How Donald Trump Could Upend Decades of Accurate Election Predictions

What is Allan Lichtman's prediction for the 2016 Presidential election? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Allan Lichtman, Distinguished Professor of History: American University, Political Analyst, on Quora.

To develop my prediction for who will wil the presidential election, I used my model known as the Keys to the White House. The Keys model is based on the analysis of every American presidential election from 1860 to 1980. It consists of 13 true/false questions, where an answer of true favors the reelection of the party holding the White House. If 6 or more keys are false, the White House party is predicted to lose an upcoming election. I have used the keys to correctly forecast the outcomes of all American presidential elections from 1984 to 2012.

Currently, the keys very narrowly point to the defeat of the incumbent Democrats with exactly 6 keys turned against them: midterm election losses, the lack of a sitting president running, a significant third party movement, lack of policy change in the Obama second term, lack of a major foreign policy success, and lack of an inspirational Democratic Party candidate. However, for the first time in more than 30 years, my prediction comes with a caveat. First, the negative call on the third-party key is shaky, given that libertarian Gary Johnson seems to be fading. Second, Donald Trump is such a dangerously unprecedented candidate that he may be the one Republican who could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in this election. For example, at one point during the Republican primaries of 2012, Herman Cain was the leading candidate. Yet accusations of sexual harassment from 3 or 4 women drove him out of the race. Yet Trump continues on despite accusations of sexual harassment and assault from 12 women and despite bragging about sexually assaulting women. He has demeaned not only women, but African Americans, Hispanics, and the disabled. He is backed by the KKK and other white supremacist and anti-Semitic groups. He has falsely claimed the election is rigged against him. He has no record of public service, but a record of enriching himself at the expense of others. He has broken with a decades-long tradition by refusing to release his tax returns, etc.

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