Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

The Secret Biden Voter

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 29, 2020

Last go ’round, we were surprised by “the secret Trump voters.”

No one predicted Trump’s victory – no one except for Professor Dr. Allan Lichtman, PhD.

He was the only one.

Of course, narcissist that he is, Trump thought it was just hyperbole, and thanked Dr. Lichtman – who himself is a Democrat.

This year, we’ll be surprised by “The Secret Biden Voters.”

But it won’t be a surprise.

In 1981, in conjunction with the now-late Vladimir Keilis-Borok (1921-2013), a Russian-born seismologist and geophysicist who worked on developing a reliable system of earthquake prediction, and taught at UCLA, Dr. Lichtman, who professes history at American University, developed a statistical model of accurately predicting the outcome of Presidential elections.

The October 23, 2013 LA Times obituary for Dr. Keilis-Borok mentioned his collaboration with Professor Lichtman:

“In his spare time, Keilis-Borok turned his analytical skills on other phenomena, including presidential elections. After meeting American University historian Allan J. Lichtman in 1981 when both were visiting professors at Caltech, he proposed a collaboration to use his earthquake prediction methods to forecast the outcome of presidential contests.

““I said, ‘Wow, that sounds a little odd,’” Lichtman recalled in an interview this week. “But his methodology,” he said, “was perfected suited to my theory,” which examined patterns associated with upheaval or stability in the political environment. According to Lichtman, his work with Keilis-Borok has accurately divined the winner of the popular vote in every presidential election since 1981.

“‘It was one of the triumphs of his career,” Lichtman said, adding that the scientist “would have liked to have gotten more credit for his earthquake predictions.””

His “keys” system is comprised of 13 True/False criteria which reliably predict whether the incumbent will win re-election, or not.

While not without detractors – such as FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, who says it contains subjective criteria – the system has proven accurate in every Presidential election since 1980.

In a September 12, 2011 rebuttal to Nate Silver’s criticism, Professor Dr. Lichtman wrote a letter which was published in the New York Times column authored by Nate Silver. In it, Dr. Lichtman wrote in part that,

“I developed the keys in 1981 in collaboration with Volodia Keilis-Borok, a world renowned authority on prediction methods. The keys are based on a retrospective analysis of elections from 1860 (the beginning of the modern Republican vs. Democratic era) to 1980 and using a theoretical model, not random data-mining. The theory behind the keys is that presidential elections are determined primarily by the performance of the party holding the White House. This is a very positive message: it suggests that the American electorate makes reasoned, pragmatic decisions in presidential elections and is not manipulated by the pollsters, the admen, and the consultants. It suggests that it is governing not campaigning that counts in presidential elections.”

“Attention to the material in my book and articles would also have assuaged much of Mr. Silver’s worries about the subjectivity of some keys. A degree of judgment is required to answer some of the key questions, because the real world cannot accurately be captured by so-called “objective” questions alone. However, the amount of subjectivity is far less than meets the eye, given the careful definition of each key in the published material, the record of how each key was turned in the 38 elections from 1860 to 2008, and the successful predictions from 1984 to 2008 – elasticity on calling the keys cannot explain the correct prediction of elections with unknown outcomes.”

He also wrote that, “the keys were not designed to predict vote percentages. They were designed to forecast whether the incumbent or challenging party will prevail in the popular vote, regardless of the margin of victory.”

Dr. Lichtman’s technical articles and scholarly work has been “published in peer reviewed journals (for example, International Journal Of Forecasting (April-June 2008) and International Journal Of Information Systems & Social Change (January-March 2010),” among others.

Professor Dr. Lichtman’s website – https://www.Lichtman2020.com/ – states that,

“The 13 Keys are statements that favor victory (in the popular vote count) for the incumbent party. When five or fewer statements are false, the incumbent party is predicted to win the popular vote; when six or more are false, the challenging party is predicted to win the popular vote.”

Professor Dr. Lichtman recently authored an in-depth article about his 13 Keys to the White House, which was published on October 27, 2020 in the Harvard Data Science Review, a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal of statistics and data science.

In that article, he acknowledged the rapid decline of the Trump presidency which thereby changed the trajectory of the election by writing that,

“In late 2019, with the presidential election less than a year away, President Donald Trump was likely cruising to a second term in office, according to my Keys to the White House model. Then, a few months later, everything changed when two national crises converged on America: the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide protests against racial injustice. These extraordinary events and President Trump’s feckless response have put his reelection in jeopardy, according to the Keys. Not since the Keys were first applied to presidential elections in 1860 (retrospectively), has such a dramatic reversal of fortune on the system occurred in just a few months.”

Also in that article, he published a more thoroughly detailed enumeration of the 13 criteria (the algorithm) which, when each point is examined using a True/False (Yea/Nay) question, determines which candidate which each point/criteria favors – the incumbent, or the challenger. The determination/decision is made when 5 or more statements are false, the incumbent is predicted to win the Popular Vote. When 6 or more are false, the challenger is predicted to win the Popular Vote.

Table 1. The 13 Keys to the White House. The Keys are statements that favor the reelection of the incumbent party. When five or fewer statements are false, the incumbent party wins. When six or more are false, the challenging party wins.

KEY 1 (Party Mandate): After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than it did after the previous midterm elections.

KEY 2 (Contest): There is no serious contest for the incumbent‑party nomination.

KEY 3 (Incumbency): The incumbent‑party candidate is the sitting president.

KEY 4 (Third party): There is no significant third‑party or independent campaign.

KEY 5 (Short‑term economy): The economy is not in recession during the election campaign.

KEY 6 (Long‑term economy): Real per‑capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms.

KEY 7 (Policy change): The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy.

KEY 8 (Social unrest): There is no sustained social unrest during the term.

KEY 9 (Scandal): The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal.

KEY 10 (Foreign/military failure): The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs.

KEY 11 (Foreign/military success): The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs.

KEY 12 (Incumbent charisma): The incumbent‑party candidate is charismatic or a national hero.

KEY 13 (Challenger charisma): The challenging‑party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero.

The “keys” this go ’round now favor the challenger – the Democrat, former Vice President, Joe Biden.

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