A Fearless Forecast for 2016

December 17, 2015

As we wind down an eventful 2015, we offer you a jump on 2016 with some bold predictions. Happy New Year!

Two-year college degrees will become chic. The stigma of a community college education will be lifted as young people choose a focused career path over the traditional four-year experience that leaves many students deeply in debt – and still without stable job prospects. More and more families will opt for studies that take less time, cost less money and directly result in good-paying jobs.

The polls will be wrong.  The final RealClear Politics average of voter opinion polls will miss the margin between the first- and second-place candidates in the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses by at least six percentage points, and will miss the general election vote between the Democratic and Republican nominees by at least five percentage points. As fewer people answer phone calls from unknown parties, surveys will become more volatile and less reliable.

Playboy won’t be a player. Turning its backside to the format that made it famous, Playboy will find that you can’t teach an old rabbit new tricks. In a market saturated with lad mags such as Maxim and FHM, the legendary – but obsolete – Playboy brand won’t survive.

The First Amendment will be as polarizing as the Second. Arguments about preferential content treatment from Internet providers, political correctness on college campuses and campaign contribution limits will dominate social and political conversations to the extent that free speech issues will be as controversial as gun rights have been.

More money will be spent – and wasted – on TV ads. Both commercial marketers and political contenders will increase the amount of money they spend on television advertising – even as those ads have less and less of an impact. While most people don’t watch TV the way they used to, with the increased use of ad-blocking tools, marketers will continue pouring dollars into electronic paid media until they finally get the message.

A woman’s place is in the Millennium Falcon. As the biggest action/adventure movie franchise in the world, Star Wars’ positioning of a female protagonist in its highly anticipated new film will have ramifications beyond Hollywood. As girls – and boys – see that women can be the dashing hero instead of the fretting love interest or damsel in distress, real-world stereotypes about gender roles in business, civics and politics will fall like a wounded Stormtrooper.