1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

By suggesting election delay, Trump ups the ante

Ines Pohl
Ines Pohl
July 30, 2020

The US is unlikely to have recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic and a battered economy by election day in November. President Trump has a solution: delay the vote. It's a dangerous strategy, says DW's Ines Pohl.

A close-up photograph of Donald Trump with his right hand raised
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/E. Vucci

US President Donald Trump did everything to deny that the COVID-19 pandemic was serious. He lied, dangled red herrings and even recently touted a doctor who said a cure could be made using alien DNA.

Trump opted to protect the economy over health, with disastrous effects. The result is a death toll of 150,000 and rising— and a historic downturn in the economy.

Read more: Trump moots US election delay on Twitter

There seems to be no end in sight. The number of cases continues to rise, as does the fear of US citizens that they will be infected. This is bad for business and the economy. 

A global economic crisis is rearing its ugly head, and Trump's chances of reelection are dwindling. If the economy continues to unravel, this president of grand promises will not win the November 3 election. He is already well behind Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the polls.

A headshot of Ines Pohl
Ines Pohl heads DW's Washington bureauImage: DW/P. Böll

Trump is increasingly destructive

But the more likely Trump's failure becomes, the more destructive his energies seem to be. Just after the news that the US GDP had shrunk by over 30% in the second quarter was released on Thursday, Trump floated the idea of postponing the election in a tweet.

He once again claimed that postal voting would lead to fraud, even though there is no evidence to back up his claim. He doesn't care, however. Nor does he care that there would be little legal basis for postponing the election because of the pandemic.

Read more: Will Trump's visa restrictions slow down America's economic revival?

Further chaos expected before November

The closer the election, the clearer it becomes that Trump is prepared to plunge the US into further chaos and weaken its democratic foundations. This is the backdrop for his recent political moves.

Why did he send federal agents to Portland? Certainly not to calm the violence, but to further fan the flames and widen the divisions in the country. Why did he make a speech at Mount Rushmore the day before July 4, a site that celebrates four former presidents, two of whom were slaveholders? He obviously wanted to pour salt on the old, unhealed wounds.

Biden and other Democrats such as Bernie Sanders have already warned that Trump will not go without a fight. The more likely his defeat, the more their suspicions seem to be confirmed.

The militarization of the conflict on the streets of the US is worrying.

The fact that more and more Republicans are distancing themselves from this president is perhaps a good sign. They are beginning to understand that they will have no future if they continue to support him, and will also share the blame.

Ines Pohl
Ines Pohl Bureau head of DW's Washington Studio@inespohl