It’s That Time: 2012 October Surprise Conspiracy Theories

October 2nd, 2012

Tin Foil Tuesday

“October Surprise” first became a US election idiom during the Nixon versus McGovern race. In that particular race, the Nixon administration announced last-minute plans to end the Vietnam War in order to neutralize the anti-war opposition which was coalescing around George McGovern.

In general, the phrase refers to a shocking news item which changes the trajectory of a race right before the election. Anyone who closely watched this year’s Republican primary could easily understand why a campaign would want something favorable to break during the last month leading up to an election — popularity surges which happen right before the election are the most likely kind to hold.

1980′s election brought us the first October Surprise conspiracy theory, albeit pertaining to the prevention of a surprise, rather than the creation of one. Iran had taken US hostages at the time, and the Reagan/Bush campaign was accused of striking a secret deal to release them after the election, rather than before, in order to prevent Jimmy Carter from prevailing in the November contest. Since then, conspiracy theorists have warned people to stay vigilant towards a variety of potential scenarios on the October before each election, ranging from false flag terror attacks, manufactured economic crises, or even the suspension of elections due to a state of emergency. Could a 2012 October Surprise be awaiting us?

The Bush-Reagan October Surprise Examined

Geoge HW Bush was the Director of the CIA from ’76 to ’77. It’s no secret that the US has been deeply involved in clandestine activities in Iran for decades. It follows that a CIA Director would have significant contacts in that country. Later, some Reagan Administration officials wound up in the arms for hostages scandal, also involving Iran.

With Iran holding US hostages in a year leading up to an election, Jimmy Carter would have certainly been better off if they had been released that October. However, Iran chose to release them immediately after Reagan’s inauguration. Allegedly, Reagan campaign manager William Casey, later CIA Director, met with Iranian officials and asked them to delay releasing the hostages in exchange for better relations after the election. It’s impossible to prove Iran’s motive in doing this, as the nation’s officials may have simply been opposed to Carter and decided to do this on their own, but the timing is suspicious, and George HW Bush certainly had the connections to pull off something of this nature.

Will There Be an October Surprise in 2012?

Almost every election features some type of October Surprise. Campaigns save their juiciest opposition research for the last moments before an election, arranging for the publication of scandals such as the October 2000 revelation of George W Bush’s prior history of DUI. In that sense, we’re sure to see something shocking.

However, with the world economy suffering under QE3 and multiple Middle Eastern nations sacking US embassies due to frustrations over years of war, conspiracy theorists are abuzz with speculation. Will there be a dollar crash? Is QE3 designed to give President Obama an election-year boost, only to send the economy into an inflationary disaster afterward? Will Israel strike Iran’s nuclear facilities? Will the US assist Israel in striking Iran’s nuclear facilities? Will there be a real or false-flag terror attack leading to a suspension of the elections? These are some of the common questions raised by those who suspect something wild might happen this month.

Since presidential campaigns tend to seek out an October Surprise to benefit their campaigns, there always seems to be at least one, whether conspiratorial in nature or not. Will this month’s be something minor, such as a scandal related to Obama or Romney’s past, or will it be a world-shattering event like an Israeli strike on Iran or a manufactured crisis? Only time will tell.

Do you suspect something might happen this month? Weigh in with your speculation about 2012 October Surprise conspiracy theories in the comments area below.

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About the Author: Barry Donegan

Barry Donegan is a singer for the experimental mathcore band Look What I Did, a writer, a self-described "veteran lifer in the counterculture", a political activist/consultant, and a believer in the non-aggression principle.