Talk:October surprise

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No 1968?[edit]

The term October surprise very commonly used in reference to Johnson's fake Vietnam peace breakthrough of 1968. Yet nothing about 1968 is mentioned in the article. Slithytoad (talk) 01:35, 6 April 2019 (UTC)


Ebola, to spook people from staying away from the polls — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:C4AF:48B9:E9AD:1D89:E72A:92A6 (talk) 13:53, 8 September 2020 (UTC)

Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg[edit]

Can RGB's death already be considered an October surprise, or would it be too early to say? --Gavinjgrotegut (talk) 00:32, 19 September 2020 (UTC)

Good question, Gavinjgrotegut. My instinct: determining whether RBG’s death qualifies as an “October Surprise” is a function of whether notable sources have defined it as such. And considering at least two already have (see below), I’d say it’s okay to include it, perhaps with a qualifier like, “Hours after her death, outlets x, y and z categorized the event an October Surprise.”
Stussll (talk) 05:28, 19 September 2020 (UTC)
I’m going to go ahead and add it. Although, if you think the determination I’ve made above is off in some way, please revert the edit and let me know what you think I didn’t consider. Stussll (talk) 05:32, 19 September 2020 (UTC)

First sentence[edit]

The first sentence:

In American political jargon, an October surprise is a news event deliberately created or timed or sometimes occurring spontaneously to influence the outcome of an election...

That makes no sense. An event which is spontaneously can't be designed to influence the election. I will reword it.--Jack Upland (talk) 03:56, 30 September 2020 (UTC)


I don't see how any of these rates as an "October surprise". Ginsburg's death gives Trump a chance to nominate a new judge. It doesn't seem likely to change the election outcome. The other two events are just routine events in the Trump presidency.--Jack Upland (talk) 03:54, 30 September 2020 (UTC)

Agreed. Seems like every news story that comes out, people want to add it.Rja13ww33 (talk) 17:22, 30 September 2020 (UTC)
And now COVID-19.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:26, 2 October 2020 (UTC)

Many news outlets (which I have cited) have speculated that Trump getting COVID-19 could be seen as an "October Surprise" --Enzymes (talk) 11:39, 2 October 2020 (UTC)

The New York Post story should be removed until there is actual proven evidence to back it up, no? (talk) 18:29, 20 October 2020 (UTC)

Surprises? Which Month?[edit]

I am an inclusionist. Although many of the things listed have little relation to October, I do not delete them. Perhaps the simple indication 'Near October' is what it takes to make such dumb mistakes look harmonious. (talk) 15:24, 2 October 2020 (UTC)

I agree that these events should generally be included, but I think the underlined/italicized 'Near October' is a little jarring. I think we should have some faith in the reader to recognize that those events, while not occurring in October, follow the same pattern as the others. If there is notable external debate about whether an event qualifies an October surprise, that could be included inline, or the item could simply be removed. OrcWhisperer (talk) 18:33, 2 October 2020 (UTC)
Absolutely agree that we can trust readers to make the necessary obvious inferences. I think MOS:PSEUDOHEAD also advises against the current formatting. – Arms & Hearts (talk) 23:09, 2 October 2020 (UTC)

The term "October Surprise" should be things that happen in OCTOBER. Very late in the election game. 2020 is complete overkill at this point. Trumps Covid-19 diagnosis should be the only thing to stay. Why is there something from JUNE in the 1992 section? (talk) 01:42, 3 October 2020 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:39, 3 October 2020 (UTC)

You raise a good point about the 2020 section. I'm guessing it will tend towards being bloated until after the election, when editors will have more hindsight as to what was most influential to the final electoral politics. Surely the September 27th tax returns leak should be included, though. In the New York Times article itself, they write that further articles with more information from the leak will be released in the coming weeks. If the first article were written just a few days later, it would have been the archetypcal October surprise. OrcWhisperer (talk) 04:43, 3 October 2020 (UTC)
The tax return leak probably falls under WP:TOO SOON because it's unclear whether or not it will actually have any impact as an October surprise. It already seems more likely that the population will quickly forget about the tax returns and that Trump's fight with COVID-19 will play a bigger role. ACB's confirmation hearings may be significant as well if the President recovers quickly, but Wikipedia isn't a place to speculate. For the time being (and this will certainly change in the days and weeks to come), Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis is the only thing we can be confident enough to include because it's the only thing that is indisputably an October surprise. Bartholomite (talk) 05:31, 3 October 2020 (UTC)
It's not clear that Trump's diagnosis will affect the election outcome. It is notable that the definition of "October Surprise" in the lead was recently changed to be more inclusive of these events. The usage of "October Surprise" originally hinged on the idea that the event was being manipulated in order to affect the election outcome. As far as I can see, no one is stating that Trump was deliberately infected, and no one is stating that Biden has capitalised on Trump's diagnosis. The mere fact a few media outlets use the term "October Surprise" does not mean much.--Jack Upland (talk) 07:40, 3 October 2020 (UTC)
I would think that the fact that news outlets use the term "October Surprise" is everything -- if lots of people are out there calling some event the "October Surprise" of this year's election (and there are many events) then it should be included on the list. If it's just some newsworthy event, maybe not -- just say "news reports called it" or "[newspaper] reported it as" if there's any question. RexSueciae (talk) 22:52, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
Additionally -- I should add -- definitions change. An October Surprise might properly be relegated to well-timed leaks or press conferences, possibly the result of dirty tricks, but if everyone starts using it as slang for "politically momentous thing which happened late in the election cycle" then I don't see why it shouldn't be updated. RexSueciae (talk) 22:54, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
I don't think a couple of sources calling an event an "October Surprise" means it is going to be known as such in 10 years time. I also don't think that if a Wikipedian changes the definition on this article that is definitive.--Jack Upland (talk) 04:27, 5 October 2020 (UTC)