Amid a crisis isolating Americans like nothing else has in a century, the service tying every corner of this nation together since its founding is foundering.
There always have been critics of the U.S. Postal Service but now it has enemies led by President Donald Trump, and Trump’s untrue claims about his own archnemesis, Amazon and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, are undermining its support and its future.
The USPS has battled for 25 years with a decline in demand for its core services. First-class mail volume peaked in 1996 at 103 billion pieces annually and declined to 55 billion in 2019, thanks largely to the advent of internet communication and bill-paying. Volume has dropped another 30% since the coronavirus struck, and the shutdown has depressed the third-class “junk” mail that has been a strong product for the postal service in recent decades.