Congressional Republican Leadership Reject Trump’s Election Delay

McConnell and McCarthy both reject the notion of a delay.

Via the NYT: 2020 Election Live Updates: Republicans Reject Trump’s Suggestion to Delay Election, Something He Cannot Do.

Thankfully, the top ranking Republicans in both chambers of Congress have quickly rejected Trump’s morning Twitter musings about delaying the election.

“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.”

McCarthy earns demerits, however, for adding credence to Trump’s ongoing attempt to undercut trust in vote-by-mail.

“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.”

Others in the GOP who have weighed in include:

“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.”

[…]

“Make no mistake: the election will happen in New Hampshire on November 3rd. End of story,” Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, a Republican who is also facing re-election in November, wrote on Twitter. “Our voting system in NH is secure, safe, and reliable. We have done it right 100% of the time for 100 years — this year will be no different.”

On the one hand, credit for quickly coming out and responding, but the jabs about fraud are unhelpful and further Trump’s attempts to undermine trust.

I would also say that more forceful condemnation is needed as this is not just about an abstract question about if an election can be postponed but, rather, a clear move into authoritarian rhetoric that should not be acceptable in our political discourse.

So credit to GOP leadership for saying something, but shame on them for not being forceful in that condemnation.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Mikey says:

    Mr. Cruz agreed. “I think election fraud is a serious problem,” he said.

    Just a reminder: there is no evidence whatsoever that supports Cruz’s assertion. No. Evidence. Whatsoever. He’s lying, just as Trump and the rest of his lickspittles are lying.

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  2. CSK says:

    I suspect they’re pretty sure he’ll be gone soon, one way or the other, so they no longer have to cater to him.

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  3. Kathy says:

    Electoral fraud is a serious problem, according to the GOP. So serous, that they do nothing to investigate it, spend not a penny to prevent it, look the other way when another country meddles in the election, and so transparently use it as a fig leaf to cover their own unpopularity they should be ashamed of themselves.

    The main reason so many oppose postponing the election is they have their own campaigns to think about, and can’t afford the expense a delay would cost, not to mention the chance that the GOP brand will be even more tarnished weeks or months later when the election finally takes place.

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Mr. Cruz agreed. “I think election fraud is a serious problem,” he said. “But no, we should not delay the election.”

    Republican? Heal thy party.

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  5. Gustopher says:

    Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, a Republican who is also facing re-election in November, wrote on Twitter. “Our voting system in NH is secure, safe, and reliable. We have done it right 100% of the time for 100 years — this year will be no different.”

    What happened in New Hampshire in 1920?

    I get that it’s a round number, but New Hampshire is quite a bit older than that.

    If I were to say “I haven’t murdered anyone in a decade,” it would be true, but it raises questions about the four decades before that.

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  6. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Oddly enough I actually thought leading R’s would reject this. They expect him to lose in November too, and I think Jeff Flake and others are right that privately they want him gone nearly as much as the rest of us do. They don’t want to delay his exit either!

    Still useless, feckless, cowards of course. Lying about fraud too. But the election is going to happen.

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  7. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    I’ll add, I don’t expect many Congressional Republicans (at least those not in an election year or who win their elections) to spend much time claiming fraud post-election either. Most of them will be happy to see his backside.

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  8. Mister Bluster says:

    Wouldn’t Trump have to suspend the Constitution first?

    Oh, wait. He already has…

    Article II allows me to do whatever I want.
    Supreme Emperor Trump

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  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: But in 2 years we will hear the pre-election wails of voter fraud all over again.

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  10. JohnMcC says:

    @CSK: If Mr Cruz, Rubio and fellows expect to have a future in the Republican Party, they know that the people to whom they will be appealing are people who voted for Mr Trump twice.

    Think about that.

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  11. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Alternate Headline:
    Congressional Republican Leadership Admit Trump is not Mentally Competent

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  12. Joe says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    Most of them will be happy to see his backside.

    How could they miss it?

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  13. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Gustopher:

    He’s exaggerating and forgot the 1974 Wyman-Durkin fiasco. At the time, NH ballots were literally sheets of paper with boxes on them. If the voter could find the box they wanted and at times it took several chances, they would make a mark. It should have been an X, but whatever.

    As a result NH finally spent the money to modernize the balloting system.

