Writing for the BBC, North American analyst Anthony Zurcher said Trump can't do anything without Congress, but added that even floating the suggestion was bound to cause alarm.
The dynamic has forced Trump-backed politicians to walk a delicate balance as they condemn the president's most erratic behavior and ideas while trying not to upset his die-hard loyalists.
Donald Trump at a press conference after his tweet.
He further noted that the US has faced grave challenges but never delayed or cancelled a presidential election.
President Trump demanded that results be available on the night of the election.
"At an absolutely critical point in the Civil War in 1864, when it looked like Abraham Lincoln was going to lose - the election still went ahead".
He makes reference to how in the midst of the Great Depression in 1932 and during World War II in 1944 election day still took place.
But Trump does not appear to have the same attachment to the tenets of American democracy as his predecessors. He's repeatedly raised unfounded accusations of fraud, particularly related to the uptick in mail-in voting that is expected because of safety fears during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???" he wrote.
Trump expanded his election attacks later in the day, saying he didn't want to move forward with the vote unless the results are known the same day. On Thursday, as national and battleground state polls suggest Trump in political peril in his race against Democrat Joe Biden, he went even further, floating the idea of delaying the election until it could be conducted in person.
In a scathing opinion piece in The New York Times published online Thursday, the Northwestern University law professor points to what ignited his newfound ire with the president: a tweet Trump sent out shortly after news broke Thursday morning that the US economy had suffered its biggest recorded contraction ever last quarter. "That date can't be changed".
The long-time Republican supporter said: "President Trump needs to be told by every Republican in Congress that he can not postpone the federal election".
The best-case scenario, according to some observers, is that Trump's broadsides against the electoral process are simply a way for him to explain away a possible loss.
"Steve Calabresi, welcome to the Resistance", tweeted Washington attorney George Conway, the famously Trump-bashing husband of senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.
"This has got to be a wake-up call", said Biden, whose campaign has assembled a team of 600 lawyers and observers who are assigned to safeguard the integrity of the election in every state.
Events on the other side of the world offered a cautionary tale.
On Thursday morning President Trump tweeted: "With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history".