Continuing a RightWisconsin annual tradition, we asked some of our favorite political pundits to peer into the future to tell us what we can expect in 2019. They came back with predictions on everything from the Packers to legalized pot, from state transportation funding to Governor Tony Evers’ cabinet, from baseball to the state budget. Our panel of experts offered their opinions (sometimes with their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks) on the possible events that will shape our state and our country.
If our expert panel of RightWisconsin prognosticators is really right, then 2019 promises to be an interesting year, both in Wisconsin and nationally.
Steve Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department Homicide Lieutenant, an author, and an investigator with the popular true crime program “Cold Justice.”
Governor Tony Evers will seek a large cut to the Department of Corrections budget, and implement the cut by developing a plan to release 20 percent of the state’s prison population early.
Because of the new governor’s soft of crime policies, crime in Milwaukee, where half of the prisoners released will return, will rise eight percent in 2019.
Because of rising interest rates, debt service will consume 34 percent of the city of Milwaukee’s budget at the beginning of the new fiscal year. As a result, the Milwaukee Police Department will cancel one recruit class.
In October, Tom Barrett will announce he will not seek reelection as Milwaukee’s mayor.
After witnessing the ineptitude of party operatives in the state capital, the Wisconsin Republican Party will move its headquarters from Madison to Waukesha.
Rick Esenberg is the president of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.
Trumpapalooza The partial government shutdown will last well into January. To quote the great philosopher Matt Foley, five billion dollars for part of a border wall doesn’t amount to “jack squat” either way. But this is about symbolism and not substance. On both sides. Trump won’t get funding for the wall but Cocaine Mitch (who is an unsung hero of the last two years) will get something for border security. Trump will declare victory and then try to build parts of the wall anyway. Litigation will ensue.
But most of our energy will be diverted to arguing over allegations of misconduct by the president. Apart from the Mueller investigation, the press and the House Democrats will dig hard and when you look hard, you tend to find what you want to find – or something that will pass for it. There will be embarrassment and disgust but no impeachable offense – or at least not one that clearly happened and is clearly enough to remove a sitting president. But the Democrats won’t be able to resist impeachment. However, there will be no popular consensus that he should be removed and the Senate – quite properly – will not do it.
The GOP continues to struggle. Trump will react to the assault on him by doing what he always does – double down on appeals to his core group of supporters. Expect a lot of “big” and unexpected moves – on immigration, trade and foreign policy. Litigation will ensue.
There will be a deal with China. It won’t really restrain Chinese mercantilism (to which the Chinese government is committed at the expense of their people), but Trump will claim victory.
Trump and the GOP will spend 2019 in polling’s nether regions. Trump might propose another tax cut (which will be stillborn) or, more shrewdly, infrastructure spending or increasing middle class entitlements. (Yes, that’s what I said.) These things could work as there is a very good chance that the Democrats will overplay their hand. But I think the odds are against Trump handling it properly. He will pick a lot of fights and vent a lot of spleen. He will listen to his self-acclaimed gut. His base will love it. But a majority of Americans will not.
Trump pulls an LBJ. You always have to make on bold prediction in these things and here’s mine. Trump won’t run for re-election. He will announce that he has successfully fended off the Democrats and made America great again. He will not endorse a successor, saving the suspense for a public reveal next year – probably on Netflix. At that point, the battle for the soul of the Republican Party that Trump has obscured will begin. Is the GOP the party of Ronald Reagan or Pat Buchanan? I don’t know how that will play out but I’m pretty sure that Mike Pence, John Kasich and Jeff Flake will not play a big part.
The markets continue to yo-yo. Markets don’t like drama and we are going to have a lot. Expect to sit and eat popcorn and watch your 401(k) get tachycardia.
Two nominations for the Supreme Court. Justice Clarence Thomas will retire to his RV and a blissful tour of America’s truck stops. It will be well deserved. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s health concerns may finally force her to step down. The president will nominate Amy Barrett and Joan Larsen. The Democrats will still trot out their culture wars schtick. It won’t work. Trump will be able to legitimately claim that he has remade the Court, albeit with a lot of help from Leonard Leo.
Gridlock in Wisconsin. I do not expect the GOP legislators to propose a strongly conservative budget that can be used as a foil against Governor Tony Evers. That’d require a flat three percent income tax rate, spending cuts and (probably) a sales tax increase or expansion of the base. I think they won’t like the politics of that.
So there will be a deal cut that involves a small “middle class” tax cut, Medicaid expansion and more money for roads and public schools.
