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. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2020
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.