With a 91% approval rating, the U.S. Postal Service is American's favorite government agency. So Trump's attacks on the USPS and mail-in voting should lead to a substantial backfire upon his already-depressed approval rating and re-election prospect.
But this won't happen all by itself. Defenders of the Postal Service and mail-in voting have to apply maximum pressure, keeping this issue front and center in the minds of voters from now until election day.
A few days ago I started following the American Postal Workers Union on Twitter -- @APWUnational. I seem to recall that they had something like 60,000 followers at the time. Now they have 185,000 followers.
So this shows that people are waking up to the danger Trump's new Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, poses to our democracy. Today one of the union tweets said:
Postal workers will do what it takes to #SaveThePostOffice The stakes of letting this happen are just too high!
For sure. The big question, though, is what can be done. I've seen a few calls for a postal worker strike. This would draw a lot of attention to the USPS crisis Trump and deJoy are causing.
However, it has to be a last resort, since slowing down or stopping the mail through a strike would be at odds with the reason for that action: Trump and DeJoy purposely slowing down the mail to make voting by mail more difficult.
The basic problem is one that has perplexed progressives like me since Trump became president. We're used to presidents having some capacity for shame when they're caught doing the wrong thing.
But Trump is shameless. All he cares about is wielding power, and as president he has a lot of power at his disposal. Trump doesn't care about our outrage. He doesn't care about destroying the fabric of our election system. Trump just wants to win re-election.
If he lies, cheats, and steals his way to victory this November, Trump will smile as he takes another oath of office. He'll rejoice in pulling off a sleazy win over Joe Biden. Then he'll turn to making his second term even more autocratic than his first term, including the likelihood of getting one or two additional Trump ass-kissers on the Supreme Court.
So Trump's USPS dismantling scheme has to be stopped. I'm not sure how this can be done. Here's some ideas I've come across today.
First, it is good to see that people are protesting outside Louis DeJoy's condo in Washington, D.C. This is a small thing, but helps to keep publicity on DeJoy's policies aimed at slowing down the delivery of mail.
Those policies are self-defeating for Trump, as the Daily Kos argues in "Stupid Trump tries to cheat, but screws his own voters instead."
Yes, Trump’s attack on the postal service is serious, a veritable coup attempt. It is an attack on democracy. But it is also an attack on rural Americans and seniors—Trump’s two strongest core constituencies. It is an attack on their communications lifeline, on their ability to get packages, on their ability to get life-sustaining medications, on jobs in their communities.
Thus Trump's crusade against the Postal Service should backfire as rural people and seniors realize how they're being hurt by delayed mail deliveries. Problem is, Trump thinks -- perhaps correctly -- that he has more to gain than lose by trashing the ability of the USPS to deliver mail.
Will some Trump supporters hurt by what he's doing vote for Biden instead? Sure. However, if he can depress Biden votes more than his losses among those who currently support him, that's a win for Trump. And again, winning is all he cares about.
A Pew Research poll found that 80% of likely Trump voters plan to vote in person, while 58% of likely Biden voters say their preference is to vote by mail. This is why Trump is going all-out to trash vote by mail.
More encouraging is news that Nancy Pelosi is considering calling the House back into session this month to deal with the Postal Service crisis. OK, that would cast a bigger spotlight on what Trump and DeJoy are doing. But DeJoy likely would ignore a subpoena to testify, as almost all Trump officials do.
It's hard to visualize DeJoy being taken into custody by the House sergeant-at-arms as some have suggested. That just isn't going to happen. So House hearings could help, but aren't the entire answer.
Senator Elizabeth Warren has gotten the USPS Inspector General to review DeJoy's policy changes and ethics conflicts.
Well, if Trump doesn't fire the Inspector General before a report can be prepared, there's little doubt that the report will get a bunch of media attention, after which DeJoy and Trump will persist in making mail-in voting as difficult and dicey as possible.
So I like the approach suggested by noted attorney Laurence Tribe, which already appears to be followed by some state Attorney's General. File lawsuits based on either the equal protection clause of the Fourth Amendment, or state constitutions.
Now, I assume what Tribe means by "a postmark rule" is allowing a mail-in ballot to be counted if it has a postmark on or before November 3, 2020 -- showing that the voter mailed the ballot prior to the election deadline.
Oregon, where I live, doesn't allow this, even though all of our elections have been 100% vote by mail for many years. The states to our north and south, Washington and California, do allow this, which is why it often takes days or even weeks to declare a winner, since it takes a while for all ballots to be delivered that were mailed on or before election day.
It does seem like a sound legal strategy to argue that a voter shouldn't be disenfranchised just because mail delivery is unusually slow in their area, leaving aside the reason for this. Why should I have to guess how long it will take for my ballot to arrive at the Marion County election office?
Getting as many states as possible to abide by a postmark rule would undermine Trump and DeJoy's plot to slow down mail delivery to such an extent, the ballots of many Biden voters would be disqualified because they didn't arrive by election day.
Heck, while I enjoy Oregon's ability to know most election results either on election day or the day after, I'd be fine with my state changing to a postmark rule from the current "must be received by 8 pm on election day" rule. Some ballots might lack postmarks, but they should be counted whenever they arrive.