This is not a conspiracy theory


The sitting president of the United States is scheming to steal the next election. This ought to be on the top of our minds as we are all looking forward to exercising our democratic rights, that just as Congress has stood by unwilling (rather, actively participated in the corruption) to act as the executive branch goes wild and as the judicial branch has been poisoned for a generation, Donald Trump is looking at the polls, seeing his only option is cheating.

The US Postal Service has issued a warning that they can’t make the delivery schedule for ballots in two states, so far.

The U.S. Postal Service has warned at least two states — Washington and the battleground state of Pennsylvania — that some mail-in ballots are at risk of not being delivered on time to be counted in the November general election because the states’ deadlines are too tight for its “delivery standards.”

Thomas J. Marshall, general counsel and executive vice president of USPS, expressed the agency’s concern regarding this “mismatch” in two separate letters to Kathy Boockvar, Pennsylvania’s secretary of state, and Kim Wyman, Washington’s secretary of state. The Philadelphia Inquirer was the first to report on the letters, which were dated July 29 and July 31, respectively.

Marshall warned in the letters that some of the states’ deadlines concerning mail-in ballots were “incongruous” and “incompatible” with the Postal Service’s delivery standards. “This mismatch,” he wrote, “creates a risk that ballots requested near the deadline under state law will not be returned by mail in time to be counted under your laws as we understand them.”

Trump has openly declared that he won’t support mechanisms to allow continued voting during the pandemic.

President Trump on Thursday said he opposes both election aid for states and an emergency bailout for the U.S. Postal Service because he wants to restrict how many Americans can vote by mail, putting at risk the nation’s ability to administer the Nov. 3 elections.

Trump has been attacking mail balloting and the integrity of the vote for months, but his latest broadside makes explicit his intent to stand in the way of urgently needed money to help state and local officials administer elections during the coronavirus pandemic. With nearly 180 million Americans eligible to vote by mail, the president’s actions could usher in widespread delays, long lines and voter disenfranchisement this fall, voting rights advocates said.

Trump said his purpose is to prevent Democrats from expanding mail-balloting, which he has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, would invite widespread fraud. The president has also previously admitted that he believes mail voting would allow more Democrats to cast ballots and hurt Republican candidates, including himself.

He’s doing this in plain sight. He is brazenly opposing free and fair elections because he knows he would be deposed.

What are we going to do about it?

I remember the helplessness when the Supreme Court handed a presidential election to George W. Bush — we all let it happen because we had faith in the rule of law and democratic institutions. That faith is gone now, completely demolished by the actions of the Republican party and the passivity of the Democrats. Now we have a president who intends to deny huge numbers of people the right to vote, all because a fair election would damage his evil party.

What are we going to do about it when the rule of law fails?

Comments

  1. Chiral says

    Find out if you can deliver your ballot by hand to the county clerk in your locality. Find out if you can deliver other people’s or if you can only take your own. If you can take other people’s then help out by collecting those of people you know and taking them in.

    Another option some places is voting early. You could help by organizing/helping people go early when there is less likely to be crowds or lines.

    If enough people did these it would be safer than everyone voting in person on election day, but relieve some of the pressure on USPS. IMO, the dems should be trying to get these things going where they can. However, the dems being the dems means they probably won’t try. There’s a push to pass some laws stopping the USPS from being broken, but all of that relies on Trump following the laws, which we know he won’t do. Grassroots efforts to bypass the USPS and get votes in differently seem more likely to work.

    They could also try to get the local/state laws changed so that the ballots only have to be postmarked by election day. That was how it was in my state for the primary. They also moved the election back a couple of weeks. It can be done if the elected officials want it (I live in a very red state, I expect that’s why it was allowed)

    Local efforts can’t do much to stop the USPS from being dismantled directly, but trying to make sure people’s votes can be counted might save it if dems get elected. I don’t have a lot of faith in their ability to make things better. I tend to think of voting for them as voting for things to get worse more slowly, which is still worthwhile. Especially this year.

