March for voting rights, Dec. 10, 2011. Occupy Wall Street joined the NAACP as thousands marched in midtown Manhattan to defend voting rights.
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As the presidential race grinds on, more blue-leaning voters are expressing worry that Trump will "cancel the election."
I don't doubt that there are moments when Trump likes the idea of being a dictator or some kind of "president for life." After all, he's joked about it multiple times. But then, he has a history of both bluster and contradiction, so it's hard to know how seriously to take him at any given moment. He could very well be fine with walking away after a single term to pursue other narcissistic projects that don't demand as much of his time. For what it's worth, Melania would mostly likely be thrilled if she didn't have to put up with four more years.
Concerns about an "imperial presidency" are real, of course. The office began accruing more staff and power under FDR, and the burgeoning accelerated as time went on, especially after 9/11. This trend has plowed forward regardless of which party holds the White House, and no branch of government has attempted to check it in any meaningful way. Roll-backs have not been even lightly entertained, let alone undertaken. For this reason, Trump is the most powerful president in US history simply for being the current one.
This week, the subject of presidential power flared up in the media because Trump remarked at a press conference: "When somebody's the president of the United States," he claimed, "the authority is total."
Constitutionally, that's total bunk. Well-known attorney Floyd Abrams stated that: "President Trump's assertion" is not just a breezy overstatement of his powers; it is a prime example of constitutional illiteracy."
Trump is not alone in his illiteracy. I grew up in Nebraska, and it seemed like a lot of people there believed that kind of thing. But how different are the blue voters now when they assert that Trump will just "cancel" the election? Isn't that just as blithe?
I understand that people can get a perverse thrill from throwing around this kind of thing, but a sober look as laid out here: "What Happens If Trump Tries To Cancel The Election Because Of The Coronavirus?"reveals that "a president cannot defer an election unilaterally. And even with support in much of Congress and the states, it would be extremely difficult, perhaps logistically impossible, to postpone the presidential general election."
To wit, the process of how presidential elections and terms are decided is full of devilish details that can't just be lightly tossed aside. A multitude of authorities would have something to say, including 50 different states with their legislatures and governors.
Extralegally, the corporate elite would probably prefer to avoid the "bad optics" of a canceled election. Social upheaval and uncertainty can be bad for the bottom line.
And what about the military? Would all the top brass just willingly go along? How about all the enlisted people? Aren't there some who take their oaths to defend the Constitution very earnestly?
So no, I don't really think that "canceling the election" is as easy as just saying it, even with COVID-19.
As for his recent assertion of "total" authority, Trump has gotten pushback from Republicans too. Keep in mind that "state's rights"not the racist dog whistle sense of that phrase, but the legitimate constitutional concept is a deadly serious subject for a whole crowd out there.
But most importantly, Trump doesn't have to cancel the election to stay in power. Not when there's so many ways to just steal it, as the Republicans have been getting better and better at doing for years.
Voter suppression of likely Democratic voters is a real thing, but people don't think about it because the mainstream media doesn't talk about it. One has to follow the work of independent journalists like Greg Palast to keep up on the subject.
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