Navigating Coronavirus — August 25
In today’s email, after yesterday’s alarming hearing, we discuss the attacks from Trump and his allies on the Postal Service and mail-in voting as millions of Americans prepare to vote-by-mail in a pandemic election. We also dive into the latest on how Trump’s inaction on coronavirus economic relief has launched the country into an unnecessary crisis.
Read on for today’s Navigating Coronavirus…
It’s been 181 days since President Trump said we’d soon have zero cases in the U.S. We now have 5.9 million cases and more than 181,000 deaths.
Message guidance on the latest developments with President Trump’s handling of the crisis.
DURING A PANDEMIC ELECTION, TRUMP AND HIS ALLIES ARE DOING EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO SABOTAGE THE POSTAL SERVICE AND MAIL-IN VOTING.
At the same time Trump was kicking off the Republican convention yesterday by spewing lies and promoting fear of mail-in voting, the leaders of the Postal Service were on Capitol Hill downplaying the damage their changes will have on the agency’s ability to deliver mail ballots and admitting their role in working to advance Trump politically.
- TRUMP KEEPS LYING ABOUT MAIL-VOTING >> Trump is exploiting the pandemic to undermine the election. He repeatedly lies about mail voting fraud in an attempt to sow distrust and take advantage of millions of Americans who understandably want to vote-by-mail to stay safe in the middle of a pandemic.
- Forbes: “President Trump set a dark tone in his first speech of the Republican National Convention on Monday, accusing Democrats of exploiting the pandemic to steal the election, and calling the push for mail-in voting the ‘greatest scam in the history of American politics,’ even as he joked himself about serving ’12 more years’ in office.”
- DEJOY DOWNPLAYS DAMAGE >> Postmaster General Louis DeJoy continued claiming that there is nothing to worry about at the Postal Service, yet he could not provide any plan for how USPS will process ballots on time. Worse, he confirmed that he will not reverse actions he took to purposefully cause mail delays.
- Denver Post: “Postmaster General Louis DeJoy refused requests by Democrats on Monday to restore mail-sorting machines or mailboxes removed from service as part of sweeping operational changes at the Postal Service, despite complaints that the changes are causing lasting damage and widespread delays.
- NBC: “DeJoy says he will not put mail sorting machines back in fiery exchange”
- POSTAL BOARD CHAIR ADMITS HE’S WORKING TO HELP TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN >> Robert Duncan, who chairs the Postal Board of Governors, confirmed he is currently directing a pro-Trump super PAC — revealing just how biased USPS leadership is toward putting Trump’s political interests above Americans’ best interests.
- REMINDER >> Navigator’s most recent poll showed that a vast majority of Americans — including nearly two-thirds of 2016 Trump voters — support fully funding for the Postal Service. There is also bipartisan support for various other measures to increase vote-by-mail access.
In addition to using the convention as a platform to rail against vote-by-mail, Republicans there also spent the day ignoring public safety guidelines — risking spreading the virus. People were seen gathering in person and shaking hands, with few masks in sight, despite pleas from local health officials.
TRUMP’S FAILED RESPONSE MADE THIS HEALTH CRISIS WORSE.
Nearly six million Americans have now been infected with coronavirus in the U.S. We have the worst outbreak in the world, and clearly, Trump is to blame.
Trump downplayed the danger of the virus early on, letting it spread and leaving the country unprepared. He failed to implement proven interventions while ignoring experts to promote junk-science. He prioritized politics over the health and safety of Americans. Trump’s failed leadership has left the virus spiraling out of control, and Americans are paying the price.
- MAJOR NEW VOX PIECE >> “How Trump let Covid-19 win: Trump’s magical thinking couldn’t beat the coronavirus. America is stuck with the consequences.”
- “Experts said, it’s Trump’s leadership, or lack thereof, that really sets the US apart. Before Covid-19, Trump and his administration undermined preparedness — eliminating a White House office set up by the previous administration to combat pandemics, making cuts across other key parts of the federal government, and proposing further cuts. Once the coronavirus arrived, Trump downplayed the threat, suggesting it would soon disappear ‘like a miracle.’”
ECONOMIC CRISIS IN CONTEXT
The latest on how the economic crisis sparked by coronavirus is being fueled by President Trump’s actions and years of conservative economic policies, focusing today on his unemployment benefits debacle and the need for Congress to act.
It has now been a month since President Trump and his allies pushed us over the cliff, caused the incomes of 30 million Americans to be cut during a pandemic and launching the economy into a completely unnecessary crisis.
- The House passed legislation in May that would have extended the $600 emergency unemployment benefits — but Trump and his allies in the Senate sat on their hands for months.
- Then instead of working with Democrats to extend the benefits, Trump and his allies waited until the last minute before rushing out a convoluted set of executive actions that was widely panned as unmanageable and unlikely to help if they were even implemented at all.
- Trump’s unemployment benefits scheme would cut emergency benefits by $1,200 a month for 30 million unemployed workers — and so far, only one state in the country has actually been able to get cash to workers.
- And his so-called payroll tax cut, which would have threatened Social Security while cutting taxes for corporations, turns out to not even be workable according to his allies at the Chamber of Commerce.
Because of Trump’s inaction, poverty, debt, eviction, and hunger are skyrocketing among workers and families, which will reduce overall demand and spread the pain through the economy.
- This isn’t just hurting low-wage workers. Because of Trump’s inaction, white collar workers are also seeing job losses equal or greater to what we saw in the Great Recession — and it could get much worse.
- Nearly 40% of workers who lost their jobs in this pandemic don’t have a month’s worth of savings to cushion the blow from Trump’s income cut.
- If Congress doesn’t move quickly, economists see an “unemployment tsunami” over the coming months.
- We will learn more soon about the full impact of Trump’s inaction and cuts, but we are already seeing the impact in reports of job postings flattening out since Trump pushed the country over the unemployment insurance cliff.
Periodic reminder >> The economy is not the stock market.
Navigating Coronavirus is a joint project of Governing for Impact, Groundwork Collaborative, The Hub Project, and Navigator Research.
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