Saturday, November 19, 2016

A critique of Allan Lichtman's system.

Allan Lichtman got a lot of press for his system which predicted Trump's win.

Here's a news flash; it didn't predict it at the end.

Here is a link to his 13 true-false questions. 

His threshold is simple enough. Five false answers or less means the incumbent wins. Six false answers or more means the White House will switch parties. As you can see on the link, there were six false answers. So game to Trump and Prof. Lichtman wins again.

Hold on a second.

My first critique: Too many questions are subjective. Fort example, he says neither Trump or Clinton is charismatic (questions 12 and 13). His questions are set up so that Clinton's lack gets a false answer and Trump's lack gets a true answer. (This makes sense in his system, since false answers are bad for the incumbent side true are true answers are bad for the challenger.) While I am immune to both their charms, Trump clearly had very loyal followers who did find him charismatic, in large part because he a TV star. I also personally know people very committed to Clinton. Charisma, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Question 9 gives the Obama administration a point for being unmarred by a major scandal. Again, while I agree that should count, partisans who have been bombarded by Benghazi stories for years on end think of the administration as completely tainted. Like charisma, this is probably better ranked on a sliding scale.

Questions 10 and 11 give Obama a split, no major foreign success or failure. Here I would disagree, as I think the Iran deal should be counted as a success, and of course, conservatives count Benghazi as a major failure.

Lichtman gives the Obama administration a 0 for effecting major policy. Unless he means in the past four years, Obamacare counts as major, a BFD in the language of our beloved vice president.

Maybe Lichtman doesn't count first term stuff. If so, that would be a yet another serious flaw in his system. Trump and the GOP are still running against it and the Democrats were running to protect it.

My second and more specific critique: Question 4 is stated "There is no significant third party or independent campaign". Lichtman's answer is false, which counts as a black mark against Clinton, in his system the fatal black mark.

This one is clearly quantified. At or above 5% for a third party of the vote counts as significant, under 5% is insignificant.

Here is the current count.

The Libertarians have 3.28%. This should count as true, no significant third party. By Lichtman's count, this is a true answer and there are only five false ones.

Lichtman's system said Clinton would win and no one is calling him on it. As far as I can tell, you heard it here first.

With every state now decided, the Libertarians only got 

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