BOSTON (CBS) – As news of President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis spread throughout the country, many voters wondered: what does this mean for the 2020 election.

“I just immediately thought about the possible consequences,” Kate Smails said as she walked through Boston’s Seaport with her family. “If he recovers, if he’s different… how that’s going to impact him as a candidate.”

“Is he going to use it as a platform to disregard the virus or is it going to be a wake up call like ‘wow this is a real problem?’” her brother, Chris, added.

Several voters WBZ news spoke to expressed their concern and best wishes for President Trump, and also addressed a lack of surprise at his diagnosis. “When I found out, I wasn’t necessarily surprised,” one voter said. “I can’t say that I was shocked,” another added.

Past the concern for the President’s wellbeing is a curiosity as to how – if at all – the election will be impacted.

“It’s certainly a sobering and disheartening moment for all Americans,” WBZ Political Analyst Jon Keller said, adding that there are “no positives” for the Trump campaign. The President will likely lose a few weeks of campaigning how he does best – in person.

Keller described the White House COVID-19 experience with that of the rest of the country as “two parallel narratives”, saying, “the wall between these two parallel narratives has been breached and now the President and his campaign and the White House are pulled into the narrative that the rest of us have been experiencing.”

While the election could be impacted by a lack of campaign events due to the President’s illness, Keller said one thing is for certain: “It cements that coronavirus and the Trump response as the overwhelming issue of the election, the issue that will decide the election.”

Regarding speculation that the diagnosis, assuming the President makes a full recovery, could delay the election, Keller said the chances are slim to none. Members of Congress have already dismissed the option, and it’s certain the election will move forward on November 3.

Kristina Rex


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