October surprise(s)

The possibility of an October surprise has never loomed so large over an election, partially because there are just so many possibilities this year. The following is by no means an exhaustive list, but I think it does cover the major categories.

1. War with Iran. This is far less likely than it might have seemed a few months back, as this article in the Guardian attests.  It would be sheer insanity for the U.S. to start anything, since Iran’s capability for retaliation (both in Iraq and in the Gulf) is considerable.  Nonetheless, it would be to McCain’s electoral advantage, and is impossible to discount altogether.

2.  Bin Laden found. Bin Laden’s capture/death would go a long way toward vindicating Bush II in the eyes of the American people, though (in stark contrast to 04) such an event wouldn’t automatically redound to the benefit of the GOP candidate. Nonetheless, this may be why the temperature on the Pakistani border has been increasing so dramatically (note I said “may“).

3. War with Pakistan.  Caught between the U.S. and its own militants, Pakistan may lash out in unpredictable ways.  There’s also the (remote) possiblity of an Islamic coup.

4.  Al-Qaeda launches attacks in U.S.   It’s no secret that Al-Qaeda would love to disrupt the U.S. election, and the internet traffic predicting such an event is growing (as it usually does at this point in the election cycle). There are too many intangibles here to anticipate how this would impact the election; also of note is that in 2004, second-tier U.S. officials discussed postponing the election entirely in the event of such an attack (for which there is no legal basis).

5. Catastrophic incident against a candidate.  I’d be reluctant to even mention this, were it not for the fact that Senator Clinton has already gone on record about the issue, and had not one plot already surfaced.

6.  U.S. dollar meltdown. This would seem to be more of a medium-term scenario than an immediate possibility.  But we are very much in uncharted economic waters now, and anything could happen.

7.  Bristol Palin’s wedding. Well, this surprised me, that’s for sure.  It’s not on the same level as the items above, but apparently it just might happen, and if so, it’d be a #$# media circus.  How many more plot twists can one election take?

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5 Responses to “October surprise(s)”

  1. meesh Says:

    if they won’t let sarah near too many reporters, why would they let them near her daughter’s wedding?

  2. Gustaf Erikson Says:

    hmm, I think the link to the Guardian article is incorrect. Or am I missing something?

  3. David Williams Says:

    Gustaf- thanks for the heads-up, I’ve fixed it . . . djw

  4. Brian Says:

    Daughter’s off limits I thought? Can’t play both sides of the card.

    My odds on 1-7

    1 100:1 – and when it does happen, by proxy
    2 Even money
    3 75:1 And that wouldn’t be a war by declaration, but rather “incursions”
    4 1:1.5
    5 I ain’t takin’ that action
    6 I think this game already happened–no bets after the kickoff. Sorry.
    7 1:5, but I think Obama’s searching hard for a potential suitor for his oldest. Should be able to pull something off by late October.

  5. David J. Williams » Blog Archive » The finish-line in sight Says:

    […] also worth noting that there’s still a lot of time on the clock for an October Surprise, especially one that involves foreign policy. Bin Laden may yet make an appearance, if only on […]