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Trump Will Resign by the End of the Year, Right?

Each false “resignation” headline slowly further erodes the credibility of a press that functions both as Trump’s opposition and his foil.

President Trump deserves more credit than he has gotten for at least one thing—outlasting his critics' prediction of the length of his tenure.

In a post-election column published in the November 11, 2016, edition of The New York Times, David Brooks wrote, "the guy will probably resign or be impeached within a year."

In August 2017, ghostwriter Tony Schwartz, who claims credit for Trump's book "The Art of the Deal," tweeted, "Would be amazed if he survives till end of the year. More likely resigns by fall, if not sooner." That prediction was amplified at the time by news organizations such as CNN, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times, which covered it as news.

The actor and author Alec Baldwin told New York magazine in its August 7, 2017 issue, "I don't think he's going to make it till the end of the year. I think he can't take the ridicule. I think he'll resign." That prediction, too, was widely picked up by other outlets, including Vogue.

Having failed to accurately predict Trump's exit during the first year of his presidency, the press, or at least some of its members, have proceeded to move the goalposts another 12 months down the calendar. "Will 2018 Be The End of the Trump Presidency?" asks a headline in Vanity Fair. The usual rule of thumb applies: if the headline has to be phrased as a question, the answer is "no." Otherwise it would be just phrased as a statement: "2018 Will Be The End of The Trump Presidency."

What fuels these inaccurate predictions?

Part of the problem is a mismatch between the short-term commercial incentives of journalism-as-entertainment and the longer-term commercial incentives of journalism-as-credible-information. As a headline, "Trump Will Resign" gets a lot of clicks. It feeds the escape fantasies of people who deeply dislike Trump. There are many of those people, and they spend a lot of time on the Internet.

In addition to the commercial incentives of click-chasing publishers, there are the career incentives of pundits. Make an outrageous prediction, or write up someone else's bold prediction into a news article, and by the time that prediction fails to materialize into reality, most people will have forgotten about it. If the prediction turns out to be true, however, it can pay off big time.

There's a similar phenomenon in the stock market forecasting game. A whole class of financial pundits go around constantly predicting an impending stock market correction. When the inevitable stock market correction does finally come, some of those pundits will become known as "one of the few forecasters who correctly predicted the correction." That appellation will attach as a badge of honor for a long time to come. No one, though, gets introduced at a lunchtime speech or on CNBC as a stock-market analyst who errantly a predicted a correction for years while the market kept climbing. In the stock market-predicting game, as in the news-predicting game, it can sometimes be hard to distinguish whether the product being provided is accuracy or amusement.

Is it worth maintaining a distinction between predictions that are driven by hunches or wishful thinking and those that are informed by reporting? Straddling both categories was the anonymously sourced March 11 report by The New York Times that, "The Trump administration is putting the finishing touches on its long-awaited Middle East peace plan, three senior officials said on Sunday, and President Trump is likely to present it soon." No such plan has yet publicly materialized, though "soon" is vague enough, and "likely" offers enough wiggle room, that the Times reporter may qualify for a pass. The effect of misleading the reader about what is going to happen turns out to be essentially the same, regardless of whether the story is based on "three senior officials" or is dreamed up by a journalist eating breakfast by himself.

Into the same category falls a lengthy and meticulously reported September 2017 New Yorker article headlined "The Risk of Nuclear War With North Korea: Could Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump goad each other into a devastating confrontation?" See that rule of thumb above about headlines phrased as a question. Actually, what appears to have broken out in Korea, at least for now, isn't "nuclear war" but a facsimile of peace.

The longer Trump outlasts predictions about the length of his time in office, the more likely it is that he will serve out his full four-year term, or even win re-election and serve a total of eight years. Remember, many of these publications predicting a resignation were the same ones who spent 2016, right up through the election, telling us Trump had little-to-no chance to win the presidency.

Each false "resignation" headline slowly further erodes the credibility of a press that, until the Democrats nominate a candidate and perhaps even after, functions both as Trump's opposition and his foil.

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

Photo Credit: Jeff Malet Photography/Newscom

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  • albo||

    It's the media projecting their fervent wishes--it's magical thinking. If enough of us can convince you that Trump will resign, then he will. Likewise, "Will 2018 Be the Year albo is Sexually Ravished by Actress Alexandra Daddario?"

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Who wouldn't get a concussion?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Good job. Now you made me all nostalgic for the first season of True Detective.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I want Trump to stay in office for an entire four-year term. Maybe impeach him if the Mueller report warrants it, but no Democrat should vote to convict Trump, and I hope Trump doesn't quit even as his world collapses around him.

    The long-term benefits of the consequent staining of the Republican-conservative brand -- especially among the younger people who will improve the American electorate as old-timey right-wingers take their stale thinking to the grave -- are likely to be worth it.

