Trump’s Plan For Claiming An Election Win No Matter What Is Pretty Naked
The President’s already doing, saying he’s gonna do, or getting set to enable the following:
- Reducing the number of Biden voters by as much as possible.
- Increasing the number of Biden voters mailing in their votes.
- Wrecking the U.S. Postal Service so votes don’t get received on time, or can’t get counted in a timely way.
- Winning (or coming close) on in-person voting on Election Day. Claiming victory immediately.
- Declaring everything after that invalid, especially if it puts him deeper in the hole or a slim lead appears in danger of slipping away.
- “Finding” stacks of unused counterfeit ballots in a warehouse somewhere; connecting them to China.
When we’ve mentioned that last point to people (as we have in previous columns), we often get reactions like “Whoa! Now you’re going off into conspiracy theory land!” But no. We’re not. When Trump Tweets about:
“RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES…”
That’s an “ask”.
Just like when he “sarcastically” suggested Russia mine Hillary Clinton’s emails last time around.
And another thing the President’s going to do that became even clearer over the weekend is throw money at people. Or at least make it look like he is. (We wouldn’t even be surprised if Trump starts handing out free turkeys for Thanksgiving, but of course before Election Day.)
A President really can’t do that, since as it’s laid out in the Constitution, only Congress can; in fact it’s their main job.
So in that context, we think this Bloomberg headline is really hilarious: “Struggling Economy Gets Only Limited Help From Trump Actions”. Because Trump’s just fine with help being “limited”. To himself.
And the only time frame Trump cares about is between now and November 3rd. That’s why he promises to get rid of the payroll tax permanently if he wins re-election. (Even though that’s led to lots of politicians angrily pointing out that’s mainly what supports Social Security.) But to Trump, it sounds good. And whether he can actually pull it off if he wins, doesn’t really matter.
And when we wrote Friday that Democrats should be making a lot bigger deal of Trump breaking the United States Postal Service, we had no inkling that later that very same day, newly appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, was going to demote or reassign 23 high ranking executives within the postal service.
And when DeJoy — who until recently was in charge of raising money for the Republican National Convention — denies he’s pulling these stunts at Trump’s behest, and instead says:
“I serve at the pleasure of the governors of the Postal Service, a group that is bipartisan by statute and that will evaluate my performance in a nonpartisan fashion.”
He’s full of BS and he knows it.
- The “Board of Governors” to which DeJoy refers is now made up entirely of men appointed by Trump. Every last one. Including its Chairman who — guess what? — previously served as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee.
- The Postal Service just last week finished hammering out the terms under which it will receive the funds it was allocated in the first Coronavirus relief bill, passed back in March. And under those terms, the White House will oversee the Postal Service’s 10 biggest Negotiated Service Agreements, or NSA. Those are deals with very large-scale shippers, like Amazon, which Trump has often derided. So if DeJoy really was his own man, why would the White House be taking this on? And why would the White House want this unless Trump intends to mess with it?
Which leads us back to what really is the central point of this whole thing: even if Trump’s right and the Postal Service needs to be reformed and it’s losing too much money, is this really the time to be making tearing it down a priority? During a pandemic, when the U.S. is crossing 5-million confirmed COVID-19 cases, and at-risk people need to get stuff delivered? And during probably the most consequential Presidential election of our lifetimes?
The money piece is not an issue at least not between now and Election Day. Because Congress has already funded the Postal Service so it could at least operate as it had been. (Instead of, for instance, a small parcel shipped from Washington State on July 21st still not arriving yet in Massachusetts, with no status updates since it was shipped). We only bring that up to raise the point that while ballots are supposed to have higher priority, they are in many states required to arrive, not be postmarked, by Election Day in order to be counted.
Good luck with that. And of course that’s the entire point at this point in the game.
Oh, and one more thing. (This happened a week ago and we’ve been meaning to get around to it but there’s so much else been going on. Still, shame on us.) Anyway, Trump appointed a retired Brigadier General to the number 3 job at the Defense Department, which according to the Constitution, requires Senate approval. Problem is, Anthony Tata had authored a bunch of anti-Muslim and also racist Tweets. And he knew it too, because he tried to delete them. But not fast enough. So with Senate approval looking like a strike out, Senate Armed Services Chair James Inhofe (R) OK, cancelled the confirmation hearing.
Then, Trump installed Tata at the Pentagon anyway. Except instead of being:
“Under Secretary Of Defense For Policy.”
His title is (temporarily):
“The Official Performing The Duties Of The Deputy Undersecretary Of Defense For Policy.”
And instead of being up in arms that Trump usurped the Senate’s designated-by-the-U.S. Constitution role once again, Senator Inhofe telling the New York Times:
“While I have always stressed the need to have Senate-confirmed leadership in top Pentagon positions, I believe it is within the president’s authority to appoint D.O.D. officials when and as appropriate.”
Like Trump is a drug and these guys (mostly) just get giddy from it. Seems to us that laws dealing with Presidential latitude in personnel contingencies are intended to be about resolving real-world eventualities that come up, not about canceling out the Constitution.
And now it’s all blown by like it never happened just a week later.