  2. weylguy says

    If it’s only a matter of funding, the USPS could enlist the aid of Bill Gates, Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos to provide the money needed to maintain on-time delivery of ballots. It would be chump change to them, but highly unlikely that they’d bother to save the country, preferring instead to amass as much money as they possibly can.

  3. Rich Woods says

    What are we going to do about it when the rule of law fails?

    I’m sure all those ‘well-regulated militias’ will recognise the threat to the nation and perform their constitutional duty.

  4. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Darth Cheeto seems to be following the playbook that Turkey’s President Erdogan followed to undermine democracy in the only Muslim nation with a relatively strong democratic, secular tradition (give or take an occasional coup). Erdogan slowly took control of government organs of power, placing loyalists (often family members) in positions of power and relying on conservative, religious fanatics who had long had grievances against the secular government and armed forces for electoral support.

    That is why in this election it is not enough for Democrats to eke out a win. They have to crush Rethugs at the ballot box. The Republican establishment has to get a whooping so severe that John Freemont says ouch. In this effort it is important that even mainstream Republicans reject Trump as a mortal threat to their party. However, ultimately, Republicans have to realize that the real threat is not Trump. The real threat is the party’s willingness to embrace ever nuttier fringe constituencies so that they can continue with their core policy of benefitting the billionaire class at the expense of the rest of us. In this sense, Trumplethinskin, his embrace of white supremacists and Q Anon nutjobs and the desperate attempt to suppress voting, are all (hopefully) merely the apotheosis of ill-conceived efforts to prop up the corpse of government of, by and for the few and the privileged.

  5. marcoli says

    So much attention is being paid to how this impacts election into the presidential office. But of course this also effects all the elections at the state, county, and town level. All offices are gonna get f’ed up, and candidates for those offices probably will not be too thrilled either.

  6. says

    RE comment #3:
    I personally would prefer not to have a big orange martyr for people to blindly revere for decades after. But when he dies an undignified natural death, I wouldn’t be bothered if his cadaver was treated like Mussolini’s.

  7. says

    This may backfire on Trump. His screwing with the post office is apparently also effecting the delivery of medicine, transfers of money, and other things that aren’t limited to those evil lefties.

  8. raven says

    The U.S. Postal Service has warned at least two states — Washington and the battleground state of Pennsylvania — that some mail-in ballots are at risk of not being delivered on time to be counted in the November general election because the states’ deadlines are too tight for its “delivery standards.”

    That is a problem no doubt.
    One solution is obvious.
    The states could change their schedules by mailing out their ballots earlier.

    The election is November 3, 2020.
    I’m sure there is time to print the ballots and mail them earlier than their current date.
    In most cases, this is likely to be just an administrative decision although here, I have no way of knowing what all 50 states have in the way of laws and rules.

  9. raven says

    Find out if you can deliver your ballot by hand to the county clerk in your locality.

    Good idea.
    That is what I usually do myself.
    There are drop boxes near enough that it is as easy as mailing them in anyway.
    And, I don’t have to worry about the (very slight) chance of my ballot getting lost in the mail.

  10. brucegee1962 says

    I had been planning on requesting my mail-in ballot soon, but now I am considering taking my life in my hands, attaching my mask firmly, and going to vote in person. After all, if folks like Crip Dyke are putting their lives on the line versus Trump’s goons in defense of democracy in Portland, shouldn’t I do the same in the face of covid-19?
    The thing I fear is that if the in-person vote favors Trump but the mail-in vote favors Biden, he will try to get mail-in votes thrown out in large batches. Even if he fails to do that through the legal system, he will still try to convince his voters that Biden’s election is fraudulent, and resist leaving office. So I fear it isn’t enough to just win the overall vote — in-person votes may simply matter more this time.

    In fact, that strategy is the only thing that makes sense out of what he’s doing. His rhetoric seems to be trying to discourage people from voting by mail, which is self-defeating for him — senior citizens and folks in nursing homes are some of the biggest groups to vote by mail and his strongest supporters. If he isn’t planning on delegitimizing a Biden victory, it looks as if he’s trying to kill off his own supporters, which is insane.

