When the mail is politicized, everything is politicized

American Postal Workers Union Local 89 President Nick Casselli says the USPS is not providing the same level of service since President Donald Trump's appointee Louis DeJoy took charge as postmaster general, raising concerns for mail-in voting during the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

Posted: Aug 11, 2020 2:01 PM
Updated: Aug 11, 2020 2:01 PM

Democrats are openly accusing the Trump administration and US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy of "deliberate sabotage" of the postal service before an election that will rely on the mail system like no other in history.

There is certainly evidence of slower mail service, cuts in overtime and hours and other things.

Trump's criticism of the postal service is well-documented, going back to his grudge against Jeff Bezos, and how Amazon utilizes the postal system. But the leap to allegations of "direct sabotage" is frightening, since it suggests a conspiracy of sorts to hurt the mail system and, as a result, help Trump's election chances.

White House aides, in a corollary to Republican efforts to challenge mail-in voting in the courts, have considered some kind of executive action related to mail-in voting, but have so far decided they would have little impact since elections are run at the local level.

What we know about the way Trump has operated as President. His actions often help his politics or settle scores. And there's so often an easy hop from something that's gotten into the President's head to a Trump administration action. For example:

Cut mail services to slow down an expected onslaught of Democratic mail-in votes? Not crazy.

Refuse to budge in negotiations with Democrats and then sign half-baked executive actions that appear to help Americans affected by the pandemic but may not help much of anyone? It's happening right now.

Cut off Census data collection early in a way expected to undercount people of color? How convenient!

Threaten TikTok and demand a US company buy the service to look tough on China and after users disrupt a Trump rally? OK.

Disrupt a large government contract so that it won't go to Jeff Bezos? Maybe.

Utilize federal agents in military clothes to disperse a peaceful protest across from the White House? Absolutely.

Ask a government like Ukraine to work with his private attorney and the US attorney general in a way that will hurt his Democratic rival? That happened.

Pressure NOAA to redraw a hurricane map? Yep.

There may not be a concerted effort to hurt mail service before the election despite the actions by the new postmaster general. But because the President has attacked most major institutions of government for some reason or another, it's reasonable to start from a place of skepticism.

The latest

Kids get it too -- 97,000 children tested positive for Covid-19 in two weeks as more schools plan to reopen.

'Pure criminality' -- Chicago police arrested more than 100 people after shootout and looting downtown. The police chief said it was NOT a protest.

Kodak stock dives 30% -- A $765 million loan from the Trump administration to revive the company and get it into pharmaceuticals was put on hold after allegations of insider trading.

Maybe next year? -- The entire college football season may be postponed. Some players have used a #wewanttoplay hashtag and gotten support on Twitter from Trump.

Unintended consequences -- Stalled stimulus talks could mean thousands of furloughs and halt US immigration system.

New history -- The New York Times reported the White House contacted South Dakota's governor about putting Trump's face on Mt. Rushmore. He said he'll either give his convention acceptance speech from the battleground at Gettysburg or the White House. (Insert comment here about Abraham Lincoln saying that battlefield is consecrated ground.)

Get shorter -- Speaking of the Gettysburg Address, read this from six years ago, where I argued that politicians give speeches that are way too long these days. It's still true.

CORRECTION: Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's name has been corrected.

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