Now that I have your attention, let me clarify. No matter who wins the 2020 presidential contest, Trump wins. At least the corrosive, narcissism that oozes from his campaign wins, and we will be dealing with it for many years hence.
A few weeks from now we will all be gathered around the warm glow of the TV watching election results come in. We will be at my house anyway. Those of you with a firmer grip on reality will probably be binge watching “Schitt’s Creek.” And as those results dribble in from East Coast to West, there will be a growing doubt about their accuracy. Especially, if my guy is losing. Why is that? What makes this year so different?
The obvious answer to that rhetorical question can be found in the rhetoric of Donald Trump. He has chipped away at the underpinnings of this republic, and now we must all deal with the consequences.
The obfuscator-in-chief has been sowing seeds of doubt since he took office and wow are they blooming. How many times have we heard him say this will be the most crooked election in history. And then to prove his point, he asked his voters to vote twice. Vote once with a mail-in ballot. Then on election day go to the polls, and see if you are able to vote again. If you can, then what the hell, do it again. It’s only a felony. Maybe there will be a presidential pardon in it for you. That would be something to hang on the wall, wouldn’t it.
The truth is mail-in voter fraud is so low as to be statistically nonexistent. Washington state has had mail-in voting for years, and the 2018 election saw 3.2 million ballots cast. Of that 3.2 million, 142 were found to be fraudulent. That’s four votes for every 100,000 cast, and while four in 100,000 isn’t good, it’s not exactly a sky is falling situation.
In fact, in a recent robo tweet, Donald Jr. urged voters to cast their ballots by mail. Hope daddy doesn’t find out about this. Ah, but these are Republican voters so it’s OK for them to vote by mail. Just like the president does every election.
The larger question for me is will the post office be able to handle the increased workload of millions of additional mail-in ballots? If history is any indication, we should be fine or should have been prior to the current postmaster general taking the reins.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump campaign contributor and investor in USPS competitors like UPS, is in the process of “streamlining” the post office. It’s no secret that the post office has financial problems. Of course, those problems were minimal prior to 2006 when Congress mandated the USPS forward fund retiree health care for 75 years. That particular package cost about $72 billion.
But have no fear; DeJoy has it handled.
Here’s what you do. You remove over 600 mail sorting machines and thousands of mail boxes. You then refuse to authorize overtime requests by employees. And you do this just prior to a surge of millions of ballots needing to be processed through the mail. Yeah, that should do the trick. Did I mention that he and his wife are heavily invested in the competition?
The result of Trump’s conspiracy theories and DeJoy’s “streamlining” is the day after the election nobody will be comfortable with the unfolding results. Trump may or may not hold a slim lead, but there will be millions of yet-to-be-counted votes clogging DeJoy’s reworked postal system.
Will there be marching in the streets? Will the division and suspicion between us grow to an unsustainable level?
I don’t know. What I do know is Trump and his minions have created this problem, and we have all bought into it. Trump wins, and the peaceful transition of power that has been a hallmark of this republic loses.
So what’s the solution to the situation we find ourselves in? Should we march in the streets? Should we keep yelling at each other until we lose our voices?
Or should we step back and accept the results, whatever they are?
That’s a big ask, but Democrats have been doing it for years. In the past seven presidential elections, Democrats have won the popular vote six times. How many times in the last seven elections has a Republican been installed in that office? That would be three.
We’re used to getting on with it.
However, there are a few in the gun-toten’ opposition who aren’t so magnanimous. That’s not to say the left won’t rise up too. Witness Portland, Kenosha, etc.
Frankly, I’m more worried about this election than any other in my life. The idea of four more years of chaos, division, bigotry and isolationism turns my stomach, but the possibility of losing what will be left of this country is even worse.
Come November we have more than one decision to make. Not just who will be the next president, but will we, as a nation, survive the current office holder?
I don’t really think Trump will win this election, but his politics have already won and that both saddens and frightens me.
Chuck Legge is a cartoonist living in the Mat-Su Valley. He has been drawing editorial cartoons for over 30 years. His cartoons and columns appear in several papers in Alaska and syndicated through Artizans.com.
• By Chuck Legge