Don’t be surprised if this is coupled with a fat new amendment to the gaming compacts. It’s both intersectional and lucrative.
Then there will be a whole lot of nothing on the legislative front as Evers tries to tighten environmental regulations, weaken Act 10 and cater in various ways to his base through administrative rules and guidances. Litigation ensues.
The Brewers go to the Series. They are likely to make a big move – either another bat or a starter – and that, with the return of Jimmy Nelson and the maturation of Freddie Peralta and Brandon Woodruff, puts them over the top.
The Bucks win the East. Giannis wins the MVP. But the unsung hero of the thing is Malcolm Brogdon.
The Packers return to the playoffs. But only if they make two or five smart plays in free agency. The team needs too much to draft their way out of it or to shop at the second-hand store.
John Schulze is the Director of Legal and Government Affairs for Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin.
Construction worker wages will continue to rapidly increase, further discrediting those who predicted that pay for the skilled trades would be “slashed” when prevailing wage was repealed nearly two years ago (September 23, 2017).
Governor Tony Evers will introduce a budget that fulfills nearly all his campaign promises and pays for the additional spending by decriminalizing and taxing marijuana. Legislative Republicans will use the 2017-2019 budget as a base and pass their own spending plan (which will not include any revenue increases), that Evers will veto. Budget negotiations will last all summer. Former legislators will be quoted in editorials lamenting the current lack of bipartisanship. Proving what’s old is new again, a legislator will move into the Assembly chamber until the budget passes. Soon after Labor Day, the sides will agree to a deal that includes more money for education, allows the state to take the Medicaid money, and includes a compromise on pre-existing conditions coverage. The transportation deal will include a return of indexing and toll roads from the Illinois border to the Wisconsin Dells.
At least one Native American tribe will request permission to open a sports book, but the additional state revenue will not be significant because of the narrower profit margins compared to casino games. The Hard Rock will start exploring the Kenosha casino location again, likely partnering with the Menominee Nation again.
Embodying the FIFO accounting principal, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren will also be the first Democrat candidate to leave the Democratic presidential primary because she will be viewed as too old and too white for the Democrat base in comparison to her presidential primary rivals.
2016 was the year when more households had cellphone service rather than landlines. 2019 will be the year when more people will consume content from the Internet than from both cable and broadcast television.
A major car manufacturer will cease production of gas cars and focus entirely on electric vehicles.
Paul Soglin will be re-elected Madison mayor, and Donald Trump will remain President of the United States.
Steve Prestegard is the author of The Presteblog.
By the end of the year the incompetence of Tony Evers as an administrator will be revealed. The state Senate will reject Evers’ choice for tourism secretary and at least one other cabinet appointment. Conservative media will report numerous stories about turmoil in Evers’ administration as well as in the Department of Justice under the equally incompetent Attorney General Josh Kaul.
Evers’ 2019–21 state budget will be declared “dead on arrival” by both Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald. Said dead budget will include a 50-cent-a-gallon gas tax increase, as well as merging all state law enforcement (State Patrol, Capitol Police, etc.) under the DOJ. Evers will veto the 2019–21 budget the legislature passes, and the state media will spend the last half of the year reporting about the state budget crisis (which means the state will continue spending at 2017–19 levels. By the end of the year, the legislature and Evers will “compromise” on a 25-cent-a-gallon tax increase.
Evers’ administration will not bother to report that the cash surplus under Gov. Scott Walker has disappeared by the end of 2019.
By the end of the year President Donald Trump will have an “establishment” opponent for the GOP nomination, and 17 declared Democratic opponents.
The Packers will hire Josh McDaniels as their coach.
Madison and Milwaukee will continue to suck.
Despite Democrats’ wishes and predictions, the economy will not go into recession in 2019, though economic growth will slow, for which Trump will be blamed.
George Mitchell is a former journalist, a school choice advocate, a public policy consultant and a RightWisconsin contributor.
The state budget will be not be signed until the fall. Democrat votes will be needed. Uncharted waters.
Governor Tony Evers will walk back efforts to end school choice, acknowledging that (his own) Department of Public Instruction report cards show that choice and charter rank higher than Milwaukee Public Schools.
With fewer than half of Wisconsin students “proficient” in core subjects, the state will respond by…shoveling more and more money to local schools.
President Donald Trump will: (1) announce he is not seeking a second term, explaining that “everything’s fixed” (and that whatever isn’t fixed is the Fed’s fault); (2) reverse course when re-elect prospects are buoyed by Democrat/Never-Trump overreach; and (3) continue to confound all who predict what he will do.
