You may have noticed that Trump will try anything to achieve his ends, even if it means endorsing something that people will hate. So he tries to starve the post office of funds—the country’s most popular and historic agency—because he thinks vote-by-mail works to create fraud. The fact that it doesn’t makes no difference. He thinks like his followers who hate the policies that are actually in their own interest.
Trump’s buddy Louis DeJoy, the new postmaster general, has instituted operational changes in the Postal Service that make it much less efficient, less capable. He is in the process of removing hundreds of powerful sorting machines, for instance, plus curtailing overtime. Between Trump and DeJoy the intention is clear: hobble the post office so they can call in question the November vote, which will come in late and fragmented. The outcome will be simply to disenfranchise voters by slowing or disabling the count.
Here is a pretty fair summary of the problems these moves by DeJoy and the president have created. It’s a complicated story because the Postal Service has been shackled for years by Congress’ decision requiring it to prefund 75 years of its retiree health benefits in advance. No other organization does this. There is a deep Republican prejudice against the post office, which Trump continues to foster.
Yet, a record 76% of Americans can vote by mail in 2020. With the virus present, up to 50% are predicted to do so. My prediction is that the constant protests from Pelosi and Schumer about tampering with the franchise will have their effect. But the Republicans may also be whispering in Trump’s ear,
Hey, you might be screwing us over, too, by doing this. And so maybe, just maybe, that provides an opening to actually try to take action to fix what’s wrong with the Postal Service right now. But I would not count on a big hand from Republicans on this. Let’s put it that way. There needs to be as much volume about this as possible as soon as possible. If I’m the Democrats right now, I’m just talking every single day about how Donald Trump is sabotaging the Postal Service.
Along with DeJoy’s “reforms” that slow down mail delivery enormously,
For the president to admit to deliberately trying to slow the mail process in order to curb mail-in voting is “stunning, because it is political sabotage,” says [Philip F.] Rubio, himself a former letter carrier who spent two decades working for USPS. “He’s using his power of the veto [to hold up funding and] to interfere with the democratic process.”
This is clearly a story that has legs, and it keeps unfolding. Nonetheless, we are watching a fundamental undercutting of the democratic right to vote. People will not take this lying down. Neither should you.
P.S. An update: more info on DeJoy and the USPS mess.
P.P.S. House calls DeJoy and USPS Board of Governors chairman to emergency hearing, Aug. 24.