Ok, so let me just say that this is exceedingly unlikely to actually happen, and indeed it’s so unlikely that it’s almost not worth mentioning other than for what it says about the extent to which Donald Trump has managed to slowly push some Americans down the road to accepting autocracy.
Critics have long fretted over Trump’s claim that he won the popular vote. The same critics have decried the President’s efforts to perpetuate myths about rampant voter fraud.
Of course Trump didn’t win the popular vote and there was no widespread voter fraud. He’s simply lying.
But it’s not so much the lying that has people concerned – that’s just par for the Bedminster course. Rather, what’s disconcerting is that it kinda seems like Trump may be angling to try and manipulate the next election Erdogan-style. His much-maligned “voter fraud commission” has only served to lend credence to those concerns.
Well, in a chilling testament to the idea that America is indeed on the road to becoming a Banana Republic, a recent WaPo poll found that an astonishing 52% of Republican voters would support postponing the 2020 election.
The survey interviewed a sample of 1,325 Americans from June 5 through 20. Respondents were recruited from the Qualtrics online panel who had previously reported identifying with or leaning toward one of the two major parties. We focus on the 650 respondents who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party. The sample has been weighted to match the population in terms of sex, age, race and education.
After a series of initial questions, respondents were asked whether Trump won the popular vote, whether millions of illegal immigrants voted, and how often voter fraud occurs.
Nearly half of Republicans (47 percent) believe that Trump won the popular vote, which is similar to this finding. Larger fractions believe that millions of illegal immigrants voted (68 percent) and that voter fraud happens somewhat or very often (73 percent). Again, this is similar to previous polls.
Moreover, 52 percent said that they would support postponing the 2020 election, and 56 percent said they would do so if both Trump and Republicans in Congress proposed this.
Now again, that is so far-fetched as to be laughable, but on the other hand, America is quickly learning that “it can’t happen here” isn’t just a book.
Remember, it’s not always outright strong-arm tactics that allow autocracies to develop. Sometimes, it’s a kind of creeping pacification of the electorate, the majority of which resigns itself to a system that everyone knows is inherently autocratic, but seems to be “working,” where “working” means people’s daily lives aren’t dramatically impacted.
But this can only become America’s reality if the new administration is shrewd. Clever. Cunning. And, above all, patient.
The saving grace for America is that Trump is anything but.