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GOP, administration shortchange the Postal Service

Why does Donald Trump hate the Postal Service?

Why does he continue to cast doubt on the ability of our United States Postal Service to fulfill the mailing and shipping needs of people across America, especially in regard to mail-in ballots for this upcoming election? Funny, he never voiced a concern during other recent elections over the course of his term. It’s also funny that he is now advocating to his supporters to try to vote twice, illegally, to make sure their vote will count!

The primaries were held in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic. He wasn’t worried about the delivery of absentee ballots then, except to use a problem that occurred in New York City as a reason that voting by mail now cannot be trusted.

The primary in the state had been officially canceled over COVID concerns. Due to a last-minute judgment on a suit filed by Andrew Yang, it was hurriedly put back into place, with the hard-hit New York City receiving massive requests for the mail-in option. Under circumstances like that, it’s no wonder New York City experienced snags. But this was New York City, not the entire nation. State election boards and the USPS have had months now to be prepared for the increase in voters preferring to mail their ballots out of corona fears.

Trump is hedging his bet, just like he did in 2016, when he claimed ahead of time that voter fraud was rampant. Even after winning, the loss of the popular vote bothered him so much that he formed a research committee which came up with nothing to substantiate his claim. Now, he is setting up the Postal Service for blame if he should lose.

The apparent corruption surrounding the choice of Louis DeJoy as Postmaster General seems to lend credence to this tactic. He was chosen by a board now occupied by Trump-supporting Republican big-money donors. He was absent from a list of 53 recommended candidates, and following some questionable involvement by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, was selected at the last minute.

In a recent rally at the Ithaca post office, congressional candidate, Tracy Mitrano, warned us that DeJoy “has a personal business interest in dismantling the Postal Service.” DeJoy and his wife still hold stock in his former company which does business with the USPS, and also in companies that compete with the USPS.

In his first few months, DeJoy instituted immediate severe cutbacks on overtime, ordering trucks to leave sorting facilities whether the mail had been completely loaded or not, resulting in mail piling up undelivered for days. He did a large-scale removal of sorting machines and collection boxes, above and beyond what would be a norm in response to decrease in letter volume, even with the awareness that a huge mail-in vote would be coming. Rather than prepare for that, he has made the situation worse. He has suspended further cutbacks, but refuses to undo the damage already done. He has helped Trump with his excuse if he loses and has helped Republicans undermine voter turnout.

Along with creating fear in the population of the efficacy of the USPS, Trump is stoking fear of so-called “socialism.” The Postal Service is a shining example of what Trump is trying to make people afraid of. Our founders wanted to unite the country and in so doing, protected the postal service in the Constitution. It is a universal service provided to all equitably and affordably. Everyone gets mail delivery. Mitrano stated “government has a distinct role to play in public interest that cannot and should not be met by privatization – which is the current Postmaster General’s game.” If the goal is to privatize the Postal Service, it will no longer be affordable and available to all. The rich will win, the rest of us will lose.

Not one to be outdone in support of the rich, our incumbent congressman Tom Reed has a voting record that makes Trump happy. According to politicsthatwork.com, he votes in favor of the wealthy and big business over 90% of the time, and in favor of the middle class under 8% of the time. In contrast to his opponent, Tracy Mitrano, he receives his campaign donations from PACs, big business interests mostly outside our district. Only 2% comes from small individual donations.

Mitrano is supported 100% from small individual donors, and her focus is, has always been, and if elected will be, on the needs of the people in the 23rd district.

Reed talked in a Twitter thread, calling on the DeJoy to provide more information regarding delays because of “mounting public confusion, constituent outreach, and recent national reports”. Tracy doesn’t need to be reminded by “national reports” when something is affecting us, especially the impact a mail disruption has on this largely rural area. She believes it places “rural communities in a precarious position. With more Americans depending on the Postal Service for vital deliveries, and now mail-in ballots for the essential ability to vote by mail this fall – it’s never been more important to protect the USPS.”

Mitrano began speaking out about the Trump attacks and the disruption in the Postal Service way before Reed got the “national reports” which only then turned his attention to his “constituent outreach”.

Mitrano has confidence in the procedure of voting by mail, despite DeJoy’s disruptive measures. She says it is safe, “and in the states that use it routinely it has the highest voter turnout. There is nothing to the president’s claims that it is fraudulent, quite the contrary.”

However, she warns us about the possible end game of Trump and DeJoy. In her speech at the Ithaca post office, she said “the kleptocratic amoral vision that Donald Trump has is to dismantle all of federal government so that private interest can come in and take. … They’ve gone in just like Willie Sutton (bank robber) did because that’s where the money is and they are out to take.”

We need Mitrano to represent us. It is reassuring that she believes in our longstanding institution of the Postal Service and wants to protect it from the greedy hands of big business, unlike our president and his wealthy donors.

Susan Bigler is a Sheridan resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com

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