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White House trying to sabotage 2020 election

photo courtesy of and Erika Wittlieb

The White House is trying on several fronts to prevent people from voting and to undermine the legitimacy of the vote on November 3. It seems that the president has come to the realization that the only way he can win is by cheating.

There is more and more polling evidence that Joe Biden holds a commanding lead in the election with only three months to go. Even swing states show consistent margins in Biden’s favor. There is going to be an “October surprise” of course, but people are unlikely to believe anything coming out of the administration that seeks to denigrate Biden at this late date.

On the other hand, there is Michael Cohen (the president’s former lawyer) who was sentenced to jail for the bribe paid to a woman to keep her quiet about having adulterous intercourse with Him until after the 2016 election… Mr. Cohen plans to have yet another book about the president’s racist and anti-Semitic remarks in private, among other nasty tidbits, out in October as well.

There is also John Brennan, former CIA director, whose memoir will be out in October too. He writes that the president had no interest in learning the truth about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Presumably, the president is expecting help with the 2020 election also.

Lies about the election

First, there are the statements that have come thick and fast recently claiming that the vote will be “rigged” and that mail-in voting is “fraudulent”– when all evidence is to the contrary. He has also stated that the election won’t be called within a reasonable time because of mail-in ballots (which may be true from his point of view since he has such a short attention span.)

Voting restrictions

Second, there are the attempts by several states to restrict voting times, places, and absentee qualifications. These have been going on for many years. Voting restrictions were worse during the years after Reconstruction, when white supremacists were able to prevent anyone who did not meet their standards of whiteness from voting.

Many restrictions have made a comeback since the Supreme Court invalidated a critical portion of the Voting Rights Act that prevented states with a history of discrimination from unilaterally passing new restrictions.

Not supporting state election offices

Third, there is the inadequacy of the federal monetary and strategic support for state’s efforts to make voting safer. Pandemic relief bills that include money to help state election offices have stalled in Congress.

Damaging the USPS

Fourth, there is a concerted attack on the ability of the US Postal Service (USPS) to deliver mail. The USPS will be required to handle an unprecedented volume of mailed ballots in November.

The administration has installed a new postmaster for USPS who has engaged in a sudden crackdown on the methods mail carriers have been using to ensure timely delivery. He claims that the new policies are meant to save money, but they are not needed because for the first time in years, USPS is not under immediate threat of running out of money.

Concerns that the pandemic would lead to USPS insolvency were alleviated when an increase in package deliveries (on which USPS makes a profit) salvaged the bottom line. As a result, they were able to refuse a loan offered by the administration which carried onerous terms.

Then the new Postmaster General sent out a memo “urging postal staff to leave behind mail at distribution centers if they thought it would cause a delay for letter carriers.  Another memo stated that the USPS would be looking to cut transportation and overtime costs…” Yet another memo signaled a new program that planned to ” send letter carriers out to deliver mail more quickly in the morning by prohibiting them from sorting any mail in their offices before they go.” (The Intercept, July 29)

The bottom line is that the president wants to privatize USPS and has installed an outsider as Postmaster General who intends to make it more “efficient” by prohibiting overtime, reducing multiple drive-outs to deliver mail, and other changes that will only save a little money but slow down delivery of both mail and packages.

USPS is competing with FedEx and UPS for packages, but it is a government agency with a mandate to deliver mail. Although mail is a smaller and smaller component of its service, it is critical for government purposes like balloting, Medicare and Medicaid information, and many other documents.

Feuding with Jeff Bezos

In April, the president called USPS “a joke” (which it certainly wouldn’t agree with) and demanded that they quadruple their package-delivery fees. Apparently he wants this because USPS is used by Amazon to deliver many of its packages, and he has a running feud going on with Jeff Bezos, who is Amazon CEO and also owns The Washington Post (although he exercises no editorial control over it.) See this article about USPS changes in the Post July 14.

The Post, of course, is a newspaper that regularly prints unflattering articles about the administration, and is, as he claims, “fake news” and “the enemy of the people.” In fact, most newspapers, including the Post, rigorously fact-check everything they print and immediately retract anything shown to be wrong. As to the latter, it would seem that the president is the one who is the people’s enemy.

Ironically, if USPS were to dramatically increase their package fees, Amazon would abandon it (building out their own delivery service instead), and USPS would suffer financially as a result– a self-defeating proposition. Don’t expect the president to understand things like “essential government services” or the role that USPS serves in delivering packages to out-of-the-way places that FedEx and UPS don’t want to serve.

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