Oops! The worst political predictions of 2022
‘Russia has overwhelming military power’, and whatever land it takes in Ukraine ‘it will never give back’
Predicted by: Richard Hanania, February 23
It was a common prediction at the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: Russian military force was unstoppable and would crush outmatched Ukrainian forces. More than that, there would simply be no appetite in the West to crack down on Putin – especially given the inevitable implications for energy prices across Europe.
Richard Hanania, president of the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology and a member of the Salem Center at the University of Texas, expressed this on February 23, describing three “fundamental [sic.] realities with which any analysis must begin: 1) Russia has overwhelming military power, 2) the West has no political will for extreme sanctions let alone war, 3) whatever Russia takes, it does not never will. … If you see someone with a take that ignores any of these realities, their analysis can be ignored.
Let’s take these predictions one by one.
First, Russia’s military might has not overwhelmed Ukraine. Instead, the invaders suffered massive casualties. In early November, General Mark Milley estimated that more than 100,000 Russian soldiers had been killed or wounded. More than 900 of its tanks were totally destroyed, while Ukraine captured another 534, according to Oryx. “The war has severely damaged the Russian military and tarnished its reputation,” Brookings’ Steven Pifer wrote in a wide-ranging assessment Dec. 8.
Second, the West has repeatedly shown the political will for extreme sanctions and other economic measures, cutting off Russian banks from SWIFT, freezing hundreds of billions of dollars held by the Russian Central Bank, and massively reducing its use of oil. and Russian natural gas. (Will this resolve weaken with the winter cold? Wait and see.)
Third, during the first month of the invasion, Russia gained a massive amount of Ukrainian territory, but in the months that followed, it retreated and otherwise lost control of a substantial part of it. ci – the equivalent of about 11,000 square miles in mid-November, according to the Washington Post.
“Crimea was a unique event”, and Putin “does not want any more territory” from Ukraine
Predicted by: Marie Dejevski, February 15
“The weapons of the West will not make any difference for Ukraine”
Predicted by: Samuel Charap and Scott Boston, January the 21st
“This war is really over for the Ukrainians”
Predicted by: Douglas Macgregor, the 17th of March
Again, as before.
Elon Musk and Parag Agrawal “will be an incredible team” at the head of Twitter
Predicted by: Jack Dorsey, April 5
On April 5, Elon Musk took his place on Twitter’s board of directors after buying more than 9% of the company, prompting Jack Dorsey, co-founder and former CEO of Twitter, to welcome Musk to the family. Then-CEO Parag Agrawal “and Elon both lead with their hearts, and they will be an amazing team,” Dorsey tweeted.
On October 28, Musk took full ownership of Twitter. On the same day, he fired Agrawal.
Dems’ primary interference strategy ‘will backfire massively’
Predicted by: Governor Chris Sununu, September 13
Ah, the campaign strategy that launched a thousand thoughts. In 2022, Democrats have routinely interfered in Republican primaries to give Trump-backed candidates a boost over the more relatively moderate (and eligible) GOP hopefuls. This was done with the cloak of plausible deniability: We weren’t helping this Trumpian candidatecould they argue, we were just pointing out how radical, conservative and MAGAish his ideas were, knowing full well that would appeal to a large number of Republican voters.
The ethics of the approach were, and are, questionable at best. “I’m sick of hearing the judgmental bullshit about the Democrats being the pro-democracy party,” GOP Rep. Peter Meijer told my colleagues in July.
Days later, Meijer lost his primary to Trump-backed John Gibbs — the beneficiary of Democratic largesse — who then lost in November, flipping the seat to Democrat Hillary Scholten.
Which brings us to the strategy itself. New Hampshire GOP Gov. Chris Sununu spoke for a lot when he predicted in September that “I just think this strategy is going to backfire massively on the Democrats.”
But that was not the case. In New Hampshire, the Chuck Schumer-aligned Senate Majority PAC spent to boost Republican Don Bolduc in the Senate; he lost to Senator Maggie Hassan. In Arizona, Kari Lake – who won the nomination after her main Republican challenger was stung by the Arizona Democratic Party – lost to Katie Hobbs. Maryland’s Dan Cox, the beneficiary of an attack by the Democratic Governors Association, won his primary against a Republican backed by incumbent Governor Larry Hogan, then lost the overall to Wes Moore. Similarly, the DGA spent some $35 million, much of it from Governor JB Pritzker himself, to give incumbent Illinois Dem President the Republican opponent of his choice: Darren Bailey, whom Pritzker defeated. solidly in November. And so on.
Far from backfiring, it appears to have worked exactly as intended, propelling Democrats into power by loading the GOP with candidates whose appeal is limited beyond Trump’s red hat society.