Reprinted with permission from Alternet
Donald Trump is launching an unprecedented attack on the U.S. Postal Service to help boost his own election changes. That needs to be taken very, very seriously—and, Greg Sargent reports, the Biden campaign is doing just that.
The Biden campaign has taken a hard look at what Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major Republican donor, are up to. The conclusion, which other observers have also reached: It's not just the operational changes slowing mail delivery. While those could absolutely have an effect on an election where voting by mail is going to be of unprecedented importance due to the coronavirus pandemic, Trump's ongoing ranting against voting by mail is also a serious problem.
"Trump believes that his unfounded claims about mail voting are enough to discourage voters—that he can use the presidential 'bully pulpit' to achieve vote suppression," Biden adviser Robert Bauer told The Washington Post's Sargent. Trump showed that this is the plan when he turned around, after weeks of attacking the idea of mail-in voting, and urged Florida voters to vote by mail—he thinks it's going to help him there, so he wants it. It's only a terrible terrible thing, in Trump's telling, in places where voting by mail might hurt his chances.
Assessing the dangers of Trump's attacks has helped the Biden campaign formulate a strategy focused on educating voters about both the importance of voting by mail as early as possible and the security and legitimacy of mail votes. The campaign is "investing heavily" in this education, Bauer told Sargent. The Biden campaign is also supporting lawsuits to ensure that votes postmarked before Election Day are counted in as many states as possible.
But another important thing is to realize that the "USPS definitely can handle this year's heavy volume of mail-in ballots," Bauer said. "But USPS leadership must allow the postal professionals and dedicated letter carriers to do their jobs."
The Postal Service does need extra funding in the long run, but the changes DeJoy has made that have slowed mail to so many people are not emergency measures that couldn't be avoided. These delays are a result of decisions DeJoy made—decisions that, no doubt not coincidentally, fit exactly with what Trump wants. That means that while Trump and Senate Republicans should face ongoing pressure to fund the Postal Service as part of a coronavirus stimulus package, DeJoy and other Postal Service leadership should face pressure to let the Postal Service do the job it was doing before the recent changes sabotaged it.
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