National: Trump can’t delay the election. But his tweet is terrifying | Erwin Chemerinsky/Los Angeles Times
Once again, President Trump has shown his ignorance of the Constitution and federal law in raising the question on Twitter of whether the November presidential election should be delayed. To be clear, President Trump has absolutely no legal authority to do this. The date for the election is set by federal statute and can be changed only by Congress. But that didn’t stop Trump from tweeting on Thursday morning, “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???” The president, who is significantly down in the polls, clearly does not want the election to be held in November, and it’s hard not to interpret his tweet as a blatant, if desperate, attempt to stay in office past the end of his term. Thankfully, the Constitution gives him no way to do this. The Constitution explicitly gives to Congress the power to set the date for national elections. For the first half-century of American history, each state set its own election date and balloting for the presidential election stretched out over six months.