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What are the October surprises and how they affect the outcome of the US elections

Traditionally, American voters and the media are waiting for the so-called "October surprise", which could have a decisive influence on the outcome of the presidential election. What it is and what impact such surprises actually have on the election results, the newspaper said. Air force.

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In political jargon, “October surprise” refers to a game-changing event that can irreparably spoil one candidate’s chances and increase the chances of another. This can take the form of a calculated political attack - still a “surprise” for the public and the candidate against whom it is being brought against - or something unplanned that could critically alter the course of the elections, although it does not always work that way, he said. CNN.

Actually, this year there were already several surprises.

2020 surprises

In the last days of September, the New York Times reported that Trump paid only $ 750 in the form of federal income tax in the first year of his presidency. September 29 Trump and Biden agreed in presidential debate, in which Trump spoke up with optimism and again refused to condemn the white supremacists.

On Thursday, October 1, posts were posted in which Melania Trump complains about public opinion about her in light of the separation of children from their parents in ICE camps, just hours before the president wrote on Twitter that he and the first lady got positive test results for coronavirus.

And this news became top-ranked in all the world's media. The 74-year-old Trump is among the highest risk of severe infection due to his age and weight, although he is hiding the details of his health. After months of trying to downplay the pandemic, Trump faces the most serious threat to the health of the incumbent since the 1981 attempt on Reagan's life. The virus could also threaten the health of 77-year-old Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who was meters away from Trump during the debate.

With a month left before the election, there is still time for surprises that might bypass even Trump's diagnosis.

However, in the high-profile October stories that can potentially turn the tide of elections in one direction or another and ensure the victory of one of the candidates, in fact, there is nothing new. Moreover, sometimes these stories are born so “in time” that outside observers may get the impression that there is a real conspiracy, when the government or the opposition deliberately create a situation that plays in their favor.

Let's look at some of these surprises that may seem to have changed the course of the election. Were they really planned and able to influence the outcome of the elections?

1972 - The World Is Close

Scenario: As the war raged in Vietnam, Republican President Richard Nixon was preparing for re-election. The Democrats nominated Senator George McGovern, an opponent of the war.

Surprise: On October 26, Nixon's national security adviser Henry Kissinger announced that peace in Vietnam was close.

And immediately posters appeared at rallies in support of Nixon, proclaiming the imminent end of the war.

Conspiracy? McGovern called Kissinger's statement "a cruel political deception." Indeed, the world was still very far away.

Election Result: Nixon was re-elected by an overwhelming majority. But what Kissinger said at the press conference likely had little impact on the outcome of these elections.

McGovern was a weak candidate and the US economy was booming, with GDP growth in the second quarter of 1972 at an incredible 9,8%.

1980 - American hostages still remain in Iran

Scenario: On November 4, 1979, radical Iranian students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran. 52 American diplomats were taken hostage. Over the next year, Republicans cited the fact that the hostages had not yet been released as an example of Democratic President Jimmy Carter's weakness during the election campaign.

Surprise: As the election draws near, Carter's team's negotiations with the Iranians have stalled.

Tehran first broke off negotiations, and on October 21, Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Rajai, according to former Iranian expert and one of the presidential aides to national security adviser Gary Siku, unexpectedly announced that the hostages would not be released as long as Carter was in White House.

Conspiracy? In 1986, exiled former Iranian President Abolhasan Banisadr stated that in 1980 Republican representatives met with Iranian agents in Paris.

After that, according to the same Sick, the organizers of the pre-election campaign of Ronald Reagan allegedly promised to sell weapons to Iran, which fought with Iraq, in exchange for Tehran to delay the extradition of the hostages until the end of the US elections.

However, congressional investigations have found little credible evidence that Reagan's campaign headquarters made a secret deal with Iran to release the hostages after the election.

Election Result: Reagan confidently won the elections in 1980, Iran released the hostages on his inauguration day in exchange for the US unfreezing Iranian assets worth $ 3 billion.

The hostage crisis definitely hurt the national pride of Americans and gave extra points to Reagan, who questioned Carter's competence.

