As the recently departed progressive champion John Lewis warned, your right to vote “is not guaranteed. You can lose it.”

You see, it’s one thing to “have the right” to cast your ballot, but it’s quite another thing to be able to exercise that right. During the past decade, Republican officials and operatives have become experts at voter-suppression, using legal technicalities, poll closures, fraud, fearmongering, and plain old thuggish intimidation to shut out voters inclined to support Democratic candidates.

Rather than winning votes, their game is preventing votes.

And now comes Donald Trump with another pernicious scheme to keep millions of us from having our say in November’s election.

Here’s the story: Because of the spreading COVID-19 health crisis, a majority of Americans are reluctant to risk their lives by voting in crowded polling places. Shouldn’t be a problem, though —  just let everyone who’s concerned use our nation’s excellent, reliable, trusted postal service to cast their votes by mail.

But such a sensible solution panicked Trump. Mail-in voting will increase, he shrieked, and that’s bad for me!

Trump can’t just ban voters from using the mail. So he came up with a maniacal Plan B: Simply make it so the U.S. Postal Service so it can’t do its job, thus forcing everyone to risk their health to vote in person — or give up their voting rights.

Sure enough, in March, Trump personally killed a bipartisan provision in the national economic rescue package that would’ve assured timely delivery of our mail. Then, in May, he installed one of his partisan mega-donors as postmaster general, who is now sabotaging delivery times by arbitrarily slashing the hours of postal workers.

Like a tin-hatted potentate, Trump is willing to destroy this prized national asset to cling to power. To help save our public post office — and our right to vote — go to: USMailNotForSale.org.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

OtherWords commentaries are free to re-publish in print and online — all it takes is a simple attribution to OtherWords.org. To get a roundup of our work each Wednesday, sign up for our free weekly newsletter here.

Jim Hightower

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. Distributed by OtherWords.org.