Make Him Own It

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26 : President Donald J. Trump speaks in the Oval Office as Guatemala signs a safe third country agreement to restrict asylum applications to the U.S. from Central America at the White House on ... WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26 : President Donald J. Trump speaks in the Oval Office as Guatemala signs a safe third country agreement to restrict asylum applications to the U.S. from Central America at the White House on Friday, July 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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August 17, 2020 2:40 p.m.

President Trump’s attack on the United States Postal Service is one of the most brazen and frontal attacks on the government of the United States in living memory. It could not be more serious. With the immediate threat posed by Trump’s effort to sabotage the November election every conceivable effort and available power should be used to reverse or ameliorate his actions. But while Democrats should be making every effort to combat Trump’s attack on the state they should also be making equally great efforts to make him pay for his corrupt conduct at the ballot box.

Some will say, “This is far too important to make it political.” But that is precisely wrong. Exactly the opposite is the case. Trump’s opposition would be negligent if they didn’t make postal service sabotage a core campaign issue.

The election itself likely shouldn’t be the center of the case. It speaks for itself and the status of the election runs directly into the buzzsaw of national political polarization. The key is how Trump, solely to service his desire to remain in power, has done everything from inconvenience to threaten the economy well-being and even the lives of hundreds of millions of American citizens.

Campaigns are public conversations in which both sides make a public argument about why their candidate and their program are best for the individual voter and the country in general. This is a case where a sitting President has not only sought to subvert a national election but sabotage a core government service on which hundred of millions of Americans rely – all for the purpose of corruptly maintaining power. This isn’t the President’s first time at this. He’s already used his presidential powers to subvert the 2020 elections a number of times. In one case he was impeached for it. But in most of these cases the impact on ordinary citizens was distant, abstract or hypothetical.

Here it is entirely different.

Almost every citizen is at least inconvenienced. I’ve been corresponding throughout the day with readers from around the country who have gotten mail delivery half of the days this week, who are waiting for overdue prescriptions, waiting on packages who are two weeks overdue, Social Security checks which are sole sources of income. For many life saving prescriptions are delayed or lost. Critical medical tests are being invalidated because they spend to line in the mail. Businesses already battered by COVID are imperiled because shipments are late. These all apply to citizens from the far right to the far left.

The Post Office isn’t some newfangled federal responsibility. It is one of very few federal responsibilities and agencies of government explicitly referenced in the federal constitution.

President Trump is far from the first corrupt American President. But it is genuinely hard to think of a case in almost a quarter millennium of US history in which a chief executive has inconvenienced, damaged and imperiled so many citizens so directly for the sole purpose of corruptly maintaining power in defiance of the constitutional order. There’s really nothing comparable.

Not holding him to account would not just be negligent politically. It would be negligent to the republic itself.

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