But even more important for voters was the fact that the country's economy was in decline. In the second quarter of 1980, GDP contracted at an annualized rate of 7,9%.

On the subject: In the 2016 elections, the predictions of the opinion polls did not come true: can you trust them this time

2000 - Bush arrested for drunk driving

Scenario: Texas Governor George W. Bush walked head to head with the Democratic candidate, Vice President Al Gore. The economy was fine, the budget was in surplus, the Cold War was over, and there was still a year left before the September 11 events.

Surprise: Five days before the election, news broke out that Bush had been arrested for drunk driving in 1976. Bush supporters immediately claimed that Gore's headquarters had deliberately brought this fact to light in order to harm their candidate as much as possible. Bush himself called this the "dirty politics" of the Democrats.

Conspiracy? Gore's headquarters said that nothing was specially prepared, and later no one was able to provide evidence of the Democrats' involvement in the publication of this news.

Election Result: During these elections, the gap between candidates was minimal. In terms of the number of votes cast for him, Gore was ahead of Bush by 500 votes. However, the Supreme Court then ruled to end the controversial recount in Florida, leaving Bush to vote for all 29 of the state's electors, securing his victory.

Bush never denied that he had a problem with alcohol addiction in the past, and on the day before the election, polls showed that 8 out of 10 Americans considered this long-standing problem of minor importance.

2004 - New video of Osama bin Laden

Scenario: The country is bogged down in the war in Iraq. Democrat John Kerry intended to play on popular resentment about the war, while Bush warned of the dangers of changing course.

Surprise: Less than a week before the election, Al Jazeera aired a video of Osama bin Laden teasing George W. Bush, making veiled threats, and talking about Florida electoral fraud and budget deficits.

Bush immediately took advantage of this speech by bin Laden in his campaign, warning that only he can keep America safe.

Conspiracy? None of the Democrats dared to suggest that Bush had agreed with the al-Qaeda leader about such a speech. Kerry's supporters only tried to use the video to remind voters that Bush still hasn't caught or killed Osama.

Election Result: Bush was confidently re-elected for a second term.

2008 - Economic collapse

Scenario: Throughout the summer, Barack Obama was in the lead by a small margin. But in September, Republican Senator John McCain, on a wave of interest in his vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, pulled ahead slightly.

Surprise: The October Surprise began a bit prematurely, in September, when the US economy went into a tailspin. Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, the Dow Jones fell 18% in the first week of October, and on October 3 it announced the loss of 159 jobs in the United States.

Election Result: Those who had not yet had time to make a final decision, and those who were more likely to support McCain, saw the cause of the crisis in the economic policy of the Republicans. McCain panicked, while Obama, on the contrary, showed calm and confidence.

In the last weeks leading up to the election, Obama pulled out and, of course, won.

2012 - Hurricane Sandy

Scenario: Even 10 days before the election, opinion polls did not favor either the incumbent President Barack Obama or his Republican rival Mitt Romney.

Surprise: Although Hurricane Sandy, which swept along the east coast of the United States in the last days of October and caused serious damage to New Jersey and New York, was a natural disaster, some media were quick to call it the “October surprise”.

Conspiracy? This disaster gave Barack Obama the opportunity to manifest his presidency in an emergency and enlist the support of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. And Mitt Romney found himself in a difficult situation, a descendant that it was inconvenient for him to conduct an election campaign during the tragedy.

Election Result: Barack Obama remained for a second term in the White House.

On the subject: 'It will be like in Belarus': Trump does not promise to peacefully surrender power in case of defeat in elections

So can the October surprise influence the outcome of the elections?

Any events that take place in the last weeks of the election campaign may disrupt the work of the election headquarters, but political analysts doubt that anything can change from this. Indeed, in the course of the election race, so much happens that a single event can hardly radically change everything, since by October the majority of voters had already decided on a candidate.

The only exception, according to political scientist James Campbell of the University of Buffalo, is the disappointing economic news of September-October 2008.

In the current campaign, the emergence of such late news could, Campbell believes, have a far greater impact on voters who choose the lesser of two evils than in previous years.

U.S. election Educational program US election 2020 Special Projects

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