Health rumors encouraged by Republican groups have long been a staple of the political ammo against Hillary Clinton – including allegations of Parkinson’s Disease, neurological illness, psychopathic behavior, seizures, and further, various secret fatal but slow acting illnesses. The Democrats often responded by branding these as conspiracy theories.
Now, the drama over Clinton’s health has arisen again, due to her collapsing at a 9/11 memorial service. The Democratic/Clinton narrative (declaring it pneumonia two days after the incident) around the matter has been evasive to say the least. The incident has also led to a closer scrutiny of abnormalities present in the Clinton campaign, and a suspicion over a more serious long-term illness.
Emmy award-winning journalist David Schuster announced that the Democrats were holding a secret meeting to consider a replacement in case Hillary has to unexpectedly drop out. In addition, veteran journalist Cokie Roberts stated that Democrats are “nervously beginning to whisper about her stepping aside and finding another candidate.”
Former DNC chair Dan Fowler asserted that a contingency plan is “something you would be a fool not to prepare for.”
Clinton seems to have tumbled in more than one way:
- According to the Real Clear Politics average of multiple polls, Clinton is only up by an average 1.8 points.
- A CBS News-New York Times poll saw Trump and Clinton in dead heat at 42 percent nationally.
- In a CNN/ORC poll, Trump leads Clinton by 5 points in Ohio and 3 points in Florida.
- In an LATimes/USCTracking poll, Trump leads nationally by an entire 6 points.
With regard to Clinton’s health - to round up what seems genuinely plausible, or worth noting:
Many of the venues visited by Hillary Clinton have been specially fitted with handrails, especially when stairs are involved. The handrails are almost always removed once the event is over. Hillary has disclosed or remarked nothing on this. Several times, she has had a handler holding her hand at a lot of functions. It could be a Secret Service agent or a staffer - and is a minor matter.
More worryingly, the only evidence that Hillary is in excellent shape is a report from her sole private doctor. Individuals on the Clintons' payroll are generally not regarded as honest and trustworthy. My point being, that while half the Republican-fuelled rumors about her health are probably false, we have only a single source certifying her as in good shape - and the source is the lion's den.
It is worth comparing that to Vermont Senator and Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, who is older (at 75 to Clinton’s 68), who is the perfect picture of good health, has no handlers, walks everywhere, flies coach on airplanes – and there's a video of him running down an escalator and out of a building - and his health is certified by the Senate Physician, a far more impartial and trustworthy long term source of certification.
Going into the less-recent past, Hillary had suffered a stroke while Secretary of State and has been shielded from closer scrutiny ever since, and indeed has struggled to articulate herself without a teleprompter. Leaked emails showed that she often found travelling by commercial flight (such as the Washington-New York shuttles), “too burdensome”.
While the Clinton campaign remains tight-lipped, the darker rumors surface. A photo of Clinton squeezing her staffer’s fingers dispassionately further abetted the rumors of neurological illness. “Squeeze my fingers” is a common neurological test.
Clinton was taken to her daughter’s apartment in a limousine rather than to a hospital in an ambulance. Her staff did not seem to be taken by surprise at her collapse. Bill Clinton in a recent interview admitted that Hillary has problems “frequently” before backpedaling to state that “I mean – rarely”. Further she emerged from apartment stating that she was absolutely fine, but a day later, the campaign fished out a 4 day-old pneumonia diagnosis. Further, active pneumonia in the early days is contagious. However, the first thing Clinton did on emerging from her daughter’s apartment was to hug a child. Some Republican pundits also remarked that this was perhaps the first time (when she emerged) that Clinton was seen without staffers or bodyguards around her, and alleged that she was using a body double – things that could never be independently confirmed.
However, one thing one should consider is - if the major corporate mega-donors thought Hillary was in perfect health, they would have not been so insistent on a corporatist such as Tim Kaine as her Vice Presidential nominee. They would have let her nominate a progressive – which would have helped her in the polls immensely.
Polling has already begun on who ought to replace Clinton in case of her unexpectedly dropping out. The Hill reports that:
Forty-eight percent of likely Democratic voters backed Sanders in that scenario, according to the poll released Friday.
Twenty-two percent picked Vice President Biden, with 14 percent saying Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine, and 9 percent choosing someone else.
As we have seen, specific targeted rumors about Clinton’s health are likely to be entirely made up - and have no spot of verifiable evidence as of now. On the other hand, the lingering spectre of a more serious illness remains, encouraged in no small part by the evasiveness and lack of transparency of the Clintons. One more health scare and perhaps, the Democrats would panic. In light of the numerous election irregularities and the anti-establishment anger that goes unabated, one would suggest that the Democratic Party realize that their base would be satisfied by no other than Bernie Sanders himself, the most popular Senator in America.