Scenario technique US-election

Applied scenario technique

You would like to know how the scenario technique is used operationally? Maybe you have read my Flog article about the US presidential elections and that’s why you ended up here. Or maybe you are interested in the implementation of one of the most important methods of scientific futurology for other reasons. I do not want to disappoint you: Here you will find a quite detailed insight into the approach of the scenario technique.

The application of the scenario technique is, if you are serious about it, impossible to do without software support. Reality is too complex for that – especially when we are in the realm of speculative projections. I am very lucky to be able to use the software EIDOS of the Parmenides Foundation – at this point I would like to thank the foundation once again!

Basic assumptions

The following basic assumptions were made:

  • Joe Biden receives slightly more votes than Donald Trump from the electoral committee (< 10% difference)
  • Joe Biden receives considerably more votes by population (> 60%)
  • Supporters of both camps (Dem./Rep.) have demonstrably manipulated local elections
  • China, Russia and Iran have demonstrably manipulated elections


Influencing factors

Mode of operation Influencing factors: According to the environmental analysis scheme ESTIMATE, those factors are listed which played a role at the time of the scenarios (end of January 2021) and which will have had a significant impact on the object under consideration. Less relevant areas are ignored and not listed for reasons of efficiency. A total of 79 influencing factors from the fields of Ecology Society eThics scIence adMinistration lAw poliTics and tEchnology (ESTIMATE) were listed.

Here you will find the complete list to fold out:

  • Economy
    • External (world):
      • Global economy
      • Tourism crisis
      • Financial markets
      • Stock prices of the main indices [Dow Jones Global Titans (50 largest public companies in the world), MSCI Emerging Markets Index (largest public companies in the emerging markets), MSCI World (1600 largest public companies in the industrialized countries), S&P Global 1200 (1200 largest public companies in the world), STOXX Global Select Dividend 100 (100 large companies in the world with the highest dividends)
    • Foreign political frame:
      • Economy NAFTA
      • Economy US-Japan
      • Economy US-UK (esp. Brexit)
      • World Trade Organization
    • External frame (nation):
      • National economy
      • National unemployment rate
      • Goods and freight transport
      • Energy market
      • Real estate market
      • Resource Availability
      • Supply security US population
      • Behavior of social media platform operators (Facebook, Twitter, Insta)
    • Internal:
      • Bankruptcy Big Player (G-MAFIA)
  • Ecology
    • External frame (world):
      • International climate catastrophe
      • Wild Card climate international
      • Wild Card Meteorite impact or similar
    • Foreign political frame:
      • Wild Card climate North America
    • External (nation):
      • Wild Card supervolcano erupts
      • Wild fires
    • Internal (White House):
  • Society
    • External frame (world):
      • Covid19 development (health-wise)
      • Global media coverage
      • Global celebrities
    • Foreign political:
      • Immigration to the USA
      • Emigration from USA
    • External (nation):
      • National celebrities
      • National media coverage
      • Migration inside the USA
      • Acceptance of elections within the population
      • Peaceful cohesion US population
      • Propensity to violence (extremism, civil militias, civil war, looting, etc.)
      • Social security system
      • Polarization between groups of voters
      • Alternative facts / New World Order conspiracy theories
      • Wild Card terrorism
      • Wild Card tragedy (airplane crash, dam burst, GAU)
    • Internal (White House):
      • Behavior Melania Trump
      • Behavior other Trump family members
  • Ethics
    • External frame (world):
    • Foreign political frame:
    • External (nation):
      • Perception of democracy US population vs. fascism
      • Egoism US population
    • Internal (White House):
      • Peaceful transfer of power yes/no
  • Science
    • External frame (world):
      • Wild Card scientific breakthrough international
    • Foreign political:
    • External (nation):
      • Wild Card scientific breakthrough USA
    • Internal (White House):
  • Administration
    • External frame (world):
    • Foreign political frame:
    • External (nation):
      • Behavior US national agencies
    • Internal (White House):
      • Behavior Trump administration
  • Law / legal
    • External frame (world):
    • Foreign political frame:
      • Behavior Supreme Court
    • External (nation):
      • Behavior courts in federal states
    • Internal (White House):
  • Politics
    • External frame (world):
      • Influence of Russia
      • Influence of China
      • Influence of Iran
      • Influence of EU
      • International recognition of election results
      • International military conflicts
      • Wild Card atomic bomb
    • Foreign political frame:
      • Behavior NATO
      • Behavior United Nations
      • Behavior OECD
    • External (nation):
      • Behavior Congress
      • Behavior of single federal states / Gouvernors
      • Behavior armed forces
      • Behavior single federal states / parliaments
      • Behavior state parliaments
      • Behavior Democrats
      • Behavior Republicans
      • Behavior other parties
      • National military conflicts
    • Internal (White House):
      • Behavior President Trump
      • Wild Card terrorist attack on Trump
      • Behavior Vice President Pence
      • Behavior Members of the Cabinet
      • Behavior Federal Agencies (Focus: CIA, Federal Reserve Bank)
  • Technology
    • External frame (world):
      • Technological breakthrough Covid-vaccine (global)
      • Quantum computer global
      • Wild Card global internet breakdown
    • Foreign political frame:
    • External (nation):
      • Technological breakthrough Covid vaccine (USA)
      • Wild Card national internet breakdown
    • Internal (White House):

