On November 4th, Trump Will Play The Victim. But Only In These States

by Valerie Morales

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photo by Tiffany Tertipes

Donald Trump’s slash and burn campaign against the United States Post Office, while unprecedented, has achieved its goal of toxicity and confusion. Around the country anxiety, and unease about mail-in voting have shifted the very benefit that democracy affords. Vaingloriously, Trump is trying to corrode the very thing men have died for: freedom. The contempt Trump has for American citizens is shaped into a three-act play of his own making: Charlottesville, Caged Babies At The Border, Stealing the Election.

Of the latter. No one can predictably assure us that our vote will count. I know of a Michigan primary ballot that was labeled “spoiled” because it was received the day after the primary. Every state has its own rules about when mail-in votes can be received. Some ballots are counted on election day only. Others, like Illinois, count votes 14 days after election day if postmarked on or before election day. It spells disaster for a certain contingency- you know who you are- that is comfortable letting others think for them. They will be disenfranchised on election day, as Trump intends with his strategy of collusion and malfeasance.

As reported by NPR, during the primary season 550,000 mail votes were tossed for signature reasons and/or arriving late. 550,000 invalidated votes are 130,000 more than were tossed in the general election of 2016. But California which tossed 108,000 ballots had a record 9 million who voted in the primary. As primary interest spiked in the Democratic Party, COVID realities made mail-in voting a necessity. Naturally, there were going to be mistakes.

While Trump doesn’t waste any opportunity to shred to ashes the USPS culture, mail-in voting isn’t his faux enemy all over the land. The white gaze of Trump hopscotches Kentucky, Wyoming, and North Dakota, and other heavily GOP states where the presidential race isn’t close. What Trump is trying to do by arrogantly tipping his hand is to slow down the mail so votes (in states with close poll numbers) are not counted because post office employees are forced to deliver ballots late and/or absent a postmark.

Understanding the wrath of Trump won’t appease it. States that allow ballots to be counted after election day will be in the maelstrom of the president’s emotions.

Nevada. The state will have an all-mail ballot election because of Covid-19. But there are boundaries. By 5 pm on the seventh day after Election Day (November 10th), Nevada will stop counting votes postmarked on election day or before. For those postmarks that are unclear or hazy: they must be received by 5 pm on the third day after Election Day (November 6). Donald Trump is anxious about Nevada because the aggregate of the latest polling shows that Joe Biden is up +4.0. In 2016, Hillary won Nevada by +2.4. Coronavirus has killed 1,202 Nevadans.

North Carolina. GOP Republican Convention land gives voters three days to count votes after the election if postmarked on Election Day. Any voter is eligible for a vote by mail. NC Republican legislators poked holes in the lie that mail-in voting is unpatriotic. The GOP approved more money for mail-in voting, as they anticipate high volume. In NC, Donald Trump is leading Joe Biden in aggregate polling by +0.6. Trump won the state by in 2016 +3.7. In the Senate Race, Democrat Cal Cunningham is leading incumbent Thom Tillis by +3.5. Coronavirus has killed 2,573 North Carolinians.

Ohio. Mail-in ballots are counted ten days after the election (November 13) if postmarked before the election or on election day. Every eligible Ohio voter is able to vote by mail but the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over the details of early voting. In Ohio, Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump in aggregate polls by +2.3. DonaldTrump won Ohio in 2016 by +8.1. Coronavirus has killed 3,992 Ohioans.

Texas. The Texas Supreme Court ruled that being afraid of contracting Covid-19 doesn’t qualify voters for the “disabled” privilege. If you are not disabled, you must go to the polls. But the wrinkle is that if you claim you are disabled and need a mail-in ballot, there is no further evidence needed to back it up. The day after the election, votes are still counted, if postmarked on election day. According to the aggregate of polls, Trump is leading by +3.5 over Joe Biden. Donald Trump won Texas in 2016 by +9.0. Incumbent Senator John Cornyn is ahead of MJ Hegar by +9.8 in aggregate polls. Coronavirus has killed 11,822 Texans.

