Presidential historian: Democrats' 'conventional wisdom' on picking nominee is 'all wrong'

A professor who correctly predicted the last nine presidential elections told Hill.TV that the conventional wisdom of Democrats when it comes to selecting a presidential nominee is all wrong, saying the party should instead support more “off-the-wall candidates.”

“The conventional wisdom — and you hear if from [Speaker] Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCalifornia Democrat in swing district calls for Trump impeachment inquiry California Democrat in swing district calls for Trump impeachment inquiry Overnight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments MORE [D-Calif.] and others — is we need to go down the center line,” Allan Lichtman, who is a political historian and a history professor at American University, said during an interview that aired on Thursday. “Nominate an establishment, experienced, proven candidate and they’ve done that many times.”

“Mike Dukakis in 1988, Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreDowney: Why I returned stolen campaign material — a lesson for Donald Trump Trump campaign considering making a play for blue state Oregon: report Trump campaign considering making a play for blue state Oregon: report MORE in 2000, John KerryJohn Forbes KerryOcasio-Cortez and Cruz's dialogue shows common ground isn't just for moderates 'Landslide' for Biden? A look at 40 years of inaccurate presidential polls Trump campaign considering making a play for blue state Oregon: report MORE, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBroadway play 'Hillary and Clinton' closing early due to low ticket sales Broadway play 'Hillary and Clinton' closing early due to low ticket sales Facing challenge from Warren, Sanders touts strength against Trump MORE and what do they all have in common? They all lost,” he added.

Lichtman advised Democrats to instead choose political outsiders, citing former presidents Jimmy CarterJimmy Carter'Landslide' for Biden? A look at 40 years of inaccurate presidential polls Jimmy Carter back teaching Sunday school after hip surgery Jimmy Carter back teaching Sunday school after hip surgery MORE, Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonBroadway play 'Hillary and Clinton' closing early due to low ticket sales Broadway play 'Hillary and Clinton' closing early due to low ticket sales Campaign dads fit fatherhood between presidential speeches MORE and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaProgressive activist: Democratic nominee will 'need to ride a little bit to the center' Progressive activist: Democratic nominee will 'need to ride a little bit to the center' Juan Williams: Trump's incredible shrinking GOP MORE as prime examples.

“It’s the off-the-wall candidates — the Carters, the Clintons, the Obamas — [who’ve] won,” he said.

The 2020 presidential campaign is well underway, with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump hits polling on Fox News: 'Something weird going on at Fox' Trump hits polling on Fox News: 'Something weird going on at Fox' 2020 Democrats look to cut into Biden's lead with black voters MORE holding a sizable lead over his fellow Democratic contenders. 

Despite a string of recent criticisms from some Democrats, Biden boasts a 11-point lead over the rest of the Democratic field, according to a new poll that was released on Thursday.

Almost 27 percent of Democratic voters named Biden as their first choice, according to a recent Economist-YouGov poll.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump hits polling on Fox News: 'Something weird going on at Fox' Trump hits polling on Fox News: 'Something weird going on at Fox' 2020 Democrats look to cut into Biden's lead with black voters MORE (I-Vt.) came in second at 16 percent and another 11 percent said they preferred Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump hits polling on Fox News: 'Something weird going on at Fox' Trump hits polling on Fox News: 'Something weird going on at Fox' 2020 Democrats look to cut into Biden's lead with black voters MORE (D-Mass.) as their top choice.

Biden was the only candidate to break double digit numbers in the survey.

—Tess Bonn