Key factors

The next step was to define key factors. These are the factors that were identified as the most relevant after research, discussions and influence/interaction matrix. After deducting the wild cards, a total of 20 key factors were included in the analysis. They are marked in bold at the top, here again as a list and slightly reworded:

  • Stock prices Main indices
  • National economy
  • Energy Market
  • Security of supply
  • Behavior of platform operators Social Media
  • Covid-19 / Sars-CoV-2
  • Emigration from the USA
  • Acceptance of election results
  • Propensity to Violence
  • Behavior Melania Trump
  • Conduct Supreme Court
  • Influence Russia
  • Influence China
  • Influence Iran
  • Influence EU
  • Influence United Nations
  • Behavior Congress
  • Behavior of states
  • Behaviour of armed forces
  • Behavior Donald Trump
  • Behavior of federal authorities (especially CIA and Fed)
  • Covid-19 vaccine

For the key factors, in turn, the MECE principle (mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive) was applied as far as possible. It should be mentioned that some qualitative factors contain only a few dichotomous alternatives for research-efficient reasons, such as the behavior of Melania Trump.

Screenshot Szenario US-Wahl Rohszenario

A total of 72 alternative projections were formed, which corresponds to an average of 3.27 projections. Each key factor and each proficiency was also provided with estimated probabilities and the weighting for the scenario analysis. By the way, this step is controversial among futurologists; I decided to take it because of time constraints, even though my evaluation bases are difficult to make comprehensible and I may be putting a strain on the quality criteria of research. If you have any questions about the individual probabilities and weightings, I will be happy to answer them, since the underlying theses can certainly be documented.

Screenshot Eidos Kalkulation Szenarien

Subsequently, consistency values were assigned for each pair of expressions – how consistent is the coexistence of these two expressions in the scenario at tax x, here January 20, 2021? Such a consideration is impossible to do manually, so I used the software Parmenides Eidos for this purpose. Many thanks for providing the software, dear Parmenides Foundation!

Raw scenarios

Screenshot Eidos Szenarien ClusterThis resulted in 85,030,560,000 possibilities for the combination of all characteristics. The calculation took 2:45 hours with my HP Elitebook 840 G6 (Intel i7 @ 1.8 GHz with 32 GB memory). In the result the analysis delivered 97 raw scenarios. These were divided into six different clusters by the software, which in turn resulted from the fundamental differences in consistency values, probabilities and differences in content. After reviewing the individual values and manual, qualitative checking of consistency and relevance, the 97 raw scenarios were first reduced to one raw scenario per cluster, and finally a final scenario was selected: it bears the order number 70, has a consistency value of 1.44 and a probability rating of +++.


This raw scenario 70 has the following values (in German, sorry):

Screenshot Szenario 70 US-Wahl

Here are the key factors with the calculated consistent values as of January 20, 2021. At this point, it should be noted that this is not a forecast, but one of many consistent, i.e. contradiction-free, scenarios:

  • Global economy: Stock prices of the main indices rise significantly > 5%
  • US economy
    • National economy grows significantly > 5%
    • Energy market: prices / availability constant
    • Supply security: abundance
    • Behavior of platform operators Social Media: Support System
  • World society: Covid-19 / Sars-CoV-2 develops moderately with 1.5 – 2 million deaths worldwide
  • US society
    • Emigration from the USA declines significantly > 3%
    • Acceptance Election result in population receives strong support
    • Propensity to violence remains moderate
    • Behavior Melania Trump amounts to an open conflict with Donald Trump
  • Legal system: conduct Supreme Court, which confirms the election results
  • World Politics
    • Russia’s influence: no interference
    • China’s influence: moderate interference
    • Influence Iran: moderate interference
    • EU influence: no interference
    • United Nations influence: no interference
  • US Polics
    • Behavior Congress: House of Representatives and Senate support the election results
    • Behavior States: Majority supports election results
    • Behavior of the armed forces: peaceful support of the system
    • Behavior Donald Trump: Acceptance of the election results
    • Behavior of federal authorities (especially CIA, FBI and Federal Reserve): majority supports the election results
  • Technology: A Covid 19 vaccine is being developed in the USA.

Scenario processing

After I had decided on this scenario, I started writing the scenario text. I decided on the form of a newspaper report in order to implement the most important expected developments in dialog format as quickly as possible. You can find the result in my Flog – or have even already found it.

This is how it can happen when future researchers dig deep into their methodological case. Ideally, the scenario technique is only one of several building blocks of a research project. Extensive research is indispensable for the preparation. It is best to conduct (expert) interviews to expand the thesis and eliminate blind spots. Depending on the object of investigation, quantitative surveys are sometimes also advisable.

Feel free to contact me for advice on the appropriate method. I would be happy to support you in your foresight process in the process, strategy or operational area.