The Washington Post: Trump’s mail ballot claims are part of a long history of voter suppression

Trump continued his long exhausted list of false claims about vote-by-mail in the 2020 election last Thursday, going so far as to suggest that the election be “delayed”, despite having no authority to do so. Trump’s suggestion prompted lawmakers from both sides publicly rejecting the suggestion and Trump’s false claim that mail-in ballots would result in widespread fraud.

This comes as the Trump administration attacks the Postal Service despite Trump and his appointees taking cost-cutting steps that appear to have led to slower and less reliable delivery.

From The Washington Post:

Vote-by-mail solutions have long made sense as a way of ensuring people’s voting rights, and they make even more sense now, when they would protect citizens from potentially deadly exposure to covid-19 at the polls. Trump’s opposition to them must be understood as the most recent act in a long, remarkably consistent historical drama defined by the unremitting commitment to impeding non-White voters from exercising their right to political participation. This political tradition dates back to the advent of Black suffrage and the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment.

Regardless of whether the motives more recently have been racial or partisan, the concern driving these policies, old and new, is the same: If Black Americans vote in full force, conservative leaders would lose. Ex-Confederates had seen the power of Black votes; they had felt the sting of more representative democracy and were determined to erode it. Today, Trump and GOP politicians regularly get caught admitting the same. Of Democrats’ covid-19 relief proposals, the president rambled that they “had things — levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”

Voter suppression has been a political plague of American doing. It must be assessed for what it is: a calculated subversion of American democracy. Moreover, Trump is going further by extending the attempt to quell non-White voting to anyone who might vote against him.

According to The New York Times, Trump has been assailing the Postal Service since early in his presidency, tweeting in 2017 that the agency was becoming “dumber and poorer” because it charged big companies too little for delivering their packages.

Recently, Trump threatened legal action after Nevada’s Legislature passed a bill to mail ballots to all active voters, suggesting the measure would make it impossible for Republicans to win there in November’s general election.

Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants Congress to appropriate $4 billion to prepare for the election, but Senate Republicans have balked at the cost of Democrats’ coronavirus package and proposed a much smaller bill.

Trump and GOP politicians have used policies and voter suppression tactics for years to disproportionately affect communities of color and undermine the value of our votes. Instead of advocating for safety measures and protections for voters, Trump is deliberately attacking the integrity of vote-by-mail for his own political advantage.

As Trump continues to try to dismantle the Postal Service and make baseless claims undermining the vote-by-mail system, our leaders must enact safeguards for our election and provide adequate funding for mail delivery services.

Alanna Joyner

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