The Trump administration’s criminal operation to steal the election is underway, as the president and his postmaster general set about demolishing the mail in what appears to be a devious plot to discount lawful votes cast in dense, majority Democratic and often Black and brown ZIP codes.
It’s time for a question that has often been directed at Donald Trump — “Will you accept the election results?” — to be asked of the newly minted Democratic Biden-Harris ticket, because the president’s administration is actively delegitimizing the November election, to the delight of complicit Republicans.
Trump’s unfounded claim in 2016 was that the election would be rigged against him. This was false. Four years ago, there wasn’t an authoritarian centralizing control of the postal service, in the midst of a pandemic, to corrupt the election results. Today, Trump is the rigger-in-chief, and he’s since indicated that he will only be accepting winning results.
The USPS is actively informing states that service delays will disrupt delivery of ballots. The Washington Post has reported a stunning reduction in national mail sorting capacity of 21.4 million pieces of mail per hour largely concentrated in major Democratic voting hubs—Columbus, Philadelphia, Houston, New York, and Los Angeles. The swing state of Pennsylvania said this week voting there will be paralyzed. The Secretary of State of Minnesota seconded.
While Democratic legislators are sluggishly acknowledging the seriousness of the threat, Biden’s comment that Trump “doesn’t want an election” suggests he really does get it. Biden called the post office plot “pure Trump.” He knows he’s running to slay a totalitarian-in-the-making. The question is how prepared he and his party are to protect the integrity of November’s election and to resist the results if they are not legitimate.
Let’s recap: Trump appointed Republican operative Louis DeJoy to lead the USPS, and McConnell’s super PAC donor Mike Duncan to be its chair. Since being installed, DeJoy has eliminated overtime and slashed service and delivery hours, as the Republican Senate refuses to provide pandemic relief to USPS offices around the country.
This past week, mailboxes vanished from streets. Sorting machines were removed from USPS facilities for no explicable reason. After this was exposed, they claimed to be “suspending the removal of collection boxes at this time.” Bullshit. This is Trump and his collaborators’ deliberate demolition.
The postal purge shouldn’t come as a surprise. Over the last decade, Republicans have eroded the Voting Rights Act, disqualified eligible voters, purged the rolls, closed poll sites, concocted long lines, and spread vast election disinformation. Now we’re on the precipice of devolving from a flawed democracy to none at all.
Congress must reconvene immediately. State AGs must wage lawsuits against DeJoy, and the Biden-Harris campaign, Democratic governors, secretaries of state, and mayors must begin taking measures to encourage people to vote early and deposit their ballots in person when possible, as well as to create secure and socially distanced in-person voting stations.
Sadly, not all Democratic governors appear to see the urgency in their own backyards. Despite the long counting delays in the New York City and State primaries earlier this year, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio took no action to bolster election infrastructure in preparation for November. Moreover, Cuomo has failed to establish an automatic mail voting system for registered voters.
It’s unclear if and when the Biden campaign will have to tell its supporters and potential voters that they can’t trust that their votes by mail will be delivered and counted. In the meantime, it’s time to talk straight—no malarkey—about the fact that Trump is working to sabotage and steal the election, and prepare to stop and expose it.