Periodically, we ask our contributors to weigh in on an issue. This week we asked them: Gaze into your crystal balls. What are your top predictions for 2017? 

The responses.

Rick Esenberg – Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty

In my advancing age one of the things I’ve learned is that the world may be rational, but I’ve no idea what’s coming next. In the age of “President-elect Trump,” predictions may be a fool’s game.

But here I go.

President Trump will bring us loud irrelevancies but Paul Ryan will bring quiet change. Trump will busy himself with things involving trade and immigration that will have little discernable effect and tweeting outrageous stuff. But while this is going on, the Speaker of the House will be implementing his Better Way agenda under the radar. This will be winning!

President Trump will get crossways with one or more foreign countries. And I bet it’s not China which will be substantially more circumspect now that the gullible substitute teacher of a President we’ve have has left the scene. My money is on Iran, North Korea or, believe it or not, Russia. There’s a good chance for a trifecta. This may be losing!

Europeans will continue to defy their leaders. Marine LePen will win the French presidency. Angela Merkel will be ousted in Germany.

Sports! The Green Bay Packers will beat the Detroit Lions this coming Sunday and take the NFC North. They’ll beat the Giants in the first round of the playoffs and, because Seattle will lose in the first round, go on to outscore Atlanta in the divisional round. Alas, they’ll lose to Dallas in the NFC Championship game. The ensuing Cowboys-Patriots Super Bowl will recall the Clinton-Trump presidential election. The Bucks will make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Brewers won’t win 70 games and the Cubs. The Packers will win the NFC North again in the fall

President Obama will be a lousy ex-President. Because he won’t shut up.

In the courts: Bill Pryor will be nominated and confirmed (barely) to replace Antonin Scalia. But there will be two more vacancies. One will be filled by Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willet and the other by someone from Wisconsin.

The New York Times will be deeply concerned. About everything. It won’t matter.

James Wigderson – Freelance Writer / Wisconsin Watchdog

I think making predictions about 2017 after what happened in 2016 is a bit of a fool’s errand. However, I’ve polished (off) the magic martini shaker and, after examining it closely, found the following events are likely to occur next year:

1. There will be a minor increase in the state gas tax, but only after the minimum markup on gasoline sales is repealed. The transportation funding fight will make the state budget late again.

2. Republicans who hoped Donald Trump’s more liberal tendencies will be controlled by a conservative Congress will be shocked at the size of the “infrastructure” bill that will be proposed and eventually passed.

3. Wisconsin Democrats’ disarray will be evident when year-long speculation over the Democrats’ lack of a serious gubernatorial candidate will cause conflict between the Bernie die-hards and the party regulars.

4. Charlie Sykes will still require people talking to him on Thursdays to begin conversations with, “Charlie, what I don’t get…”

5. The stock market will continue to climb and Donald Trump will be given the credit. Then he’ll criticize the market on Twitter, causing a crash.

6. We’ll miss Barack Obama playing golf.

7. Governor Scott Walker will ask the federal government for assistance to deal with the refugees fleeing Illinois. Citing the violence in Chicago, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos will call for tougher screening before the Fleeing Illinois Bears fans settle in Racine.

Brian Fraley – Edge Messaging


Trump’s first 50 days will see the passage and implementation of decades of backlogged conservative initiatives and a bolstering of our homeland defense and military. But his erratic personal behavior will tamp down an otherwise expected surge in popularity.

Each week, more legislators come to the realization something needs to be done about the transportation funding crisis. Denial, Delay and Decay is an irresponsible plan of inaction.

As many top tier Republicans jockey to mount a challenge against Tammy Baldwin in 2018, the Democrats struggle to find reasonable and viable candidates to take on Scott Walker.


The Milwaukee Brewers will make the playoffs. They will have a starting pitcher with 20+ wins.

Ted Thompson transitions to a senior advisor position with the Green Bay Packers and Eliot Wolf becomes the GM.

The UW Badgers return to the final four of the NCAA mens basketball tournament.


The Oscars broadcast is extended 45 minutes to fit all the names into the “In Memoriam” tribute.

The spinoff of the television show “24” is a huge disappointment and is not renewed.

Anticipation for Summerfest’s 50th Anniversary surges, but can organizers meet expectations? Remember Elton John at Harley’s 100th?


At least two elected Republican lawmakers will leave their posts to take positions within the Trump Administration.

Kevin Binversie – RightWisconsin

1. At least one of Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees will not make it through the confirmation process by either the discovery of something unseemly (i.e. Zoe Baird and “NannyGate”) or coming off as completely unprepared during their hearing. My money’s on HUD Secretary Nominee Dr. Ben Carson.

2. The first “Foreign Policy Test” the new Trump administration faces will not be in the Middle East or Russia, but with China. Because it’s always China.

3. Despite having no actual political power in Wisconsin, the Madison Capitol Press Corps will still act like press conferences from legislatives Democrats or left-wing activist groups actually matter.

