Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) October 8, 2020
Donald Trump hates the idea of mail-in ballots. Democrats want to be able to use mail-in ballots to avoid crowded polling places during the pandemic. They don't want to be forced to risk their health in order to cast their ballots, and some may decide not to vote in order to stay healthy. Republicans will be less likely to avoid the polls because the President's continual downplaying of the threat has conditioned them to take the virus less seriously. Thus, Trump and the Republicans have done everything they can to undermine confidence in mail-in voting. I don't want to get too far into discussing the reliability of voting by mail other than to note that Trump and William Barr have greatly exaggerated its unreliability. Indeed, vote-by mail fraud has been exceptionally rare in the past. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration appears to be trying to undermine confidence in the security of mail-in voting by pulling Postal Police who ensure the security of postal workers and mail boxes in high-risk areas just two weeks before the election. Rebecca Smith broke this story for the Wall Street Journal.
An order by the U.S. Postal Service to pull its uniformed police officers off city streets has sparked a legal battle pitting it against a police union, when the agency is already under scrutiny for delivery delays in a presidential election that could hang on mail-in ballots.
The agency’s unilateral order ended daily patrols meant to prevent robberies of blue collection boxes and mail vehicles, and has left letter carriers without escorts on unsafe routes in some of the nation’s biggest cities, according to interviews with police officers and union representatives opposed to the change and a copy of the directive, titled “Postal Police Utilization,” reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Mail thieves, in the past, often targeted mail for credit cards and checks. Now, the postal police officers said the fear is that thieves also will get ballots, which could be ditched. . . .
Frank Albergo, president of the Postal Police Officers Association, said the order to stand down, coming so close to the election, is especially concerning. “If I was going to undermine public trust in the mail, one of the first things I would do is pull postal police off the street,” he said.
Smith discussed this story with Rachel Maddow in the following video.
A cynic might speculate that Donald Trump is setting up mail carriers to be robbed or mailboxes to be broken into in key swing states just so he could use a breech in security as an excuse to get mail-in votes annulled if he loses by a narrow margin. And it would take a truly warped individual with a wildly twisted imagination to suggest that stripping the postal system of its security is just the first step of a two-part plan by the Trump Administration, with the second step being to hire someone (through a third party) to break into mailboxes to ensure that Trump would be able to use the robbery as an excuse to demand that mail-in votes be cancelled. Fortunately, I am not such a cynic and would never dream of suggesting this possibility. However, if mail carriers are robbed or mailboxes are broken into between now and election day, I would suggest that those who investigate these crimes keep an open mind to all possible motives.
What you will see in this next video hammers home just how much Trump hates mail-in voting. When asked whether he would agree to a peaceful transfer of power, Trump responded by saying, "We want to get rid of the [mail-in] ballots and you'll have a very peaceful---there won't be a transfer frankly. There'll be a continuation."
More alarmingly, Trump has told his supporters at least three times that the only way he could lose the election was if the Democrats rigged it. In other words, he has told them that if he loses, that will be proof that the election was illegitimate. This is especially disturbing in light of his remarks about the Proud Boys during the debate. As you can see in the video below, his instruction to the Proud Boys was to "Stand back and stand by." Though his instructions related to how the Proud Boys should interact with Black Lives Matter protesters, combined with his previous statements they raise the specter of Trump trying to use the Proud Boys and other militia groups to violently keep him in office if there is a close election.
To be fair, the President's Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany told a press conference that “The president will accept the result of a free and fair election. He will accept the will of the American people." But what she left unsaid was who would determine if the election was free and fair. If Trump's attitude is that any election that he loses MUST be rigged and his loss proves that the election wasn't fair, then McEnany's statement is meaningless. It is certainly no guarantee that there will be a peaceful transfer of power if the election is close.
There has been a peaceful transfer of power between administrations every time a new administration was elected since the beginning of our nation. It is a great American tradition that separates us from most of the rest of the world. The only correct answer to the question, "Will there be a peaceful transfer of power?" is, "Of course there will be. If there is evidence that the election was rigged then I will fight it out in court. But at the end of the day there will be a peaceful transfer of power. I will not try to plunge this nation into a Civil War if the Court rules against me." Donald Trump's failure to pledge to transfer power peacefully if he loses may be the biggest warning sign that our democracy is on the line in this election.
This is the fifth article of a five-part series documenting Trump's attacks on our democracy. Here are all the articles in the series.
- Trump has politicized the Justice Department to help his friends and attack his enemies.
- Trump has attacked our courts and judicial system.
- Trump has attacked the free press and made it more dangerous for reporters to cover him.
- Trump is a stochiastic terrorist who has endangered the life of Michigan's Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and others.
- Trump has refused to commit himself to the peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election