President Trump is deploying a familiar trick. He will mess up an agency, an initiative or a personnel pick terribly (e.g., stimulus negotiations) and then, after things go badly, blame Democrats. So it is with the U.S. Postal Service, which his donor pal — Postmaster General Louis DeJoy — has been crippling through a series of policy changes designed to make the USPS’s operations more cost-effective. (Think about the money we could save at the Pentagon by disbanding the Army, taking weapons offline and halting the purchase of spare parts. It is not the mission of the military, nor of the Postal Service, to turn a profit.)

The changes have inconvenienced millions of Americans, put at risk the health of veterans and others who receive prescription drugs by mail, and convinced Americans that Trump is trying to steal the election by hobbling voting-by-mail, which tens of millions of voters will rely upon. In another instance of saying the quiet part out loud, Trump last week declared, “They don’t have the money to do the universal mail-in voting. So, therefore, they can’t do it, I guess. Are they going to do it even if they don’t have the money?” Now, he insists it is all the Democrats’ fault — not his, and not the USPS board of governors, all appointed by Trump. You will recall that Democrats included $25 billion for the Postal Service in the Heroes Act, which Trump initially said would be a dealbreaker.

The intentional effort to make lives worse for Americans so he can improve his chances in the election turns out — who knew? — to be a political loser. You can tell because Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has called the House back into session “to vote on Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman [Carolyn B.] Maloney’s ‘Delivering for America Act,’ which prohibits the Postal Service from implementing any changes to operations or level of service it had in place on January 1, 2020” and for a day of action on Tuesday to protest at post offices in the members’ districts. Pelosi also succeeded in dragooning DeJoy to testify next Monday and to produce relevant documents. Meanwhile, Democratic Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) and Ted Lieu (Calif.) called on the FBI to investigate while Democratic state attorneys general and secretaries of state vowed legal action.

Things had so deterioriated for Trump that, by Monday afternoon, he was calling to “MAKE THE POST OFFICE GREAT AGAIN.” Trump also periodically claims he does not really know what DeJoy is doing. (Next, he will tell us he barely knows who he is.)

Trump’s effort to upend the mail is not only malicious but mindlessly counterproductive. The president has riled up veterans, senior citizens and rural voters — groups that generally support Republicans. He has also given Democrats a wake-up call to organize early voting where available, install drop boxes for ballots and urge their voters to mail in absentee ballots quickly (or walk them in for delivery). And, finally, he has played right into former vice president Joe Biden’s hands. Trump is indeed the picture of willful destructiveness, self-absorption and incompetence. With moves like this, Biden hardly needs to say anything to the country Thursday night but “I won’t screw up your mail.”

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Historian Carol Anderson traces the evolution of voter suppression tactics — from poll taxes to poll closures — and argues they are all rooted in White rage. (The Washington Post)

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