Whoever wins the 2020 presidential election—whether it be incumbent Donald Trump or challenger Joe Biden—will be the oldest person ever elected to the office in our nation’s history. At a time that has shown a global pandemic like COVID-19 can reach anyone, questions have been raised about how much the American public is entitled to know about the health of presidential candidates.
Those who argue yes, that the public has a right to know about the health of presidential candidates, argue that voters should be able to have relevant health information concerning the candidates who they are electing. They contend that given the president’s powers as executive and commander-in-chief, the public should be able to directly hold candidates accountable by ensuring they are fit for duty. Those who argue this point may also point to times that past presidents at times withheld their ailments from the public, which they claim was a betrayal of their trust.
Those who argue that the public does not have a right to know about the health of presidential candidates contend that the president has privacy rights concerning health, just like any other citizen. They may agree that a basic health certificate should be released by a candidate’s doctor, but believe that further details on every sort of ailment will be a violation of the candidate’s personal life. Those who argue this point may also contend that presidential candidates need to appear strong, especially to foreign belligerents, and that releasing health information could undermine that.
So, what do you think? Does the public have a right to know about the health of presidential candidates? Students can argue Yes, it should; No, it should not; or a nuanced answer in-between!
Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following:
-Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner
-Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers
-Are expressed in cohesive sentences and are free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors
-They address counter-arguments and opposing concerns in a respectful manner
-They organize their answer in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly