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Trump Can’t Delay the Election No Matter How Much He Wants To

And he really wants to

Donald Trump folds his arms and sits at the Oval Office desk.

Another day, another threat to the fabric of our democracy delivered by a sad, dangerous old man with an inferiority complex who doesn’t want to lose his job because he hates losing. Yes, Donald Trump tweeted today floating the idea of delaying the election and also falsely calling into question the accuracy of mail-in voting. Just another Thursday in the American hellscape.

Everything in this tweet is wrong and bad on a level that would be incomprehensible in a normal world. For one, and we cannot say this enough: VOTE BY MAIL IS ACCURATE, SAFE AND FAIR. Donald Trump is sowing the seeds of doubt when it comes to the election because his poll numbers are terrible right now and he’s afraid to lose.

But Trump trying to undermine the results of the election before they happen is old news. What’s new here, and most terrifying, is Trump floating the idea aloud of delaying the election. Again, we have to be very clear here and assure you that this is NOT something the president has the power to do.

The Constitution sets the end of the president’s term, and it gives the power to the states regarding how they conduct elections. Federal law set election day; 2 U.S. Code § 7 says: “The Tuesday next after the 1st Monday in November, in every even-numbered year, is established as the day for the election, in each of the States and Territories of the United States.” 

It would take an act of Congress to delay the election, and a Constitutional amendment to delay the end of Trump’s first (and hopefully only) term. And yes, Donald Trump does not care about the Constitution or the law, or think they apply to him but … they do. As much as he wants to, he can’t change the way we do democracy with a tweet.

Following this terrible tweet, responses were varied: from keyboard smashing and screaming about fascism to accusations that Trump was just using this empty threat to distract from the worst Gross Domestic Product drop in US history. Trump can no longer run on a good economy because the coronavirus and his mishandling of the crisis broke America, and so he wants a distraction … but that might be giving him too much credit.

Other responses went from measured to furious.

Oh, and the conservative attacks on Joe Biden for suggesting in APRIL that Trump might try to delay the election have not aged well.

There’s no low to which Donald Trump won’t sink to stay in power. The election, which will happen, is 96 days away and we have to make sure that everyone votes, that every vote is counted, and that we deliver such a resounding defeat to Donald Trump that he won’t have any choice but to finally get out of the White House.

(image: Drago – Pool/Getty Images)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.