Pennsylvania Democratic U.S. Senate nominee John Fetterman has been largely sheltered from public scrutiny since suffering a stroke earlier this year that has left him struggling to communicate.
Although his campaign insists he is healthy enough to carry out a six-year term in the Senate, he has called off debates with GOP rival Dr. Mehmet Oz and fueled concerns about his cognitive abilities by appearing to stumble through statements at a handful of recent events.
He recently agreed to participate in one debate with Oz, though it will be held long after early voting has already begun in the state.
Despite his behavior, progressive voters — particularly in Philadelphia — seem all too willing to overlook potential warning signs in order to elect a Democrat. As Fox News reported, a number of Democratic voters in the city openly admit that they would support him even if there was concrete evidence of failing health.
One such voter, identified only as Carolyn, insisted that her decision is more about “where your morals lie and what your values are” than a candidate’s physical ability to perform the job.
“No matter whether he gets into the Senate … [and] dies the next day or not, I would rather have him advocating for a single day for the things that I believe in than voting for someone who may, you know, live forever but does not value the things that I do,” she explained.
Other Fetterman supporters are anticipating a strong performance from their chosen candidate in his lone debate against Oz, whether or not he will be able to communicate clearly.
As a voter identified only as Will explained: “I think we’ve all had leaders who’ve had their speech issues. Our president has some speech clarity issues.”
He noted that Fetterman has “been great in other debates” and said he believes the Democrat “will wipe the floor with Dr. Oz.”
1. Fetterman won’t debate until more than a month of early voting has already occurred in Pennsylvania. He will only debate once. He has a slew of demands. And he demands all the questions in advance. He also won’t allow any doctors available for questions by the media.
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) September 16, 2022
Not everyone is so quick to overlook potential red flags. As a Fetterman supporter identified as Steve said: “If his health was not good, and he had another problem, I would think about not voting.”
Meanwhile, the latest Trafalgar Group poll shows that Oz has closed his once-gaping deficit, trailing Fetterman by less than two percentage points.