The only thing we know is that we don't know anything
If there's one lesson to be learned from the 2016 presidential primaries, it's that the only thing we — and by we I mean the campaigns, talking heads, and voters — know is that we don't know anything.
Eight or nine months ago, I said Trump would be out of the race in a month, or two at the most. I know I wasn't alone in that prediction. I said Bernie would have a good showing in a handful of states, but wouldn't prove to be so much as a tiny thorn in Hillary's side. Others said the same thing. Nobody could've guessed that the initially 17-person Republican field of candidates would be narrowed down to one before the much, much smaller Democratic field would be.
Yet, here we are. Trump's the Republican nominee. Statistically, Bernie has a shot at winning the Democratic nomination. The three surviving candidates are a billionaire businessman from New York with high unfavorable ratings who waged his way through the Republican primaries on insults and vague positions, a long-time political insider who can't seem to snag what was once thought to be an easy nomination process for her — who also has high unfavorable ratings — and a 74 year-old democratic socialist Senator from a tiny state in New England. Some days I wonder if I'm watching reality unfold, or if I'm just lost in a really obscure novel.
Through the circus of rallies, primaries, spotlight-moments, insults, and poor excuses for "debates," no one could've predicted that we'd end up exactly where we are now. I got it wrong, and so did many others.
Several months back, I relied on my knowledge of political science and the history of election cycles to make predictions about where we'd be at the end of the nominating process. Others did too. I'll be the first to admit I was dead wrong. However, I'm glad I wasn't one of the pundits who changed his take on the race every time the wind blew in a different direction — first they said Jeb, then Trump, then Carson, then Ted, then Rubio, then nobody knew. Every "controversy" doesn't mean the race is decided right then and there, and I hope that's another lesson that we can learn from this election cycle.
So for my predictions for the Democratic primary and the general election, I'll rely on my gut. My gut tells me that Hillary will win the nomination. I'm sure the thousands of Bernie supporters who care about my opinion (and by "thousands," I really mean "tens") will be devastated, but I just don't think he'll pull it off. While not set in stone with their support, the superdelegates remain a huge impediment to Bernie achieving victory. He could still win it, but the path has narrowed.
For the general, I think Hillary will probably take it. She appeals to a wider array of demographic groups that play an increasingly important role in determining the outcome of an election. Now Trump could do some damage to Hillary. His insults helped him take down "Little Marco" and "Lyin' Ted," and perhaps they might do the same to Hillary. But my gut doubts it. My gut tells me that he'll probably alienate more people from voting for him relative to the new voters he's brought into the system.
Bear in mind, these guesses — and I won't even call them predictions, just guesses — are in no way indicative of who I want to win. They're just what my gut tells me what'll happen. Either way, this election is historic for a reason other than the fact that we might elect the first female president. As former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said, the general election looks like it'll be a match up of the two most disliked candidates in modern history. If you can find an explanation for that, I'm all ears.
My gut could be wrong, but we'll see. I'm not making any bets on it. After all, the only thing that I know is that we don't know anything.
Hayden Dublois is an economics student at Middlebury College and a resident of Manchester.
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