A Thursday morning tweet by President Trump calls for delaying the election in November. He has claimed, without evidence, that increased postal voting could lead to fraud and inaccurate results. Trump is now using it as an excuse to delay the election he’s currently losing, in some polls, by double digits.
The president has no authority to delay the election of course. The Constitution gives Congress the power to set the date for voting. Still, Trump has been laying the groundwork for months that mail-in voting would lead to widespread cheating and a “rigged” election. He continued to lay that fraudulent foundation by tweeting:
“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA,” he wrote. “Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
The general election, now just 96 days away, is expected to see a huge portion of the country mail in their ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, despite Trump’s claims, there is no evidence whatsoever that widespread voter fraud exists at all, let alone by mail in ballot.
The tweet comes two days after Attorney General William Barr at a House Judiciary Committee hearing said he had “no reason to think” that the upcoming election will be “rigged.” But he did side with Trump in saying that “if you have wholesale mail-in voting, it substantially increases the risk of fraud.” Barr also declined to answer directly whether he would forcibly remove Trump from office if he should refuse come January.
Even sleepy Joe Biden was awake to see Trump’s tweet coming. He said back in April “Mark my words: I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held.” In all fairness, we all saw it coming.
Trump knows (or maybe he doesn’t) that he can’t delay the election, but he can follow in the footsteps of 2016 and start contesting the election results before the election even takes place. He did the same thing when facing off with Clinton behind in the polls. After almost four years with Trump in power, this time around it’s much more dangerous.
November is looking to be chaotic in every sense of the word. A conspiracy loving authoritarian President seeking re-election in the middle of a pandemic. An opposition that has shown an inability to properly resist throughout. What could go wrong?