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 PelosiOvernight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Speaker Pelosi, it's time to throw American innovators a lifeline Why Americans must tune in to the Trump impeachment hearings 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 GoreWarren goes local in race to build 2020 movement The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary Krystal Ball hits media over questions on Sanders's electability MORE in 2000, John KerryJohn Forbes KerryThe Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary Democrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal GOP senators press State Department for Hunter Biden, Burisma records MORE, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary Manafort sought to hurt Clinton 2016 campaign efforts in key states: NYT 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 CarterThe Hill's Morning Report - Diplomats kick off public evidence about Trump, Ukraine The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems, GOP dig in for public impeachment hearings Jimmy Carter recovering from brain surgery with 'no complications' MORE, Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Harris lead Trump in Georgia: Poll Keep your eye on essential facts in the unfolding impeachment circus MORE and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary George Conway: 'If Barack Obama had done this' Republicans would be 'out for blood' George Conway to take part in MSNBC impeachment hearing coverage 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 BidenGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides 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 Sanders2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary MORE (I-Vt.) came in second at 16 percent and another 11 percent said they preferred Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides MORE (D-Mass.) as their top choice.

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

—Tess Bonn