Office Pool 2018

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

This marks the ninth annual version of the California Office Pool. It was inspired by the late, great New York Times columnist William Safire, who made a habit of writing an annual column he called Office Pool. In it, Safire offered, multiple-choice style, a series of possible news events that could take place in the new year. At the column’s end, he let you know which ones he thought would occur.

Safire’s focus was Washington; ours is California. My picks are at the end.

Last year, I was right that the biggest story in California would be our confrontation with Trump, but wrong to think he would visit the state. I also was right about Kamala Harris’ prominence, Xavier Becerra’s determination to run for re-election as a.g., Moonlight as best picture, Democrats maintaining their legislative supermajorities, Uber remaining a private company. But I was wrong about Jack Dorsey leaving Twitter, the Chargers staying in San Diego, Alphabet overtaking Apple in market capitalization, and, sadly, about the Dodgers winning the World Series (though that prediction was off by just one tragic World Series seventh game).

Below are the 2018 questions. Be sure to make your predictions, and clip n’ save (or bookmark and save) so we can see how we did at the end of next year.

1) How many trips will President Trump make to California in 2018?
A. 0
B. 1
C. 2 or more

2) In December 2018, the president of the United States will be:
A. Donald Trump
B. Mike Pence
C. Paul Ryan
D. Someone else

3) The biggest California political story of 2018 will be:
A. The 2018 governor’s race
B. State leaders’ confrontations with Trump
C. The Feinstein-DeLeon U.S. Senate race
D. The return of budget deficits
E. Sexual misconduct
F. Response to an earthquake or other natural disaster
G. None of the above

4) True or False: Uber will become a public company in 2018.

5) True or False: The market cap of Google’s parent, Alphabet, will be greater than that of Apple by December 2018.

6) The U.S. Senate in California will turn when…
A. Kevin De Leon, unable to get traction, drops out of the race
B. Dianne Feinstein looks old and appears forgetful during a debate.
C. When De Leon, after finishing second in the June first-round elections, passes Feinstein in the polls in September and goes on to pull the upset.
D. When De Leon makes a fatal gaffe on the campaign trail.
E. When Trump intervenes in the Democrat-vs.-Democrat contest by endorsing Feinstein

7) After the 2018 elections, how many Republicans will represent California in Congress?
A. 14
B. 10 to 13
C. 8-10
D. 7 or fewer

8) By the end of 2018, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris:
A. Will have decided not to run for president.
B. Will have formed an exploratory committee.
C. Will have declared her candidacy for president.
D. Will be leading in early 2020 presidential polls.

9) The Academy Award for Best Picture will go to:
A. Luca Guadagnino’s Italian summer romance, Call Me By Your Name
B. Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age Sacramento tale, Lady Bird
C. Jordan Peele’s horror comedy Get Out
D. P.T. Anderson’s European period piece Phantom Thread
E. Christopher Nolan’s visceral war picture Dunkirk.
F. None of the above

10) Which California leader will be the first to lose a post in 2018?
A. Angels manager Mike Scioscia
B. Giants manager Bruce Bochy
C. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
D. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
E. Assembly Republican leader
F. Senate Republican leader

11) How many members of the California legislature and California Congressional delegations will lose or resign their jobs in 2018 because of sexual misconduct?
A. 0
B. 1
C. 2-3
D. 4 or more

12) At the end of 2018, the California High-Speed Rail Authority will be:
A. Killed by Governor-elect Newsom
B. Rejuvenated by new senior staff, growing recognition of the state’s transportation and climate needs, and the prospect of Chinese investment
C. Still in a holding pattern, with construction under way and behind schedule.

13) The Golden State Warriors are heavy favorites to repeat as NBA champs. Which California team is likely to join them and win a championship?
A. The L.A. Rams
B. The L.A. Kings
C. The L.A. Dodgers
D. The San Jose Sharks

14) True or False: California Democrats will still have supermajorities in both houses at the end of the year.

15) The two gubernatorial candidates who advance to the second round of the 2018 election will be:
A. Newsom and Villaraigosa
B. Newsom and Chiang
C. Newsom and Cox
D. Newsom and Allen
E. Some other combination

My picks. 1. A (Trump won’t come to California). 2. A (Trump remains president) 3. B (Confrontation with Trump still dominates the news). 4. False (uber stays private). 5. False (Apple keeps its lead on Alphabet). 6. C. (De Leon upsets Feinstein). 7. B (Republicans retain 10-13 Congressional seats in California). 8. B (Harris will have an exploratory committee). 9. B (Lady Bird). 10. D. (Pelosi is toast). 11. C (2-3 pushed out over sexual misconduct) 12. B (high speed rail rejuvenated). 13. C (Dodgers win the World Series) 14. False (scandal will cost the Dems their supermajorities). 15. A (Newsom and Villaraigosa)

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