#3. How Vigo County, Indiana, Votes
If you follow election coverage, you know by now that there are entire swaths of the continental United States that are already in the pocket of one candidate or the other. California will go Democrat, no questions asked. Texas and the rest of the deep South will go Republican. In fact, every election actually comes down to about half a dozen "swing" states (again, see 2000, Florida) because the rest of the country is solidly in one camp or the other. But not Vigo County, Indiana. However Vigo goes, so goes the rest of the country.
In fact, Vigo County has correctly picked the winner of every presidential election since 1956, in most cases within 3 percent of the popular vote. And with only two exceptions, you can actually follow the streak back to 1892, the year that Grover Cleveland staged an LL Cool J style comeback (just don't call it that). So, what's the secret to Vigo County's success as a weather vane? Part of the reason is that Vigo sits in the belt of what's known as the mean center of United States population.
"Someone tell Ohio and Illinois to quit hogging the armrests."
Every 10 years, the people over at the Census Bureau get high as balls before attempting to answer this completely high as balls question: If you could attach a weight to all of the people in America, where is the point that you could totally balance the whole country? That point is the mean center of the population, and the map above represents that point dating from 1790 to 2010. Also, Vigo County is solidly in the belt of balancing points. If the mean center of the United States is located squarely in the guts of America, then Vigo County, Indiana, is America's g-spot.
Whereas Florida is America's dick that sometimes leads it to questionable judgment.
Why does this matter? Vigo isn't just a melting pot, it's "a microcosm that reflects the electorate as a whole." It's a working-class county with universities and factories, city folk and country folk, poors and less-poors. And it's a county that flip-flops on mayors -- Republican one term, Democrat the next. They just don't give a fuck. And they pick the president every time.
What we want to know is, why aren't reporters going door to door RIGHT NOW to find out what Vigo County residents are thinking?
#2. The Summer Olympics
There are only three things that happen every four years: the Olympics, the American presidential election and the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Now, we can't speak for the stone-faced gents in England, but we can say that there's definitely a connection between the Olympics and the elections. Or at least the Olympics that we've seen on television.
Check this out: Almost every single time the Summer Olympics were hosted by a country that had previously won a hosting bid, the incumbent party won the popular vote that election. Likewise, every time the games were hosted someplace new, voters thought that it was time for a change and chose a president from a different party. That's a success record of 12 out of 13, with the only miss being in 1988. And you can't trust anything from the year that launched Rick Astley's career, so we don't think that one counts.
Interestingly, this model only works if you remember how hilariously bad the International Olympic Committee was at choosing its host cities for the first half of the 20th century. Japan was slated to host the summer and winter 1940 Olympics, Italy the 1944 winter games and England the 1944 Summer Olympics. All these events, just like the 1916 Berlin games, had to be canceled due to world wars. So even though 1964 was the first time we watched the Olympics in Japan, the Japanese had won the bid war decades previously. As for what possible connection this could have ... we can't even guess. Feel free to try in the comments.
And since London hosted the Olympics back in 1908 and won the bid to host in 1944, we can bet that Obama will win re-election this November. Either a Republican or a third-party candidate will win in 2016 after Brazil hosts its first-ever Summer Olympics, so there's plenty of time for Ms. Palin, Mr. Cain and Mr. Trump to study up.
Why shouldn't the president also have a reality show?
#1. The Oscar Connection
Let's not kid ourselves. Most of us stopped caring about the Oscars when Shakespeare in Love beat out Blues Brothers 2000 for Best Picture back in 1999. But if you pay attention, you can actually use Hollywood's greatest pat-on-the-back ceremony to predict who will be president of the United States. This theory is a Cracked exclusive, so feel free to tell us where we're wrong.
It works like this: During an election year, go back and find out who won the Academy Award for Best Picture the year before. If the movie has a downbeat ending where the system fails (bad guy goes free, good guy loses, etc.), you can plan on the incumbent party losing. If, on the other hand, the movie portrays the system working in the end -- a child is saved from falling through the cracks, a criminal is brought to justice, a gym montage delivers a truly buff Rocky just like it promised it would -- then the incumbent party is good to go.
Words can't describe how much we want to see this scene recreated with Biden and Obama.
Here's the pattern going back to the '70s ... tell us this isn't pretty damn convincing:
1975: In Best Picture winner One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, a not-crazy person is lobotomized by the mental hospital meant to help him. The system fails the main character and the rest of the inmates at the institution; the next year, the incumbent party loses the presidential election.
1979: In Kramer vs. Kramer, a biased justice system sides with an irresponsible mom in a custody case "just because" -- their words, not ours. The next year, the incumbent Democrats are out and Republicans are in.
"You come at the Streep, you best not miss."
1983: After suffering through affairs, divorce, cancer, death and terrible '80s hair, a broken family comes together to raise three kids in Terms of Endearment. Despite tragedy, the family structure stays intact and overcomes all. The incumbent party wins.
1987: This is the one example that we admit might not quite fit. The Last Emperor is a movie about how the very last royal in the Qing Dynasty makes his way in a world that no longer needs him. That world is communist China, and the communist party holds an iron grip at the end of the movie. So you would think that it's the kind of downbeat ending that would get the incumbent Republicans booted from office ... unless they were running on a "fight the communists" platform, in which case a movie reminding the audience of how terrible the commies are would be a boost to the party promising to get tough on them. Incumbents win.
1991: In The Silence of the Lambs, Clarice saves one victim but lets a cannibalistic serial killer get away so that he can chill out Jimmy Buffett style in the Bahamas. While eating people. We'll have to give law enforcement a negative on that one. Incumbent party loses.
"If you must know, Clarice, his last words were 'I wish I'd voted for Dukakis.'"
1995: Braveheart -- true, William Wallace is publicly gutted, but Scotland eventually gets her FREEEEDOM. Which was what it was all about in the end. Freedom prevails, and so does the incumbent party.
1999: In American Beauty, the protagonist is murdered by his psychotic neighbor and both families completely fall apart. The incumbent party loses.
2003: In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, evil is defeated and the rightful king takes the throne. The incumbent party wins.
See that, Peter Jackson? Two fucking sentences, and we didn't even need one epilogue.
2007: No Country for Old Men ... not only does everyone die horrifically, but the bad guy gets away. The incumbent party loses.
So what does that mean for this election? The 2011 winner was The Artist, in which a struggling actor makes the transition from silent movies to talkies, thanks to the love of a good woman and the good graces of the people who always adored him. But in a shocking twist ending, he is also revealed to be French. We'll just come back and fill this one in after we see how the election turns out.
Please visit Jacopo della Quercia on Twitter.
Want to help Cracked make this list someday? Then stop by our Election Headquarters and cast your vote right now!
For more political jibba jabba, check out 5 Presidential Elections Even Dumber Than This One (Somehow) and 6 Presidential Secrets Your History Teacher Didn't Mention.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The One Country Whose Elections Are Crazier Than the USA's.
And stop by LinkSTORM to learn why you should vote Seanbaby come Nov. 6.
Do you have an idea in mind that would make a great article? Then sign up for our writers workshop! Do you possess expert skills in image creation and manipulation? Mediocre? Even rudimentary? Are you frightened by MS Paint and simply have a funny idea? You can create an infographic and you could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow!