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Eduardo del Buey
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La Jornada Maya

Jueves 15 de septiembre, 2016

That question is on many minds as we saw her collapse and be carried out to her car by Secret Service personnel from a 9/11 event in New York City on Sunday.

We now know she was diagnosed as suffering from pneumonia on September 9th and was taking strong medication to combat the illness. Yet, she continued with her grueling schedule despite her condition in an attempt to fend off accusations of ill health by Donald Trump. This could be used to underscore the fact that she wouldn’t let pneumonia stop her campaign since she is a fighter – like many Americans who have to go to work despite being sick.

But why did she simply not say so on Friday, take a few days off or reduce her schedule, and return to the campaign with a clean bill of health from a credible doctor. This is a common illness for people of her age, and is not an indication of general ill health. But by trying to hide it, however, she once again fed into an impression of deception.

Like many other Clinton crises, this one is self-created, and the appearance of yet another perceived cover-up should worry her campaign.

Rather than use this as an opportunity to change her public persona and show her “human” side, she gave in to her reputation for hiding the facts for as long as possible in the hopes of not getting caught.

This is poor crisis management, and her campaign has already acknowledged it.

The way of the ostrich is a sure way to failure.

I always advise clients and students to get out ahead of the crisis curve. Manage the conversation lest the conversation and your adversaries manage you to your detriment.

The Clinton campaign is in full crisis mode, Sanders followers must feel their prayers are being answered, and the Trump campaign supporters may be in attack mode. Clinton and her staff must see the damage to her brand as a strong, trustworthy leader. They must also see that Trump will once again control the airwaves 24/7 if Clinton doesn’t do something bold.

It is too late to simply try to deflect or spin the story.

And her announcement that she would publish her medical records is too little, too late.

The only way out for Clinton is to submit to a full public physical at a completely independent medical facility such as Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, and challenge Trump to do the same. This will set the record straight, with facts coming from a highly credible and objective medical authority that cannot appear to have been bought by her campaign. If not, adding doubts about her health to those concerning the Clinton Global Initiative and her emails will seriously damage her campaign.

Trump’s medical report seems to also have many in doubt, given his doctor’s lack of credibility. By taking the lead and challenging Trump, Clinton would take the bull by the horns and put Trump on the defensive. She would not allow him much room to manoeuver, and would run the conversation herself.

The loud whisper campaign by Trump about Clinton’s health is now credible. Can she withstand the rigors of a presidential campaign and, afterwards, the presidency? That will be the question on everyone’s mind as the story unravels.

Clinton must take the lead and go against her predilection for secrecy. By challenging Trump, she would leave him vulnerable to charges of secrecy if he doesn’t come clean, and she could use this to challenge his veracity on a number of fronts, including his unwillingness to publish his tax returns.

In this way, Clinton could transition from crisis to opportunity, and give her supporters ammunition to fight Trump’s challenge for independent voters.

Is Hillary weak?

That depends on her.

She must be transparent now and in the future.

Does she have the gumption to go against her nature and come clean immediately? That is the fundamental question her campaign must be asking, and the only answer is to take control of her crisis and see it through to an opportunity to contrast her behavior with Trump’s.

Anything less will be a catastrophe for her campaign, and will put Trump firmly in the driver’s seat.

Mérida, Yucatán
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