In the year where every week seems to bring a new surprise, trying to guess what October has in store for the upcoming election may bring more spine-tingling chills than the recently cancelled Halloween.
Over a span of two weeks in September, we saw:
- a major Supreme Court battle emerge
- a new explosion of race-riots in Louisville
- a damning report on Hunter Biden‘s Burisma corruption
- newly declassified documents casting scrutiny on the ethics of the Mueller investigation
- the long-anticipated New York Times leak of Trump’s taxes
- incendiary claims from Watergate reporter Bob Woodward that Trump misled the public on coronavirus.
To the extent that an October surprise can be planned or anticipated, below is a March Madness-style bracket that you can use to place your bets at home.
COVID Cure vs. Stock Market Crash
Trump already has hinted at the possibility of a coronavirus vaccine being ready before Election Day, which Democrats have pre-emptively rejected as a dangerous political ploy. Nonetheless, it would be the game-changer, promising to return us to the pre-March boom-time optimism when our biggest worry was Ukraine.
Conversely, there could be a repeat of the 2008 race, in which the stock market bottomed out mere weeks before Barack Obama defeated John McCain. Some speculate that Obama’s inevitability caused the underlying crash in consumer confidence. Others wonder if mega-billionaires like George Soros didn’t exert their influence to nudge the US economy in the wrong direction.
Biden Drops Out vs. Trump Impeached (Again)?
Is Democrat hopeful Joe Biden’s dementia real, or is it all an act? Regardless, he could be setting the stage for a surprise exit before or after Nov. 3.
A Michelle Obama bait-and-switch, for example, would allow her to avoid the hassle of campaigning against President Donald Trump while enjoying the perks.
But why would Biden agree to such an arrangement? Dirt would be the obvious answer, if the accounts of his former Secret Service detail are to be trusted.
Meanwhile, Democrat prosecutors in New York have long been fishing for dirt against Trump on matters including his taxes and campaign expenditures.
And the Left may attempt other lines of attack, such as finding a new scandal to indict someone close to the president. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi even refused to rule out the possibility of another impeachment as one of the ‘arrows’ in her quiver to forestall a Supreme Court confirmation.
Iran War / Assassination Attempt vs. Mass Shooter
As the killing of Qassem Soleimani during the throes of Trump’s impeachment proved, the “wag the dog” strategy can be an effective way to redirect the news cycle. On the downside, Iran has vowed vengeance and may seek to strike before the election if doing so would hurt Trump’s campaign.
While a terrorist act could create a “rally” effect for Trump, any sort of a mass shooting—even a false-flag operation—would normally play to the Left’s anti-gun rhetoric.
However, the ongoing violence from riots and the extra vigilance due to COVID lockdowns both reduce the odds that a normally cataclysmic massacre would stir lasting public outrage.
Stormy Daniels vs. Tara Reade
Much to the chagrin of Hillary Clinton, Trump’s scandalous “Hollywood Access” tape didn’t move the dial last election. But the residual effects of the MeToo movement could help resurrect decades-old accusations on either side in the coming election.
Assuredly, we haven’t heard the last of the long-brewing allegations that Trump paid off porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy bunny Karen McDougal during the 2016 race, a charge that New York prosecutors are continuing to pursue.
But Republicans may get their own court victory if Judicial Watch‘s pending case against the University of Delaware reveals anything more about Biden’s alleged assault on Tara Reade or other women who may have complained about his uncomfortable advances.
Meanwhile, the case against Jeffrey Epstein‘s alleged accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell, could serve up another wild card in the sex-scandal category—one that could break for or against either Trump or his Democrat adversaries, depending on the allegations.
Durham Bombshell vs. Trump Pee Tape
The slow drips of the Durham investigation into the FBI’s Russia hoax have been building up to something. But whether it will conclude in time for the election remains to be seen. FBI Director James Comey‘s Senate Judiciary testimony on Wednesday could be the beginning or the end of the saga, depending on what else is hiding in those classified files.
But what if it were all true? If there really were Russian kompromat on Trump, as the Steele dossier alleged—including the notorious tape of the future president receiving a “golden shower” from Moscow prostitutes—then it would certainly surface at some point in the coming month.
Amy Coney Barrett vs. John Roberts
Sen. Lindsey Graham has said Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett‘s confirmation hearing will begin in mid-October and is expected to last three to four days. But we all know how that goes. This high-stakes game could be the crowning legacy of Trump’s first term. But Democrats will doubtless pull out all the stops, yet again, to prevent it.
Barrett’s addition to the court would relieve pressure on aging Justice Clarence Thomas, 72, to retire before Democrats regained power. But Chief Justice John Roberts, who has made abundantly clear he is no Trump fan, could throw a wrench in the works with an early exit.
The likelihood of legal challenges to the election results means the court could be forced—as it did in 2000—to resolve the final outcome, casting another blow to its legitimacy for the losing side. Having already presided over an impeachment and been the deciding vote in many landmark cases that betrayed his liberal tendencies, a burned-out Roberts could choose to walk away once his influence as a swing vote has been mooted.
N-Word Scandal vs. George Floyd Acquittal
Biden’s racist gaffes may come at a considerable cost among minorities, where only a small percentage of defections could ruin Democrat prospects. Trump has continued to build on these in-roads, pushing for even more initiatives that should resonate with black voters disaffected by Black Lives Matter‘s hijacking of the civil rights movement.
But should scandalous racial comments surface, all bets are off. For some time, comedian Tom Arnold was on a mission to uncover rumored tapes of Trump using the n-word. Then, the case suddenly went cold. Did Arnold find what he was seeking?
Even more likely to reignite racial tensions would be a development in the George Floyd case similar to that which occurred recently in the Breonna Taylor case. Although radical Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison could not be more different than Kentucky’s Daniel Cameron, rioters would likely fail to make the distinction if the officers involved in Floyd’s death received an acquittal—despite there being a strong case for one.
New Lockdowns vs. Caravans Resume
It’s no coincidence that the Obamas have emphasized the importance of voting early. With Democrats having largely succeeded in the suspicious efforts to relax mail-in voting rules during the pandemic, a media-hyped resurgence of the virus could throw in-person voting on Election Day into complete turmoil.
However, if Democrat swing-state governors were to shut down the polls, it would be an ironic twist since they, themselves, have long countered election-integrity measures with complaints over voter access.
On the other hand, pandemic lockdowns have helped the Trump administration curb the immigration threat that once dominated headlines. If a vaccine were to emerge, left-wing activists could reignite the immigration debate by organizing another caravan of desperate, virus-infected migrants making impassioned pleas for access to free US healthcare.