Will Trump use his political misfortune as an opportunity to suspend the Constitution and postpone or cancel the 2020 election? Once the stuff of tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorists, Trump gave every indication that he’s a proponent of the idea in a tweet he sent out yesterday.
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
“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???”
Trumpist Republicans and members of the pro-Trump “conservative” media have been trampling over each other in a race to douse the flames of Trump’s moronic statement with declarations that postponing the election as Trump is suggesting is impossible under the Constitution. But is it really?
The Constitution allows for the suspension of habeas corpus — sometimes referred to martial law — “when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety [requires] it.” When that happens, the Constitution is “temporarily” put aside in the name of “safety.”
We were given a picture of what that can look like during WWII when Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the confinement of hundreds of thousands of Americans of Japanese descent following Pearl Harbor and declared martial law over the territory of Hawaii.
There was a time in more recent history — 2014 to be exact — when conspiracy theorists and faux conservatives who fully support Trump were extremely concerned about the possibility that Obama would use his failure to address illegal immigration and pandemics as an opportunity to suspend the Constitution, declare martial law, and cancel the 2016 election. And while many saw this as the conspiracy theory it was, Obama had established a reputation as an egomaniacal narcissist who possessed little regard for the Constitution. This led many, including members of the GOP, to consider the possibility that this unlikely event might actually happen.
Wait a minute. Illegal immigration failure? Pandemic failure? Egomaniacal narcissist? Little regard for the Constitution? Is it just me, or does that sound exactly like the Trump presidency?
Of course, Obama never declared martial law, but with a never-ending assault on the Constitution equal to. if not exceeding. Obama’s, it’s fair to wonder if Trump might be the one to pull the trigger — especially since he is openly suggesting doing so. Unfortunately, if he ever decided to do so, he would most likely enjoy the full support of his cultish followers.
In the summer of 2017, Trump — a conspiracy theorist in his own right — was spreading an unsubstantiated story about how millions of illegal immigrants voted in 2016, costing him the popular vote. While everyone not drinking the orange Kool-Aid saw this claim for what it was — the rantings of an egomaniacal narcissist — there was a frightening number of Republicans who believed him. So many, in fact, that they expressed a desire to see Trump do what was inconceivable under Obama.
According to a Washington Post survey of over 1000 adults, with an emphasis on 650 voters who were Republican or leaned Republican, 52 percent of respondents expressed their support of postponing the 2020 election, if Trump declared it, until the imaginary illegal immigration voter problem was fixed. The number increased to 56 percent if both Trump and congressional Republicans called for the postponement. Actions once condemned under Obama were now being condoned under Trump.
Trump has often joked about being president beyond the constitutionally allowed eight years, and he once referred to the limitations placed on the presidency by the Constitution as “archaic.”
In an attempt to change the topic, Trump did a U-turn late yesterday, but after four years of simpleminded behavior like this, his effort fell on deaf ears.
After all is said and done, Trump’s allegedly rhetorical threat to suspend the Constitution and delay the 2020 election either proves how incompetent he is be President of the United States, or how ignorant he is about the Constitution.
If I were a betting man, I’d put every cent I have on both.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.