A popular axiom enunciates “failing to plan is planning to fail.” President Donald Trump has proved adept at both during 2020. Trump failed to plan for a pandemic crippling America and is currently planning for the failure of the U.S. Postal Service and, consequently, our presidential election.
In late January through February, Trump failed to plan for the coronavirus and instead claimed it would just “go away.” Seven months after the first U.S. case, more than 5 million Americans have been infected and 167,000 have lost their lives.
As Labor Day approaches and the election homestretch appears around the bend in November, Trump’s polling figures continue to fall in inverse relation to the rising coronavirus numbers across the country. That threatens the only thing Trump truly seems concerned about – his own self-image.
Trump cannot win over a majority of Americans and seems destined to lose an Electoral College blowout. To square those two realities with his broken sense of self-worth, Trump is now actively planning to undermine the presidential election.
Over the past several months, Trump feverishly clawed at the practice of voting by mail like a trapped rat drowning in a sewer inundated by floodwaters.
States with “all-mail ballots” or “universal ballots,” where every registered voter receives a ballot in the mail, have years of documented evidence that the practice is safe, efficient and increases turnout. Furthermore, thorough academic studies have proved vote by mail has a net neutral partisan effect.
Even after his own party and advisers warned that his indiscriminate attacks threatened his chances in critical swing states like Florida, Trump snarled and flailed.
Now, in a critical moment, Trump made a leap to attacks against the U.S. Postal Service.
Except this does not look like the desperate survival instinct of a rat scurrying away for survival. It looks more like one winding his way through a maze to fetch an expected piece of cheese. He is planning to undermine the election and force failure on a system that has worked for 232 years.
Trump explicitly told reporters, “Now, they need that money in order to make the Post Office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots … if we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money. That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting.”
This is his plan to destroy democracy.
Trump’s motives emulate the despotic nature of autocrats throughout history. Unchallenged, the most brazen seize power by silencing the voice of the people. They smother the most primary right in a democratic society – the right to vote – with a pillow.
That is precisely what Trump plans to do by stripping funds from the USPS. Cuts to overtime pay and pickup locations lead to increased delivery times and uncertainty. Right now, that leaves Americans with unpaid bills and unfilled prescriptions. In November, it means ballots won’t arrive in time to be counted.
That is precisely why Trump put an unqualified stooge with millions of dollars invested in USPS competitors into the position of Postmaster General. He knew his sycophant would sacrifice his own reputation to Trump’s plan.
That is precisely how Trump plans to make America fail.
What Trump has not planned for, though, is the inherent strength and determination of the American people. Even as Trump spends the next 10-plus weeks undermining our electoral system, patriotic citizens will find their way to early voting locations, ballot drop-off boxes and precinct polling stations by Nov. 3 to make sure he fails.
At that point, Trump will need new plans beginning on Jan. 20, 2021, when Joe Biden is sworn into office.
Mario Nicolais is an election law attorney working with The Lincoln Project, a group of conservatives and Republicans dedicated to beating Donald Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box. Follow him on Twitter: @MarioNicolaiEsq
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