Analyst with history of predicting 8 of 9 presidential elections says 2020 ‘too close to call’

Screengrab CBS News

Given that we have no idea at this point who President Donald Trump’s Democratic opponent will be in the 2020 election, an assessment of the race from the professor who predicted Trump’s victory says much about two-party control of our elections.

Professor Allan J. Lichtman, a political historian at American University who predicted the winner of eight of the last nine presidential elections, told the New York Post that 2020 is still officially “too close to call.”

“This is a very close and very difficult call. I don’t think either the Democrats or the Republicans should be sending up any victory flags at this point,” Lichtman declared. “Too much is still up in the air and in the age of Trump, things can change very quickly.”

Beginning with who emerges from a dismal field of Democratic candidates and how impeachment plays out when and if it reaches the U.S. Senate.

Lichtman is well known for a set of 13 criteria which he has used to make his prediction, as detailed in his 1996 book, “The Keys to the White House,” the Post noted. Scandal, foreign military failure, and social unrest are included among the metrics.

The only election the professor has gotten wrong since Reagan was the 2000 race between George W. Bush and Al Gore — the hanging chad election, courtesy of the state of Florida. Lichtman had predicted Gore would win the popular vote, which he did, but Bush prevailed in the electoral college.

“2000 was a stolen election,” Lichtman insists, rejecting the outcome.

In September 2016, when most polling had Hillary Clinton well out in front, the professor was predicting a Trump upset.

Citing a gut feeling, he also said shortly after Trump was elected that impeachment would be likely — of course, Lichtman wasn’t alone in that assessment, the Washington Post ran an article on the day Trump was inaugurated titled, “The campaign to impeach President Trump has begun.”

Lichtman, a vocal Trump critic, supports the Democratic Party’s partisan effort to unseat a duly elected president, telling the Post that it was good for the country.

“If he’s not held accountable, he’s just going continue what he’s been doing and you will set a precedent for any future president to rig elections by working with a foreign nation,” Lichtman said. “Even if it doesn’t result in conviction in the Senate, a real red flashing warning sign will be put up. Otherwise, our democracy could go down in flames.”

Fortunately for Trump supporters, while he says impeachment doesn’t help Trump’s reelection chances, the professor said it doesn’t hurt them either.

“The party holding the White House would have to lose six keys to count them out,” he said. “If you add in the inevitable impeachment, that would be a fourth key.”

This leaves a deficit of two keys, though Lichtman said the fallout from a House vote and a subsequent Senate trial could eventually lead to other keys being met.

For a better feel on Lichtman’s mindset, he took to Twitter on Thursday to suggest the president and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani were scheming to “cheat” in the election, citing Giuliani’s recent trip to Ukraine.


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