It was only a matter of time. On Thursday, President Trump floated the idea of delaying the November presidential election, citing a lack of trust in the postal service (which his administration has been working diligently to fuck over) to adequately count mail-in ballots.
“Mail-In Voting is already proving to be a catastrophic disaster,” Trump tweeted. “Even testing areas are way off. The Dems talk of foreign influence in voting, but they know that Mail-In Voting is an easy way for foreign countries to enter the race. Even beyond that, there’s no accurate count!”
Half an hour later, Trump tweeted, “With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
The tweet is now pinned to his Twitter account.
Trump technically does not have the power to delay the election. The United States Constitution gives Congress alone the power to set election dates. But that isn’t exactly reassuring: Trump is already setting the stage for presenting the 2020 election results as illegitimate, suggesting that he will not be as willing to cede power to if he loses, despite his previous assurances that he will step down if his competitor, former Vice President Joe Biden, wins in November.
Since taking office, Trump and his administration have happily skirted norms and rules meant to keep checks and balances in place and corruption at a minimum. To assume that he wouldn’t continue this habit when fighting for his political life is naive. We may not know how, exactly, Trump would undermine the election results, but there is already a concentrated effort to ensure chaos reigns. Years’ worth of voter suppression and gerrymandering gives Republicans an advantage in many parts of the country, but combined with Trump’s attempts to villainize largely Democratic-leaning cities—characterizing them as safe harbors for terrorism and discord—it is not wholly unreasonable to consider a scenario in which Trump declares martial law and uses his power to sow chaos, distrust, and delay at his leisure.
Of course, that is an extreme example, but it’s not like the Trump administration taking extreme measures is unprecedented.
As if proving his point further, Trump tweeted footage from an Augusta, Georgia CBS affiliate of a mail-in ballot experiment. After a week, three of the 100 pieces of mail used in the experiment were reportedly lost or delayed in the United States Postal Service system.
Who knows, maybe Trump will just destroy USPS before November. Problem solved and Republican wet dream realized.