President Trump’s concerning remarks on Twitter (of course, where else?) making the unfounded claim that an increase in postal voting would see the upcoming presidential elections in November as ‘the most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history’, have seen many turn against him, not least members of his own party.
This is a tune he’s been knocking out since the 2016 election campaign, suggesting that if he were to lose to Hilary Clinton it would be down to serious voting irregularities, he stated “voter fraud is very, very common,”. He would not only suggest that voters had been bused in from neighboring states to vote against him, but the dead themselves had risen to wrestle away the reigns of power from him with their bony fingers.
Even when Trump did win the presidency in 2016, he still couldn’t help himself from crying foul of a result that saw him defeat Clinton. Despite winning the Electoral College, not also securing the popular vote would leave a bitter taste in Trump’s mouth. Claiming that anywhere from 3 to 5 million “illegal” votes were cast, many were quick to step in counter this.
This brings us back to today and the questionable statements made by the Commander and Chief on Fox News Sunday during an interview with Chris Wallace. Again Trump would allude to any loss being down to the rigging of the election but more worrisome was when Wallace pressed him on whether he would except the results of the election in November should he lose, with Biden maintaining a double-digit lead in the current polls suggesting he will. When being asked by Wallace for a direct answer, Trump could only reply with ‘I have to see’.
There are many questions, not just about whether the president will step aside should the results go against him, but why he seems so eager or desperate to cling on to the reigns of power. Does he have an inkling at what could be waiting for him on the other side? He is already the target of a slew of congressional, state and federal investigations into his business practices. So his fear of a post-presidential prosecution could be high on his list of fears.
To receive a Richard Nixon style pardon from the apparent president in waiting, seems highly unlikely. However a presidential pardon would not cover all his crimes and misdemeanors, especially not the situation involving a certain Playboy model and a certain adult-film star. Trump’s long time former lawyer Michael Cohen, the one who facilitated the aforementioned payments, may also reveal more of the sitting president’s dodgy, if not illegal, doings when his tell all book is released.
The coronavirus is also being used to the president’s advantage, although he initially declared it a hoax. As the numbers continue to rise, many states have started to reintroduce restrictions to try and keep this potential second wave at bay. Trump suggested that the elections should be postponed due to this health crisis, despite making continuously false statements and stating he doesn’t bear any responsibility for the crisis not being dealt with.
Much like with the allegations of widespread voter fraud, many have been quick to publicly state that they do not agree with this course of action. Many have pointed out that the president couldn’t cancel the election even if he wanted to. Federal law requires that the election should be held on the first Tuesday after the 1st Monday in November. Legislation would be the only way to change that and it would have to be passed by Congress and then signed by the president.
No individual action could be taken by Trump, such as signing an executive order due to a national emergency or disaster declaration. Even if he declared martial law, the election would still not be postponed. One interesting (if not terrifying) thing to note is that not only has Trump already flexed his muscles by sending in the heavies to strong arm mainly peaceful protestors, many of Trump’s base do tend to love their Second Amendment rights.
No one truly knows what will happen come November. The likelihood of Trump serving a second term is becoming smaller and smaller the closer we get to election day, but the idea that Trump could undermine the election results or just plain refuse to leave office is gaining some worrying steam.