The History Of The October Surprise

Election Day is now just three months away and this year’s campaign is unlike any other due to the pandemic. So are we ripe for an October Surprise, a bombshell that drops just before voters head to the polls?

There have been a few in the past. In 1972, Richard Nixon’s administration floated the idea that “peace was at hand” in Vietnam just weeks before he ran for re-election against Democrat George McGovern. 

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, who explains the history of the October surprise.

Also, the media has come under criticism for how it treated events leading up to the election, especially in 2016, when controversy dogged both candidates.

NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik weighs in on the issues facing those covering an unprecedented election cycle.

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