A number of statisticians and political scientists have attempted to predict the winner of the presidential elections for many years. But one man, Professor Allan Lichtman, has correctly predicted every single winner for the last 30 years, starting in 1984. And this year, he’s predicting that Donald Trump will win the presidency.
Lichtman, a professor of history at American University, uses 13 “keys” to predicting the winner, which he describes in his book, Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House 2016. According to an interview with Lichtman in The Washington Post, these keys are:
Party Mandate: After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than after the previous midterm elections.
Contest: There is no serious contest for the incumbent party nomination.
Incumbency: The incumbent party candidate is the sitting president.
Third party: There is no significant third party or independent campaign.
Short-term economy: The economy is not in recession during the election campaign.
Long-term economy: Real per capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms.
Policy change: The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy.
Social unrest: There is no sustained social unrest during the term.
Scandal: The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal.
Foreign/military failure: The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs.
Foreign/military success: The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs.
Incumbent charisma: The incumbent party candidate is charismatic or a national hero.
Challenger charisma: The challenging party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero.
Lichtman told WaPo that he created the system by reviewing every presidential election from 1860 to 1960, and has used it to accurately predict the winner of the White House in all eight elections that followed.
According to Lichtman, answering the 13 questions “true” or “false” is the key, and where any answer to the questions is “true,” it favors the re-election of the political party currently in the White House. For 2016, this means the Democrats.
The keys reflect his theory that elections are judgments of the incumbent party. If six or more of the keys can be answered “false,” the incumbent party will lose. If fewer than six are false, the party in power will be re-elected for another term.
According to Lichtman, although the current president, Barack Obama, has a 58 percent approval rating, he isn’t running for another term, which immediately provides a “false” answer for No. 3. He also points out in the interview that although the incumbent president is charismatic, his successor, Hillary Clinton isn’t so lucky.
But with the 2016 election, Lichtman is having a little trouble pinning things down because of Donald Trump. He told the WaPo:
‘We’ve never before seen a candidate who’s spent his life enriching himself at the expense of others. He’s the first candidate in our history to be a serial fabricator, making up things as he goes along…
‘Given all of these exceptions that Donald Trump represents, he may well shatter patterns of history that have held for more than 150 years, lose this election even if the historical circumstances favor it.’
Based on Lichtman’s “keys,” Donald Trump will win in November. He pointed out the keys where the Democrats fail:
‘Remember, six keys and you’re out, and right now the Democrats are out — for sure — five keys.
‘Key 1 is the party mandate — how well they did in the midterms. They got crushed.
‘Key number 3 is, the sitting president is not running.
‘Key number 7, no major policy change in Obama’s second term like the Affordable Care Act.
‘Key number 11, no major smashing foreign policy success.
‘And Key number 12, Hillary Clinton is not a Franklin Roosevelt.’
He also brought up Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson as a factor.
‘One of my keys would be that the party in power gets a “false” if a third-party candidate is anticipated to get 5 percent of the vote or more. In his highest polling, Gary Johnson is at about 12 to 14 percent. My rule is that you cut it in half. That would mean that he gets six to seven, and that would be the sixth and final key against the Democrats.