Updated below (on Thursday, September 15, 2016)
Billary Clinton collapsing into a waiting van in New York City on Sunday, two days after a pneumonia diagnosis, and then taking a few days off from campaigning in order to rest, very probably won’t be anything remotely like a game changer, much to the disappointment of the political vultures circling the chronically coughing Clinton’s carcass.
First: As much as I have criticized Billary Clinton — whom I still don’t want to see as president and for whom I still am not going to vote and to whom I still am not going to give a penny — I would rather have Billary on her fucking death bed in the Oval Office than Der Fuhrer Donald Trump in the Oval Office for even one day, even on the most healthy day of his life.
So no, Billary’s current bout with pneumonia changes nothing for me, and I agree with the Politico writer who noted:
… There are the people who hate Clinton, hate the changes they see in the country which they think Clinton would only accelerate. They’re voting for Trump. Then there are the people who hate Trump, are disgusted by his race-baiting and terrified about him actually being president. They’re voting for Clinton.
The slice of people in between is and remains very, very thin, and includes all those Republicans queasy about having Clinton and her way of doing things in the White House but who are so opposed to Trump that they’re not even going to cast protest votes for Gary Johnson (at least not if they live in swing states).
“The idea that there is a huge chunk of independent voters out trying to make up their minds is a myth,” said Jim Hodges, a former governor of South Carolina and a Clinton supporter.
The Washington Post/ABC News poll out Sunday showed 7 in 10 voters have “definitely” chosen their candidate already. That’s in line with the number of undecideds in 2008 around this point in the race. Notably, 60 percent of voters said Clinton is qualified to serve as president, while only 36 percent said the same about Trump — a big hurdle for the Republican to overcome in persuading them to vote for him.
“It’s people who are uncomfortable with both candidates, and it’s more about making someone so uncomfortable with one of those candidates that they have to vote for the other,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, about the few undecided voters left in America. “But it’s just playing on the edges at this point.” …
Absolutely. At this point, with less than two months to go before the election, it would take a lot more than Billary’s bout with pneumonia to move the needle significantly in Trump’s favor.
As unenthusiastic as I am defending Billary, it is understandable, I think, that Billary’s campaign didn’t tell us earlier that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday: with the right-wing rumor mill and smear machine at full tilt regarding Billary’s supposed poor health, of course the news that she’d been diagnosed with pneumonia would have been only even more grist for that rumor mill and smear machine. (But, of course, not releasing the information in a timely manner only fueled more charges of even more classic Clintonian slipperiness.)
And politically speaking, Billary pretty much had to make that ill-fated public appearance in New York City on Sunday, the 15th anniversary of the perversely sacred cow that is 9/11. The choice was to appear or to have to explain the non-appearance (see the immediate paragraph above).
If a candidate for office has a chronic or even terminal illness that could hinder his or her ability to finish out the term in office that she or he is seeking (and to do a decent job in that office), then he or she ethically should disclose that so that the voters can make an informed choice, but a bout with curable pneumonia (assuming that Team Billary isn’t hiding anything about Billary’s long-term health) doesn’t make one unfit for office.
There are many things that make Billary unfit for the presidency, but her health status probably isn’t one of them.
On that note, Politico also ran a piece on how the Democratic Party, in the view of one former head of the Democratic National Committee (not Debbie Wasserman Schultz), does not have a fleshed-out-enough plan as to what to do should, heaven forfend, Billary Clinton die or otherwise be incapacitated between now and Election Day.
It’s a no-brainer to me: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders won 45 percent of the pledged delegates in the Democratic Party presidential primary elections and caucuses, so the nomination should go to him should Billary die or otherwise become incapacitated. Cheating by the Billarybots (including the Billarybots within the DNC, some of whom [including Wasserman Schultz] resigned after their anti-Bernie e-mails were leaked by WikiLeaks) aside, Bernie Sanders was, after all, the Democratic voters’ second choice.*
Of course, the Democratic Party stopped being democratic long, long ago, and the corrupt DNC would pick Billary’s replacement, so don’t get too excited over the prospect of a house being dropped on Billary and Bernie Sanders being on the ticket in November after all.
P.S. Fivethirtyeight.com right now (as I type this sentence) puts Trump’s chances of winning the White House at 31.2 percent, which is exactly where it was when I last posted.
Again, I don’t expect the needle to move much, if any, really, between now and Election Day. Billary and Trump are known, having been in the public spotlight since the 1980s and the 1990s, and the nation is polarized.
Update (Thursday, September 15, 2016): Yikes. Fivethirtyeight.com right now puts Trump’s chances of winning at 37.4 percent. He’s been higher than that before — fivethirtyeight.com put him at a 50.1 percent chance on July 30 (soon after the Repugnican National Convention) — but the election isn’t that far away.
We’ll see if Pneumoniagate subsides; I think that it will, even though the larger issue, politically, I suspect, is the Clintonesque lack of transparency about the illness rather than the illness itself.
I also don’t see Basketofdeplorablesgate as a big deal. Again, this is a highly polarized electorate already. (Mittens Romney’s remark about the “47 percent” probably didn’t contribute much to his loss in 2012; probably the biggest factor in Romney’s loss, besides the fact that he’s an unlikeable plutocratic asshole, is that it’s incredibly hard to deny a sitting president a second term [ask John Kerry].)
Anyway, I’m not sure exactly at which point to panic, but it seems to me that if Trump hits 40 percent or above and stays there through Election Day, yeah, it’s time to panic.
*No, Vice President Joe Biden wouldn’t be an acceptable Billary replacement; if he wanted the job of president, he should have run for it, as Bernie did.
And no, Billary’s running mate Tim Kaine isn’t acceptable, either; the primary and caucus voters never got to weigh in on him.
Bernie would be the only democratic way to go should something happen to Billary between now and Election Day.