Sexual assault is about power and a culture of misogyny and toxic masculinity. Given that a pandemic has unraveled every aspect of our economy, society, culture, and well-being, voters are battle weary. Case in point: The press secretary’s ceremonial flak jacket, allegedly stolen by the Clintonites as part of Prankgate, turned out to have been picked up accidentally by the cleaning crew, which returned it. Comey’s announcement in late October 2016. “He relinquished that power when he used it against me and, judging from the comments of those around him, countless other women before me.”. A locked padlock) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. But first, some definitions behind that theory, which posits that shortly before Election Day, God forbid, there is a catastrophic, history-changing, national or international event not intentionally perpetrated by either campaign. It appears that in this transition, the White House press corps took a similar situation and hyped it into a full-bore scandal without requiring one White House staffer to go on the record about specific vandalism or to provide any physical evidence. Welcome to October of a presidential election year – time to be on the lookout for an “October surprise.” However, in 2020 one could argue that this traditionally anticipated and often feared cliché of a concept – a “surprise” powerful enough to change the outcome of a presidential election – is now outdated and incapable of changing hearts, minds, and votes. ... Pardons Denied by President George W. Bush. Minnesota Twitter New Zealand David Perdue Town Halls ... plucked a few “W” keys from computer keyboards as a dig to George W. Bush. Moreover, behaviors that voters are willing to accept (if grudgingly) from leaders has significantly widened. (Note to the White House press corps: It’s still not too late to redeem yourselves!). Virginia’s Senate race is between a well-known Democratic incumbent and an underdog Republican political newcomer, but the challenger is confident he can close in down the stretch. The first stories recounted a modest prank in which departing aides plucked a few “W” keys from computer keyboards as a dig to George W. Bush. According to numerous press accounts from Week 1 of the Bush administration, the Clintonites trashed the White House on the way out. For example, a devastating surprise came in 2000 when, just days before the election, a decades-old DUI charge against George W. Bush came to light. Talk about a “surprise” factor with vast potential: President Trump’s nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, galvanizes both sides at the most critical time when all voters had started paying attention to the election and making plans to vote. When they posed for the photo, More than a dozen women have also accused Trump of sexual assault and harassment, and one of the women who has accused Trump, Summer Zervos, recently filed a subpoena seeking any documents from the Trump campaign referencing “, any woman alleging that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately, Trump has denied the allegations, saying they are “, Maintained by Center for American Progress - Action Fund. About a third of adults, 33 percent, say they will vote in person on Election Day, and 11 percent say they might not vote at all.”. But Bush is further proof that sexual assault allegations aren’t a partisan issue. Increased early voting is a phenomenon that radically changes the concept of Election Day and the prospects of an influential October surprise. She served on the McCain Ad Council during the GOP nominee’s 2008 campaign and on the 2004 Bush campaign creative team. Moreover, an NBC News-sponsored poll found: “Fifty-two percent of adults say they will vote early — with 19 percent saying they will vote early in person and 33 percent more saying they will vote by mail. What follows are the reasons why an October surprise is as outdated as direct-mail solicitations. But as the full horror emerged, the White House began to resemble the Continental Hyatt House after a weekend visit by Led Zeppelin. Watch RealClearPolitics upcoming poll averages for that answer. “It seems to me a President’s power is in his or her capacity to enact positive change, actually help people, and serve as a symbol of our democracy,” Lind wrote in her post. — Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) October 25, 2017, “President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures,” the statement said. ... Instagram Facebook Twitter YouTube. Will Trump continue to denigrate the election process, causing further uncertainty among voters? Now, it could be that on their way out of town the Clintonites did rip through the White House like a Bengali typhoon. 3) Reporters are suckers for stories that conform to their prejudices: It stood to reason that the Clinton crew would make a graceless exit and that the grown-ups from Texas would rise above it. Thus, Americans are increasingly incapable of being surprised by political shenanigans. Then Twitter locked her out. According to NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, the White House was “downplaying” the vandalism but unnamed “sources” were reporting “phone lines cut, drawers filled with glue, door locks jimmied so that arriving Bush staff got locked inside their new offices. Sexual assault, of course, is not a joke. Welcome to October, and God help our nation! But there’s nothing unprecedented about the old administration pranking the new administration, as subsequent reports indicated. So, mindful of who their masters will be for the next four years, they accepted the Bushies’ blind accounts. Join Slate Plus to continue reading, and you’ll get unlimited access to all our work—and support Slate’s independent journalism. Will former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale be accused of money laundering $170 million of campaign funds (possibly impacting late fundraising for Team Trump)? She can be reached at or @MyraKAdams on Twitter. In September, eight states began early in-person voting. Obscene messages left behind on copying machine paper.” Another unnamed source “with close ties to the Bush White House,” told CNN’s