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Dems Turn Table on Post Office Sabotage

Dems Turn Table on Post Office Sabotage

The flood of emails started in early August, carrying dire messages from Democratic politicians. “Save the USPS from Trump,” pleaded Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA). “Help Bob defend the USPS,” an email from Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) nudged. “We can’t let Donald Trump steal this election,” blared the subject line of an email from Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA). 

In the last month, Democrats have sought to counter a crisis at the U.S. Postal Service, a beloved but beleaguered institution struggling under the weight of oppressive operational “reforms” from a new Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, and renewed attacks from President Donald Trump. The president has long harbored animus for the agency and has recently connected increased funding for the mail to an electoral headwind for him in November. 

In Congress, Democratic lawmakers have backed bills funding the USPS and grilled DeJoy at high-profile hearings. But out on the political battlefield, a throng of Democratic candidates and organizations have turned the USPS crisis around as a potent political tool to galvanize supporters—and raise money.

Since the beginning of August, when nationwide mail delays and operational “reforms” at USPS exploded into public view, at least 100 Democratic candidates for federal office have sent communications that led to some kind of mail-related fundraising ask, according to a review of campaign emails and social media advertisements. Dozens of Democratic Party-affiliated organizations, outside liberal groups, and state-level candidates have made similar pleas, too. 

“It’s huge—every single client has been trying to capitalize on it,” said a Democratic strategist, who spoke anonymously with The Daily Beast, to discuss trends candidly. “It’s rare you get an issue where every candidate, whether they’re a Blue Dog or very liberal, is so aligned on this.”

“This is one of those unique moments where everybody is talking about it… Everyone is affected by the Postal Service,” said Michael Whitney, the former digital fundraising manager for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) presidential campaign. “In terms of how you know that you’re going to have something people are paying attention to, this is really a gimme in terms of knowing your audience is going to have heard about it, has an opinion about it, and is going to want to do something about it.”

The issues facing the USPS also tie neatly into other powerful issues: mail being delayed means seniors don’t get prescription drugs on time, for example; it also raises the threat that ballots and election mail could get held up in an election where more Americans than ever will vote by mail. And it serves as an evocative example of many of the broader frustrations that Americans feel with Trump’s presidency. 

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