The headline in The Washington Post:
In A New Poll, Half Of Republicans Say They Would Support Postponing The 2020 Election If Trump Proposed It
Thus far, Trump has not proposed such a move, but if he gets wind that half of his party would support it, I would not be surprised to see him begin thinking along those lines.
It started over Trump’s claim that there was widespread voting fraud last year that ultimately cost him the popular vote. That really seems to eat at him, even though he is the one sitting in the Oval Office … or, rather, on a golf course in New Jersey at the moment. The claim has been proven to be a lie, there was no widespread voter fraud, and Trump actually lost the election despite Putin’s best efforts. But … perhaps more importantly, a substantial number of republicans believe Trump, even though his claim has been disproven multiple times.
With that in mind, The Washington Post performed a survey of 1,325 Americans from June 5th through June 20th. Granted, this is too small a sample to be considered representative, but nonetheless, it is chilling. The questions asked were whether Trump won the popular vote, whether millions of illegal immigrants voted, and how often voter fraud occurs. Then they were asked two additional questions:
- If Donald Trump were to say that the 2020 presidential election should be postponed until the country can make sure that only eligible American citizens can vote, would you support or oppose postponing the election?
- What if both Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress were to say that the 2020 presidential election should be postponed until the country can make sure that only eligible American citizens can vote? Would you support or oppose postponing the election?
And the results are that nearly half of Republicans surveyed (47%) believe that Trump won the popular vote. Larger fractions believe that millions of illegal immigrants voted (68%) and that voter fraud happens somewhat or very often (73%). 52% said that they would support postponing the 2020 election, and 56% said they would do so if both Trump and Republicans in Congress were behind this.
As the Post cautions, “Of course, our survey is only measuring reactions to a hypothetical situation. Were Trump to seriously propose postponing the election, there would be a torrent of opposition, which would most likely include prominent Republicans. Financial markets would presumably react negatively to the potential for political instability. And this is to say nothing of the various legal and constitutional complications that would immediately become clear.”
Do I think it likely to happen? No, not under the current circumstances. Then why do I even bring it up? Because, while I do not think it likely, or even possible, under the current circumstances, I can see circumstances altering, if Trump remains in office until 2020, that may change that assessment dramatically. As has been his trademark thus far, his incitement of violence and fear could convince a large portion of the nation that there is a credible threat, real or contrived, that must be dealt with in a manner that must ‘temporarily’ suspend a portion of our democratic freedoms.
I am merely speculating, but I do not think we can afford to dismiss the idea as the ravings of a nutty Filosofa. In the words of David Frum writing for the Atlantic …
“No society, not even one as rich and fortunate as the United States has been, is guaranteed a successful future. When early Americans wrote things like “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” they did not do so to provide bromides for future bumper stickers. They lived in a world in which authoritarian rule was the norm, in which rulers habitually claimed the powers and assets of the state as their own personal property.
The exercise of political power is different today than it was then—but perhaps not so different as we might imagine. Larry Diamond, a sociologist at Stanford, has described the past decade as a period of “democratic recession.” Worldwide, the number of democratic states has diminished. Within many of the remaining democracies, the quality of governance has deteriorated.”
I think it behooves us to be “eternally vigilant”.