2020 keeps throwing knuckleballs at us in an unending series of plot twists that would rival a Hollywood scriptwriter munching on wild mushrooms for lunch.
But scriptwriters have to respect their audience. The willing suspension of belief the audience allows will last just so long. The fabulous success of the TV series The Island lasted only until it became clear the writers were pulling ideas out of their ass and the narrative was a jump ball,
2020’s narrative was destroyed long ago, yet the reality keeps staggering forward, now with a subplot of an American president dying in office, not from a gunshot wound, but from the hubris of not wearing a mask.
But is it really that? He is the most protected individual in the world, I hear some of you say. What difference would a mask have made?
Some, say the facts. While he is the “most protected,” those around him are not and one of them — Hope Hicks? — accidentally infected him.
Earlier he had bragged, wrongly, as usual, that no one attending his rallies had gotten sick, completely forgetting that his supporter Herman Cain attended a Tulsa rally with no mask and no social distancing, and he died about two weeks later. He was not the only one.
While I oppose Presidential Donald J. Trump’s re-election, I hope for his swift and immediate recovery, as well as for Melania, Hicks, others in his circle and those around the world facing death.
That is a sincere wish and shame on anyone who wishes for his death out of a sense of vengeance. You think you are absolved because you believe him to be such a hateful character, but you are not absolved. Not if you allow him to drag you down to his level.
Years ago, when Trump started cackling about a second term, I speculated he might not finish a first term. With Supreme Court rulings reversing much of what he wanted to do, he might just declare victory and walk away in disgust, I suggested, without making it a prediction.
He could be assassinated, or he could get sick and die in office. The third hypothesis now seems most likely, and yet still unlikely, to come true.
Here are the possibilities.
He dies in office before the election. Republicans quickly make Mike Pence their nominee.
The Trump base, which regards Trump as a blend of JFK and Ronald Reagan, turns out in massive numbers, joined by sympathetic independents who want to “honor” a fallen leader with their vote. The “dump Trump” conservatives, such as the Lincoln Project, fall silent because Pence is a true conservative minus the outer skin of bluster and bias. The Democratic far Left which would crawl over their grandmothers to vote against Trump, is less animated to vote, and Pence wins.
Or — the Trumpsters are completely depressed, Evangelicals take his death as a sign from God and they all stay home. Hoping to stop the Amy Coney Barrett nomination, Democrats swamp the polls (and mail-in boxes) and elect Joe Biden, they keep the House and regain the Senate, then move to pack the Supreme Court, and admit D.C., and Puerto Rico as states and turn America into a one-party state. Hey — why not also admit the U.S. Virgins, American Samoa, the Northern Marianas, and Guam? Par-tee!
If he dies in office after the election and he loses, Biden is president.
If he dies in office after the election and he wins, Vice President Pence becomes president.
That narration is straight forward.
Wait! Here come the hopped-up scriptwriters with another knuckleball. Chris Christie, who coached the president for his debate, announced late Saturday morning that he was infected, along with other Trump confidants.
So the West Wing, the government’s central nervous system, and Pence, gets infected and goes down quickly, incapacitated.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi becomes president of the United States — the first woman and the oldest person entering the office.
Given the knuckleballs 2020 has thrown so far, can we really say, nah, this can’t happen?