BOSTON (CBS) – President Trump suggested in a tweet Thursday morning that the 2020 presidential election be delayed.
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
In a way, this president’s addiction to tweeting has been a blessing.
Big-time politicians are usually adept at concealing unappealing truths about themselves. It took the release of secret tapes to reveal the depths of Richard Nixon’s racism and anti-semitism. Alert observers knew 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee John Edwards was slick; a federal grand jury indictment and tabloid reporting were needed to expose him as an amoral oil spill.
But Mr. Trump shuns the usual political veil as eagerly as he disdains masks. In interviews (who can ever forget the self-incriminating Lester Holt sitdown after the James Comey firing) and in a never-ending stream of tweets, the president confirms Maya Angelou’s observation that “when someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
So let’s break down the telling (if unsurprising) flaws Trump reveals in his flop-sweat-drenched tweet about delaying the election:
• “With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history.”
While it is likely that pandemic-inspired fear of crowds will prompt an unprecedented number of people to vote by mail this fall, there is no evidence that mail-in voting has led to inaccuracy or statistically-significant fraud in the past. According to FactCheck.org, there is also no real difference between mail-in and absentee voting: “the verification process is the same… and many states consider them to be the same thing.” In fact, Trump himself has voted by mail in Florida, which has offered the option for decades.
“In Florida, almost 30% of votes in the last presidential election were cast by mail, and voters did not have to provide an excuse, be absent from the state, or go through an enhanced screening process,” University of Florida election expert Prof. Darren Hutchinson told FactCheck.org. If it disturbed Trump that he won Florida’s 2016 electoral votes based on a fraudulent process, he hasn’t let on.
• “Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
This Vox.com explainer makes it clear the president has no power to cancel or postpone an election. Congress and state governments can alter the timing of congressional elections, but it would take a an act of Congress to change federal law setting the date for the presidential election on the Tuesday after the first November Monday. Even if the GOP majority in the Senate decided to take such an inflammatory step, I’ll go out on a limb and guess that the Democrat-controlled House would not go along.
• “It will be a great embarrassment to the USA.”
It takes one to know one.