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article imageOp-Ed: Should Hillary Clinton drop out? What would happen if she did?

By Marcus Hondro     Sep 12, 2016 in Politics
It would be new ground in the world of U.S. presidential politics if Hillary Clinton were to bow out of the race due to health. But the video of her struggling to walk forward and get into an van on her own suggests it could happen.
Clinton leaves ceremony
Many unethical members of the right — there are legions of those — have for a long while conducted a 'healther' campaign, replete with fake documents, to convince the electorate she lacks stamina to lead the nation. And now along comes a real health scare. After 90 minutes of attendance at the 15th anniversary 9/11 ceremonies at Ground Zero in New York Sunday, an overheated Clinton had to leave.
This occurred at 9:30 a.m. and much later Clinton's physician, Dr. Lisa R. Bardack, released a statement saying that on Friday Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia; hours after that admission her campaign said she was cancelling a two-day trip to California. The trip cancellation is not a concern, the Dems could beat Trump in California with the risen ghost of Jerry Garcia as their candidate.
But not revealing a serious illness is a concern. The press began wondering why the public was not told until two days later, when their hands were forced. Things would have gone much better for them had they revealed her illness and then had her make an appearance at the anniversary regardless; she could have attended for an hour and left, looking like a trooper instead of a frail dissembler who tried to misle the public.
The optics of her leaving the ceremony were not good. She is nearing the van and clearly under duress, hunched over, with security propping her up. She begins to step from the curb to the waiting vehicle and her legs buckle. She requires help to gain the back seat and lost a shoe as they managed to place her safely into the van.
She's had two recent coughing fits and fainted in 2012 and concussed herself, with further health repercussions from that, such as double vision and a blood clot. Given all this, she does not present a picture of a healthy, robust 68-year-old ready for the rigors of what is arguably one of the planet's most stressful jobs.
This is not a gender issue, any man to whom the same things had happened would be in the same place. One more health event, even one that only appears health related, could be her undoing at the voting booth. And at her age, already some 17 plus months out on the campaign trail, can it be guaranteed there won't be an incident of some kind?
Democrats suffer 'healthers'
This must be difficult for the Democrats after having had to endure the pathetic, desperate nonsense that has come out of the mouths of Rudy Giuliani and other Republican alarmists and prevaricators, and provocateurs, who've been making up sleazy bile about Clinton's health, telling bald-faced lies in order to create a health scare where none existed.
Right-wing commentators said a small flashlight a member of her security team carried was a syringe of diazepam (a muscle relaxant for anxiety). Others published falsified documents purported to be from Dr. Bardack, which she repudiated, that are riddled with lies.
All this unending speculation, though fabricated (it will doubtless continue with even more intensity now) has duped some of the more guillible members of the electorate and more will abandon her should another health scare arise.
Her decision to stay or go must be made quickly. The DNC must formulate a back-up plan (such a plan should be in place for any candidate) if one does not already exist. The rules of the DNC stipulate it is entirely Hillary Clinton's call; she won the primary, she cannot be forced to leave.
Hard to let a dream die and even if Dr. Bardack recommends she go (and we do not know that is so) it would be a difficult choice. And let's not forget that while she looked frail Sunday, this is an extremely resilient woman who has endured much and held high office, including Secretary of State. She's got more chutzpah than you and I combined and clearly has no fear. If she can walk then she can run.
Replacing Hillary Clinton
But what if her illness is so severe that it takes a lengthy recovery period and forces her from the race? It could happen. Pneumonia is, after all, the 8th leading cause of death in the U.S. and it's typically harder on the elderly.
Election day is November 8 and while losing two days of campaigning is not significant losing two weeks, with no assurance of good health upon her return, would be. Should that happen and she had to quit the race — what then? Who replaces her? What mechanism is in place to make such a decision?
And to what degree would age play a role in selecting a new candidate? Some might suggest it should play a significant role. After having a candidate drop-out due to poor health would it be wise to parachute someone in who is 75, like Bernie Sanders, or even 73, like Joe Biden?
The process according to the rules is simple. Legal commentator Dan Abrams has a website called Legal Newz and a reporter on the site, Ron Blizter, notes that the issue of selecting a new candidate is covered under Article 2, Section 7 of the Democratic National Committee Bylaws.
That article states that the DNC simply holds a special meeting and conducts a vote to determine the replacement. There is no edge given to any candidates from the primaries, nor to the nominee for vice-president. The meeting, the rules say, "shall be held on the call of the Chairperson."
The DNC is the governing body of the Democratic Party with a chairperson (interim chair is Donna Brazile) and over 200 elected members from every state and territory in the union. How would they choose? Any potential candidates would be contacted and they'd conduct a vote with confirmed names to consider. There are reports meetings have already occurred to ready a contingency plan.
Given pneumonia is common and easy to contact for a politician meeting with so many people every day, and that it can easily be beaten, the odds are that Hillary Clinton will recover her health, remain in the race and head back out onto the campaign trial.
But should she leave then the DNC will likely pick between Sanders, Biden and the V.P. candidate Tim Kaine, who is 58. Should they choose Kaine they may want a woman on the ticket which brings Elizabeth Warren back into play. If it's Sanders or Biden who get the nod, I'd bet Kaine would remain as the V.P. nominee.
And finally there's this: the Republicans may lick their chops at this scenario but sometimes getting what you wished for doesn't turn out so well. With Clinton and her scandals (Whitewater, Benghazi, email server) taken from the race, her "basket of deplorables" remark rendered meaningless, with no "crooked Hillary" to dump on, no health scares to manufacture, and with Donald Trump still in the race, the election might turn into a rout.
For the Democrats.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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