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Phil Harriman, a former town councilor and state senator from Yarmouth, is the founding partner of Lebel & Harriman, a financial services firm. Ethan Strimling, a former mayor and state senator from Portland, is the president of Swing Hard. Turn Left, which promotes progressive policy at the local, state and national levels.
Ethan: It’s that most wonderful time of the year!
Phil: Yes, I love the holidays. Such special family time will give us memories for a lifetime.
Ethan: Um, yeah, that, too. But I was actually referring to it being the time of year when we make our bold political predictions for the coming year.
Phil: Silly me. So, 23 predictions for 2023? How about I start with a doozy: Despite expectations, U.S. Sen. Angus King will not — I repeat, not — run for reelection.
Ethan: Wow! OK, I will match you. Donald Trump will — I repeat, will — be indicted for multiple crimes.
Phil: I’m gonna predict he is not indicted. Additionally, I am going to predict that he will decide not to run for president.
Ethan: I expect that is more Republican wishful thinking than reality. In that vein, I predict President Joe Biden will run and no one will challenge him from the Democratic Party. I also predict that Iowa will in fact be ousted as the first contest and replaced by South Carolina.
Phil: As self-serving as any move an incumbent has ever proposed, but likely the right one. On the Republican side, with Trump out, I predict there will be only four candidates fighting for the nomination: former Vice President Mike Pence, former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
Ethan: I’d triple that number. Bringing it back home, we have two statewide ballot initiatives qualified right now — the consumer-owned utility and the ban on foreign government campaign donations. I predict both pass as both are related to Central Maine Power, and almost no one likes CMP.
Phil: I predict that the consumer-owned utility goes down as voters know publicly run is rarely better than private-sector-run (with oversight by the Maine Public Utilities Commission). I agree that the foreign money ban will pass.
Ethan: The third initiative circulating is about paid family and medical leave. My prediction is they get the signatures, but the Legislature, with our newly minted progressive leadership, enacts something as bold or bolder, thereby avoiding a costly battle at the ballot box in 2024.
Phil: I predict it goes to the ballot in 2023 and a compromise competing measure passes there. Even I agree this is a policy Maine needs. In terms of Gov. Janet Mills, I predict “under” on the “over/under” of 10 vetoes (her four-year average).
Ethan: I will say “over.” Despite our governor saying she wants to find solutions earlier, I think that means she wants the Legislature to kill stuff she doesn’t like. But with Democrats expanding their majority, and with House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross and Senate President Troy Jackson at the helm, I see some fireworks. Unfortunately, I predict they won’t be able to garner any overrides.
Phil: I do think there will be an override or two, with Jackson working deals with Republicans to show Mills up.
Ethan: OK, that is 17 predictions. Federally, I predict your guy U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy is in trouble. He’ll win the speakership, but, for the first time in 100 years, it will take multiple ballots leaving him wounded and mostly ineffective.
Phil: Nope. He wins it on the first ballot. Republicans figure it out behind closed doors and emerge to hand him the gavel. From the policy side, I predict that the Securities and Exchange Commission will finally step in and regulate cryptocurrency.
Ethan: I love it when you get all big government on me! Sadly, I predict that no gun safety bills pass in Augusta, despite Maine having a higher per capita gun-death rate than Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey. Locally, I predict that Portland will become the first city in Maine to have an elected mayor who wins using public financing.
Phil: My final prediction: that mayor will be you.
Ethan: Now that’s bold! Happy New Year, my friend.
Phil: Happy New Year.