I'm starting my JLPT N1 study, but am already running into roadblocks just reading the example sentences which is rather embarrassing. The way things are going, I'll have many more questions in the future.
Any English is my translation
Pick the most suitable word to fill in the blank.
１）が最後 ２）が早いか ３）ものなら ４）とたんに
The correct answer is 1, but I don't really see how it works. My language parser fails. My first guess was 3 because then it would read something like "The ones who lost this election will probably not be able to go back to politics again."
The official explanation:
では、まず（ ）の前後のことがら（「落選した」と「政界に戻れない」）の関係を考え、さらに文末の「〜だろう」から、未来の予測を表している文だと考えます。「落選した」という動詞の形につく文法形式であることも重要です。正しい答えは「１ が最後」です。
I would translate that as
If you first consider the phrases around the blank, "failed to be elected" and "won't be able to go back to politics", and then notice the 〜だろう at the end, you can tell that this implies a prediction about the future. The grammatical form of the "failed to be elected" verb is important as well. The correct answer is #1.
I can't say that helps me any. Any explanation would be very much appreciated.