Joe Biden health: What will happen if Biden can’t carry out a full term?

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Mr Biden is running against sitting President Donald Trump, who is the Republican nominee in this election. Mr Trump is running alongside Vice President Mike Pence, while Senator Kamala Harris would take on the role if Mr Biden is to win the White House on November 3. This election promises to be among the most divisive and controversial in history, especially given Mr Trump’s coronavirus pandemic response throughout this year. Express.co.uk has spoken to a political expert on what would happen if Mr Biden was unable to see the presidency through.

 

What will happen if Mr Biden can’t carry out a full term?

Professor of Politics and International Relations and London Metropolitan University Andrew Moran explained if Mr Biden was to become incapacitated before the election, each national party committee would be forced to delegate another candidate to the ballot.

Professor Moran told Express.co.uk: “The problem is that we are now too close to Election Day.

“There would be no practical way for either party to select a new candidate. Even if they could, millions of mail-in and early ballots have already been cast.

“There are no clear guidelines in the Constitution, so complex legal battles would most likely determine what happens next.”

Professor Moran noted the protocol is much simpler if Mr Biden had to give up the office somewhere throughout his presidential term.

He said: “The process is much more straight forward if a president-elect dies or becomes incapacitated before assuming office, thanks to the 20th Amendment – the Vice President-Elect (either Mr Pence or Ms Harris) would become president.

“If the Vice President were to become incapacitated, the next in line is the Speaker of the House, currently Nancy Pelosi.

“After her, the next is the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, and the fourth is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.”

President Trump has often used Mr Biden’s age as a big talking point throughout this election, citing him too old for office.

At the age of 77, Mr Biden would become the oldest President to be elected in America’s history, but it is worth noting President Trump isn’t far off.

Professor Moran said: “In 2020, the USA – an extraordinarily diverse country with over 250 million eligible voters – is faced with a choice between two elderly White men.

“President Trump, now 74, who was the oldest president to be sworn into office aged 70 in 2017, and Vice-President Biden, who if he wins, will be 77 and will easily break Trump’s record.

“Compare that with Kennedy, who was 43, or Obama, who was 47. There is no contrasting appeal by a youthful candidate because there isn’t one.

“There isn’t an out-of-touch George Bush Senior versus a youthful Bill Clinton, or a Kennedy passing on a torch to a new generation of Americans.”

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President Trump’s supporters have tried hard to use Mr Biden’s age against him, even accusing him of having early-onset dementia on some occasions, with the search term ‘Joe Biden dementia’ even trending on Google.

However, the Presidential candidate has appeared fit and well in each appearance and debate leading up to the election so far.

A recent poll by the Washington Examiner and YouGov found 60 percent of registered voters were ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ concerned about Mr Biden’s age, compared to only 45 percent when it came to the sitting President.

The Politics and International Relations Professor explained: “Since Trump contracted COVID-19, voters have also become concerned about his own erratic behaviour and outlandish statements.

“The debate is a reflection of the polarised and febrile nature of American politics. After all, there are only three years between them [Trump and Biden].

“In reality, however, voters are focused on more pressing issues, not least a pandemic that has killed over 220,000 Americans and an economy in decline.”

Professor Moran said age “does not seem to be an impediment” to holding the highest office in the US, as some of the country’s best-known presidents have been older than 50.

Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is 80-years-old, while the Republican Majority Leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell is 78.

No matter the outcome of this election, everyone can agree 2020’s presidential race will go down in the history books.

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