Last week, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders complained of chest pains during a campaign event in Los Vegas.
After finishing the event, Sanders was taken to a hospital where he had two stents inserted to clear up arteries. Two days later, campaign staff revealed that Sanders suffered a light heart attack. Since the procedure, Sanders has appeared to be in excellent health, walking around and doing interviews.
Many were quick to speculate about how the optics would play in the 2020 race. Others criticized the campaign for not revealing his exact diagnosis to the press in a timely fashion. Sanders described any accusations of wrongdoing as “nonsense” given the nature of the issue and the response of his campaign.
It is undeniable that health and well-being are important things to consider when choosing a candidate for president. If someone is unable to carry out their duties, that is a cause for concern. However, this is far from the case with Sanders.
Sanders has been on a rigorous campaign schedule in order to reach as many voters as possible. This is important to his strategy given that the mainstream has generally dismissed his candidacy as unimportant.
Even through multiple stops a day, he has impressed some of his own aids with his stamina. He has long since sworn off drugs and alcohol and lives a very active lifestyle. After his procedure, Sanders was by all accounts doing extremely well in recovery.
Additionally, the heart procedure he underwent is very common and very safe. Bill Clinton had the procedure done in 2010 when he was 64, after having more serious heart problems. Several American leaders such as Dick Cheney and Dwight D. Eisenhower both suffered far more serious heart issues and continued to serve terms in the White House. Both men were still effective at their jobs, even if much of what they accomplished was less than desirable.
Still, Sanders has indicated that he would be “changing the nature” of his intense campaign strategy to ensure he has the strength to continue building a movement. When asked to clarify those remarks, he saidhe will probably no longer be doing four rallies a day.
He still plans to “get back in the groove of a very vigorous campaign.” Sanders has been cleared by his doctors to keep campaigning and even to appear for the three-hour long Democratic debate next week.
Directly after his heart procedure, Sanders remained on message by pointing out that stents he received cost about six times more in America than in other countries. A cornerstone of the campaign is to end thishealth care disparity and other injustices that plague our nation.
A relatively minor health issue should not deter us from the project of a political revolution. If we want to see major systemic changes in our lifetime, Sanders remains the obvious best choice for the Democratic nomination.
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