Donald Trump and the Republicans have abandoned all pretense of conducting an honorable campaign based upon the offering up of policy and ideas. Dropping badly in the polls, they’ve sunk to telling voters that Hillary Clinton has an undisclosed illness.
By all accounts Hillary Clinton is in the possession of her health and she’s released detailed records from her doctor, as prior candidates have done, showing her to be fit as the proverbial fiddle. But the Donald and his unscrupulous teams have taken to speaking of how “tired” and “sick” she looks, etc. etc., and are insisting she is hiding an illness.
If anything the tactic calls into question Trump’s mental health. Though it is not just Trump attacking her thusly but others, too, acolytes like the wizened GOP lapdog, Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani has made it a habit to doubt Clinton’s health wherever he goes.
The former New York major, who dropped out of his 2000 senatorial race against Clinton citing poor health (he was in fact embroiled in scandal) has a shtick he works in public and on TV. Along with the Clinton looks “tired” and “sick” and is in poor health nonsense, he’s urging the public to “Go online and put down ‘Hillary Clinton illness,’ take a look at the videos for yourself.”
There are videos on the subject to be found online but the disingenuous GOP toadies who put them up have even less credibility than Giuliani. One video, with over3,000,000 views, makes the completely unsubstantiated claim that the Democrats nominee has a range of illnesses, including autism and a brain tumor. Fiction, all of it.
Hannity: Trump adviser
Another GOP toady, Sean Hannity of Fox News, who admits to advising Trump on policy almost daily (and who recently told N.Y. Times writer Jim Rutenberg that he can do so because “I never claimed I was a journalist”) has also been enlisted to harp about Clinton’s phantom health issues.
In a recent Times column, Rutenberg notes some of the ways in which Hannity, on his show, has attempted to create a Clinton health scare where none exists:
On other days, he has lent his prime-time platform to wild, unsubstantiated accusations that Hillary Clinton is hiding severe health problems. He showed a video of a supposed possible seizure that was in fact a comical gesture Mrs. Clinton was making to reporters, as one of them, The Associated Press’s Lisa Lerer, reporter.
He also shared a report from the conservative site The Gateway Pundit that a member of Mrs. Clinton’s security detail appeared to be carrying a diazepam syringe, “for patients who experience recurrent seizures.” A simple call to the Secret Service spokeswoman Nicole Mainor, as I made on Friday, would have resulted in the answer that the “syringe” was actually a small flashlight.
In any election a candidate health concern would be grave and as Trump is 70 and Clinton 68 illness is a possibility, especially given the rigors of campaigning. Were either candidate diagnosed with a serious illness that would eventually require time to treat and yet allow them to continue campaigning without their condition becoming noticeable, their party would have a choice to make.
Should Trump be suddenly diagnosed with a terrible illness the GOP might insist he reveal it and bow out. The polls are bad enough and Trump is bad enough that they’d welcome another candidate, anyone, Mike Pence, Ted Cruz, Ted Nugent, Clint Eastwood, any Republican not named Donald Trump.Their chances of winning would improve without Trump, dramatically so.
On the other hand, should Clinton become ill the Democrats might prefer to win before making it known. But each candidate appears to have their health.
However, the notion of a sick opponent is something Trump and the Republicans clearly examined. Recognizing they now have virtually no chance of winning by means of policy options etc., they’ve made the decision to put it into the electorate’s collective mind that Clinton has an undisclosed illness.
Knowing they would face Clinton, the GOP has been demonizing her since she lost to Barack Obama. Hence fabricating a scandal over her response to the Benghazi attacks and exaggerating events surrounding her use of her own email server while Secretary of State. There’s also the inventing of ‘Crooked Hillary,’ a term Trump, and others, call her whenever she’s mentioned.
GOP: Pointless tactics
There’s this though: anyone stupid enough (yes, we’re being frank here) to fall for such pathetic tactics presented so sadly as this health scare is already in the Trump camp. Their unsubstantiated claims cannot possibly sway intelligent and educated people with normal brain functioning who are not consumed by fear.
This is so obviously a tactic arrived at by people soon to become irrelevant and lashing out like a cornered skunk. It’s not hard to see the poll numbers and recognize the game that Trump and his party are playing.But the real significance is that it marks a new low point in modern politics. This entire election and the Republican Party’s approach for years has been about setting new political lows.
The question now becomes though: what kind of political landscape follows all of this? Does these kinds of tactics, not unheard of but never so relentlessly employed, now become the norm in politics?That possibility is a political health scare of the highest order.