The Best of the Worst: 2016 Presidential Election Predictions

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“Victory has a hundred fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” — Count Galeazzo Ciano

The Russians did it, right?

With President Barack Obama’s administration levying sanctions and ordering the outright dismissal of 35 Russian diplomats on Thursday, it’s arguably clear that the outgoing commander-in-chief has an opinion as to the “why” and “how” fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election.  

Obama said he has ordered American intelligence agencies to produce a “complete review” of its findings prior to the start of President-elect Donald Trump’s term in the Oval Office on Jan. 20.

But for how long was the Obama White House aware of such allegations? And at what point did his intelligence team brief him on such perceived threats?


A look back at the timeline shows that the first allegations surfaced publicly in June, when the Washington Post published an explosive report linking “Russian government hackers” to a breach of security inside the Democratic National Committee.

The allegation barely caused a ripple — on June 14, the day the Washington Post published its report, Clinton held a 5.5-point lead according to the RealClearPolitics’s average. Polling averages finally went Trump’s way the day before Clinton’s official nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. 

And then they didn’t.

Clinton never trailed in anything until it truly mattered on Nov. 8, the day polling data gave way to actual results at the ballot.

Some media outlets did not take her loss well:

Now, with Trump’s inauguration looming, Clinton’s defeated team has pointed its collective finger squarely at Russia as the reason for her loss.

Others took their ire out on various Clinton-embedded campaign reporters:

So…. what’s to explain for Clinton’s team (and the media) waiting until after Election Day to truly call out the Russians?

Maybe it’s because almost every major political pundit (and television personality) had already called the race in her favor before the first ballots were cast.


Behold, the best of the best … errr … worst of the worst, when it came to smugly predicting the unpredictable, in no specific order:

1.  Amanda Marcotte,

2. Ross Douthat, New York Times:

3. Drew Magary, Deadspin:

4. Chris Cillizza, Washington Post:

5. Frank Luntz, Republican pollster:

6. Dana Milbank, Washington Post:

Predicted Trump would lose GOP nomination, promised to “eat his column” if wrong — a man of his word. 

But that didn’t stop Milbank from slamming Trump and Trump’s supporters. It was Milbank who defended Clinton’s “deplorables” comment, claiming in a Sept. 12 column that — yes — “half of Trump’s supporters are racist.”  Less than a week before Election Day, it was also Milbank who attempted to scare readers into voting — not for Clinton, but against Trump — with his “first 100 horrific days of a Trump presidency” column. 

Milbank obviously didn’t learn from his column dinner, as this was his hot take just days ahead of Nov. 7:

7. John Oliver, HBO’s Last Week Tonight, August 22:

“It seems that you have two really bad options here… if you keep going, you’re going to spend the next 11 weeks ramping up hatred in speeches, injecting poison into the American bloodstream it took multi-generations to remove, and denying the country the contest of ideas that the presidential campaign should actually be …”

8. Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine:

9. Stephen Colbert, “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” CBS:

“That is right — Donald Trump lost money on casinos. You know what they say — the house always loses.”

10. Mike Murphy, GOP strategist and analyst for NBC:


A) Matt Viser, Deputy Washington Chief, Boston Globe:

B) Peter Ubertaccio, Stonehill College, associate professor for political science, director, Martin Institute for Law & Society, WGBH’s MassPoliticalProfs:


Here’s what NewBostonPost’s Jennifer Braceras had to say in February about the 2016 presidential election:

It’s a long and distinguished list…so we’re sure we missed a few. Got any suggestions? Send ’em over via email to [email protected] and we’ll update this as we see fit.