Thinking Citizen Blog — Postponing the Election, Canceling the Debates, what next?

Thinking Citizen Blog — Sunday is Political Process, Campaign Strategy, and Candidate Selection Day

Today’s Topic — Postponing the Election, Canceling the Debates, what next?

This is shaping up to be one of the weirdest elections in American history. Who is going to go to the polls and risk infection? Will there be enough poll workers? How many people will fill in the mail-in ballots? Will the Presidential debates take place? Will Trump try to postpone the election? I am, quite frankly, a bit terrified. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.


1. “The debates have never made sense as a test for presidential leadership. In fact, one could argue that they reward precisely the opposite of what we want in a president.”

2. “But what is the point or relevance of the carefully prepared one-liner? It’s as spontaneous as a can of sardines. It’s usually delivered from a memory chip in the mind, having been fashioned and rehearsed with aides.”

3. “This, by the way, isn’t written out of any concern that Donald Trump will prevail over Joe Biden in the debates; Mr. Biden has done just fine in a long string of such contests. The point is that “winning” a debate, however assessed, should be irrelevant, as are the debates themselves.”

“WILL JOE BIDEN DUCK THE DEBATES?” (Wall Street Journal editorial)

1. “The public deserves to see how well Mr. Biden holds up under debate pressure, while hearing his answers to pointed questions about his policy proposals. If he ducks debates, voters will have every right to conclude that his handlers are trying to protect him from doubts about his cognitive capacity.”

2. “If the debates seem too much like an endless succession of sound bites, that’s an argument for changing their format and pushing for longer and deeper answers, not axing them — especially not in 2020.”

3. “What a terrible year to make this argument. The pandemic has put the usual political rallies on hold, so fewer voters will see the candidates in the flesh. The conventions will be largely online. Press aides will shape the news coverage by picking friendly interviewers.”


1. “Article II of the Constitution empowers Congress to choose the timing of the general election.” There is no way that a Democratically-controlled Congress would approve such a change. (5th link)

2. For Stephen Calabresi, a former Trump supporter, Trump’s suggestion that the election should be postponed is grounds for “immediate impeachment” and “removal from office by the Senate.” (4th link)

3. Broader context: 16 states and 56 countries have postponed elections worldwide as a result of Covid.

Opinion | Will Joe Biden Duck the Debates?

The Coronavirus Is Delaying Elections Worldwide

16 States Have Postponed Primaries During the Pandemic. Here’s a List.

Opinion | Trump Might Try to Postpone the Election. That’s Unconstitutional.

Why Trump Has No Power to Delay the 2020 Election

Trump Can’t Postpone the Election — But He’s Trying to Destroy Its Legitimacy

Fear of COVID-19 is causing a shortage of poll workers. Young people can help — The Boston Globe


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