Trump’s Attacks on The Census and USPS Undermine Our Democracy

As the American people deal with the devastating consequences of his failed coronavirus response, Trump has been busy working to sabotage the census and undermine mail-in voting — all in a shameless effort to ensure he and his party benefit politically.

The Trump administration has announced it will stop all census counting a month earlier than previously planned, threatening to undercount marginalized communities.

NPR: “These last-minute changes to the constitutionally mandated count of every person living in the U.S. threaten the accuracy of population numbers used to determine the distribution of political representation and federal funding for the next decade. With roughly 4 out of 10 households nationwide yet to be counted, and already delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, the bureau now has less than two months left to try to reach people of color, immigrants, renters, rural residents and other members of historically undercounted groups who are not likely to fill out a census form on their own.”

And after Trump’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the census were rebuffed by the Supreme Court, he pressured the Census Bureau to provide data that would benefit the Republican Party politically. 

Politico: “Dillingham also said the bureau ‘continues its work on meeting the requirements’ of two Trump orders: a July 2019 executive order that asked administrative agencies to collect data on undocumented immigrants in order to provide counts that states could use to draw state legislative maps that did not include those people; and a presidential memorandum from last month instructing the Census Bureau to calculate apportionment counts — the number of congressional seats each state will have in the next decade — without undocumented immigrants included.  ‘A team of experts are examining methodologies and options to be employed for this purpose,’ Dillingham said.”

Politico: “Excluding these immigrants would likely benefit Republicans in future elections for Congress and the presidency. According to the University of Virginia Center for Politics, a count that did not include undocumented immigrants would mean California would lose two House seats, not the one seat the state is projected to lose in the next decade. Fast-growing Texas, increasingly a competitive state, would gain two seats instead of three. New Jersey would lose a seat.  Alabama and Ohio, meanwhile, would each gain a seat under a count that excluded undocumented immigrants — though they are not currently projected to gain seats under a conventional count.”

Meanwhile, Trump fundraiser-turned-Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s mismanagement of USPS has caused massive slowdowns, which could disrupt an election in which a record number of voters are expected to vote by mail.

Washington Post: “DeJoy, a North Carolina logistics executive who donated more than $2 million to GOP political committees in the past four years, approved changes that took effect July 13 that the agency said were aimed at cutting costs for the debt-laden mail service. They included prohibiting overtime pay, shutting down sorting machines early and requiring letter carriers to leave mail behind when necessary to avoid extra trips or late delivery on routes.”

Washington Post: “The U.S. Postal Service is experiencing days-long backlogs of mail across the country after a top Trump donor running the agency put in place new procedures described as cost-cutting efforts, alarming postal workers who warn that the policies could undermine their ability to deliver ballots on time for the November election.”

Washington Post: “As President Trump ramps up his unfounded attacks on mail balloting as being susceptible to widespread fraud, postal employees and union officials say the changes implemented by Trump fundraiser-turned-postmaster general Louis DeJoy are contributing to a growing perception that mail delays are the result of a political effort to undermine absentee voting.”

After the slowdowns were implemented, Trump worked to further undermine confidence in the USPS’s ability to handle election mail. 

CNN: “Later Monday, Trump again slammed mail-in ballots during a press briefing, saying, ‘How are you going to do that for an entire nation? They’re using Covid to try and get the mail-in ballots. ‘The Post Office for many, many years has been, you know, run in a fashion that hasn’t been great—great workers and everything, but they have old equipment, very old equipment,’ Trump added. ‘And I don’t think the Post Office is prepared for a thing like this. You have to ask the people at the Post Office, but how can the Post Office be expected to handle?’”

New York Times: “In tweet after all-caps tweet, Mr. Trump has warned that allowing people to vote by mail will result in a ‘CORRUPT ELECTION’ that will ‘LEAD TO THE END OF OUR GREAT REPUBLICAN PARTY’ and become the ‘SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES.’ He has predicted that children will steal ballots out of mailboxes.”