Cliff Moon, Eric Brandon, Dr. John Meier and I attended FPA’s presidential webinar on March 27, 2024.  The speakers were Dr. Julian Zelizer is a presidential historian, an author, and a professor of political history at Princeton University and Gerald Baker, Editor at Large at the Wall Street Journal.

Here is a quick summary:

Dr. Zelizer stated that the foreign policy impact on the election were primarily the Middle East War and Ukraine. Gerald Baker presented the key variables as the following:

  1. The issues at hand such as immigration, the economy, and foreign policy.
  2. Character vs. age. He called the contenders incapable vs. inspeakable.
  3. 3rd party candidacy such as Kennedy or other persons.
  4. The known unknowns such as the current court cases, or any other issues (e.g. sickness) that might happen between now and the elections.

As to the question of Biden’s strongest points vs. Trumps strongest points, Dr. Zelizer stated that strengths at this point are the improvements to the economy and the “normality” of his presidency. Gerald Baker stated that Trump’s strongest points are his view of Immigration and media capitalization.

Another question was raised regarding the impact of independent voters:

  • Who will Nikki Haley’s supporters vote for?
  • Who will the independents who are on the fence vote for?
  • Who will the double-haters vote for?

Other considerations are:

  • Popular vote vs. Electoral College
  • The elections in the battleground states: Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania.
  • Will there be a Trump vs. Biden debate, and if so, would it really change any votes regardless of the outcome?
  • After the conclusion of the webinar which was interesting but not earth-shattering, Cliff brought up the 13 key predictors of the outcome of the presidential elections in the United States. These keys were developed by Allan Lichtman in 1981 where he predicted the outcome of the elections from 1984 to 2020 with the exception of the 2000 elections. Maybe we can discuss them when we meet again.

The Keys to the White House is a checklist of thirteen true/false statements that pertain to the circumstances surrounding a presidential election. When five or fewer of the following statements are false, the incumbent party is predicted to win the election. When six or more are false, the incumbent party is predicted to lose.

  1. Party mandate: After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than after the previous midterm elections.
  2. No primary contest: There is no serious contest for the incumbent party nomination.
  3. Incumbent seeking re-election: The incumbent party candidate is the sitting president.
  4. No third party: There is no significant third party or independent campaign.
  5. Strong short-term economy: The economy is not in recession during the election campaign.
  6. Strong long-term economy: Real per capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms.
  7. Major policy change: The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy.
  8. No social unrest: There is no sustained social unrest during the term.
  9. No scandal: The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal.
  10. No foreign/military failure: The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs.
  11. Major foreign/military success: The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs.
  12. Charismatic incumbent: The incumbent party candidate is charismatic or a national hero.
  13. Uncharismatic challenger: The challenging party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero.