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Why Trump Will Lose Decisively

By Shlomo  Maital   

Lichtman’s 9 Correct Calls

Allan Lichtman is a professor of history at the American University, in Washington DC.  He has predicted correctly the US Presidential Election,  every time,  since Ronald Reagan’s win in 1984.  He does this with a system of 13 ‘keys’, or crucial factors.

     To win, Lichtman says you need a majority of the crucial factors – at least 7 of the 13.  For this election, tomorrow, Lichtman is predicting a Biden win.  Why?  Because Trump is lacking 7 of the 13, and fulfills only 6 of the 13. 

     What is Trump missing?  Here is the list:

Key 1, Mandate Key, because of Republican losses in the midterm elections of 2018. 

Key 5, Short-Term Economic Key, because of an election-year recession.

Key 6, Long-Term Economic Key, because of the sharply negative growth this year.

Key 8, Social Unrest, because of what is raging across the land.

Key 9, Scandal, Trump is only the third American president to be impeached by the full US House of Representatives.

Key 11, Foreign/Military Success, because of the lack of an acclaimed success abroad.

Key 12, Incumbent Charisma, because Trump appeals only to a narrow base.    

     Trump claims he would have won easily had it not been for the pandemic.  Probably true, because of Key 5 and Key 6.  That would have given him 8 keys favorably, out of Lichtman’s 13, and a predicted win. 

      Could Trump have won despite the pandemic?  He could have made it close, by systematically moving beyond his ‘base’ and appealing to a broader audience.  That would only have given 7 of the 13 positives, and a very close election.  But he simply could not give up his self-worshipping narcissistic love of crowds cheering him and wearing red Trump hats.

      Footnote: a Stanford study showed that hundreds probably died, after contracting COVID-19 during crowded Trump rallies in many states, where few wore masks and stood shoulder to shoulder.  For them – Trump has been fatal.

Mental Health Impact of COVID-19: A Survey of 59 Countries

By Shlomo Maital   

  We are approaching almost a year of the coronavirus pandemic – and in virtually every country (except perhaps New Zealand, where fans are filling stadiums to watch the All-Blacks), it is beginning to wear people down.  Here are the results of  large-scale study of the mental health impact, based on a sample of 6,882 individuals in 59 countries. *

  • Elisabet Alzueta et al., “How the COVID-19 Pandemic has changed our lives: A study of psychological correlates across 59 countries”.  J. of Clinical Psychology 2020: 1-15.

Of the nearly 7,000 participants, 25.4 % reported moderate-to-severe depression,  while 19.5% reported anxiety symptoms. 

  What caused the depression?  A variety of factors:  Among them,

*  the country’s income level (higher income correlated with higher depression),  * exposure to COVID-19 (e.g. unconfirmed symptoms), * government lockdowns, * life changes (e.g. working from home); and * conflicts with other adults at home.  However, all these factors ‘explained’ (in a statistical sense) only about one-fifth of the variance in depression.

A major battle is underway between the “the cure (of the pandemic) is worse than the disease, let’s open at once” camp,  and the “you cannot heal the economy until you stamp out the damned virus” camp.  I think the latter are more right – better to severely lock down, like taking a very bitter medicine to cure an illness, to shorten the prolonged impact on mental health by failing to do so.

  It is surreal that American voters are basically being asked to choose between these two camps, Trump vs. Biden —  when the issue is really rooted in complex epidemiology and shrouded in massive uncertainty.   It is clear, however, that the science and the scientists overwhelmingly favor the “end the virus first, clamp down hard” policy. 

Iowa Democrat Primaries: Analysis

 By Shlomo Maital

    Living in Israel, I rightly question whether the Iowa Democrat caucus for Presidential candidates, the first of its kind in this election year,  is truly relevant for my country and the rest of the world outside the US.

   It is! Here is why.

   First the results. (71% of ballot counted).

candidate votes % of total But – other
Buttigieg 418.722 0.268099
Sanders 393.521 0.251963 25.201
Warren 286.882 0.183684 131.84
Biden 241.314 0.154508 177.408
Klobuchar 196.696 0.12594 222.026


   Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttegieg, who just turned 38 on Jan. 19, and who served in the US Navy for 8 years, has won, with 71% of the ballots counted.

     (Why 71%? Because Democrat caucus officials embraced a smartphone application that was totally flawed and untested – several dress rehearsals would have revealed the flaws, and the backup, phone-in, with 1,700 primary sites calling in at once, crashed the phone system, expectedly. Republicans may rightly ask, if the Democrats can’t run a small primary election in Iowa, how can we expect them to run the country?)

       Don’t underestimate Mayor Pete. Here is why. In 2008, of eight major Democratic presidential candidates, then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois received the most votes and was ultimately declared the winner. Aged 47, he was the first African American to win the caucus. Obama went on to become President.

     Buttegieg is a mainstream centrist candidate. The second-place candidate, 78-year-old Bernie Sanders, Vermont Senator, was only 25,000 votes behind Mayor Pete. Sanders is a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, (declared Independent) on the left of the party. He ignites the energy and support of young people, amazingly. He will be a powerful force in the Democrat Convention in Milwaukee, representing the party’s left wing.

     Senator Elizabeth Warren was 131,840 votes behind Mayor Pete, a major defeat, despite her campaign funds and strong on-the-ground operation in Iowa. The third-place finish bodes ill for her campaign.   She lacks the fiery youth of Mayor Pete, and the youthful support of Bernie.

       Senator Amy Klobuchar got fewer than half the votes of Mayor Pete. She is a strong centrist candidate, with proven legislative abilities, but her poor showing in Iowa makes her a dark horse. It’s too bad.

