OPINION: Countdown to the 3rd: In sickness and in health

Trump’s positive diagnosis spells bad things for his polling; Biden’s wire fiasco makes the rounds online



Trump’s positive diagnosis comes at the worst possible time — he may actually have to fight for the polls.

JACOB HERSH, Evergreen columnist

Robert Pattinson should not take back Kristen Stewart. She cheated on him like a dog & will do it again – just watch. He can do much better!

-Donald Trump

Presidents do not get sick. Oh sure, Reagan had intestinal polyps, and Bush threw up on the prime minister of Japan, but for the most part, our presidents stay healthy, active and vibrant — what are we, Brazil? For Americans to see their president sick or compromised is like seeing their country under attack.

We’re like a snake without the head — Americans don’t do well without some sort of Fearless Leader, as much as we might try to tout our independence. America needs a Daddy, in the strictest sense of the word — and I shan’t elaborate any further. Please don’t email me.

With that said, President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis comes at an unfortunate time for his political ambitions. He currently lags behind Biden by around 9 percentage points, and his post-debate polls are mixed, to say the least. With his admittance to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, it’s also a tacit acknowledgment that the COVID-19 crisis is worse than he’s been acknowledging — a fact the media has latched onto like a pitbull in a backyard sawdust ring.

There are also the less obvious implications of Trump’s positive diagnosis. With his hospital stay and minimal public appearances, it’s a show of weakness by a man whose modus operandi is ostensibly political strength. To back down is to die in the political game, and Trump’s showing signs, however indirectly, of backing down.

The polls aren’t out yet, but I have no doubt Trump’s sickness and hospital stay is going to affect him negatively in the standings. To publicly detract the virus as a minor issue, and less than a month later, contract it, is a move that’ll drop him 2 percentage points, maybe even 3.

With that said, there are some ways Trump can counteract the drop and maybe even close the gap between his numbers and Biden’s.

The first is to make a particularly swift recovery in time for the debate on Oct. 15, while learning from his mistakes in last week’s debates. If Trump can pull off a strong showing in the second round of presidential debates (assuming they aren’t canceled) it might be enough to pull him up past the initial drop in points and perhaps even net him an overall gain, shortening the gap between Biden’s 51.2 and Trump’s 42.2.

The second way is to rely on Mike Pence to muster his forces at the vice presidential debates on Wednesday. If Pence, generally regarded as the more levelheaded and less volatile of the duo, can refrain from absolutely f-cking up his performance, while simultaneously maintaining some kind of edge over Kamala Harris — who, by all rights, shouldn’t be allowed near the election with a 10-foot pole — Tulsi got robbed — he might be able to pull the team out of the quagmire of the first debate.

And it was a quagmire — Facebook comments notwithstanding, I stand by my original statement that Trump won, but in a pyrrhic, almost Promethean victory. Beating Biden was like kicking a dog — no fun for anybody except the kicker. Trump’s style was brutish, almost Nixon-esque in its rabid intensity.

To call it a debate disgraces the very meaning of the word “debate” — it was more akin to those bare-knuckle British fighting clubs from “Bronson,” except one of the contestants was blindfolded and slouching towards senility, and one kept saying “wrong.”

This brings me to another particularly entertaining Bit O’ Fun — the Biden conspiracy theories. QAnon, or the Shriners for Boomers who’ve been summarily banned from family Thanksgiving dinners, theorized ad infinitum about Biden’s “wire.” The notion that Biden was wearing a hidden earpiece, receiving hints and advice from his team during the debate, made the rounds on the particularly schizophrenic corners of Twitter and Facebook, with hundreds of armchair conspiracy theorists slobbering over another opportunity to catch a glimpse of the alleged “wire.”

Reading through all the threads theorizing about Biden’s grand scheme, it’s worth considering — do these people think Biden made any kind of a competent showing at last week’s debate? The purpose of a wire is, ostensibly, to make sure the candidate does better than he would have on his own. In a sense, assuming Biden actually had a wire (he didn’t), you have to follow that through to its logical conclusion — if this is Biden with a wire, then by God, it would border on animal cruelty to see him without one.