4. The battle for the next Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair will be one of the most telling in state political history; mainly on the idea on whether state Democrats remain committed to be lemmings to the whims of the Milwaukee-Madison axis.

5. Despite the “Doom and Gloom” talk, the next Wisconsin state budget is largely put together without much drama or internal Republican conflict.

6. As for the roads debate, the appeal of targeted tolling on interstate roads in Milwaukee, Madison, the Fox River Valley, and the Illinois border will be used as a revenue “compromise.” Since that route will take federal approval, critics will call it “Kicking the can down the road.”

7. Europe will continue its rightward march as both France and Germany elect conservative-leaning majorities in their respective parliaments. The press will call this “Nationalism.”

8. Pope Francis dies of natural causes, but before then, becomes the worldwide Left’s de facto leader as it tries to handle the global push back against socialism. Ironically, Pope Benedict XVI comfortably resides away in his retirement villa in Vatican City.

9. Midway through 2017, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke announces his resignation to either take a position within the Trump Administration (one without Senate confirmation) or that he’ll be starting a national radio talk show.

10. In sports, the Brewers show improvement, but with the NL Central still the toughest division in baseball they fall short of the playoffs. Super Bowl LI is won by the (sigh) Dallas Cowboys over the New England Patriots.


C.J. Szafir – Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty 

1. There will be a lot of winning in President Trump’s first 100 days – major regulatory reform, repealing burdensome Obama regulations (hello the Congressional Review Act and maybe Midnight Rules Act), Obamacare is gone -replaced with free market healthcare solutions, an appointment to the Supreme Court (i.e. Diane Sykes or Bill Pryor) who respects the rule of law, tax reform, a wall which we – somehow – don’t pay for, etc etc.  But we will not grow tired of said winning.

2. After that, international conflicts dominate the headlines – Russia moving in on eastern Europe, ISIS, Syria, and North Korea nuclear weapon testing.  How President Trump responds will define his presidency.

3. GOP states continue to pass pro-life legislation; people start to discuss the new – more conservative federal judiciary – getting the opportunity to limit the scope of the “right to an abortion.”

4. The people of Wisconsin, still fed-up with the status quo and establishment, kick out Superintendent Tony Evers on April 4, 2017 in the race for state Superintendent of Public Instruction (Humphries or Holtz is the victor).

5. Speaking about status quo, leaders of the Milwaukee Public School talk big about improvements to MPS……and nothing ever happens.

6. WILL (plug) goes 2 for 2 in our upcoming oral arguments in the Supreme Court of Wisconsin (Milewski v. Town of Dover ; Krueger v. Appleton Public Schools).

7. My Michigan State Spartans rebound from an embarrassing football season in ’16 to win the Big Ten in ’17.


George Mitchell – Political Consultant

1. Wisconsin Republicans, perhaps joined by the lonely Democratic voice of Jason Fields, will decide whether to restore the state’s once-undisputed leadership in providing parents with educational options.

2. Wisconsin Democrats, chastened by the outstate election results, will be wary of apocalyptic claims. Exception: Gwen Moore.

3. The new Transportation Secretary will tire very soon of claiming that a “prudent homeowner” would knowingly let his house run down.

4. A big wild card in 2018 races for the Governor and Legislature will be played — or not — when the Lincoln Hills investigation is complete.

5. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will repeat the unlikely trajectory of their last Super Bowl run.

6. Nigel Hayes — if he is still “standing down” during the National Anthem — won’t need to explain his self-absorbed behavior or what might prompt a change. Because the media will give him a pass.

7. Governor’s Walker’s 2016 fundraising results, when announced in early 2017, will show a modest cash balance. Retiring presidential campaign debt has taken a toll.

8. The sheer unpredictability of Donald Trump’s behavior will mean a period of uncertainty that is unprecedented in modern American history.


Brett Heally – MacIver Institute

2017 is setting up to be a monumental year at the national level and here in Wisconsin. With President-elect Trump now in the White House and Republicans in control of both the Senate and the House, the American People will demand action and results. Will the DC insiders, who never embraced or understood the Trump movement, get onboard the Trump train?

1. Trump’s first 100 days will be amazingly successful and full of victories. Repeal and replace of Obamacare. Rolling back all of the bureaucratic commandments like the Costly Power Plan, the Ozone Rule, the Overtime Rule and many more. Diane Sykes will be confirmed for the Supreme Court.

2. Trump’s early momentum will be challenged when the conversation turns to tax reform and spending cuts. House Republicans have a plan that unnecessarily further complicates an already massive and bloated tax code. The people who voted for Trump did not vote for a border adjustment tax. They voted for less spending from DC and lower taxes for everyone, not just the politically connected.

