For anti-Trump pundits, here's a visit from the ghost of Christmas past

For anti-Trump pundits, here's a visit from the ghost of Christmas past
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After one of the most tumultuous and divisive elections in modern U.S. history, the majority of Americans were pleased to take pause and revel in last year’s holiday cheer.  Yet for the country’s cadre of political pundits and editorialists, December 2016 was an opportunity to serve a cold Christmas lunch of half-baked predictions and leftover hyperbole of how the first year of the Trump presidency would go.

The credibility of mainstream media took a hit the night the Trump won the election. Almost none of the major newspapers endorsed him, the primary and general election polls all had it wrong, and the YouTube compilations of TV stars predicting his demise are now running like NFL highlight reels.

Instead being humbled by the combovered lump of coal in their stockings, the media spent last year’s holiday season doubling-down in heavy pours of eggnog to spin Christmas tales of the future president’s inaugural demise.  

Last year’s holiday season predictions range from the extreme, as in Chicago Tribune columnist’s “serious doubts that the American experiment will survive his reign,” to the mundane, “Judge Judy Scheindlin will be nominated” to the Supreme Court.  Here is a look back at some of the other reindeer that didn’t fly:

Prediction: NY Times columnist Paul Krugman wasted no time claiming that Trump will cause a “global recession,” claiming he is “ignorant of economic policy and hostile to any effort to make it work.” On Christmas day, he went further, insisting U.S. and foreign factories “would end up becoming sudden losers.”

Reality:  In the year since his election, Trump has ushered in an economic boom, complete with his promised 3 percent economic growth and lower unemployment rate. Manufacturing industry unemployment is at its lowest since the statistic was tracked, and the Wall Street Journal ran this headline last month: “U.S. Manufacturing Rides Rising Tide, Buoyed by Global Growth, Optimism.”

Prediction: A Vanity Fair reporter not only predicted that Trump would be impeached, but that the evidence was already there.  The magazine wasn’t alone in spreading the emoluments clause theory last year. They were joined by the left-leaning pages of New York mag, The Atlantic, and The Independent.

Reality:  Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenChinatown restaurants, shops say business is down due to coronavirus fears Democrats highlight lack of diversity at major banks in new report House passes supplemental disaster relief for Puerto Rico MORE’s (D-Texas) forced procedural vote on impeachment went down in flames, failing to gain even a third of the members of the Democratic conference.  Even The Atlantic has been forced to admit that the likelihood of impeachment is fading.

Prediction: Trump will lead us to World War III by ending our NATO alliance and triggering a Russian invasion of the Balkans according to experts at The Sun, or through a final showdown with China over Taiwan, as per CNN.  Additionally, Business Insider swore he won’t “rip up” the Iran deal, and NBC preemptively dismissed Trump’s ability to control ISIS.

Reality: Trump may have ruffled some feathers, but NATO members are now meeting their defense spending thresholds, and there’s no sign of a Russian invasion. Trump’s relationship with China has been complicated, but he is pushing his promised trade agenda, while at the same time getting cooperation on North Korea.  Trump has decertified the Iran deal, and ISIS is in tatters.

Prediction:  Boston Globe columnist Michael A. Cohen thought Trump’s policies would push away his base; and Washington Post columnist George Will spent his 2015 Christmas Eve like a conservative Ebenezer Scrooge, pen in hand at his desk, scribbling together an op-ed prediction that Trump’s ascension would be the end of the Republican Party as we know it.

Reality:  Despite some evidence that his polling is lower among Republicans, the GOP under President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests Sotomayor, Ginsburg should have to recuse themselves on 'Trump related' cases Sanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' Sanders releases list of how to pay for his proposals MORE is doing quite well. It is in the midst of its best-ever fundraising year, mostly driven by small donors. And the 2018 midterm election map looks good for Republicans, on the whole.

Prediction:  Politico thought Trump would effectively suspend the First Amendment, going as far as using the Espionage Act to prosecute journalists.

Reality: Unlike President Obama, who was called out by left-leaning newspapers for coming dangerously close to doing this, Trump has not criminalized journalism.

Prediction: Celebrities chimed in with their own holiday season predictions.  Michael Moore ranted on Facebook, “Donald Trump is gunna get us all killed,” while the ever-more diplomatic Charlie Sheen wished for Trump’s death in the New Year.  

Reality: A year later, we’re still here and happily saying “Merry Christmas” again.

Perhaps our friends in media will have a little slice of humble pie this holiday season.

Joseph Borelli is a New York City council member, professor, former state legislator, Republican commentator and Lindsay Fellow at the Institute for State and Local Governance at City University of New York. He has been published in the New York Daily News and appears on CNN, BBC, and Fox News. You can follow him on Twitter @JoeBorelliNYC.