Our Democracy Is Threatened By A Lawless President
Yesterday the President of the United States told his supporters to commit voter fraud. He did so on camera. It was not a joke. It was not ironic. The president called for his supporters to game the system:
“Send it in early and then go and vote. You can’t let them take your vote away, these people are playing dirty politics. So if you have an absentee ballot—you send it in, but I’d check it, follow it and go vote.”
Trump is only concerned with his re-election. So let us review his words and actions to see where he is going with this:
Point #1 - Trump has claimed dozens of times on camera and via Twitter that mail-in votes are fraudulent. A commission created by Trump and designed to explore the extent of mail-in voter fraud was ultimately disbanded in 2018 for uncovering zero evidence, but let’s stick to the point: Trump claims it is fraudulent.
Point #2 - Trump appoints Louis DeJoy to the position of Postmaster, who immediately begins dismantling USPS sorting machines and intentionally delaying the mail. For the record, DeJoy has more than $70 million invested in private competitors to the US Postal Service – a conflict of interest that should have, under any other administration, tanked his candidacy. Nevermind that hundreds of small businesses and tens of thousands of elderly rely on the Post Office’s timely deliveries to run businesses or, you know, live.
Point #3 - Trump admits, also on camera (specifically Fox Business on August 13th), that he has ordered the Postmaster to stall the USPS to prevent American votes from being tallied. He said: “If we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money. That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting; they just can’t have it.”
Point #4 - Trump tells his voters to drink bleach to help combat Covid-19. Despite the obvious lunacy (not to mention the lack of medical expertise) of this statement, more than a hundred people were hospitalized since he made his claim, and poison control centers across the country have fielded thousands of calls asking if this is a safe remedy for the Coronavirus.
Conclusion - Trump appointed a man committed to slowing mail with the expressed purpose of discounting voters. Then he told his supporters to vote twice, hoping that in the post-election mess some of their votes might be counted more than once, despite him repeatedly attacking mail-in voting as fraudulent. If we know that he has supporters willing to drink bleach at his encouragement, you can bet that thousands are willing to attempt voter fraud.
In light of this, is time for us to collectively reconsider our stance on how our Democratic Republic should be run. Are we okay with abolishing some of the most important aspects of the Bill of Rights and instituting authoritarian rule? If so, then undermining the average citizen’s ability to vote and dismantling beloved government services (and all those employed by the USPS) for political reasons is right for you.
But if you plan on preserving our Republic and the last levers of power afforded to average citizens like you and me, it’s time to take charge. Call your lawmakers and express your disapproval of Trump’s statements and actions. Vote this fall (and double-check your state registration!). Above all else, remember that Trump is attempting to pervert our elections. If we are to have elected politicians, those elections must be conducted in good faith. It is up to us to demand accountability because his political party has refused to bother. Thanks Susan Collins—it seems Trump has really “learned his lesson.”
Jeremy is an author living in Parma with his wife and two kids. He is the founder and facilitator of the West Side Poetry Workshop, and is the philanthropy director and board member of the Young Professionals of Parma, a local community nonprofit. This opinion piece is unaffiliated with either organization.