The federal judiciary finally will hold accountable (some of) those at the FBI, DOJ, and elsewhere who try/tried to invalidate a legitimate presidential election.
With Democrats in control of the House, and thus no prospect for significant conservative legislation, the Senate will refrain from the nuclear option of eliminating 60-vote cloture.
Brian Fraley is a former managing editor of Right Wisconsin, the President of Edge Messaging, and a political consultant.
President Donald Trump is not impeached.
The Wisconsin State Budget fight extends well into the fall.
Randy Bryce’s campaign finances are a lingering problem.
A recession hits.
Farmers struggle in wake of the Trade Wars
Spectrum News One becomes a major market disruptor.
A prominent conservative talk show host hangs up his headphones and retires.
The Academy Awards’ ratings plummet.
The final Avengers Movie isn’t the final Avengers movie.
The Bucks fall in 5 in the NBA finals.
The Brewers don’t win the NL Central but do win the first World Series in franchise history.
Led by a new coach, the Packers eek into the playoffs (but lose in the first round).
Dan Adams is a former pundit on the late Sunday Insight with Charlie Sykes and was best known as Charlie’s “token moderate” Democrat. He is a well-known criminal defense attorney.
My God, here I am again, the only Democrat surrounded by you Screnock-victory-predictors. To be fair, no one saw that “Tuba Ad” coming. Alright, I won’t use this space to gloat, instead here’s a “fair and balanced” view of 2019:
- Trump won’t make it through January. A Mueller indictment, a Democratic Congress, a GOP that sees a 2020 shellacking in the offing, a “medical crisis,” or a Reince-led coup d’etat (he’s in the Navy now, yah know), or a combination thereof, results in President Mike Pence before next New Years Eve.
- Our national scandal, the opioid epidemic, starts to wane. Pray for this one.
- The Packers hire Jim Caldwell as head coach. He’s the second coolest Beloit native mentioned in this blog.
- Roger Stone and Donald Jr. are indicted by the end of January. Junior receives a presidential pardon the very same day.
- RightWisconsin.com becomes a fitness blog (renamed “TightWisconsin.com”) after Editor James Wigderson becomes completely obsessed with CrossFit.
- Tony Evers vetoes the first budget bill to reach his desk. No Vanna White veto. A full veto. Wisconsin becomes a flipped version of Illinois’s recent history wherein the Flatlanders were unable to reach a budget deal for two years. It is the longest kabuki dance in Wisconsin political history.
- Milwaukee scores the DNC National Convention for 2020. The learned scholars at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty have an hour-long internal debate on whether to list their building on Airbnb for the week of the convention.
- Much of the GOP’s lame-duck skullduggery is unwound by the Western District of Wisconsin. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos makes a statement about “activist judges undoing the will of the voters. Well, some of the voters. You know, the good ones that don’t live in cities.”
- Milwaukee County Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic sneaks the word “intersectionality” into every single ordinance passed by the County Board. None of the other supervisors really know what it means, but are afraid to ask.
- Three Milwaukee state legislators are given gigs in the new Evers administration. This begins a game of musical chairs in Milwaukee politics, but seemingly nothing changes.
- Former teachers’ union president Bob Peterson is elected Milwaukee Public School’s City-wide director. Things get really ridiculous. The district loses another 1000 pupils as parents continue to vote with their feet.
- Alderman Tony Zielinski, the Jimbo Jones of Milwaukee politics, drops out of the mayor’s race once some skeletons start peaking their heads out of closet. No one really notices.
- Former Governor Scott Walker gives his first sermon as a visiting pastor. Parishioners are confused by the inclusion of a Kohl’s Cash reference within the Beatitudes.
- Milwaukee City Attorney Grant Langley announces his retirement. A mad scramble of lawyers sick of their day jobs ensues.
- Another state prosecutor snipes about my preppy fashion-sense during their closing argument. While amusing, it helps to vindicate another DefenseWisconsin.com client.
Eric Searing is the Director of External Relations for the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.
The normal biennial budget for the state of Wisconsin covers a two year period from July 1 of one odd-numbered year through June 30 of the next odd-numbered year.
In 2017 with Republicans controlling both houses of the legislature and the executive branch, the 2017-2019 biennial state budget was not passed and signed into law until September. When this occurred, the tardiness of the budget enactment didn’t draw much attention from the media or outside groups.
