Donald Trump caught the world by surprise when he emerged victorious at the U.S. elections, but his stay at the White House could be short-lived, according to a professor who has correctly predicted presidential poll outcomes for the last 30 years.
Allan Lichtman, a political historian at the American University, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday that Trump’s history of playing “fast and loose with the law,” his unpredictability as well as lack of public service experience could lead to an impeachment.
He added the prognostication was based on a ‘gut feeling’ rather than the scientific methods he employed in predicting Trump’s election victory.
Since winning the election last week, Trump, along with his Vice President-elect Mike Pence, has been trying to fill out key posts in his Cabinet. Reports, however, hinted at the strain his transition team was under in setting up a new administration.
Trump also faced backlash when he appointed Steve Bannon, the former president of Breitbart News, as his chief strategist and senior counselor.
“Trump is a wild card,” Lichtman said, adding Bannon’s appointment would be a litmus test for the President-elect to either jettison him or stick with him no matter how controversial he became.
Though Republicans have won the majority in Congress, Lichtman pointed out they did not have a “filibuster-proof majority” in the Senate. Trump’s appointment of controversial figures like Bannon and his unpredictability could make it more difficult for the Republicans to work with Democrats and other members of the Congress, he said.
“Republicans love control and they would love to see Mike Pence as president because he is predictable and controllable – a down-the-pipe standard conservative Republican.”
Lichtman’s predictions on presidential election outcomes were based on history. Appearing on CNBC in October, Lichtman explained he looked at 13 “keys” he developed by studying every election from 1860 to 1980 and then applied it to the next eight elections.
The way his method worked was if six or more “keys” went against the incumbent party at the White House, its candidate would likely lose the election. In the October interview, Lichtman said there were six “keys” that were against the Democratic party.
To-date, only two presidents have been involved in formal impeachment trials by the Senate – Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999.