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作者: 来源: 日期:2016-09-14 8:37:09

Health concerns that compound America’s despair





The 2016 US presidential election continues to surprise and confuse. The latest twist has revealed that, after months of dismissing rumours about her health as conspiracy theories, we learn that Hillary Clinton has pneumonia. She had to leave a September 11 memorial event on Sunday, not entirely under her own steam, and has cancelled a two-day campaign swing through California.

2016年美国总统大选继续不断让人产生惊异和困惑。最新的波折让我们得知,希拉里•克林顿(Hillary Clinton)患上了肺炎,而此前数月关于她健康的传言一直被斥为阴谋论。在上周日的9/11纪念仪式上,她不得不(由人搀扶着)提前退场,还取消了加州为期两天的巡回竞选活动。广州医药翻译公司。


There can be no doubt that this is bad news for Mrs Clinton’s campaign. It is not just that she has taken ill and will miss an unknown number of days of campaigning. It is also that her health problems and her campaign’s apparent efforts to hide them fall into two pre-existing narratives. Mr Trump and his surrogates have for months been seeding the media ground with the twin notions that Mrs Clinton is both frail and deceptive.



Developments that bolster longstanding narratives tend to be particularly bad for a candidate’s standing. Mitt Romney’s gaffe, during the 2012 election, that 47 per cent of the population were freeloading on the government was so damaging because it reinforced the idea that he was an unsympathetic plutocrat. Al Gore’s supposed quip that he invented the internet proved hard to shake because it highlighted the view of him as someone who inflated his own image at the expense of pesky facts.


坐实存在已久的说法的事态发展,往往对候选人的选情尤为不利。2012年大选期间,米特•罗姆尼(Mitt Romney)的失言——美国47%的人口靠政府吃白食——之所以如此严重地损害了他的选情,就是因为这强化了人们认为他是一个冷漠无情的富豪政治家的看法。阿尔•戈尔(Al Gore)原本的一句玩笑话(称自己发明了互联网)之所以产生了难以消除的不良影响,就是因为这印证了人们对他的一种看法——他就是一个为了美化自身形象会不顾不利事实的人。广州医药翻译公司。


So we can comfortably predict that questions about Mrs Clinton’s integrity and fortitude will dominate the news coverage in the next few days.



Cutting through all of the narratives, how much should Mrs Clinton’s health problems really matter? It is a serious subject of concern, of course. Presidential candidates have in the past often misled the public in this area. For years, most Americans had no idea that Franklin Roosevelt was confined to a wheelchair. They never knew that John Kennedy took large amounts of pain medication and stimulants for a variety of conditions.

抛开所有这些说法不谈,希拉里的健康问题应有多重要?当然,这是一个值得关切的严肃话题。在过去,总统候选人经常在这一领域误导公众。多数美国人在许多年时间里都不知道富兰克林•罗斯福(Franklin Roosevelt)需要坐轮椅。他们也从不知道约翰•肯尼迪(John Kennedy)因患有多种疾病大量服用止痛药和兴奋药。


But, even with all the medical information in the world, voters always elect a president under a cloud of uncertainty about their health. That is inherent in the human condition.



It is particularly true this year. One of the many ironies of the 2016 campaign is that, in a youth-obsessed culture, the American people saw fit to nominate two candidates who are very old by recent standards. Mrs Clinton is 68; Mr Trump, at 70, would be the oldest person ever to begin a presidency. The miracles of modern medicine mean that, according to the actuarial tables, Mrs Clinton will live to be 87 and Mr Trump will make it to 85. But those are only averages and things do still go wrong for people of their age — sometimes quite suddenly. This is why America has a well-defined succession and a proper vetting of the vice-president.



Mrs Clinton, when I worked in her state department, set a fierce pace of work that tired many of her younger colleagues. As she grows older, she will probably have to slow down a little. But that will still mean she will probably spend more time on the job than Ronald Reagan or George W Bush, who were notorious for putting in relatively few hours.

我在希拉里领导的国务院工作的时候,她设置的高强度的工作节奏让许多比她年轻的同事都疲惫不堪。随着年龄增大,她很可能不得不略微放慢脚步。但这仍意味着,她肯定将比罗纳德•里根(Ronald Reagan)或者乔治•W•布什(George W Bush)花更多时间在这份工作上,后两人投入的时间相对较少是出了名了的。广州医药翻译公司。


The even older Mr Trump would probably not be able to maintain such a pace, though judging by his relatively lackadaisical approach to campaigning there is little chance that he will try.



Overall, the health problem is likely to reinforce the electorate’s collective sense of despair over the choices on offer in 2016. Indeed, it now seems that the candidate that attracts the least attention may well win the election. So a few days of convalescence for Mrs Clinton may give Mr Trump the space he needs to generate the campaign’s next bizarre turn and accompanying media firestorm.



The writer is research director at the European Council on Foreign Relations and a former official in the US state department

本文作者是欧洲对外关系委员会(European Council on Foreign Relations)研究主任、美国国务院前官员