It’s a story that never should have been, but one that may prove telling. President Trump made it clear recently that mail-in ballots are tantamount to fraud and that he would starve the U.S. Postal Service of the money it needed to operate. No money, no service; no service, no mail-in ballots. Then, on Tuesday, the Postmaster General said he would suspend all cost-cutting initiatives at the Postal Service until after the November election in an effort to assure the public the president’s allegations would have no impact on the November election.
The president will continue to sow doubt, and he has, but as the workings of the Post Office become more evident it’s clear the Post Office has the resources, the personnel and the experience to handle anything the Nov. 3 general election throws its way.
So why would the president toss out such nonsense? Why would he hint that the election might have to be redone, when he knows he doesn’t have that authority? Why would he say that mail-in voting will result in a “rigged election” that it will be riddled with fraud when he knows all the evidence says otherwise?
And then, why, when it’s amply proven that he’s wrong, does he keep saying the same things? And then spin another tale on another issue?
The answer comes from one of his own, Steve Bannon, a former White House strategic advisor and former executive of Brietbart News. He calls what the president does as “flooding the zone.” It’s purposeful.
In other words, the president tosses so much garbage into our informational channels that he ends up having a variety of stories competing against one another, with the media stretched to chase down every claim the president makes. Here’s a man who, in a single interview can raise questions about Kamala Harris’s citizenship, say COVID-19 is under control, that a vaccine is weeks away, and that he’s done more for African Americans than any other president.
Where do you start?
That’s the worry. You don’t. People who support Trump believe everything he says, people who don’t don’t believe anything he says. Nothing changes. People are frozen in their respective tribes, with truth being the first casualty, and blind opposition becoming everyone’s default position.
The wonder is always how far is too far? When will the president cross the line, putting at risk the support of his devoted?
We won’t know until the election is over, if then. But his “garbage” against the Post Office and mail-in ballots may prove costly to him. It’s not a new thing — we’ve been mailing in ballots since the Civil War, despite the president’s claims to the contrary. The threat of fraud is a hoax, with history showing almost no fraud in a century and a half. [People like it; take a look at Vermont’s record-setting numbers during our Aug. 11 primary.]
The Post Office is also something of particular importance to two of the president’s key constituencies, rural America and the elderly. Both depend on the Post Office for their daily deliveries of medicine, Social Security and Medicare information, etc, and both are offended at the suggestion that the Post Office would, in any way, be weakened. These are people — often conservatives — who value democracy above all, and the president has put democracy — through voter suppression — in his gun sights.
The president’s “flood” [not the garbage] may be returned in kind.
by Emerson Lynn