The Leftist media establishment has been in a predictable uproar ever since President Trump tweeted Thursday: “Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???” But this time it isn’t just the Left: for Steven Calabresi, whose conservativism is established with the impressive credential of having co-founded the Federalist Society, this was the last straw: He took to that bastion of the conservative media, the New York Times, to denounce Trump’s tweet as “fascistic” and claim that it “is itself grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.”
Calabresi was not the only alleged conservative to break with Trump over this. John Bolton tweeted out the link to Calabresi’s Times article. Numerous Republican leaders joined with Democrats to denounce the tweet. Some warned darkly about how Trump posed an imminent threat to democracy and the rule of law. “Donald Trump has cheated his whole life,” his former rival for the Republican nomination, Joe Walsh, tweeted. “Of course he’ll cheat in this election. Heck, he cheated in the last one.” Peter Wehner, who worked for the three Republican presidents before Trump, declared: “I think Republicans will look back on the deal that they made to get Trump and they will rue the day. I think he is doing generational damage not just to the country, but to the Republican Party and to the conservative cause.”
But what exactly did this incipient dictator do? Calabresi thundered: “President Trump needs to be told by every Republican in Congress that he cannot postpone the federal election. Doing so would be illegal, unconstitutional and without precedent in American history. Anyone who says otherwise should never be elected to Congress again.”
But did Trump actually state that he was planning unilaterally to postpone the federal election? He did not. The hysteria and rage that his question has provoked is once again based on a false premise, as it has been so very many times in the past. Trump never stated any intention to delay the election in some way that would be in defiance of U.S. law. He never stated, contrary to widespread claims, that he would not relinquish his office on January 20, 2021 if he lost the election. Yet every bit of the horror and indignation that has ensued has been based on the idea that he did.
In reality, Trump posed a question. “Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???” Is that question in itself unconstitutional, fascistic, and grounds for impeachment? Only in today’s hyper-overheated political environment would anyone think so. There is actually a provision for the legal postponement of federal elections; as the Associated Press noted, it “would require an act of Congress to change, including agreement from the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.”
The idea that Trump could get this is virtually inconceivable, but the point is this: Where exactly did he say that he intended to circumvent the legal process and do this on his own accord? Nowhere. Meanwhile, however, Democrats are insisting on mail-in voting on a massive scale, something that is not provided for in U.S. law. The law actually says: “The electors of President and Vice President shall be appointed, in each State, on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, in every fourth year succeeding every election of a President and Vice President.” As the electors are chosen by popular vote in every state, that Tuesday is election day.
Is the idea of a huge number of Americans marking mail-in ballots on days other than the first Tuesday of November (Halloween night would be a good time) really consistent with this law? Democrats, as well as Steven Calabresi, are taking that for granted. No one, aside from Donald Trump, is questioning whether mail-in voting might itself be “unconstitutional” or even “fascistic.”
The real point of Trump’s tweet was to shed light on attempts to subvert the electoral process and prevent it from being free and fair. That is what should be discussed here, instead of coming up with a new pretext for another partisan impeachment show trial. Steven Calabresi has become the latest in a long, long line of conservatives and Republicans who have allowed themselves to be buffaloed by the Left’s propaganda into turning their back on their own long-held principles in the mad quest to destroy the Orange Man. We can only hope that enough Americans will see through this latest ginned-up hysteria and realize what their insidious agenda really is.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.