Editorials: What Happens When Trump Refuses to Accept an Electoral Loss? | Lawrence Douglas/LitHub

Trump’s tweet from Thursday should concern all Americans, regardless of political affiliation. We have never had a delayed presidential election in our history—not during the Civil War, not during the Second World War. The fact that Trump lacks the power to delay an election—only Congress could do that—provides cold comfort. The very idea that he would float the idea smacks of the kind of threat to peaceful succession that is the focus of my book. Imagine the following scenario: It’s November 3, 2020, election day. The most expensive—and nastiest—presidential race in US history is over. Turnout is light but only because the COVID-19 outbreak has led tens of millions to vote by absentee ballot. By the time polls close on the West Coast, the race remains too close to call. President Trump carries the crucial swing state of Ohio, keeping his chances of a second term alive. But shortly after midnight, CNN projects that Joe Biden has won Pennsylvania, giving him 283 electoral votes, 13 more than the 270 needed for victory. Wolf Blitzer announces that Biden has been elected the 46th president of the United States. The other major networks also declare Biden the winner, with one exception—Fox. At 2 am, Biden delivers a short speech to his jubilant supporters. He notes, to a chorus of boos, that President Trump has not yet called to congratulate him and expresses the hope that he will be hearing from the president shortly. His wait is in vain; the call never comes. And so begins a constitutional crisis of unprecedented gravity. Trump’s refusal to accept defeat is not possible or even probable—it is all but inevitable.

National: Republicans Reject Trump’s Suggestion to Delay Election, Something He Cannot Do | The New York Times

Top Republicans on Thursday rejected President Trump’s suggestion that the Nov. 3 general election be delayed — something he has no authority to order. “Never in the history of the federal elections have we not held an election and we should go forward,” said Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, adding that he understood “the president’s concern about mail-in voting.” Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, declined to answer questions on Capitol Hill, but dismissed Mr. Trump’s suggestion in an interview with WNKY television in Bowling Green, Ky. “Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions, and the Civil War have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time, and we’ll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3,” Mr. McConnell said. “We’ll cope with whatever the situation is and have the election on Nov. 3 as already scheduled.” Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, 2016 rivals for the Republican presidential nomination who have since become staunch Trump supporters, both dismissed the idea that Election Day could change. Senator Lindsey Graham, Mr. Trump’s foremost public defender in the Senate, said there would be a safe vote in November. And officials in key swing states showed little interest in engaging on the topic. “We’re going to have an election, it’s going to be legitimate, it’s going to be credible, it’s going to be the same as it’s always been,” Mr. Rubio told reporters at the Capitol in Washington. Mr. Cruz agreed. “I think election fraud is a serious problem,” he said. “But no, we should not delay the election.” Even for Mr. Trump, suggesting a delay in the election is an extraordinary breach of presidential decorum that will increase the chances that he and his core supporters don’t accept the legitimacy of the election should he lose to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

National: Trump floats idea of delaying the November election, a power granted to Congress, as he ramps up attacks on voting by mail | Amy Gardner and John Wagner/The Washington Post

President Trump drew immediate rebukes from Republicans and Democrats alike on Thursday after floating the prospect of delaying the November election and claiming without evidence that widespread mail balloting would be a “catastrophic disaster” leading to fraudulent results. “With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” Trump tweeted. “It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???” Trump gave no indication that he will push for the date change — or that he thinks he has the power to do so. The U.S. Constitution gives the power to regulate the “time, place and manner” of general elections to the U.S. House and Senate, with Congress also empowered to alter the rules. States control the dates of primary elections. Nowhere is the president granted such power. In addition, the Constitution spells out a hard end to a president’s and vice president’s terms on Jan. 20 in the year following a presidential election. “The President has no power to change the date of the election,” said Richard L. Hasen, a law professor at the University of California at Irvine. “This is yet another statement by the President which undermines voter confidence and that seeks without evidence to undermine the legitimacy of voting by mail.” Democrats and Republicans alike quickly condemned the president’s tweet, many expressing alarm at the president’s apparent disregard for the limits of his power.