Opinion

The Contested Election Narrative Solidifies: Part 1

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Posted: Aug 17, 2020 12:01 AM
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The Contested Election Narrative Solidifies: Part 1

Source: AP Photo/Nati Harnik

Over the course of any election season, there are surprises and moments of outrage that test our expectations of what acceptable behavior is. We shock each other’s consciences and blame the other side for their lack of decorum. Even knowing that, what the mainstream media have done in the past few days is drastically, almost absurdly, irresponsible. There is a solemnity to their duty, and they refuse it here in these potentially revolutionary times. When you witness the degree to which widespread misinformation was propagated by journalists as it relates to the United States Postal Service, it serves as a marker to you that things might not be OK after all.

An ongoing and decade-plus long battle between right-wing voter integrity and left-wing ballot expansion activists, detailed pre-COVID by mainstream publications covering the expanded number in state election law challenges, has resulted in widespread on-the-ground and narrative wins for the Left. How do I know this? America, again before COVID, had essentially conceded that it would no longer have an Election Day. That narrative matured with assistance from each power center of the Left: bare-knuckle partisan politicos like Barack Obama, celebrity activists like Tom Hanks, and one-sided “news” articles preparing us to be unable to know election results within typically expected timeframes.

A second narrative then comes into view from there, one my few readers (did I mention they were noble?) may remember from a few columns ago. That having established that advantage, Stacey Abrams and other activists were now pushing to brand any resistance to longstanding left-wing ballot expansion efforts as illegitimate election tampering. Where we’re now headed is not only widespread acceptance of those two narratives, but a third: that absent cash infusions for the Postal Service and a pause or abandonment of the ongoing reform efforts underway, Donald Trump is inappropriately interfering with America’s election and any victory will be immediately suspect.

This is important to remember because that third narrative has, like any good conspiracy theory, spread like wildfire and become gospel around the country. As the DNC kicks off, we are about to be subject to four days of conspiracy over the Postal Service that will magnify and solidify the misinformation and outrage into a cardinal understanding in the popular imagination. It’s what the press would call red meat if it were capable of embarrassment. The outcome will be half of the country primed in advance of the election to refuse the results.

What you will not hear during the DNC is that the removal of mail-sorting machines was part of a plan previously approved by USPS’ outgoing leadership. Nor that the letters sent to states warning them of delays were drafted before the appointment of the new supposedly partisan Postmaster General, or that they were an attempt to make it more likely that the elections went smoothly, not less. In fact, the Postal Service typically coordinates with election officials in each state, and the detailed and widespread warnings this time around were in response to the challenges the service faced in managing through COVID and the primaries.

We are likely now converging around the issue over which our contested election will be so. A Russia 2.0 even. That’s the more serious point here, where we’ve now arrived. We can debunk the histrionics you’ll see this week from the DNC around this issue, but it won’t matter. Remember now that these are dangerous hours.