The U.S. Postal Service has been in the news recently for all of the wrong reasons. As a consequence of the worst pandemic in over one hundred years, millions of additional Americans plan to vote by mail in the general election rather than vote in person. Even though studies show that voting by mail doesn’t favor either party, Donald Trump has launched a dishonest jihad to discredit voting by mail and to even wreck the U.S. Postal Service (USPS.) This is despite the fact that Trump, Pence and many other people in his Administration have voted by mail for years.
In the last few weeks, Trump has escalated his efforts to destroy the USPS in order to steal the election. He has appointed an unqualified crony to head up this vital agency. On Friday August 8 — in a typical Friday night news dump — Trump’s toady fired 23 postal executives as part of the Administration’s effort to sabotage the USPS. Since then, over 671 sorting machines have been shut down, mail boxes have been removed and Trump has rejected efforts to fund the USPS.
In a rare moment of candor, the former TV reality star openly admitted to sabotaging the Postal Service: “Now they need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots…But if they don’t get those two items that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting…” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow even said: “We don’t want voting rights.”
Outrage from Congressional Democrats was swift and universal. However, Senator Mitt Romney was one of the few prominent Republicans who stood up to Trump. Romney said that: “Politicians attacking the vote by mail system are threatening global democracy…That’s more important even than the outcome of the vote. We have got to preserve the principle of democracy or the trend we’re on is going to continue to get worse.”
Closer to home, Representative Jeff Fortenberry emerged from hiding and once again pretended he was a moderate when he tweeted: “The unprecedented challenges of the corona virus pandemic have only reinforced the important role played by the US Postal Service–-above all for our vulnerable neighbors for whom it may serve as a literal lifeline, and for the increased possible necessity of voting by mail.”
Has Jeff Fortenberry really been a supporter of the USPS? Let’s take a look at the record. There is usually a large gap between Fortenberry’s moderate rhetoric in his adopted home state of Nebraska and his extreme voting record in Washington. Fortenberry’s talking points depend upon amnesia. History doesn’t begin when he posts a tweet. It’s our duty as Democrats to refresh voter memories.
The most significant legislation effecting the USPS during Fortenberry’s long, undistinguished career in the House was the the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. Jeff Fortenberry voted with George W. Bush and his GOP party bosses to cripple the finances of the USPS and lay the foundation for it to be privatized.
This 2006 law requires the USPS to pre-fund all pension costs for the next 75 years. In addition, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) only allows the USPS to invest its retiree funds in government bonds. The impact of these two requirements have driven the USPS deeply into debt. In the absence of these two provisions, the USPS would be showing a profit.
At the same time, Federal Express, United Parcel Service and other USPS competitors don’t have these onerous requirements. It’s pretty obvious that Bush and Fortenberry supported the PAEA of 2006 to sabotage the USPS and create a pretext to privatize it. If the USPS were privatized, it would probably be taken over by a GOP donor and run into the ground.
State Senator Kate Bolz will protect the USPS and its employees from predatory capitalism. Kate is a lifelong resident of CD01 and will put her constituents first — not the well heeled special interests.
The 2018 election results were evidence of Fortenberry fatigue in CD01. Democratic challenger Jessica McClure received 40% of the vote and carried Lancaster County. It was the best showing for a Democratic candidate in CD01 since 2006.
The long time Congressman simply obeys Trump and his party bosses in D.C. I expect 2020 to be a good cycle for the Democrats. Trump is an historically unpopular president and the failed policies of Trump and Fortenberry have devastated the people of Nebraska CD01. We simply can no longer afford Fortenberry.
Vote! Apply for your vote by mail ballot early. Send it in early or drop it off at the election commissioner’s office. Don’t let Trump and Fortenberry steal your vote, steal the election or steal your future.
This is our time! Let’s repeal and replace Fortenberry! Let’s send Kate Bolz to Washington!