While discussing the U.S General Elections 2020, it is important to consider that the world is well cognizant of the first Presidential debate on 29th Sept 2020. It remained a hot debate not only in the U.S but all over the world. After two days of the first Presidential debate, President Donald John Trump on Oct 2nd, 2020 tweeted that he and his wife, Melania Trump, both have tested positive for the virus.
Advanced age and obesity are the two main causes of high death tolls in contemporary pandemic. 74 years of age and being overweight could put Trump’s life at high risk just a month before the U.S General Elections 2020. What would happen if Trump dies before the U.S elections and how could this affect the general elections in the U.S.
The question which intrigued most of the people around the globe is how this new candidate would be chosen? This has never happened before and if a president dies before the election, it would be for the first time ever in the United States. The closest thing happened like this was back in 1912, when Vice President James S. Sherman died on October 30th, 1912 less than a week before the elections.
Donald Trump the 45th president of the U.S, who still holds the office and ready to compete for another four-year term to stay in the White House has tested positive for Covid-19. The people of the U.S every four years on a Tuesday after the first Monday of November vote for their next president and vice president.
It has been more than a century and a half since candidates other than Republicans or Democrats have won the presidential elections in the United States. The nominated candidates by the Republican side, are President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. The candidates nominated for U.S General Elections 2020 by the Democratic side are Joe Biden (for Presidential) and Kamala Harris (for Vice-Presidential).
Worst Case Scenarios
- According to the 20th Amendment of the U.S constitution, “If the President in office dies or is sick and unable to continue his work, the Vice President takes the office and shall act as a president for the remaining tenure”. This means that the current 48th Vice President of the U.S, Mike Pence would take all the presidential duties. But this doesn’t mean that the nominee from the Republicans for the upcoming elections would be Mike Pence but likely the popular choice, it is not guaranteed.
- If President Donald J. Trump dies before the elections the Republican National Committee would have to vote again for their new nominee or candidate for the upcoming general elections 2020, let’s suppose the nominee and popular choice would likely be the current 48th Vice President, Mike Pence.
- If this had happened months before the elections, the Republican Party would have been easily able to put the name of Mike Pence on the ballot but it is very late and only less than a month is left for the Presidential election, there would be no way to change what is written on the ballot. Since, in the U.S every state has a deadline which is to put the name of the candidate on the voting ballot, and unfortunately that deadline has passed. Moreover, in the U.S the early voters have already cast their vote on the ballot which is already available. This can make things go complicated to understand. For example, people voting for Trump on the voting ballot would technically be voting for Mike Pence.
- On the other hand although, the nominee of the Democratic Party, Joe Biden has tested negative after the first Presidential debate what if later on he is tested negative for the virus and dies? The process of nomination would be the same. The Democrat would have to vote for its new candidate most popular choice would likely be Kamala Harris or any other senior candidate. The process would again be very complicated and difficult to understand, the people of the U.S voting for Joe Biden on the voting ballot might not be cognizant of the fact who they are technically voting for.
- The question which intrigues the masses is that could the President getting sick or dying delay the elections? The president of the U.S does not enjoy the omnipotence to delay the election, but congress can but still it is very uncertain to delay the elections.
- What if the Republican wins and Trump died after November 3rd,2020, right after all the votes being cast? If this happens, the electoral college system takes the responsibility, each state has a certain number of electors which is based on the number of votes each has received. The electoral college meet and votes for a new president, the electors would most probably vote for the nominee of Vice President to become President. This is very complicated and ambiguous. This would lead to many legalities and courtroom battles.
- Generally speaking, if President Donal Trump dies, Vice President Mike Pence would be the nominee of the Republican Party and if Mike Pence wins the elections, he is going to be the President of the U.S. but what if he contracted Covid-19 positive? If that happens then according to the United States Presidential Line of Succession, the power and the responsibilities of the President is passed to the Speaker of the House of Representative, and If the Speaker dies or is unable to excel then the power goes to the President pro tempore of the Senate and then to the Cabinet Secretaries which depends on the eligibility criteria.
In the end, we can say that nothing has happened like this before but since the U.S is the most affected country from Covid-19. We can expect anything, and things can get complicated day by day. This surely is going to be the most complicated election in the history of the U.S.