On Thursday, President Donald Trump kicked his fearmongering up a notch and suggested delaying the November election, although there’s no readily apparent legal mechanism by which he could actually do so. Still, legality hasn’t exactly stopped Trump in the past, so the illegality of his whole endeavor doesn’t mean that he won’t try to proceed with delaying the election anyway. On Thursday, shortly after Trump’s tweet in which he suggested that an election delay might be on the table, Utah’s Republican Senator Mitt Romney — who is one of the only Republican members of Congress to consistently try and hold the president accountable for his belligerence — spoke out against the president’s threat to election security.
Let's get one thing straight: President Donald Trump can’t delay the November 3 vote — that’s beyond his constitutional power.
— Bloomberg Opinion (@bopinion) July 30, 2020
Trump connected his threatening suggestion of an election delay to imaginary threats of fraud if mail-in voting is used on a widespread level. To be clear: not only are Trump’s claims of fraud inherent in mail-in voting absolutely false, mail-in voting is already used at a high rate across the entire country, which makes Trump’s claims even more ridiculous. Five states conduct their elections almost entirely by mail, and the Brennan Center reported in early 2020 that in the most recent two federal elections, about one-in-four Americans cast a mail-in ballot.
Biden this spring warned Trump would try to delay the election. “Mark my words, I think he is going to try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held.” https://t.co/UNj9F61iNC
— Christopher Cadelago (@ccadelago) July 30, 2020
Rommey’s state is actually one of those that does elections almost entirely via the mail. He told CNN’s Manu Raju that he thinks mail-in voting works “extremely well,” adding:
‘The great thing about it is that you have a paper document that if you need to do a recount you don’t have to worry about machines having been tampered with. So I’m a fan of voting by mail, secondly, of course we are going to have an election on time. It’s unthinkable that that would not be the case.’
Romney added: “So I'm a fan of voting by mail, secondly, of course we are going to have an election on time. It's unthinkable that that would not be the case.” I asked if he could vote for Biden or who he would vote for, and he said he wouldn’t reveal that yet
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 30, 2020
Although it may be unthinkable to Romney, legality has, again, rarely if ever stopped Trump in the past, so there’s a nonzero chance that the president may try to delay the election anyway. As CNN’s Jim Acosta memorably put it recently, as for those around the president who may have at one point reined in his behavior, they’ve left — the only ones still onboard are family members and “Kool-Aid drinkers.”
"Is there anyone around the president who shakes their head when they hear him rambling in the Rose Garden like this?"@Acosta: "No. We are down to kool-aid drinkers and next of kin here at the Trump White House. There are no more adults who will level with the president." pic.twitter.com/UM15OvZmZ1
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) July 15, 2020