On the 15 year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorists attacks, both major party candidates visited the World Trade Center memorial to pay their respects to the victims and families. However, Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton had to leave abruptly at around 9:30 am because she fell ill.
There was a video of Clinton stumbling into her motorcade and being helped by her Secret Service agents. This turned the media, and social media, into a frenzy because it came at an inopportune time.
A few weeks before this incident, conservatives who have endorsed the Trump campaign–especially Rudy Giuliani–had been questioning Secretary Clinton’s health with no credible basis. That is why when this incident happened, the speculations about Clinton’s health were re-ignited.
Then, the Clinton campaign announced that she had been actually diagnosed with bacterial (or also called “walking”) pneumonia on Friday. This sent political pundits into a rush to speculate what this meant medically for the presidential candidate, disregarding what the actual diagnosis means.
As a result, on Sept. 14, a Morning Consult poll showed that 79% of Americans had heard about Clinton’s health concerns, and now only 22% of the surveyed believe that Clinton’s health is above average or excellent. Though it is unclear whether this poll reflects the opinion of likely undecided voters, which Clinton should care about, or if it’s reflecting the opinions of Trump supporters, whom Clinton should not worry about persuading.
Instead, Clinton should worry about her own base of support and trying to get them mobilized enough to come out and voter for her. In fact, an Ipsos/Reuters poll showed that “a negligible percentage of Clinton supporters said concerns about her health made them ‘less likely’ to vote for her.” After all, some researchers claim that all campaigns are about is getting their supporters out to vote for them, not persuading others. If this is true, then Clinton’s health scare is having little negative impact.
As a matter of fact,the internet–especially Twitter–saw overwhelming support for Clinton. Someone even claimed that the story of Clinton being diagnosed with pneumonia and continuing to campaign and raise funds actually made her “badass.”
There was even a story in Fusion which claims that the craze over Clinton’s health echoes a classic narrative about women and their bodies; a narrative that interprets deviation as disease.
Regardless of what the political implications of this event, the former Secretary of State returned to the campaign trail Sept. 15 announcing she was fully recovered.