During a press conference on Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio issued a dire warning about the 2020 presidential election.
Per The Hill, discussing Ohio’s decision to delay its Tuesday primary due to the coronavirus outbreak, Brown suggested that President Donald Trump might use the crisis as an excuse to delay the November election. Trump, Brown argued, might use the state of Ohio’s decision as a precedent.
“My concern is that in the age of Trump that other governors might think, or that the president might ask, for a delay in the November election based on something, perhaps this, perhaps something else.”
As The Hill notes, citing the coronavirus outbreak, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, pushed back the presidential primary that was set to take place this Tuesday to June 2. According to Brown, the state should have made the decision earlier, to avoid setting a bad example.
“I wish they had done this earlier. I think they could have done this on Friday. He’s in the arena doing this, I’m not,” the senator said of the governor. “I’m not super critical of him. I just wish they had done this earlier,” he added.
In a statement, DeWine explained his decision to postpone the primary, noting that holding the election would put both voters and poll workers at risk of catching the virus.
“We should not force them to make this choice, the choice between their health and their constitutional rights and duties,” he said, pointing to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, according to which large gatherings need to be avoided.
According to data, 90 coronavirus cases have been reported in the state of Ohio so far.
According to the Los Angeles Times, it is “very likely” that the November election will be held as planned, given that the president — even if he wanted to — would not be able to postpone it. Trump would need congressional approval to do so.
Furthermore, according to the publication, state officials and local parties “have flexibility” to delay primary elections, but not general elections. Declaring a national emergency would also not enable Trump to delay the November election.
In November, Trump will most likely face off against former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont are the only two candidates remaining in the Democratic presidential primary, but Biden has racked up a more than 200 delegate lead.
Following underwhelming finishes in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, Biden won South Carolina and amassed a significant number of delegates on Super Tuesday, coasting to victory in most competitions that followed. On Thursday, he landed another high-profile endorsement, with New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand deciding to formally back his bid.