Opinion | He Predicted Trump’s Win in 2016. Now He’s Ready to Call 2020.

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This is professor Allan Lichtman. He’s taught history at American University for almost 50 years. He’s a former steeplechase champion. “It’s a race designed for horses but run by people.” “Tic-Tac-Dough.” And a former quiz show winner. “I had a 16-show winning streak. Won four cars.” But we’re not here to talk about any of that. We’re here because “Allan Lichtman” “Allan Lichtman” “Allan Lichtman” is the Nostradamus of presidential elections. He’s accurately predicted them for four decades. Yes, even that one. “Donald Trump sent me a note. Congrats professor. Good call. In his big Sharpie letters.” Now Allan’s ready to tell us who will win in 2020. But we’ll come back to that. Allan Lichtman is certain we’ve been thinking about elections all wrong. “The pollsters and the pundits cover elections as though they were horse races. But history tells us voters are not fooled by the tricks of the campaign. Voters vote pragmatically according to how well the party holding the White House has governed the country.” So polls are worthless? “They are snapshots in time. None of this in the end has any impact whatsoever on the outcome of a presidential election.” So Allan Lichtman designed a better system to predict presidential winners. He calls it “The Keys to the White House.” And like some other politics these days, there’s a Russian involved. “In 1981, I met Vladimir Keilis-Borok. Vladimir turned to me and said, we are going to collaborate.” By the way, Vladimir wasn’t a historian or a politician. He was a leading expert in predicting earthquakes. “This point, I thought the guy was either nuts or KGB.” He wasn’t. “We recast American presidential elections as stability, the party holding the White House keeps the White House. And earthquake, the White House party is turned out of power.” So they got to work. “We looked at every presidential election from 1860 to 1980.” What they found were 13 keys. Only two of which have anything to do with the traits of the candidates. Allan has used the keys to accurately predict every election. First in 1984, calling it two years early before anyone even knew who Reagan’s contender would be. In 1988, calling it in spring when Bush was trailing Dukakis. Again in ‘92, ‘96 and in 2000, when he called it for Al Gore? Hey, Allan. “No, no, I wasn’t wrong. I correctly predicted that Al Gore would win the popular vote. When I first developed the system in ‘81, you had to go all the way back to 1888 to find a divergence between the popular vote and the Electoral College vote.” So Allan eventually started calling the winner, not just the popular vote, which was useful 16 years later when, well, you know. “I’m a Democrat. And the toughest thing in being a forecaster is to keep your own politics out of it.” But that’s enough history, professor. Let’s get to it. What do Allan’s 13 keys predict for 2020? “And remember, an answer of ‘true’ always favors the re-election of the White House party. If six or more of the keys are false, you get a political earthquake.” OK, No. 1: The White House party gained House seats between midterm elections. “Republicans lost the U.S. House midterms in 2018. So false.” No. 2: There is no primary contest for the White House party. “No Republicans challenged Trump for his renomination. So true.” No. 3: The incumbent seeking. The sitting president is running for re-election. “Doesn’t look like he’s stepping down, so true.” Four: There is no third-party challenger. “Despite claims by Kanye West to be running, this is a two-party race.” This is looking pretty good for Trump so far. No. 5: The short-term economy is strong. “The pandemic has pushed the economy into recession. False.” Six: Long-term economic growth during this presidential term has been as good as the past two terms. “The pandemic has caused such negative G.D.P. growth in 2020 that the key has turned false.” No. 7: The White House has made major changes to national policy. “Through his big tax cut, but mostly through his executive orders, Trump has fundamentally changed the policies of the Obama era. So true.” No. 8: There is no social unrest during the term. “There has been considerable social unrest on the streets, with enough violence to threaten the social order. So false.” No. 9: The White House is untainted by scandal. “My favorite key. As I predicted, Trump was impeached. Plus he has plenty of other scandals. So false.” No. 10: The White House has no major foreign or military failures abroad. “We’ve had some very difficult moments with Donald Trump. But so far, true.” 11: The White House has a major success abroad. “While Trump hasn’t had any big splashy failures, he hasn’t had any major successes either. So false.” 12: The incumbent-party candidate is charismatic. “Donald Trump is a great showman. But he only appeals to a narrow slice of the American people. And as a result, false.” 13: The challenger is uncharismatic. “Biden is a decent empathetic person, but he’s not inspirational or charismatic. So true.” That means — “The keys predict that Trump will lose the White House.” That’s Allan Lichtman’s prediction. And Allan Lichtman is always right. “Don’t just take my word for it. There are forces at play outside the keys — voter suppression, Russian meddling. It’s up to you the voters to decide the future of our democracy. So get out and vote. Vote in person. Vote by mail. As Abraham Lincoln said, the best way to predict the future is to choose it.” [MUSIC PLAYING]

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