Well, let’s start off here: The President of the United States cannot delay the election legally. Elections are run by the states, and Congress sets the date. That’s in the Constitution. Trump can’t change that, Bill Barr can’t change that, and Mitch McConnell doesn’t have the votes to change that.
Even if, somehow, the election was canceled, Trump’s term ends at noon on January 20th, 2021, end of argument. And if we haven’t elected anyone, well, then, shit’s going to get pretty complicated and unpleasant.
All that having been said, we’ve seen this president manage to do plenty of things he “can’t” do.
Now let’s talk about the school of thought that Trump is just throwing all this chaff in the air to protect himself from embarrassment when he loses, by giving himself the cover to claim he didn’t really lose, the election was stolen, and it’s not fair. Then he wanders off into the sunset to buy OANN and peddle his trash to his waning base to grift them for as much money as possible while he ties state charges against him up in court until he finally dies.
And, I gotta say, that’s definitely a possibility. It might even be the most likely outcome. But I think, all things considered and taking into account everything we know about Trump and all the hell he’s managed to accomplish since 2016, that it’s a wildly bad idea to act as though that’s what’s going to happen.
From there let’s proceed to the “It’s a distraction!” people, a group for which I have exactly no use. These are the people who, everytime Trump says something off the wall, they respond with “It’s a distraction from [whatever current news is perceived to be bad and/or embarrassing to Trump], just ignore it!”
Dan Rather was actually in this group this morning, and I feel like he should know better.
This morning, CNN (and plenty of other news outlets) reported that the “American economy just had its worst report on record.” And that’s obviously bad for Trump, who crows about the economy constantly. I’m extremely sure he’d prefer we don’t talk about the fact that our economy is in the shitter.
It is perfectly possible that Trump tweeted for an election delay to distract from the terrible economic report and because he’s serious about doing it. He does that all the time.
Next, I’d like to point a few things out.
- Trump is building fortifications around the White House.
- Trump is building his own military/police force out of federal officers from CBP, ICE, and other departments.
- Trump is attempting to destroy or cripple the US Post Office in advance of an election where record numbers of folks are expected to vote by mail.
- Trump has repeatedly claimed that voting by mail will delegitimize and/or rig the 2020 election.
- Trump refuses to commit to recognizing the 2020 election results. Attorney General Bill Barr is being weaselly about election results, too.
The only reasonable, responsible way to react to all of this is to assume Trump is serious about cancelling or delaying the election indefinitely or refusing to leave office if he loses the election.
For the safety of American democracy, we must assume Trump means to somehow subvert the 2020 election, and act accordingly.
That’s not hyperbole or hysteria. If you have somehow managed to live under Trump for 3 1/2 years without internalizing the fact that he will attempt to get away with literally anything, I just don’t know what to do with you.
Look, if you don’t like the idea of taking advice from some anonymous nut with a WordPress blog (and I don’t blame you), then take the advice of a bipartisan group of political operatives, former government and military officials, and academics who recently got together to game out what might happen if Trump refuses to leave office in January.
So, going forward, starting today and continuing until we kick that sumbitch out of the White House, you must raise all the hell you have to raise. The pushback on this must be large, loud, and long. Flood their phones until they flinch when it rings. Fill their email inboxes to the point where they break. Inundate them with physical mail until they’re afraid to open their mailboxes for fear of being smothered under an avalanche of your angry letters.
I know there’s a lot to pay attention to right now. I know. Everything is terrible, and a million things are going wrong. But if we do absolutely nothing else, we must fight to ensure the integrity of the 2020 election. If we lose that, we lose everything.