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  14. An Interested Party says:

    The main reason so many oppose postponing the election is they have their own campaigns to think about, and can’t afford the expense a delay would cost, not to mention the chance that the GOP brand will be even more tarnished weeks or months later when the election finally takes place.

    This is the key…of course they said all the right things about not postponing an election (what other choice do they have?) but tossing in all these lies about election fraud is too much…they, along with this president, need to suffer serious defeat in November…they neither impeached nor removed him when they had the chance, despite his obvious crimes, so they must also pay a price for sticking by this loser for as long as they have…

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  15. Scott F. says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: I see no evidence that Republicans will be “happy to see [Trump’s] backside.” Certainly they are sick of Trump as a political operator and as an untethered person, but Trump losing would leave them out of power. They could have gotten rid of Trump through impeachment, but they chose otherwise. It is self-evident that Republicans would rather be in power with Trump than out of power without him.

    Instead, I see this small demonstration of push-back from Republicans as Exhibit 800 in the ongoing GOP exasperation with Trump saying the quiet parts out loud. Postponing the election is too blatant a power grab even for them. Discrediting the results, therefore delegitimizing the winner, is much closer to the dog-whistling with which the Republicans are more comfortable.

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  16. inhumans99 says:

    Clearly, President Trump floated this idea and it went over like a lead balloon. Instead of this story making me nervous about the election it just makes me chuckle. The GOP is not going to delay the election on Trump’s say so and as nutty as I think today’s GOP is I never even felt for a second that they would agree with delaying the election.

    Also, Mr. President..stop, just stop, your “tell” is glaringly obvious to anyone with eyes (heck, as the saying goes even a blind man can see your tell)…letting everyone know how nervous you are about your chances of being re-elected right now just accelerates your lame duck President status that you will be tagged with soon enough.

    Also, for gosh’s sake…take the advice of Michael Reynolds and a jillion other folks around you and self-pardon, resign, flee. While the validity of your self-pardon winds its way through the courts you will have time to sneak out of the country (it can be done, wasn’t it a politician in SC that was not noticed as being out of the country until several weeks had passed?) and I do second going to the Philippine Islands because well, as you already know Mr. President Putin is not really your friend so I would not turn to Russia for asylum.

    Even Politico has an article up today saying Trump might just choose to resign…folks are starting to not roll their eyes and claim it will never happen when it comes to the idea that Trump may just voluntarily give up on pursuing a second term.

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  17. Kathy says:

    @inhumans99:

    The best likely outcome for his ego, which is the only part of himself he cares about, would be to become the Republicans’ own Lost Cause. A martyr to the deep state, and to an ungrateful electorate that failed to appreciate his Brilliance and Magnificence.

    If he resigns after losing the election, odds are the GOP will absolutely hate him for it.

    Explanation: if he was going to resign when things got tough, he should have done so before the election, giving the party time to either hold primaries to select a candidate, or to name one through internal party processes.

    Instead he’d be handing them a defeat, extending perhaps to loss of the Senate for two years. And if Biden gets his head on straight and packs the Supreme Court (which he should), they’d lose even that.

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  18. JohnSF says:

    IMHO the messaging re. “concerns” about fraud is not that they believe it for one moment.
    It’s just a desperate attempt to avoid the Trumpkin base declaring war on them.

    What will be interesting, is if Trump now denounces those who have, even hesitantly, contradicted him.
    A full on Trumpkin vs Establishment civil war would be … interesting.

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  19. JohnSF says:

    @inhumans99:
    I wonder if if even the Philippines would take him, and perhaps more importantly, if they’d keep him.

    If you aren’t a Power, being on the wrong end of FinCen, and various other sanctions, is unlikely to be a pleasant experience.

    Duterte may be a autocratic thug, but is he a terminally stupid autocratic thug?

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  20. Michael Reynolds says:

    We can’t retaliate against the Philippines because: bases. The deciding factor would be how much money Trump still has to throw around. I imagine Duterte’s already stolen quite a bit so Trump may not have the cash to interest him. In which case Duterte can play games, will I extradite him or won’t I?

    Another interesting question is how Putin will play it. I’m sure he’d love to publicly acknowledge the greatest espionage coup in post WW2 history. He’ll know that any chance at relaxing sanctions is DOA with Democrats. He’ll be in something like the position the Japanese found themselves in on December 8, 1941: Oh shit, we picked a fight we cannot win. Putin will have a future as Xi’s pet dog or watch helplessly as his revived Russia settles back into poverty and impotence.

