Do Standard Prediction Models Work With an Out-of-the-box Candidate Like Trump?

Allan J. Lichtman, distinguished professor of history at American University, joined The Glenn Beck Program on Tuesday to discuss his prediction for the 2016 presidential election. Professor Lichtman, author of Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House 2016, has used a set of 13 true or false "keys" to successfully predict the outcome of presidential elections since 1984.

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"They're based on the proposition that the elections primarily turn on the strength and performance of the party holding the White House," Lichtman explained.

Despite the volatile and unprecedented nature of this year's election, Lichtman is sticking by his prediction that Donald Trump will win.

Read below or watch the clip for answers to these unpredictable questions:

• How many keys must be false for the incumbent party to lose?

• What makes key number twelve overwhelmingly false?

• What did Alexander Hamilton call the Trojan Horse of our democracy?

• Why did George Washington expel the French ambassador?

• Which past presidential candidate was vilified as a murderer?

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:

GLENN: Welcome to the program. Glad you're here. We have a distinguished professor of history, Allan Lichtman. He's from American University. He has a new book, Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House in 2016. He has looked at every presidential election from 1860 to 1980, to create a system that has now correctly predicted every election from '84 to 2012. He says there are 13 keys. He's here to tell us about them.

Hello, Allan, how are you?

ALLAN: Good morning. Doing great, Glenn. And you?

GLENN: Very good. Can you tell me, what are the 13 keys here?

ALLAN: Absolutely.

And as you say, these are historically based, and they're based on the proposition that the elections primarily turn on the strength and performance of the party holding the White House. That's what the key is focused on.

First is midterm elections. Second is internal party contests. Third is sitting president. Fourth is third party. Fifth is, is the economy in an election year recession?

GLENN: So hang on. Instead of just listing them. Let's go through each of them. Start at the beginning.

ALLAN: Yes.

GLENN: Because they're yes-or-no questions, correct?

ALLAN: Correct.

GLENN: So tell us why these are important, what they mean and how you answered them. Go ahead. Start at the beginning.

ALLAN: Yes. All right.

And, remember, the way the system works, if six or more go against the party in power, six or more are false, they're predicted losers. So number one is mid-term elections. Obviously the Democrats got pasted in 2014. So that one is false.

Key number two is a real puzzler. It's the internal party contest. And, certainly, Sanders gave Clinton a contest, but it was never really in doubt. And he didn't take it to the convention, unlike say Ted Kennedy against Jimmy Carter in 1980. So I don't rate that one right now as false. Key three, sitting president. Obviously Barack Obama isn't running again. You have an open seat. That's false.

Key four, third party. So far, Gary Johnson has been running way ahead of what any Libertarian has ever done. So at the moment, that's what is false. It's looking a little shaky. He may be fading away.

Key five, whatever you may think of the economy, it's obviously not in recession. That's true. So without three, possibly.

Next key is long-term economy, and that looks at this term compared to the previous two terms. And previous two terms fanned the Great Recession. So that one is true. Then we have the -- the more judgmental keys, the policy change key.

Well, Obama won that last term with the Affordable Care Act, but with gridlock in Washington, no big policy change. That's four now. And this is my favorite key, the scandal key, but it only pertains to the sitting president, not to the two candidates. You can probably paste scandals on both of them.

Then the social unrest key. And we're talking about cities being in flames in the 1960s. You got some sporadic protests, but nothing like that. So that is true.

So we're still down four. Then we have the foreign policy failure key. The Bay of Pigs. Pearl Harbor. 9/11.

GLENN: ISIS.

ALLAN: Again, whatever you may think of the foreign policy, it's not anything like that. But the next key is foreign policy success. And they haven't nailed that yet. So that's five down. We're almost done.

Key number 12 asks whether the sitting party's candidate, the party in power's candidate, Hillary Clinton, is a once-in-a-generational inspirational candidate like a Kennedy or a Reagan. So that one is false.

So we're now down six. And the final key asks whether -- because they always favor the party in power, whether the challenging party candidate is not charismatic. Well, Donald Trump is charismatic to a certain base. But you've got to be broadly charismatic to win that key. So I rate that one true, so that's exactly -- a very shaky six keys down because of that third party that could fade away.

PAT: So if that were to fade before the election, would you change your prediction?

ALLAN: I could. I could. You know, the polls are all over the place on Gary Johnson. You know, I don't have a crystal ball to see how it will come out on election.

PAT: Yeah.

ALLAN: Plus, as you know, Glenn, this is an unprecedented election. We've never seen an election like this. Quite frankly, a generic Republican, a John Kasich, a Marco Rubio, a Jeb Bush, the prediction would be a lot more solid than an out-of-the-box candidate like Donald Trump who could snatch --

GLENN: I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Say that again, please.

(laughter)

ALLAN: I will say it again. Based on the study of history, Glenn, and that's what I do, this should be a change election. A generic Republican like a John Kasich, a Marco Rubio, or a Jeb Bush would be a clear predicted winner. But you don't have that. You have Donald Trump who is a candidate breaking all historical boundaries. And could take what should be a very good year for Republicans and turn it into defeat.