  11. kome says

    The passivity of the Democrats in all of this is the one thing we can do something about. Unless they actively fight FOR us, don’t support them. They need to stop taking our votes for granted on the assumption that we’ll support them because the Republicans are worse. That’s precisely how we ended up here in the first place. Republicans clearly don’t care, so we need to make the Democrats care by actually holding their feet to the fire and threatening to withhold the one thing they need from us: our vote.

  12. garnetstar says

    The suggestions posted here are excellent. I would also advise: if you are not white (or, who knows, perhaps even if you’re white), do not go to the polls on election day. Remember that this is the first national election (since, I don’t know when) during which poll-“watchers” are allowed. The law forbidding them was quietly allowed to expire in 2018.

    Already, republicans say they have 50,000 volunteers to challenge people at polling places as to whether they can prove they’re a legal voter. I don’t think that even if you bring your passport, driver’s license, and birth certificate, that they’ll necessarily quit and let you vote. They know what they’re there to do.

    And, you know that Trump/Barr will send out their unmarked goon squads to do the same thing (“protect” from voter fraud, you know), then beat you up or whisk you away in the unmarked cars when you try to prove you’re legal, and try to go in to vote. Naturally, the goons and watchers will be most prevalent in swing states and will challenge voters of color the most.

    So, get your mail-in ballot immediately and return it, by mail, drop box, taking it yourself to the election officials and hand-delivering it, even paying FedEx or UPS for next-day delivery, whatever. Or else, show up at the polls on early voting days, when there will be fewer people to breathe COVID onto you, and, one hopes, fewer goons out to beat you up or otherwise prevent you from voting.

  13. Akira MacKenzie says

    …nd the passivity of the Democrats.

    In all fairness, what can the Democrats legally do to stop this? They only control the House and any action requires the consent of all others. All the other branches are controlled by the Republicans, and they’ve made it clear that they’d rather trash the Constitution they claim to love so much if it means they stay in power forever. The Dems tried to play by the rules with a nice legal Impeachment proceeding and the Republicans in the Senate refused to even hear witnesses. The Democrats haven’t been silent about Trump’s USPS shenanigans, but thanks to our precious system, they are unable to stop them?

  14. kwc20 says

    He’s doing this in plain sight. He is brazenly opposing free and fair elections because he knows he would be deposed.

    I don’t know. The Donald went into the 2016 election with a long history of racism, sexism, sexual harassment, business incompetence and general stupidity, all of which was public knowledge for anyone that wanted to make the effort to learn about it. These things, in any sane society, would have led to an absolute landslide (on the order of 1984) for Hillary Clinton, but that didn’t come close to happening.

    And yes, I’m aware that Clinton won the popular vote. The fact that this was as close as it was (48% – 46%) proves my point. And careful heading down the “popular vote” road, unless you want to simultaneously argue that Andrew “Fake Insurance Broker” Scheer, the guy who used party funds to enroll his kids in a private school, should be Prime Minister of Canada.

    I wouldn’t bet a whole lot against Trump winning, even without what he’s currently doing to the USPS. It is indeed pretty difficult to overestimate the stupidity of the American electorate.

  15. garnetstar says

    You know, I just watched something that gave me a thought: what about some kind of general strike? Or national march, like the Women’s March?
    Demanding that they fix the post office and get relief to working people and the states. And letting them know that we’re not so happy that they’re off on vacation while we need this.
    This would be a huge organization effort.

  16. says

    @21 The important question is how did we get to the point where we thought otherwise? For the last four years, liberal pundits have said “Well, Trump’s finished now”, only to be proven wrong every time. And yet, we keep believing that the next one will surely finish him. For the side that thinks of itself as the “reality based” side, we’ve ignored a shocking amount of evidence contradictory to our ideas of where America is politically.

  17. Akira MacKenzie says

    You know, I just watched something that gave me a thought: what about some kind of general strike? Or national march, like the Women’s March?

    And what is THAT going to do? Will Donald’s heart grow three sizes that day? Will it sway the redneck, racist, gun-fondling, Bible-humpers who believe we’re in league with Satan? Will it convince the shiftless, lazy, and stupid non-voters to get off their asses and into a ballot box? No. The first one will send in militarized cops and mercs to kill the protestors. The second group will laugh gleefully at the telvised bloodshed on Fox, OAN, and Infowars, with some even helping in the murder. The third will complain that all this boring news coverage is preempting American Idol.

