Less than four months after he was felled by a heart attack during a campaign appearance, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders — who is currently polling second in the race for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination, according to the Real Clear Politics average of all polls — has now reneged on his earlier promise to release his full medical records. Sanders took back his pledge during an interview with Chuck Todd of NBC News on Sunday morning.
Now 78-years-old, Sanders would be 79 by the time of the 2020 presidential election, making him easily the oldest person ever elected president if he were to win the November 3 general election. Donald Trump holds the current record for the oldest candidate ever elected to a first term as president. He was 70-years-old on November 8, 2016, when he won that year’s election.
According to the American Heart Association, one of every five heart attack victims suffers a second coronary incident within five years of the first one. Americans suffer 335,000 “recurrent” heart attacks every year — that is, heart attacks that are not the victim’s first. A 2018 study published by The Journal of the American Heart Association found that the median life expectancy of Americans over the age of 75 who have suffered a heart attack is 3.1 years.
In other words, half of all heart attack victims age 75 and older survive longer than 3.1 years — but half die before reaching that mark.
Nonetheless, Sanders told Todd on Sunday that his campaign has retained “cardiologists who are confirming that I am in good health,” as quoted by The New York Post.
Shortly after suffering his heart attack in October, Sanders declared that voters “have a right to know” whether their chosen candidate is in good health. He promised at the time to release his medical records “before the primary.”
But with the New Hampshire primary, the first of the campaign, just two days away, Sanders told Todd that he will not release his medical records after all, according to the Post report.
“We have released as much documentation, I think, as any other candidate,” Sanders said in the Todd interview.
“I mean, you can start releasing medical records and it never ends.”
While polls show that Sanders appears on track to win the New Hampshire primary, he continues to trail former Vice President Joe Biden in the Real Clear Politics average nationwide by 5.2 percentage points. In an Economist/YouGov poll released on Friday, the most recent nationwide poll of the Democratic race, Sanders trailed Biden by five percentage points.
The same poll also showed a more-than-50 percent drop in Sanders’ support among black voters in a one-week span, from 17 percent to eight percent. No Democratic candidate has won the party’s nomination without winning the black voter demographic group since Michael Dukakis in 1988. Biden currently leads among black voters with 43 percent, according to the Economist/YouGov poll.