Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Looking Forward to 2024, Part I: Pundit Predictions

As we have noted once or twice, last year's predictions turned into a boondoggle because, in response to feedback, we kept adjusting our approach to scoring. So, we're pushing the eject button and starting fresh.

Based on that feedback (which was good, even if it was unwise for us to try to utilize it on the fly), we've selected a panel of readers to help us evaluate the predictions. For each prediction, up to 100 points will be available based on how correct it is, in the judgment of the panel, at the end of the year.

In addition, up to 100 bonus points will be available depending on how risky the prediction is, again in the judgment of the panel. We asked them to rate every prediction from 0 (will never, ever happen) to 100 (guaranteed). The bonus is the inverse of the average from the panel. In other words, if the panel collectively decided that something has a 77% chance of happening, then 23 bonus points are available if it does. If the panel collectively decided that something has a 38% chance of happening, then 62 bonus points are available if it does. Bonus points will be awarded in the same fraction as correctness at the end of the year. In other words, if a 62-bonus-point prediction is deemed halfway correct, it will get 50/100 for accuracy and 31/62 bonus points, for a total of 81. Each group of predictions, one from pundits, one from us, and several from the readers, will have 10 items. So, a perfect score would be 2,000 points, although that would require 10 wildly outlandish predictions to all 100% come to pass.

That's our (new) system, and we're sticking with it. And now, 10 predictions for 2024 from pundits:

  1. Alice Stewart, CNN: Democrats will maintain control in the Senate and Republicans will hold the House. (Potential Bonus Points: 74)

  2. Zoe Schiffer, Platformer: Donald Trump will start ferociously posting on X once again. Trump will become the Republican nominee, and once again work to galvanize his base on X. His exclusivity clause with Truth Social has expired, and the platform is "running on fumes," according to The New York Times. Why fight the collapse when X has welcomed him back and promised a playground nearly free of content moderation? The move would be a boon for Musk, whose platform is in desperate need of revitalization, and also for Trump, who currently has 87.4 million followers on X and already rode the platform to the presidency once before. A tenuous partnership will last until Trump posts something that violates X's rules and Musk takes it down, pitting two of the biggest egos in the United States against one another. The ensuing fight will draw attention to all involved, which is all these men seem to want anyway. (Potential Bonus Points: 35)

  3. Richard Waters, Financial Times: Will X go bankrupt?

    Yes. Elon Musk frequently uses warnings of bankruptcy to motivate; he did it at Tesla and SpaceX. But this time, with X's advertising tanking and attempts to create new sources of revenue falling flat, there's a good chance it will happen.

    After recent emotional outbursts against X's advertisers, he may be reckless enough to think he can put it through bankruptcy and still come out on top. Musk fighting for control of X in bankruptcy would be a gripping sequel to the drama-filled Twitter acquisition. (Potential Bonus Points: 40)

  4. Dylan Matthews, Vox: Inflation will come in under 3 points. (Potential Bonus Points: 27)

  5. David Sheppard, Financial Times: Will renewables overtake coal in global electricity generation?

    No. While renewable power's share of generation is expected to outstrip coal within the next few years, it is unlikely to happen in 2024, thanks to China.

    Chinese demand for coal has continued to rise rapidly in 2023 and while renewables are growing fast too—expected to account for about 90 per cent of all new generation capacity globally—this won't quite be enough to surpass coal generation next year, even as western coal use declines.

    But the tipping point is not far away. More critical for the climate is when China's appetite for coal finally goes into reverse. (Potential Bonus Points: 30)

  6. Marina Bolotnikova, Vox: The world will be hotter in 2024 than it was in 2023. (Potential Bonus Points: 11)

  7. Robbie Gramer, Foreign Policy: A stalemate in Ukraine. Thanks in part to sluggish support and political impasse from the United States and other Western allies, Ukraine didn't have enough guns, equipment, or ammo to punch a hole in Russia's well-fortified defensive lines in eastern Ukraine during its 2023 counteroffensive. But neither do Russian forces have the capability, morale, training, or effective fighting prowess to make significant gains in any counter-counteroffensives of their own. 2024 will look a lot like the bloody but static World War I battles of 1915 and 1916, with heavy artillery bashing entrenched positions, more deadly battles that yield little territorial gains, and little to show for Russian President Vladimir Putin's ill-fated war besides a higher death toll on both sides. (Potential Bonus Points: 24)

  8. Robert Shrimsley, Financial Times: Will Keir Starmer become UK prime minister?

    Yes, though it is possible the UK election does not happen until January 2025. Rishi Sunak's Conservatives look divided and exhausted.

    The number of seats the Labour opposition must win means it could land anywhere between a minority government and the landslide to which opinion polls currently point. But it is extremely hard to see how the prime minister can recover enough support to hold on to power. (Potential Bonus Points: 23)

  9. Sigal Samuel, Vox: Benjamin Netanyahu will be unseated as Israeli prime minister. (Potential Bonus Points: 38)

  10. Nostradamus, Sixteenth-Century France: A red adversary will become pale with fear, putting the great Ocean in dread.

    Note: This is interpreted as meaning that China will attack Taiwan. (Potential Bonus Points: 76)

If the pundits pull off a sweep, then they'll tally 1,378 points. That seems unlikely, though—sorry, Nostradamus.

Our predictions are up tomorrow. And if readers still care to weigh in, there's a little more time; send an e-mail to with the subject line "Predictions." (Z)

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