October Surprise

Here Comes the October Surprise

2022 may be poised to have the greatest political October Surprise in the history of United States elections.

That’s right. Unidentified flying objects dumped smack into the middle of a national midterm election. UFOs as a political issue. Candidates were questioned about where they stand on the issue.

It sounds crazy. It’s not going to happen. Right? I mean, right?

In U.S. politics, an “October Surprise” is a news event that may influence the outcome of an upcoming November election, whether deliberately planned or spontaneously occurring. Because the date for national elections is in early November, events that take place in October have greater potential to influence the decisions of prospective voters; thus, relatively last-minute news stories could either change the course of an election or reinforce the inevitable.

What We Already Know

The “Preliminary Report on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” was released on June 25th, 2021.

This might not qualify as a big deal except for the fact that when Congress passed the legislation demanding a 180-day turnaround for a report on UAP from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence late in 2020, the date for the clock to start was the day that President Trump signed it.

On that day, I got out a calendar, counted out 180 days by hand, and arrived at the magic date. June 25th. The last possible day to release it and still be in full compliance with the wishes of Congress and the president.

My takeaway is pretty simple. Director Avril Haines and her team over at ODNI will follow the law to the letter and they will not release a report until the very last minute it is called for.

They will serve no UAP report before its time.

The Logic of the 2022 Calendar

The legislation on last year’s NDAA or National Defense Authorization Act passed both the House and Senate and then was signed by President Biden at the beginning of 2022. It’s the law.

The NDAA contained a lengthy amendment from Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Marco Rubio. It called for all kinds of juicy new plans for UAP investigation, from annual classified and public reports to funding for investigations to a new office to a demand for answers across the board about who makes UAPs, why they cause health effects, and whether or not we have any of them in our possession. I know what you’re thinking. Oh my.

Most notably, however, the NDAA Gillibrand-Rubio Amendment set a deadline for that first annual report. This time it doesn’t matter when Biden signed it; the deadline is the same.

The next momentous Congressionally-mandated UAP report is due on Halloween this year — October 31, 2022.

It could happen before, but the even money has to be on exactly that date, based on the ODNI’s previous behavior. No matter who is writing this one or UAP reports to come, they will tend to take all the time they can get, like a sophomore cramming for a midterm.

This year’s midterm elections are of huge importance since all members of the House of Representatives are up for election and one-third of the members of the Senate, plus a majority of the nation’s governors. Given the tie in the Senate between Democrats and Republicans and the razor-thin edge for the Democrats in the House, it’s fair to say that, in some respects, the fate of the nation hangs in the balance that day. The news is full of motivating stories to get voters to the polls.

Election Day in the United States is statutorily set by the Federal Government as “the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November,” equaling the Tuesday occurring within the dates of November 2nd to November 8th.

Our next midterm election will be held on Tuesday, November 8, 2022.

I’ve gotten my trusty calendar out and done my own hand count again. The math is simple and compelling.

The next national UAP report, produced by the Department of Defense and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, will likely come out exactly eight days before the midterm elections.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I submit to you that if there’s going to be an October Surprise that affects the 2022 election, this could be it.

The Final Days of the 2022 Campaign

With a public battered by everything from the raid on Mar-a-Lago to the repeal of Roe, plus coronavirus, droughts, floods, fires, inflation, a ruptured supply chain, January 6th, and God knows what else, you might argue that adding UAP to the menu is just a bit much. That might be true, but one party’s outrage might be another’s Hail Mary.

It is true that the June 25th report, released on a Friday afternoon, got some weekend coverage but was off the news radar by Monday. Still, it would be misleading to say that the public news angle was the only impact it had.

The reality is that the report, particularly that classified version that none of us average citizens got to see, really shook up a lot of people in Congress. It’s what got Gillibrand to write up her Amendment. It got others like Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney to start talking about all this in public language that held open the possibility that they may not be, well, of this Earth. It got the same response from NASA’s new administrator Bill NelsonEven Avril Haines whose office put it out was talking more openly in the aftermath. Plus, last year saw former CIA chiefs taking to the airwaves and talking about what a vast universe we live in, one where anything is possible.

So, already the world of October 31st, 2022, is further along on this subject than the world of June 25th, 2021. That’s how fast these things are moving these days.

The point is that the next report will have to build on what came before it. It will also be written at a time when the authors know damn well that if they try to obfuscate and dissemble that there will be pushback from Capitol Hill.

