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Trump goes viral

October 2, 2020

Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis is certain to have a number of unfortunate side-effects, even if he suffers from few symptoms himself.

The first we are already seeing, which is a series of messages from people on both sides of the partisan divide wishing him and Melania the best. You know full well that many such messages are for form’s sake, delivered through gritted teeth by people who would actually prefer that he became permanently incapacitated, if not deceased.

Given the care he will receive, neither outcome is likely, but it’s quite possible that he will be pretty ill come election day. Will sympathy make any difference to the voting? Hard to tell, but in an election dominated by emotion rather than fact, it’s possible.

What we can be certain of is that as long as he’s in reasonable shape but confined to quarters, there will be a marked increase in his tweeting. No doubt it will become ever more hysterical as he seeks to draw attention to himself, deprived as he will be of his rallies, his favourite dopamine bath.

I guess it’s possible that the rallies will go ahead anyway with placeholders taking to the podium and Trump himself delivering a set-piece speech live from the White House. Not quite the same though, especially as every news outlet in the world would be looking for evidence of physical and mental deterioration.

What of the remaining debates? The next one is due in two week’s time. Will Trump haul himself from his sickbed after testing negative, and heroically resume his interruptive shit-show? Would Biden agree to be in the same room as him? Or would the candidates agree to a Zoomathon? Good luck with the latter, given the difficulty that the technology has with handling people talking over each other.

Most likely the next debate will be postponed for a few days, if not cancelled, paving the way for a grand Armageddon a few days before the poll. Actually, the organisers should look seriously at the format of the hoary old British game show, Just a Minute, in which participants are required to speak for a minute on a given subject. The BBC rules say that

you must speak for a minute on a given subject. If you hesitate, repeat yourself, or deviate, an opponent will interrupt and take the subject. Points are gained for speaking when the minute is up, correctly interrupting, or being wrongly interrupted.

The person winning most points wins the debate. Simple! Unfortunately, since Trump breaks the rules of every game he plays, the proceedings would be no less chaotic than the first debate. But still, it could hardly be less entertaining.

On a more serious note, I’m sure pundits in the US will start speculating on what might happen if one or both candidates fail to make it to polling day. Given that Biden has been more cautious than Trump in guarding himself against COVID, he’s more likely still to be standing. But if neither make it, who will be the contestants in the election? Pence and Harris? That would be an interesting contest.

As far as I’m aware, no presidential candidate has expired or retired 30 days before an American election. Is there a constitutional provision for this, or would the whole shebang end in a lawyerly free-for-all? On which one could reflect that they’re heading in that direction already, so the net effect would merely be that the lawyers would be wheeled into action a few weeks early.

One thing’s for sure. We will be treated to a stream of bulletins on the condition of the orange balloon, either from Trump himself or his doctors, and the President will end up with more holes than the Albert Hall – unlike poor old Boris, who festered away alone in 10 Downing Street for several days before anyone realised he was going downhill fast.

It’s going to be a fascinating month, and of course I wish the President and Mrs President a speedy recovery. I can’t say I wish him well, because the man’s a monster, but I very much hope he stays fit enough to stand trial for his multiplicity of law-breaking some time after January next year.

Until then, no doubt Mike Pence, my favourite Thunderbirds pilot, will be practicing holding the bible the right way up in front of boarded-up churches, just in case.

How cruel I’ve become. Sign of the times, I suppose.

From → Politics, UK, USA

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