Bernie Sanders may survive his first four-year term as President. Then again who knows? He’s a tough old goat, and he might trudge on through. But he’s also a 78 year-old man who had a heart attack five months ago. And the odds don’t seem to favor his being in robust health at the start of a theoretical second term in January ’25, when he’d be 84.
Bernie almost certainly wouldn’t run for a second term — be honest. Oh, and he’d better pick his vp running mate very carefully.
From Chris Cillizza‘s “The Delicate Issue for Bernie Sanders That His Democratic Opponents Won’t Touch,” posted on 2.28.20
“The scrutiny applied to a front-running candidate covers their policy positions, their personality and preparedness for the nation’s top job, and yes, even their health.
“Consider what President Donald Trump would do with the issue of Sanders’ health, given (a) that Sanders had a well-documented heart attack last fall while campaigning in Nevada and (b) the way in which Trump tried to make Hillary Clinton’s health an issue in 2016.”
Consider a 2.21 Slate piece by Jeremy Samuel Faust, titled “What Are the Chances Sanders Has Another Heart Attack Before November?”
Excerpt #1: “I considered the risk that, between now and Nov. 3, Sanders might experience any of the following: a second heart attack, another life-threatening emergency, any event that would require hospitalization (including any “false alarm”), or even death. The risk is not trivial, and is worth explaining in full.
“First, there appears to be little evidence that Sanders’ current health is a hindrance to the daily rigors of a national campaign. Considering the extent of his heart attack in October, he appears to be doing well, able to campaign vigorously, and likely up to the demanding position of president, from an endurance standpoint at least.
“Nor is his life expectancy the central question, though, yes, his remaining expected life span dropped from around 10 to five years after his heart attack.”
“But his one-year risk is low, meaning his chance of surviving the campaign is good. When Sanders entered the hospital in October (given what we’ve been told by his doctors), his calculated six-month risk of death was rather harrowing, likely between 11 and 19 percent. Fortunately, by virtue of surviving his initial hospitalization, and the incident-free intervening four months, those numbers have improved, to better than 95 percent.”
Excerpt #2: “Using Medicare claims data, researchers at Yale analyzed millions of patients who suffered heart attacks like Sanders’. (As an aside, using adjectives like mild, moderate, or severe to describe Sanders’ heart attack is not helpful. What we can say is that these researchers were looking precisely at patients like Sanders who had experienced approximately the same problem as his, in the same time frame.)
“Here’s what they found: From the day they left the hospital, the one-year risk of at least one rehospitalization for any reason in Medicare beneficiaries who suffered a heart attack like Sanders’ was about 50 percent (the baseline annual risk among his age cohort is more like 1 in 6).
“Again, by virtue of four incident-free months on the trail, that number is now lower for Sanders. But his chance of another hospitalization between now and November alone likely remains between 30–35 percent. While the daily risk is low, around 0.17 percent, we have more than 250 days to go until Election Day. The risks add up.”