The president drew widespread criticism for a suggestion posted on Thursday that due to what he claimed to be the potential for fraud in mail-in votes, the day should be pushed back.
“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???” the president wrote.
The suggestion was written off by experts who pointed out that the president has no control over moving back the date when ballots are cast, with many pointing out that the U.S. has still voted through nationwide turmoil, including the Civil War. Many of Trump’s backers even put off the suggestion, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who assured that ballots would still be cast in November.
While it did not appear to be an actual proposal that he would move the date, many have condemned what they see as fascistic tendencies in the tweet. Timothy Snyder, a professor of history at Yale University, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post noting that Trump’s message meets all eight parts of a fascist statement.
“A fascist guide to commentary on elections would have eight parts: contradict yourself to test the faith of your followers; tell a big lie to draw attention from basic realities; manufacture a crisis; designate enemies; make an appeal to pride and humiliation; express hostility to voting; cast doubt on democratic procedures; and aim for personal power,” he explained.
Snyder pointed out that Trump made a seemingly contradictory claim in praising absentee ballots, which are sent by mail, but decrying vote by mail.
Snyder is not the only one claiming that Trump’s statement had undertones of fascism. Steven Calabresi, the founder of the Federalist Society, a conservative outfit that has regularly defended Trump including during his impeachment, wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times that the tweet sounded like fascism.
Calabresi said that he was “appalled” by the tweet, and that while he once saw it as “political hyperbole” when Democrats suggested Trump showed signs of fascism, he now agreed with the statement and said that this should be grounds for immediate impeachment and removal from office.