Democrats have spent several days flogging the false “mailbox conspiracy” theory that President Donald Trump is deliberately crippling the U.S. Postal Service so that it cannot handle votes by mail in November — even forcing it to remove mailboxes.
The truth is that the mailboxes were removed because mailboxes are always being removed. At least 14,000 were removed during the Obama-Biden administration. Democrats are creating a new hysteria to cast Trump as a tyrant and motivate their conspiracy-theory-addled voters.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has enthusiastically inflamed this phony conspiracy theory — far more directly than Trump can be said to have “promoted” or “encouraged” the Kamala Harris “Birther” theory (which he declined to pursue).
Joe Biden tonight on reports of mailbox removals: "I wonder if you're outside trying to hold down your mailboxes. They’re going around literally with tractor trailers picking up mailboxes. You oughta go online and check out what they're doing in Oregon. I mean, it's bizarre!"
— Matt Viser (@mviser) August 14, 2020
The truth is far more mundane.
The U.S. Postal Service has been a problem for years, constantly losing money.
In 2009, the postmaster general proposed moving to five-day-per-week mail delivery to cut costs. President Barack Obama criticized the service that year for failing to keep up with private sector competitors. The Obama-Biden administration considered closing nearly 3,700 post office locations, and proposed cutting 12,000 postal jobs.
President Trump tried a different tack, demanding in 2018 that Amazon lower the prices it charged the U.S. Postal Service for delivering its packages to consumers.
One aspect of ongoing cost management is the removal of mailbox from areas where few people deposit mail.
Kimberly Frum, a spokeswoman for the service, told The Hill (via the Blaze) that low-volume mailboxes are regularly removed to cut costs:
She said that low-volume mailboxes are a financial drag on the Postal Service, which lost more than $2 billion in the second quarter.
“It is a fluid process and figures can vary from day-to-day,” Frum said. “Historically, mail boxes have been removed for lack of use and installed in growth areas.”
“When a collection box consistently receives very small amounts of mail for months on end, it costs the Postal Service money in fuel and workhours for letter carriers to drive to the mailbox and collect the mail. Removing the box is simply good business sense in that respect. It is important to note that anyone with a residential or business mailbox can use it as a vehicle to send outgoing mail.”
(Update: Note that the photograph of “retired” mailboxes, above, is from 2009, during the first year of the Obama-Biden administration.)
The removal of mailboxes has been halted until after the election, to avoid further confusion (sown deliberately by Democrats and the media). But even with fewer mailboxes, the U.S. Postal Service can probably handle the delivery of ballots, Byron York argues in the Washington Examiner. It handles hundreds of millions of items daily.
The bottleneck is not necessarily the U.S. Postal Service, but rather the state and local election officials who set arbitrary deadlines for postmarking ballots, and who will have to sort out millions more additional mailed ballots than they are used to handling. In many states, they have never done anything like it before.
In New York’s Democratic primary, more than one out of every four vote-by-mail ballots was disqualified. In Clark County, Nevada, 223,000 mailed ballots were returned as undeliverable. That is not a postal problem; it is a government problem that cannot be fixed by November.
Democrats have targeted Postmaster General Louis DeJoy because he is a Republican donor. They ignore the fact that he “made a fortune in shipping and logistics” and that his “former company was a contractor of the Postal Service for many years,” York notes.
DeJoy’s plan to save the U.S. Postal Service involves delivering all mail in the morning, to avoid the expense of overtime pay. It is currently being tested across the country. Democrats have turned that into a dark conspiracy to steal the election — or cast doubt on mail-in voting.
But given that the Obama-Biden administration itself removed thousands upon thousands of mailboxes, this is a conspiracy theory that — like the others — has gone bust, at least for those of us living in the real world.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
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