****HEAVY BREATHING****
****HEAVY BREATHING**** Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

What's in store for us? Each week we divine the future from our overly priced aPodments. This week: predictions on Chris Christie, Claudia Conway, and, obviously, Trump.

The coronavirus will kill Donald Trump. He may be out of the gilded hospital, but he's not out of the woods. Those who believe in science know he's out here gasping and yammering during a time when his body could seriously, mortally fail. I was unsurprised to see that he did not load up on the dangerous hydroxychloroquine treatment that he'd directed his followers to take if they fell ill to coronavirus. My mother, a liberal in Florida, recently got COVID-19, and her Trump-loving doctors (somehow real, legal doctors!) prescribed her a hydroxychloroquine treatment. Despite my protests, my mom sided with the doctors and took the quack treatment. She survived, but it was a painful reminder of the profound harm Trump has caused this nation. I wish him the very worst. To wish him anything greater is to spit on the graves of the 210,000 Americans who've died from Trump's disease. Fuck. Donald. Trump. C.B.

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MAGA people will buy white masks for the sole purpose of taking them off when saluting something they think is very American, like an army helicopter. C.M.

Trump's presidential portrait (painted posthumously) will somehow feature a cloth mask. Nelson Shanks admitted to placing a shadow in Bill Clinton's portrait to represent the Monica Lewinsky scandal in his presidency. I wouldn't put it past another artist to do the same. While Trump has done irreparable harm in a wide variety of ways, his mishandling of the pandemic casts a large shadow. Especially now that he's COVID-positive, something about this feels Biblical. I predict that any official artistic memorialization of Trump's (one-term, fingers crossed!) presidency will necessarily include a reference to COVID-19. I'll keep my eyes peeled for a mask surreptitiously placed in his portrait. J.K.

Chuck Schumer won't make a power grab in the Senate. With three Republican senators in quarantine after catching COVID-19, the Senate's partisan divide sits at 50-47. This new reality prompted think-tankers and commentators to post some pretty wild but tantalizing power-grab scenarios.

Suppose a few more GOP senators catch the bug. In that case, Norm Ornstein at the conservative American Enterprise Institute argues Schumer could bring in all the Democrats, replace McConnell as Senate Majority Leader, change the committee chairs involved in confirming Supreme Court nominees, direct the Sergeant-at-Arms to bar entry to anyone with COVID-19, and then reject Amy Coney Barrett, so long as he found some way to get around the quorum issue, which requires at least 51 senators on the floor to conduct bizness.


David Dayen over at The American Prospect offers a different take. He sees the quorum issue as a potential asset Dems could use to shut down the Senate and hold up the Supreme Court nomination process. Dayen imagines a world where a Democratic senator points out the absence of a quorum and then hides somewhere good, along with all the rest of the Democratic senators. With only 50 Republican senators in the building, action on the floor freezes, and Barrett's chances of replacing RBG evaporate. As Dayen points out, that works so long as the Dems stay hidden, and so long as the three infected GOP senators don't show up in hazmat suits to vote.

Being a Democrat, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will entertain none of these scenarios, and instead wait to take power the old fashioned way—by trying to win swing states. R.S.

Biden will mask up for the next debate. Trump seems adamant about participating in the October 15 debate. If there is an October 15 debate, Biden will wear a mask. N.G.

Deranged by experimental drugs and aggravated by falling poll numbers, Trump will take off his mask and physically assault a reporter or, if he can get close enough, even his opponent, Joe Biden, live on TV. C.M.

There will be a deepfake hoax in the next month. The temptation is too great, and the technology so accessible. Deepfakes are videos that convincingly replace one person’s face with another—for example, here’s one where everyone’s face has been replaced by Dr. Phil’s. At some point in the next few weeks, the already deep chaos will be exponentially worsened by a video of a political figure doing something they did not actually do. This might take the form of your basic Weekend at Bernie’s scheme: Trump dies, let’s say, and they hide that fact by putting out deepfaked videos of him happily cavorting up until the election. Or it could be a smear campaign, like a viral video that appears to show Lindsey Graham peeing in a mailbox. Or it could be used to fake endorsements, with the eventual debunking noticed by only a fraction of the people who were initially misled. These deepfakes will result from an organized conspiracy, and … oh God I’m turning into Fox Mulder. M.B.

