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SU and Cornell Political Science Experts Express Concern About Trump's COVID-19 Diagnosis

  Local political science experts are sharing concerns about the Presidential campaign and the responsibility of running the country following President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump testing positive for the Coronavirus.  Cornell Professor Doug Kriner says it’s still not clear if the diagnosis will sway voters, but there is a key voting demographic to watch.

“It’s just that the senior vote has been more in play than last time. It’s much more evenly split between the two candidates. And of course the main reason for that, from all the evidence we have and certainly from logic, is the president’s handling of the coronavirus.” said Kriner.


Syracuse University AssociateProfessor Shana Gadarian is not entirely surprised by the President contracting the virus due to his travel schedule and holding multiple campaign rallies with little health protocols observed.  Gadarian fears Trump’s illness leaves the doors wide open for more volatility in the electoral process.

Adding the vulnerability of the president’s health will lead to beliefs about conspiracy theories about how the president got it. I have concerns the president’s health will be blamed on outside actors and open up this kind of volatility that’s already part of the political system.”

Gadarian says the President could reemerge after he recovers to finally change his messaging about the importance of following CDC guidelines to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. 

“If he sent signals that masking was really important, (and says) it could’ve helped me, and you should wash your hands more and isolate when you’re sick consistently. Then, yes, I think you would see more uptake.” said Gadarian.

Like Professor Kriner at Cornell, she doesn’t think voters’ minds will change a vote for Trump or Joe Biden, but it could cause some to hold off finalizing their vote as they continue to monitor the President’s health.


Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.
John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.