Lichtman has correctly predicted the results of almost every election since 1984, aside from the 2000 election when Republican George W. Bush took power following a controversial Supreme Court decision. Bush’s Democratic opponent, Al Gore, won the popular vote, but Bush clinched a narrow win in Florida after a recount was halted in the state, putting Bush over the line to take the Electoral College.

Strangely, Lichtman claims that his incorrect prediction that Gore would win in 2000 shouldn’t count because someone winning the popular vote and losing the electoral college hadn’t happened in over a century.


“I wasn’t wrong. I correctly predicted that Al Gore would win the popular vote. When I first developed the system in 1981, you had to go all the way back to 1888 to find a divergence between the popular vote and the Electoral College vote,” Lichtman says in the new video as a bizarre rationalization.

And that gets down to the problem we face in 2020. Predicting a Biden win might be reasonable if you’re using the same criteria from what most Americans would consider normal times. But we don’t live in normal times. We live in extremely abnormal times, with a pandemic raging, people getting picked up by secret police, and a president who’s sabotaging the U.S. Postal Service during an unprecedented health crisis that makes voting by mail more crucial than ever. All of that is to say nothing of the fact that President Trump has said he won’t necessarily accept defeat if he actually loses in November.


Lichtman ends his video by encouraging people to vote and saying “As Abraham Lincoln said, the best way to predict the future is to choose it.” It’s a common internet meme, but Lincoln never said it. As the website Quote Investigator explains, the first use of this saying and its multiple variations probably originates in the 1960s. President Lincoln was assassinated a century earlier in 1865.

Predictions are hard, as any regular reader of Paleofuture knows. Every good prognosticator includes caveats about why their predictions might be wrong. And while plenty of people will be happy to see Lichtman predicting a win for Biden, this election cycle is far from over.


The devil is in the details. And in this case, the devil is Donald J. Trump.