Trigger warning: if you don't want to contemplate a series of events that could put Trump in the White House, stop reading now.
Trigger promise: if you have friends who say that haunted houses and horror movies don't scare them, read them this.
Major institutions of the federal government might just tip this election in Donald Trump's direction.
FBI Director Comey just announced that he was re-opening the the investigation into Clinton's emails. Nothing more may be revealed before 8 November but nothing more needs to be said for the right to have enough material to feed conspiracy theories and worst-case scenarios. The evening before Comey's announcement, Sean Hannity had a man on testifying about Hillary Clinton's wild sex parties. Who has this man? Former editor of the Weekly World News that had also reported on Hillary Clinton being shacked up with an alien. Illegal alien you ask? No, Actual space alien, complete with a photo. Seriously. Contrast that with an announcement by the head of the FBI and you can only imagine how far the media can run.
What else could happen?
Well, Tuesday and Wednesday - the 1st and 2nd of November - Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve Board governors will meet to decide on interest rates. She's clarified that she does not consider politics when making this decision and there is plenty of evidence that the governors are ready to vote for an interest rate hike. If they do raise rates, the market will very likely to go into a short term, but dramatic, fall. This just 6 days before the election.
That Friday - the 4th - the job numbers come out for October. It's perfectly reasonable to expect yet another positive but we're at a special point in the recovery. The unemployment rate is now at 5% and it's getting harder to find unemployed people to hire. If two years ago a healthy rate of job growth was about 200,000 jobs a month, it is now probably closer to 100,000. But jobs numbers fluctuate by at least 100,000 jobs a month so a smaller healthy number means a higher probability of hitting - or dropping below - zero. For the first time since 2010, we could have a negative jobs report. Just days before the election.
The FBI, the Fed, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics may all - in the course of just doing their job - provide just what Donald needs to prove that its God's will that he lead this great (again) country.
On its own, it's doubtful that Comey's investigation will make a big difference in her numbers; she'll perhaps lose 5 points of her current 60 point lead on Donald. (5 points in the probability of a win.)
The odds are bad that Janet Yellen will leave rates the same. I think she'll raise them and make the market fall. Given a Democrat is in the White House and Donald has been warning that the the Fed is artificially propping up the economy, this could drop Hillary's lead by another 5 points.
The odds are good - but not great - that October's job numbers will stay above zero but few people realize how absurd it is that it's stayed above zero two years longer than any previous period. You might say that a bad report is due.
Put it all together and you have decent odds that all of this will fall in place to seriously hurt Clinton.
Imagine a stock market fall and a negative numbers job reports added in to this media's penchant for drama and Donald's conviction that we're sitting atop an economic Armageddon. It could be enough to drive up levels of fear to the point that his support surges and Hillary Clinton's supporters freeze. It's been such an utterly unbelievable campaign that it's believable that it would end in yet another unbelievable turn. If all of this happens, Donald's odds of victory raise from the 20% (fivethirtyeight is now forecasting) to 35%, from 1 in 5 to 1 in 3. What might have been a landslide for Clinton could turn out to be a win for Trump by margins as small as W. Bush's 2000 victory over Gore.
Additionally, we don't know what Julian Assange and Vladimir Putin have in store for Clinton for the final days of the election. They've both made it clear that they want Trump and hate Clinton and that they have more emails to unveil. They might yet have an email that would do to Clinton's support what the 2005 Access Hollywood tape did to Trump's. In that case, it might just be a toss-up, an election that will be decided on the 15th of November with a recount rather than at 5 PM on election day.
To clarify, I don't think this particular sequence of events is high probability or that even if they do play out this way that it will give Trump the election. I do, however, think it's a route to victory that isn't given enough - or indeed, based on what I've seen - any consideration.
The smart money is still on Clinton but the dominoes are lined up for the most bizarre finish to this most bizarre election.