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Has anyone ever read The Keys to the White House by Allan Lichtman? It proposes a system of 13 keys, or qualifications, that can indicate whether or not the incumbent party will remain in the White House for four more years. It has a very good track record, correctly predicting the outcome of almost every election since 1984 except for the 2000 election, and made one of the few predictions in favor of a Trump victory in 2016. I bet we can use it indicate the 2020 outcome all the same.

Trump needs five or less of the keys to be false (and eight or more right) in order to secure reelection. The election should be more of a toss-up if the score is 7-6. They go as follows:
* Party Mandate: After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than after the previous midterm elections.
* Contest: There is no serious contest for the incumbent party nomination.
* Incumbency: The incumbent party candidate is the sitting president.
* Third party: There is no significant third party or independent campaign.
* Short term economy: The economy is not in recession during the election campaign.
* Long term economy: Real per capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms.
* Policy change: The incumbent administration enacts major changes in national policy.
* Social unrest: There is no sustained social unrest during the term.
* Scandal: The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal.
* Foreign/military failure: The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs.
* Foreign/military success: The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs.
* Incumbent charisma: The incumbent party candidate is charismatic or a national hero.
* Challenger charisma: The challenging party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero.

To clarify the requirements for the second and fourth keys, a serious primary contest is defined as having the opponent secure at least one-third of delegates while a significant third party bid results in that candidate winning at least 5% of the vote. The most obvious ones seem to be keys 2 and 3 in Trump's favor, and 1 and 9 for the Democrats.
I am familiar with this. Explanations:

1. This is a tough standard, one that few incumbent Presidents find working for them. Promises often come with costs, and what sounds wonderful often has problems -- including resistance from powerful interests. Just think of the massive reform that Barack Obama promised on health care that, if fully enacted, would cut costs and make medical care more accessible. The only problem is that some people waxed fat on high costs built into the system. Anyone who fails to recognize the virtue of profits irrespective of costs to the common man ignores that the people who make those profits will rebuke anyone who challenges those profits. If you think healthcare costs are difficult to challenge, then think of how difficult it was to put an end to chattel slavery.

2. I was unaware of a numerical value for such a challenge. I thought that it was enough to have someone with some widespread credibility as an opponent of the incumbent. Thus a Lyn Larouche or David DuKKKe, a fringe character, does not matter. The last five incumbent Presidents (Reagan, the elder Bush, Clinton, Dubya, and Obama sailed through the nomination process). Ford faced a challenge from Ronald Reagan, and Carter faced a challenge from Ted Kennedy. Good feelings within the Party don't get put together quickly, and if there is a meaningful challenge, then the opposition Party will exploit it in negative ads. Trump has violated plenty of canons of the center-right, and just about any Democrat will be able to exploit those.

3. Enough said. The incumbent President has control of the agenda, which is ordinarily a huge advantage.

4. Third Parties can ruin an incumbent Party's campaign by taking away part of the Party's natural constituency. To be sure, this criterion (Ross Perot) hurt the elder Bush in 1992 no more than it hurt Bill Clinton in 1996. The Nader vote in 2000 was much larger than the winning margins for Dubya in both Florida and New Hampshire -- and voters for Nader were not taking votes away from Dubya; either state would have tipped the election for Al Gore. The George Wallace candidacy of 1968 got a bigger share of the popular vote than the margin by which Nixon won in the following states:

OK 8
VA 12
NC 12
TN 11
FL 14
SC 8
KY 8
WI 12
DE 3
CA 40
IL 26
AK 3
OH 26
NJ 17
MO 12

Wallace really was a big-government pol, a veritable socialist. He differed from the Democratic establishment only in his racism. Nixon won 301 electoral votes, and Humphrey won 191... but it is relatively easy to see how Humphrey could have gotten 79 more electoral votes from this combination of states. You might ignore California because Nixon was from California.

5. Since Hoover, economic stewardship has become de facto a responsibility of the President who has some control over monetary policy (which Hoover bungled severely). Administrations can buy elections through loose fiscal and monetary policy, only to achieve stagflation; Nixon won big in 1972 only to cost re-election bids of Ford and Carter. Stagflation may not be a recession, but it implies under-investment for which society will pay heavily. It is far easier to challenge a President who has the misfortune to have high unemployment and falling securities prices.

6. Presidents get credit for economic growth out of a recession or a depression, and not doing as well as the predecessor at that does not look good. After a recession or depression is underway, expectations go down, which makes things easier for any incumbent President.

