Now that the October Surprise has sunk in for President Trump himself, as he continues to be monitored at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, it's time to take a closer look at who's next. 61-year-old Mike Pence did you say? Though Donald Trump could declare in writing and hand over the power to his Vice President, should he become incapacitated, he is yet to do so.
A medically incapacitated President can temporarily transfer power to the vice president and can reclaim his authority whenever he deems himself fit to reassume office. There have been over a half a dozen instances in the past when a President has died of natural cause or assassinated and each time the reigns have been trusted with the vice president.
But remember, it's only a matter of one proverbial slip between the cup and the lip for the VP Mike Pence and literally he could be out of his role of filling in for the President. Pence's anti-LGBTQ policies and his stance on the issue in the past, anyway far override his persona in American politics and voters' mindset.
Where does that leave the campaigning before the election and the role of the President? To the next in-charge, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the 80-year-old Nancy Pelosi. Her bio in social profile instantly warms her up to the majority of the electorate, "Speaker of the House, focused on strengthening America's middle class and creating jobs, mother, grandmother, dark chocolate connoisseur." Could Nancy Pelosi be the next US President? Going by the circumstances, very likely. Going by the persona, why not?
In July of this year, Pelosi acknowledged that she is in line to the presidency, should Trump and Pence be a victim of the circumstances and the worst happen to them. Pelosi may think how President Trump has extended, "brazen invitation," to the virus but it has only got her one step closer to the Presidency. It's a known fact that both Trump and Pelosi have frequently and regularly clashed over several issues during Trump's tenure so far.
It's not just the simple succession rule that puts Nancy Pelosi in a likely next position (immediately after Mike Pence) to the Presidency, but also the legal technicality that Donald Trump's term ends exactly at noon on January 20, 2021. If the Electoral College has not yet named a successor by then (Biden or Trump) then the Speaker of the House would become the acting President of the US.
Could Biden be 'Trumped' with the virus?
Considering Trump and Biden faced each other during the debate not long before Trump tested positive, maybe it's time to look at the successors on the other side too. President Trump may have called Joe Biden "sleepy" earlier, but so far Biden's medical health summary, which was made public, stated otherwise. The 77-year-old running for the President's race was very recently described as, "healthy, vigorous and fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency," by his physician Kevin C.O' Connor.
But when did the novel Coronavirus differentiate or display any partiality between a President and a regular Joe? It won't be a case of farfetched imagination to think that both Presidential candidates could be out of the race. Just as it won't be unwise to pre-plan for the challenges that such a situation could pose. Considering both Trump and Biden are aged, both are at high risk and while one is already down with COVID, the other just shared a debate stage with the former not too long ago and while not wearing a mask.
In the meanwhile, Pence tests negative for the virus and will see Senator Kamala Harris of California at the running mates' debate in Utah on Wednesday. So who debates, who sees the campaign through and who finally assumes office could be three different scenarios and three different people. If the world has seen history and suspense, it's been in 2020.