Remember that Senators Gillibrand, Rubio, and Romney, just for starters, have all run for president before. Gillibrand and Rubio, in particular, are as ambitious today as they ever were. Clearly, they do not think that talking about UAP or introducing legislation is going to derail those ambitions. They will be standing before the cameras at CNN and Fox and everyone else faster than you can say “Tic Tac.”

The body politic may be both shaken and stirred and most definitely spilled all over our nice party clothes by this next report.

This time, depending on what it says and how it says it, cable news could blow up with scientists, celebrity abductees, whistleblowers, witnesses, pilots, and God knows who else, all trying to expand on what the report has suggested and to pitch their expertise to talk about whether it is true and what is being done about it.

A few things are certain. Those final days of the campaign are going to be run at a fever pitch. Town meetings, in person or on Zoom, are going to be happening by the thousands across America. At least a few voters are going to get through the screeners used by candidates and networks to prevent real questions from sneaking in and ask their elected representatives and the wannabes who covet their jobs to go on the record.

Political dynamics being what they are, one party is apt to be in a better position than the other, providing incentive for the one that’s down to try to shatter that narrative. The dynamic of UAP reality and its ability to shake everything up will appeal to somebody.

A National Security Election

It’s easy to see that one way to look at the UAP issue is to treat it as a national security issue. This stance allows candidates to say they don’t know who’s behind these UAPs, but we better be ready for them, whoever they are. Already the on-the-record politicians talk like they’d rather UAP be extraterrestrial in nature because if it’s from Russia or China, we are in one heap of trouble. Gillibrand, Rubio, and Romney have all made this case.

Other candidates may try to soft-peddle their views, but even those will have to hew to Ronald Reagan’s maxim, Trust but Verify.

In the end, in the shadow of semi-disclosure, at least one of the political parties will be asking whose finger do you want on the button if there are ETs buzzing our aircraft carriers and missile silos? In fact, it’s such a good argument that both may try to use it at the same time.

Who knows how that cuts?

Biden is going to have to have a policy of some kind, or else he is going to be painted as a dangerous pacifist. The Biden campaign will be talking about keeping an open mind until we have more facts, and if there was ever a topic made for a history-altering gaffe, it would have to be this one. At some point, Joe will probably go philosophical and say something memorable for the history books.

And the reliably unreliable Donald Trump won’t be able to avoid the microphones, and he’ll tell us how he can be very, very strong, the strongest president in all of history, he’s been told. Even a small bit of disclosure of UFO reality is such a disruptive act that it may be catnip for Trump. He can shoot off his mouth with no consequence, not currently being in the White House, allowing him to be front-stage center through it all. As we approach election day, he may be looking for a distraction event.

In 1976 and 1980, both major party presidential candidates (Ford wanted hearings, and both Carter and Reagan has UFO sightings) had UFO connections, but remarkably, the issue never really came up in reporter’s questions or in the many debates.

2022 could easily be different.

A Political Circus

Admittedly, this is not likely to be anyone’s first choice for how the world should handle such an important issue as learning that we are not alone, but we are, after all, only human. Chaos and mess are kind of our thing, always have been, and there’s no reason to believe the situation will be any different next year.

That means 2022 is primed and ready to go down in history books as the first national election where UFOs were visibly on the ballot in at least a few races and just maybe across the board.

A prediction. The report is due on Monday, October 31st. Watch for it to come out on Friday afternoon, October 28th. The weekend will be eclipsed by Halloween parties, and that gives the report the greatest chance to go in under the radar, playing itself out. No one in the know wants to see it released on a Monday, an action that will just keep it in the news for five days straight.

Look for the next UAP report to not only have a few surprises in it, but block out some time for that Friday night, the 28th. Pour yourself a weekend drink, settle into your reading chair, and bear witness as the next phase gets underway.

You heard it here first.

Bryce Zabel co-hosts the podcast Need to Know with Coulthart and Zabel — a concise analysis of news, research and history related to the UAP/UFO issue. He is the creator of five produced one-hour TV drama series, screenwriter on multiple features and limited series and winner the Writers Guild award. He has been a CNN correspondent, PBS investigative reporter, CEO of the TV Academy and adjunct professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He is the author of three award-winning books. Follow him on Twitter @HollywoodUFOs. His professional credits can be found on LinkedIn.