Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a plan to save the U.S. Postal Service, which she has accused Republicans of plotting to destroy.
The video: The progressive New Yorker in an Instagram video on Sunday floated launching a "national progressive pen pal program" to encourage people to buy stamps and bail out the financially troubled agency.
In a bid to revitalize the USPS, @aoc proposes a “national progressive penpal program” to boost stamp sales. pic.twitter.com/UzTNdz2Moq— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) August 17, 2020
Ocasio-Cortez promised her followers she would "do all the work of connecting you to somebody else" — ostensibly with the same politics — including by potentially providing postcard-style formats and prompts.
- "What do you all think? Would you guys be down and excited if I set up a national progressive pen pal program?" she asked.
- "You just send it out. Would you guys be down? Do you like that idea?"
Buying USPS merchandise has become way for liberals to signal support for the independent executive agency amid cost-cutting measures imposed by Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
The reaction: Some supporters praised Ocasio-Cortez's pen pal idea, but many conservatives mocked it as outdated — not to mention antithetical to her environmentalist agenda.
Won't she think of the environmental impact of physical messages vs digital ones?— Josh Fields (@partiallypro) August 17, 2020
Save the mails? Ocasio-Cortez has joined other prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, in suggesting President Donald Trump may be attacking the USPS as part of a scheme to suppress the vote.
In a virtual town hall on Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez raised concerns that DeJoy is "corrupt" and the post office is "being sabotaged by the administration."
- On Sunday, Ocasio-Cortez backed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's move to call Congress back from recess to vote on emergency USPS legislation.
But leading experts have pushed back on what they say is an overreaction to the USPS's woes by some on the left.
- Ruth Goldway, a retired chairwoman and commissioner of the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission, assured New York Times readers in an op-ed on Tuesday that the USPS's financial problems, while real, would not affect election mail.
- In a Wall Street Journal editorial on Monday, two former USPS executives were quoted as dismissing claims of corruption at the agency as unfounded, with one calling them a "conspiracy theory."
- Minnesota-based lobbyist and Trump-critic Nick Harper in a Medium post on Saturday did a detailed fact check of claims about the USPS and 2020 voting in an attempt to address rampant "fear and misinformation."
- "Don’t burn yourself out by panicking over this," he advised readers. "Keep your fire lit for another fight."