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Thursday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted something controversial. On its face that is a normal occurrence for the Tweeter in Chief, but the question he posed leads to an assumption that has dire circumstances.
“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” Trump tweeted. “It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
That’s right folks, President Donald Trump laid out a baited question on whether the 2020 presidential election should potentially be postponed for being potentially fraudulent.
As with most Trump statements, it was a disingenuous question set up by a proposition of doubt. Classic dogwhistling, which is now a Trump staple item.
Earlier in the morning, Trump tweeted that mail-in voting is “already proving to be a catastrophic disaster.”
“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!” he tweeted.
With the coronavirus pandemic re-surging nationwide, many critics have voiced concerns that Trump will utilize the fear associated to force a 2020 election delay.
States have the authority to delay their primary elections, however, only Congress can change the date for the general election for president. Luckily, the Constitution gives Congress the authority to set the general election date.
However, there are theories floating about how the incumbent could still turn the current tide amid losing polls.
Former Democratic senator, Tim Wirth published an op-ed in Newsweek where he laid out a theory. He alleges that Trump will attempt to retain power through voter suppression. He lays out a strategy to suppress voter turnout by purging voters from registration rolls and suppressing mail-in voting.
Inner city voters are especially targeted.
In addition, physical urban polling locations are hypothesized to be limited to create long lines on Election Day. This typically discourages voting.
What is most disturbing is that Wirth’s allegations regarding Republican-led states removing people from the voter-roll is accurate.
According to data compiled by Mother Jones, between 2016 and 2018, more than 17 million names have been removed from the voter rolls. While names are removed from voter rolls every year due to deaths or citizens leaving the state, the number of voters removed from the rolls since 2016 has significantly increased.
Between 2016 and 2018, states on average removed 7.6% of their voters from the rolls with the purge in some states going further.
Indiana, home state of Vice President Mike Pence, purged the greatest number of voters, removing 22.3% of the state’s voters from its rolls. Both Virginia and Wisconsin removed 14%, and Maine, Oklahoma and Massachusetts removed between 11% and 12.1%.
The Tantrum Effect
Trump does not like to lose and it is a certainty that any damage to his brand at the polls will spur immediate defense.
Wirth goes further with his theory explaining that he believes Trump will try to retain power, should he lose, by claiming the vote is rigged. An invocation of emergency powers and compliance of Republican legislators is laid out as a path to potentially stay in the White House.
Wirth finally claims that Trump’s threat to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807, to use the US military against demonstrators, at the George Floyd protests was an example of his willingness for the extreme.
With a secret federal law enforcement force detaining and battling peaceful protestors in Portland, Oregon currently, Trump is already testing the limits of his power.
But with all the misinformation in the world, is America really paying attention?