Journalist lays out 11 'unknown unknowns' that could sway 2024 election

Journalist lays out 11 'unknown unknowns' that could sway 2024 election

What pundits have to say about presidential races and how they eventually turn out can be two entirely different things.

In late 2019 and early 2020, some pundits were writing obituaries for Joe Biden's presidential campaign. The former vice president went on to win his party's nomination and enjoy a decisive victory over former President Donald Trump in the general election.

In 2012, many Fox News and Fox Business pundits were confident that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (now a U.S. senator via Utah) would make Barack Obama a one-term president. And GOP strategist Karl Rove, observers said, looked like a deer caught in the headlights when, on Election Night, then-Fox News pundit Megyn Kelly informed him that Obama had won Ohio and been reelected.

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The 2024 presidential election, according to countless polls, appears to be shaping up to be a rematch between Biden and Trump. But The Daily Beast's David Rothkopf, in an op-ed/listicle published on August 28, lays out 11 "unknown unknowns" (as the late Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was fond of saying) that could affect the election's outcome.

"First, the one thing we know about 2024 is that it will be unlike any election year in U.S. history," Rothkopf emphasizes. "We have never had a major party candidate facing, currently, 91 felony counts and seven trials and counting. We don't know how a daily stream of revelations about Trump's legal travails will impact the electorate. We don't know how he will react to the process, and how the courts will react to him."

Rothkopf continues, "Quite apart from all that, the stakes for this election are higher than for any other since 1860. Trump has already stated he wants to radically remake the U.S. government in ways that will bring us closer to outright autocracy. The GOP wants to strip away crucial rights from women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community. If MAGA has its way, America will be a much more illiberal society starting January 2025."

Rothkopf goes on to list 11 possible "developments that could take place between now and" November 2024 that "would substantially impact or even alter" the election results.

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Those 11 are: (1) "Trump is disqualified," (2) "There is a candidate health scare," (3) "Trump is convicted of one or more crimes," (4) "Trump could melt down and make his legal peril even greater," (5) "A new candidate could enter the GOP race and catch fire," (6) "Trump flees the country," (7) "an extremist act of violence," (8) "intensified foreign election interference," (9) "a sudden major turn in the war in Ukraine or in Russia's leadership," (10) "A natural disaster," and (11) "The usual disruptive suspects."

Rothkopf argues that although #6 "seems outlandlish," a "Trump flees the country" scenario isn't totally out of the question.

"Trump even took to Truth Social to make fun of the idea," the journalist writes. "But if Trump faces actual prison time, do you think it won't cross his mind? He has his own plane. He has friends overseas. He has money. Would the Secret Service, with its shoddy track record of late, even stop him from going?"

Rothkopf continues, "Certainly, it can't be ruled out. After all, Trump has even fantasized out loud about his desire to be in some country other than the U.S."

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David Rothkopf's full op-ed/listicle for The Daily Beast is available at this link (subscription required).

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