Opinion | Brace yourself for election’s home stretch

By Noah Nelson, Senior Columnist

Ahh, 2020. Need I say more?

What is the best way to describe the starting year to a new decade? Adjectives like unprecedented, confusing and most importantly, unpredictable, all come to mind.

In the next month, Americans — if they haven’t done so already — will head to the polls to vote in the upcoming presidential election. The race between incumbent President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden continues to dominate news outlets, spark constant conversation among Americans and remain a part of our everyday lives — and will for a long while. If 2020 has foreshadowed anything, it’s that Americans must brace themselves for the election’s home stretch, because nowadays, anything is possible.

Looking back, the Jan. 26 death of NBA star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna set the tone for one crazy roller-coaster ride of a year. In the following months, the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world and not long after, the United States, shutting down businesses, canceling all public events and flipping everyone’s lives upside down, all during an election year.

Now with over 200,000 deaths in the U.S. due to COVID-19, Americans are still fixated on what to do next during the pandemic, but have more turned their attention to the ongoing presidential race. Most notably, they are focused on the infamous October Surprise.

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In the last full month of the presidential race, events occur that could quite possibly alter the election’s outcome. In 2016, it was the leaked “Access Hollywood” video showing Trump using inappropriate language toward women and then-FBI director James Comey announced he would begin investigations into Trump’s opponent former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email servers.

This year, the October Surprise began with the sudden death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which quickly prompted Trump to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to replace her, which sparked major controversy.

Last week, Trump and Biden faced off in their first presidential debate, thus beginning the home stretch of the election. While the two candidates spent the entire hour and a half time frame bickering at one another on such issues like Trump’s new Supreme Court nominee Barrett, racial division in the country and the pandemic.

Now, after spending months holding large rallies with over thousands of people and rarely wearing a mask, Trump has tested positive for COVID, alongside First Lady Melania Trump, former Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s advisor Hope Hicks, Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien and a slew of other top officials. What will the race look like for the next month?

With Trump now released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, upcoming campaign events for him have been sparse. As Vice President Pence faced Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris in their debate last week, the next presidential debate is still up in the air.

If you don’t think so already, October will be a memorable month for sure no matter what happens, and prove today’s political world is out of control. That’s why we all need to brace ourselves for whatever comes our way this next month.

If 2020 has taught us any lesson, it’s that anything is possible. At this rate, if Chicken Little screams “The sky is falling!” again or Jimmy Carter sees another UFO sighting, it wouldn’t be surprising. In all honesty, it wouldn’t be strange at all.


Noah is a junior in the College of Media.

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