Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

President Donald Trump exits the Oval Office and walks toward Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on July 15, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

President Donald Trump exits the Oval Office and walks toward Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on July 15, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

'We Are Teetering on the Edge of Autocracy,' Warn Critics After Trump Suggests Election Delay

"This is how democracy dies in the USA."

Andrea Germanos

Democracy advocates sounded immediate alarms Thursday morning after President Donald Trump floated the idea of delaying the November elections, citing mail-in voting and the unfounded threat of voter fraud.

"This is a coup in the making."
—Robert Weissman, Public Citizen
"This is a coup in the making," warned Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, in response to Trump.

"Voting by mail will not create a risk of fraud," Weissman said. "In fact, voting by mail is an absolute necessity to ensure Americans can exercise their franchise amid a pandemic—which Trump has made dramatically worse through his utter incompetence and callous indifference to human life."

Groups like Common Cause noted that the president does not have the power to postpone the election date.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison pushed back on Trump's tweet, responding, "This is how democracy dies in the USA. Don't let it happen."

"These messages from Trump are intended to promote chaos and confusion, and undermine confidence in our elections. We REJECT all of it," tweeted Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

According to Stand Up America founder and president Sean Eldridge, the president's tweets shouldn't be brushed aside.

"As his latest comments show, Trump poses an existential threat to our democracy. While he has no authority to delay the election, we cannot ignore his escalating lies and attacks on our democracy," Eldridge said in a statement.

"Americans need to be ready to mobilize if Trump contests the results or refuses to concede—and 'Protect the Results' is building a network of millions of Americans to meet the moment if we need to take to the streets in protest," he added.

Some critical observers wondered whether Trump's tweet was an effort to stir up controversy or distract the media on the same day that data released from the Commerce Department showed the U.S. economy suffered its largest contraction in the country's history last quarter.

"If Trump truly cared about our elections," said Public Citizen's Weissman, "he would demand Congress provide the $3.6 billion in funding that states and localities need to properly and safely administer them amid the pandemic. The real issue for Trump, of course, is Trump. The economy is in free-fall and Trump is worried about what that means for his electoral prospects."

The president's tweet Thursday comes less than two weeks after Trump—who's trailing presumptive Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden in the polls—refused to commit to accepting the results of the 2020 presidential election if he is defeated.

Asked by Fox News' Chris Wallace whether he intends to accept the election results, the president responded, "No, I'm not gonna just say yes. I'm not gonna say it, and I didn't last time either."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

NYC to Become First US City to Mandate Proof of Vaccination for Certain Indoor Activities

New Yorkers will need to show proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, gyms, and theaters starting next month.

Julia Conley ·


Seniors Would Cross Party Lines to Back Candidates Who Support Medicare Negotiating Drug Prices: Poll

"This poll confirms that high drug prices are a top-of-mind issue for seniors when making voting decisions."

Jake Johnson ·


Groups Welcome Biden Review But Demand Congress Permanently Protect Arctic Refuge From Drilling

Activists urge lawmakers to reverse a relevant 2017 law, "cancel the leases issued by the Trump administration, and shut down this dangerous drilling program once and for all."

Jessica Corbett ·


As US Hits Biden's 70% Vaccination Goal, World's Poor Nations Barely Over 1%

"The longer billions of people remain unvaccinated, the more variants will develop that threaten all of us."

Andrea Germanos ·


'We Are the Owners': Palestinians Refuse to Concede Land Rights to Israelis in Sheikh Jarrah

"The minute we pay rent for our homes, it means we have given up ownership," said one woman who could be expelled to make way for Jewish settlers.

Brett Wilkins ·