- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; 2016 edition (May 2, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1442269200
- ISBN-13: 978-1442269200
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House 2016th Edition
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Lichtman's book has gone through many editions because his 12 keys to predicting the next president all seem plausible influences on presidential election outcomes. To his credit, Lichtman (history, American Univ.) has called the outcome of every presidential election from 1984 to 2008. Yet some of his model's variables permit a bit of fudging. Two involve the relative "charisma" of the presidential candidates. Similar concerns arise regarding his variables "sustained social unrest," "scandal," and foreign/military "success" and "failure." Reliable measures of any of these "keys" are fraught with peril. This is the case regarding his 2012 prediction of an Obama victory. For example, Lichtman says that neither the Tea Party nor Occupy Wall Street movements are a sign of sustained social unrest, but that remains a judgment call. Perhaps the best way to understand Lichtman's prior success is that he correctly defined some fuzzy factors for several elections. But given the ambiguity of several "keys," future predictions have considerable capacity for error. The book does not discover the Rosetta Stone of election forecasts, but instead reveals one scholar's able series of educated guesses. Summing Up: Recommended. (CHOICE) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Allan J. Lichtman teaches history at American University in Washington, D.C. He is a regular political analyst for CNN Headline News and also provides political commentary for national networks and newspapers. He is the author of White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement.
He has published more than one hundred scholarly and popular articles that have appeared in such
journals and newspapers as the American Historical Review, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, New Republic, Washington Monthly, New York Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and Los Angeles Times.
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I did statistical forecasting for 30 years and I have critiqued many types of forecasts. This is a crude method but I do like it. Often simple models work well and are appropriate. The most important issues are whether the variables make sense and whether the model works over a long period. These variables all make sense and the model seems to work. Some would criticize the variables for being subjective or subject to interpretation but they are not all that subjective and as Lichtman says, that is the nature of the beast. We are dealing with history, not quantitative matters. Was Clinton charismatic or a national hero? Some could argue but I think that is a NO. Has the administration had NO major failure in foreign or military affairs? Again, one could argue but I think that is a NO. You can view the 13 Keys with the Look Inside feature.
Has Lichtman got the magic formula? It might be improved with more sophisticated statistical work. I would not bet my life savings on it but it is extremely intelligent and interesting and worth thinking about. He is a serious scholar and first rate historian.
I create educational websites, Midwest Independent Research. I have one on democracy and politics, mwir-democracyandpolitics.blogspot com and one on research and statistics, mwir-researchandstats.blogspot com. Both have book lists.
Well according to Lichtman, "history shows that a pragmatic American electorate chooses a president according to the performance of the party holding the White House, as measured by the consequential events and episodes of a term— economic boom and bust, foreign policy successes and failures, social unrest, scandal, and policy innovation. If the nation fares well during the term of the incumbent party, that party wins another four years in office; otherwise, the challenging party prevails. "
He says "Debates, advertising, television appearances, news coverage, and campaign strategies— the usual grist for the punditry mills— count for virtually nothing on Election Day. The only issues that matter are the ones for which the results are already in before the campaign begins."
He identifies thirteen diagnostic questions that he calls "Keys to the White House." These questions are stated as propositions favoring re-election of the incumbent party. When five or fewer of these propositions are false or turned against the party holding the White House, that party wins another term in office. When six or more are false, the challenging party wins.
It's all laid out in the book, which I’m finding to be a very interesting read. I don't know if he is 100% right or if his system will always predict the outcome of an election, but I find this perspective a refreshing change from the usual pre-election horse race coverage, and post-election finger pointing and hand wringing about how the loser might have won if only she had run a better campaign or been a 75-year old populist, socialist.
So according to the news, Lichtman picked Trump to win. Six keys were against the Democrats to hold on. That's enough to lose.
HOWEVER, Lichtman's keys predict, he states over and over, the popular vote. The Democrats won the popular vote. He predicted Al Gore who won the popular vote.
So the Trump prediction was wrong. Can you have it both ways?
I agree that the book could be shortened - the meat is in the first two chapters with the rest of the book outlining the historical evidence for his claims. All in all, a very good book that I hope proves (in this election) that actual government performance is what wins the White House.
I'm not saying which candidate I'm supporting, but I believe in the "Keys" :)