“Delay the Election”: Trump Fuels New Questions Over The Holding Of The Presidential Election

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedWe previously discussed a conspiracy theory from Vice President Joe Biden that President Donald Trump could unilaterally cancel or delay the election day.  We then dealt with a baffling statement by Jared Kushner that it was too soon to tell if the election day would be delayed — a statement that was as politically unwise as it was legally unsound. Now, President Donald Trump is fueling this controversy with a bizarre tweet that we may need to delay the election day. He is not suggesting that he can do it unilaterally, but it is another statement at odds with the constitutional and statutory foundation for the election day schedule.  Even if Congress agreed to a different day, it would only move voting a few weeks later. Anything more would require pulling up our controlling law root and branch.

Trump tweeted today that “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???”

President Donald Trump suggested delaying the November election until 'people can properly, securely and safely vote'

President Donald Trump suggested delaying the November election until ‘people can properly, securely and safely vote’

This claim has become the monkey’s paw of election theories — passed from one person to another and from one party to another with the same harmful consequences.  It makes all of its holders look ridiculous.

Trump does not state, as suggested by Biden, that he could unilaterally stop the election. Indeed, that is impossible. While any president can try to do anything, such a move would be quickly prevented by the Courts. Trump could also seek to barricade himself in his office or change his name to Joseph Biden if he lost. But none of that would make any difference. As stated in my earlier column, it does not matter what Trump may desire, it is a matter of what the Constitution would allow. As I said with regard to Biden, any such claim would need the approval of both houses (which is virtually impossible in the current Congress) and would only add a short period of additional time. However, even the suggestion of a delay of the election with the consent of Congress is as unlikely as it is unwarranted.

The Constitution mandates that President Trump’s term will end on January 20th.  Period. Thus, even if Congress were to collectively lose control of its senses and change the date for the election, it would gain only a few weeks — unless you want to quickly rewrite the Constitution as well.

There is a suspicion that this bombshell tweet was an effort to distract from the unsettling report that our GDP plummeted by almost 33 percent.  However, this is not a trivial shining object to toss into the national debate. It is casting doubt on the holding of one of the most consequential elections in history.

Our laws are designed to remove such doubts and assure voters that our elections will be held in a regular order.

The date of the election has been set since 1845 by Congress and it is statutorily set as statutorily set as “the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November.”

Again, any substantial delay in the election would also collide with the 20th Amendment, which extinguishes the power of the prior president at noon on January 20. Even if Trump persuaded Congress to delay the election past that date, his term still constitutionally ends on that date unless he is reelected.

There is actually a relatively short period between election day to get much done.  Under 3 U.S.C. §7:

The electors of President and Vice President of each State shall meet and give their votes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December next following their appointment at such place in each State as the legislature of such State shall direct.

Those votes must then be certified, submitted to Congress and counted by the first week of January.

Thus, the window is actually quite short. Even if Congress were to fiddle with these dates, it still has a hard stop on January 20.  The most that could be gained from this traumatic level of change would be a couple of weeks.

I have no idea why both parties remain obsessed with this idea. It is akin to constitutional quackery.

We have an election on November 3.  Count on it.

This tweet will also likely rekindle another alarmist theory that Trump may refuse to accept the outcome of the election in an effective coup. President Trump has the right to challenge the results of any given state as was the case in Bush v. Gore.  However, these challenges occur in a rigid time frame.  Again, electoral votes are certify and given to Congress. The election date will occur on November 3, 2020.  The state electors will cast their votes on the second Wednesday of December and those results are submitted to Congress and counted in the first week of January.

There is time for expedited challenges and Congress can address contested results from a given state.  The nightmare scenario is lingering litigation over the validity of electoral votes by Inauguration Day in January.  The Supreme Court sought to avoid that scenario in Bush v. Gore by effectively short circuiting further appeals in Florida.  However, it was ultimately shown that Al Gore likely won Florida, but it did not matter due to the acceptance of the electoral votes by Congress.  Notably, Democrats were enthusiastically supporting further challenges at the time. Thus, there is a certain hypocrisy in the current alarm expressed by Democratic leaders who pushed for challenges in the 2000 election.

