Rep. Cheri Bustos: Trump is Trying to “Undermine Confidence” in Democracy

Representative Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) says President Donald Trump, amid repeated attacks against mail-in voting and the United States Postal Service (USPS), is “doing everything he can to undermine people’s confidence in our democracy.”

“That is a sin. We’ve got the longest lasting democracy on the face of the planet,” Bustos, who is the Chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said. “I don’t even think it’s arguable that this is the preferred form of government — a democratic form of government. For anybody, especially the president of the United States, to undermine the confidence in the best form of government in the world is just unconscionable. It’s a sin.”

Last night, on the heels of the Trump administration suing the state of New Jersey over expanding mail-in voting, Bustos said, “The reason Donald Trump wants to undermine the postal service — and he even said it, to get in the way of people’s voting rights — is absurd. If there’s anything that we should do is we should make voting easy for people. We shouldn’t be throwing up these barricades.”

Earlier this morning, the president tweeted, “IF YOU CAN PROTEST IN PERSON, YOU CAN VOTE IN PERSON!” despite concerns about in-person voting amid the coronavirus pandemic. Although the president has continued to claim that protests have caused cases of the virus to spike nationwide, the evidence says otherwise.

Moreover, the president has attempted to differentiate between absentee ballots and mail-in voting even though they’re the same thing.

“Absentee is great, but universal [mail-in voting] is going to be a disaster, the likes of which our country has never seen.  It’ll end up being a rigged election, or they will never come out with an outcome,” Trump said yesterday.

The president and Republicans have repeatedly disparaged vote-by-mail options in response to criticisms from voting rights advocates who’ve expressed safety concerns during the coronavirus pandemic.

A study released in April from Stanford University’s Democracy and Polarization Lab found that contrary to the widely-held belief among the GOP that vote-by-mail gives Democrats an advantage over Republicans, vote-by-mail options do not benefit one party more than another.

“By comparing counties that adopt a vote-by-mail program to counties within the same state that do not adopt the program, we are able to compare the election outcomes and turnout behavior of voters who have different vote-by-mail accessibility but who have the same set of candidates on the ballot for statewide races,” researchers wrote.

Yesterday, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced that USPS would suspend operational changes, which included eliminating overtime for mail carriers, reducing post office hours and removing postal boxes, amid backlash from civil rights groups who warned the moves could endanger the integrity of the general election.