The president and his stooges are screwing with the post office, apparently because the president doesn’t like the post office, but also because they think it will help him in the election, when more people will vote by mail than ever before.
Since the post office is the federal government’s most popular agency and most voters prefer getting their mail on time, interfering with delivery in August is probably a really stupid “strategy” (in a rational, non-Fox country, it surely would be).
The Democrats want the post office’s inspector general to investigate, but inspector generals are easy to fire. They also want to give the post office a couple billion dollars as part of the next pandemic relief bill, assuming the Republican Senate eventually agrees to do its job.
The result is that some observers are recommending that as many of us as possible vote in person in November (it will be much easier for some of us than others). Or else that we take our ballots to special “drop boxes” available in some states, although it isn’t clear when those ballots will be counted.
More from Jamelle Bouie of The New York Times:
There’s no mystery about what President Txxxx intends to do if he holds a lead on election night in November [although I don’t think he will]. He’s practically broadcasting it.
First, he’ll claim victory. Then, having spent most of the year denouncing vote-by-mail as corrupt, fraudulent and prone to abuse, he’ll demand that authorities stop counting mail-in and absentee ballots. . . .
He also seems to be counting on having the advantage of mail slowdowns, engineered by the recently installed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy [delays are already occurring around the country and making people mad]. . . .
If Txxxx is leading on election night, in other words, there’s a good chance he’ll try to disrupt and delegitimize the counting process. That way, if Joe Biden pulls ahead in the days (or weeks) after voting ends — if we experience a “blue shift” like the one in 2018, in which the Democratic majority in the House grew as votes came in — the president will have given himself grounds to reject the outcome as “fake news”.
The only way to prevent this scenario, or at least, rob it of the oxygen it needs to burn, is to deliver an election night lead to Biden. This means voting in person. No, not everyone will be able to do that. But if you plan to vote against Txxxx and can take appropriate precautions, then some kind of hand delivery — going to the polls or bringing your mail-in ballot to a “drop box” — will be the best way to protect your vote from the president’s concerted attempt to undermine the election for his benefit.
Txxxx is the underdog in this year’s race for president. . . . [He] is desperate to hold on to power, but he probably can’t win a fair fight. . . .
A key element of Txxxx’s strategy is to undermine the Postal Service’s ability to deliver and collect mail. The president’s postmaster general has removed experienced officials, implemented cuts and raised postage rates for ballots mailed to voters, increasing the cost if states want the post office to prioritize election mail. And Politico reports that Txxxx’s aides and advisers in the White House have been searching for ways to curb mail-in voting through executive action . . .
If vote-by-mail is the safest option in a pandemic, then the point of the White House’s effort is to create a dilemma for voters who place a premium on safety. . . . Consider the partisan split as well. Fifty-four percent of Biden supporters prefer mail-in voting, according to a July poll from ABC News and The Washington Post, while only 17 percent of Txxxx supporters say the same.
If in-person voters are disproportionately pro-Txxxx, and mail-in voters are disproportionately pro-Biden, then you have the ingredients for an election night standoff, where the president claims victory before all the votes have been counted and tries to secure his “win” by keeping mail-in ballots off the table.
There are reforms that could keep the president from taking this tack. To account for postal delays, states can pledge to count ballots postmarked on or before Nov. 3, so that they’re included in the total even if they arrive late [some states require ballots to be delivered, not postmarked, by Election Day]. To speed up the process, states could permit election officials to verify and count mail-in ballots even before [November 3rd]. They could also decline to release results until all polls close and all votes are in. News organizations, similarly, could set expectations for viewers and bring as much transparency as possible to vote counts and other forms of election analysis [yes, in theory, they could].
Nonetheless, there is a chance that the president takes this path regardless of state officials and the media. And there’s every reason to think that some portion of the Republican Party will back him. The Txxxx campaign and the Republican National Committee are already challenging mail-in voting laws and suing to keep states like Nevada and Pennsylvania from enlarging their scope. . . .
The best defense for the president’s political opponents is, if possible, to vote in person. For some, this will mean going to the polls in November, in the middle of flu season, when the spread of Covid-19 may worsen. In most states, however, there are multiple ways to cast or hand in a ballot. Every state offers some form of early or absentee voting, and 33 states — including swing states like Arizona and Wisconsin — allow absentee voting without an excuse. Txxxx supports absentee voting — it’s how his older supporters in Florida vote — and his opponents should take advantage of the fact that those systems won’t be under the same kind of attack. Many vote-by-mail states also offer drop boxes so that voters can deliver ballots directly to the registrar. And if you must mail in your ballot, the best practice would be to post it as early as possible, to account for potential delays. . . .
There you have it. To head off the worst outcomes, Txxxx must go down in a decisive defeat. He’s on that path already. The task for his opponents is to sustain that momentum and work to make his defeat as obvious as possible, as early as possible. The pandemic makes that a risk, but it’s a risk many of us may have to [actually, should] take.