  18. wzrd1 says

    Yesterday, I received an e-mail from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of State. The operative contents are below:
    Dear Pennsylvania Voter:

    We are writing to remind you that earlier this year, you signed up to be an annual mail-in voter in Pennsylvania or you recently applied for a mail-in ballot for the general election. Thank you! If you still live in the same county as when you applied, you do not need to re-apply for a mail-in ballot. You will receive a ballot in the mail in September or October, and you will be able to securely vote from the comfort and safety of your home. We are contacting all mail-in ballot applicants, so they do not mistakenly submit duplicate requests.

    So, the god-king, Emperor Trump’s Postmasturbator General is telling the world that anything mailed within the Commonwealth cannot be delivered within two months and be received. Nor, can he guarantee “postal standards” will be capable of delivering postal mail within a county within at least a month.
    This, after my mail in ballot in the primary election was delivered the same day, literally within hours.

    OK, then the government is, under such scofflaw behavior, null, void and invalid and we need to replace it with a real government.
    Any suggestions on how to retool what is currently our very first amendment?

  19. unclefrogy says

    for those of us who were aware at the time many if not all the details of the path we took to arrive here are known. For those who only lately recognize where we are I can say yes this the place we find ourselves in there are a few good things to know that might be helpful right now one of them is not as important is the how. We do not have the time waste figuring that history out. This like The Poseidon Adventure the administration is sinking and threatening to take the whole democratic experiment down with it. What do we do now?
    one of the other good things to remember is agent orange is not a very loyal guy, he has a few cronies who he will help only if they “do him a favor” or he will just abandon them. He demands “fealty” but does not reciprocate. he has some cronies in key positions but I doubt he has the unquestioned personal support of the millitary nor of the CIA nor the FBI they do not need fox to tell them what to believe
    get out the vote
    demonstrate when called on
    work on the down ballot
    were your mask and social distance getting sick wont help
    do let no body turn you around
    we know where are trying to get to
    we will get there one step at a time only together
    uncle frogy

  20. ionopachys says

    @15 kome

    The passivity of the Democrats in all of this is the one thing we can do something about. Unless they actively fight FOR us, don’t support them. They need to stop taking our votes for granted on the assumption that we’ll support them because the Republicans are worse. That’s precisely how we ended up here in the first place. Republicans clearly don’t care, so we need to make the Democrats care by actually holding their feet to the fire and threatening to withhold the one thing they need from us: our vote.

    That won’t work. I’ve come to believe that the Democratic leadership understands that their role is to act as a firewall against the left. How many times have we seen the DCCC and even DNC absolutely refuse to support progressive candidates in winnable races? Sure, individual officers like Pelosi want to win elections, but over all they would rather have republicans in power than progressives. When they have power they don’t seem to want to really wield it.

    If we want to move the party to the left, abandoning it will just make it worse. We must take over the party. Get active in the local party, or if there isn’t a local Democratic party office, get like minded friends and neighbors together and form one. In a healthy parliamentary republic registered party members do a lot more than just vote in primary and general elections. You cannot beg, cajole, or threaten a party into doing right by you. You must get involved. Of course, this will take years to accomplish. There is no quick fix. But withholding votes just isn’t enough. The voters are the Democratic party, and it’s our passivity that has allowed the neoliberal “New Democrats” to take over the party and rule it for the past forty years.

    And yes, I understand that is much easier said than done. Most people are so busy just trying to survive that getting really politically active is hardly possible. I am in the same boat. But massive grass-roots political engagement is the only way things will get better. If you can’t be an AOC, then find one for your district and get people to rally behind her.

  21. martynhare says

    Honestly, right now? Nothing. We need to take a step back and stop making things worse for ourselves. What has happened in politics is a result of a mess that us free thinkers created by devaluing the very collective we were arrogant enough to believe to campaign on behalf of – professing to understand others, when really, we barely understand ourselves.

