Office Pool 2019

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In memory of the late William Safire, place your bets now on possibilities for the year ahead. Choose from the choices offered or devise your own scenarios. Last year’s column, Office Pool 2018, correctly anticipated President Donald Trump’s ouster of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Democratic takeover of the House, Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, and the renewed Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.

1.  After Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, control of the area is taken over by

a) Turkey

b) Syria


d) a coalition of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt


2.  Trump’s choice to succeed James Mattis as defense secretary is

a) Senator Tom Cotton, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan

b) Senator Jon Kyl

c) Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson


3.  The nonfiction bestseller is

a) The Theft Of A Decade: How The Baby Boomers Stole The Millennials’ Economic Future, by Joseph Sternberg

b) Degrade And Destroy: The Inside Story Of The War Against The Islamic State, by Michael Gordon

c) The Making Of A Justice: Reflections On My First 94 Years, by John Paul Stevens

d) Big Business: A Love Letter To An American Anti-Hero, by Tyler Cowen

e) Great Society by Amity Shlaes

f) Bagehot: The Life and Times of the Greatest Victorian, by James Grant

g) The Plaza: The Secret Life Of America’s Most Famous Hotel, by Julie Satow


4.  The politician leading year-end polls in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination is

a) Vice President Joe Biden

b) Mayor Michael Bloomberg

c) Mayor Eric Garcetti

d) Senator Kamala Harris

e) U.S. Representative John Delaney

f) Senator Bernie Sanders


5.  The U.S. stock market

a) tumbles amid Washington chaos and Federal Reserve rate hikes

b) recovers and is up 20% on the year as investors cheer the Trump-Pelosi era

c) ends roughly where it started after a year of extreme volatility


6.  The scandal that gets the most traction is

a) Trump-Russia, which ends with the House voting impeachment after a damning Mueller Report

b) Trump-Turkey, with the House probing whether the Trump Towersin Istanbul figured in the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria

c) Goldman Sachs-Malaysia, one scandal too many for the Wall Street bank’s reputation to bear


7.  The technology firm that becomes a target is

a) Tesla, as low gasoline prices erode demand for electric cars

b) Amazon, as brick-and-mortar retail closures accelerate after Christmas

c) Apple, as iPhone sales disappoint


8.  The big story of the Trump administration’s year is

a) unexpected success in cutting bipartisan deals with Schumer and Pelosi

b) unexpected stability, as key players such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, National Security Adviser John Bolton, National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow, and spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders end the year in the same jobs they began them in

c) nuclear disarmament deal with North Korea

d) trade deal with China

e) worsening chaos, as Mueller report derails policy progress


9.  The big economic drag on America is

a) education sector weakening as enrollments drop because of lowering birthrates and fewer immigrants

b) Europe beset by slow growth and political uncertainty and extremism

c) housing sector slumping because of higher interest rates

d) health and fitness sector weakening as consumers cut gym memberships and pay for fewer spin classes


10.  The issue dividing Democrats is

a) identity politics, as primary voters are reluctant to nominate a white male

b) foreign policy, as “progressive” candidates want to bring the troops home and cut military spending more quickly than centrists think is wise

c) education, as unions work to undermine candidates who favor charter schools, choice, and competition

d) all of the above


11.  The 50thanniversary of the Apollo lunar landing will be marked with

a) an announcement of an attempt at a manned Mars mission

b) a “moonshot” effort to cure Alzheimer’s

c) significant breakthroughs by the cancer moonshot initiative

d) soaring ticket sales for private passenger spaceflight


Best wishes to all for a happy, healthy, free, and prosperous 2019.


Ira Stoll is editor of and author of JFK, Conservative.