As Donald Trump warns without cause that increased voting by mail will result in an inaccurate and fraudulent election, the big money donor he has installed to run the United States Postal Service (USPS) has instituted new cost-cutting policies that threaten on-time delivery of ballots.
Could this be part of Trump's plan to delay the November 3 election and/or challenge the result if he is defeated by former Vice President Joe Biden?
Could that be Trump's long game and the reason why Louis DeJoy, a big-time Trump fundraiser, was installed as postmaster general?
Yesterday, Trump tweeted that widespread voting by mail would result in a "catastrophic disaster" and fraudulent results, just the latest in his continued effort to bolster the fears of his faithful that the election will be unfair to Trump. It's a campaign that he and many Republican politicians have been waging to make voting increasingly difficult for many Americans in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Of course, the population most affected by this strategy includes African Americans who disproportionately are impacted by covid-19 and who are generally more likely to support Biden and Democratic candidates.
Yesterday, speaking at the funeral of the late civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) in Atlanta, former President Barack Obama referred to the growing battle over voting rights.
"Even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting," he said.
According to The Washington Post, Trump has attacked mail voting nearly 70 times since late March, including at least 17 times this month. All of that has come as his standing in the polls has plummeted because of the administration's mishandling of the pandemic and the resulting devastation to the economy.
Yesterday he suggested in a tweet that the election should be delayed until it can be conducted safely and correctly -- a suggestion that was met with disdain by political leaders of both parties, even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” tweeted Trump. “It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
“Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time,” McConnell said in a television interview with WNKY of Bowling Green. “We’ll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3.”
Only the Congress has the power under the Constitution to change the date of the general election. Not Trump, who later told reporters he doesn't want to delay the election. But, he warned, "crooked election" could take months or even years to resolve, indicating he is prepared to contest the results if he loses.
A 'Blame the Mail' Strategy?
So is he using the troubles at the USPS to help make his prediction of chaos come true?
Indeed, days-long mail backlogs are being experiences in many areas of the country after DeJoy implemented cost-cutting policies, like no overtime. A North Carolina logistics executive, DeJoy donated more than $2 million to Republican political action committees over the past four years.
So is he now taking orders from Trump?
The Washington Post reported that voters and postal workers have reported scattered problems across the country, including in key battleground states of Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Are those states being targeted?
Senate Democratic leaders have written to DeJoy demanding answers.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Committee on Rules and Administration Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) on July 20 wrote:
"The success of mail voting is dependent a number of federal, state, and local entities working in coordination. If mail ballots arrive late and are uncounted, some voters may be disenfranchised. Given these concerns, Senate Democrats request the Postal Service regularly brief Congress on the steps it has and plans to take to address the challenges posed by an increase in election mail during the 2020 election..."
Then, on Thursday, Schumer, Sen. Gary Peters (MI), Klobuchar and Carper sent a followup missive to DeJoy:
“Your failure to provide Congress with relevant information about these recent changes or to clarify to postal employees what changes you have directed as Postmaster General, undermines public trust and only increases concerns that service compromises will grow in advance of the election and peak mail volumes in November,” they wrote.
Is this a deliberate ploy by Trump to sabotage the election that is being carried out by one of his hand-picked henchmen? Is it part of his plan to remain in office, no matter what?
What do you think?