Monday, August 22, 2016

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Caution About What Some Wish For

With two such controversial major party nominees for
president in 2016, some folks are indulging in not a little
wishful thinking about whom will remain on the two major
party tickets on November 8.

There is currently some conversation among some
opponents of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton
contending that she is unwell, and that she might have to
resign from the ticket before election day. While anything is
possible in 2016, her alleged disability is, at this point, just
partisan speculation. Presidents and presidential nominees
do have some history of hiding their illnesses including
President Grover Cleveland’s secret operation for cancer
(it was successful), President Woodrow Wilson’s crippling
stroke in office (he did not recover), President Franklin
Roosevelt’s paralysis (unreported by the media; it did not
hamper him as president), and President John Kennedy’s
fatal Addison’s Disease (undisclosed and incurable in his
era). Each would not pass electoral or public muster today.
But diagnoses, even by physicians, without an actual
physical examination and reliable tests, is just gossip, and
should be treated as such.

There is also some conversation among some opponents of
Republican nominee Donald Trump (including some in his
own party) that he should and will resign from the GOP
ticket because he is doing so badly, according to some polls
and most of the media. Equally speculative as is that of Mrs.
Clinton’s alleged illness, Mr. Trump continues to defy
prognostications of his political demise. New and respected
polls are showing him with either a narrow lead or  in a virtual
tie with Mrs. Clinton, after most polls saw him briefly much
further behind. Moreover, the polls have been wrong about
Mr. Trump’s support continually in the past year. A Trump
campaign shake-up has, at least initially, proved positive,
and the presidential contest remains very much up in the
electoral air.

I might also point out, as others already have, that those who
wish the nominees to resign from their tickets (for whatever
reason) should be very cautious about what they wish for.
First of all, should the unlikely happen, i.e., that one of the
nominees actually resigns, it is almost certain that the party’s
national committee would replace them with someone much
more likely to win the general election. If Mrs. Clinton were
replaced with, say, Vice President Biden, the Democrats almost
certainly would win in November; conversely, if Mr. Trump
were replaced with, say, Paul Ryan, the Republicans would
likely win easily on election day.

Anything can happen, yes, but with less than 80 days to go,
it is self-indulgent to speculate about last-minute changes in
the national tickets.

Perhaps more fruitful conversation might be about the impact
of the two third party candidates Gary Johnson (Libertarian)
and Dr. Jill Stein (Green Party). Many traditional liberals,
conservatives and centrists are considering voting outside the
two-party choices.

We know from the 1992 and 2000 presidential elections, that
third party candidates can make a decisive difference, although
President Harry Truman, facing strong third party desertions
on both his left and right, and trailing badly in all polls until
election day, won the 1948 election, something no one then

Copyright (c) 2016 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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