Allan Lichtman, who serves on the faculty of American University in Washington DC, based his decision by creating a list of 13 different factors that influence the US electorate, which he published in the book Keys to the White House. “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,” Lichtman told the Washington Post.
Each of the 13 keys developed by the history professor is based on a true/false statement, covering factors as diverse as whether candidate charisma, a record of failure in foreign or military affairs, whether the US economy is in recession during the campaign, and how power is held in the House of Representatives before or after the most recent midterm elections.
Given that the Republican Party performed far better at those elections and that the Democratic candidate is not the incumbent president, two of the keys go to Trump. Hillary Clinton’s lack of charisma is seen as another boon for the former reality TV star, with Donald Trump taking six of the keys in total – just enough to claim victory. But Lichtman told the Post that this year might come with one major electoral catch.
“Donald Trump had made this the most difficult election to assess since 1984. We have never before seen a candidate like Donald Trump, and Donald Trump may well break patterns of have held since 1860. We’ve never before seen a candidate who’s spent his life enriching himself at the expense of others,” the history professor said. “He’s the first candidate in our history to be a serial fabricator, making up things as he goes along… Given all of these exceptions that Donald Trump represents, he may well shatter patterns of history have held for more than 150 years, lose this election even if the historical circumstances favour it.”