The USPS in Crisis: Trump’s Postal-Apocalyptic World


LiLi Xiong, Staff Writer

After four years of President Trump’s outrageous statements and actions, it is disheartening, but not surprising, to find that his thirst for power is affecting the everyday lives of Americans. One of the most integral parts of everyday life is getting your mail delivered, which is especially important in this year’s election. Trump and new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy are explicitly tampering with the election process in an unfair power-grab that subverts the rule of law and affects the lives of all Americans.

DeJoy is the first postmaster installed with absolutely no experience in administration or public office; his only qualification was being a massive Trump campaign donor. In reference to his campaign slogan, the president said “DeJoy is trying to make the post office great again.” DeJoy’s installation happened just months before the 2020 presidential election, when 80 million people are eligible to cast mail-in ballots, which is double the number of those eligible from 2016. 

Since DeJoy’s installation, mail carriers have been instructed by their managers to leave late-arriving mail behind. This has resulted in prolonged delay of deliveries in an “operational pivot,” according to CNN’s Rachel Maddow. 350 million pieces of first class mail have been delayed, and mail that was supposed to arrive in 3-4 days could easily take weeks. Instead of fulfilling its obligations to a fair election, the post office has emphasized cutting costs mere weeks beforehand. The post office has also removed election mail from being subject to the protection of first class mail delivery standards, meaning that the transportation of ballots will take longer and be less reliable.

Since the spring of 2020, Trump has been publicly claiming, without evidence, that mail-in voting is subject to massive fraud. His claims about the post office can affect election outcomes more than we can imagine. A poll by Emerson College shows that significantly more Democrats plan to vote by mail this year than Republicans. According to the New York Times, there is often a “blue shift” after mail-in ballots are counted. Many elections tend to initially look favorable to the Republican candidate, but once mail-in ballots are counted, the results shift back to the Democratic candidate. This “blue shift” could be distorted by issues within the USPS. The ballot mailing’s increased slowness is likely to prevent states from counting all the ballots in a timely and accurate manner. According to CNN, 70% of the mail sorting machines that were disassembled were in areas where previous presidential candidate Hilary Clinton did particularly well in 2016.

Even if the USPS crisis is, in fact, a plot only to manipulate the election, Trump and DeJoy have shown no concern about the impact of their actions outside the election. This has already affected millions of Americans. Small businesses rely on timely mail delivery to uphold their reputations and have already been severely impacted by COVID-19. The shipment of prescribed medicine has been delayed, and a delay of even a couple of days for certain medications could have huge, even fatal, medical consequences. In the age of the COVID-19, hospitals can’t afford an influx of hospitalizations due to absence of medications. The president needs to put the safety of Americans before his despotic plot to illegally influence the election.

However, it’s a relief to know that federal courts are acknowledging that the corruption in the post office needs to be reversed. Judge Stanley Bastian of Washington’s Eastern District stated from the bench that “the defendants are involved in a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the postal service and is likely to irreparably harm its ability to administer the 2020 general election.” Furthermore, Judge Victor Marrero of New York’s Southern District has said in his ruling that “The right to vote is too vital a value in our democracy to be left in a state of suspense in the minds of voters weeks before a presidential election.” 

America is still considered a democratic republic, and we need to keep it that way. Everyone wants the post office to live up to its motto again: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Voter empowerment is the best way to make the post office great again.