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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Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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