On Thursday, President Donald Trump took a step that some had been fearing for awhile and threateningly suggested delaying the November election. To be clear: there is no legal mechanism by which the president could actually delay the election, let alone do so unilaterally via something like an executive order. If Trump did try to delay the election, it would constitute a grossly authoritarian abuse of power on par with developments that have prompted hand-wringing from U.S. leaders when seen in other countries. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a staunch ally of the president, didn’t quite see the entire gravity of the situation, but on Thursday, he did attempt to distance himself from the president’s election delay suggestion.
1. "Universal Mail-In Voting" is only the law in CO, HI, OR, WA & UT (where bipartisan leaders sing its praises!)
2. 3.3M people voted in WA in 2016; of those, 74 votes were "flagged as questionable" – 0.002%
— Janice Rottenberg (@janicero) July 30, 2020
He told CNN’s Manu Raju, in reference to the election delay suggestion:
‘I don’t think that’s a particularly good idea.’
According to Raju, Graham “declined further comment.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham told me this morning about Trump’s call to delay the election: “I don’t think that’s a particularly good idea.” He declined further comment.
“Not answering any questions,” said Sen. Joni Ernst, who is in a tough race, when I asked about Trump’s tweet.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 30, 2020
Although that’s not exactly a stinging condemnation from Graham for the election delay idea, it’s more than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could be bothered to offer, at least initially. When reporters asked him about the issue on Thursday morning as he headed into the Senate chamber, the GOP leader “clearly heard” the question, but “did not respond in any way,” according to a report from the scene. When he subsequently left the Senate floor, reporters asked him about Trump’s election delay suggestion again, but again, he had no comment — although it quite literally weighs on the very future of the United States as a constitutional system of government. Eventually, he did insist that the election will be held “on time.”
No comment again to election delay questions as McConnell left the floor
— Lindsay Wise (@lindsaywise) July 30, 2020
Trump founded his threatening suggestion of delaying the general election on paranoia about mail-in ballots. He has insisted, with zero evidence to back him up, that there’s a threat of some kind of widespread election fraud if mail-in voting is used at a wide level across the country. Here’s the thing: it’s already used at a wide level across the country, and it has been used since well before 1900. Five states conduct their elections almost entirely via the mail, and the Brennan Center reported this year that in the two most recent federal elections, some one-in-four Americans cast mail-in ballots. It’s difficult to overstate how disconnected from reality that Trump’s paranoia about mail-in ballots really is.
Voting is central to Americans acting for our democracy. Leaders in a democracy must support that right as sacrosanct and fight for its survival, not try to undermine it at every turn with their words. The 2020 election will not be delayed. https://t.co/qeukQgSIPQ
— Brian Higgins (@RepBrianHiggins) July 30, 2020