Please, No “October Surprises”

Today, two of the biggest publicity-seekers in American life are supposed to unveil “October surprises” about the two presidential candidates.  Gloria Allred claims to have some new revelation about Mitt Romney, and Donald Trump has announced that he has some information about President Obama.

I loathe media hounds, and I groan whenever there is a suggestion of an “October surprise” that is supposed to change the direction of the presidential race.  The “surprises” are never about anything recent or anything substantive; that fact is not surprising, because the meaningful records and activities of modern presidential candidates are closely scrutinized and and highly publicized.  Instead, the “surprises” typically involve a claim about matters that happened years or even decades ago, often about a personal matter that has nothing to do with the issues of the day.  The disclosures of such antique personal matters are always justified on the ground that they purportedly reveal something about the candidate’s character — but we all know, really, that the person making the disclosure just craves the spotlight and yearns for the public attention that apparently is the only thing that can give their pathetic lives meaning.

I think most Americans despise our modern electoral politics, where the prevailing approach seems to be a divisive, scorched earth strategy designed primarily to tear down and demonize the opponent.  When you mix in media hounds who are motivated by their lust for a few moments of air time, the process becomes intolerable.  Whatever this year’s “October surprises” might be, I hope they are ignored by the media and voters alike.  The best result for our country would be if Allred, Trump, and their ilk gave press conferences that no one attended.