Bob Bauer on the Two Reasons for Trump’s Attack on USPS and Vote by Mail

Greg Sargent:

Robert Bauer, the veteran election lawyer and senior adviser to the Biden campaign, told me the Biden team has come to believe Trump’s efforts have two goals. The obvious one: DeJoy’s changes could introduce chaos into the delivery of mail ballots, potentially disenfranchising untold numbers of voters, particularly in states where ballots that are postmarked before Election Day but arrive after won’t count.

“There is no possible justification for these operational changes, two months before the election,” Bauer told me.

House Democrats have called on DeJoy to reverse these changes and testify to Congress. They’ve demanded documents designed to probe their true nature and rationale. But the fear that they could impact the election is shared by some Republican officials.

The second goal behind Trump’s efforts is more subtle, but the Biden camp thinks it’s critical: By constantly (and falsely) attacking vote-by-mail as riddled with fraud, Trump and his allies are trying to dissuade people from using it at all, by persuading them their own ballots won’t be counted and by casting a pall of confusion over the whole process.

“Trump believes that his unfounded claims about mail voting are enough to discourage voters — that he can use the presidential ‘bully pulpit’ to achieve vote suppression,” Bauer said.

In this assessment, the effort to get people to give up on mail voting is a second effort at voter suppression — since they might also be reluctant to vote in person amid pandemic conditions — layered on top of the more obvious effort to delay mail ballots.

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