Attacking This Election, and Future Elections, Too

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Trump’s antipathy toward the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is longstanding. Not as longstanding as the Post Office itself, which was established by Congress in 1792, under power specifically granted by the Constitution. No matter: Trump and many other Republicans want to privatize the post office and they will stop at nothing in their effort to get rid of it. Their efforts have accelerated in the past few months, as an attack on the post office is now also an attack on the election.

Major Trump. campaign donor Louis DeJoy took over as Postmaster General on June 15. Besides contributing millions to the Trump campaign and serving as Republican National Committee finance chair, DeJoy and his wife own “between $30.1 million and $75.3 million in assets in USPS competitors or contractors.”

After taking office in June, DeJoy promptly ordered postal workers to slow down delivery of mail. He also eliminated overtime but has no plan to hire new workers. The result:

“The new policies have resulted in at least a two-day delay in scattered parts of the country, even for express mail, according to multiple postal workers and union leaders. Letter carriers are manually sorting more mail, adding to the delivery time. Bins of mail ready for delivery are sitting in post offices because of scheduling and route changes. And without the ability to work overtime, workers say the logjam is worsening without an end in sight.”

Trump is using the slowdown—created by his Postmaster General and exacerbated by his refusal to sign any COVID-19 relief package for the Postal Service—to argue that the USPS can’t handle mail-in ballots for the election. The Postal Service says it can handle the increased volume from mail-in ballots for the November election.  This highly publicized controversy is one more way of eroding public trust in the entire electoral process.

I believe that USPS can and will deliver mail-in ballots. Trump’s tweets attacking USPS and his incessant and totally unfounded claims of fraudulent voting are designed to undermine confidence in the election process and discourage people from voting.

Meanwhile, he has also ordered a major and unconstitutional change that will affect future elections. He ordered that undocumented people not be counted as people in the Census report used in allocating House Districts. That order is not only unconstitutional, but also impossible, as there is no way to count who is or is not documented.

Making matters worse, the Census Bureau just announced it will shorten the time period for census workers to complete the count—which will have the effect of leaving millions of people uncounted. Who will be left out?

“The condensed door-knocking time frame increases the risk of leaving out many people of color, immigrants and other members of historically undercounted groups from numbers that are collected once a decade to determine each state’s share of congressional seats, Electoral College votes and an estimated $1.5 trillion a year in federal tax dollars for Medicare, Medicaid and other public services.”

Because the census is the basis for state legislative redistricting, as well as for apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, an undercount this year will give Republicans an advantage in Congressional and state legislative representation for the next ten years.

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