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Doomsday scenario for the Dems in November

The first “virtual” DNC convention is now history, but the Democratic Party leadership could benefit from a history lesson from a bit farther back ... Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Despite Biden’s lead in the polls, the November election is still a few months away and the Republicans now have a most formidable ally!

That ally is, of course, mail-in voting. Tom Clancy couldn’t write a better novel then the actual scenario that will play out on Tuesday, Nov. 3 and beyond. Only five states currently have “all mail” elections, ours included. These states have the experience and processes in place to handle mail-in ballots. But the other 45 states will face a massive challenge in 2020 despite assurances to the contrary.

And guess who will be mailing ballots in this November? Why, the Democrats, of course, once again their own worst enemy. In a recent poll, 60% of Democrats were “very” or “somewhat” likely to vote by mail, primarily because of coronavirus fears, vs. only 35% of Republicans. Gender plays into this, too, as women are more likely to allow COVID-19 fears to keep them away from the polls, and the majority of women voters are Democrats.

Despite many assurances to the contrary, the USPS will be crushed by the sheer volume of mail-in ballots hitting an already antiquated system. The House just passed legislation to grant $25 billion in emergency funding to the USPS, but Mitch McConnell has already made it clear that the Senate will not pass “stand-alone” legislation for the USPS. And even if the funds were available, the Post Office has neither the leadership nor the time to fix the infrastructure ahead of the largest mail-in vote in U.S. History.

Louis DeJoy, Postmaster General, testifying before the Senate on August 21, told senators that he had “no plan” for handling a crush of election mail. Thomas Marshall, USPS general counsel, sent a letter to all 50 states warning them that “certain deadlines for requesting and casting mail-in ballots are incongruous with the Postal Service’s delivery standards.”

The Republicans have a vested interest in doing nothing at this point. And why should they? In fact, they will do everything they can to get Republican voters to the polls. Sean Hannity recently said “The safest way to make your vote count is to go to the polls”. Read between those lines! Ben Shapiro, on KCMX radio, encouraged Republicans to help drive other Republican voters to the polls.

Here is the probable scenario. The Republicans will go the polls en masse on Nov. 3, the number could be as high as 90% of those that vote. The Democrats will largely vote by mail, perhaps only 25% will make it to the polls. Barring any wake-up call that will get Democrats to the polls, on election night Trump will be ahead in the popular vote.

Then the true battle begins as Republicans trigger strategic steps to discredit mail ballots and the election is thrown into controversy and chaos. Team Trump’s lawyers are already hard at work drafting various legal challenges to the results of the election that will not only damage or delay the results, but could ultimately throw the final outcome of the election into the U.S. Supreme Court. And we know what the outcome of this would be! Implausible or extreme? I think not. A victory for Team Trump against all odds. More entertaining than anything on “The West Wing” or “House of Cards”!

Why we have allowed this election, or any election, to be clouded by questions of legitimacy? Our focus should be on candidate platforms and visions, not wondering whether how we vote will determine whether the results of this election will be thrown into a legal abyss! A recent NBC News poll found that only 14% of the 44,000-plus American adults polled were “very confident” that the November election would be conducted in a “fair and equal” way!

The best thing the Democrats could do is to “mask up” and go to the polls where they can and get their ballots in early where they must vote by mail.

Let the games begin!

Rick Vann lives in Ashland.