  • Johnimo||

    Wouldn't it be nice if the Rev. would give us examples of the "old-timey right-wingers" of whom he's so disdainful? Is he talking about Eisenhower, or Nixon, or Goldwater, or Reagan? It's not a very homogeneous group, huh? Goldwater and Reagan, and even Ike could hardly be said to have "stale" thinking. Maybe Ike integrating Little Rock, Arkansas High School with the first black students was "stale." Hardly! Even Nixon tried to improve relations with China, and -- unlike the previous two Presidents (Kennedy & Johnson) Nixon actually got us out of Vietnam. "Stale" indeed.

  • TLBD||

    The guy (Kirkland) is a moron. He has never added anything of value to any conversation.

  • Sevo||

    Johnimo|4.30.18 @ 10:57PM|#
    "Wouldn't it be nice if the Rev. would give us examples of the "old-timey right-wingers" of whom he's so disdainful? Is he talking about Eisenhower, or Nixon, or Goldwater, or Reagan?"

    I asked something like that question some time back and the scumbag is incapable of any decent answer. He's a proggy loser who still hopes that the hag will 'be appointed' if something, something, and is bereft of anything approaching principles.

  • soldiermedic76||

    Did you see the Reuter's poll? Millennials are becoming more republican and now favor them on economic issues. Oops, guess the rumors of the GOP demise are much exaggerated.

  • ||

    They finally have graduated and realized who will be paying for their grand/parents plus all the demands they've made for themselves.

  • mbecker908||

    Let's hope Trump stays in for his full term. That way Dems can nominate Hillary who will thrash him. At least in California and New York. It's HER turn, after all.

  • ||

    This comment on the same day Reuters reports an actual increase in Youth support of Republicans over Democrats. Sounds about right with the "progressives" today, deny reality and eventually it will cater to you.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Trumpty Dumpty, He's quite off-the-wall,
    Trumpty Dumpty won't stay in His toilet stall
    He just goes ahead and takes His shits,
    Totally regardless of whereever He sits
    Whenever He simply, no way, can sleep,
    He Twits us His thoughts, they're all SOOO deep!
    He simply must, He MUST, Twit us His bird,
    No matter the words, however absurd!
    He sits and snorts His coke with a spoon,
    Then He brazenly shoots us His moon!
    They say He'll be impeached by June,
    Man, oh man, June cannot come too soon!
    So He sits and jiggles His balls,
    Then He Twitters upon the walls
    "Some come here to sit and think,
    Some come here to shit and stink
    But I come here to scratch my balls,
    And read the writings on the walls
    Here I sit, My cheeks a-flexin'
    Giving birth to another Texan!
    Here I sit, on the pooper,
    Giving birth to another state trooper!
    He who writes these lines of wit,
    Wraps His Trump in little balls,
    He who reads these lines of wit,
    Eats those loser's balls of shit!"

  • Johnimo||

    Filled with hate, Dude?

  • ||

    David Brooks should resign.

    There's a pearl shortage because of all the outraged clutching the press have done.

    And celebrities should delete their accounts.

  • Tony||

    Genuinely interested in your response to Michelle Wolf's comedy routine.

    Here, have some pearls, just in case you need them.

  • ||

    I wonder if all this hysteria (brought to its apex by the banana-republic like Mueller investigation) only fuels Trump to go for a second term.

    Did I mention Friednman and Krugman should retire?

    Their 'takes' on Trump are pretty weenie.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Great picture. One anti-conceptual ignoramus whining that the wrong looter politician rounded up more cretins than the looter politician that hypnotized him. Even the Russians have tumbled to that hustle! The communist vote is down 2/3 since Y2k in Russia, and the econazis, Bernie comrades and communists together mustered a third of the Libertarian Party vote in 2016!

  • NoVaNick||

    I remember everyone thought Obama wouldn't be re-elected-he was...
    I remember everyone thought GW Bush couldn't possibly be re-elected-he was...
    I remember nobody in their right mind thought Bill Clinton would be re-elected-he was...

    Don't think Trump has much to worry about-esp if the economy keeps humming along. Yet, 2020 is still a long ways off.

  • Eidde||

    Is David Brooks still the NYT's example of a Responsible Conservative?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I'm going out on a limb here, but I expect Trump to be ousted from the Oval office by... January 21st, 2025, at the latest. Possibly 4 years earlier.

    I think part of what is going on here is that the left have gotten into this cycle of each trying to top the other in how awful they regard Trump as being. And they're drinking their own Kool-Aid, they really are starting to believe it!

    And, if Trump is really that awful, stupid, ugly, criminal, incompetent, how could he possibly last?

  • Rockabilly||

    Note to media = go fuck your self.

  • Tony||

    (Except FOX News.)

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