Donald Trump sent out a tweet yesterday suggesting that the November election be postponed because of the possibility of fraud with vote by mail. This created instant hysteria as well as a lot of articles reassuring the public that Trump cannot legally postpone the election.
If he cannot legally change the date of the election, then why did he hint that he would? There’s a lot of moving parts here, so let’s break it down.
Economic numbers that indicated that the economy is in free fall were released on Thursday morning. In Trump’s mind, this makes him look bad because he has based the success of his administration on the success of the economy.
So he pulled a classic Trump tactic and tweeted the most outrageous thing that he could think of to distract attention from the ugly numbers. He does this all the time. Tries to divert attention from events that in his mind either make him look bad or take attention away from him.
Which brings us to the second event on that same day that he didn’t like. It was the day of John Lewis’ funeral. Trump hated John Lewis because Lewis called him an illegitimate president and refused to attend Trump’s inauguration. Trump hated even more that the eyes of the entire nation were on Lewis’ funeral. Trump always has to be the center of attention. Always. No exceptions.
Three former presidents, Clinton, Bush and Obama, attended the funeral and a fourth (Jimmy Carter) sent a message that was read during the funeral because he was physically unable to attend. Trump was not invited. Trump is emotionally immature. In his mind, this was like a birthday party where everyone in the class was invited except him.
So he acted out and sent an outrageous tweet to draw attention away from the funeral and the fact that he wasn’t invited and pull attention back to himself.
Yes, Trump has no legal authority to postpone the election but he doesn’t care about that. For a few reasons.
1.) He wasn’t paying attention in civics class nor has he paid any attention since then so he has no idea how government works. He thinks that he is in charge of everything. Congress, the Supreme Court, everything. In his mind President = King. So legalities are meaningless to him. He is king so he can do whatever he wants.
2.) Prior to his election to the presidency, Trump ran his own private company. He made the rules and if something was illegal, he sued. Until he became president, the rules and even the law did not apply to him. He did whatever he wanted with no consequences. So if it looks like he may lose the election, his thinking is to just postpone it until the economy gets better, the virus disappears, Biden dies, whatever it takes for him to win re-election. Legalities be damned (see above).
3.) You better believe that Bill Barr has promised Trump that he will find a way to postpone or cancel the election. And I’m certain that Barr has been devoting inordinate amounts of time trying to figure out how to, legally or illegally, constitutionally or unconstitutionally, postpone or cancel the election. He may already have a plan and is just waiting to launch it as an October “surprise.” And Trump couldn’t wait to tell everyone. He reminds me of the character of Eric Trump on SNL who is always blurting out the truth that his brother Don Jr. is trying to hide.
Even if Trump and Barr are unable to postpone the election, Trump has now cast so much doubt on the possibility of a clean election, that the public may lose faith in the process. People may be so discouraged that they won’t bother to vote and the Blue Tsunami that the Democrats are counting on will be just a trickle. Trump wins.
Or the election will be so close that Trump will sue and the recounts will go on for weeks. No one will trust the result and even if he loses, Trump wins.
Or somehow a miracle occurs and Biden wins in a landslide. Except again, Trump will sue citing the possibility of fraudulent ballots or interference by China or the Clintons. The recounts will go on for weeks and even if he loses, Trump wins.
Don’t be reassured by all the so-called authorities that Trump cannot legally postpone the election. That may be true, but he can damage the process so much that the election will be all but meaningless. Our future is in the hands of an ignorant old man who is sliding into dementia.
We are at a turning point in history. Our democracy is teetering on the brink of failure.