The occupant of the most powerful office in the world is often determined by the most random reasons imaginable. And the following events shook our nation in ways no one could have envisioned.

1. The Weiner Returns.
Anthony Weiner’s first sexting scandal cost him his seat in Congress, his second cost him a chance to be New York City’s mayor, his third cost him his marriage and, oh yes, managed to rock the entire Hillary Clinton presidential campaign 11 days before the election. Of course, odds are Clinton will still win because…

2. A Little Hug for the Bushy.
How different history might be if presidential candidate Jeb Bush candidate had said to Access Hollywood host (and his cousin) Billy: “This Trump guy I’m running against: You ever talk to him or anything?” Trump’s ode to the joys of stardom and, by legal definition, sexual assault led to him insisting in the second debate that it was just “locker room banter”, which in turn brought forth at least 12 women accusing him of assault, ranging from a former Miss Finland to a woman suing him for raping her when she was 13. (It goes to trial in December.) Also, LeBron James attempted to clarify the definition of “locker room talk.”

Howard Dean came out of nowhere in 2004 to become the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. And, with a single scream, he went back there again.

3. Clint Battles a Chair.
OK, Mitt Romney’s 47 percent comments were probably the deathblow in 2012, but when beloved icon Clint Eastwood took the stage at the Republican Convention, it seemed like it could be a huge win for Team Romney. It was not, as Eastwood took on an empty chair that he claimed represented President Obama and, over 11 increasingly surreal minutes, at best earned a draw. Virtually every moment in it quickly turns bizarre, but it’s particularly worth checking in just after minute 11 as the camera zooms in on the highly forced smile of Ann Romney, who later described Eastwood’s performance as a “unique thing.”

4. Ride the Wind.
In 2004, America was not ready to be run by a windsurfer, as this highly effective ad against Democratic nominee John Kerry proved.

5. YEAAGGH!
Howard Dean came out of nowhere in 2004 to become the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. And, with a single scream, he went back there again.

6. The Sound of Sighing.
Those who watched the 2000 presidential debates between Al Gore and George Bush Jr. probably don’t remember too much from them, except for the noise Gore made when Dubya said something with which Gore apparently did not agree. (Or maybe he sprang a leak.)

7. The Science of Supermarkets.
When he went up for reelection in 1992, President George Bush Sr. was haunted by the perception that, as a former VP and member of a ludicrously rich family, he was out of touch with the common man. So it did not help when he appeared to have his mind blown by a supermarket scanner.

8. What’s the Time?
Some feel Bush was unfairly hammered over the supermarket scanner. (Apparently, it was a genuinely cool scanner.) But there’s no explaining around this: During a town hall format debate, Bush gets a question from an audience member about whether the candidates can relate to the average American and, naturally, decides this is the perfect moment to check his watch. (You only have to watch the first five seconds of this clip.)

9. Tanked.
Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis + a tank = 1988 election over.

10. An Admiral Asks Some Questions.
The late Admiral Jim Stockdale won a Medal of Honor, was an accomplished academic, and even had the middle name “Bond.” (Yes, you could refer to him as “Admiral James Bond Stockdale.”) He was also nearly 69 when he stepped on the debate stage as the VP for Ross Perot’s independent ticket in 1992, with the result his asking, “Who am I? Why am I here?” sounded to many voters like genuine confusion and made him the rare vice presidential pick who inflicts lasting damage on the entire ticket.

11. Different Definitions of Domination.
Despite being America’s most athletic president (he was a star football player at Michigan), Gerald Ford still had a knack for falling down in public. Yet his biggest slip was a verbal one, as he inexplicably insisted there was “no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe” during a presidential debate. Ford continuing to insist this to an endearingly baffled moderator is a reminder of how months of campaigning can be undone in seconds. It also gave fuel to LBJ’s earlier zinger: “Jerry Ford is a nice guy, but he played too much football with his helmet off.”