    I don’t see Trump actually leading some lost cause movement. He’ll tweet and talk nonsense, but he will be a loser by any standard, and movements don’t usually rally around losers. Someone like Tom Cotton will try to seize the fallen standard, but I’m not feeling it.

    More likely IMO is that the GOP fractures into #Cult45 diehards and everyone else. The Cult is ~25% of the country and psychologically they already see themselves as losers – winners don’t do conspiracy theories. The Cult craves defeat at some level because their core emotion is self-pity. They expect defeat. They thrive on resentment.

    The ‘everyone else’ GOP is Never Trumpers, shamefaced ‘moderates’ like Rubio trying to clean the Trump stink off themselves, and of course, major portions of Big Bidness. Big Bidness does not like terrorism or militias, or for that matter, racism, misogyny and homophobia, all of which are bad for profits. They like stability, predictability, and money. If they’re to have Washington handmaidens they need a functioning, business-friendly party.

    The ~25% of overt racists/culties will find itself opposed by the Dems and the new GOP, 75% of the country. That’s not a springboard to power.

    In the end I suspect Trump will have inoculated the country against strong men, and pushed the country firmly toward a greater degree of socialism.

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  21. Kathy says:

    This is unexpected. And quick.

    I’ll leave the headline as is: Federalist Society co-founder calls for Trump’s impeachment

    Translation, with apologies to Douglas Adams, “So long and thanks for all the judges!”

    There are like half a million reasons why this is not possible and won’t happen, but perhaps at last the cracks are showing.

    I would ask Mr. Calabresi: given we won’t see an impeachment, much less a Senate trial, before November 3rd, will you vote to reelect Trump?

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  22. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I don’t see Trump actually leading some lost cause movement.

    He doesn’t have to. He can let others lead, so long as he gets to hold rallies where he receives endless, brainless cheers, and makes some money selling T-shirts, hats, etc. to the rubes who love him for some reason.

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  23. grumpy realist says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I remember watching a movie on Japanese TV which dealt with the planning for the attack on Pearl Harbor. A bunch of military strategists were game-playing out what would happen and realised very quickly that Japan would get its arse kicked. The problem was that they couldn’t get anyone else in the military to listen to them–or–worse–even if they listened, to do anything about it.

    (A hell of a lot of Japanese military activity was carried out by younger (and much more enthusiastic) officers who didn’t want to hear that their ideas weren’t going to work out. And the upper military didn’t dare complain because it would show that they didn’t have control of military command. A lot of people don’t realise that there was an attempted coup d’etat by part of the military inside Japan even after Nagasaki.)

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  24. An Interested Party says:

    He can let others lead, so long as he gets to hold rallies where he receives endless, brainless cheers, and makes some money selling T-shirts, hats, etc. to the rubes who love him for some reason.

    Surely these rallies won’t be held while the pandemic is still raging? If so, he can add population control to the list of his many accomplishments…of course, in a way, he’s already done that…

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  25. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kathy:
    Imagine that Hitler had survived WW2 but was half as smart and 20 years older. You’d immediately have in-fighting between factions struggling to seize the crown. And the struggle would be within a largely rural, older, poorer base. Within a year their memberships would be 20% FBI undercovers. The world will move on past.

    @grumpy realist:
    Indeed. It was the emperor who in effect ended it. Why not? He didn’t have to commit ritual suicide.

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  26. CSK says:

    @An Interested Party:
    The only thing that would prevent Trump from holding a rally during a raging pandemic would be the threat of low attendance. That’s why he bailed on his New Hampshire wingding a few weeks ago. His campaign found out that the turnout was going to be miniscule.

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  27. de stijl says:

    Future Republican: Who is Trump? Oh, yeah. Him. I didn’t vote for him. I voted for the Libertarian guy whose name I cannot recall.

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  28. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Good point.
    Duterte could threaten to throw in his lot with China; and given current Sino-American relations that would carry some weight.

    He seems to be rather worried(understandably) about the Philipines being caught between two superpowers.

    OTOH it’s a high risk play for him to burn his boats with the US and become dependent on the goodwill of Beijing.

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  29. de stijl says:

    Their support is conditional.