What cannot happen is a President unilaterally refusing to accept the results. It is not up to President Trump and the country does not have to satisfy him that he has lost. Absent a court order enjoining or altering a tabulation, the acceptance of the electoral votes by Congress will effectively end the matter.  The Secret Service on Inauguration Day is under the direction of the new president. Upon the oath of office taken by any successor, President Trump becomes a guest in the White House. If he remains, he becomes an unwelcomed guest.  If he refuses to leave, he becomes an arrested guest.

So, here is the long and short of it.  On November 3, we will have an election. On January 20th, we will have either a new or reelected president. In other words, we would be better served focusing on who that should be than occupying ourselves with these baseless theories.

317 thoughts on ““Delay the Election”: Trump Fuels New Questions Over The Holding Of The Presidential Election”

  1. Jonathan, Biden said “Mark my words,” he said at a virtual fundraiser. “I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held.””

    Just how is that as you said “We previously discussed a conspiracy theory from Vice President Joe Biden that President Donald Trump could unilaterally cancel or delay the election day.”

    Biden didn’t say that and you know it. I used to respect you but you have become just another RW hack.

    1. “I used to respect you but you have become just another RW hack.”


  2. Anyone find anything in the Constitution that allows such a delay . No but then conventions themselves are a party deal and the political parties are no mentioned in The Constitution other than the first amendment rights. Nothing to do with government.

    Elections however are mentioned and I’ve yet to find a way short of a full amendment to delay or make such a change.

  3. John Lewis in today’s NYTs:

    “While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.

    That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.

    Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.

    Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.

    Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

    Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

    You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.

    Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

    When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.

    John Lewis, the civil rights leader and congressman who died on July 17, wrote this essay shortly before his death.

    1. Anon – press X for doubt. That is a long essay for someone who is dying. MLK spent a significant portion of his time keeping the communists (BLM) out of the Civil Rights movement. The Civil Rights movement of John Lewis was open to whites and blacks. Some staffer or ??? wrote this on his behalf or not and slapped his name on it.

      1. ML King employed Stanley Levison and Jack O’Dell, and continued to employ them after Robert Kennedy informed him that both had been Communist Party members.

      2. I gather Gainesville also uses ‘anonymous’ as one of his sock-puppets. That’s the second time he’s dumped that text wall in one of these threads.

    2. Thanks for posting, Book. Notice the people posting in response their McCarthy esque replies as if the guy they liked hasn’t been actively and publicly giving uncle Vlad a reach around. Just shows they know the power of Lewis’ words and know they are on the wrong side of history.

      1. Huh, seems to me that it’s uncle Xi getting a reach around via the media and some folks in Big Business.

      2. true, so true. the Dwindling few dimwits who remain on the day glo bozo titanic are again reduced to arranged the deck chairs. It would be sad except for the fact that the Republican Party needs to experience the utter rejection it will receive in November before it can begin to heal itself.

    3. Who the —- is John Lewis, 1/435th of the Congress?

      Who the —- cares?

      Is he yet another of those greedy parasites in search of “free stuff” and artificially provided status; a protected “untouchable?”

      Do the communist political officers require us to display our fealty to a comrade solely for the sake of the furtherance of communism?

  4. The election may be moved…by Congress.

    The American Founders required citizens to show their person at a polling place and be identified, they DID NOT conduct elections through the U.S. Mail, they did not suggest conducting elections through the U.S. Mail.

    Democrats have corrupted the vote since Lincoln unconstitutionally denied fully constitutional secession, conducted an unconstitutional war over fully constitutional secession and, through his successors, improperly ratified the “injurious” and unconstitutional “Reconstruction Amendments” under the duress of brutal post-war military occupation in a war-weary nation.

    Democrats have corrupted the vote through mass invasion as illegal immigration.

    Democrats have corrupted the vote by ballot harvesting.

    Democrats intend to fully corrupt the vote by mail-in ballot to transform the entire United States into a one-party communist dictatorship similar to California et al.

    The only question that remains to be answered is whether Americans will allow it.

      1. I want the drugs the American Revolutionaries were on.

        They said, “Enough of this monarchical form of dictatorship. We’re going to implement a restricted-vote republic as self-governance providing maximal freedom to individuals under a government, elected by people entitled by criteria to vote, which is severely limited and restricted to the provision of infrastructure and security.”

        Let me find the quote.