7. Nothing is said on whether the policy change is benign or catastrophic. A President capable of forcing change is more effective than one who can't.

8. Every President will face some dissent, but as long as it does not transmute into riots and ethnic or religious violence, things aren't so bad.

9. Scandals involving the Presidency are extremely rare. Getting away with a scandal might be possible for a while; Nixon was doing fine until people thought that the Watergate scandal was more than a third-rate burglary. Dubya got away with a corrupt boom from shady lending... but that would lead to a financial panic that would destroy any chance of John McCain winning the Presidency. The Teapot Dome scandal fizzled out with honest prosecutions under Harding's successor.

At worst, scandals can result in an impeachment. The scandals implode the Trump Presidency, and those might be enough to take him down. Americans have shown that they have little tolerance for political corruption except under machine governments whether in such a giant city as Chicago or in some hamlet in Mississippi in which white people will vote for a corrupt white Republican over an honest black Democrat or in which black people will vote for a corrupt black Democrat over an honest white Republican solely due to the tribal (ethnic) split in the electorate.

10. What is a major failure? The 'loss' of a seemingly reliable ally that is shakier than people realize. Military defeat (rare in American history). Republicans were never going to let Truman get away with "losing" China, and they were never going to let Carter get away with "losing" Iran.

11. The opposite of #10... turning an enemy into a mere rival... military success... getting a peace treaty or an arrangement to reduce the stock of nuclear weapons.

12. You know charisma when you see it.
13. Ditto.
Based on how you explained them, here would be Trump's standing at this point in the campaign

1. Republicans not only lost seats, but the entire House was flipped. This is a clear Democratic point.

2. Especially given that various states have cancelled their primaries, I don't see Bill Weld or Joe Walsh securing one-third of the delegates, let alone with both of them in the race. This is a point for Trump.

3. Clearly in favor of Trump.

4. Still up in the air as a third party could rise or fizzle by Election Day.

5/6. Both of these two are tentatively in Trump's favor, although the economy could always change.

7. People will always disagree on certain policies, but a president benefits from doing so as it gives them a reputation of being an efficient governor. Outside of executive actions, the only major legislative change has been the tax cut, although Congress passing USMCA or an infrastructure bill puts this key more firmly in Trump's favor. For now, I think it would be a slight Democratic key, but if you were to count things Trump has done on his own it's another for him. If there's anything Trump is effective at, it's being a promoter, so things like the tariffs or emergency funding may come off as successes.

8. Nothing like the '60s unrest or Los Angeles/Ferguson riots. This is a key for Trump.

9. Impeachment hearings prior to an election is never a good look, and gives another key to the Democrats.

10. No major changes abroad or military defeats from what I can tell, although an ISIS resurgence wouldn't go over well. Thankfully for the world, that hasn't happened, and also means it's a Trump key.

11. Baghdadi being killed probably counts as a foreign success, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's a common subject at his 2020 rallies, so I imagine this is another Trump key. Another accomplishment like a trade deal with China or limiting the NK nuclear program would solidify it, similar to the position of key #7.

12. Charisma is subjective, for this key I'm using whether or not the incumbent candidate has a personal approval rating of over 50% or has served in the military (hence "national hero" wording). Trump has achieved neither so this is a Democratic key.

13. Impossible to tell since the nominee has not been determined. Unlike Biden or Warren, Bernie Sanders has a net positive approval rating of over 50% while Buttigieg has the national service thing going. For this key to flip it would have to be either of those two, but it's all still up in the air with this one.

That brings us to a score of 7-4 in favor of Trump, with a strong third party candidacy or the Democratic nominee yet to be determined, and the economy always a wild card. Counting al-Baghdadi's death as a success while downplaying the tax cuts/executive orders was my way of balancing it because I'm not sure how much they especially matter or demonstrate leadership to the American people. Either way, based on this system Trump is in a better position than it may seem.
I wouldn't give him key #7, but otherwise that looks like a good analysis, Resident. That would make it 6-5 in my count. Looks like a close election with Trump having a slightly better chance.

That's what my two main horoscope indicators say too. But there are caveats.


#6 is against Trump because it is practically impossible to outdo growth out of a recession.

I count #8 against Trump for racist (including antisemitic violence, as antisemitism is racist in practice) violence to which Trump has failed in his response. He has egged on bigotry. I would not fault Republicans for KKK violence against blacks between 1865 and 1932 because Republicans were consistently opposed to it and it largely happened in Democratic states. Trump has not countered bigotry; he has egged it on.
Bullock drops out, the first candidate to leave the campaign with a positive horoscope score (10-7). A member of Generation X, he also faced a Saturn Return if he were elected in 2020 and then ran for re-election in 2024.

