Sunday, August 09, 2020

Trump Postal Delay


Allan Lichtman, who in 1980 developed a model which has accurately predicted the winner of each presidential election (except perhaps one) since 1980, believes Joe Biden will win the upcoming election. (Lichtman predicted Gore, who won the popular vote  and probably the electoral vote, would win the 2000 election.)

Nonetheless, he believes that a Trump victory could ensue from two factors: Russian involvement or voter suppression. Three major items have recently emerged which buttress that point of view.

"A few weeks ago," American Postal Workers Union President Mark Diamondstein has observed of Louis DeJoy, "something definitely changed at the post office" when "the new postmaster general put in some policies that we don't think can do anything but slow down mail.

Given President Trump's attacks on mail-in voting, this seemed to be more than a coincidence, especially because as NPR reported when Trump made the appointment in May, the new Postmaster General "has contributed more than $1.2 million to the Trump Victory Fund, and millions more to Republican Party organizations and candidates, according to Federal Election Commission records."  Then on Friday, DeJoy

unveiled a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s mail service, displacing the two top executives overseeing day-to-day operations, according to a reorganization memo released Friday. The shake-up came as congressional Democrats called for an investigation of DeJoy and the cost-cutting measures that have slowed mail delivery and ensnared ballots in recent primary elections.

Twenty-three postal executives were reassigned or displaced, the new organizational chart shows. Analysts say the structure centralizes power around DeJoy, a former logistics executive and major ally of President Trump, and de-emphasizes decades of institutional postal knowledge. All told, 33 staffers included in the old postal hierarchy either kept their jobs or were reassigned in the restructuring, with five more staffers joining the leadership from other roles.

That same day, David Dayen revealed

I want to point to something that only the (paywalled) Capitol Forum has pointed out. The Postal Service has informed states that they’ll need to pay first-class 55-cent postage to mail ballots to voters, rather than the normal 20-cent bulk rate. That nearly triples the per-ballot cost at a time when tens of millions more will be delivered. The rate change would have to go through the Postal Regulatory Commission and, undoubtedly, litigation. But the time frame for that is incredibly short, as ballots go out very soon.

A side benefit of this money grab is that states and cities may decide they don’t have the money to mail absentee ballots, and will make them harder to get. Which is exactly the worst-case scenario everyone fears.

Republicans know that sabotaging the US Postal Service is crucial to their election prospects. A recent Emerson College poll found that 43% of likely voters expect to vote by mail this fall and "of those who plan to vote in person, Trump leads 65-32. Biden leads with those who intend to vote by mail, 76-20. The depth of this partisan divide is striking.”

The GOP realizes also that it has lost the popular vote in six (possibly seven) of the last seven presidential elections, 2020 will become 7 of the last 8, and there are only two possible ways it can win this election. One is via an intelligence campaign by Russia. The other, and likely to have greater impact, is voter suppression including damaging the mail delivery system.

 


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