       Republicans gloat at the chaos in the Democrat primaries, and the upcoming debate will again feature a stage full of candidates, attacking one another rather than President Trump. Meanwhile, I’ve just listened to Trump’s State of the Union speech, carefully orchestrated for a huge TV audience of some 50 million. He will be a formidable candidate in November, because his focus is solely on being re-elected, and his frequent election rallies of his supporters are, I believe, unprecedented for a busy sitting President.

       Joe Biden finished fourth. His showing was very weak. He may do poorly in New Hampshire as well, the next primary. So far he has not shown any ability to ignite excitement among the field of candidates. His main claim, that only he can defeat Trump, seems increasingly doubtful.

       Buttegieg is gay, and his partner was onstage with him when he declared victory. Democratic Iowa voters showed intelligence, in voting for whom they saw as the best candidate, regardless of his orientation, and even though Iowa is in general a state of deeply religious people.  Buttegieg will become a force in national politics, no matter what happens in the Democratic Convention in Milwaukee, and has a big future in national politics.

         Another four years of a Trump Presidency will mean almost irreversible damage to the global economy, to civil society in the US, and, in my neck of the woods, to Mideast peace efforts. The so-called Deal of the Century for the Mideast has already ignited protests and conflicts, lighting a match to what is already a tinderbox.

   Buttegieg’s win signals that voters seek new youth and energy. The Democrats may provide it yet, as they did in 2008 with Obama. A whole lot depends on it, not just for America but for the world.

Ashley vs. Ivanka: Choose Your Role Model

By Shlomo Maital


Ashley Biden & Father Joe

   President Trump recently tweeted his recommendation, that people buy his daughter Ivanka’s upscale fashion designs, after retail chain Nordstrom took her clothes off its shelves. (“They don’t sell,” Nordstrom claimed).

   Another famous politician has a designer-daughter – former Vice President Joe Biden and his social worker daughter Ashley.   Her story, and product, are a bit different.

   According to Elle Magazine: “Ashley’s new ethically produced, American-made clothing company, is a project any dad would be proud to get behind. It kicks off with a range of supersoft organic cotton hoodies on sale for just a few weeks, starting February 8, in partnership with the flash-sale behemoth Gilt: The entirety of the proceeds from the debut collection will be channeled to programs that work to alleviate poverty through education, training, and job placement.

     “Ashley, 35, who is also the executive director of the Delaware Center for Justice, a nonprofit that serves children and adults impacted by the criminal justice system, had toyed with the potential nature and mission of Livelihood for years. One thing that never wavered was the idea of the hoodie. This is partly because Ashley herself—who has a stealth charisma and a fondness for phrases like “heavens to Betsy”—describes herself as a “jeans-and-T-shirt kinda gal.” It’s also because she appreciates the symbolism of an item long connected to American laborers and more recently to Black Lives Matter. “Livelihood is specifically about income inequality,” she says. “And racial inequality and income inequality are directly related.”

     “By the time her parents moved into the VP’s mansion in 2009, Ashley—who did her undergrad at Tulane, then earned a master’s in social work from the University of Pennsylvania—had a job serving kids in the foster-care system. It was disorienting, to put it mildly, to travel from a juvenile detention center to, say, Air Force 2. What did become increasingly clear was how little privileged Americans understood about life below the poverty line, where 13.5 percent of the U.S. resides. “I’d hear about five siblings sharing one burger,” she says. “How does a kid do homework when there’s no desk or lamp? One of the biggest things I’ve seen in my work is that a lot of social ills directly result from poverty.”

   Does it take a privileged daughter of the U.S. Vice-President, to explain to us how little we the privileged understand about the life and hardships of the one in seven who live in poverty? And will we opt for the role model of Ivanka Trump, who sells to the wealthy, or Ashley Biden, who works for the poor, and has done so for her whole career?

If You Thought Washington Is Dysfunctional – Wait ‘til You Read Gates!

By Shlomo   Maital   


 I prefer to write blogs about books I’ve read.  And it’s super-easy today to acquire any book – it takes 30 seconds to download an Amazon e-book.  But today I want to write about a book I haven’t yet read, but will soon – based on a review.  Because the content is so terribly disturbing.    America is still the leader of the Free World – and it is rudderless, incompetent, cynical, according to the consummate insider Robert Gates, former Defense Secretary.

    Gates’ book is called Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.  Gates served for many years in the CIA, headed the CIA for two years, then was Defense Secretary under both Bush and Obama (December 18, 2006 – July 1, 2011).  In reviewing his book, national security expert Thomas E. Ricks calls it “probably one of the best Washington memoirs ever.”  Ricks doubts Gates can ever again hold a Federal govt. job, or even want to. 

     Here are a few juicy tidbits:  “VP Joe Biden is a ‘comical motormouth’…who “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades”.  Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel: “hell on wheels…a whirling dervish with attention-deficit disorder”.  Tom Donilon (Obama’s 2nd national security advisor): “suspicious and distrustful of the uniformed military leadership”;   Congress:  “truly ugly”…parochial, self-interested, rude and bullying. Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader: “small-time hack who phones Gates to lobby for Defense Dept. funding for research on irritable bowel syndrome”.  (didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, Gates says).  Senator Nancy Pelosi, “said she wasn’t interested” when Gates tried to state the facts on the ground in Iraq.  Senator Patty Murray, Washington, “read from prepared notes…no one had bothered to remove the Boeing letterhead from her talking points”.  On Afghanistan and Obama: “the president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand (Afghan Pres.) Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy and doesn’t consider the war to be his.”  The Obama White House:  “still stuck in campaign mode a year into the presidency”. 

   And this is just a start. 

    I guess most of us knew or suspected all this.  But it is still disturbing to read it.  No wonder “cold-blooded killers” (Gates’ description) like Russia’s Putin and Syria’s Assad are eating Obama for lunch daily. 


Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital