Aug 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Obama: Americans could be "collateral damage" in Trump's war on mail-in voting

Photo: Zahim Mohd/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama tweeted Friday that everyday Americans could become "collateral damage" if President Trump continues to attempt to slash funding for the U.S. Postal Service as part of his campaign against mail-in voting.

Why it matters: Trump linked his baseless claims that increased mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud on Thursday to the current impasse in coronavirus stimulus negotiations.

  • "Everyone depends on the USPS. Seniors for their Social Security, veterans for their prescriptions, small businesses trying to keep their doors open. They can't be collateral damage for an administration more concerned with suppressing the vote than suppressing a virus," Obama said.
  • He advised Americans to vote early during a podcast chat with his 2012 campaign manager David Plouffe: "If you're in a state where you have the option to vote early, you need to do that now, because the more votes are in early, the less likely you're going to see a last minute crunch."

The big picture: Obama also told Plouffe that the arrival of a vaccine before Election Day could "change the dynamic" in the presidential contest, giving Trump an opportunity to take credit for any economic boost caused by the vaccine.

  • "It is possible that some of the trials that are being done result in us knowing before the election that a vaccine is on the way," Obama said.
  • "That might relieve people's anxieties, and that's good, we should hope for that. But that also can change the dynamic, particularly when you have a president who takes responsibility for nothing but takes credit for everything," he added.

The bottom line: Obama's analyses reveals concern in the highest levels of Democratic circles about Trump's ability to turn the race around, even as most public polling gives Joe Biden a comfortable lead.

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