Trump, Who Lacks the Authority to Do So, Suggests Delaying the Election

The tweet escalates his longstanding attacks against measures designed to expand ballot access.

Bob Daemmrich/ZUMA

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As his poll numbers continue to drop, President Trump on Thursday floated the idea of postponing the November election, now less than 100 days away, falsely claiming that mail-in voting will lead to rampant voter fraud. It would require an act of Congress to delay the election.

It’s the first time Trump has publicly proposed delaying the election. But in many ways, the tweet seems like an inevitable progression from his longstanding attacks against measures designed to expand ballot access, such as widespread absentee and mail-in voting, as states struggle to work out plans for conducting elections during the coronavirus pandemic. Democrats have long warned that Trump would push for a delay. They also worry that the president might refuse to accept defeat if he loses, which he openly hinted at as recently as last week.

“Mark my words: I think he is going to try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,” Joe Biden told supporters in April, as Trump continued to promote misleading and false claims about mail-in voting and accused Democrats of trying to “steal the election.”

Trump, in all likelihood, knows that he lacks the legal authority to postpone the election. But in finally saying the quiet part out loud this morning, he could be hoping to distract from the grim news that the US just suffered its biggest drop in GDP on record. Might as well throw some casual voter fraud lies into the mix.

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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