At the Old Faithful U.S. Post Office in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.(David Brossard/FlickrCC)

President Trump began warning us months ago that the U.S. Postal Service may not be able to manage the flood of anticipated ballots this November. 

Then last month, general counsel for the USPS Thomas J. Marshall went so far as to write a letter to all 50 states, informing them of concerns over the service’s ability to meet historical deadlines for ballots submitted by mail. In response, the House of Representatives passed a modest bill that gave the USPS $25 billion in additional funding and asked that any cost cutting — like reducing hours of service, worker overtime or changing operational procedures — be postponed until after the election.

Now Trump is tweeting that the protective bill was a “money wasting HOAX,” and Sen. Mitch McConnell has said he won’t even allow the bill to be voted on. 

Huh? 

Wyoming’s Sen. John Barrasso swiftly embraced the scripted talking points, calling the concerns addressed in the House Bill “a made up, manufactured, political crisis.”

This kind of political double-talk may work with party loyalists, but it does not play well with the average rural Wisconsin voter — the type the GOP needs to win over in a few weeks. A whopping two-thirds of independent voters who have an opinion — those critical to the outcome of the 2020 election — believe that the postmaster’s cost-cutting actions were intended to make it more difficult for Americans to vote by mail. These voters will not easily reconcile being warned for months by a Republican administration that we have a crisis on our hands, only to be told after the House offered a solution that the crisis was actually a “hoax.”

While the president expresses his disdain for the postal service — he called it “a joke” — Republican leaders like Sen. Barrasso would be wise to note that the agency has a 91% approval rating, making it the most popular federal agency in the nation. Believe it or not, the Postal Service is rated the most trusted brand in America, beating out institutions  such as Cheerios, Hershey, Tide and (my personal favorite) Chick-fil-A. 

Because of the pandemic, roughly 80 million Americans are expected to vote using the mail in 2020, most of them through the non-controversial method of absentee ballots — just like Donald Trump will do with his own Florida absentee ballot. These are voters that include welders in rural Michigan, farmers in Iowa and ranchers in Wyoming — voters the Republican Party needs not just in a few weeks, but in the years to come.

This is the wrong hill for the Republican Party to die on if members care about their long-term standing among independent voters. It’s especially bad for Wyoming as we find ourselves increasingly dependent on a single political party that may be shooting itself in the foot a few weeks before Americans vote. If the GOP fails to support protective legislation that has no negative consequences beyond delaying some cost cutting at the Postal Service by a few weeks, and the election results are followed by litigation due to failures to deliver absentee ballots on time, the Republican Party — and Wyoming as a result — will pay a price well past November 2020.

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Dave Dodson

Dave Dodson lives in Wyoming and is a former CEO and professor at Stanford University. He was a Wyoming Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. Read more from his archive at davedodson.com/news.

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  1. I’m part of the majority who think the USPS provides a vital service well. Yes, it is hard to get a response from a complaint immediately but when using their 1800 number I have always been called back within a couple of days. On the other hand, I think it is run poorly at the highest levels. The poor negotiating with Amazon and USPS needing to be bailed out shows that it needs to be run differently. Poll numbers can always be skewed in a way to support the poll takers perspective so stating that the results are fact or indicative of the truth is a far stretch. Indpendent thinkers don’t usually argue with red and/or blue talking points. “TDS” is a red talking point and “fox news beliefs” are blue talking points. Using either term negates the whole “indepent thinker” claim.

    1. i will assume that you response was directed towards me even though you didn’t reply to my comment.

      confirming that a person’s source of information is from fox new is a “blue talking” point?? I’m sorry, but i don’t see your logic. Mr. hates the post office rattled off the same complaints about the USPS that fox news and trump espouse. the statistics of USPS approval vary, but by and large, the general public support and approve of the USPS and value it as an institution. it is from that information that i have seen that i get the belief that the USPS is valued by the majority of the country. I’m sorry if that you feel that deductive reasoning gets in the way of my claim of an independent thinker.

      your attempt to discredit my statements are a bit feeble. wouldn’t you agree?

      and i still am unsure of what TDS means? I’ve never had a facebook account and won’t begin to start one now.

