YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – President Donald Trump and his wife Melania are quarantining themselves at the White House after testing positive for the coronavirus. Both are experiencing mild symptoms.
Political scientists say the Trumps’ positive tests have caught the experts off guard.
“Frankly, none of us know what the next week or week and a half are going to bring. This is going to evolve,” said YSU Political Science Professor Dr. Paul Sracic.
The President’s immediate schedule of rallies and fundraisers are either being postponed or revised as virtual events, and we don’t know if the planned second debate scheduled for October 15 in Miami will still be held.
“I think we’d have to wait and see how serious this is as a health condition for the President,” said Dr. Michael Coulter, professor of political science at Grove City College.
At least 2 million people have already cast their ballots in early voting, something Ohioans will be able to do starting this Tuesday. Sracic wonders how the President’s illness will impact those voters who still haven’t made up their minds.
“Are they more sympathetic to President Trump because of this? Are they reacting negatively because they think he didn’t take the virus seriously enough? There is probably some of both,” Sracic said.
Another potential question is whether or not voters will become more or less inclined to get to the polls. Coulter thinks even slight changes in states the President won in 2016 could make a difference.
“That’s not a great reduction, but this is significant, and particularly because this could end up being a very close election,” he said.
Dr. James Kravec at Mercy Health says that the President’s and first lady’s diagnosis should be a serious reminder about the virus and a call for patience for those that want to see everything go back to normal quickly.
“I think this high-profile case reminds us of what we see in the community and the hospitals every day is that coronavirus is still present,” Kravec said.