We're going to watch the Conway family splinter live on Tik Tok before 2020 is over. Last night, Claudia Conway, 15, posted a correction on her Tik Tok. She informed her 1.2 million followers that she "misrepresented" her mom's COVID-19 diagnosis. In the video, her mom, Kellyanne Conway, is instructing Claudia about what to write. Claudia, who broke the news of Kellyanne's COVID-19 diagnosis on Tik Tok last week, has kept filming and posting unfiltered looks inside the Conway household. It's tense. Claudia went live on Tik Tok after a rough conversation with her mom. She spoke in code, (well, gibberish) saying her whole family thinks she's lying. She said her mom left and Claudia didn't know where she was. The situation in the Conway household, which led to Kellyanne stepping down from her senior White House advisor post in August after Claudia asked for help emancipating herself, is reaching a boiling point. Back before Claudia leaked actual news and just posted anti-Trump videos, Claudia claimed her mom even had her temporarily arrested. Shit will hit the fan even more for the family—and publicly—as we get closer to election day. N.G.

We will remember Herman Cain not as the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, or as a proponent of a flat tax rate (his 9-9-9-9 Plan, which sounded like a special on pizzas) but as the yes-man who gave his one and only life to his leader, Trump. He attended a huge indoor MAGA rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20. He did not wear a mask. He got the vapors. And by July 30, Cain was toes up. My prediction is that former governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, a yes-man who tested positive for the virus on October 3, will follow Cain as the next jester in Trump's court to pay for his loyalty with his life. Once COVID-19 is done with Christie, which yes-man will be next? C.M.

We will eventually learn Trump died much earlier this year. Do you really think he was able to avoid COVID for this long? No, I bet Trump managed to get it almost immediately. And there’s going to come a time when we learn that he keeled over in mid-April. The guy we’ve seen in the news ever since then? Auto-animatronics, designed by the best roboticists Disney has ever hired. In fact, it was Trump’s double from the Hall of Presidents that actually did him in: Knowing Trump was weakened, it confronted him with a challenge to the death, a wrestling match right there on the floor of the Oval Office. Once the real Trump was defeated, his robot replacement swore everyone to secrecy upon threat of further violence, then flew back to Orlando (it can fly) to hide in its sprawling lair beneath the theme parks. That is why the Florida Mole Creatures are our only hope for finding and defeating this clockwork tyrant. M.B.

All this talk of how and when Trump will d*e is going to jinx the whole thing. Look, I'm not superstitious, but every time a friend or colleague conjectures about the President's—hopefully—imminent death, I get a little stressed. Not because I don't also want to see the orange man croak—I would love for Trump to finally suffer consequences for his actions (or, in the pandemic's case, lack of action). But something about writing down those wishes and sending them off into the universe (a.k.a. tweeting) makes me nervous that it won't happen! If anyone is going to harness negative energy to propel himself forward, it's Trump. I'm going to start carrying a small piece of wood to knock on to make sure we're spiritually All Clear for the virus to gobble his insides alive. J.K.

...that being said. I predict the effect of the virus, steroids, and stress of pretending to be in good health won't kill Trump, but will seriously rob him of the strength needed to win the election. J.K.

McConnell will also die from the coronavirus. Look, while we're out here making predictions, I'll predict that the Senate's top henchman, who is determined to push Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination through even if it kills him, will push Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination through. And it will kill him. C.B.

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Trump will infect one of his New Jersey supporters, who will then die of the virus. On the 2016 campaign trail Trump famously said, "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK?" Now that we know the President held a fundraiser at his golf club after he knew he'd been exposed to the virus, that prophecy might more or less come true. The Guardian reports Trump's visit to Bedminster entailed "a roundtable of 19 top Republican donors," and Politico reports 206 guests in total attended the event, with little adherence to the state's mask mandate. In a couple weeks, I bet we learn that Trump personally infected at least one of his supporters who later died of the disease. R.S.

However Trump dies, there will be Elvis-style sightings for years. Thanks to conspiracy theories, Americans have now been trained to accept only the most ludicrous news possible. And when Donald Trump kicks the bucket—on whatever timeline it happens to be, but we’re all praying for haste—there’s going to be a huge proportion of the population that refuses to believe it. Is there an unidentifiable blob-shaped figure photographed in the background of a conference? That was probably him! A wispy-haired trucker mumbled something about China to a jukebox in a diner at midnight? Trump’s on the move! A piece of toast fell on a dog and the resulting smear of butter and fur looked like the former president? Trump moves in mysterious ways. Sightings of Elvis and Bigfoot used to be shorthand for obviously fake headlines but lately the more obvious the fake the more it’s believed. M.B.




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