The role of the President is to manage the federal government. To administer it completely and make darned sure it can do what the Constitution & subsequent laws intend it to do — that’s what we elect Presidents for. Among other things, this means making sure our troops’ paychecks are produced & distributed, Park Rangers are hired and given the supplies to do their jobs, and making sure the Post Office is adequately staffed to meet anticipated volume.
Failing to react to expected upticks in volume at the Post Office is Administration mismanagement. This November tens of thousands of citizens will opt to vote-by-mail for the first time. The USPS needs requisite staff & tools to try to meet the challenge — that’s their job. The President should direct his Postmaster General to quickly identify those needs & pursue funding from Congress.
President Trump, however, refuses to take the steps necessary to ensure our Postal Service can handle the increase in mail volume due to mail-in ballots in the November election. He refuses, once again, to take any responsibility or to do his job. In fact, he has placed one of his lackeys (who payed dearly in campaign contributions to be considered for the privilege) in charge of the Postal Service specifically to ensure that mail delivery efficiency decreases.
Is it incompetence alone that has led President Trump to make these decisions? No, he is guided by a diabolical political calculus. This calculation figures that voters who do not support him will be unwilling to vote in person because of the fear of contracting COVID19 & inadequate voting capacity in their communities.
Many election districts in anti-Trump areas are already crowded and barely capable of serving in-person voters in their districts without long lines and court orders to stay open late. Voters are understandably concerned about standing in lines, even with appropriate social distancing, with potential carriers of the disease.
While it is the states who have failed in their due diligence to maintain sufficient opportunity for all citizens to vote, the situation provides a great opportunity for Trump. If voters choose not to vote in-person, they can attempt to try to vote by mail. Vote by mail is being fought by Trump political operatives in the following ways:
- Casting doubt on the integrity of the vote-by-mail process. This engages his base & sparks charges of fraud — fraud, btw, that he failed to prove following the 2016 race when his hand-picked Election taskforce fizzled. It also keeps people from voting who might presume that their vote will just be discarded or ignored.
- Hobbling the Postal Service. If ballots aren’t delivered to election officials by the due date because USPS is understaffed, they won’t be counted. If there aren’t enough postal workers to make those deliveries, the ballots won’t be counted. Trump thinks this helps him because his voters live in areas where the strain on USPS resources are not as critical. Look for his postmaster general to make this problem worse by denying resources to those locations that need it most.
- Challenging attempts to expand vote-by-mail in Court. Trump is suing primarily blue & purple states that are trying to make it easier for voters concerned about COVID19 to vote. He has exempted his own state, Florida, from these attacks. It seems he wishes to continue to cast an absentee ballot in his own state, but prefers to remove that option for citizens of other states.
Government is not an unchanging monolithic entity. It can, and should, respond to current events. It is abundantly clear that more people will be using the U.S. Postal Service to cast ballots this Fall than ever before. The Trump Administration’s USPS needs to plan & appropriately staff up to meet this challenge. Rising to meet challenges is what we Americans do. Anything less is incompetent & corrupt.