STU: Hmm.

GLENN: Now, how would that happen? According to -- I like the fact that you're hard and fast on your rules.

ALLAN: Correct.

GLENN: But you do recognize that this is -- for instance, third party -- you know, that question, I know yours applies to the sitting president and the sitting party of power.

ALLAN: Correct.

GLENN: But, you know, I believe you can make a case you have -- you have more than one third party. And the biggest third party is the one inside of the Republican Party. Because --

ALLAN: Well --

GLENN: You split the party.

ALLAN: You know, you analyze it on your terms, as you say.

I've got to stick to my system. And I've never hedged this. You know, I've been doing this for more than 30 years. And I've never hedged a prediction, even after the disastrous first debate for Barack Obama in 2012, I stuck to my guns. But this election is so out of the box.

Look, you know, I don't look in a crystal ball. I don't have a pipeline to the Almighty like Ben Carson. I can only face it on history, and Trump could be a history breaker. Let's face it.

(chuckling)

PAT: It's been right every time, right?

ALLAN: Every time, yeah.

PAT: Have you --

ALLAN: And in the face of a lot of criticism. For example --

PAT: Have you also applied it to past elections, like, you know, before you were born? How far back does it go?

ALLAN: Well, there were no elections before I was born, but I'll tell it to you anyway.

(laughter)

ALLAN: The system was developed based on -- it was developed in '81, based on elections from 1860 to 1980.

PAT: Okay. Yeah, that's what I thought.

ALLAN: But unlike some other, you know, fairly sloppy forecasters, I'm very careful to distinguish between the base years when I went back retrospectively to develop the system and fall with looking predictions.

I actually got into a big fight with Nate Silver over that in 2011.

(chuckling)

STU: There's the greatest civil war happening among -- between polling geeks right now, there's an unseen civil war. It's actually more interesting than the Republican Party's civil war, I think.

ALLAN: It's fascinating. Got to run.

(chuckling)

STU: All right. Quick question for you, because really the determining factor on your prediction is this third party factor.

ALLAN: Yeah.

STU: About six weeks ago, Gary Johnson was at 9.2 percent on average and has now dropped to 4.6 percent on average.

ALLAN: Yeah, he's dropping below the threshold.

STU: Is it 5 percent?

ALLAN: I might change my prediction.

STU: Hmm. Is it 5 percent? Is that the threshold?

ALLAN: Five percent. And he's right at, around, as you say, around at 5 percent.

STU: That's incredible.

ALLAN: Intense. He's been intense.

GLENN: Allan, do you have five more minutes for us, or not?

ALLAN: I've got two more minutes. I've got to go to Fox.

GLENN: Okay. Bigger name on the other line.

STU: Yeah, no kidding.

GLENN: So, Allan, help me out on this. The -- you're a history professor.

ALLAN: Correct.

GLENN: Can you look at what is happening in our country and now project past the presidential election and tell me what time period we look to be approaching?

ALLAN: That's such a good question, I'll take a couple of minutes to answer it.

First, one of the things that we don't know, is this a permanent shift in our politics, or is this an aberration? Is this an anomaly?

Not only in terms of the candidates, but also in terms of foreign interference in our elections.

You know, Alexander Hamilton, way back when, called foreign intrigue in American politics, the Trojan horse of our democracy. In his farewell address, George Washington warned against foreign intrigue and corruption. He expelled the ambassador from France who was messing around in our politics. Never seen this before.

And is this going to become the norm? Is every foreign power with an axe to grind now going to intervene in our politics, in their interests, not in ours? So far, there seems to be no consequences whatsoever to all of this cracking.

PAT: Right.

ALLAN: Yeah. So that's a huge question before us, Glenn.

The other big question is, you know, are we going to see a permanent turn in our politics, or are we going to return to more normal politics? History teaches us that even when the system bends -- even when it broke in the Civil War, we eventually do return to normal politics. But sometimes it can take a long time.

A similar election might be 1828. Andrew Jackson against John Quincy Adams, the sitting president. Quincy Adams had his own problems because he was elected in the so-called corrupt bargain in the House. Because no one got a majority in the electoral college when he gave Henry Clay the Secretary of State.

And Andrew Jackson was vilified as a murderer. They passed around something called a coffin handbook. Pretty bitter, but eventually the system returned to a great -- history doesn't always repeat itself. So, you know, it's hard to say.

GLENN: Allan, I'd love to talk to you again. You're fascinating.

ALLAN: Absolutely.

GLENN: Thank you so much. Appreciate it. Author of the new book, Predicting the Next President. Allan Lichtman from -- where was he? American University.

Featured Image: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump addresses a campaign rally at the Deltaplex Arena October 31, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. With just eight days until the election, polls show a slight tightening in the race. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/Retrofile/Getty Images

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Watch the video clip from "The Glenn Beck Program" below:

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