This week, with the election roughly 100 days away, President Trump put forward the idea of delaying the November 3rd US presidential election, casting doubt over the integrity of the vote. As expected, his social media move triggered the mainstream press, as well as Republican leaders in Congress, who immediately opposed the notion that the election may need to be held back due to the prospect of having polls closed on the day due to COVID fears, thus leaving most Americans no other option but to mail-in their votes.
Despite the sustained pressure from the press and his detractors on Capitol Hill, the President refused to back down from his idea of postponing the November general election, citing concerns of a potential for massive voter fraud, claiming that excessively large numbers of mail-in ballots could mean that “you never even know who won the election.”
Trump fired his opening salvo on Twitter:
“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” Trump wrote on Twitter in the morning. “It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
This of course drew cries from media and political opposition of Trump’s creeping towards ‘fascism’, even though the President is not actually constitutionally able to enforce any such decision. Unfettered by the opposition, the President continued:
New York Mail-In voting is in a disastrous state of condition. Votes from many weeks ago are missing – a total mess. They have no idea what is going on. Rigged Election. I told you so. Same thing would happen, but on massive scale, with USA. Fake News refuses to report!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2020
Must know Election results on the night of the Election, not days, months, or even years later!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2020
While the media performed its usual reactionary frenzy in the 24 hours following Trump’s initial outburst, as reality on the issue began to set in, it slowly became clear to those who were seriously considering the implications of allowing ad hoc social distancing and “COVID safety” policies to dictate the terms of a general election in the United States.
The Washington Post soon admitted what the White House had already knew, announcing that the U.S. Postal Service was in fact experiencing long backlogs of mail across the country. In typical partisan fashion, The Post goes on to try and blame systemic delays on “a top Trump donor running the agency put in place new procedures described as cost-cutting efforts,” but the facts were already clear – the idea of running a mail-in vote for the general election will almost certainly end in disaster for the country – simply because they cannot deliver all of the ballots in a timely manner for the November election. Nor can they guarantee a timetable of the collections of votes afterwards.
What other chaos might ensue during that time? Imagine if the electorate were forced to wait a month before the results were announced. And even then, the result will almost certainly be contested, and violently so – especially if the result goes in favor of Trump.
Presently, Trump is trailing presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in all of major electoral polls.
Will officials really allow the fear of COVID to end up determining the result of the election?
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