I can hear Elijah Cummings saying, “Folks, we are better than this.” The USPS is on a rampage to slow down mail service, right in the middle of the coronavirus epidemic. First step is installing a Postmaster General whose only qualification is that he donated millions to the Trump campaign. There were no announcements when the post office began removing vital sorting machines from their backrooms. The Washington Post reported 671 sorting machines each capable of sorting up to 35,000 letters per hour, have been removed. Actually, they can sort outbound mail at up to 55,000 letters per hour. This is exactly what the States need to send out ballots. Obviously, each state would be sending out a huge number of ballots perhaps millions all at once in mid-October. Trump can say he’s against mail-in ballots, but he really crossed the line on this one. He had a long standing dispute on the rates the Post Office charges for packages – but this is a completely different issue.
So far, the slowdown of postal service under the new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy are:
- Disabling or removal of 671 sorting machines
- Removal of drop boxes nationwide
- Denying overtime for postal employees.
- Firing of 15 post office executives
GOP leadership has praised the new postmaster general as a man of strong action and leadership. People involved in shipping have seen long delays in recent weeks. Then legal counsel for the Post Office sent 46 letters to the Secretary of State of each state warning that the ballots might not arrive on time to be counted. Florida allows residents to request mail-in ballots at 10 days before election day. The USPS is saying this isn’t enough time.
Trump champions cost cutting and privatization. But pulling our vital sorting machines about 100 days before an election, has nothing to do with cost cutting. Yes, there had been a slump in general post office services, along with everything else, as our economy plunged. But everything coming out of the White House has been rosy forecast of recovery, about how we’ll have a vaccine soon and we’ll be back in business. To think we are gutting our postal services because of the current downturn in the economy is absurd.
Louis DeJoy is a wealthy man, and likely his investments will benefit from taking an axe to the post office services. He founded XPO logistics, and sold it in 2014 for 2014, but still retains stock in the company.
The news media didn’t catch the action of DeJoy to disable these huge sorting machines in June. I assumed the post office just ordered the machines shut off, and immediately mail piled up. It just takes two people to run the machines, so do the math: 671 machines x 2 people = 1342 employees. Maybe it’s twice this, if there are two shifts. Now, how many letter per day are not sorted: 35,000 letters/hour x 671 machines x 8 hours per day (a guess assuming just one shift) = 187 million letters per day not sorted. If the machine operators are long gone, there has just been one massive slowdown of our mail.
The removal of mailboxes was first noticed in Billing, Montana. Why there? Surveys show that Trump is likely to win in Montana. But Montana is an enormous swing state in control of the Senate by Republicans, with just 6 senate seats in the toss up category: Montana (1), Colorado (1), Georgia (2), North Carolina (1) and Maine (1). Fortunately, both Republicans and Democrats have renounced the mailbox removal and this has stopped.
Polls tell us that low voter turnout favors Republican candidates. From the recent Quinnipiac University poll of Texas voters:
38. Thinking about the election for president in November, do you think you would feel comfortable or uncomfortable voting in person?
WHITE........ 4 YR COLL DEG Tot Rep Dem Ind Men Wom Yes No Comfortable 60% 84% 31% 60% 65% 54% 64% 73% Uncomfortable 38 14 67 38 33 43 34 25 DK/NA 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 2
Look at the second line “uncomfortable” and skip to the third number in that row – 67% of Democrats polled are uncomfortable with voting in-person verses 14% of Republicans. This is a dramatic difference. Biden’s supporters tend to be older and more educated. I’m sure this has not escaped the view of Trump. Nothing else makes this kind of difference. There have been dozens of surveys all coming back saying that Democrats are more worried about the spread of coronavirus, are more reluctant to go out to bars, restaurants and yes, polling places.
I don’t know what Plan B is for Louis DeJoy. He’s picked up a slew of drop boxes. You can’t exactly sell a mailbox except for scrap. Same goes for the sorting machines. Probably have to first strip off all that expensive scanning equipment which have really evolved over the years, so they can be efficiently maintained. Louis DeJoy is an investor and ardent Republican supporter. He’s never worked a day for the US Post Office or any government agency. His wife has been nominated as ambassador to Canada. While DeJoy and his wife are getting excellent returns on investing in Trump, I imagine a lot of the postal workers will be looking at their pension plans.
So, if Joe Biden gets elected, he’ll have a long uphill battle to restore postal services.
So I’ll end with where I began, “Folks we can do better than this.”
Rachel Maddow “Pressure works” Aired 8/14/2020
I tape the show. Unfortunately it will be expiring soon.
Louis DeJoy was one of four members of the Republican National Committee – Finance team working under Steve Wynn.
Steve Wynn , Elliot Broidy, Michael Cohen and Louis DeJoy on April 3, 2017 were “long time friends of the Party.” So, what have these fine people done lately. Sexual misconduct, financial fraud, and writing a soon to be released best seller.