Kelly Wallace that there was “trash everywhere.”, Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer elliptically confirmed the stories and declared that the White House was cataloguing the vandalism. All rights reserved. Lind met Bush when he attended a screening of a television show Lind appeared on. What percentage of mail-in ballots will be rejected in key battleground states? Twitter has a transparency problem. Maybe the new administration had no evidence of a campaign of vandalism, which is what a review of the Prankgate news stories suggests. (Akin to James Comey’s announcement in late October 2016 of a reopened Clinton email investigation, suggesting to some that he threw the election to Trump?). Will the Senate confirm Amy Comey Barrett just days before the election? So, yes, there were some pranks. Topics like sexual assault and harassment should be nonpartisan. But he also announced that the Bushies were turning the other cheek and declined to open a formal investigation. (What is clear is that with the advent of widespread early voting, the 2024 presidential debates should occur before that process commences.). UPDATE: Bush’s office released a statement Wednesday evening doubling down on its earlier comments. The same galvanization applies to the leaking of Trump’s 2016 and 2017 federal tax returns with the revelation that he only paid $750 in each of those years. Will there be evidence of massive mail-in ballot fraud? Could the post office melt down from an avalanche of ballots? WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration’s legal assault on Google actually feels like a blast from the past. But as the full … Photograph: Charles Dharapak/AP T he … Will our enemies perceive weakness and launch some aggressive action that requires a military response? Facebook Twitter LinkedIn ... Trump job approval locked at 42 percent: Gallup ... 52 percent for President George W. Bush going into 2004 and 60 percent for President Clinton in 1996. All contents © 2020 The Slate Group LLC. In October 2017, speaking at the George W. Bush Institute in New York, you gave what I believe was the single most important speech during the … Yet, even then, would there be a voting shift? The U.S. Justice Department filed an equally high-profile case against a technology giant in 1998, accusing it of leveraging a monopoly position to lock customers into its products so they wouldn’t be tempted by potentially superior options from smaller rivals. Bush apologized after an actress accused him of sexually assaulting her in 2014, but passed off the interaction as an “attempt at humor.”, Actress Heather Lind accused the former president of assaulting her in a now-deleted Instagram post on Tuesday. The question remains whether either of these September events will move the needle, given that 86% of voters had already made up their mind (and that was before Tuesday night’s debate). After all, only 29.3% of Americans believe that our nation is heading in the right direction. The concept of a “traditional” October surprise could be outdated due to overall news numbing, early voting, and entrenched extreme polarization. Could there be legal maneuvering somewhere that could impact the election? Or maybe gentlemanliness had nothing to do with Card’s retreat. The events of September could resonate like one big October surprise. And you'll never see this message again. The story here wasn’t Clintonite shenanigans. When Clinton-Gore staffers showed up for work in 1993, they found offices in disarray, computers disabled, and office furniture helpfully decorated with numerous Bush-Quayle bumper stickers. Slate is published by The Slate Group, a Graham Holdings Company. Actress Heather Lind accused the former president of assaulting her in a now-deleted Instagram post on Tuesday. Is 'October Surprise' an Outdated Concept in Crazy 2020? “To put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke—and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner.”. Former President George H.W. This is a classic “October surprise” that Team Biden is using to amplify its ongoing strategic message of “Scranton vs. Park Avenue.” For Democrats in general, Trump’s “$750” is the perfect wedge issue that fits on a campaign button and crystallizes what they believe is his character as a corrupt businessman and failed president. Related Topics: Amy Coney Barrett , George W. Bush , Clinton Email Controversy , James Comey , Joe Biden , … “President Bush would never — under any circumstance — intentionally cause anyone distress, and he most sincerely apologizes if his attempt at humor offended Ms. Lind,” Bush spokesperson Jim McGrath said in a statement Wednesday. Fleischer insisted that he had been told of more than one instance of cord-whacking but agreed that “the story has become bigger than life.” When reporters asked Fleischer if these more limited damages could simply have been caused by the movers on Inauguration Day, he said, “I don’t believe that the people who are professionals, who make it their business to go in and prepare the White House for new arrivals, would cut wires.” (Has Ari Fleischer ever dealt with movers?). Such events could include a debilitating cyberattack; a natural disaster of biblical portions (even more than the current California wildfires, i.e., “the big one”); a nuclear bomb detonation or an attack on the scale of 9/11 or Pearl Harbor; the death of  Donald Trump or Joe Biden, or a major health crisis that forces one of them to drop out of the race; a 2008-type financial meltdown; a zombie apocalypse; or something unimaginable. More than a dozen women have also accused Trump of sexual assault and harassment, and one of the women who has accused Trump, Summer Zervos, recently filed a subpoena seeking any documents from the Trump campaign referencing “any woman alleging that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately.”, Trump has denied the allegations, saying they are “totally fake news.”. Former President George W. Bush says Americans should come together as one to confront the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 66,000 in the country so far. And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again.