Virginia. Voters don’t need an excuse to vote by mail. Three days after the election is the last day to count ballots. In Virginia, Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump in aggregate polling by +11.5 In 2016, Hillary Clinton won Virginia by +5.4. Coronavirus has killed 2,449 Virginians.

2.

Not voting is not a protest. It’s a surrender. (Keith Ellison)

As a party, Democrats are diverse and often in conflict. They can be lazy and they can be disinterested when the choices don’t energize them. Battleground states, however, will punish such lackadaisical sluggishness in 2020. In many states, mail-in votes will not be counted after election day. Political Parties will ask judges to intervene, and depending on jurists' political leaning, late-arriving votes will be counted. Or, they will not.

Arizona. Most residents vote by mail already and are aware ballots are due on Election Day. Because of the pandemic, every resident receives an application for a mail-in ballot. In aggregate polling, Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump by +2.0. Senate candidate Mark Kelly is leading incumbent Republican Martha McSalley by +7.4. In 2016, Trump won Arizona by +3.5. Coronavirus has killed 4,776 Arizonans.

Wisconsin. Mail-in ballot applications will be sent to every registered voter, whether they want one or not. Hopefully, they’ll tell them that mail-in ballots are due on election day. In Wisconsin, Joe Biden is leading Trump in aggregate polls by +6.5 In 2016, Trump won Wisconsin by +0.7. Coronavirus has killed 1,089 Wisconsinites.

Florida. Priorities USA, the Democratic super Pac, is suing. They want ballots to be counted if postmarked on election day and received later. Priorities USA is arguing that the postage stamp required to mail Florida ballots is a poll tax. A ruling is pending. In Florida, Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump in aggregate polls by +5.0. In 2016, Trump won Florida by +1.2. Coronavirus has killed 10,399 Floridians.

Pennsylvania. If you voted by mail in the primary you can request a ballot in the general election. Ballots are due on November 3rd, Election Day. Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump in aggregate polls by +5.7 In 2016, Trump won Pennsylvania by +0.7. Coronavirus has killed 7,647 Pennsylvanians.

Michigan. If you are registered in Michigan you are eligible to vote by mail. The state invested $4.5 million sending 7.7 million applications before the primary in August which caused Trump to lie. He said Michigan had illegally sent ballots. They did not. An application is not a ballot. Michigan ballots are due on Election Day. In Michigan, Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump in aggregate polls by +6.7 Incumbent Democratic Senator Gary Peters is leading his challenger John James in aggregated polling by +7.0. Trump won Michigan in 2016 by +0.3. Coronavirus has killed 7,410 Michiganders.

Minnesota. All voters are eligible to vote by mail but ballots are due on Election Day, no exceptions. In Minnesota, Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump in aggregated polling by +5.3. Incumbent Democratic Senator Tina Smith is leading her challenger Jason Lewis by +3 in aggregated polling. Hillary Clinton won Minnesota by +1.5. Coronavirus has killed 1,774 Minnesotans.

Iowa. Every registered voter is eligible for mail-in voting. In the primary, Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate extended the early voting period for mail-in ballots to 40 days. Ballots are due on Election Day. Donald Trump is leading Joe Biden in aggregated Iowa polling by +1.7 In the Senate race, Democratic challenger Therese Greenfield is leading incumbent Jodi Ernst by +0.3 in aggregate polling. In 2016, Trump won Iowa by +9.5. Coronavirus has killed 1,048 Iowans.

New Hampshire. Although mail ballots in New Hampshire are only eligible to the disabled, the sick, the military, the out of towner, or for religious reasons, Republican governor Chris Sununu declared that all registered voters can vote by mail throughout the end of the year. Ballots are due on Election Day. In New Hampshire, Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump in aggregated polling by +9.7 In 2016, Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire by +0.3. Coronavirus has killed 477 New Hampshire residents.

Maine. All voters are eligible to vote absentee. Ballots are due on Election Day. In Maine, Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump in aggregate polls by +11.5 In the Senate Race, Democratic challenger Sara Gideon is leading incumbent Susan Collins in aggregate polling by +4.5. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won Maine by +2.9. Coronavirus has killed 131 Mainers.

