Palmer Report warned you that as Donald Trump fell more hopelessly behind in the election, he would start making empty threats about canceling the election, or refusing to leave office if he loses. These aren’t things that Trump can actually do; they’re laughably ludicrous. But Trump was always going to test your gullibility, to see if he could get you to fall for these kinds of empty threats.
Sure enough, this morning Trump tweeted “Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???” If you’re scared by this tweet, you just failed the gullibility test. The President of the United States can’t move the election; the Constitution gives that power solely to Congress, and we all know Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn’t going to postpone or cancel the election.
Trump can no more postpone the election than I can flap my arms and turn into a bird. Nothing works that way. No matter how much Trump might wish he could postpone the election, no matter how loudly he might hint that he’s going to postpone the election, and no matter how many or few pundits decide to try to milk such a narrative for ratings, it’s still not a real thing. So why is he even talking about it?
Donald Trump is the world’s worst dealmaker, but he’s still a dealmaker. If he can con enough of you into believing that he can magically postpone the election, then you’ll give him something in return (a legislative victory, for instance) for him agreeing not to postpone the election. Similarly, if Trump can fool enough of you into believing that he can just magically stay in office after he loses, then you’ll give him something in return (immunity from federal prosecution for his crimes, for instance) in exchange for leaving office peacefully.
Trump is trying to play you for a sucker. He’s hoping that after nearly four years of this nightmare, you’re so worn down that you won’t think things through clearly. He’s done so many other horrible things, the thinking goes, that perhaps he’ll do this too. Except he literally can’t postpone the election. It’ll take place on November 3rd, with or without his participation or approval. And he literally can’t refuse to leave office after January 20th; Joe Biden would be sworn in anyway, and Trump would be dragged out for trespassing.
Some media pundits are already lining up to try to scare you into staying tuned in to their TV shows and Twitter feeds by pushing the notion perhaps Donald Trump really can magically postpone the election. They’ll insist that if you brush off this imaginary threat, it means you’re not being vigilant enough. They’re full of crap.
Vigilance is when you still continue to work hard on things like voter registration and turnout, even when your candidate is ten points ahead. What these pundits are pushing is gullibility – and Trump is more than happy to take advantage of it by making these kinds of false threats and trying to con his way into getting something in return. Should you be outraged that Trump is threatening to postpone the election? Of course. Should you treat it like it’s something he can actually do? Of course not. Don’t fall for his con. Like everything else involving Trump, it’s a sucker’s bet.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report