Trump spent the weekend golfing and spreading fear about the 2020 election on social media, doing his best to frame the upcoming vote as illegitimate and corrupted long before it begins. Trump is trying his best to sow fear and cast doubt on our election system because he knows he is likely to lose, so he is demonizing every form of voting. He’s been warning of millions of fraudulent mail-in ballots, ballot drop boxes that can be filled with fraudulent ballots, and now he’s warning of fraudsters arriving at polling places to cast multiple votes or vote for dead people, etc. All of his warnings are bogus–mail in ballots are safe and extremely difficult to use for wide-scale fraud. For example, they must have signatures and address details that match the voter rolls, and once a registered voter casts a ballot, that registration can’t be used for a second or tenth ballot. Trump even threatened to send police to polling places to make sure nobody tries to perpetrate fraud in-person but this hollow (and likely illegal) threat is meant to intimidate voters and keep them home, which benefits Trump. HOWEVER, the RNC is apparently paying thousands of “poll watchers” to show up and intimidate voters in swing districts, both by their very presence and also by challenging voter’s credentials. This probably won’t happen in our area but if it does we need to be prepared to push back and not be intimidated.
More importantly, Trump and his regime have damaged the ability of the US Postal Service to deliver mail effectively. Trump’s crony Louis DeJoy, the newly installed postmaster general, testified before Congress and painted a rosy picture of the USPS that in no way matched the dismal performance millions of Americans have recently experienced. DeJoy admitted that hundreds of mail sorting machines have been removed, and refused to reinstate them, but he had no explanation for why the majority of those machines were in Blue States and sensitive voting areas. Moreover, DeJoy failed to inform Congress that the USPS has experienced a steep downturn in efficiency starting at the beginning of July, quickly sliding from an on-time percentage of 92% to a dismal 78%, according to internal USPS reports and documents. This matters because many states have hard deadlines for mail-in ballots. If your ballot is delayed and arrives after the deadline, it won’t be counted. It also matters because mail-in ballots will likely arrive to voters late, further compressing the time needed to return the ballot in a timely way.
It’s been reported that as many as half of Democratic voters plan to use mail-in ballots this November while only around 20% of Republicans plan to do so. I don’t know if these numbers are remotely accurate but if they are close, it’s a disturbing statistic. But in our area, with Covid cases way down and transmission rates very low, it’s reasonable to wonder if mail-in voting even makes sense.
We know that massive protests occurred in NYC but didn’t lead to a spike in infections. Why? Because protesters were outside and wore masks. For months we’ve been shopping at grocery stores without causing a spike in cases. Why? Because mask-wearing had mostly been followed. Many New Yorkers have been eating at outdoor restaurants without a spike in new cases. Why? Because servers wear masks and the tables are distant. In-person voting, if done with masks and distancing, shouldn’t be any more dangerous than the activities many New Yorkers are already participating in. It shouldn’t lead to a spike in cases. Even though I’m in a riskier age category, I’ve decided to vote in person this November. New York isn’t a swing state and Trump won’t win the state’s delegates but our local races will likely be close and I don’t want to leave anything to chance. There are certainly many people who can’t or shouldn’t vote in person, but the vast majority of us should be able to do it with little risk. Here’s an article from NPR with recent research on the subject:
The Republican Convention begins tonight and Trump has vowed to speak on all four nights, which is exactly what you’d expect from a malignant narcissist cult-leader. And it’s great news for the resistance. The more Trump says off-the-cuff, the more he puts his foot in his mouth. And the more he reads from a teleprompter, the more he sounds like a soulless, low-energy dolt. One interesting observation: no member of the Bush family will be speaking this year. They don’t want Trump’s stank to rub off on them.
Keep resisting and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”