The vote is in: Obama re-elected in a landslide

The vote is in: Obama re-elected in a landslide

With the once-every-four-years marathon for the U.S. presidency now formally underway amid mindlessness obvious even from afar, I am encountering ever more questions: Who is Mitt Romney? Does Barack Obama have a chance? What do the polls say? Just how does this year-long primary system work?

I’ll make it easy: Obama’s got it locked up.

I go out on this limb because that’s the conclusion of Allan Lichtman, a professor at American University who produced a forecasting tool more than two decades ago that to date has never been wrong.
I first read Lichtman’s book and interviewed him in 1991. Back then Lichtman was regarded somewhat like “Paul the Psychic Octopus” whose feeding behavior in a German aquarium was accurately used to predict the run-up and final of the 2010 FIFA World Cub.

But with another five successful presidential forecasts under his belt, I think any disrespect to his methodology can be better attributed to the sour grapes of pollsters and journalists who make their livings from the suspense of a campaign year.

For detail, a Google search on “The Keys to the White House” will tell you more than I can offer here. But what Lichtman did remains an innovation instructive to understanding elections just about anywhere.

It actually began, as I recall Lichtman’s explanation, with an acquaintance he made on sabbatical with a (then-) Soviet geophysicist Vladimir Keilis-Borok. Keilis-Borok had demonstrated success in earthquake prediction by co-relating the historic presence of various geologic phenomena with current circumstances. Over drinks one night – and I presume a discussion of dialectical materialism and “scientific socialism” – they decided it would be fun to drag the “hard” geological methodology over to the “soft” social sciences.

Lichtman, going all the way back to the mid-19th century, went on to establish some 13 factors or “keys” as the critical definers of success en route to the White House.

The keys include some things you might expect, including the state of the economy in the short term and long term. But there are also some factors you might not expect, including the party composition in the House of Representatives, measures of social unrest and even the role of “charisma.” 

Before the last presidential election, Lichtman was so confident of his “keys” as others were breathlessly examining “red states” and “blue states,” that he declared the Democrats could “pick a name out of the phone book” and beat the Republicans in 2008. Two years later they won, with a then-little known first-term African-American senator.

As of now, the recent reports on Lichtman’s methodology have Obama winning nine keys, losing three with one still undecided. The toss-up is over the economy and whether America will be in recession next November. Even if so, Obama will still have the clear lead in this methodology inspired by geological data and developed by a Soviet scientist. 

So don’t tire yourself with the meaning of a vote in New Hampshire, with a population smaller than that of Adana. Dismiss any analysis of Romney’s Mormonism or Newt Gingrich’s avoidance of military service.

For the American election is over: Obama won in 2012.