Volume 6      Number 290   

To show his heart is in the right place, the president gave the leading proponent of women’s right to vote a free pass for having attempted to illegally vote, when it was forbidden. On August 17, 2020, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, president Trump hypocritically added Susan B. Anthony to his list of pardons. She will be there, unfortunately, in the company of a bunch of slugs that he has already pardoned. Next thing you know he will be giving a pardon to Joan of Arc.


Trump DeJoy

Image by John Cole


But that hasn’t prevented the president from trying to stop a lot of us from voting in 2020. He figures that the less people that vote, the better his chances of winning. He is basically correct in assuming this, as it has been shown that larger turnouts favor Democrats and so does vote by mail or absentee ballots. And he desperately wants to win. So does every candidate in the history of the world. But few in a democracy have the same incentive as Donald Trump, who otherwise faces prosecution in the State of New York, for a variety of crimes. Another four years in the White House would render him immune.

So it’s no wonder he is so anxious to be sworn in for another term on the first Tuesday in January 2021. Even if this wasn’t so, it is in his very nature to go for a fix. Look at the 2016 election and the recently validated bi-partisan 1,000-page Senate Report that reiterates what the Mueller Report said: his cronies were up to their eyeballs with the Russians. He got off the hook personally on collusion, but as every viewer of the Godfather knows, he never gives the order, just a knowing look.

From the minute he was elected president in 2016, the President has cast doubt on the veracity of the election, even though he won. But he hadn’t won by enough to suit him. When it turned out that Hilary Clinton had gotten more popular votes, it drove him wild. He claimed it was all due to illegal immigrants fraudulently voting in California. So as one of his first acts as president, he set up a commission to do an investigation. The commission found nada, zip, no irregularities.

But that hasn’t stopped him from badmouthing the election process, throughout his tenure in office. He has particularly had it in for absentee ballots or mail ballots, which he says are loaded with irregularities. We are all waiting breathlessly for an example of what the president purports is wrong with the system. Where are all the convictions for fraud in elections? There is no there, there. That’s because experts say that the mail method is basically foolproof. And who would want to risk jail time for election fraud which carries heavy penalties?

Of course, with the advent of coronavirus, and the requirement of masks and social distancing, in person voting has become even more problematic. To get around this coronavirus threat to personal voting, 41 states and the District of Columbia now allow anyone to cast a vote by mail or an absentee ballot. The remaining states all call for a “valid excuse” such as an illness or disability in order to obtain a mail ballot. Recent successes in Michigan and California now require all voters to automatically receive their application for a mail-in ballot. And it was seen that absentee and mail-in votes had become popular quickly. Back in 2016, more than 50 percent of voters in 16 states cast some form of mail-in vote.

Not to be undone in his attempt to shrink the vote, the president has attempted to take a sledgehammer to everyone’s right to vote by appointing an admirer who is also a major donor, Louis DeJoy, to be Postmaster General. This shifty guy started out by slowing up the bellwether of the mail-in ballots, the post office. In no time flat, after being appointed he cut back on postal service workers’ hours, saying that this was being done for cost efficiency purposes.

Then postal workers were seen removing mail boxes from streets all around the country. The excuse for that was that they were in excess. Postal department employees destroyed high-speed sorting equipment, with Mr.Dejoy saying they were out of date. Finally, the post office was warning that in 41 states that they might not be able to handle the expected mail-in votes promptly and delays could be expected.

This attempt to put a wrench into the voting process has become a de facto mainstay of the Republican Party. It swung into gear after the 2012 disastrous (for them) presidential election. At that time the Party undertook the Growth and Opportunity Project to determine why they had lost the election so badly and what to do about it. The 2013 report concluded that there was an “ideological cul-de-sac and needed better outreach and a new brand of conservatism to appeal to younger voters, ethnic minorities and women.”

The majority of the Party was unwilling to go that route, fearing that they would become the “Democratic Party Lite.” So, while it is unwritten, the Republicans chose and have embarked, on a widespread campaign since 2013 to just keep likely Democrats from voting. They have primarily used voter suppression in the form of gerrymandering and disruption of the polling places as their primary weapons. The use of the post office to stifle votes is the president’s tactic to continue the Republicans on-going charade to illegally win elections. Shams of this nature are likely to continue in the future as the minority population continues to grow as part of the potential electorate.

The hue and cry from Democrats, and even some Republicans, about the postal delays, became deafening. So, Postmaster DeJoy backed, off saying none of these needed changes would be made until after the election. That doesn’t bring back the already destroyed equipment, or fix needy mail recipients who say their medication or checks have been delayed.

It was so bad that Nancy Pelosi called the House back from their summer vacation and grilled the Postmaster on Friday, August 21. He said the mail delays were just temporary and were attributable to the coronavirus pandemic. This was untrue, since the delays started in Mid-July, coinciding with his arrival on the scene. Also, postal workers were seen destroying mail sorting machines in Grand Rapids MI after they were supposedly stopped from doing this.

Ever dubious, Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker quickly rammed through a bill adding a $25 billion needed allotment for the postal department onto the Coronavirus Emergency Bill. And Mr. DeJoy will still have to answer to a scheduled Senate committee meeting.

 To top it off, on August 13, there was the president in Florida applying for a mail-in ballot. When questioned about it, he claimed that Florida has a good mail-in program, unlike other states, particularly the Democratic states that were initiating the program. Seems like this is the old “do what I say, not what I do.”

So, the president is telling people to forget coronavirus and go out there and risk getting sick in order to vote. At the same time, wherever they can, Republicans are minimizing the number of polling booths, putting them in inconvenient locations, and refusing to put in extended hours, especially in locations where there are a preponderance of Democratic voters, usually in inner cities. That’s like telling someone to jump off a burning building, while the safety net has been pulled.

The key thing to all those who want to vote by mail, and make sure it is counted is to mail the ballot back promptly, right after receiving it. Voters should be careful when voting to blacken the entire box for the desired candidates and not to put an X or check mark.

And to be doubly safe voters should take the completed ballot over to a designated location, usually a county clerk’s office or City Hall or some other location, and drop it right into the designated slot. Recent data show that most of those voters do not return their ballots in the mail, either dropping them off at designated locations or at drop boxes. Further, 40 states have some form of in-person early voting, allowing those who choose this method to cast their ballot in person while avoiding crowds. Some states have extended early voting due to the pandemic.

With a number of alternatives to a trip to the polls available on election day, it is likely that despite the pandemic, and the president’s attempts to diminish the voter turnout, there will be a reverse effect. Coupled with the high emotions swirling around this year’s election, this will embolden voters to create a record number of voters.

 “Build a 20-foot wall and there will be a lot of buyers of 21-foot ladders.”

–Border Patrol agent.

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