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/47...for-senate

Boomer Joe Sestak drops out, adding to the pile of failed candidates with negative scores.
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/joe-ses...ntial-race

Democratic Presidential Nomination, Dec.2 average by Real Clear Politics

Biden27.2
Sanders16.2
Warren14.0
Buttigieg11.4
Bloomberg3.4
Harris3.4
Yang2.8
Klobuchar2.4
Booker1.8
Steyer1.6
Castro1.4
Gabbard1.0
Bennet0.8
Delaney0.6
Williamson0.4
Patrick0.4

Biden +11.0

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/elections/2020/
(11-30-2019, 11:01 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: [ -> ]Americans have shown that they have little tolerance for political corruption except under machine governments whether in such a giant city as Chicago or in some hamlet in Mississippi in which white people will vote for a corrupt white Republican over an honest black Democrat or in which black people will vote for a corrupt black Democrat over an honest white Republican solely due to the tribal (ethnic) split in the electorate.

I dunno; this description seems to apply to almost all Republican voters these days.
(12-02-2019, 11:24 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: [ -> ]Bullock drops out, the first candidate to leave the campaign with a positive horoscope score (10-7). A member of Generation X, he also faced a Saturn Return if he were elected in 2020 and then ran for re-election in 2024.

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/47...for-senate

Boomer Joe Sestak drops out, adding to the pile of failed candidates with negative scores.
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/joe-ses...ntial-race

Democratic Presidential Nomination, Dec.2 average by Real Clear Politics

Biden27.2
Sanders16.2
Warren14.0
Buttigieg11.4
Bloomberg3.4
Harris3.4
Yang2.8
Klobuchar2.4
Booker1.8
Steyer1.6
Castro1.4
Gabbard1.0
Bennet0.8
Delaney0.6
Williamson0.4
Patrick0.4

Biden +11.0

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/elections/2020/

Warren's really dipped a lot from where she was a month ago. Bernie's in the same crowd as her for the most part so it's somewhat of a shock that Buttigieg has been the one to inherit support. On that note, RCP averages in Iowa has doubly surprised me; Buttigieg is leading with 24.0% and Biden has fallen to fourth. I wonder if he takes most of Biden's supporters if the caucuses turn out that way. If so he may assume frontrunner status going into Nevada and South Carolina.
(12-03-2019, 01:20 AM)ResidentArtist Wrote: [ -> ]Warren's really dipped a lot from where she was a month ago. Bernie's in the same crowd as her for the most part so it's somewhat of a shock that Buttigieg has been the one to inherit support. On that note, RCP averages in Iowa has doubly surprised me; Buttigieg is leading with 24.0% and Biden has fallen to fourth. I wonder if he takes most of Biden's supporters if the caucuses turn out that way. If so he may assume frontrunner status going into Nevada and South Carolina.

Buttigieg will probably not wear well either. The polls in New Hampshire are by no means clear; each one shows a different front runner among the four. I don't think he will poll as well in the primaries in larger states and in the South. We'll see, but my prediction is that he will likely not be the nominee, but that if he is, he will lose the election.
I like Elizabeth Warren and what she stands and fights for. And notice she always speaks in terms of "we will fight." Some people are offended by this comparison that I make below, but political caricature and humor is a great tradition in America. In that spirit, I point out that Elizabeth Warren exhibits a decidedly-accurate resemblance to Crusader Rabbit. Not only in her ideals and dedication to fight for worthy causes, but even with her big ears, her smile, her glasses, and her halting, rather pedantic voice and accent, and the fact that her score of 8-7 on my horoscope system indicates she doesn't quite have the strength and candidate skills to beat the Drumpf. But she sure has developed the power to run for office in the highest degree! And she doesn't quit! She is also the Energizer Bunny. She is the archetypal expression of the Mars trine (120-degree angle) Neptune aspect in her chart, which I had already called the aspect of the crusader; the fighter (Mars) for ideals (Neptune). But American voters don't usually prefer crusaders as their president.


