- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Lexington Books (July 5, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 073910179X
- ISBN-13: 978-0739101797
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#7,004,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #3517 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Elections & Political Process > Leadership
- #7064 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Elections & Political Process > Elections
- #13355 in Books > Textbooks > Social Sciences > Political Science > Government
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The Keys to the White House
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For generations, politicians, pundits, and poll-takers have been seeking their version of the Holy Grail--a surefire, guaranteed way to predict presidential elections well ahead of time. It may have been found in this book. (David Broder)
This is a must book for political junkies who want to answer one important question about any campaign: Who's going to win? (Baltimore Sun)
Of the hundreds of books written about presidential elections, one of the best is Allan J. Lichtman's The Keys to the White House. (Roll Call)
If you're into American presidential politics, The Keys to the White House is a must, and fun, read. (Toronto Sun)
Do me a favor. Don't read this book. Because if you do, it could put all of us pundits and political consultants out of business. Allan Lichtman has some nerve, revealing our trade secrets to the great unwashed public. Including the biggest secret of all, which is that the presidential vote is simple, rational, and highly predictable. (Schneider, William)
About the Author
Allan J. Lichtman is Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History at American University.
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Professor Lichtman has devised a system for predicting the outcome of presidential elections. He posits that there are 13 conditions, which he calls "keys", that have an impact on whether the incumbent party will retain the presidency or whether the challenging party will take over. If eight or more of the keys line up in favor of the incumbent party, the party in power stays in power; if seven or fewer of the keys line up in favor of the incumbents, the White House changes hands.
The keys have accounted accurately for the results of each of the 37 presidential elections held in the United States since 1860.
The fact that the system almost failed several times suggests that someday the keys will not predict an election accurately. James Garfield just barely won in 1880 despite having just four keys turned against him; Richard Nixon just barely lost in 1960 even though he had a staggering nine keys against him; Hubert Humphrey just barely lost in 1968 despite having had eight keys against him; and Gerald Ford just barely lost in 1976 even though eight keys were turned against him.
Even George W. Bush might have won the popular vote in 2000 even though only five keys were against Al Gore, if the networks had not made their bogus Florida projection and had not rushed to call states for Gore on Election Night, while carefully deliberating before awarding Bush his states on Election Night, in order to try to create a bandwagon effect by making it seem as though a Democratic victory was imminent (see Chapter 2 of Bill Sammon's At Any Cost).
However, the fact that the system has gone 37 for 37 so far is reason enough to read this book.
Lichtman closes by offering advice based on the keys. Since elections turn on big issues (war and peace, the economy, etc.) that largely cannot be whitewashed to seem different than they actually are, he suggests that candidates refrain from negative campaigning. He also advises that parties abandon ideological posturing, as when parties move to the center--a stinging rebuke to the Republicans of 2008, who seem to think that the way to win is to move leftward on global warming, immigration, the environment, etc.
Political junkies anywhere on the political spectrum--conservative, moderate, or liberal--will devour this book the way little kids devour chocolate and hard-boiled eggs on Easter morning.