Let’s All Hope Trump Recovers

Trump and Pence

Both Dangerous

There are two main reasons why we should all hope that Donald J. Trump recovers from COVID-19.

The first is that we should never wish death on people, even people we may dislike intensively for all the evil they have done. (Similarly, we should condemn those who seek to dehumanize their opponents. This is why I condemn the practice, common in certain parts of the Internet, of referring to Trump as ‘the Trumpanzee’.)

The second is that were Trump to die, Vice-President Pence would become the Republican candidate for President in the next election. I am aware that this is not a legal inevitability, but it is, from what I know of the convoluted mechanisms by which the party would have to replace him, a practical certainty.

Trump is losing this election, and I cannot imagine that some great national bounce of sympathy for an irony of Sophoclean proportions will change that. But Pence, for all that he was a failed Governor and remains a religious zealot, is largely a blank slate to most voters. Maybe the upcoming Vice-Presidential candidates’ debate will substantially change that, but probably not. And a blank slate is a chance to reboot. If nothing else, it would be a chance to peel off the voters who were voting against Trump as a person rather than Trumpism as a program.

It might be that many people would say Pence was compromised by his years of silence and sycophancy. Others might view it as loyalty, misguided or not. And the right-wing evangelical vote would flock to the polls.

Ask yourself this: what would Never Trumpers like the Lincoln Project do if Pence were the candidate? Would they shift targets or fold their tents? I don’t want to find out.

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5 Responses to Let’s All Hope Trump Recovers

  1. Eric says:

    The best way to survive Covid-19 is with a hot bowl of warm, chicken soup.


  2. jones says:

    This is very convenient timing for Trump.

    He’ll get a pass on the next two debates and he’ll get to come out swinging with the propaganda angle “see, I told you: just a bad cold. I’m 74 and fought it off no problem. The democrats and fake news media have been lying to you since day 1 about this fake pandemic.”

    And he’ll get a sympathy vote. And Biden, being a “gentleman” has paused negative campaign ads.

  3. Eric says:

    It should of course be noted that I do not recommend eating chicken, warm soup; that would require swapping an adjunct noun with a non-coordinate adjective.

  4. Jaws says:

    During the 1990s, I lived within the reach of Pence’s radio broadcast. And it was on the radio in a lot of offices and waiting rooms.

    He would not represent an improvement — indeed, probably not any change — in the policy positions of his boss. It might represent an improvement in the outright corruption and conflicts of interest… but it might not. Remember, many of the conflicts of interest of the last Indiana-based Vice President weren’t common knowledge, either (only his spelling prowess regarding a certain agricultural commodity). I’ve been so personally offended by Pence’s policies (and those radio broadcasts) that he wasn’t getting my vote anyway, so I didn’t look much more deeply at one state over’s political follies. That said, it has historically been very, very difficult to avoid having significant conflicts of interest in agriculture-heavy states…

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