It is easy to get rattled in this bizarre and peculiar year. Even the most stalwart among us may be reeling from all that has happened in 2020. However, news that President Trump and the first lady have tested positive for COVID-19 has taken the drama of this annus horribilis to a new level and sent tremors through the heart of Trump Country. In a video posted on Twitter last evening, Mr. Trump looked well and said he “thinks he’s doing very well” but was heading to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as a precautionary measure.
Aides say the president has experienced mild symptoms and thus far Mr. Trump has been given two therapies to combat the virus. White House Physician Sean Conley said Trump initially received an eight-gram infusion of a “monoclonal antibody.” What this does is help the body fight the coronavirus better and faster. Called REGN-COV2, the drug is in the end stages of a clinical trial and not yet available for public use. There are other therapies available to the president at Walter Reed the latest report is that Mr. Trump has now begun a course of the popular antiviral, remdesivir. Medical experts say Mr. Trump has a better than 95% chance of recovery and the first lady, because of her age, has a 99% recovery rate. There will be a lot of crazy speculation about Trump’s health but those are the facts, as they currently stand.
Now that the initial shock of Trump’s diagnosis is over, and he is undergoing medical care and highly likely to recover, perhaps a peek at the political situation is in order. Again much like wild reports about the president’s health, we would do well to evaluate the political side of things with less emotion and more logic. The New York Times for instance has floated a trial balloon that the president remove himself from the ballot. While the left is spending every waking hour dreaming up plans for the president to exit the political stage, there are grounds for optimism among his base in this tumultuous time leading up to what many have asserted is “the most important election of our lifetime.”
Reason 1: Leftist Schadenfreude
Does anyone believe for a nano-second the left won’t overplay its hand with a tsunami of “I told you so”s and publicly delight in the fact that the president and his wife have contracted the Coronavirus? They will be dripping with a textbook case of schadenfreude, id est, deriving pleasure from another’s misfortune. The left-wing media, which primarily serves as a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party, will publish thousands of column inches revealing its joy – and amusement – over Trump contracting COVID.
Just about an hour after the president’s announcement that he and his wife tested positive for the Chinese virus, one legacy newspaper put out this tweet – which it later deleted, but not before journalist Andy Ngô obtained a screenshot:
WaPo has deleted this tweet, which was sent out about an hour after Trump announced to the world he and the First Lady’s positive COVID-19 test. pic.twitter.com/GG2XjDTmW5
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) October 2, 2020
Obviously, some wise people at The Washington Post thought better of that post and may even comprehend that taking pleasure in another’s misfortune does not make for a winning strategy with the American people. The electorate usually finds this sort of behavior distasteful, and history has proven time and again that the people of the United States love to root for the underdog. Therefore, it is entirely possible – even probable — that the left will be incapable of hiding their glee, and there will be blowback, which could very well turn into additional support for Mr. Trump.
Reason 2: Warriors Prevail
President Trump has always self-styled as a warrior – a fighter who does not give up. Should the president come out on the other side of this virus rather quickly and with few symptoms, it will signal strength, not weakness. Indeed, should he be able to take the stage for the second debate, it will illustrate his moxie. Rugged toughness is not only admired by Americans but is often rewarded.
Overcoming this adversity could very well put the president in the cat-bird seat over a challenger that appears on the fringes of cognitive decline, cadaver-like, and shivering just beneath the surface of a mask. A Trump triumph over COVID would be an empowering optic for the citizenry on the cusp of the election because it would draw a clear distinction from the Biden Campaign, which has worked overtime to instill fear and trembling in the American public.
Assuming the president’s condition does not degrade and he recovers, his victory over a potentially deadly virus will likely be heralded. This visual would certainly demonstrate virility. While a rapid recovery is not a certainty at this stage, it is a possibility that cannot and should not be overlooked.
Reason 3: The Undecided Voter
There are conflicting views regarding those who remain undecided in this election. If we look at the Rasmussen White House Watch Poll – a head to head Biden-Trump matchup – the most significant percentage of undecideds was 6% back in July. For the most part, those who say they don’t know who they will vote for has hovered between three and four percent. Are these people genuinely ambivalent, or are they part of the silent Trump voter contingent? The secret voter is not a new phenomenon, but it came into play in 2016 and is likely to tip the scales again in 2020. This is primarily due to widespread political polarization and the radical left calling Trump supporters every derogatory name in the book. It’s unlikely the president contracting COVID-19 will move the silent voter to switch to Camp Biden – especially if he recovers before election day.
Of course, Trump strategists will need to be on their toes in this last month before the election. They must find new ways to get their candidate in front of the American public and re-imagine their campaign. But if President Trump has proven anything in the last four years, it is that he is a pugilist of the first order who often performs best when he’s down and certainly should never be counted out until the final bell rings.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.