Georgia. Voters can request an absentee ballot 180 days before the election. They don’t need a reason and 6.9 million registered voters were sent request forms in the primary. Ballots are due on Election Day. In Georgia, Trump is leading Joe Biden by +1.1 in aggregate polling. In one Ga Senate race, Republican incumbent David Perdue is leading Jon Ossoff by +4.0 in aggregate polling. In the other Senate race, Anti-Black Lives Matter Senator Kelly Loeffler is leading Raphael Warnock by +4.3 in aggregate polling. In 2016, Donald Trump won Georgia by +5.1. Coronavirus has killed 5,027 Georgians.

Colorado. They have been sending all voters mail-in ballots since 2013. It’s not a thing in Colorado. Ballots, though, are due on Election Day. In Colorado, Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump in aggregate polling by +10. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won Colorado by +4.9. Coronavirus has killed 1,930 Coloradans.

New Mexico. All eligible voters were sent a vote by mail application. Ballots are due on Election Day. In New Mexico, Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump in aggregate polls by +11.0. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won New Mexico by +8.3. Coronavirus has killed 752 New Mexico citizens.

Montana. During the primary, vote by mail was the majority of voters. It’s not yet clear if that’s going to continue in the general election. All registered voters are eligible to vote by mail but ballots are due on Election Day, November 3rd. In the Montana Senate race, Republican incumbent Steve Daines is leading challenger Steve Bullock by +2. Coronavirus has killed 1,423 Montanans.

Alabama. The governor of Alabama is a hardcore Trumpite. He assured Trump that in Alabama there will be no such thing as mail-in voting on demand. If you want to vote by mail in Alabama you have to be away from home, sick, working longer than 10 hours on election day, incarcerated, or a caregiver. Other than that, stand your ass in line and pray COVID isn’t nearby. In the Alabama Senate race, Republican challenger and former Auburn ball coach Tommy Tuberville is leading Democratic incumbent Doug Jones by +8 in aggregate polls. Coronavirus has killed 2,027 Alabamans.

3.

This newspaper believes in white supremacy and it believes that the poll tax is one of the essentials for the preservation of white supremacy. An editorial in the Tuscaloosa (Alabama) News in the early 1900s honored the proposition that any form of poll tax, whether it be paying hard-earned money or counting jelly beans in a jar, was necessary to maintain black suffrage. It wasn’t radical thought, the politicization, and socialization of disenfranchisement for the benefit of the ruling class.

It’s a tough history to overcome and at times I’m skeptical. I think of the proverb: when two elephants fight it’s the grass that gets trampled. Despite Donald Trump’s venality that has paradoxically triggered voter advocacy, black voters are steeped in their 2016 failure.

Provocatively, Trump desires fealty and he weaponizes it as well. In its absence, he’ll settle for chaos as a backup. His lust for mucking things up (voters standing in long lines, becoming discouraged, scared of COVID, and just quitting), is more than strategy. It comforts him.

His comfort is our sorrow. 2016 perfectly illustrated that black Dems will quit when they feel paralyzed by depraved indifference. Black Dems, if disconsolate and powerless, have a history of giving away their own privilege. Worrisome is that this year has been catastrophic for black voters. COVID sickness, attacks on the USPS (which many black people rely on for medicine, checks, and dare I say their livelihood), murders by police, riots, murders by their neighbors, 2020 has been a fugue of despair.

However bleak it feels, black voters are in charge of their own disenfranchisement. Trump isn’t always the reason for our paralysis though I will admit he’s a luscious target.

Every time Trump accuses the system of being rigged he is being historical because for black folk elections have always been rigged. He’s preaching to the choir but before the fact. It feels threatening, a way to remind us what Jim Crow did.

Trump (and the GOP) are counting on black Dems, whose ancestors had to accept poll taxes, to check out one more time, and to not view November 2020 and its aftermath as life or death.

But it is. Life or death.

Writing: Race and Gender, Politics, Healthcare, Environmental Abuse, Domestic Violence

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