My prediction for 2019 is that Wisconsin’s biennial budget process will follow a similar process with some exceptions. I predict that the budget will not be finished until the fall of this year (again) and the transportation portion of the state budget will be voted on separately from the rest of the budget. If the budget process goes beyond July 1st this time around, there will be a renewed interest in the lapsed deadline by the media and certain interest groups. The budget stalemate will draw comparisons to the federal government shutdown. Lawmakers will be called upon to “do their jobs” in at least one editorial by a Gannett-owned newspaper and at least one liberal group in Wisconsin will make the claim that “people will die” or are “dying” without an enacted state budget.
Medicinal marijuana legalization will gain traction in Wisconsin and it will go to the governor’s desk with bipartisan support.
At the federal level is that there will be a slurry of new investigations by House Democrats which will provide for some really entertaining testimony, a record number of judicial nominees will be confirmed by the Senate and Trump will keep Trumping. With his 2020 reelection looming around the corner, the president will announce another package of reforms aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs. He will threaten drug manufacturers with price caps.
Democrats who will start visiting Iowa regularly in 2019 include: (Elizabeth Warren has announced an exploratory committee), Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, Michael Bloomberg, Joe Biden, and Beto O’Rourke.
James Mattis and John Kelly will form a new pro-wrestling tag team and dominate their competition in the WWE.
Wisconsin Supreme Court Election
I will not make any predictions on the outcome of this race, but I believe the 2019 Wisconsin Supreme Court race will be the most expensive state supreme court race in Wisconsin’s history.
I predict that in 2019 the Green Bay Packers will return to the post season, but as a wild card team. The next head coach of the Green Bay Packers will be……Joe Lombardi.
Owen Robinson, West Bend columnist and blogger at Boots & Sabers.
Despite the yowls of the Communist Caucus in the House of Representatives, the House will NOT impeach President Donald Trump. It will finally dawn on the Democratic leadership that they are better off using their fights with Trump to agitate their base for the 2020 election instead of energizing his base by turning him into a martyr.
To the delight of Republicans and the groans of Democrats, Governor Tony Evers will prove to be as ineffective as governor as he was as DPI Superintendent.
The Dallas Cowboys will not lose the Super Bowl
West Bend will NOT pass a school referendum on the April ballot (perhaps wishful thinking or misplaced faith in the electorate).
Louis CK and Kevin Spacey participate in a disgraced celebrity baby oil wrestling match to raise money for their legal defense funds. It becomes a hit and runs for 19 seasons.
With the economic growth in China beginning to slow, the government begins to tighten the garrote on its wealthy elite -prompting an exodus of Chinese wealth to the West.
Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, and Reince Priebus share a well-deserved beer. Well, not literally share… they will probably each have their own. And Reince will probably have a Lemon Drop Martini. You get the point.
The stock market will recover in the first two quarters, but slip into bear territory by the end of 2019.
(for the easy win) Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes will say something stupid and racist. Wisconsin media outlets will yawn.
State Senator “Red” Fred Risser will fall asleep during the budget debate.
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has no impact whatsoever on any important issue as she returns to her seat on the back bench for the next five years.
The state will not have a budget until after July 1st.
Kevin Binversie is a freelance writer and a former Web Editor at RightWisconsin.
1 – A member of the Madison press corps joins the Evers Administration in a communications role of some kind. Their former employer will not bother to editorialize on how unethical a move it is to go from covering a subject to working for one.
2 – With Governor Tony Evers returning his inauguration to facing the “Fighting Bob” bust in the state capitol, the Cap Times’ John Nichols will declare the new governor, “Wisconsin’s Great Progressive Restorationist.”
3 – Milwaukee lands the 2020 Democratic National Convention. To capitalize, both Milwaukee and Madison will double their taxes on AirBnB’s.
4 – Speaking of taxes, the Miller Park sales tax ends in late 2019. Milwaukee city and county politicians immediately create plans on how to keep it alive while the other five counties will see constituent pressure to end it once and for all.
5 – Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announces he will not seek re-election in 2020.
6 – “The Hop” sees a massive drop-off in ridership once the Potawatomi’s “Free Fares for a Year” offer expires.
7 – The government shutdown ends in mid-January with minimal to no wall funding. President Donald Trump and “the MAGA-verse” spend the rest of 2019 spinning that as a “win.”
8 – The Mueller probe finds no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. It does however expose that much of Trump’s business empire was built on graft, bribes, and various questionable practices. It is then passed off to the US Attorney’s office for Southern New York to continue investigating, setting off a legal debate about if and when a sitting president can be indicted.
9 – Democrats keep their powder dry on impeaching Trump, especially after the Mueller report. Nonetheless, their base loses patience with the decision to “Decide it in 2020.”
