Neither Snow nor Rain nor Covid-19
Re “How to Save the Postal Service,” by Mike Davis [April 20/27]: Thanks to The Nation for recognizing the US Postal Service as an essential public service as it carries on undaunted through the coronavirus contagion. The USPS Fairness Act, now before the Senate, would do much to address the entirely unfair retiree prefunding requirement at the core of the Postal Service’s financial woes and to keep it solvent. As for tapping into Amazon’s windfall profits as a potential revenue stream, the USPS is indeed Amazon’s principal delivery conduit, and those who suggest the Postal Service simply isn’t driving a hard enough per-package bargain with the high-handed merchandising leviathan are very likely correct.
Mike Wettstein Jr.
On Holding Your Nose
I can understand Rohan Grey’s frustration, in “Whatever It Takes” [April 20/27], about Joe Biden’s hesitancies regarding a progressive Democratic agenda and his part in forming and upholding Barack Obama’s policies (e.g., the bailout of the banking system instead of enabling millions of Americans to keep their homes safe from foreclosure). And then there is what Grey calls, in reference to the global climate crisis, Biden’s “defensive bluster and nostalgic promises to restore the 2016 Paris Agreement.” Grey ends with “Such hypocrisy from someone aspiring to the office of president of the United States is morally and practically unacceptable.”
Where Grey’s language leads one inevitably—though I hope not The Nation’s readers—is to refrain from voting for Biden for president in November, thereby ushering in another term for Donald Trump. Furthermore, if progressives refrain from voting entirely, the Senate will remain under Republican control, the House may lose its Democratic majority, and governorships and state legislatures will fall into the GOP’s hands. And Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg can’t live forever. How about a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court?
In Shakespeare’s play Coriolanus, Volumnia says in response to a revolt against her son, “Anger’s my meat; I sup upon myself, / And so shall starve with feeding.” Grey may have his anger, but anyone who would not welcome four more years of Trump had better vote for Biden in November.
Progress v. Progressive Values
I am, to put it mildly, disappointed that the Democratic presidential primaries have produced Joe Biden as the party’s presumptive nominee. That said, I did not read Jeet Heer’s “The Pennsylvania Paradox” [April 20/27] and have zero intention of reading any future Biden bashing that The Nation publishes over the next six months, which at this political moment does a grave disservice to America.
The voters have made clear that he is their choice, but one doesn’t need to be a Biden supporter to grasp the reality that the next administration will be either Biden’s or an extension of Donald Trump’s. Every Biden-bashing piece you publish from here through November serves only to increase dismay, discord, and disunity among the majority of Americans who want to eliminate the corrupt, criminal, immoral Trump administration—thereby making four more years of Trump more likely.
If Biden defeats Trump, I will be at the head of the queue demanding that The Nation return to illuminating Biden’s regressive policy positions and helping hold his administration accountable. America should be so lucky. For now, I recommend that you review the past four years of your publication if you really need a reminder of the stakes, then get a grip and pivot to educating your readers about the efforts that are under way across the country to ensure Trump’s defeat.
Pennsylvania isn’t the only problem Democrats are facing in the 2020 elections. The biggest problem is making sure that everyone can vote. This will probably mean that thousands of volunteer lawyers will have to be available on Election Day. Long before then, the removal of people from the voter rolls and the relocation and elimination of polling places in many states must be addressed. Fighting voter suppression is crucial.
It appears that Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee. At least the party’s leaders seem to have somewhat awakened and are endorsing him. Hopefully, he will pick Elizabeth Warren as his running mate. Doing so would help win progressive voters. If Bernie Sanders can make sure his supporters vote, he will be in a much better position to make changes in the party’s platform and in the coming years. History will then show him to be the hero that he is.
Anne K. Johnson
new york city
Re “Underpaid, Ignored, and Essential,” illustrated by Molly Crabapple [April 20/27]: Thank you. These are really beautiful and sensitive portraits of real-life heroes and heroines.
No More Neoliberalism
I agree with John Nichols that “with the coronavirus outbreak upending every economic calculation, the Democrats’ populism must be focused and forward-looking” [“How to Win in Wisconsin,” April 13]. Many Democrats have been too deferential to Wall Street. If the Democratic Party hopes to mobilize the Bernie Sanders voting bloc, it should unequivocally repudiate the neoliberal brand of capitalism. The Democratic nominee should announce that the Reagan-Thatcher era is ending and that 2021 is the time to begin finishing the New Deal. Democrats should embrace the idea that economic and social rights are human rights.