National Pandemic

President Trump admitted to undermining the post office to make it harder to vote by mail

This has bearing on the functioning of real estate markets
By Staff  |  August 13, 2020 5:33 PM

It's a mark of our times that the nation's top election official had to explain that mail-in voting is emphatically not voter fraud, as reported by NPR.

Meanwhile, the US Postal Service – under its new Trump-appointed leader – is shutting down mail-sorting machines which are needed to process absentee ballots for the upcoming 2020 election. Meanwhile, President Trump openly admitted that he is undermining postal service operations to make it harder to vote by mail, per the Guardian.

The elections in Wisconsin this past April could be seen as a bellwether for a broader democratic surge in November. This was in the early months of the pandemic, when there was more fear and less certainty about the virus and how it spread. Despite these risks, Wisconsin voters turned out wearing masks, and waited in the long lines we have sadly come to expect in poorer, diverse, and left-leaning districts in the United States. More on this from The Atlantic and Vox.

It is worth noting that voting is not a right, but the fundamental right, within a democracy. When this right is threatened – whether through decades of gerrymandered districts, or refusal to accommodate voters during a pandemic – it is reasonable to wonder whether other, downstream rights may also be at risk.

The White House seems to both be calling the system into question and actively undermining the system's ability to function. These challenges to voting cannot help but affect real estate markets.

Real estate markets function smoothly when they are part of a larger ecosystem of democratic norms, laws, and oversight. When a nation's leader admits to trying to disenfranchise many voters because he would not like the outcome of their vote, it is difficult to believe that he is serving the people rather than his own interests. This will increase political uncertainty and systemic risk, which have put historically downward pressure on real estate values and pro forma statements.