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Professor Who Predicted Trump Win in 2016 Calls 2020 for Biden—But with a Major Caveat

Professor Who Predicted Trump Win in 2016 Calls 2020 for Biden—But with a Major Caveat
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images // NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images // Mark Makela/Getty Images

American University Professor Allan Lichtman was one of the few to correctly predict the victory of now-President Donald Trump in 2016, continuing Lichtman's uninterrupted streak of correctly predicting every election since 1984 using a system he calls "The 13 Keys to the White House."

Now, in a video op-ed for the New York Times, Lichtman predicts a win for Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Watch below.

Lichtman's prediction uses 13 true or false evaluators, called "keys," if more than six of the 13 keys are false, the incumbent party is predicted to lose the White House.

Lichtman said of his prediction:

"The keys predict that Trump will lose the White House."

But the prediction doesn't mean the race will be a landslide: Only seven of the keys are false.

The keys working against Trump are social unrest, scandal, success abroad, the loss of seats in Congress during the midterm elections, a lack of broad charisma, short-term economic impact, and long-term economic impact.

In Trump's advantage, Lichtman cites the lack of a contest for Trump's renomination, no resignation from the White House, no serious third-party challenge, no major foreign policy failures (though Lichtman acknowledges that there have been "very difficult moments"), an overhaul of Obama-era policies, and perceptions that Biden is uncharismatic.

While some of the verdicts on the keys—like the presence of social unrest and scandal—are clear cut, others are more debatable, such as Lichtman's assertion that Donald Trump lacks "charisma":

"Donald Trump is a great showman, but he only appeals to a narrow slice of the American people, and as a result: false."

Though Lichtman's past predictions have all been correct, he cautions that his latest forecast is no reason for complacence:

"Don't just take my word for it. There are forces at play outside the keys: voter suppression, Russian meddling. It's up to you, the voter, to decide the future of our democracy. So get out and vote. Vote in person. Vote by mail."

Some were cautiously optimistic about the professor's claims.

Some claim that Lichtman incorrectly predicted the 2016 election because he supposedly predicted Trump would win the popular vote, but Lichtman stopped predictions of the popular vote after the debacle of the 2000 election.

Some are still skeptical.

The only certainty for November is that nothing is certain.