Most American voters know that an October Surprise is an unexpected event that happens in the month before a presidential election. Let’s consider two November Surprises that happened in the year before an election.

In November of 1963, JFK seemed to be gliding toward nomination for a second term, but was surprised in Dallas. And in November of 1979, Jimmy Carter was surprised when sixty-six Americans were taken hostage at our embassy in Tehran. Carter won his nomination but lost the White House to Reagan and his slogan “Let’s Make America Great Again.”

If by November of this year, a mere five months from now, the House of Representatives manages to impeach both Trump and Pence in time for a Senate trial, Republican senators might surprise us by joining Democrats and voting to convict Trump and Pence, thus elevating Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to the White House and freeing a herd of GOP elephants thundering into the primaries in early 2020.

Animated of gif of Trump becoming Pence becoming Pelosi becoming Clinton

A Pelosi presidency would be a surprise that could energize both Republicans and Democrats as well as the electorate.

It may surprise most Americans to learn that the majority party in the House of Representatives does not have to elect a member of the House to be the new speaker. They can elect anyone who qualifies for a seat in the House.

And here could come an even bigger November surprise. If Pelosi became president, instead of selecting a new vice president, she could simply ask the House to immediately elect Hillary Clinton as the new speaker, then resign in favor of Clinton and stand for election as speaker.

In other words, Nancy Pelosi could surprise us all in November by putting America back on course three years after we lost the way. And President Clinton could surprise us by announcing she will not run in 2020.


Image Credit: Each of the caricatures were created by DonkeyHotey via Flickr and used under a Creative Commons license.

Julian Riggs Smith

Julian Riggs Smith

I was born in Louisiana, grew up there and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, graduated Tulane, began my full-time college teaching career in Alabama, ended it forty years later in Florida, and have had a home on the coast of Georgia since 1993.