Rigged, I tell you! The election is rigged! Or rather, that’s what Donald Trump continues to tell voters. Whether the business tycoon and possibly-near president seriously believes Hillary Clinton and her people will steal the election from him—or that he’s simply using whatever he can to cover his ego in the event of failure—remains to be seen. Clinton wants this thing so badly she can feel it in her hands already. Trump, meanwhile, still appears to be running mostly on spite and hunger. Does he want to be president or does he just want to prove he can win?
With five days to go, the most exciting thing about the final stretch is that we can finally stop using alchemy, trigonometry and squinting thoughtfully on television to try and figure out who will actually win. On November 9, we’re going to know what we’ve gotten ourselves into for the next four years.
At this point, everyone’s read the hundred of polls and analyses and listened to myriad talking heads argue with each other about the outcome. Little do these media bookers know is that there are more tried and true methods of predicting the election than online polls—and they’re all weird AF. One outcome is absolutely certain, though: the first person to start covering Election 2020 gets thrown into a volcano by the masses.
THE REDSKINS RULE
Back in 2000, someone with too much free time noticed that since 1932, if the Washington Redskins win their last home game before a presidential election, the party in power would keep it. In October, they beat the Philadelphia Eagles on home turf 27-20, which means Clinton has it. The rule has failed before—but surprisingly, only twice over the past 80-plus years.
Odds of success: 9/10
SCIENCE! OR DATA! OR SOMETHING
Data journalism king Nate Silver initially thought that Trump had a five percent chance of gaining the nomination. (Didn’t we all, Nate?) In June, he upgraded Trump’s chances to 20 percent, which is still a severe underestimation of the appeal of Trump’s pumpkin hue. At this point, Silver and his crew at FiveThirtyEight think that Clinton has a 66 percent chance of victory.
Odds of success: Well, 50/50 officially. But Silver’s past successes in 2008 and 2012, which put him on the map as some kind of election wizard, means he’s more likely to be a 10/10.
FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY
If stocks go up from August to October, the incumbent party stays comfy in the White House. If they go down, there could be an upheaval. So far, they’ve gone up and up, and that means victory for Clinton. The weirdness factor of the two candidates being surprisingly disliked, and third parties having a greater presence than in any other election could throw this off, however. As could any weirdness in the world that makes investors skittish.
Odds of success: 8/10
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CHILDREN
Scholastic has been asking kids to vote for the president since 1940, and these youngens have been correct 16 out of 18 times. For some reason, they really thought Dewey would defeat Truman in 1948, however. (Maybe they were reading the Chicago Daily Tribune?) Hilariously, it seems that kids are more interested in third party options this year, with 13 percent of them going for “other” candidates. Clinton still clinched though with 53 percent of 153,000 students giving her a landslide victory over Trump. But they probably just want their parents to shut up about the election already.
Odds of success: 8/10
Some sources swear that whomever wins the hearts of trick-or-treaters and jaded millennials at Halloween parties wins the vote. This is odd, because it feels as if people dress like politicians for Halloween, they’re mocking candidates, not paying tribute. Still, this apparently is a thing. And while both the Donald Trump mask and the “Mr. CEO Election Wig” costume at buycostumes.com were available, it’s the Clinton masks that sold out.
Odds of success: 5/10
IT’S IN THE STARS
A bunch of astrologers got together and used their…skills…to decide that Clinton will be the new president. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Aleksandar Imsiragic of Serbia had correctly predicted Trump would be the Republican nominee when 17 candidates were still in the mix.” And they did manage to correctly declare Obama the winner in 2008 and 2012. Their actual ability to predict the future, however, might have been best demonstrated in 2000, when the astrologers predicted a mysterious split. What followed was the infamous hanging-chad incident.
Odds of success: 6/10
WIU OWES US AN IOU
For 41 years, Western Illinois University has hosted practice elections involving thousands of people. For 40 years they weren’t wrong. In November 2015, they decided the next president of the United States would be Bernie Sanders, with Martin “Who?” O’Malley as his veep. Four decades of success is impressive, but, uh, what the hell happened there? It’s got to be the intense pro-Bernie bias among millennials and college students, but that’s clearly not happening.
Odds of success: 0/10
If we can get them to predict the World Cup with disturbing accuracy (RIP Paul), why not let one of them figure out this whole Trump business? Nat Geo Wild attempted too recreate Paul’s keen eye by giving Otto the octopus a chance to pick a candidate. The creature actually turned around and swam away, representing the collective feeling of the American public. And there you have it: an octopus is more talented than every damn pundit in America.
Odds of success: 10/10