Now, with delays raising fears that the United States Postal Service is being hobbled by a combination of financial problems, politicization and pandemic, farmers and other rural residents say they are particularly vulnerable to the crisis roiling the postal system. And while President Trump’s own words have raised alarms that the problems are part of an effort to keep Democrats from voting by mail, many of those being hurt the most live in rural areas that overwhelmingly support the president.

“This is an attack on a tried-and-true service that rural America depends on,” said Chris Gibbs, a farmer in western Ohio who voted for Mr. Trump in 2016, but this year started an advocacy group arguing that the president has failed rural America. “It pulls one more piece of stability, predictability and reliability from rural America. People don’t like that.”

“Amid the uproar, some rural residents worried that the damage to their livelihoods and the credibility of the Postal Service had already been done. They wondered whether they could still trust the mail to handle their packages, animals and ballots.

“I’ve always counted on the post office,” said Carrie Sparrevohn, 64, who raises merino sheep and sells wool and yarn from her ranch outside Auburn, Calif. “Now, I don’t know if I should be mailing anything.”

“In Fort Benton, Mont., Leone Cloepfil, 75, started worrying about her mail in July, when her Visa payment was not delivered and she was charged a $35.04 late fee. She had to stop driving recently after the numbness in her foot got so bad that she could no longer feel the pedals, so she said she had no choice but to trust her ballot to the mail.

“But in places already isolated because of spotty internet access, people said the post office was the only institution mandated to serve them at a flat cost, no matter the weather or how remote they were. Like a hospital, school or grocery store — all of which have closed across rural America — they said a post office anchored a town’s survival.

“If these small rural towns lose their post offices they lose their identity,” said Gaylene Christensen, who relies on the post office to ship orders of home décor from her shop in Arlington, S.D., now that foot traffic has been slowed by the pandemic. “We’re the ones who are going to get hit.” [NYTimes]

You’d think that a guy like Trump, who views the presidency as being transactional, and who demanded that places that didn’t vote for him get punished, would want to look out for those who did.

But you’d be so wrong.

Do you live in Alaska, where people depend on the post office for all manner of things? Welll, Trump and DeJoy are going to fuck you up.

“DeJoy’s potential plans, the people said, also include eliminating the Alaska Bypass program, a federal program exclusive to the state in which the Postal Service subsidizes the cost of freight shipping of groceries and other goods for remote areas to keep its commitment to universal service. The program costs the USPS about $100 million a year. [WaPo]”

If you live outside of the “lower 48”, DeJoy is going to ensure that your mail costs a lot more.

The post office isn’t a business and it hasn’t been for over two hundred years. But the Republicans, for decades, have harbored a dream of breaking up the post office, of privatizing it.

Anyone in rural America who thinks that is a good idea probably needs some serious professional help.

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