At a time like this, with the election just weeks away, America truly needs a healthy Donald Trump on the campaign trail, be it in person or virtual. While in a divisive political environment as riven with vitriol, if not hate, as ours is today, this may surely be seen as blasphemy in progressive circles. I for one believe it is not. It’s not an appeal to the notion propagated by Micelle Obama in 2016 that “When they go low, we go high.” Nor is it an attempt to be a good Christian by turning the other cheek. It is the acknowledgement that the health of President Trump could be a defining factor in determining the long-term significance of the 2020 election and the acceptance of its results.
An incapacitated President Trump if defeated on November 3rd or a last-minute replacement in the person of Mike Pence, should he too be defeated, would forever become a source for all manner of excuses by pro-Trump supporters in an effort to deflect from the true meaning of the election’s outcome. This would be particularly true if it is a close election. The defeat of a less than reasonably healthy Trump, or of a stand in, would allow the president’s supporters to frame the defeat as illegitimate, the outcome as somehow tainted. Remember how Bill Clinton’s victory in a plurality in 1992 was to be evermore framed as questionable by defeated Republicans, claiming that Ross Perrot derailed George H.W. Bush? If you recall all the slanderous rhetoric that flowed therefrom, you’ll understand what I’m driving at. The only difference is this time the controversy would be far worse given the present political climate.
The defeat of a sick or incapacitated Donald Trump would provide both a crutch for pro-Trump supporters to lean on as well as a touchstone upon which any number of excuses for Trump’s defeat could be based. All of the policy failures, foreign and domestic, and the division sown over the last four years will be ignored, displaced as they will be by a contrived controversy based on excuses for poor health and fitness as the reason for defeat. Worse still, it could become the foundation for a host of conspiracy theories which would take on a life of their own and run rampant throughout much of conservative and social media. That being understood, it is in the long-term interest of American democracy that Trump be as healthy as possible on November 3rd.
Donald Trump is president for a reason, the reason he’s president is that the average American was ignored for so long that he or she got pissed off and voted for Trump in both a protest and a gamble that he could somehow make America into what it was once upon a time. Had he run as a Democrat the results would have been the same. If the Democrats had not lost their focus on the average American and had they had a better candidate, they would have won in 2016. Had the Democrats not taken the Rust Belt states for granted, had people of color and the young turned out for Clinton the way they did for Obama they would have won. Had Democrats not lost their focus on the concerns of the average American rather than whether or not a lesbian could fly a fighter plane or where transgender people go to the toilet they would have won. The results of that defeat are well known to all who will be reading this article and need no further elaboration here.
If the election of 2020 is to truly be a referendum on the moral and professional fitness of Donald Trump to continue in office then the healthier, he is the better, for if he is defeated, particularly decisively in a landslide, Trump’s supporters will have no one to blame but Trump for the defeat. If Trump is beaten decisively it will settle the nagging question of the past four years: Was the election of Donald J. Trump an aberration, does it signify a political course change in American society or is it something in between, something less well defined? Whether or not the supporters of Trump will own up to a changed political reality of a defeat may be another issue altogether, but as the famous football coach Bill Parcells once said, “You are what your record says you are.” Thus, if Trump is beaten decisively his supporters will have their legs cut out from under them and will have little to look forward to but a bitter defeat with all of the consequences that flow therefrom. The image of a retrograde America of the 1950s will turn out to have been nothing but a mirage on the political landscape and the country can then move forward into the future whatever that may be. Trump’s supporters will be without the excuse that people didn’t vote for Trump because he wasn’t himself physically and as such, they either didn’t vote, chose Biden, or a third-party candidate, actions they wouldn’t have taken otherwise. If the results are much closer, than the health of president Trump may not weigh in as much as would have been the case otherwise. That said, let us wish President Trump good health in these final few weeks until November 3rd, it’s the best thing for America in the long run.