You’ve read the stories. Postmaster Louis DeJoy is slowing the mail down and interfering with the operation of the Post Office to screw up voting by mail.
Is he really?
Or has our lying, corrupt President just behaved so badly that whenever there is doubt, we assume the worst?
What would you see if you gave DeJoy the benefit of the doubt?
We’re looking at everything about the Post Office with foreknowledge of President Trump’s clear desire to stop or slow down voting by mail. Trump said this:
He also said this about requests to fund the Post Office in the latest emergency response bill:
They want $25 billion for the post office. Now, they need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. Now, in the meantime, they aren’t getting there. But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.
So from Trump’s perspective, the fight for the Post Office is inherently political.
But imagine, for a moment, that it wasn’t, and that DeJoy is actually trying to do his job. Does this explain what we’re seeing?
First off, there is a funding problem with the Post Office. It either needs more money, or there have to be changes to make it more efficient.
While DeJoy is a Trump donor, he was also the CEO of a logistics company — exactly the background that would be appropriate to make the Post Office more efficient.
Would such changes potentially include reducing overtime for postal workers? Of course.
Would it involve removing sorting machines for classes of mail that are declining in volume? It could.
Would it involve removing extra mailboxes in places where they’re not needed as much? Or replacing vandalized mailboxes? Sure.
Mail service will get slower. But that’s what happens when you cut costs.
If this were not in the run-up to an election, no one would even care about this stuff.
The visuals are terrible — and ambiguous
When you see truck like this and you’re ready to believe there is something corrupt going on, you’re going to get outraged:
What about this map of where sorting machines are being removed and where Clinton lead the 2016 election?
Looks terrible. Clearly, you have to be worried when you see activity that will slow the mail in Florida, Texas, Michigan, and Wisconsin. But if your conspiracy theory runs this way, then you’d expect to see this activity not in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and California, where Trump is going to lose anyway, but in Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico, where the election will be close.
And Trump wants people to vote by mail in Florida, where there are old people who support him.
The proof is weak, but the theory is attractive
Are Trump and DeJoy messing with the mail to screw up vote by mail in the election? That’s hard to prove. (If you want a more detailed and balanced view of the issue, read this.)
The problem is that it’s exactly the kind of thing you’d expect, given the constant bashing of Democrats, lying about Democrats’ records, whining about mail-in voting, and complete inability to tell a straight and accurate story that characterizes this administration.
The Post Office is a constant refrain in the Democrats’ fundraising emails, because it’s popular and it’s easy to blame Trump for screwing around with it.
DeJoy has ceased the removal of mailboxes and sorting machines and will testify to Congress. He’ll have a perfectly reasonable explanation for what he was doing. And not only that, but assuming Biden wins, whoever takes over the Post Office next will almost certainly be undertaking activities like this for efficiency’s sake.
But it doesn’t matter. Trump has made himself impossible to trust on any issue. Screwing around with the Post Office to interfere with mail voting sure sounds like what he’d do. So he doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt.
Strangely, all this raising of alarms will likely reduce voting by mail by folks who are afraid to vote in person because of concerns about coronavirus. It may make people fail to vote at all. A lot of those people may be Biden voters. So this whole controversy may end up serving Trump’s ends, even if the amount of actual corrupt interference with voting by mail is negligible.