Well friends, it appears that Trump really dislikes the post office. Adding the laundry list of ways our POTUS has proven he doesn’t actually care about the United States, its stability, and its future, and that he only really cares about winning and inflating his own ego, is his ongoing attempt to dismantle the United States Post Office—a long standing, national institution that millions of Americans rely on for essential services.
We know that Trump’s attempts to wipe out the USPS is largely tied to mail-in voting. Due to COVID-19, more voters will vote via mail than ever before. As we’ve seen over the past few years, Democrats are voting in droves to keep the blue wave coming, and Trump knows the only way he stands a chance at winning is to somehow block the Democrats who are more likely to stay home and mail in their votes, since they’ve also proven to be more likely to believe that yes, in fact, we are living through a pandemic.
Trump’s camp seems to be largely anti-mask and of the “it’s a hoax!” mentality, so swarming the polls might not be an issue for them. However, we’ve watched this anti-mask/”it’s a hoax!” administration piss away any opportunity to contain COVID-19 and, in turn, cost hundreds of thousands of lives and decimate our economy, so it’s crucial that Democrats “swarm the polls” too, however they choose to vote.
So yes, saving the USPS is crucial, especially in an election year. Especially in this election year as our country’s future is at stake.
But there’s more value to the United States Post Office than collecting and delivering ballots. Did you know that across our nation, life-saving medications are delivered via USPS? (Our postal delivery worker just dropped off my son’s new Epi-Pen last week, in fact.)
And did you know that the disabled and the elderly rely on the post office for much of their connection to the outside world? Bills, books, magazines, communication with doctors, family members, etc… all delivered via postal mail.
And that the USPS handles the census, which provides essential information that determines congressional representation, where billions of dollars of federal funding are spent, where new schools and roads will be built, where new businesses will open, and provides data that will impact communities around the country for many years?
And that passports, veterans’ benefits, immigration paperwork, and vital government correspondence and information are delivered via postal mail?
Also, did you know that the post office is a vital lifeline for remote rural communities, as it is often the only delivery service that reaches these areas?
And that the post office delivers paychecks, stimulus checks, face masks, COVID-19 test kits, and will hopefully help deliver a vaccine someday soon?
This is a far greater issue than the Nov. 3 election, although the Nov. 3 election is a very big deal. But again, Trump’s fears of losing drive him to make choices that harm Americans—rural Americans, poor Americans, first-generation Americans still learning English, disabled Americans, elderly Americans—all so he can continue to feed his ego and hide his insecurities by grasping for power.
So why is the post office, which delivers 48% of the world’s mail to 160 million homes, struggling? First of all, the rise of online activity has led to declining mail volume. If fewer Americans buy stamps and use snail mail to communicate, pay bills, etc., the post office loses money. And in 2020, like pretty much every other business, this institution is in worse shape than ever. But there’s another factor that’s decimated the USPS over the past 14 years, and it’s a change that former president George Bush and Congress implemented in 2006. The Bush administration passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which requires the USPS to prepay health benefits for retirees 75 years into the future. That means that “unlike any other government agency or private company, the USPS is required to have funds in reserve to pay for future workers who have not been born yet,” explains writer Paul Waldman for The American Prospect.
Waldman goes on to say that “this requirement has been an albatross around the neck of the USPS ever since it was implemented, costing billions of dollars every year and making up nearly all of its operating losses, which totaled $8.8 billion in fiscal year 2019.”
But, unlike private businesses who can declare bankruptcy and attempt to rebuild (like FedEx or UPS could potentially do if they ever needed to), the United States Post Office is a government agency that relies entirely on public support. Meaning support in the form of financial assistance, which Trump is now denying.
So why not let it die? We’ve got FedEx and UPS, so do we really need the post office? Yes we do, and here’s why. FedEx and UPS are privately owned and don’t have a “universal service requirement” to deliver to every address in this country. If someone lives too far out into rural Wyoming and it’s not profitable for FedEx or UPS to drive all the way out there, they won’t.
“They take your money, bring the package to the post office, have the USPS deliver it at a much lower rate, and pocket the difference,” The American Prospect explains.
Which is Trump’s favorite business model, so it all makes sense.
The USPS, however, may lose money delivering that package to that rancher in Wyoming, just as they do operating thousands of post offices in rural areas. They do it because they have a mandate to serve every American, no matter who they are or where they live.
And that’s why this institution must be saved.
Also, the USPS creates jobs for hard-working Americans, a large percentage of whom are from marginalized groups. “The Post Office has historically provided an avenue toward middle-class stability for a wide variety of Americans—veterans, new immigrants, rural migrants—but for no group has it been more important than for African Americans,” The Atlantic reports. “The Post Office was for many years the nation’s largest employer of Black workers; in the decades that followed its conversion into the USPS, Black people were at least twice as likely to work for the Postal Service as white. The Postal Service today is 37 percent minority and 37 percent female.”
Furthermore, as Vice reports, small businesses around the United States rely on the post office since they typically offer far better rates than FedEx and UPS. Small businesses who, like the USPS, have been crushed by COVID-19 and need to save every penny they can and need to ensure their packages are delivered properly and in a timely fashion.
This is about more than mail-in voting, folks. This is yet another way the Trump administration is forgetting about so many Americans—hardworking men and women who make up the very fabric of what our country is built upon. Not millionaires and billionaires who drink expensive champagne and golf at Mar-A-Lago, but small business owners, Black men and women, and paycheck-to-paycheck blue collar Americans.
Trump has no problem forgetting about that rancher in Wyoming because that rancher likely can’t do much for Trump’s wallet or funnel large amounts of money to his election campaign, so his ability to get mail, or medicine, or a stimulus check doesn’t matter to our POTUS. And he has no problem forgetting about Black or female employees risking their health and safety by going to work during a pandemic to deliver essential mail. Because he’s completely out of touch with the average American, living paycheck to paycheck, fearing long-term illness or death from COVID-19.
So yes, this fight is still very much about the election, because every vote does matter as we oust a man who is doing irreparable damage to our country every day. And because so many Americans will not feel safe going to the polls during a deadly pandemic, we need mail-in voting and the United States Post Office to be protected.
What can you do? According to The Slacktivists on IG, you can buy stamps and send letters to help funnel much-needed money back into this vital institution. You can also sign petitions (text USPS to 50409) and call your legislators, imploring them to support USPS relief funds. Also, to guarantee your vote is counted, you must make sure your ballot is mailed 15 days before election day, so mail that sucker in by October 20! And finally, you can volunteer to count ballots and pressure your Board of Elections to ensure the community knows of ballot deadlines, offers curbside drop-offs of ballots on election day, and implements ballot-tracking barcodes to provide reliability and accountability.
This is about more than simply sending out holiday cards, folks. For a myriad of reasons, the United States needs to preserve and protect our post office, and we all need to do our part to make that happen.