Very few people saw Donald Trump's presidential victory coming. Most of the polls and pundits predicted Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office, and just weeks before the election, President Obama joked on Jimmy Kimmel Live that, unlike Trump, "at least I will go down as a president." But one professor did accurately predict a Trump victory—just like he has accurately predicted the outcome of every other presidential election since 1984. Now, that professor is predicting that Donald Trump will be impeached.
American University professor Allan Lichtman is known as "Prediction Professor" because, as the New York Times put it, "only one major political historian, Allan Lichtman, had predicted that Trump would win." Even before this election, Lichtman has gotten it right for more than 30 years—meaning he's 9 out of 9 since 1984.
Now, Lichtman has another prediction. In an interview with Erin Burnett on CNN's OutFront, the political historian said, "There's a very good chance that Donald Trump could face impeachment."
Lichtman argued, "Throughout his life, [Trump] has played fast and loose with the law." He went on to note some of the many controversies surrounding Trump.
Nonetheless, Burnett pointed out, Republicans control both the House and the Senate, so why would Trump's own party kick him out of the Oval Office? "The Republicans are nervous about Donald Trump," Lichtman replied. "He is a loose canon. Nobody knows what he really believes or really where he stands. He can't be controlled. The Republicans would vastly prefer to have Mike Pence, an absolutely predictable down-the-pipe conservative Republican."
Lichtman's impeachment prediction is bold in and of itself, but according to the Washington Post, the professor made that prediction as far back as September. It should be noted, though, that Lichtman makes his election predictions using his own system of 13 true or false statements, based on the idea that elections are "primarily a reflection on the performance of the party in power." This impeachment prediction, however, is based on instinct, Lichtman told Burnett.
Similarly, when he made the prediction to the Washington Post in September, Lichtman explained: "This one is not based on a system; it's just my gut. They don't want Trump as president, because they can't control him. He's unpredictable. They'd love to have Pence—an absolutely down-the-line, conservative, controllable Republican. And I'm quite certain Trump will give someone grounds for impeachment, either by doing something that endangers national security or because it helps his pocketbook."
With that said, even a Pence presidency could be troubling for many Americans. Back in July, Clinton described Pence as "incredibly divisive and unpopular" and said Trump's running mate is "bad for women’s health," immigrants, and LGBT people—and Pence's own record backs up that claim.
David Brooks of the New York Times also believes Trump "will probably resign or be impeached within a year."
Impeaching Trump seems almost as improbable as the Electoral College preventing a Trump presidency by going with Clinton, as a popular petition requests, or even by choosing Mitt Romney or John Kasich, as two presidential electors are hoping.
According to The Hill, no U.S. president has ever been removed from office by impeachment and conviction. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were both successfully impeached but they were acquitted by the Senate. Richard Nixon resigned before he could have been impeached.
In the end, Lichtman's prediction about impeachment seems unlikely. But then again, so was his prediction that Trump would win the election.