3. You will hear the term “federalism” a bunch next year. Will the professional politicians actually give up power?

4. The Balanced Budget Constitutional amendment will come tantalizingly close to passage but DC will move to sabotage the movement at the last second. Will President Trump move to permanently drain the swamp or will he cave to the special interests?

5. Meanwhile back in Wisconsin, Gov. Walker will use his position as head of the RGA to push for all sorts of pro-taxpayer reforms and continue to raise his national profile.

6. Walker, not satisfied with over $5 billion worth of Act 10 savings or almost $5 billion in tax cuts during his tenure, will propose life-changing welfare reform and a substantial reworking of the tax code in the next budget, leaving his mark on Wisconsin for generations to come. And Wisconsin taxpayers will continue to reap significant savings.

7. The family feud over transportation will reach a boiling point. Walker will prevail as Assembly Republicans reluctantly cave on their demand for a gas tax increase.

8. MPS, despite no longer being designated a failing district, will continue to struggle and there will be 50,000 Milwaukee children trapped in poor-performing schools. Milwaukee’s so-called leaders – Barrett, Driver, Ament, Sain, Miller – will continue to only pay lip-service to the crisis and we will once again miss the opportunity to help all of Wisconsin’s children. Maybe 2018 will be the year we give the children of Milwaukee a real shot at life and some hope?


Chris Rochester – MacIver Institute

I’m hopeful for a year of great progress in 2017 – real progress for the cause of smaller government and respect for the Constitution. Here are my predictions, mostly serious with a dash of tongue-in-cheek:

1. Republicans quickly move to repeal Obamacare. The plan will keep certain components of the law and it will phase out other components on a timeline of several years.

2. Trump administration cabinet secretaries begin shredding reams of Obama-era regulations. Environmentalists freak when they find out the tens of thousands of pages of paper weren’t recycled.

3. Trump’s Supreme Court appointee, Wisconsin’s very own Diane Sykes, is quickly confirmed and union agency fees are ruled unconstitutional in 2017.

4. Wisconsin Republicans are perplexed as they debate only among themselves on various issues, especially in the Senate where minority leader Jennifer Shilling has already declared that the GOP “owns this legislature.”

5. In a pre-2018 appeal to the rural Wisconsin vote, Baldwin tries to pose for a picture with a Winchester Super X, but the photo shoot is interrupted when she panics after discovering the gun is a semiautomatic autoloader.

6. The Assembly and Senate federalism committees find themselves very busy by year’s end after various federal reforms devolve considerable decision-making power back to state legislatures.

7. After realizing they are the party of free markets, Wisconsin Republicans finally repeal the Minimum Markup law.

8. Democrats decide on their candidates for Governor and AG for 2018. After hearing the news, Republicans hit Maduro’s and share cigars over their opponents’ painfully thin benches.

9. Rex Tillerson, coming off a bruising confirmation process and discovering the depth of Obama’s foreign policy mess, is found trying to escape in a dingy to a remote offshore oil rig but is caught by the coast guard and forced back to his Washington office.

10. In their quest for new transportation revenue, Assembly leaders start seriously considering tolls for the state’s interstate system.

Jay Miller – RightWisconsin Contributor 

Here are 7 predictions for 2017 from the world’s worst predictor. First, a safe one.

1. Donald Trump will lose his composure, at least once.

2. Trump will focus his ire on the Senate filibuster, which he will perceive as frustrating his design to become Master of the Universe.

3. Trump will browbeat, threaten and cajole US Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to get him to dismantle the filibuster rules, while in the background Sens. McCain, Graham, Rubio and Collins will be cooing him to stay the course.

4. Trump will browbeat, threaten and cajole Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to get him to muzzle Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who will revel in driving Trump to distraction.

5. U. S. Rep. Ron Kind will finally decide to run for governor of Wisconsin in 2018, recognizing that Walker has been irreversibly weakened by his disastrous foray into the 2016 presidential primaries.

6. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele will also plan to seek the governorship (and with his money try to discourage Kind), and County board member Sheldon Wasserman will egg him on because he desperately wants to succeed Abele as the next county executive.

7. Republicans will line up around the corner and across the street to run against Sen.Tammy Baldwin in 2018.

Lisa Manna – Edge Messaging 

1. I predict people unhappy about the election results will continue to whine even well into the year. They will whine so much that many people like myself, who did not vote for Donald Trump, will wish they did out of spite.

2. I predict President Trump will be very similar to candidate Trump and anyone who thought otherwise was fooling themselves.

3. I predict celebrities will continue to die (sorry) and then people will say 2017 is a horrible year, maybe worse than 2016.

4. I predict Republicans will successfully pass some major legislation. I’m hoping tax reform is one of them.

5. I predict the Packers will win the Super Bowl, the Bucks will make the playoffs and the Brewers will surprise us (in a good way.)

6. I predict most people will not be satisfied with the series finale of Game of Thrones. I just want to know what Lyanna Stark said to Ned before she died.

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