10 – The 2020 Democratic race for the White House makes the 2016 GOP contest look like a picnic. Debates held in 2019 give the appearance there’s more candidates on stage than people watching in the crowd. Chaos reigns supreme.
11 – The state of California disbars Michael Avenatti.
Entertainment / Sports
12 – “Avengers: End Game” makes Disney a metric ton of money.
13 – “Star Wars: Episode IX” is better than “The Last Jedi,” but it leaves long-time fans with a bitter taste as it neither gives proper closure to “The Skywalker Saga” nor fulfills the hopes of Jedi-wannabes everywhere.
14 – The NL Central is baseball’s toughest division. As a result, the Brewers miss out on repeating as division champs but do capture the Wild Card.
15 – The team won’t use the term, but sportswriters certainly will. Like it or not, 2019 will be a “Rebuilding Year” for the Packers.
Rohn Bishop is the Chairman at Republican Party of Fond du Lac County. The views expressed are his own.
The government shutdown will continue until Americans say to Democrats, “Just let Trump have some wall funding and reopen the damn government.” The budget funding will allow for some new fencing. President Donald Trump will declare it a win, but his base will be disappointed.
The Madison Capitol press corps will discover that Wisconsin’s economy is booming!
Governor Tony Evers will introduce a budget with much more spending and some tax increases. Republicans will propose giving the surplus back to the taxpayers. They’ll compromise. Half of the surplus will go towards helping to offset increases in gas taxes and registration fees, while the other half will go towards increasing public school aid by a $1,000,000,000 per kid because, as we learned in the last election cycle, we can’t spend enough on schools.
Ohio Governor John Kasich announces he’s exploring a run for President of the United States. No one will care.
Despite glowing press coverage, Treasurer Sarah Godlewski will have nothing to do. It’ll cost taxpayers $69,936. Thank you Jack Voight!
Despite being a Democrat, Evers won’t care about Secretary of State Doug La Follette either. La Follette will stay in the Capitol basement and will continue to close over the lunch hour. So plan ahead if you need an apostille.
The Milwaukee Bucks make a deep playoff run.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is unable to continuing serving on the Supreme Court, allowing Trump a third nomination to what he’ll call “The Trump Court.”
After leading the RPW through a transition period, Chairman Brad Courtney will step down and Brian Schimming will succeed him. Mark Jefferson returns to RPW in a leadership/numbers crunching roll.
Jeff Flake turns his Senate obstruction and moral preening into a paid gig with NBC News.
The National League Central becomes the most competitive in baseball.
Senator Mitt Romney announces he’ll challenge President Trump for the GOP nomination.
Gas prices fall and stay below $2.00 per gallon
Coach Mike McCarthy leads the Cleveland Browns to the AFC Playoffs.
The Chicago Cubs win the World Series. (Sorry)
James Wigderson is the editor of RightWisconsin.
Looking at my predictions from last year, I should be more modest with my predictions this year. But I gotta be me. Like Spinal Tap, this one goes all the way up to 11. Looking deep into my finely polished stainless steel martini shaker, here are my predictions for 2019:
- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will convince Governor Tony Evers to include a special license plate in the state budget to help fund the expansion of The Hop streetcar system. The irony will be lost on the Democrats.
- The Milwaukee Brewers will find that stud starting pitcher that will get them into the World Series. The “out getters” will look more like a traditional pitching staff in 2019.
- The state budget will pass faster than everyone thinks. That means September. The biggest fight will be between conservatives in the Senate and Assembly Republicans over raising the gas tax.
- Appeals Court Judge Brian Hagedorn will be the next justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
- The state treasurer will not be given more responsibilities after Evers makes it clear he doesn’t want responsibilities taken from away from the Department of Administration and the Department of Revenue.
- The Green Bay Packers will draft their “quarterback of the future.” Aaron Rodgers will ask to be traded to a team with a name unrelated to meat or animals.
- There will be no agreement between Evers and legislative Republicans on health insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions.
- Wisconsin’s legislative boundary lines will again be found constitutional. Democrats will quietly grouse that Attorney General Josh Kaul did too much to defend them.
- Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI08) will endorse a Republican challenger to President Donald Trump.
- Federal judge nominee Gordon Giampietro will finally be confirmed by the U.S. Senate when everybody goes back to forgetting Tammy Baldwin is a senator, including Tammy.
- Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now will skip the step of writing press releases and just dictate stories and headlines over the phone to the stenographers at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Bonus: After he spends much of the year pushing through President Donald Trump’s cabinet and judicial appointments, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will be loved by Trump loyalists. They will swear they have always loved him. “Oceania was at war with Eastasia: Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.”