With the 2020 U.S. presidential race in full swing, and approval ratings soaring for Kamala Harris, running mate to Democrat leader Joe Biden, many people are speculating that Donald Trump is doing all he can to influence who exactly will be voting in this election.
He's already tried to delay the election—something that he actually does not have the right to do, and now it seems that he is going after mail-in votes. Here's what we know.
What Is Happening To The USPS?
The USPS is an essential service who, throughout the pandemic, have been suffering financially. But now, the president has chosen to essentially not fund the USPS by denying them a much-needed relief grant of $25 billion USD. For context, the original amount that was on the table was $75 billion USD.
Things had already begun to decline for the USPS when Louis DeJoy, a prominent Trump campaign supporter and donor, was named as postmaster general earlier this year. This quickly took a turn for the worst when significant cost-cutting measures were put into place, most notably being that employee overtime was eradicated.
With online retail sales increasing by 55% in the month of July alone, the need for postal services surely has not gone anywhere, so these cuts are bound to impact the USPS' efficacy.
What's also concerning is that recently, without warning, USPS mailboxes in a handful of states around the country were removed from urban areas. According to The Independent, the mailboxes were being moved to 'higher-volume areas'.
Why Is This Happening?
Many people across the internet have speculated that Trump is exercising voter suppression. 'Voter suppression' essentially involves employing strategies to undermine the voting ability of eligible citizens or even discourage entire groups from partaking in the democratic process.
With voting being mandatory in Australia for those of us over the age of 18, we can't really relate. But in the U.S (where it is not mandatory and where only 55% of voting-age citizens placed their ballot in during the 2016 election) voter suppression is an all-too-real scare tactic that can cost someone an election. Especially during a time when voting is already made difficult due to Covid-19.
The right to vote is part of the U.S. Constitution. It's a fundamental right and it's well-documented that more than 1/3 of Americans vote via the mail. And the interesting part? Well, it's largely democrats that are voting this way, with The Wall Street Journal reporting that Biden voters are twice as likely to vote via mail that Trump voters.
This puts a direct target on the back of the USPS, as it is in Donald Trump's best interest to de-legitimise those ballots to stay in his position of power for a second term.
How Can We Help ? (Yes, Even From Australia)
It's easy to brush of U.S. politics, laughing off the latest concerning Donald Trump speech, but despite our personal beliefs, U.S. politics have an undeniable impact on the wider world.
And what is so very alarming about this situation is that not only is Donald Trump's administration going after the USPS, but in doing so, they're posing a threat to their citizens' democratic rights. So, for the sake of a fair election, here are the ways that we can help our friends in the U.S.