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Donald Trump's diagnosis of COVID-19 sent shockwaves throughout the world, upending an already unprecedented Presidential election weeks before it will be decided. What happens next will largely be determined by how serious Trump's illness is, which we may not know for some days or even weeks. His age and underlying health issues have caused some experts to sound the alarm, but he also has access to some of the best doctors the country has to offer, so it's really anyone's guess how this will all play out.
In the immediate short term, at a minimum, Trump's campaign events will be cancelled. Trump is currently isolating in the White House residence with the First Lady, who also tested positive. The White House insists he is in good spirits and conducting his duties from there, but I have to admit I take official statements by the White House with a grain of salt.
In the medium term, Trump's diagnosis throws the remaining two debates between he and Joe Biden into serious doubt. From a truly political standpoint, I don't know who that benefits more or if it benefits anyone at all. Trump's first debate performance was disastrous, so I can honestly see how missing the next two could be a net positive for him, but at the same time Joe Biden will potentially have an uninterrupted month of campaigning while Trump is isolated in the White House residence. I honestly don't see how that helps Trump at all.
Finally, what happens if, heaven forbid, Trump has a severe case? Can you imagine a scenario where tens of millions of Americans head to the polls November 3 not knowing if the person they are voting for is even capable of performing his Constitutional duties because he's gravely ill and on a ventilator? It's never happened in our nations history.
What happens in the coming days and weeks will be solely dependent on how Trump reacts to the illness. If it's mild and he quickly recovers then we will at least likely have some resemblance of a normal Presidential election. If it's not and he becomes gravely ill then we will be in unchartered waters.