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Thursday, July 30, 2020
Trump Suggests Delaying Election
President Trump touched the third rail of pandemic politics this morning with a suggestion that this year’s election be delayed. In a mid-morning tweet, the president once again assailed mail-in voting and suggested the country “delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote.”
Until this morning, the prospect that the Trump Administration would use the pandemic as an excuse to delay the election was the province of left-wing alarmists and conspiracy theorists (who are not solely on the right). That changed with the tweet in which the president seemed to embrace the idea.
The tweet itself is a mishmash of confusing and contradictory information. For starters, the president does not have the authority to delay the election. The date of the election is established by federal law to be “the Tuesday next after the 1st Monday in November, in every even-numbered year.” There is no provision within the law to alter that date. Congress would almost certainly not pass a law to change the date.
Likewise, the president’s claim that mail-in voting is bad but absentee voting is good is a head-scratcher. There is variation in state rules but the two are essentially the same as FactCheck.org noted in an analysis back in June. (My advice on all fact-check articles is to read the article, not just the headline). It’s reminiscent of the famous “Office” meme:
If you’re keeping score at home, we now have a good sense of what President Trump thinks are safe and unsafe behaviors during the pandemic. It is safe to send your kids to school or to go to work yourself. You can go to church and you can take part in the economy.
It is tweets like this that are driving the president’s approval rating into the ground. One cannot read this tweet without coming to the conclusion that Donald Trump is either incompetent, corrupt, or, and I judge this to be most likely, both. He seems to have little knowledge of the Constitution or the rule of law and, after nearly four years in office, no interest in learning.
Criticisms of Joe Biden’s mental capacity are valid and concerning but so are criticisms about Donald Trump’s mental fitness. Joe Biden at least has the good sense to stay out of the limelight where Donald Trump cannot stand to not be the center of attention. As a wise man once said, “It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool than to talk and remove all doubt of it,” but President Trump compulsively shows the world his foolishness on a daily basis.
There is one point in the president’s tweet that hit the nail on the head, however. The world is watching as Americans choose a new president from the worst two candidates since… well, since 2016.
“It will be a great embarrassment to the USA,” Trump said in the tweet.