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Why every election gets its own crisis

The migrant caravan is just the latest October surprise.

Every election has its own migrant caravan.

October is a tense month in American politics. The closer a political campaign gets to Election Day, the more vulnerable it is to an “October Surprise” — a late-breaking scandal or controversy that influences voters in the final days of an election.

An “October surprise” is typically thought of as an unexpected event that surprises both sides of an election: natural disasters, terrorist attacks, etc. But more recently, it’s come to describe an intentional campaign strategy, wherein political operatives intentionally exploit late-breaking news stories to try to damage their opponents at the last minute.

President Donald Trump’s fixation on the migrant caravan traveling to the United States is a clear example of that strategy — it’s an attempt to shift the media’s attention away from issues like health care with fearmongering about immigrants.

It’s a cheap political ploy, and many news networks have recognized it as such. The problem is, there’s no great way to fight it.

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