Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Keys to the White House


Some people are surprised that Barack Obama was a  odds on favorite to be reelected, even before Mitt Romney's recent run of gaffes. Some were surprised that Obama got reelected.
After all the economy has not gotten any better, the Federal deficit has a been added to at a rate of trillion dollars a year, and other than the Affordable Health Care Act, there has not been much in the way of hope and change.

It may be surprising but it is predictable.  Allan Lichtman developed a method for determining who will win  the presidency in his book, The Keys to the White House.

The book has been updated for 2012.

According to the Wikipedia summary-

  "The  Keys are based on the theory that that presidential election results turn primarily on the performance of the party controlling the White House and that campaigning by challenging or incumbent-party candidates will have no impact on results. According to this theory, a pragmatic American electorate chooses a president based on the performance of the party holding the White House as measured by the consequential events and episodes of a term - economic boom and bust, foreign policy successes and failures, social unrest, scandal, and policy innovation."


So basically whatever candidates do has little effect.  The result will be the same.


The Keys are statements that favor the re election 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.  I scored here whether or not they were True or False..
  1. 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. FALSE
  2. Contest: There is no serious contest for the incumbent party nomination. TRUE
  3. Incumbency: The incumbent party candidate is the sitting president. TRUE
  4. Third party: There is no significant third party or independent campaign.  TRUE
  5. Short term economy: The economy is not in recession during the election campaign. FALSE
  6. Long term economy: Real per capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms. FALSE
  7. Policy change: The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy. TRUE
  8. Social unrest: There is no sustained social unrest during the term. TRUE
  9. Scandal: The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal. TRUE
  10. Foreign/military failure: The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs. TRUE
  11. Foreign/military success: The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs.  TOSSUP but let's say FALSE
  12. Incumbent charisma: The incumbent party candidate is charismatic or a national hero. TOSSUP, but let say TRUE
  13. Challenger charisma: The challenging party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero. TRUE... Mitt Romney is not a national hero...
So that's how I scored it....four and half bad things for President OBAMA.  According to this model he will be reelected.  The economy may be bad, but his party is united, his opponent's party is not, there have been no major scandals or botched wars, and there have at least a few accomplishments. Obama may not be popular as he once was, but there still many people who will make the positive choice to vote for him. 

The model explains why George W. Bush got reelected in 2004, and why George H.W.Bush did not get reelected in 1992. Indeed the formula has predicted the popular vote for every election since 1860.

Here's a link to article in the New York Times that has more discussion of the Keys.

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/31/despite-keys-obama-is-no-lock/




I remember Chevy Chase






I remember being driven by my father in our car over a river ford in Rock Creek Park.

I remember  making cinnamon Easter eggs in second grade at Lafayette Elementary School.

I remember climbing up small cliffs with roots hanging out of them and imagining  that the cliff was  a  mountain.

I remember  thinking a  strange sink was a urinal in Junior high School.

I remember falling off a metal chain rope on a parking lot onto concrete when I was seven.
It really hurt.

I remember playing with Elizabeth Wansong at Lafayette.  I remember her long pulled back hair  and  her smile.


I remember pretending  my closet was a space ship.

I remember driving to a small amusement park or swimming pool, that my parent's expected to find, and when we got there it was totally gone.

I remember buying oatmeal cookies from a big barrel at Broad  Branch  Market.

I remember regularly buying a yellow bag of   firm smallish tasty fresh chocolate chip cookies from Giant Food in the 1970's. They don't make them anymore.

Note:the river ford closed in 1996.