Months before Donald Trump became the GOP nominee, I saw an interview on FNC with a college professor predicting with near certainty that Trump would win the election against Hillary Clinton.
My reaction: Yeah, right.
At the time, it was far from clear that Trump would be the nominee, so here was someone skipping over that critical fact and boldly predicting that Trump would beat Hillary Clinton in November. Besides, Bernie Sanders went on to give Clinton quite a scare during the primary season before departing from the scene with his thirty pieces of silver, bitterly disappointing ardent supporters likely to stay home next month.
I wondered what happened to the professor’s prediction until I saw him again on FNC the other day. Is he still predicting Trump will win? Is he willing to bet money on it? Yes and yes. Maybe Clinton campaign representatives will shortly reach out to the professor for a “conversation.”
The professor is Helmut Norpoth, who has tenure and teaches political science at Stony Brook University in Long Island, New York. His course load on the university website includes at the undergraduate level POL 317: American Election Campaigns, POL 318: Voters and Elections, and POL 336: U.S. Foreign Policy; and at the graduate level POL 617: Electoral Behavior. Dr. Norpoth holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
Academic credentials established, the next question was the reasoning Professor Norpoth used to make his prediction. The website has available a PDF file with the fine print. Here are key points:
Donald Trump is predicted to defeat Hillary Clinton by 52.5% to 47.5% of the two-party vote.
The prediction is based on presidential primary results and swings in an election cycle. The model has correctly predicted the winner of the popular vote in all five presidential elections since it was introduced in 1996.
The model predicts that the candidate with the stronger primary performance wins against the candidate with the weaker primary performance. For elections from 1912 to 2012 the model correctly identified the winner every time except in 1960.
Trump significantly outperformed Clinton during the primaries. For example, he won the Republican primaries in both New Hampshire and the South Carolina while Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders split the Democratic primaries in those two states.
Based on primary performance, the model predicts that Clinton would beat both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Recall that during the primaries, John Stossel said the “smart money” was on Rubio against Trump. The “smart money” is now betting on Clinton against Trump.
The 1960 exception does not falsify the model. Why not? Because a scientific model is entitled to assume that proceedings under analysis are not rigged, otherwise predictions are meaningless -- reminder to global warming fanatics. However, we now know that Kennedy stole the 1960 election, aided in large measure by powerful Democratic Party machines in Texas and Illinois.
So, Trump was right to warn against a rigged election in November and to assert that he will not stand for Democratic Party skullduggery at the polls. Republican talking heads (real or alleged) who ganged up on Trump for making that point during the third debate need to calm down and imagine a Nixon win in 1960.
In my view -- I’m hardly alone -- there would have been no Cuban missile crisis with Nixon in the White House. Nikita Khrushchev met Nixon as Eisenhower’s vice-president and knew what to expect. He thought Kennedy, a rich playboy, was soft and decided to test him to see what he could get away with, a tried-and-true Soviet tactic. This nearly got us all blown to bits. Castro still owns Cuba.
The world thinks the Obama presidency is a huge joke. A corrupt, pay-for-play Clinton presidency will engender even louder laughter around the globe, especially in Tehran. To mollify the mullahs, Clinton is likely to give the Iranians what they most desire, the State of Israel. American Jews need to keep in mind that the Ayatollah Politburo answers to a different authority altogether.