One reason the Republican Congress failed to repeal and replace Obamacare after January 2017 is that they were anticipating a Democratic White House for another four years. Plan A was to keep voting for repeal, thus keeping the Republican voter base happy — as Clinton’s veto spared the GOP responsibility for any real-world results. They had no Plan B.
Who knows what Vladimir Putin really thinks about anything? But a plausible view of his reason for interfering in the U.S. election was not to elect Trump, an objective every expert considered far-fetched, but to weaken the likely winner in November, Clinton, whom he had long despised.
We could go on and on. The main point is that politicians and bureaucrats try to fine-tune their futures based on overrated information — and this is probably inevitable. For them to behave otherwise would be to admit they’re playthings of history, rather than what the typical public official thinks he or she is: a leader.