Historian Allan Lichtman: Democrats Might Do Better With An "Off-The-Wall" 2020 Candidate Rather Than Safe Establishment Pick

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Alan Lichtman, an American University professor who has correctly predicted the outcome of the past nine presidential elections and author of The Case For Impeachment," told HILL.TV this week that based on his predictive system Donald Trump might be on course to win in 2020 unless the economy falters or he is impeached.

He also had some suggestions for Democrats about who to nominate to defeat Trump, saying "the conventional wisdom is all wrong."





"The conventional wisdom you hear from Nancy Pelosi and others is we need to go down the center line and nominate an establishment, experienced, proven candidate, and they’ve done that many times," he said, listing: "Mike Dukakis in 1988, Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton."

"And what do they all have in common? They all lost," he said. "It’s the off-the-wall candidates -- the Carters, the [Bill] Clintons, the Obamas -- who no one expected who have won."

JAMAL SIMMONS, THE HILL: Can I ask you about your "Keys to Re-Election"? You are predicting that Donald Trump at this point would be re-elected?

ALAN LICHTMAN: Not really, that's not a formal prediction... There aren't enough to count him out.

SAAGAR ENJETI, THE HILL: Tell us the methodology?

ALAN LICHTMAN: The methodology [for predicting presidential elections], and I developed this in 1981 examining every election from 1860 to 1980, so from the horse and buggy days to the modern era, and the basic thesis is that presidential elections have little or nothing to do with campaigns, ads, speeches, issues, or ideology, but are a referendum up or down of the strength and performance of the party holding the White House, and almost all the keys gauge that in a simple yes/no true/false questions, like: Is the economy in recession during the election year? Has the party in power lost seats in the midterms?

And if six or more of these go against the party in power, they lose. Right now Donald Trump only has three! A lot is going to happen in the next year and a half, but the scandal key is so critical because it would diminish his cushion, and is one of those keys that has been a trigger key for other keys.

JAMAL SIMMONS: It sounds like what you're doing right now is like a mid-semester progress report.

ALAN LICHTMAN: I would agree with that.

SAAGAR ENJTI: Who are you looking at in the Democratic field? Say those keys could be turned, how is somebody in the Democratic field who could be able to turn the keys to take President Trump out?

ALAN LICHTMAN: Great question, and again, the conventional wisdom is all wrong. The conventional wisdom you hear from Nancy Pelosi and others is we need to go down the center line and nominate an establishment, experienced, proven candidate, and they’ve done that many times.

Mike Dukakis in 1988, Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and what do they all have in common? They all lost.

It’s the off-the-wall candidates -- the Carters, the Clintons, the Obamas -- who no one expected who have won.

What I've been saying is, if there is one word I would strike out of the political lexicon it is "electability."

...

History does change, but the "Keys" system is very robust. As I said, I looked at elections all the way back to 1860s. We still had slavery, my ancestors from Eastern Europe weren't here yet, women didn't vote, we were in the horse and buggy era. So the system has really survived a lot of historical changes. Is it infallible forever? Who knows?

But I've been told many times, it can't work in 2008 because we have an African American candidate, it can't work in 2016 because we have a woman candidate and that changes everything, and I remain steadfast. Until I'm proven wrong, I'm going to say this system works.

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