The October Surprise

In every Presidential election cycle there is talk of an October surprise. Usually the talk comes from the party out of power, which expects that the President, whether he is running for re—election or is term limited from doing so, has the ability to manipulate certain news events (generally international events) to assist his party in the election the next month.  In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson began serious peace talks with the North Vietnamese just days before the election.  The news undoubtedly contributed to tightening the race between Republican Richard Nixon and Democrat Hubert Humphrey, though Nixon held on to win narrowly. Occasionally the October surprise refers to a supposed effort by the party out of power to prevent something from happening that might aid the party in power.  Gary Sick created a now thoroughly—discredited theory that Ronald Reagan worked with the Iranians in 1980 to insure that the American hostages in Teheran were not...(Read Full Article)

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