      Cheers

    2. Using the independent thinking taught to me long ago I did some additional investigating and found the actual research that the Pew Research Organization performed to come up with 91% favorable rating. The survey was performed with 1,013 individuals at the end of July.

      However, along the lines that Mr. Sommerfeld pointed out, poll numbers can be skewed by the questions and from my statistics classes back in the day, small samples can be problematic. I was unable to find exactly what the questions were, but the research was basically your favorable or unfavorable opinion of a Federal agency. I also found interesting the poll survey was directed to the youngest member of the household available during the call – and over 18. Considering the number of young people that do not use the post office – and the Post Office is desperate to get younger people to use it’s services based on some additional research directly the the Post Office – I think the Pew poll maybe a bit skewed. I make that assumption based on the fact that the IRS received a 65% favorable rating and my direct independent experience with that agency on a daily basis is the exact opposite, I am very suspect of the accuracy of this poll/research.

      With that said, its a sad fact in this country that you cannot have a discussion or debate without calling somebody too red, too blue, too much Fox News, too much CNN, left, right…… rant and rave about the “facts” without actually providing any facts or research. It’s come down to whomever can “yell” the loudest, blind to others opinions because we are blinded by whatever blue/red rage we have. Without being able to understand all sides of an argument, you lose from the get go and nothing get’s accomplished outside of the name calling, you must watch too much Fox News, too much Trump…….

      There are a lot of independent thinkers on both sides of the fence, very successful and intelligent people

  2. “Believe it or not, the Postal Service is rated the most trusted brand in America, beating out institutions such as Cheerios, Hershey, Tide and (my personal favorite) Chick-fil-A. “

    Pollees were asked to compare the United States Postal Service to a breakfast cereal, a candy bar, a laundry detergent, and a fast-food chain? Really??? We’re supposed to take this seriously? Was the poll designed by five-year-olds?

  3. I’m not sure what the rural voters of Wisconsin have to do with a story about Wyoming politics, but it is what it is.

    I find it hard to believe that 91% of the postal service users approve of the service.

    – They are worse that a big bank, you cannot get a hold of a real person
    – Delivery is sporadic and when you do try to complain, you cannot get a response
    – Customer service is terrible, long lines, slow processing, frequently an “I do not care” attitude
    – Packages that look like a truck ran over them

    It’s a government agency run amok. Inefficient, ineffective, bloated. An overhaul is long over due. If I need a package that I can count on to be delivered timely and effectively, I use FedEx or UPS. The postal service is the choice of last resort.

    1. I stopped reading after your first sentence.

      “It is what it is” is apparently the current rallying cry for trump apologists

    2. In addition, you could have 15 poll results showing that 91% of people approve of the USPS and still wouldn’t believe it. If you are unwilling to believe truth and facts, then you are a lost cause….

      1. Guess we have a little TDS going on based on your response…….Not a Trump fan nor a fan of USPS. My experience with the USPS is the exact opposite. Even my retired post office friend shakes his head at how poorly they are run.

        And just because somebody posts an article on a website does not make it a “fact.” It is the problem with the Media right now, if the article is slanted towards your beliefs, then the article is full of facts. If the article is contrary to your beliefs, the article is full of lies – and the Media tends to be pretty slanted right now. And the situation is compounded when you have TDS.

        Guess that first sentence was so good you couldn’t help yourself and had to jump into the second sentence.

        1. TDS? I’m not familiar with your Facebook jargon sir.

          You are accusing me of the same thing that you are displaying. There is a pretty high approval rating of the overall USPS, but you think it’s fake because it goes against your fox News beliefs. I don’t subscribe to “alternative facts” I’m an independent thinker who can formulate my own beliefs and thoughts without others help.

          Perhaps you should try expanding your realm of information. Knowledge isn’t contagious, it’s something you have to put an effort into acquiring.

          Or you can continue on the easier path by believing your preferred talking head and think everything that they tell you is the gospel.

          Cheers