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Political predictions from a prognosticating pundit, by John McGauley

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This is risky business, divining the future in politics. I’m ever-confident of my predictions, but half the time way off base. The crystal ball often clouds up.

With that caveat, here are my prognostications.

Our Keene mayor, George Hansel, likely is headed for a promising future in politics. He’s got several aspects that bode well. He’s well-spoken and articulate, doesn’t seem to make many unforced errors, and appeals to disparate (as opposed to desperate) factions in the city. He’s a very young businessman, tall, has a radio talk show and is very savvy at capitalizing on social media platforms.

I predict he’ll eventually run for governor, or for the United States representative seat currently held by Annie Kuster.

And, if I’m correct, Hansel’s ascendency in state politics will be good for the Monadnock Region, the perennial loser in terms of clout.

By the way, I’m not associated politically or personally with Hansel in any way. I avoid connections with all politicians.

Kuster? She doesn’t make many political mistakes, but she stays narrowly-bracketed in the safe zone. An extremely loyal member of the Democratic Party, she votes almost exclusively along that party’s lines. But when she parades herself in front of district voters, she keeps her talking points to subjects that are not controversial, her announcements often about how well she’s bringing home the pork in terms of the “federal funds” (that is, our own tax money after the bureaucrats take their cut) she’s secured for various social service programs. Her newsletters to voters are milquetoast to the max.

Our current governor, Sununu? He’ll run against Maggie Hassan in 2022 and I believe he’ll win. As the scion of a political dynasty in this state, he’s been well tutored, one could say bred, to navigate the electric fence of controversial positions, and is both well-liked by Republicans and well-tolerated by Democrats.

As certain as the sun rises in the East, New Hampshire governors go on to become United States senators. Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen were governors, but they — like Kuster — stay away from the burning national issues. They all bring home the pork, and readily tell us about it.

But Hassan, in my opinion, just doesn’t seem to have the cagey political instincts of Sununu or Shaheen.

The current congressional delegation from New Hampshire is so adroit at avoiding controversial issues that they’re near anonymous on the national stage, and that’s the way they like it. For our state’s politicians, they aspire to be average.

Climbing to the national level, the 2022 congressional elections are all important, for obvious reasons. My prediction is that former president Donald Trump will hold rallies in the 30 or 40 congressional districts where Democrats won by slim margins in 2020. I think the various social media platforms that have banned Trump are actually adding to his cachet among those who support him.

Trump is shaping up a campaign that I’ll describe as “President in Exile.”

I don’t think Trump will announce any run for president, at least until the 2022 House and Senate races are over. Regardless of whether he runs or not, he’s the undisputed kingmaker in the Republican Party.

Mike Pence? He’s signaling that he’s running for president, but I don’t think he has a chance. Having said that, I predicted confidently back in 1976, when Ronald Reagan ran first for the presidency, that he’d never ascend to the Oval Office. Pence just doesn’t seem very exciting to me. The frontrunner right now is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, but we’re a long way out on that one. My bet is that Sen. Tom Cotton will throw his hat in the ring, as well as DeSantis.

This voting fraud thing? Since individual states, not the feds, control voting, as per the Constitution, we’re probably going to see election reforms in almost all of the states. That’s a safe bet.

Cancel-culture and “woke” movements? Although not strictly politics, they affect it. My prediction is they’re about to jump the shark because they’ve become parodies of themselves.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom will be recalled, and Caitlyn Jenner will be elected governor there. It’s interesting that for the first time in its history, California has lost population, leading to the subtraction of a single congressional seat.

This never ceases to amaze me, but American voters have, since time immemorial, voted for divided government. It’s in our DNA, what they call the “wisdom of crowds” that somehow figures out that when one party becomes too powerful, they checkmate it by supporting the other party. Every two years, every four years, the pendulum swings. In my lifetime, I’ve heard countless times leaders of one party saying that the other one is “dead.” Baloney.

Despite the amazing amount of media coverage accorded to the extreme right or left, we’re a nation of moderates. That doesn’t make for dramatic headlines and man-bites-dog stories, but it’s the truth.

An overwhelming majority of citizens go about their day in normal fashion, not swaying too far in either direction. Regardless of their geographical location, ethnic background, income or education, they mostly want what everyone wants — a fairly comfortable life, a future for their kids, a decent job, a two-week vacation and safety from harm.

But that’s not what makes a juicy story.

John McGauley, an author and local radio talk-show host, writes from Keene. He can be contacted at

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