The Week The Nominees Died: a piece of future political fiction

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a piece of fiction. All attributed quotes are fabricated, and this should not be interpreted as any type of threat whatsoever.

July 8 (AP) — The Presidential race is in a state of chaos just weeks before the Republican and Democratic National Conventions after the deaths this week of both parties’ presumptive nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton died this morning in a Miami hospital after suffering a stroke following a fundraising speech Wednesday night in Fort Lauderdale. Yesterday evening, paramedics were called to the Trump Tower after Donald Trump collapsed due to a heart attack. He was pronounced dead two hours later at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Funeral services have not been announced for either.

In a press conference this afternoon, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said, “This is why we hold conventions, to handle contingencies such as this. I have confidence that our delegates will choose a candidate that represents the Republican Party well and is capable of winning in November.” Earlier, he called several former candidates to gauge their interest in the now-wide open convention, including Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Jeb Bush.

On the GOP side, all of the former candidates have been tight-lipped about their prospects and the death of Donald Trump; not surprisingly since all of them are interested in gaining the support of Trump’s supporters, and Donald Trump had insulted all of them on the campaign trail at one point or another. Ted Cruz tweeted a simple “Rest in peace, Donald Trump.”, while Marco Rubio tweeted “Sympathies to Donald Trump’s family in this dark hour for them.”

Pundits, however, were all too eager to fill up that space. Charles Krauthammer opined “You have to think that Ted Cruz is the favorite at the GOP convention; he spent a lot of effort to get delegates favorable to him selected for the convention, back when it looked like he might be able to hold Trump to less than 1237”, while Bill Kristol said “You can’t really blame Ted Cruz for not having a lot to say about Donald Trump’s death; the man insulted his wife and said his father helped kill JFK. It’s not his style, but he would have been well within his rights to tweet out the clip of Jack Nicholson’s Joker saying ‘I’m glad he’s dead’.”

In comparison, Donald Trump’s final tweet yesterday afternoon, just a couple of hours before his death, read “It won’t matter which loser the Democrats run against me, I’m going to Win and we’ll MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”.

On the Democratic side, President Obama released a statement this morning: “Hillary Clinton broke down barriers all her life. No other First Lady has ever been elected to Congress or served as a Secretary in the Executive branch. She will be missed.” Rumors have been swirling of Vice President Joe Biden hastily trying to assemble a campaign team together, even before Hillary Clinton’s passing this morning. Bernie Sanders released a brief statement saying “Given that I’m the only candidate to have been voted on through all the primaries, it would not be fair to the millions of voters that voted for me for the party to pick someone that hasn’t been part of the nomination process.” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz refused to take sides, saying “I don’t know what’s going to happen. We’ll figure it out at the convention.”

The reaction of the pundits to the situation that the Democrats are in has been mixed. Juan Williams said “Joe Biden needs to start making the case right away that he’s the best option for the Democrats to win in November. The delegates don’t want to go full Bernie, but if Joe doesn’t make his case, they may feel they have no choice.” James Carville said “It will be interesting to see if Elizabeth Warren tries to step into the ring now with Hillary’s absence; she’s the only one other than Biden and Sanders that has enough national stature to make a case to the delegates for the nomination.”

One delegate to the Democratic National Convention, who agreed to go on the record as long as their name was not used, was less optimistic. “Most of the delegates don’t want to go full Bern, but what’s our other option? The Democratic version of Jerry Ford?”, referring to Vice-President Biden. In contrast, a Republican delegate, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said “It’s a good thing that Trump died before the convention instead of after. Can you imagine us all trying to support the presidential campaign of Bob Corker? It would have been a bigger disaster than Trump’s campaign was.”

This has also been published on my LiveJournal.