns as Secretary of State to seek the Kansas Senate seat. Buttigieg edges Sanders and Biden in Wisconsin, extending his delegate lead. Warren and Bloomberg drop out, leaving businessman Andrew Yang, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and ex-Rep John Delaney still competing. Cowboys name Troy Aikman as new coach. Trump picks Mike Pence as secretary of state, announcing the vice president asked for a switch. Reports say Trump asked Zelenskiy, still awaiting a White House meeting, if he has any dirt on Mayor Pete. Buttigieg wins New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania primaries.
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MAY: Biden drops out of Democratic race and endorses Buttigieg, who wins Indiana. Sanders, Yang, Gabbard and Delaney refuse to concede. Trump and Vladimir Putin accept Zelenskiy’s invitation for a July summit in Kyiv, during the Democratic Convention. The Supreme Court again upholds the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority opinion.
JUNE: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un rejects Trump bid for new summit, urging withdrawal of all U.S. troops from South Korea. Trump says he is willing to go halfway. The Washington Capitals win their second Stanley Cup in three years while the L.A. Lakers win the NBA title. The Supreme Court, in an opinion by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, says Trump must provide financial information to Congress and New York authorities.
JULY: Polls show Trump leading Pete Buttigieg by 6 points and winning 30% of black and Hispanic votes. Democrats make the former South Bend mayor the youngest major party nominee ever, with Stacey Abrams of Georgia as his running mate. At the Kyiv summit, Trump hails Putin’s efforts for global peace. Zelenskiy declines comment.
AUGUST: Trump stuns the Republican Convention by naming Senior Adviser Ivanka Trump his new running mate. After brief flurry for Rep. Mark Meadows, the GOP Convention confirms a Trump-Trump ticket. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, spurning the Libertarian nomination, endorses the Buttigieg-Abrams ticket. Pompeo loses the Kansas GOP Senate primary to Kris Kobach.
SEPTEMBER: Trump announces he’ll only debate ex-Mayor Pete once, but running mate Ivanka Trump will hold three debates with Democrat Abrams. Ukraine President Zelenskiy discloses Buttigieg’s grandfather was involved in anti-NATO terrorism. Though Buttigieg denies it, noting his family came from Malta, not Ukraine, Trump invites Zelenskiy to the White House.
OCTOBER: After Abrams wins the first VP debate over Ivanka Trump, she cancels the next two. Zelenskiy admits he fabricated a Buttigieg story to get a White House invite. After the presidential debate, polls show ex-Mayor Pete has evened race against Trump. The New York Yankees defeat the L.A. Dodgers in the World Series.
NOVEMBER: Democrats’ Buttigieg-Abrams ticket, riding a popular vote majority of 4.5 million votes, wins the election with a bare 270 electoral votes. Trump holds Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. But Democrats win Arizona’s 11 electoral votes and clinch the election with Abrams’ Georgia (16) and Buttigieg’s Indiana (11), where analysts blame backlash over Trump dropping Pence for a 9,900-vote Democratic margin. Trump, alleging widespread fraud, challenges Indiana result. Trump edges Buttigieg in Texas, but Democrats regain control of the Texas House, 76-74. Democrats hold the U.S. House and, in a surprise, gain three Senate seats, losing Alabama but winning Arizona, Colorado, Kansas and Maine. By winning the presidency, VP-elect Abrams gives Democrats control of 50-50 Senate.
DECEMBER: Recounts confirm Democrats’ Indiana win, and the Electoral College confirms Buttigieg’s election. He names Joe Biden as secretary of state, and, seeking bipartisan support, picks Utah Sen. Mitt Romney as secretary of defense. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi retires to become U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. Trump pardons himself, Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, but New York authorities say they’ll press criminal proceedings against him in January. House Republicans call for impeachment inquiry into Buttigieg’s ties to Ukraine.
Carl P. Leubsdorf is the former Washington bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News. Readers may write to him via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.