While it may seem that we have been treating this election as a colossal joke, its outcome should not have come as a surprise to those with open eyes – or at least with open news feeds. That Trump is well-versed in reality television, the main political theatre, is only secondary to our prevailing discontent and its resulting desperation.
For American University professor Allan Lichtman, however, the election was even simpler. Lichtman devised a system of 13 keys to successfully predict every presidential election since 1984. The Washington Post said Lichtman believes elections primarily reflect the performance of the party in power, and therefore if six or more of his keys, which are 13 true or false statements, flip as “false” for the incumbent party, that party will lose the election.
So what flips?
- Party Mandate: The Democrats, in Lichtman’s words, “got crushed” in the midterm elections.
- Incumbency: Barack Obama was not running for reelection.
- Third Party: Gary Johnson was predicted to get at least five percent of the vote.
- Policy Change: No major policy changes occurred in Obama’s past four years.
- Foreign / military success: No breakthroughs.
- Incumbent charisma: Hillary Clinton has the personality of a doorknob.
So in the match-up between Icky and Wiki, it was time for a change – in party, if not in political panhandling. Trump’s victory was not so much an “upset” as we would like to believe: the election was never in Hillary’s pocket. (Though tell that to Newsweek, which printed and distributed a “Madam President” cover before the final results.) What is more interesting than Trump’s win, however, is that Lichtman divined another prophecy back in September: that if elected, Trump would be impeached by a Republican Congress.
Now, if this is where you insist that surely a Trump impeachment is the goal of all the protestors marching in the streets or another “liberal media” ploy to implode the nation, I assure you: the nation needs no help imploding. This facet of Lichtman’s prediction, he said, comes from his gut, rather than his keys:
They don’t want Trump as president, because they can’t control him. He’s unpredictable. They’d love to have Pence — an absolutely down-the-line, conservative, controllable Republican. And I’m quite certain Trump will give someone grounds for impeachment, either by doing something that endangers national security or because it helps his pocketbook.
~Lichtman in The Washington Post
At this, I suspect the Liberals shiver, and the Conservatives straighten in their seats. Whether the months will prove him right once again, this election has given us no shortage of developments to watch. Whether it’s this Epic Rap Battle between the most popular global punchlines
or the duration of Trump’s office, all spotlights – and news cameras – will be dead-set on the White House. But perhaps the most important question is not how long Trump will be in office but what he will do while he is there. More specifically, President Trump, what does your rule mean for my student loans?