    Look at how far the Overton Window has shifted. In the late 2000s through to early 00s a lot of us were having a nice laugh and joke about how crazy the idea of an all seeing, all knowing deity (as specified by Abrahamic religion) really is. Fast forward a few years and folks have been manipulated into heading down a rabbit hole of crazy which makes parts of the religious right look unenviably sane.

    What is going on? What happened to us? I think we became collectively influential as a result of the digital age. A set of voices who wouldn’t go away as the world began to need us that much more. Especially if we had extensive knowledge in a STEM field.

    I believe we can only really blame ourselves for unintentionally and inadvertently punching down on a silent majority of what can best be described as normal people. Those people being the ones who had the dominant voices before the digital revolution which made the Internet a common utility. As a result, everyday people see us free thinking geeks as bullies for expecting everybody to be like us. Normal people don’t subscribe to daily politics, yet, we will often encourage everyone to engage in processes which they either don’t want to be a part of or do not understand – in the name of equality.

    This example only serves to reinforce how lucky (some might say privileged) we really are. This attitude has extended to the corporate level too as a result of our own arrogance following the attainment of well-paid not-quite-service-sector work. Look at all the big WWW services which used to be bastions of free speech and how the well has been poisoned by allowing the vanity of marketing and the need to supply endless clickbait to override clarity of conversation and human compassion. We in STEM wrote or had a hand in developing algorithms to “personalise” without checking whether they’d humanise. What did we end up with? A fatal mistake nobody realised until it was unleashed at scale, the result of which has created mass confusion and disinformation which we lack the wisdom to handle. No conspiracy, no cabal, just a road paved with good intentions.

    Anyone with a connection to STEM subjects who helped enable large-scale commercialisation, whether through taking questionable funding, partnerships with megacorps, blatant profiteering or even through something as simple as bowing down to advertisers – is very much responsible for this mess. I most certainly allowed this to happen, by evangelizing the coming of “as-a-service” and the centralisation of the web, as it boosted my career and allowed me to earn more money doing far less work than normal people. Would I do it again? Probably. Why? What I did made me worth something and nobody is picking on me. I’m one of an elite group of people, making money by clicking buttons on a screen and typing a few arcane incantations. I may not be a millionaire but I get to sit on my backside earning more, not less as a result of COVID.

    I repeat. Let’s do nothing. Let’s keep our digital footprints to a minimum and recognise that the mess we’ve created is beyond our control. There are no good options right now. Trump’s actions a symptom, not the disease. Besides, we don’t have a cure for stupid. The last time we tried, look where that got us.

  22. unclefrogy says

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”― Edmund Burke (in a letter addressed to Thomas Mercer).

    so no I heartily disagree!
    (there was more on the page I copied that from but this f’n trackball mouse makes copy select stuff difficult)

  23. says

    @27 Past is prologue. And I’m aware I’m quoting that out of the used context, but still I think it’s important to remember. To win against conservatives absolutely demands that we understand who they are and how they got that way. Pat answers of Rubes, Racists and Russians help us understand nothing. And, as I’ve said countless times before, it requires us to take a dispassionate look at ourselves and see where we went wrong and how we can avoid those mistakes in the future.

    It doesn’t require absolute understanding, just a good working hypothesis.

  24. says

    This is what is infuriating me about the Dems. I live in Korea, so I’m dependent on voting by mail. And it just doesn’t feel like the Dems are really standing up to this. Like, I want Sherrod Brown (dunno why he popped in my head but whatever) to fucking get himself arrested protesting this shit. Because anything less, and this shit gets swept under the rug in plain sight.

  25. says

    Oh, don’t worry, I’m sure that voting for a Republican-in-all-but-name who spent a multi-decade career sabotaging the Democrats and collaborating with the Republicans, who forged most of the tools Trump is now using, and who has told his billionaire backers that “nothing would fundamentally change” if he’s elected, will put us on the path to fixing this. The one who wondered out loud if it was a problem that he liked Republicans so much, and also mused aloud about nominating a Republican as his VP. I’m sure he’ll get right on it if he’s elected, after he finishes laughing himself sick at how gullible Democrats are. After all, it’s not like the bill which hamstrung the Postal Service 14 years ago was something he voted for — oh, wait

    This is the Democrats at their best. They have a single enemy to attack who they’re all agreed has to go, and they still won’t even make a symbolic stand against him — the ridiculous careerist who got picked as VP voted against an amendment which would have reduced Trump’s military budget to fund social programs, but an astonishing number of people (including PZ, you should be ashamed!) are so hypnotized by the Democratic Party’s increasingly out-of-touch propaganda that we’re told she’s super-progressive!!!1!one!!

