Claim:   Prediction foretells calamitous results springing from the outcome of a presidential election.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, October 2012]

I read this on Facebook. Is this true?

An inside source told me he guaranteed that within a week of the election, all the banks will be closed, government offices will be shut down, and soldiers will be marching in the streets!


Origins:   Politic partisans have long been predicting catastrophic results will follow in the wake of U.S. presidential elections if the other side’s candidate were to win, everything from economic collapse to military takeovers to dictatorial rule. Such doomsaying has given rise to a bit of election time humor that has been trotted out every four years for decades, one which prognosticates that ominous-sounding events will come to pass shortly after Election Day:

Oct. 30, 2008: An election prediction: If Barack Obama wins on Tuesday, a week later, U.S. banks will be closed and soldiers will be marching in the streets.

Nov. 1, 2004: If Bush wins this election, by Monday all the banks and government offices will be closed, and soldiers will be marching in the streets.

Nov. 19, 1980: Tom Dawson came within a dollar of being “taken” on a bet after the election. A friend said to Tom: “Now that Ronald Reagan has been elected, I’ll bet that within a week the banks will be closed and soldiers will be marching in the streets.”

The joke is that Election Day falls between November 2 and November 8 and is therefore always closely followed by Veterans Day, which is observed on November 11 — the latter being a federal holiday on which most banks and government offices are closed, and which is typically celebrated with events including military parades.

Last updated:   12 October 2012