Trump, Post-Factual

The measures used by the president in the fight for reelection never cease to amaze. He has no faith in the punctuality of the Postal Service.

Anyone naively watching the dispute over the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to ensure the timely delivery of mail-in votes must be stunned − why is that even a consideration in the most powerful country in the world? How is it possible that there is an open discussion in the United States about whether a reliable postal service can be guaranteed − a service that is a given in many poor, even corrupt countries?

Those who are not naive and know the background of the dispute will end up with the exact same questions.

U.S. President Donald Trump is warning of potential election fraud in connection with mail-in voting with no reliable evidence, but fully in keeping with his approach of not acknowledging the possibility of defeat and gathering all the arguments for resistance beforehand.

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to cast their ballots by mail, in part because they take the coronavirus more seriously and would therefore be reluctant to stand in line at polling places. Therefore, if the post office is not able to perform its task with regard to mail-in votes, this will benefit the president and damage his opponent. It’s that simple.

Over the last few days and weeks, numerous mailboxes and mail-sorting machines have been sorted out and removed — a perfect case of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If there are no such machines, then it will, of course, be difficult to deliver large quantities of mail on time.

The U.S. Postal Service has been in financial distress for many years. The internet has made sure that many messages that would have previously been sent by mail are now sent by email. And with booming online trade, the good old post office has to compete with private companies. It does not have a monopoly on parcels.

Fundamental reform is inevitable. But if a major Republican donor is in charge of the Postal Service and sees to it that the requirements for an orderly mail-in vote are dispensed with just before the election, then surely economic considerations are not the only reason behind it.

Local reporter Maritsa Georgiou has looked into this in more detail. She listed exactly which mailboxes have been removed or are to be removed in the small town of Missoula, Montana. Around 40%. In the town of Billings, it is actually half. The result: an outcry from all political parties.

Since then, U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has promised to leave further destruction of the infrastructure until after the election. Well. Is that supposed to be inspiring? And is that even enough, or is too much already broken to be able to hold a mail-in vote?

Who knows? What we do know is that Trump only considers the Postal Service in terms of whether it benefits or damages his interests — just like many other services that are needed by the public. Shortly after he took office, he threatened to pull out of the Universal Postal Union.* The Universal Postal Union! Which survived the Cold War and many other conflicts.

Trump demanded better conditions for the U.S. and yes, he got them. The treaty favors poorer countries, and this did not please the U.S. president. The schoolyard bully won. And now? Now he is testing whether this method will also work on a national level. So far it is going quite well for him, unfortunately.

*Editor’s note: The Universal Postal Union is a United Nations agency that coordinates postal policies among nations, as well as the worldwide postal system.

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