    Bush 43 went from hero to goat in two years and that was when he was still President.

    Rs will ignore / disavow Trump in the instant he is no longer useful.

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  30. ImProPer says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    “Another interesting question is how Putin will play it. I’m sure he’d love to publicly acknowledge the greatest espionage coup in post WW2 history.”

    Personally I’m rooting for the Putin route.
    I can picture something like Putin inviting him over to the castle, for a little triumphant display of his great coup. Then the following inevitably of something coming coming up missing, like some Faberge eggs off the mantel.
    As far as who Trump tries to blame, I think its a toss up between the Russian news and Jared.

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  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Fox Host: Trump’s Suggested Election Delay Is A ‘Flagrant Expression Of His Current Weakness’

    Fox News host and politics editor Chris Stirewalt asserted Thursday that President Donald Trump suggesting that the November elections ought to be delayed doesn’t bode well for his reelection prospects.

    During an appearance on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” Stirewalt rejected Trump’s argument for postponing the election until people can “safely” vote amid COVID-19, pointing out how the country has historically held elections during wars and other pandemics.

    “And the idea for an incumbent to suggest that we would delay an election now while he is in power is of course totally out of character with all of his predecessors and it is a sort of fragrant and flagrant expression of his current weakness,” Stirewalt said. “A person who is in a strong position would never, never, suggest anything like that.”

    “So Trump may be making a tactical error here by further telegraphing his weak position in the polls and his weak position for reelection,” he added.

    The worm is turning.

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  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Federalist Society Co-Founder Calls Trump Bid To Change Election Day ‘Fascistic,’ Impeachable

    The co-founder of the conservative legal organization the Federalist Society said Thursday that Trump’s bid to move Election Day was “fascistic” and worthy of impeachment.

    Steven Calabresi wrote in a New York Times op-ed that he’d voted for Trump, protested the Mueller investigation and opposed the President’s impeachment over the Ukraine pressure campaign.

    But, Calabresi wrote, “I am frankly appalled by the president’s recent tweet seeking to postpone the November election.”

    “Until recently, I had taken as political hyperbole the Democrats’ assertion that President Trump is a fascist,” he said. “But this latest tweet is fascistic and is itself grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.”

    The worm is turning itself into a pretzel.

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  33. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I’m sorry to say you were scooped 😉

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  34. An Interested Party says:

    Along with the worm turning, the shark is also being jumped…it’s probably not a good idea to make fun of the mental capacity of the opponent of someone you’re supporting when said someone is acting like he belongs in a dementia ward…

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  35. Barry says:

    @Scott F.: “They could have gotten rid of Trump through impeachment, but they chose otherwise. It is self-evident that Republicans would rather be in power with Trump than out of power without him.”

    If they removed him, then they would have had to face The Base. As it is, they can fight, and then wail and moan about losing.

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  36. Barry says:

    @de stijl: “Future Republican: Who is Trump? Oh, yeah. Him. I didn’t vote for him. I voted for the Libertarian guy whose name I cannot recall.”

    ‘Trump. Trump… Oh yeah! That guy from j-New York!’

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  37. mgb59 says:

    @Mikey: @Kathy: There have been several voter fraud investigations and it is a legitimate concern. Arrests have been made. Of course liberal writers at the NYTimes and WP all say there is no fraud. The Heritage Foundation has an entire data base, indicating it is prevalent. Judicial Watch uncovered more registered voters in LA County than residents!

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  38. mgb59 says:

    @Kathy: I see that all the headlines seem to be playing a little fast and loose with the facts. Number one, Steven Calabresi, “The co-founder of the conservative legal organization the Federalist Society” …. actually Calabresi was the co-founder of the Yale chapter of the Federalist Society, which is a Libertarian organization. Number two, Trump’s tweet was asking a question about delaying the election. He did not say he was going to attempt to delay the election. So I would say it is a bit of an over-reaction by Calabresi. For the record, I did not like the tweet either!

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  39. de stijl says:

    @Barry:

    That schmuck from Queens.

    (No disrespect to Queens.)

