Predictions: Trump goes, unexpected candidate emerges in 2019

As a new chapter in American history unfolds with the start of another year, here are some predictions for the political scene in 2019:

  1. Donald J. Trump’s presidency will not survive 2019;

  2. The downward trajectory of every aspect of his tenure indicates we are headed for a spectacular political crash-and-burn — and fairly soon;

  3. His increasingly erratic and angry behavior, his self-imposed isolation, his inability and refusal to listen to smart advisers that he hired, all are leading him to a precipice;
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  4. Meanwhile, the global and U.S. economies are softening in great part because of the unnecessary and ill-conceived trade war he launched against Canada and our European allies; if he wanted to conduct a legitimate trade war against China, wouldn’t it have made more sense to have trading allies such as Canada and Europe with us, instead of making them our adversaries?

  5. Consumer confidence is declining and the American economy will slow noticeably in 2019. A recession is right around the corner, heading into 2020;

  6. The volatility in the stock markets threatens to weaken Trump’s support among the GOP donor class, which will translate to GOP senators pulling away from Trump in short order;

  7. Legally, Trump is in peril from not only from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s investigation but also from separate investigations being conducted by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York into Trump’s life and business dealings;

  8. Fox News hosts are beginning to question the Trump administration’s actions on air, showing cracks — albeit, small cracks at the moment — in Fox’s heretofore 100 percent fealty to Trump;

  9. These cracks will expand into chasms as news and entertainment mogul Rupert Murdoch calculates Trump’s prognosis and decides he doesn’t want his Fox News network to go down the drain with Trump;

  10. Fox recently lost several days in a row to MSNBC in the ratings race — and Fox host Sean Hannity has lost 20 percent of his nightly audience since the midterm elections;

  11. Without Fox approving Trump’s agenda, his support will decline from the 40s into the upper 20s;

  12. The Mueller investigation will come to an end in 2019;

  13. Mueller will shock everyone with what he has discovered, and the result will be much worse for Trump than anyone has anticipated;

  14. Yes, Trump indeed knew about the now-infamous June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting — and he lied to the American people repeatedly about it;

  15. Trump lied on Air Force One when he concocted a phony statement about “adoptions,”  because he knew the truth about the meeting;

  16. The Mueller investigation will unveil evidence of Trump putting himself out to the highest bidder in return for campaign help and financing: Russians, Saudis, Emiratis, Qataris — there will be evidence that millions of foreign dollars illegally flowed into the Trump campaign coffers in 2016;

  17. In other words, Trump basically said, “I’m for sale”;
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  18. We may learn the source of the $66 million of his own money that Trump donated to his campaign in 2016. Was it a foreign entity who gave him the money as, in effect, an illegal pass-through?

  19. Now that he has removed Secretary of Defense James MattisJames Norman MattisVoices grow in condemnation of Trump's military response to protests OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Former defense leaders pile on Trump criticism | Esper sends troops called to DC area home | US strikes Taliban in Afghanistan Esper and Milley should resign MORE, Trump can do what he tried in 2018: He will remove our troops from South Korea;

  20. This is exactly what North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, and China and Russia want us to do;

  21. Trump tried this last spring but Mattis and former chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE talked him out of it; now, neither man remains to stop him;

  22. This will provoke a crisis the likes of which we have never seen;

  23. The GOP Senate will go nuts when this happens, as will the Pentagon and Japan;

  24. This action may begin the breaking away of the 20 GOP senators it will take to remove Trump if the House impeaches, dooming the Trump presidency;

  25. In June, the Democratic Party presidential race will begin to take shape when the first TV debates begin with perhaps two dozen candidates; no one yet can predict who will emerge as the 2020 nominee, but history is a guide here:

  26. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE, Jimmy Carter, Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonDavis: 72 hours cementing the real choice for November Top Democratic pollster advised Biden campaign to pick Warren as VP How Obama just endorsed Trump MORE and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaMattis denounces Trump, applauds protests, defends America On The Trail: Crisis response puts Trump on defense, even in red states The Hill's 12:30 Report: NYT publishes controversial Tom Cotton op-ed MORE all won the Democratic nomination in great part as a result of the energy, shoe leather, devotion and passion of an army of young people in the primaries. That phenomenon almost propelled Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs order removing environmental reviews for major projects | New Trump air rule will limit future pollution regulations, critics say | DNC climate group calls for larger federal investment on climate than Biden plan Google: Chinese and Iranian hackers targeting Biden, Trump campaigns MORE (I-Vt.) to an upset victory over Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden: Probably '10 to 15 percent' of Americans 'are just not very good people' Mattis's Trump broadside underscores military tensions Mark Cuban says he's decided not to run for president MORE in 2016. Who can harness the youth movement in 2020?

  27. As of today, it looks like Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) has that energy behind him and incredible online fundraising abilities; if he runs, he will begin as a formidable candidate in a field of well-known, older candidates (Sanders, Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination The Memo: Job numbers boost Trump and challenge Biden Chris Wallace: Jobs numbers show 'the political resilience of Donald Trump' MORE, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenTwitter CEO: 'Not true' that removing Trump campaign video was illegal, as president has claimed Biden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination Warren, Pressley introduce bill to make it a crime for police officers to deny medical care to people in custody MORE (D-Mass.) and Michael Bloomberg). That army of young people will be tempted to leave Sanders for O'Rourke — or their loyalties will split between the two, and that may open the door for someone unexpected to step forth;

  28. With Trump forced to exit the scene in 2019, the post-Trump GOP will devolve into all-out reshuffling. The Trump hangover will bedevil the party, just as the immediate post-Nixon era did to the GOP in 1974. The 2020 Republican nomination fight will be even more brutal than the Democratic one;

  29. With Trump disgraced, both political parties will search for a message and a messenger;

  30. An unexpected candidate will seize the political center in 2020.

John LeBoutillier, a former Republican congressman from New York, co-hosts “Revolution — The Podcast,” available on Soundcloud and iTunes.