April 12, 2020

Save The Post Office

The mail is vital to our society and our democracy

by Chris Thomas

Row of mailboxes

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

The Postal Service is in danger. The change in the daily patterns of life brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic has hit USPS revenue especially hard, but Americans depend on the USPS more than ever in these troubled times. As a result, the Postal Service and its more-than-600,000 employees are looking at financial insolvency by September.

The federal government could do something to help, but President Trump refuses to do so. His administration has actually threatened to veto pandemic relief legislation if it helps the Post Office. Let me just say that again in larger type:

The Trump administration has threatened to veto pandemic relief legislation if it supports the Post Office.

It's challenging to overstate how crazy this is. The Post Office enables the social distancing efforts that have brought millions of Americans together to help contain the spread of COVID-19. They're delivering letters to grandma, bills, tax-payments, even toilet paper. In fact, the Post Office is so vital it's one of the few functions of government that's called out by name in the Constitution: Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 empowers Congress to "To establish Post Offices and Post Roads."

So why is the Trump administration opposed to helping out the Post Office? There are two possible reasons and they're both infuriating.

First, Trump has a long-standing grudge against both Jeff Bezos and the Postal Service. Bezos owns Amazon as well as the Washington Post and the Post hasn't hesitated to call out the President for his incompetence, corruption, and fundamental indecency. Trump has long harbored a conspiracy theory that the Post Office gives Amazon unreasonably preferential rates for... reasons... and that many of the Post Office's financial problems could be solved by raising rates.

Second, and perhaps more relevant to our current situation, you can't do vote-by-mail without a Post Office. Vote-by-mail seems to be a logical way to hold elections in this time of pandemic but everyone understands that this will increase voter turnout. Even Republicans acknowledge that voter-turnout is bad for the GOP, so sabotaging the Post Office provides a great way to prevent a national vote-by-mail campaign from gaining traction by November.

The result will be a repeat of Wisconsin --- where more than 90% of urban (read Democrat-leaning) polling places are closed and turnout is suppressed by pandemic fears. Many of those who do turn out to vote will get sick. Some will die. And the GOP leadership will happily accept this outcome if it leads to electoral victories for Republicans.

What Can I Do?

"Text USPS 50409 to 50409, underneath the robot holding a letter"

Text Resistbot on iMessage or text USPS to 50409

You can write Congress and demand that it stand up to President Trump. If Trump wants to hold the entire country hostage because he's unwilling to help the Post Office out --- an institution beloved, especially now, by millions of Americans --- then the least Congress can do is give him the opportunity to do so.

Democrats must commit now to fully supporting the Post Office and a national vote by mail campaign. You can join more than 100,000 of your fellow citizens and ask Congress to support the Post Office by texting, messaging, or tweeting USPS to Resistbot on SMS at 50409, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, or Twitter.

"An example petition for the USPS"

It takes 2 minutes to send your support. 💌👊🤖

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