Donald Trump’s coronavirus infection is the ultimate ‘October surprise’ | Andrew Gawthorpe

If Trump does become seriously ill, the country will be in uncharted territory

This year has already been one of the strangest and most unpredictable election years in living memory. The president faced an impeachment trial. A deadly disease has swept the land, devastating the economy. A supreme court seat opened up and is on course to be filled just days before the election. Hovering over it all is a president who refuses to promise that he will accept the outcome of the election. The traditional “October surprise” was going to have to be huge to get noticed amid all of this.

But, being 2020, this year didn’t fail to deliver. Donald Trump has tested positive for the coronavirus. To be sure, this might not strictly qualify as a “surprise” – given the president’s insistence on ignoring even the most basic of precautions against the virus, this development feels as if it was almost inevitable. But now that it has happened, it injects a huge degree of uncertainty not just into the race between Trump and challenger Joe Biden, but also into the stability and safety of the country in the coming weeks.

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