SOUTH BEND – Joy would abound in post offices throughout the land if it were not for the “De” before “Joy.” Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, Donald Trump’s appointee last year in strategy to sabotage delivery of absentee ballots, still directs the postal slowdown we all experience.
     
President Biden can’t fire DeJoy. That can be done only by a nine-member Postal Service Board of Governors, all of whom until recently had been appointed by Trump. Slowly replacements are being confirmed. It takes time.
     
“Get used to me,” DeJoy told critics at a congressional hearing earlier this year. He’s not planning to go anywhere but to stay on, playing a part in Trump’s revenge.
     
He’s unpopular with many Republicans as well as Democrats in Congress. They all hear complaints from constituents about slowdowns in postal service and concerns about further cutbacks.

Many families had problems last Christmas with packages arriving after the holiday even though mailed in time for promised pre-Christmas delivery. My family did. 
     
Don’t blame your carrier or other postal workers for delays. They weren’t the ones who ordered mail-sorting machines removed and other cutbacks.
     
In a Christmas card to my mail carrier, who provides excellent service, I added a happy new year wish for a new postmaster general. The carrier, in a reply card, agreed that removal of DeJoy would bring real joy. Of course. I didn’t have to guess about prevailing views of postal employees.
     
DeJoy did apologize to customers affected by delays during the holiday season.
     
He had to be careful after all in trying to fix blame on those workers still seeking to let “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night” keep them from “swift completion of their appointed rounds.” The public hails that long-time concept of service. A Pew Research Center poll shortly before DeJoy took over found that 91% of Americans had a favorable view of the post office.

Maybe he’s driven that favorability down a bit, but his own favorability has taken the harsher hit.

There never was any secret about why DeJoy was appointed. The wealthy businessman was a megadonor to Trump. Maybe too mega. The Justice Department now looks into some possible campaign finance violations.

Trump counted on DeJoy’s loyalty to deal in the way Trump wanted with absentee ballots. As soon as the former president realized that Democrats were counting heavily on absentee ballots, and that he was losing, he set out to suggest that those ballots would be fraudulent.

If the post office could delay bunches of those ballots until after the deadline for receiving them in some key states, that could curtail the Democratic vote and help Trump secure reelection. 

Even if they arrived in time to be counted, a delay could raise suspicion about their legality. That was part of Trump’s plan. And he used it successfully to sow doubt about the outcome.

But the delays caused by such tactics as suddenly removing mail-sorting machines, reducing employee overtime just as demand grew and seeking other “cost saving” measures were so blatant that Congress, the news media and the courts focused on the tactics and forced delivery of the deluge of ballots to voters and then to the polls.

As much as DeJoy wanted to swing the election, as Trump appointed him to do, he was unable to deprive “those people,” the absentee voters Trump feared, of having their votes received and counted. Trump still clings to conspiracy theories, but he must be as disappointed in his postmaster general as he is in his vice president.

Mike Pence wouldn’t try to send the official results back to the states. And DeJoy didn’t try to install machines to send hundreds of thousands of official absentee ballots to some dead ballot office. 

Colwell has covered Indiana politics over five decades for the South Bend Tribune.