Horace Busby, former adviser to Lyndon B. Johnson, says Jimmy Carter is the last Democratic president of the century. Why should anyone listen to Busby? Because he called the Reagan landslide when all around him predicted a tight race.

"I don't work from polls," says Busby, who today runs a Washington consulting firm for corporate clients. "I just learned from my past to focus on the Electoral College." At the request of friends and clients, Busby mailed a letter to acquaintances three weeks before election day explaining the "Republican lock" on the Electoral College; 33 states representing 316 electoral votes were in the GOP column, he said. And he sees no reason for that to change in the next couple of decades.

Another Democrat sounded a warning bell and is therefore entitled to say "I told you so" for the next couple of years. Former South Dakota senator James Abourezk sent an article to The Washington Star in May of 1979 describing a Republican Senate in 1981. After painting a picture of a Senate whose majority leader was Howard Baker and Judiciary Committee chairman was Strom Thurmond, Abourezk wrote sarcastically, "If the Democrats are unable to mobilize themselves on the right side of issues that are important to the people of the country, then perhaps they will see the immediate folly in giving up something that is important to them personally." The article was returned unpublished, perhaps because the scenario seemed too outlandish.