It’s 2011, do you know who’s going to win the presidential election next year? The answer is no, you don’t. Even if you predict now that someone will win then, and that person ends up winning, it won’t be because you knew. You don’t know.
How do I know what you don’t know? Maybe I don’t. But I do know this: Most of what people “know” in the year or two before a presidential election turns out to be wrong. Take a look at the last half century or so, and you’ll see what most people thought was a shoo-in at some point in the calendar year before the election turned out to be, well, a shoo-out.
We begin with a tragedy. Throughout most of 1963, the entire country assumed President John F. Kennedy would most certainly be his party’s nominee in 1964. Perhaps he would be reelected as well. We all know what happened on November 22, 1963. Before that date, no one knew Lyndon B. Johnson would be president.