President Donald Trump is pleased to test the limits of the Republican Party on issues such as race, commerce, and immigration. Now it has hit a wall: influential Republicans from all states were quick to reject the president’s suggestion that the November election – something he cannot do without congressional approval – would need to be postponed due to the possibility of fraud. It was an unexpected rebuke from Republicans to their president, but it might not last, as the truth is, many need to get closer to Trump and his fervent fan base.
The day before, many Republicans were quick to assure voters that the election will take place on the day the Constitution provides, as has happened for more than two centuries. Senator Chuck Grassley put it bluntly: “I can only say that it doesn’t matter what an individual says in this country. We continue to be a country based on the rule of law and we want to abide by the law. ”
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu vowed that his state would hold elections in November as scheduled: “and it’s over.” Representative Liz Cheney, head of the Republican lower house conference, said: “Republican resistance to this idea is overwhelming.” Republican leaders in both houses, who have endorsed Trump in Congress for four years, also distanced themselves from the idea of a delayed election.
Despite Republicans’ quick reprimand of Trump, it could fade over time. There was little opposition from the right to Trump’s broader questioning of the legitimacy of the November election, such as his insinuation that a delayed result due to the vote by mail would be a sign of fraud. The reality is that all Republicans who also participate in the Nov. 3 race need to have Trump’s fervent base on their side in order to stand a chance of winning.
This dynamic has forced Trump-backed politicians to strike a delicate balance between condemning the president’s most outrageous behaviors and ideas and not beating himself up with his staunch supporters. At the same time, many Republican leaders must bear the brunt of the health, economic, and social crises that the government has been unable to master.
The government announced Thursday that the economy suffered a vertiginous contraction of 32.9% annually in the last quarter as the pandemic causes a wave of layoffs that shows no sign of dwindling.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves told The Associated Press of his fear of “a new wave of economic contraction” as he struggles to enforce a second strict quarantine amid a flare-up of the contagion. The Republican president said he will do “everything possible” to avoid a new quarantine, but that he could not rule out that possibility.
Reeves urged Trump to issue a message in his campaign focused on his ability to revive the economy, something that many Republican leaders have suggested to him, although the president has shown little interest in a coherent message.
Reeves said he opposes changing the election date, but remains “100% committed to doing everything possible to help Trump defeat Democrat Joe Biden in November.
A Trump henchman, Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, said he will support postponing the election “until things return to normal so people can go.”
“If it takes a few more months, then so be it,” Falwell said in an interview in which he raised the possibility of limiting the president’s powers if the delay extends beyond his term.
Trump cannot change the election date without the approval of Congress, and leaders of both parties have clearly said they will oppose it, but Trump’s ultimate goal may well have to do not so much with the date but questioning the results if he loses.
Current polls indicate that Trump is disadvantaged by a significant margin in several key states.
The president did not deny that he was trying to question the results of the elections. At a press conference on Thursday he repeatedly mentioned the possibility of fraud, which is virtually non-existent in American politics.
“I don’t want a delay. I want the election to be made, but I also do not want to wait three months only to discover that the ballots are missing and that the election does not mean anything, “he said and insisted on the possibility of” a rigged election. “