Alan Lichtman Predicts Impeachment

as reported and with attribution

The Keys to the White House, developed by Allan Lichtman, is a system for predicting the popular vote result of American presidential elections, based on the theory of pragmatic voting. America’s electorate, according to this theory, chooses a president, not according to events of the campaign, but according to how well the party in control of the White House has governed the country. If the voters are content with the party in power, it gains four more years in the White House; if not, the challenging party prevails. Thus, the choice of a president does not turn on debates, advertising, speeches, endorsements, rallies, platforms, promises, or campaign tactics. Rather, presidential elections are primarily referenda on the performance of the party holding the White House.


Lichtman first developed the Keys system in 1981, in collaboration with Vladimir Keilis-Borok, founder of the International Institute of Earthquake Prediction Theory and Mathematical Geophysics. The methodology used in the development of the Keys is described in Keilis-Borok and Lichtman (1981) and Lichtman (2008, 2010a). As shown in Table 1, each of the thirteen keys is stated as a threshold condition that always favors the re-election of the party holding the White House. For example, Key 5 is phrased as “The economy is not in recession during the election campaign.” Each key can then be assessed as true or false prior to an upcoming election and the winner predicted according to a simple decision rule. Unlike other systems for predicting election results, the Keys do not assume a fixed relationship between election results and one more dependent variables, such as economic growth or presidential approval ratings. Rather predictions are based on an index comprised of the number of false or negative keys: When five or fewer keys are false, the incumbent party wins; when any six or more are false, the challenging party wins.