[Image: elizabeth-warren-3.jpg?quality=90&strip=...410&crop=1]

I have noticed a raft of failed Democratic candidates who have the natal aspect of Mars trine or sextile (60-degree angle) to Neptune. I have the sextile in my chart myself, so if anything I might be inclined to look on it in a good light. And it's a fine aspect, but not for getting elected president of the USA. And it's mostly Democrats who have this aspect, although the square/opposition between these planets fares somewhat better; less pie in the sky perhaps. Religious-Right Republican candidates also tend to have this aspect. But I give the trine/sextile 2 negative points on my system (no points either way for the sq/opp.). The most notable example on the scene now with this aspect has turned out to be Elizabeth Warren. She may even have Neptune rising.

Others with Mars trine or sextile to Neptune in their natal horoscopes include Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Tulsi Gabbard, Jerry Brown, George McGovern, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, John Kerry, John Edwards, Tom Harkin, Morris Udall, Al Smith, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Barry Goldwater, Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Dennis Kucinich (semi-sextile), Woodrow Wilson (semi-sextile), Teddy Roosevelt, and even Gerald Ford, among others.

Those with the square, opposition or semi-square include Barack Obama, George H W Bush, Jimmy Carter, LBJ, Truman, FDR, William Jennings Bryan, Wendell Willkie, Thomas E. Dewey, Ted Kennedy (accident by water, doncha know), Michael Dukakis, Pat Robertson, Ralph Nader, Kamala Harris.
Crusader Elizabeth Rabbit finds help!



Kamala Harris is now out officially. She's been down for a while, so this is no surprise.
Harris was never going to win. She had the worst horoscope score of the bunch.
List of dropouts and their scores so far:
Kamala Harris, 4-16
Joe Sestak, 3-10
Steve Bullock, 10-7 (the only one with a positive score to drop out so far, and not good enough)
Mark Sanford, 5-7
Beto O'Rourke, 11-26
Seth Moulton, 9-10
Tim Ryan, 3-12
Eric Swalwell, 4-6
Jay Inslee, 3-7
Mike Gravel, 5-10
Kirsten Gillibrand, 7-13
John Hickenlooper, 6-12
Bill DeBlazio, 12-15

Those Democrats still in the race with a negative score are:
Michael Bennett, 8-9
Julian Castro, 8-13
Cory Booker, 6-7
Marianne Williamson, 13-14
Andrew Yang, 8-15
Pete Buttigieg, 7-9

Republicans:
William Weld, 8-13 J
Joe Walsh, 11-13

Those with positive scores still in the race:
Joe Biden, 14-7
Bernie Sanders, 14-7
Elizabeth Warren, 8-7
Mike Bloomberg, 7-5
Tulsi Gabbard, 11-6
Tom Steyer, 11-7
Deval Patrick, 9-6
John Delaney, 7-5
Amy Klobuchar (tie score, 7-7)
Wayne Messam (too unknown, 15-8)

Donald Trump, 9-4

http://philosopherswheel.com/presidentia...ScoredWhat

Sorry for hyping my horoscope scoring system so much, but someone has to Smile It seems to be working, and people can use it to follow how things are shaping up. We'll see if Trump can win with his score, or whether he has blown it, or will blow it, beyond the ability of the planets to rescue him, as it were.
Dec. 10 2019 Real Clear Politics poll averages:

Democratic Presidential Nomination

Biden28.6 horoscope score: 14-7 Generation: Silent
Sanders17.4 14-7 Silent
Warren14.8 8-7 Boomer
Buttigieg9.2 7-9 Millennial
Bloomberg5.4 7-5 Silent
Harris3.7 4-16 Xer (dropped out)
Yang2.8 8-15 Xer
Klobuchar2.6 7-7 Xer
Booker2.0 6-7 Xer
Steyer1.6 11-7 Boomer
Castro1.0 8-13 Xer
Gabbard1.0 11-6 Xer
Patrick0.8 9-6 Xer
Bennet0.8 8-9 Xer
Delaney0.6 7-5 Xer
Williamson0.4 13-14 Boomer

Biden +11.2

Buttigieg falls further; Sanders and Warren recover a bit. Biden stays strong as I predicted, in spite of predictions here by others that he would fall flat. Late entries and weakly-positive-scoring Patrick and Bloomberg are rising a bit. Negative-scoring Yang still hanging on to his 2+ percent. Harris dropped out; stays at 3.7. Gabbard stays at her reduced level of 1.0%. Almost all candidates who have dropped out have negative scores.
Democratic Presidential Nomination Dec.15, 2019
Biden28.2
Sanders19.2
Warren16.4
Buttigieg8.8
Bloomberg5.0
Yang3.4
Klobuchar3.2
Booker2.2
Gabbard2.0
Steyer1.4
Castro1.0
Bennet0.8
Williamson0.6
Delaney0.4

