Today, for the first time publicly, President Trump suggested delaying November’s presidential election. You knew this was coming, didn’t you?
Don’t worry too much—he literally cannot do this without the approval of a Democratic-majority House—but his comments still mark an unprecedented moment in his Presidency.
This morning, Trump tweeted that mail-in ballots would somehow make elections more susceptible to voter fraud and that holding the election during a pandemic would be dangerous:
“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???”
Critics are concerned that Trump’s attempts to undermine the credibility of November’s vote, in which a large number of Americans are probably going to need mail-in voting to avoid exposure to COVID-19, could lead to groundwork for contesting any results he is not happy with. Also, given Trump’s narcissism, he could be simply trying to provide himself with a scapegoat if he loses the election.
Trump could also be trying to draw attention away from the abysmal second-quarter economic numbers that were just released. It wouldn’t be the first time Trump’s tweets functioned as a means of distraction from more pertinent issues.