Like most baby boomers, we here at the Politics Column unwrapped our first Magic 8 Ball – a then high-tech toy – somewhere around Christmas 1965. Since then we’ve consulted the venerable product from the laboratories of Mattel Inc. for its infallible advice on all of life’s important decisions.
But after a 2015 of semi-reputable behavior, Santa’s Christmas reward under the tree included a new model to replace the shopworn version and guide the Politics Column in its 2016 deliberations.
As a result, we report on the Magic 8 Ball’s answers to the pressing questions of the New Year:
• Magic 8 Ball, will Donald Trump and his unique ability to shock, sadden and appall polite society continue to dominate the headlines of 2016?
It is decidedly so.
• Will the New York GOP presidential primary on April 19 actually enter the national dialogue this year for a change? Especially if the earlier contests produce no clear winner?
Cannot predict now.
• We’re not letting you off the hook so easily, O Globe of Greatness. Isn’t it possible that with so many candidates representing the “establishment” and so many running as “anti-establishment,” nothing will be settled and New York could play a role?
Signs point to yes.
• Now we’re getting somewhere, O Spherical Sultan! And doesn’t it figure that New York’s own Trump might score well on his home turf? In much the same way that soul mate and equally outrageous Carl Paladino claimed the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary?
• Let’s get back to the home front, O Earl of Ebony. Democrats will again scour the countryside in search of an opponent for Republican incumbent Congressman Chris Collins. Ditto for the Repubs and someone to face incumbent Democrat Brian Higgins. Will either effort stand any chance at all?
• Hmm. Looks like Albany’s Rulers of Reapportionment have once again created safe districts for Collins and Higgins, eh? But what about the Southern Tier? Will Democrat John Plumb, a former submarine officer in the Navy, present a real challenge to Republican incumbent Congressman Tom Reed?
Reply hazy, try again.
• What about Democrat Chuck Schumer? After 18 years in the Senate, is 2016 the year when Republicans will field a serious candidate against him?
My reply is no.
• This is probably too easy for someone of your lofty stature, since it’s a given that if there’s an election somewhere, Kevin Stocker will be there. But we’re hearing the Kenmore attorney and 2014 GOP candidate for State Senate is already knocking on doors preparing for another run in 2016. Is he in?
Signs point to yes.
• Will Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul of Buffalo continue to raise her profile in the Cuomo administration, especially after a 2015 in which she visited all 62 counties, attended 41 events as chairwoman of the Regional Economic Development Council, traveled 28,671 miles by car and 22,252 by plane while meeting with hundreds of state and local officials?
As I see it, yes.
• We know you’ve grown cynical after all these decades, O Oracle Orb, but will 2016 be the year in which party leaders reform their ways and avoid the decrees that anoint sure-winner candidates for several State Supreme Court vacancies?
My sources say no.
• Speaking of cynicism, O Baron of Billiards, will the State Legislature, following the convictions of former Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, enact meaningful reform that finally roots out conflicts of interest?
Don’t count on it.
• We can’t leave on such a sour note, O Regent of Roundness. Can we at least declare wishes for a Happy New Year to our loyal readers from all here at the Politics Column?
Without a doubt.