McManus: This is my final column about Donald Trump (I hope)

Final yr, as congressional elections approached, pundits supplied a daring prediction: November would deliver a “red wave,” a Republican sweep within the Home and Senate.

“The bottom is dropping out for Democrats,” a CNN analyst declared confidently.

“Democrats, on Defense in Blue States, Brace for a Red Wave in the House,” a New York Instances headline warned.

Fox Information started exhibiting a triumphant on-screen graphic with the phrases: “Red Wave Rising.”

Incorrect, in fact. When the votes got here in, the GOP narrowly took management of the Home, however misplaced floor within the Senate.

Democrats howled that the wave-riding pundits had both fallen for Republican propaganda or slanted their columns on function.

“The so-called ‘liberal’ media goes out of its way during every campaign to emphasize news of [Democrats] in disarray,” progressive author Michael Tomasky charged.

However not everybody within the mainstream media rode together with the purple wave principle.

My colleague Mark Z. Barabak, for instance, by no means promised a GOP sweep. “It’s a fool’s errand trying to predict election results,” he wrote.

Ronald Brownstein of the Atlantic didn’t fall for wave-mania, both; he wrote that the election might go both means.

“The most likely scenario is a mere Republican ripple rather than a red wave,” G. Elliott Morris of the Economist wrote on the eve of the election.

And whereas we’re itemizing virtuous names, there’s additionally … me.

A couple of weeks earlier than the election, I wrote that whereas Republicans appeared prone to win the Home, “control of the U.S. Senate sits on a razor’s edge.”

Was I prescient? No, simply cautious. I used to be following Barabak’s recommendation: It’s harmful to make predictions, particularly concerning the future.

I had discovered that lesson the onerous means in earlier elections after I made a couple of forecasts that have been laughably mistaken.

This New 12 months’s Day column is generally my annual train in humility, a glance again at the place I fouled up in the course of the yr that simply ended.

However in 2022, to my shock, I made fewer boneheaded errors than standard — largely by avoiding pointless guesses.

I did get some issues mistaken, in fact.

In early November, I warned that candidates who endorsed former President Trump’s election denialism have been about to sabotage the method.

“Just as in 2020, we’re in for a drawn-out election week, followed by election month — or even months,” I wrote.

Fortunately, I used to be mistaken. Many of the deniers who misplaced conceded shortly — in some instances, even gracefully.

The notable exception is Kari Lake, the GOP candidate for governor in Arizona, who’s nonetheless difficult an election she misplaced by greater than 17,000 votes.

I used to be additionally mistaken about Ohio after I wrote that the seemingly shut Senate race between Democrat Tim Ryan and Republican J.D. Vance appeared like a mirror of the nation’s political evolution.

Ohio turned out to be a mirrored image solely of Ohio, a former swing state that’s now reliably purple. Vance received simply.

But when these have been my worst bungles in 12 months, I’ll accept them.

Since I used to be making fewer predictions, I had time to check out a brand new line of labor: providing free recommendation to political leaders. Most of them ignored it.

In February, I helpfully gave Russian President Vladimir Putin an inventory of offramps he might take to keep away from invading Ukraine. He blitzed proper previous them.

In December, I urged President Biden to ship superior ATACMS missiles to Ukraine. Thanks however no thanks, the White Home mentioned.

In September, I wrote that Biden had blundered when he introduced that the COVID-19 pandemic was over. The president “needs to correct his message, and he shouldn’t wait for the midterm election to do it,” I wrote.

I’m nonetheless ready.

I additionally obtained a couple of issues proper.

I observed as early as April that Xi Jinping’s “zero COVID” coverage was doing critical injury to China’s financial system. “The juggernaut that once looked bound for global domination is slowing down,” I wrote in September.

In Could, I profiled Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose model of ruthless however environment friendly Trumpism has made him a rising star within the Republican Celebration. “Democrats should be worried,” I wrote.

And in September, I famous that Trump, together with his unending starvation for consideration, was an election-year downside for the GOP.

“When the debate is about Biden and the economy, that’s good for Republicans,” I wrote. “When the debate is about Trump, that’s good for Democrats.

“Trump doesn’t seem to understand that, but Biden and the Democrats do.”

Each time I write about Trump, I get complaints from readers — not solely from Republicans who hate it after I name their former chief a menace to democracy, but in addition from Democrats who object that I’m giving him free publicity.

Right here, as a present to these readers, is my New 12 months’s decision: fewer columns concerning the forty fifth president.

Don’t thank me. It is going to be a reduction.