This should come as no surprise. After all, the president’s son, Donald Trump Junior floated this idea not too long ago. This is to delay the general election. So today the President did the same, and this should be no surprise. There are several reasons for this. First Donald Trump trails in the polls, and likely will lose in a landslide. If there is something he cannot accept is that he is not as popular as he believes he is. He even told us this the other day, during one of his pressers. While 150,000 have died from COVID, he aired his grievances. People listen to the experts, but “nobody likes me.” It was a very revealing moment when Trump showed the scared boy that still lives inside that damaged shell.
Realize that he also said he would not accept the results in 2016 either. Again, he is in some ways that a very scared boy who is still in a shell, the bully who cannot believe maybe there will be consequences. This will be the first time in his life where he is rejected and suffers very real effects for his actions. So if this is surprising to you, it’s time to start paying attention. We have been moving towards this moment for some time.
So why today? Trump knows how to capture the news cycle. We know that last quarter the economy contracted by one third. According to the Washington Post:
The second-quarter report on gross domestic product covers some of the economy’s worst weeks in living memory when commercial activity ground to a halt, millions of Americans lost their jobs and the nation went into lockdown. Yet economists say the data should also serve as a cautionary tale for what is at stake if the recovery slips away, especially as rising coronavirus cases in some states have forced businesses to close once again.
On Thursday, the government also reported that jobless claims increased once again last week to 1.4 million, another sign any recovery is stalling out.
GDP shrank at an annual rate of 32.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the agency that publishes the statistics on quarterly economic activity. While it usually stresses the annualized rate, that figure is less useful this quarter because the economy is unlikely to experience another collapse like it did in the second quarter.
This is the largest contraction in American economic history, and it goes against his claim that the economy is recovering. For Trump, this is the end, and he likely knows it. So he tweeted the inflammatory tweet to cause a media storm.
Then there is the burial of John Lewis, which is also taking oxygen out of the room. This morning it is not about Trump, but Lewis. And this is not something that the president knows how to deal with. He always, always need attention around him. And every other living president was either there, or sent a message. Trump, in classic form, did not.
Here are some important facts about that Tweet.
Trump has no authority to change the date of the election. This authority lies wholly in Congress, which is divided. They are not going to agree to this, full stop.
Trump is desperate to mobilize the fringe who have placed all their hopes and dreams of a white Apartheid nation. Some may very well be and there is some noise in places like 8Kun and 4Chan where they realize likely this is over. Some of us, who keep an eye on those sites have noticed that they are starting to give up and realize this is likely over. This tweet injected some oxygen into the movement that Trump leads. However not enough.
This delegitimization of the results, even before the first ballot is cast is dangerous and will likely lead to violence. This fringe that believes in Trump and the Cult of 45 is ready to go to war for him, or at least some are. Some of these events are classic stochastic terrorism. As some in the cult engage in violence, this will lead to more people abandoning them.
Realize though that the paranoid nature of American politics means that the best we all can do is banish this thinking to the fringes, where it’s lived for most of American history. It will be with us, but it is time to banish the crazy uncle back to the corner.