Biden +9.0

update Dec.16:
Democratic Presidential Nomination
Patrick isn't listed right now, but he's still running.
Biden27.4
Sanders19.3
Warren16.4
Buttigieg9.4
Bloomberg5.1
Yang3.3
Klobuchar3.1
Booker2.7
Gabbard1.6
Steyer1.3
Castro1.0
Bennet0.7
Williamson0.3
Delaney0.1

Biden +8.1
Though the Fox News poll released Sunday found Trump's job approval rating ticked up to 45% from 42% at the end of October, it shows the president losing in hypothetical matchups against the top-polling Democratic candidates.


Registered voters say they would vote for former Vice President Joe Biden over Trump, 48%-41%, which reflects a slight improvement for Trump from the end of October when Biden led him 51%-39%.

If the Democratic candidate is Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, the race appears much tighter: Trump loses by a single percentage point, 46%-45%. That's an improvement for Trump from the end of October when he trailed her 46%-41% and from the beginning of that month, when Fox News said he'd lose to her 50%-40%.

The poll says Trump would trail Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, 49%-43%, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg by 1 point, 43%-42%.

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a late entrant in the race, also tops Trump in the poll, 45%-40%....

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/poli...656647001/
(12-17-2019, 12:07 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: [ -> ]Though the Fox News poll released Sunday found Trump's job approval rating ticked up to 45% from 42% at the end of October, it shows the president losing in hypothetical matchups against the top-polling Democratic candidates.


Registered voters say they would vote for former Vice President Joe Biden over Trump, 48%-41%, which reflects a slight improvement for Trump from the end of October when Biden led him 51%-39%.

If the Democratic candidate is Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, the race appears much tighter: Trump loses by a single percentage point, 46%-45%. That's an improvement for Trump from the end of October when he trailed her 46%-41% and from the beginning of that month, when Fox News said he'd lose to her 50%-40%.

The poll says Trump would trail Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, 49%-43%, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg by 1 point, 43%-42%.

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a late entrant in the race, also tops Trump in the poll, 45%-40%....

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/poli...656647001/

All of this is fun, but none of it matters.  There is too much political sparring to come before anything resembling a consensus emerges, but it is fun to consider.   Big Grin
Democratic Presidential Nomination Wed. Dec.18, 2019
Biden27.9 14-7 Silent *
Sanders19.7 14-7 Silent *
Warren15.0 8-7 Boomer *
Buttigieg8.6 7-9 Millennial *
Bloomberg5.1 7-5 Silent
Yang3.4 8-15 Xer *
Klobuchar3.2 7-7 Xer *
Booker2.6 6-7 Xer
Gabbard1.8 11-6 Xer
Steyer1.4 11-7 Boomer *
Castro0.9 8-13 Xer
Bennet0.6 8-9 Xer
Williamson0.3 13-14 Boomer
Delaney0.3 7-5 Xer

Biden +8.2

Debate tomorrow night on PBS! It's on!
*Starring in the debate.

Can money buy the election? We hear non-stop commercials for Bloomberg here in CA, but the latest poll only gives him 3% here.
(12-18-2019, 02:51 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: [ -> ]Democratic Presidential Nomination Wed. Dec.18, 2019

>>>

Can money buy the election? We hear non-stop commercials for Bloomberg here in CA, but the latest poll only gives him 3% here.

Bloomberg is counting on a split outcome from the first four states.  At that point, panic may start setting in, because competing on Super Tuesday without real momentum requires what he has in abundance: money! I hope it's not be.  We don't need a second Billionaire in charge … even one who's competent.
(12-18-2019, 04:44 PM)David Horn Wrote: [ -> ]
(12-18-2019, 02:51 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: [ -> ]Democratic Presidential Nomination Wed. Dec.18, 2019

>>>

Can money buy the election? We hear non-stop commercials for Bloomberg here in CA, but the latest poll only gives him 3% here.

Bloomberg is counting on a split outcome from the first four states.  At that point, panic may start setting in, because competing on Super Tuesday without real momentum requires what he has in abundance: money! I hope it's not be.  We don't need a second Billionaire in charge … even one who's competent.

At least that "panic" or some such thing is what he hopes for. I don't see that Democrats will panic, though, just because the presidential race is competitive among 4 leaders. Democrats are used to contested primaries, especially California Democrats. I think they will just fight it out, and may the candidates who have a chance to beat the Drump prevail (Biden and Sanders).