Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night can slow the mail. But President Donald Trump can.
Late Friday, Trump’s handpicked new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, announced sweeping organizational changes that promise to further undercut the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to perform a vital democratic function: the timely delivery of mail-in ballots. This comes during an election when as many as 80 million Americans are expected to vote by mail because of the risk of contracting COVID-19.
DeJoy, a major Republican fundraiser and Trump donor, reassigned or sidelined almost two dozen high-ranking USPS officials in a move to centralize his control of the agency, also instituting a hiring freeze and voluntary early retirements.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), chair of the House subcommittee responsible for oversight of the Postal Service, called the reorganization “deliberate sabotage” and an obvious attempt to interfere in the election.
“One way to suppress the vote ― and they’re experts in vote suppression — is to slow down the delivery of mail,” Connolly told CNN on Monday.
Enfeebling the Postal Service would be among the most concerning attempts to subvert the institutions of democracy by a far-right administration that has turned the executive branch into a political cudgel unlike any wielded by a president in modern times. Trump has never made a secret of his distaste for democracy. After his election, his then-senior strategist, Steve Bannon, described the objective of the new administration as the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” Coming from Bannon, an extremist who works with authoritarians around the world, these were baleful tidings.
Indeed, the effort to cripple the federal government ― though a longtime goal of a Republican Party purportedly opposed to regulation and overspending ― has taken on a more sinister hue under Trump, who has starved agencies of necessary resources and prevented them from...