What’s an October surprise you may wonder? Is it the Cowboys having a winning month? Well that would be a surprise for sure. However, the cowboys will be left for another day.
In a presidential election year, October surprise is political slang for a news event with the potential to change the outcome of the election. Every presidential election cycle doesn’t have an October surprise, but since the term was first used in the 1972 election, the potential and or rumor of one has always been there.
Some of the most recent and note worthy October surprises were in the 1980, 1992 and 2000 elections. Like I said earlier, the news event in question only has the potential to change an outcome of an election. It doesn’t automatically do it.
In 1980, The Carter vs. Reagan election was consumed in October of that year by the Iranian hostage crisis. Reagan was worried that Carter would work out some kind of deal with the Iranians ensuring him a win. As it turned out, Carter a few days before the election, had to tell the American people that the hostages wouldn’t be released before Election Day. Did this announcement influence voters one way or another? Perhaps some. Was it enough to change the outcome of the election?
Bush vs. Clinton in 1992 was not as dramatic, but did have a major news event that could have possibly thrown a negative shadow over the Bush presidency. Four days before the election, Cap Weinberger, who was Reagans Secretary of Defense, was implicated in the Iran-Contra affair. Bush as we know was VP under Reagan. Did it hurt Bush in the election?
Bush vs. Gore in 2000 brought a drunk driving allegation to the surface against Bush just days before elections that year. Bush himself did admit to them shortly after the news came out about the charges.
Will there be an October surprise this year? I’m thinking there might be. There are so many possibilities; from Israel attacking Iran, to the Iranians closing off the Strait of Hormuz. My guess, strictly a guess is that this year it will be a foreign crisis. Keep in mind it is called an October surprise, but doesn’t necessarily have to be in October. Wait and watch, it’s coming. 🙂