Right now is a strange and morally ambiguous time for those who hate Trump, including me. Days after mocking safety procedures at the debate, after holding large, in-person rallies, the president has fallen ill with COVID-19. On Oct. 2, Trump was transported to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center with mild COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever and congestion (4). Though he was released from the hospital on Monday, White House physician Dr. Sean P. Conley stated that the staff “all remain cautiously optimistic and on guard because we’re in a bit of uncharted territory when it comes to a patient that received the therapies he has so early in the course.” (5) In other words, though things seem to be improving, the president’s condition remains unclear.
I will start off by saying that as someone who despises Trump’s misogynistic, racist, and additional problematic behavior, I do not want him to die. He is still a human being with a family, including a teenage son. Perhaps it would be easier for me to stand on this moral high-ground than it is for others, as I am a white, cis-gender, middle-class person. I do not wish to invalidate the feelings that anyone may have about Trump, but I will tell you something; you do not want him to die right now.
Right now, if Trump were to die, a series of unusual, complex, and unfortunate processes would ensue. Firstly, let’s talk about the time between right now and inauguration day, 2021. Do we really want Mike Pence as our president for any amount of time at all? Though Mike Pence would be a lame-duck president should Joe Biden win—meaning Pence would not serve for much time before his successor is inaugurated—is there any scenario in which we would want a pro-life, anti-LGBTQ+ man to be the leader of the free world? According to CNN, during the 2010 Value Voter Summit, Pence said: "I'm a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order." (1) Though there is nothing wrong with a leader who is religious, the first amendment to the United States Constitution explains the right to freedom of religion, a right that all Americans have. Therefore, the President of the United States should be able to separate church and state, and this quote leads me to believe that Pence would not be able to effectively do so. The President of the United States must be able to make decisions that best benefit the people: not decisions that best align with his or her faith. If Pence announced in a politically charged environment that he is a Christian before he is a Republican, then he announced that rather than follow what members of the Republican party elected him to do, he would pursue Christian interests first. This is not acceptable for a leader in a nation where religion is not supposed to influence decision-making.
Additionally, the handling of the 2020 presidential election would be severely complicated should Trump die. According to the Associated Press, (AP) a political party could, in theory, replace a candidate, but not this close to election day. (2) Almost three million votes have already been cast, and 63 million ballots have been sent to voters for mail-in voting. As the Magazine Foreign Policy states, there would not be time for the Republican National Committee to pick a new candidate to put on the ballot in Trump’s place, and there would certainly not be time to then have members of each state vote again with the name of the new candidate on the ballot. (3) The magazine points to “uncharted waters and more looming legal battles.”
According to the magazine Foreign Policy, the House of Representatives decides who the president is if neither candidate can secure the necessary 270 Electoral College votes. (3) At this point, hopeful liberals may be thinking: at least the Democrats in the House of Representatives could do something to save us if Trump died and the nation entered into this unpleasant and uncharted stream.
Democrat control of the House of Representatives would be great news for Democrats and liberals if not for one caveat: in the case that the disputed election passes to the House of Representatives, the representatives of each state, no matter their total number, would collectively cast one vote, for their one state. In that case, Republicans would control slightly more seats than democrats do, which would give them a slight advantage in the highly unlikely case that an Electoral College majority is not secured.
If Trump were to die before the election, things would become even more complicated than they already are in this nation of division. There is little liberal victory that occurs as a result of Trump’s death.
If you are still not convinced that you shouldn’t want Trump to die upon hearing that his death does not slant the nation towards a liberal victory, that’s okay. Perhaps you already had little faith in the nation to secure a liberal victory. You should know, however, that if Trump wins the election and then dies, the Constitution states that the Vice-president-elect, who would be the aforementioned Mike Pence, would be sworn into the presidency for a full term. As a reminder, a term is four years. Stop wishing for Trump to die; if only because you may just end up with four years of Mike Pence.