Column: Trump takes to meditating by the Pacific and other surefire 2021 California predictions

 A surfer catches the last waves of the year in Huntington Beach on Dec. 31, 2020.
A surfer catches the last waves of the year in Huntington Beach on Dec. 31. The year was marked by a pandemic, a contentious presidential election, civil unrest and ongoing climate change that resulted in a horrific California fire season.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
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As this terrible, horrible, no-bueno, muy bad year stumbles to an end, I offer hope for 2021 with this revelation:

I can predict the future. And I see great times ahead for us.

Call me Gustradamus.

No, seriously.

I have a great knack for calling things that become true. But it’s more curse than blessing, in a way that recalls the old Disney Channel sitcom “That’s So Raven”: My psychic powers inevitably embarrass me — so great and terrible they are.

To wit: I was one of a handful of pundits nationwide to say that Joe Biden would win the electoral college with 306 votes, when I did so on KCRW’s “Left, Right and Center.” Amazing, right? But I also said Biden would reach that amount by carrying North Carolina and Florida with the help of Latinos, while losing Arizona and Nevada because of angry whites — and we all know how that went.

Or take 2018, when I told the Laguna Woods Democratic Club before the midterm election that Orange County Democrats would pick up some congressional seats but not many. I was so sure of my prognostication that I made a bet: I would register with them if OC Dems won a majority of their House races.

That year, Orange County made history by having an all-blue congressional delegation for the first time.


So I had to register with a political party for the first time in my life.

But we digress: Behold my forecast for 2021. All portend to brighter days ahead for a state that needs all the good news we can get. I’m a lesser California prophet — more Fritz Coleman than Mike Davis — but if I get even a quarter of them right, I promise to leave my columnist position and spend the rest of my days playing baccarat on your dime at the Commerce Casino.

So let’s deal out the proverbial cards and hope for aces.

—Now that any ambitions Eric Garcetti had for a post in Biden’s administration went the way of in-class schooling, he will become a competent mayor whose achievements will please everyone. Chief among them is finally getting a clue.

—After getting dragged kicking and screaming out of the Oval Office, Donald Trump will repent of his past, give up all his holdings except his golf club in Rancho Palos Verdes, and devote himself to a life of contemplation — and meditation — from his Tibet by the sea. (There will be so much meditation. It’ll be the best meditation!) A year later, he’ll announce a new religion that makes Catholicism seem as self-flagellating as “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

—Taking stock of the ongoing coronavirus shutdown and the booming success of its streaming services, Disney will turn the Happiest Place on Earth into one giant homeless shelter, and retrain its laid-off employees as social workers. The strategy transforms corporations forever, and frees up the Mouse to plan a hundred more series around Baby Yoda.

—Amazon lets its warehouse workers in the Inland Empire unionize. Joyful residents desperate for a middle-class job allow Jeff Bezos to build a fulfillment facility that extends from Eastvale to the Salton Sea.

—LeBron James buys the Midwestern Taco John’s chain solely to take over the copyright for “Taco Tuesday,” which they improbably hold. He dissolves the company after realizing Taco John’s hallmark tater-tot breakfast burritos aren’t as delicious as they sound, and declares “Taco Tuesday” available for anyone to use. Grateful taqueros worldwide create a new taco in honor of King James. Ingredients? All GOAT.


—Wildfires decide to take a year off to let earthquakes take the spotlight. Rising ocean levels decide to recede and turn into a mega-El Niño to remind us of rain.

—A white hipster moves to downtown Los Angeles, realizes that his actions constitute gentrification, and decides to decamp instead to Porter Ranch. Antigentrification activists, bored out of their minds with no one to harangue, beg him to visit them every once in a while.

—Realizing that all restaurants in Southern California remain open, and that you don’t have to dine in to enjoy your favorite diner, eaters order takeout en masse, which save the region’s restaurant scene. And realizing that it’s not about them right now but rather others, consumers give money to their favorite businesses that they would’ve gladly spent in the pre-pandemic days with no expectations of anything in return. The recall movement against Gov. Gavin Newsom quickly vanishes. A bronze statue celebrating the governor — and his hair. Actually, just a giant bronzed pompadour is erected. In Huntington Beach.

The hundreds of thousands of Californians who moved to Texas over the last decade wake up one day and realize they live in Texas. They try to return to California but get stuck at the In-N-Out drive-through line in Scottsdale, Ariz.

—Pope Francis announces the revocation of sainthood for Father Junipero Serra and canonizes Huell Howser as California’s patron saint. The television icon’s official shrine becomes that farm in Fallbrook in that episode where the dog liked to eat avocados.

The coronavirus vaccine rollout in California goes swimmingly as Huntington Beach leads the way. The rest of Southern California, no longer able to use Surf City as a punchline after its change of heart, collectively picks a new civic scapegoat — the wealthy San Fernando Valley city of Hidden Hills — so that we can remember it exists.


Also, world peace. Book it.