If you have any doubt that Donald Trump is playing with the idea of tampering with the November 3 election by disenfranchising many voters using mailing ballots, and at the same time slowing down the count so he can claim an early victory based on early returns, the following is from the Washington Post:
“Trump said Thursday he does not want to fund the U.S. Postal Service because Democrats are seeking to expand mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic, making explicit the reason he has declined to approve $25 billion in emergency funding for the cash-strapped agency.
“Now, they need that money in order to make the Post Office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said in an interview on Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo. He added: “If they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting, because they’re not equipped.”
At issue, as Trump made clear in his Wednesday press briefing, are two items congressional Democrats have proposed in the coronavirus stimulus negotiations: $25 billion in emergency funding for the U.S. Postal Service, which has been struggling to meet its traditional obligations, and another $3.6 billion in assistance to state and local election officials who have been struggling to staff polling places and process mail ballots. The latter money could be used to facilitate voting by mail, but there is no mandate for that; Trump-obedient Republicans could spend it all on Election Day voting if they wish. Senate Republicans included neither item in their HEALS proposal for much lower levels of stimulus assistance.”
Trump is making it clear he’s willing to degrade postal services for the entire country if it helps him in his war with perfectly legal voting by mail (to be clear, states, not Trump, get to decide which voting methods are deemed legitimate, and under what terms).
Of course at the same time he is delaying the ballots – he is also delaying the delivery of medicines and check to millions of Americans. So, we may be able to add more American deaths to the total of Americans Trump is directly or indirectly responsible for.
Slow mail service could serve the president’s purposes in two ways. First, many states (including battleground states Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — really all of them other than North Carolina) require that mail ballots be received by Election Day to be counted. Many could be thrown out due to no fault of the voter, particularly if slow mail service screws up the timetable for processing mail-ballot applications and sending out ballots well before Election Day.
Second, even if mail ballots aren’t actually invalidated, the later they are received, the longer it will take to count them. This could create a scenario that Trump himself has hinted at whereby he claims victory based on an early lead from Election Day in-person votes and attacks later-arriving mail ballots as “fraudulent.”
Pointing to Trump’s many signals that he intends to challenge the legitimacy of mail ballots despite COVID-19-related fears of voting in person, the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent notes that USPS is already slowing down service:
It’s telling that after President Trump was widely rebuked for suggesting a delay of the election, he wasn’t remotely chastened. Instead, he floated another scenario that could help him accomplish the same goal of avoiding a free and fair election:
He suggested that only the votes that can be tallied on Election Day should count.
This may seem like Trumpian bluster. But it’s much more alarming in light of an important new exposé in The Post that reports on big backlogs in mail delivery due to “cost-cutting” by the new head of the U.S. Postal Service — who, by spectacular coincidence, just happens to be a top Trump fundraiser.
This is ballot-tampering in plain sight, infinitely more significant than the extremely rare occasions of fraud in voting by mail. The ultimate position was betrayed by Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow: In a CNBC interview, he described voting rights as part of a “really liberal left wish list” that the administration and its party would fight. The White House apparently has absolutely no loyalty to the constitution. This does not bode well for America and Americans in the next six months.