    The Democratic Party is useless. Biden and Harris are abominations, who ought to be at the Hague with the Bush administration awaiting war crimes trials. The only votes to actually change anything or fix any problems will be votes for third parties.

  26. John Morales says

    “The sitting president of the United States is scheming to steal the next election.”

    So, Vicar says:

    The Democratic Party is useless. Biden and Harris are abominations, who ought to be at the Hague with the Bush administration awaiting war crimes trials. The only votes to actually change anything or fix any problems will be votes for third parties.

    Mm-hmm. So, which third party is gonna fix things?

    I mean, there’s Biden, there’s Trump, and there is… the third party candidate.

    (Who?)

    PS

    an astonishing number of people (including PZ, you should be ashamed!) are so hypnotized by the Democratic Party’s increasingly out-of-touch propaganda that we’re told she’s super-progressive!!!1!one!!

    Ahem.
    Quoth PZ: “I haven’t been reluctant to say that Biden is one of my least favorite candidates, and that my support is lukewarm. Harris wasn’t my top choice in the primaries, either, but I think she’s better than Biden, so I can’t help but see this choice as better.

    This is not to say she’s perfect, but I can hope that she’ll advance some progressive causes. I have more confidence in that than I have in passive empty suit Biden.

    Of course, either one is better than evil fucking clown Trump.”

    (Apparently, “better than a kick in the groin” = “super-pleasant!!!” if you’re a Vicar)

    And yes, I knew damn well Vicar-thing would claim this is the Democrat’s fault, and in particular Biden and Kamala. Because, well, the last 4+ years of commenting.

  27. wzrd1 says

    The Vicar’s non-solution is like me proclaiming the very real fact that I loathe having to take a bunch of pills twice a day, so I’ll use my only other realistic option and not take them.
    Let’s see now, my thyroid would go batshit again, elevating my pulse and blood pressure to monumental highs, as suddenly discontinuing antihypertension drugs is infamous for a rebound hypertension that’s far more severe than the initial hypertension. My abdominal aorta, already significantly dilated would form an aneurysm and eventually, well, explode, killing me pretty much before I can hit the floor.
    Neither sounds like a good solution to me, symbolic or not, shooting one’s own foot only leaves one with a hole in the foot and a limp to complain about, while everyone tells you to shut up and enjoy your hard earned limp.

    Go with The Vicar, folks! Circular firing squads are all the rage with The Vicar and who cares if Trump gets back in, given his shenanigans he’s been pulling.
    BTW, the post office was removing mailboxes from the streets, justifying removing the ability to drop off one’s outgoing mail conveniently as a cost saving measure, but is really suppressing the mail in ballot. The post office, once the media caught on, agreed to stop collecting those mailboxes until after the election – in the western states.
    Maybe next, he’ll issue an executive order canceling all mail in ballots, then when election day approaches, he’ll have a mandatory curfew “in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has suddenly grown worse”.
    Because, there is nothing that I would put past Trump.

  28. unclefrogy says

    Wzrd1
    It is a Logitech wireless trackball mouse
    may be a little older it is the second one I have worn out? the buttons are kind of capricious at times hard to control
    The thumb roles the ball very comfortably and the fingers push the buttons keeping the insides the right level of clean I thing is the source of the problems. I will look at the Kensington
    uncle frogy

  29. KG says

    Circular firing squads are all the rage with The Vicar and who cares if Trump gets back in – wzrd1@36

    The vicar does! He very much wants Trump to get back in, and has been quite explicit about it. Whatever he says, he’s not just “objectively pro-fascist” as the Marxists used to say, but subjectively pro-fascist as well.

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