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  40. James Joyner says:

    @mgb59:

    Number one, Steven Calabresi, “The co-founder of the conservative legal organization the Federalist Society” …. actually Calabresi was the co-founder of the Yale chapter of the Federalist Society

    Wikipedia tells us,

    The society was started in 1982 by students at Yale Law School, Harvard Law School, and the University of Chicago Law School. The Federalist Society began as a student organization that challenged what its founding members perceived as the orthodox American liberal ideology found in most law schools. The group’s first activity was a three-day symposium titled “A Symposium on Federalism: Legal and Political Ramifications” held at Yale in April 1982. The symposium, which was attended by 200 people, was organized by Steven G. Calabresi, Lee Liberman Otis, and David M. McIntosh. Speakers included Antonin Scalia, Robert Bork, and Theodore Olson.[6]

    I think it’s fair to say Calabresi was, along with Otis and McIntosh, a co-founder. If pressed, since he was president of the Yale chapter and the inaugural event was held at Yale, I’d give him primacy among the three.

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  41. JohnMcC says:

    @James Joyner: Well, on the scale of ‘truthiness’ he got a higher score than most trolls.

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  42. Mister Bluster says:

    Trump’s tweet was asking a question about delaying the election. He did not say he was going to attempt to delay the election.

    Donald Trump asks: “Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

    Donald Trump could have then made this a teaching moment and followed up with a reference to Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution for The United States of America.

    Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
    The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

    Of course this would reveal that he was incorrect when he stated that “Article II let’s me do anything I want.”
    Demonstrating yet again what an ignorant, inept total fool he is.

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  43. @mgb59:

    Trump’s tweet was asking a question about delaying the election.

    It is the kind of question a president should not ask. It what authoritarians do and it represents dangerous rhetoric. The question and the entire tweet (which I know you acknowledge that you didn’t like) is an attempt to undermine US democracy.

    It is not an innocent or innocuous thing for him to have done.

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  44. @mgb59:

    There have been several voter fraud investigations and it is a legitimate concern. Arrests have been made. Of course liberal writers at the NYTimes and WP all say there is no fraud. The Heritage Foundation has an entire data base, indicating it is prevalent.

    To be clear: yes, voter and electoral fraud happens, but it is a mathematically minuscule problem (certainly relative to the assertions that are constantly made about it). It is also the case that most rules applied to combat voter/electoral fraud such as voter ID stop very little fraud while at the same time making it harder for people to vote.

    And to Kathy’s point above: if the GOP was really, truly worried about the security of our electoral systems, where is the investment by Congress to address it?

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  45. wr says:

    @mgb59: “Number two, Trump’s tweet was asking a question about delaying the election. He did not say he was going to attempt to delay the election.”

    As every honest person with a brain knows, this is one of Trump’s standard rhetorical devices — instead of making a statement he phrases his most outrageous claims as questions so that he can evade responsibility once the uproar begins. It’s probably third on his list of favorite tricks, right after “I was just retweeting, I have no idea who it came from” and “I barely know him.”

    The fact that you are able to type polysyllabic words suggests you are not dumb enough to fall for this kindergarten-level trick. So I’m left wondering why you are so desperate to make a fool of yourself by carrying water for this inept wannabe dictator…

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  46. Kathy says:

    Guys, thank you. I appreciate the support.

    But, seriously, please don’t feed the new troll. I get it they look cute when they’re new, but they get ugly and destructive fast, like baby scorpions.

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  47. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    I *shouldn’t* be surprised, but I constantly am, how prevalent the whole “there are more registered voters than residents = fraud” BS is. Hint: It’s only fraud if they ACTUALLY vote multiple times in multiple places. There are MANY reasons for voter rolls to have extra voters on them. Among them are dead people with no death notice filed, owning property in multiple states or having recently moved (you get added to voter rolls in your new county much faster than you get removed from your old county)–which is how Ivanka ended up in the voter rolls of multiple states in 2016. Did she actually vote in multiple places? No.

    It’s not fraud numbnuts, it’s bureaucracy. Most voter rolls could use a good cleanup–but the amount of actual voting fraud is absolutely miniscule. Fractions of a fraction of a percent. And the only serious case of voter fraud that actually caused an election to be redone in recent history was by a Republican operative in North Carolina in 2018–and he was caught because it’s not actually that easy to get away with.

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  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @mgb59: WTF??? That isn’t a picture of a ’59 MGB.

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  49. Matt says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: That was what my girlfriend and I experienced when we moved states. I even ended up being summoned for jury duty over two years after the move. I only found out because I know the person living in the house I moved out of.

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