Most of the world remains stunned that Trump could have won the presidential election. Theories abound: some of the few pundits who were correct beforehand said Trump would win because of a key group of indicators; some said you could read it in the behaviour of the markets. But Trump winning conforms to a much simpler prediction model, one that has been correct every time since the war. It’s so simple, in fact, it’s embarrassing. The more charismatic candidate always wins, every time.
By charismatic, I mean this in the crudest possible terms. Basically, take who is the more watchable of the two candidates for president every four years and that person always wins.
I said this has been the case since at least the end of the Second World War, but for brevity’s sake I’ll only run through the last 40 years of results to demonstrate my theory.
In 1976, Carter defeats the supernaturally boring Ford, a man who ended up president by accident after Watergate; but Carter loses against the much more charismatic Reagan, who then easily retains it in ’84 running against the non-entity Mondale; George H Bush keeps the presidency for the Republicans after facing off against the exceedingly charm deficient Dukakis, but is defeated in ’92 by the incredibly charismatic Clinton, who retains it in ’96 against the very dull Dole; in 2000, George W beats the well meaning but turgid Gore, then retains it against the well meaning but bland Kerry; charisma machine Obama is able to blast past the colourless McCain and Romneybot 3000; finally, the very watchable Trump beats the solid but slightly charmless Clinton. The solid, dependable, experienced candidate always loses to the more watchable one, every time. Dukakis, McCain, Dole, Gore, Hillary Clinton all screamed solidity against usually far less tested opponents, yet all of them lost.
I know many of you are now recoiling at my description of Trump as charismatic, but allow me to demonstrate. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are given twenty minutes of TV airtime to do whatever they like with so long as the candidates themselves appear in at least half of the onscreen time given. You are only allowed to watch one of those twenty minute slots. Those of you who claim that they would opt for Clinton’s slot are either lying or are just being exceedingly loyal. We all know that Clinton’s twenty minutes would be an insipid slice of PC bullshit – while Trump’s twenty minutes would be unmissably awful, somewhat akin to watching a literal car crash. Think about it: you’d have to know what ridiculous things he would say, all delivered from those orange, anus-like lips of his.
The lesson for the Democrats? Put someone who sparkles against Trump in 2020, someone you can’t take your eyes off of. Even if it means running someone less competent or qualified. You can always make up for those things via the cabinet – but you’ll never get control of the executive if you can’t win the election first.