The massive national pushback against Trump’s latest (and surely not last) attempt to subvert the election compelled Postmaster General/Political Hack Louis DeJoy to say that he is suspending his anti-post office efforts until after the election. He cannot be trusted, however, to reinstall the 671 sorting machines and thousands of mailboxes he has removed, among other initiatives to slow down the mail (including Social Security checks and life-sustaining medications).
The Trump façade camouflaging his anti-democratic war against mail-in voting is that the Postal Service needs to be run like a business, a philosophy that no other nation subscribes to, mindful that delivering the mail is a “public good” that should not be beholden to the profit motive. Moreover, if run like a Trump business it would be guaranteed to fail (six bankruptcies and numerous collapses—see, for example, the Trump Shuttle, the United States Football League, Trump Ice, Trump American Pale Ale, Trump: The Game and many more),.
Title 18 U.S. Code § 594, “Intimidation of voters,” makes it a federal crime to interfere with the right of any person to vote. By falsely claiming that mail-in voting is rife with fraud and undermining the Postal Service to aid his re-election, Trump is interfering with the right of millions of Americans to vote in a time when a pandemic makes going to the polls dangerous. Trump is escalating his efforts to steal an election he cannot possibly win fairly and honestly. This is the lowest depth to which a president has ever sunk in our history. His criminality must not be allowed to prevail.
The punishment if found guilty is a fine or imprisonment for up to one year or both. While the Justice Department is of the opinion that a sitting president cannot be indicted, this has never been adjudicated. Because a federal crime can generally only be prosecuted in a federal court, a federal grand jury and U.S. Attorney would need to indict the president. The only one in a position to bring such an action is likely Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, currently the only non-Trump appointee among the U.S. Attorney population.
In addition, virtually every state makes interfering with the right to vote a crime. That means that state attorneys general could also prosecute Trump. At this writing, 20-plus state AGs are considering suing to stop the attack on the Postal Service, but that would fall short of the criminal action that should also be on their priority list.
Reliance on the slow-moving engines of justice may not be enough to stymie a corrupt, criminal president. The people need to make their voices heard, loudly, as well. It is shocking that Trump’s felonious attempt to overthrow the process by which we choose who leads us has not generated the level of outrage it warrants. After almost four years of incessant daily scandals, distractions and deflections perpetrated by him and his corrupt cronies, we tend to normalize his sleaze, venality and depravity as par for what we have come to expect from the most unethical person ever elected to national office in our history.
Every American should be up in arms about Trump’s decimation of democracy and the rule of law. If there was ever a time to rise up and challenge an abuse of power that exceeds anything we have ever experienced, this is it.
The day after Trump’s inauguration, a million women converged on Washington to protest his misogyny and racism (an additional 3.6 million demonstrated across the country), which they rightly feared would mark his tenure in office. Now, with our very system of government under siege and a potentially stolen election staring us in the face, a nationwide protest is needed more than ever. In the absence of any congressional backbone to rein him in, it is up to the people to protest and proclaim that we will not tolerate the theft of the most important civic activity in which we engage: the vote. Trump must know that there is a line in the sand beyond which he cannot tread.
August 21, 2020