American University Professor Allan Lichtman has accurately predicted* every presidential race since 1984 based on his 13 "keys" that decide who will win the White House.
"The Keys to the White House" is a historically based prediction system," he told The Washington Post in 2016.
"I derived the system by looking at every American presidential election from 1860 to 1980, and have since used the system to correctly predict the outcomes of all eight American presidential elections from 1984 to 2012."
The keys, which are explained in-depth in Lichtman's book "Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House 2016" 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.
via DCAALF / Twitter
"The keys are 13 true/false questions, where an answer of 'true' always favors the reelection of the party holding the White House," he explained.
"And if six or more of the 13 keys are false — that is, they go against the party in power — they lose. If fewer than six are false, the party in power gets four more years," he continued.
Lichtman shocked a lot of people in 2016 when he correctly predicted that Donald Trump would beat Hillary Clinton, even though he was well behind her in the polls at the time.
In an op-ed for The New York Times, Lichtman gave his prediction for the 2020 presidential election and he believes Joe Biden will win, bit it'll be close.
"The keys predict that Trump will lose the White House," Lichtman said.
Lichtman says that Trump has some positives on his side: he's the incumbent, he's avoided any military failures, he's running against an "uncharismatic challenger," and faced no significant challenge for his party's nomination.
However, he believes Biden will win because more of his "keys" work in his favor. He says that Trump's multiple scandals, civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the current state of the economy all play into Biden's hands.
Lichtman trusts his opinion but that doesn't mean that the election is over.
He says there are "there are forces at play outside the keys," namely Russian interference and voter suppression.
"It's up to you, the voter, to decide the future of our democracy," he says. "So, get out and vote. Vote in person. Vote by mail."
You heard the man. Get out there and vote.
*Lichtman predicted that Al Gore would beat George W. Bush in the 2000 election. Gore won the popular vote but the Supreme Court stopped the recount in Florida which Gore may have won, so Lichtman stands by his decision.
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