Republicans Say No to Delaying the Election

Sen. Kamala Harris is seen after an interview in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington D.C. on June 24

USA president Donald Trump repeatedly tests the Republican Party's limits on issues including race, trade and immigration.

Indeed, Trump confidant Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, said he would support Trump's call to delay the election "until things are normal so people can walk in".

President Donald Trump surprised all by tweeting on July 30 that the upcoming presidential election should be delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But it was another Trump tweet on Thursday that caught my attention, one that signaled how he might seek to discredit the results of an election he can't postpone. The former vice president might be portrayed as a radical and fresh change for the country, but will Trump's incumbent advantage, vocal disdain at potential election results and the "silent majority" ultimately allow him to win?

"Steve Calabresi, welcome to the Resistance", tweeted Washington attorney George Conway, the famously Trump-bashing husband of senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.

With 94 days until Election Day, Trump continued his attacks on mail-in voting, with a series of unsubstantiated claims that increased mail-in voting would result in fraud. And they say the "projected winner" or the "winner of the election" - I don't want to see that take place in a week after November 3 or a month or, frankly, with litigation and everything else that can happen, years.

For months, those officials have routinely warned that the most serious foreign threats are hacking of election and campaign infrastructure, along with disinformation campaigns, largely from China, Russia and Iran.

Trump is probably exaggerating the likelihood of a long period of suspense before results are clear.

Carrie Lam, the chief executive of Hong Kong, cited concerns over the coronavirus outbreak in the decision to delay the election initially slated for September, which will now be held in September 2021. But it has a more sinister interpretation: that delayed results are an indication that something fishy is going on, maybe even the manufacturing of votes.

The simple reality remains that Republicans up and down the ballot this fall need Trump's fervent base on their side to have any chance of winning.

There is nothing legislators or election officials can do to prevent Trump from sowing suspicion about election results, especially if he loses. The League of Women Voters of MI and three voters sued in May, seeking a declaration that ballots be counted as long as they are mailed on or before Election Day.

Many states are however promoting vote-by-mail to prevent the virus from spreading.

Mail voting has been one of Trump's common attacks in the last couple of weeks on Twitter, saying it'll be a "disaster" and a "rigged election" several times over.

The news media can also play a constructive role, by recognizing that a rush to declare a victor - problematic even in normal election years - is especially ill-advised this year.

The top Republicans in the House and Senate, who have spent the past four years championing Trump in Congress, also distanced themselves from the notion of a delayed election. Indulging that expectation is irresponsible - and plays into Trump's hands.



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