John Colson: Postpone 2020? Not a plan, but a warning
Hit & Run
A couple of weeks ago, The Washington Post published the results of a poll indicating that roughly half of the Republican voters in the U.S. would go along with delaying the 2020 presidential election (that’s the next time our current president has to face voters if he wants to keep the job).
That’s right, more than half of the Republicans polled (there were 625 of them) would not object if the president were to demand a postponement, based on the president’s oft-stated claim that anywhere from 3 million to 5 million illegal immigrants cast ballots for Hillary Clinton, thereby robbing Donald Trump of the popular-vote victory.
I, like many others, felt a combination of outrage and vindication when I heard about this poll, which happened to be on the cable show “Real Time with Bill Maher.”
After he gave the idea his hilariously cynical and outraged treatment, I went and looked it up, and sure enough there it was.
From June 5 to 20, two academics from the University of Pennsylvania and the Yeshiva University (a 130-year-old private university in New York City) conducted a poll that asked voters some lead-in questions about the 2016 election, such as whether President Donald Trump won the popular vote in 2016 (he did not), were there millions of fraudulent votes cast by illegal immigrants (there were not), and was voter fraud a very common thing (it is not, according to almost everybody who thinks about such things and is not a Republican myth-monger).
The results showed that nearly half of the respondents believe Trump won the popular vote, and that more than half believe millions of illegal aliens cast ballots, and nearly three quarters believe that voter fraud happens “somewhat” or “very” often.
The researchers then asked whether those polled would support the president if he called for a postponement of the 2020 election out of fears about voter fraud. A gut-wrenching 52 percent said “yes,” and it rose to 59 percent if Republicans in Congress were to agree the election needs to be delayed.
I suggest you check out this poll yourself; it’s not difficult to find on the internet.
The Post has gotten some heat for even publishing this poll, since no one — I repeat, no one — has hinted that this is something that the Republican party is considering or wants.
Of course, the president, with his relatively constant insistence that he really won the popular vote except for the 3 million or more illegal-immigrant votes he keeps harping about, seems to be doing exactly what he tried to do during the last days of the 2016 campaign — undermining our faith in our electoral system.
Some may recall that, in the weeks leading up to the election, the pundits all had Hillary Clinton winning by a good margin, and Trump started saying that if Clinton won it meant the election was rigged.
Enough of his supporters were primed to explode if Clinton won that, when she didn’t, Trump had to do something to keep things boiling.
So as soon as the final numbers showed that he lost the popular vote by 3 million or so, he began flapping his gums about that being about the same as the number of “illegals” who voted improperly for Clinton.
Never mind that he has not one iota of evidence to back up his claim, and the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity he empaneled to investigate voter fraud also will find no real evidence, because there is none.
The commission, however, seems determined to use a suspicious system of record-checking, pioneered by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, which already has generated one fine by a judge who ruled Kobach was using misleading information to bolster his claims of massive voter fraud.
Still, regardless of facts and proof, enough Republicans believe in the supposed “illegal” voting surge, and support the concept of delaying the 2020 election, that it is very troubling.
But, as noted previously, no one has yet suggested postponing the election.
And the heat being shoveled upon the Post is, I feel, somewhat justified, since it will only feed the fires of the “fake news” mythology that is rapidly becoming almost as central to right-wing ideology as being against abortion or hating Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
But in the Post’s defense, I must point out that this voter-fraud myth only further undermines the foundations of our democracy, which I guess is the point toward which the Republicans, the white supremacists and the corporate elite are driving with ruthless abandon in their bid to wrench control of the country away from … well, from whoever has it.
How else to explain the many ways in which the minions of the GOP, every day, seem to be systematically chipping away at our national belief in the American experiment?
Perhaps we should not be complaining if what remains of our free press warns us about the potential for political mayhem that lies beneath this campaign of disinformation and distrust.
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Aspen City Hall reporter Carolyn Sackariason reflects on the same old story, different year, different decade.