Trump floats election delay, lawmakers in both parties reject idea
July 31, 2020 @ 10:52 +03:00
President Donald Trump on Thursday raised the idea of delaying the Nov. 3 U.S. elections, an idea immediately rejected by both Democrats and his fellow Republicans in Congress – the sole branch of government with the authority to make such a change.
Critics and even Trump’s allies dismissed the notion as an unserious attempt to distract from devastating economic news, but some legal experts warned that his repeated attacks could undermine his supporters’ faith in the election process.
Trump’s statement on Twitter comes as the United States is enduring a multi-pronged, once-in-a-generation crisis: a coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more than 150,000 lives, a crippling recession sparked by the outbreak, and nationwide protests against police violence and racism. On Thursday morning, the government reported the worst U.S. economic contraction since the Great Depression: 32.9% in the second quarter.
The United States has held elections for more than 200 years, including during the Civil War, the Great Depression and two world wars. Article II of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to set the timing of elections, and the 20th Amendment ends a president and vice president’s term in office on the Jan. 20 following a general election.
Multiple congressional Republicans – including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and top House of Representatives Republican Kevin McCarthy – rejected the idea.
The truly dangerous part of Trump’s tweet on Thursday was not his suggestion of delaying the election – which is a “fantasy” – but his latest claim that voting by mail is rife with fraud, according to Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Marymount University and a constitutional law expert.
“This is yet another example of the president seeking to delegitimize the election process before it happens,” Levitt said. “That is deeply destabilizing.”
Polls have shown that U.S. registered voters oppose an election delay. When Reuters/Ipsos in April asked voters if they thought the election should be rescheduled due to the coronavirus, 59% opposed the idea, including a majority in each party.
A Biden campaign official called Trump’s tweet an obvious ploy to distract from the awful GDP numbers.
Trump floats election delay, lawmakers in both parties reject idea, Reuters, Jul 31