        1. I regret to inform you, weird sir, that none of the statements alleged in your post can be found in the text of the Constitution. So sorry for your loss, and your condition.

          this is to “please write letters to get me released from this hell of an in-patient treatment center” georgie / paulie

    1. I take it that it’s clear Trump is going to lose and it’s a quite painful realization for you.

    2. Please keep doing you. The comedy refreshes my visits here.

      this is to “I had to trade the Friday pudding to the patient next door for his internet time” georgie / paulie

    3. Uh… George… Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, Jeff Davis was a Democrat.

  5. It’s pretty clear already that States are not prepared to disseminate and process unprecedented numbers of mail-in ballots in any sort of secure manner. Even the usual MSM propaganda outlets (such as the New Yorker and Ari Berman on MSN) agree with this. Nor is the USPS ready to process a torrent of ballots. Throw in the shady “ballot harvester” racket, and all the ingredients are there for a violently disputed election.

    Likely the way this plays out is that there will be multiple challenges to the vote tabulations and declaration of state Electoral College delegates as well as down ballot winners. These cases will wind up on the expedited docket at the SCOTUS and with that, there will be a replay of the 2000 Election. Drump could be declared the winner just as Dubya was. Only this time the atmosphere is far more combustible. This will turn out to be a violent Election.

    The Dums brought this on by (deliberately) passing haphazard mail-in voting legislation. Drump is correct that this will be a very corrupt election under present circumstances. Won’t bother me personally, since I don’t vote out of principle. But this fiasco will kick of a slo-mo version of US Civil War II.

    1. Unfortunately, you’re an utter buffoon. I live in the Great State of Colorado, where we’ve had vote-by-mail for years. We’ve had no problems with it at all; unless of course you consider minorities and young people voting to be a problem. So sorry for your loss, and your condition.

      this is to “I have a new ‘hannity was here’ tattoo across my lower back” sara

      1. We’ve had no problems with it at all;

        That you’re willing to acknowledge.

  6. Steven Calabresi, co-founder of the Federalist Society, called President Trump’s suggestion to delay the November election “fascistic” and grounds for the president’s impeachment, in a New York Times op-ed on Thursday.

    Why it matters: The Federalist Society is an extremely influential conservative and libertarian organization that advocates for a text-based and originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Calabresi said he voted for Trump in 2016 and defended the president during the Mueller investigation and impeachment trials.

    What he’s saying: “I am frankly appalled by the president’s recent tweet seeking to postpone the November election. Until recently, I had taken as political hyperbole the Democrats’ assertion that President Trump is a fascist,” Calabresi wrote.

    “But this latest tweet is fascistic and is itself grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.”


    1. Steven Calabresi supports the election of Joe Biden and the full, irrevocable imposition of communism in the Untied States of America.

      Sounds about right.

  7. Trump’s War On Mail-In Ballots..

    Sends Confusing Signals To Republicans

    While Democrats have tried to expand access to voting by mail, Republicans have struggled with what to tell their voters. Some have pushed for it, while Trump and his allies at the Republican National Committee have tried to limit expansion of remote voting.

    Increasingly, GOP operatives and officials are voicing their concerns with that strategy. “Why give Democrats 10 or 11 days to vote and expect Republicans to vote on one day?” asked Rohn Bishop, Republican Party chair in Fond du Lac County, Wis. “It puts us at a disadvantage.”

    Trump has called mail-in ballots “corrupt” and “substantially fraudulent,” even though the five states that now send ballots to all voters have had no signs of substantial fraud. Despite the president’s objections, numerous states have loosened restrictions on voting by mail amid the pandemic.

    Trump’s own campaign isn’t heeding his warning. It continues to encourage its voters to sign up for mail ballots when possible — even as the RNC is fighting in court against Democratic efforts to further expand mail-in voting and issuing statements like one last week saying the expansion has led “to delays, disaster and dysfunction.”

    Edited From: “Here’s How Trump’s Opposition To Mail In Voting Hurts The GOP

    The L.A. Times, 7/28/20


      News coverage this week has called attention again to Trump’s efforts to sabotage the U.S. Post Office. Trump is so afraid of mail-in ballots, he actually wants the Post Office to fail! This effort and Trump’s threat today totally validate The Mueller Probe and Impeachment Thrust. Trump is a morally bankrupt narcissistic sociopath. No Fortune 500 Company would retain a CEO as irresponsible as Donald Trump.

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