Review by Laurena DiLoreto
I felt that Lichtman’s arguments were quite interesting as he talks about the history behind each election and why his model works every time as far as popular vote goes. Unfortunately I did find the beginning of the book quite dry when he goes into explanation of each key and what it means. Once the Author went back into history and talked about each election and what keys worked for each President presented a great case as to how his method works.
Describe the subject, scope, and purpose of the book.
The purpose of this book is to prove how his model of predicting the President is better than anyone else’s. This model has predicted every election through popular vote not with the votes of individual states in the Electoral College. There has only been two times that the Electoral College not ratified the popular vote. (Lichtman p2). Lichtman, has touched based on other political scientist theories proving how they are not as accurate as his. Most of the political scientist use some form of polling to collect their data to come up with a conclusion. The author believes that there are thirteen keys that favor reelection of the incumbent party. When five or fewer statements are not true the incumbent party wins. When six or more are false, the challenging party wins. The thirteen keys are 1. Incumbent-party mandate: After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S House of Representatives than it did after the previous midterm election. 2. Nomination-contest: There is no serious contest for the incumbent-party nomination. 3. Incumbency: The incumbent-party candidate is the sitting president. 4. Third Party: There is no significant third-party or independent campaign. 5. Short-term economy: The economy is not in recession during the election campaign. 6. Long-term economy: Real annual per-capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the two previous terms. 7. Policy change: The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy. 8. Social unrest: There is no sustained social unrest during the term. 9. Scandal: The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal. 10. Foreign or military success: The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs. 11. Foreign or military success: The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs. 12. Incumbent charisma: the incumbent-party candidate is charismatic or a national hero. 13. Challenger charisma: The challenging-party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero.
Summarize the author’s thesis or hypothesis.
The author states that there are thirteen questions which have to be asked as propositions accommodating re-election of the incumbent party. When five or fewer of these propositions are false, or turned against the party holding the White House, that party wins another term in office. When six or more are false, the challenging party wins. The Keys indicate incumbent party success or failure long before the polls or any other forecasting models are of any value. (Lichtman ix). What makes this so unique compared to other ideas that other political scientist is that Lichtman’s model does not have any polling data. Lichtman’s structure is based on how well the Party in power and the country are faring prior to an upcoming election. The Keys do not presume that voters are driven by economic concerns alone. Voters are less narrow-minded and more sophisticate than that; they decide presidential elections on a wide-ranging assessment of the performance of incumbent parties, all of which are reflected in one or more Keys (Lichtman x). The Keys model predicted George W. Bush’s reelection in April 2003, nearly a year before any other scientific model. In the