Paging Wayne Williams: Trump Suggests Delaying 2020 Election

Donald Trump.

CNN reports–does President Donald Trump mean it? Was it a diversion from all the other bad news today? Can he actually do it? All these questions except the last one–the answer is definitely no–are riddles wrapped in mystery:

President Donald Trump explicitly floated delaying November’s presidential election on Thursday, lending extraordinary voice to persistent concerns that he would seek to circumvent voting in a contest where he currently trails his opponent by double digits.

Trump has no authority to delay an election, and the Constitution gives Congress the power to set the date for voting. Yet Trump’s message provides an opening — long feared by Democrats — that both he and his supporters might refuse to accept the results of the presidential results.

But in his tweet on Thursday morning — coming 96 days before the election and minutes after the federal government reported the worst economic contraction in recorded history — Trump offered the suggestion because he claimed without evidence the contest will be flawed.

We’ve never had a case, at least not in modern history, of a President up for re-election in just three months calling for a delay of that election for any reason–not war, natural disasters, or riots in the streets in 1968 and 1992. No one in any of those moments would have seriously suggested postponing an American presidential election, and for any President to suggest it would have meant the swift end of their own careers.

But this morning President Trump did just that, and millions of his supporters will instantly agree because they agree with everything Trump says–and whether you’ve tuned out by this point to Trump’s outlandish statements or still manage to work up some outrage, this has got to rank as one of the most disturbing things that Trump has ever said as President. The constitutional authority to actually do it is not in question. Trump doesn’t have it, and he doesn’t have the total control of Congress that would be required to change the election date.

But let’s say a bill was introduced to delay the election over fictional claims of fraud arising from the use of mail ballots. How do you suppose Colorado Republicans would vote? Trump’s baseless attacks on mail ballots are also an attack on Colorado’s highly successful mail ballot election system, a system which has elected every Republican currently serving–including Sen. Cory Gardner, whose 2014 victory was the first major test of the state’s mail ballot system enacted in 2013.

In Colorado, everyone knows that Trump is lying about mail ballots. That includes every Republican. Republican former Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who ran for office also baselessly fearmongering about mail ballots, became one of our system’s foremost Republican defenders. There’s simply no way that Colorado Republicans can reconcile their own experience with mail ballots with Trump’s baleful warnings.

Trump can’t legally delay the election, but if he can convince enough of his supporters that mail ballots equal fraud, he may indeed foment a situation where millions of Americans reject the outcome if he loses. Where the nation goes from there…is anybody’s guess.

There is a scenario emerging from all of this in which Colorado Republicans would have a crucially important responsibility to debunk their own President if Trump threatens a breach of our democratic process in the November elections like he called for in 2012. It is not hyperbole to suggest that telling the truth about mail ballots in our state could be the most important thing Colorado Republicans do in their entire lives to protect American democracy.

Will Colorado Republicans have the courage if they are needed to literally save America?

We’d say it’s time to get them on the record.

19 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. RepealAndReplace says:

    Even if Trump's sock puppets (e.g., Mitch McConnell, Cory Gardner) get a bill to change the election day through the Senate (by eliminating the filibuster and whipping the 50 votes plus Pence), I'm guessing it would be dead on arrival when it reaches the House.

    • MichaelBowman says:

      They've yet to absorb the reality of divided government. 

      • unnamed says:

        After all, according to Con Man Cory, the Democratic House Majority is just a "revenge majority".

        • RepealAndReplace says:

          As opposed to what? A non-revenge majority? I think the operative word is "majority."

          They also need to keep in mind that there is federalism involved. I'm guessing that even if the Idiot issues a tweet and/or executive order declaring a national emergency and attempts to unilaterally delay the election, Gov. Polis and Secretary Griswold will go forward with the election as scheduled. I would also expect Governors Whitmer, Evers, Cooper, etc. to go forward with voting on November 3.

          In fact, every Democratic governor and probably some Republican governors ( Hogan and Baker) would do the same.


  2. MADCO says:

    This is shocking.


    Except I am almost never shocked anymore. (Who is?)

    So, I double check my voter registration, I check in with the senate races I am supporting (AZ, MT, IA, ME) and the one House race (FL 10th) and I turn off the news.


  3. Meiner49er says:

    Why do people keep retweeting/repeating this trash. It's not news, it's psyops. The whole delayed election thing should be left to lie as the lead balloon it is for all but Trump's base.

  4. JohnInDenver says:

    Presidential elections were held in 1812, 1864, and 1944. Midterm elections were also held in 1862 and 1942.  Each included variances to allow soldiers to vote from their posts.

    Numerous people are suggesting EVERY Republican office holder and candidate ought to be asked about Trump's question: "Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???"

    I'd also like to have them asked:  What should be done about such an ill-informed and divisive *resident?

  5. Nasty Woman says:

    Bush II floated the idea of delaying the 2004 elections.

    • bullshit! says:

      That was probably the closest to a legit worry, the immediate aftermath of another terrorist attack, that could ever exist. And even then the Bush administration said no way. There's a big difference between departments writing memos and the President saying "we should do this."

      Trump is insane, and I never thought I would miss Dubya.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      The 2004 inquiry I saw was a request to the Congressional Research Service, which produced their study of Constitutional and statutory requirements.  Which basically said

       * states can change their dates in emergency (NY and NJ changed their election date after Hurricane Sandy). — but the change must still get the delegates selected by the December vote of the Electoral College.

       * Congress could pass a law altering dates for election or for gathering the Electoral College delegation votes.  But they still need to meet the dates for the Congress to formally accept the votes in early January.

       * there are provisions for the death or disability of the President and VP. And terms end on January 20, by Constitutional mandate.


  6. Voyageur says:

    I'll agree to postpone the election only if Trump and Pence resign immediately.  Then President Pelosi can draft a safe voting plan.  The elections must still be held in time to meet the constitutional requirement that the new president in sworn in at noon, January 20.

  7. harrydoby says:

    Even Moscow Mitch is getting tired of Trump's nonsense

    McConnell, other top Republican officials rebuff Trump suggestion to delay the Nov. 3 election

    Senior Republicans, who often refuse to weigh in on President Trump's controversial tweets, overwhelmingly rejected his idea Thursday that the election be postponed because of the risk of fraud.

    "Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time, and we’ll find a way to do that again this November 3,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a Kentucky television interviewer.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      @Harry: Mitch is in a tough re-election race with Amy McGrath. Depending on the poll, it's either a dead heat or she's slightly ahead.

      • harrydoby says:

        Yup, several GOP Senators are already reserving a lifeboat on the SS Trumptanic

        In last week’s Vincibility Watch, we outlined a plausible scenario in which Trump could make up ground against Joe Biden in the polls—despite evidence that the public is convinced Biden is “more compassionate, intelligent, honest, and possessed of good judgment” than Trump is—by allowing organic trends related to the economy and the coronavirus to improve his standing. In fact, we wrote specifically that such a scenario would not require the president to do “anything at all except sign a bill and continue to not disparage masks.” This week, he has disparaged masks and thrown a pointless kink into the process of passing the bill in question while creating sideshow stories that emphasize his dishonesty and poor judgment. Additionally, the demon sperm. We judge him STILL EMINENTLY VINCIBLE

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