Over seven million people have contracted COVID-19 in the US, and a whopping two hundred thousand of those people have died, per the New York Times. Now, the virus has reached the highest levels of government, including US President Donald Trump.
As of October 1st, President Trump announced and verified on Twitter that he and the first lady had tested positive for the Coronavirus. The statement came shortly after one of his advisors, Hope Hicks, contracted the virus. The probability of transfer was very high since they were in close contact.
How may this affect the election?
The news certainly took the internet by storm. Some people even went on to celebrate this event due to the irony of Trump downplaying the virus earlier. A Washington Post article remarked, “imagine what it will be like never to think about Trump again,” but later retracted the statement, saying it was a tasteless remark.
The main lingering question people have right now is if the Trump campaign will be slowed down due to this. This is very likely. Without Trump being able to host rallies, the campaign will have to come up with other strategies. These strategies could include taking an online approach for now, and deploying ads on sites.
Depending on how long he is in the hospital for, it’ll be hard to address and perform his current duties. Moreover, it will be even harder if he wins reelection if he’s still under recovery. This may sway people to vote for Biden – People with this mindset have gathered the opinion that an active president will be able to perform better than one who is undergoing treatment, and can’t talk face to face with the American people.
That being said, it may not change people’s minds. Some voters are convinced that No matter the circumstances, Trump would make a better candidate. They criticize Biden for a lack of communication with the American people and accuse him of not reforming enough within his forty-seven years. If Biden wants to gain an edge against Trump, critics suggest that he’ll have to start improving at communication, such as hosting rallies and letting people know what his plans are.
What are people’s reactions?
In order to get a better perspective, I asked some fellow students for their predictions for this year’s election. Aditya, a 9th grade IB student, explained his view on this whole situation by saying “President trump is also at very high risk because of his age so he might even fall deeply ill, which could even put him out of the election. Overall I just think that Trump being sick could force the election to take some different routes to accommodate Trump or might even automatically give the presidency to Biden.”
If Trump does have to end up foregoing the election, then Vice President Mike Pence will take his place. The 25th amendment states that the Vice President is the successor if the President passes away or becomes incapacitated. We’ll be able to see how well Mike Pence performs in next week’s debate, although that might be rescheduled due to Trump’s condition.
However, others thought that President Trump should recover rather quickly. For example, History teacher Mr. Muratore stated “I think Trump will survive COVID and it may result in a more uniform prevention strategy. I don’t see it having a major impact on the election. Even if it takes 2 weeks to recover, I think he will have enough time to rally his followers.” Mr. Muratore doesn’t think Americans should panic, explaining that “We have a system that accounts for these scenarios.”