Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is spot on when he states, “The president should be doing less to suppress votes, and more to suppress the COVID-19 virus.” Polls throughout the country suggest that heading into the November presidential election we likely will see record voter turnout. Most sane individuals consider voter involvement to be the most critical component for a healthy society, and vibrant democracy.
However, these same polls suggest our incumbent president’s residential “lease” at the White House is likely to expire shortly after November 3rd. These same polls warn that a larger voter turnout is apt to increase significantly the incumbent’s margin of defeat.
The bleaker President Donald J. Trump’s re-election odds appear, the more strident are his attempts to suppress ballot box participation by American voters. Obviously Trump has been hanging out too much with his Russian buddy President Vladimir Putin who is a master at rigging his country’s presidential elections.
In the finest tradition of cult worship and mafia management methodologies Trump appointed one of the GOP’s top fundraisers Louis DeJoy to “serve” as the nation’s Postmaster General. DeJoy is the first person in half a century to be appointed Postmaster General without having started as a letter carrier. In fact, DeJoy has no Postal Service experience of any kind. But his lack of experience can be overlooked since as a long-time Republican Party fundraiser DeJoy and his wife Aldona Wos contributed more than $1.5 million to Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns. Mrs. DeJoy has been nominated to be this country’s ambassador to Canada. It’s all part of the familiar cult of corruption continually oozing out of the Trump Administration.
In accordance with the cult playbook, Mr. DeJoy has dutifully made harsh cuts to the USPS service capacity as a means to seriously delay mail deliveries in hopes of restricting voter participation. This fits well with a major Trump goal that includes falsely breeding distrust in our election process — enhancing a likely post-election lawsuit intended to disrupt and delay Trump’s White House eviction.
That’s a hard sell in Washington State — one of five states in the nation with all vote-by-mail elections. Nonetheless it’s just another example of Trump’s cherished and childish penchant for claiming “reality” for his self-serving dreams. Contrasting his claims of fraud for mailed ballots is Washington State Secretary of State Kim Wyman who is recognized as one of the most experienced and knowledgeable experts with mail voting. Wyman’s office has reported that out of 3.1 million ballots cast by Washingtonians in the 2018 general election a mere 142 were questionable. That’s a 0.004 percent suspected of potential fraud. This reality hardly supports Trump’s attempts to call into doubt the validity of vote-by-mail elections. Wyman, a two-term Republican Secretary of State says, “In Washington State, we haven’t had lines on election day in ten years.” She also said, “When people vote by mail they love it.”
Too many generations of conservatives have never truly trusted “ordinary” folks to govern themselves and so have embraced multiple schemes for restricting voter participation. These same conservatives resent sharing governance with the proletariat. In 2006 a Bush-era law was implemented with the intention of bankrupting the postal service by requiring it to prepay 75 years worth of its employee pension and healthcare costs. This is a standard applied to no other government agency.
Prior to DeJoy’s appointment it was common knowledge our Postal Service desperately needed a $25 billion infusion of federal funds to continue uninhibited service. That funding shortfall was a blessing for Trump and his loyal accolade DeJoy’s attempt to curtail negative effects expected from a possible ballot surge.
Small rural communities like Pacific and Gray Harbor counties will feel most painfully a slower mail delivery system at all levels. It’s interesting to note that Postal Service employees enjoy more public favor and support than any other federal institution, regardless of political affiliation. I personally find postal employees in Raymond and South Bend offices to be super helpful and friendly. They have earned their neighbors’ trust, not withstanding Trump’s attempts to denigrate and surreptitiously prepare this critical service for eventual privatization. Isn’t it interesting that Postmaster General DeJoy and his wife just happen to own stock in a company that in a very real sense competes with the U.S. Postal Service. It’s all part of a cult of corruption.
Dave Gauger is a past president of Washington Newspaper Publishers Association (WNPA), and a former newspaper publisher and radio broadcaster in Raymond.