US President Donald Trump suggested on Thursday that the elections, scheduled for November 3, should be delayed, based on falsehoods about the insecurity of voting by mail and despite the fact that it should have the majority support of Congress to execute that plan. unpublished and opposed by Democrats and Republicans.
Trump’s tweet appeared on the social network just 15 minutes after the Commerce Department announced that the United States’ gross domestic product (GDP) plummeted in the second quarter at a year-on-year rate of 9.5% (32.9 % annual), which supposes a historical disaster due to the freezing of the economy by the pandemic.
The dimensions of this abrupt drop are unmatched, assuming a destruction of wealth of 1.8 trillion dollars, equivalent to three years of growth.
Although the fall is due to a plan to contain the spread of the pandemic, the insistence of Trump and many Republican governors to reopen the economy as soon as possible, has led to new outbreaks in southern states and there have been no certainty about the way out of the crisis.
15 minutes manual
Trump used the manual, created by himself, to monopolize the political and media discourse during breakfast and from the mobile: a tweet first thing, loaded with disinformation in capital letters, to propose an unprecedented measure that will surely not be carried out.
“With the universal vote by mail (not the absentee vote, which is good), 2020 will be the most IMPRESSIVE and FRAUDULENT election in history. It will be a great shame for the USA. ¿We delay the Elections until people can vote safely and appropriately ??? “Trump wrote on Twitter.
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 ???
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2020
Trump redrew a difference between voting by mail and voting absentee, which he considers much safer, since he used it in March during the Florida primaries, despite the experts assuring that it is practically the same and it is done with the same safeguards.
President reiterated that voting by mail, which several states are expanding due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is fraudulent, something that has been denied by independent experts and by electoral officials from various states, including Republicans.
The vote by mail that Trump criticizes is the system, adopted by seven states, in which the authorities send the ballots by mail so that the voter returns it by post or deposits it in a ballot box. Oregon, which was the first to adopt this system, has only recorded 12 cases of fraud among more than 100 million ballots sent.
Elections without winner
Later, during a press conference, Trump raised the idea that the vote by mail means that the winner of the elections is not known on election night.
“I don’t want a delay. I want elections. But I don’t want to have to wait three months and then see how votes are missing and elections are worth nothing. This is what’s going to happen. It’s common sense, and everyone knows it.” said the president.
“I’ve been watching elections for a long time. And they say the ‘election winner’. And I don’t want to see how that happens weeks after November 3 or a month or, frankly, with lawsuits and all this that happens, years. Years. Or you never even know the winner, “he added.
To delay election day, the president should have the support of Congress to modify a federal law of 1845 that establishes the first Tuesday, after the first Monday in November, such as the day to celebrate the day of legislative elections, which run parallel to the process of electing the president every four years.
Democrats control the lower house of Congress and the opposition would therefore need to align with the president. In short: an impossibility.
“Let’s be clear: Trump does not have the ability to delay elections. Our elections are enshrined in the Constitution. The Constitution says that if the election date changes, Congress must do so.“affirmed the president of the Judicial Committee of the House of Representatives, the democrat Jerry Nadler.
Republican lawmakers also opposed a delay, with Senate Conservative Majority Leader Mitch McConell at the helm, who said in an interview with a Kentucky station that the election date is set in stone.
“Never in the history of our country, nor in wars, depressions, or civil war, have we held a federal election scheduled in its time and we will find a way to do it again,” said McConell.
In a Senate hearing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was not as blunt and said that elections should be conducted in a “legal” manner, but stressed that it is important that they be elections “in which everyone trust. “
Sunk in the polls
Largely for his unpopular management of the crisis in Covid-19, whose severity originally denied, Trump He has slumped in the latest election polls against his virtual Democratic rival, former Vice President Joseph Biden.
The numbers are especially troubling for Trump in key states he won in the 2016 election, such as Michigan or Pennsylvania, and even endanger forts such as Florida, the new focus of the US pandemic.
More than 150,000 people have died and more than 4.4 million have been infected, which makes the United States the worst case of the new coronavirus in absolute numbers in the world.
According to the average of surveys carried out by RealClearPolitics, Biden is a favorite in states that the Republican cannot lose if he wants to be reelected like Wisconsin, Florida or North Carolina.
In April, Biden predicted in a donor event that Trump would try to justify a delay in the elections, something that is not only complicated legislatively, but logistically it would force to modify the process of appointment of the members of the electoral college that determine the election of the new president.
This system, by which the delegates support the election of the president, depends in part on the states, which could rebel against the change of date and in essence exercise a veto and put the American democratic system in an unprecedented crisis since the civil war (1861-1865).