Ever since I was a young boy, I followed politics on one level or another. (And played the occasional game of pinball, but not as well as that deaf, dumb, and blind kid.) Every Presidential election around this time, people start looking for an eleventh hour scandal that will rock one or both of the major party candidates. This scandal has become known as the October Surprise, or as I prefer to call it, crap we were saving for just such an occasion.
Normally, I would be worried about October Surprises, but this election year just doesn’t seem to bother me as much namely because of the two major party candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Oh, I feel there may be an October Surprise or two, but I think they won’t be as effective as previous surprises have been.
Let’s start out with Republican nominee Donald Trump. Are there people out there looking for every salacious piece of dirt they can find on the man? Yep. But here’s the problem: Democrats have already said and done things to make Trump look horrible.
When you’ve already called your opponent a racist, xenophobe, liar, failed businessman, unprepared to be President, and all sorts of other nasty names, where do you go from there? Just like Bill Clinton at a porn shoot, they blew their wad early and often, leaving little ammunition for later in the campaign. Where can you go from there? Hillary’s strategists might need to start complementing Trump to try to make people dislike him.
This leaves Hillary Clinton to address. The Trump campaign hasn’t engaged in the same kind of malignant namecalling the Hillary campaign has used. But, it really hasn’t needed to because of Hillary’s long-standing scandals monopolizing her time. It has a cumulative effect of creating a wide foundation for people not to trust her.
So, how do you deliver an effective October Surprise against Hillary? If you make up something, people are going to shrug and believe you anyway. If you tell the truth, people are going to do…the same thing.
See what I mean? Finding an October Surprise on Trump or Hillary is either going to be an unprecidented scandal never before seen in political history, or it’s going to be a yawn-fest of Al Gore doing a live reading of the phone book proportions. If Trump say something horrible, it’s not like he’s going to spend time worrying about it. He seems to thrive on making peoples’ heads explode, especiallly people who don’t like him. Hillary has a similar effect, only the depths of her dishonesty take people by surprise and make some people’s heads explode.
Put simply, there’s not going to be a lot of material to work with for either Trump or Clinton’s campaigns’ October Surprise. One candidate doesn’t care and will fire back, and the other candidate does care, but not enough to stop being a corrupt politician. (I know, redundant.) Perhaps the October Surprise this year is…there isn’t one. And I, for one, would welcome it. Since the rulebook seems to have been thrown out for this year’s election, why not?