Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Do You Know Who Will Win the Presidential Election in 2012?

On July 26th I had the opportunity to talk to middle and high school government teachers from around the country at the Dirksen Center’s “Congress in the Classroom” event.  The conference was in glamorous Peoria, Illinois which gave me an opportunity to use the phrase “if it plays in Peoria…” in a sentence.  For the uninitiated, that phrase was used in the vaudeville era (and probably others) to suggest that if a show did well in the ultimate Midwestern town of Peoria, it would do well anywhere.  I’m pleased to say that I had a great time talking to the teachers in Peoria, so I’m hoping effective advocacy will play everywhere.

Frank Mackaman, the Director of the Dirksen Center, ran one of the most intriguing sessions of the program entitled “I Know Who Will Win the Presidential Election in 2012” – and he did!  Frank presented an adaptation of Allan J. Litchman’s “The Keys to the White House” article, which appeared in Social Education in 2008.  In that article, Litchman outlines 13 propositions that have accurately predicted every presidential election BUT ONE since, well I didn’t write down the exact date, but it was the late-1800’s.  To clarify, Litchman hasn’t LIVED since the late 1800’s.  He tested his theory by retroactively applying these questions to previous elections – and they held up!  The only one that the test failed on?  Gore/Bush in 2000, and some argue that it accurately predicted the popular vote, just not as reflected through the electoral college.

Presented as “true/false” questions, the propositions include pretty straightforward statements like “there is no serious contest for the incumbent party nomination” and “the economy is not in recession during the election campaign.”  There are also more subjective statements like “there is no sustained social unrest during the term” and “the incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal” (both determined by Litchman as “false” as they apply to the Obama Administration).  So long as eight or more of these propositions are true, the incumbent party wins.  Yes, some of them are very subjective so you can take all this with a grain of salt, but I know you’re dying to know -- the test results (after consultation with Litchman on the subjective questions) predict that Obama will win.  They don’t say how MUCH he might win by, so stay tuned – as if you could avoid it.

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