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Ben Weingarten

Federalist Senior Contributor; Claremont Institute Fellow

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GOP should use Dems’ tactics like ballot harvesting to win elections

Jun 06, 2023

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In a speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference in March 2023, former President Donald Trump told attendees it’s time to “change our thinking” on early and mail-in voting. He’s now touting his campaign’s plan to encourage ballot harvesting — the practice used by Democrats that allows third parties to collect and submit other voters’ absentee and mail-in ballots.

As Straight Arrow News contributor Ben Weingarten explains, the GOP doesn’t have a choice but to embrace the election strategies used by Democrats if they want to beat them at their own game.

Ballot harvesting is becoming an accepted norm. Candidates not only have to earn votes, they have to figure out how to collect as many votes as they possibly can. Are Republicans overnight going to out-harvest their opponents? Will they devise some new means to find and turn out voters otherwise sitting on the sidelines in big enough numbers to overcome Democrats’ ballot harvesting superiority? 

“Zuckerbucks” also loom over our contests despite bans in many states. The Left is doing everything it can to steer private money towards public election administration — administration done in conjunction with purportedly nonpartisan but often left-leaning organizations seemingly targeting the Democrat ballots needed to win.

While the growing GOP presidential field has started sparring over many significant questions, that contenders have left largely unaddressed, maybe the most important one of them all. And that’s this. 

 

How will you win the general election under the present voting system? If Republicans can’t clearly and convincingly answer this question, odds are they won’t retake the White House, no matter how favorable things might look on paper come next November. Over the last two election cycles, the GOP either lost in historically aberrant ways, or underachieved based on what conventional wisdom would have suggested. 

 

Analysts have come up with many explanations for why the results broke as they did. But a constant across the presidential and midterm elections was that they were both held under a transformed voting system. And Democrats are so well positioned to thrive under that system, that even under the most favorable circumstances, and with a perfect Republican presidential candidate, it’s not at all clear he or she would prevail. 

 

At least Republicans should be operating with that belief if they’re serious about winning the presidency. As Americans. Well, no, we’re light years from the election days of old individual days when people voted in person on paper ballots after presenting an ID. 

 

Now we have mass mail in elections conducted over weeks, where those voting in person often do so electronically, and with lacks ID standards. In many cases. Democrats largely developed long fought for and willed this system into existence under cover of COVID. They’ve successfully manipulated and exploited the voting regime they made. Ballot harvesting is becoming an accepted norm. Candidates not only have to earn votes, they have to figure out how to collect as many votes as they possibly can. Or Republicans overnight going out harvest their opponents will they devise some new means to find and turn out voters otherwise sitting on the sidelines in big enough numbers to overcome Democrats ballot harvesting superiority. 

 

Zuckerbucks also loom over our contests. Despite bans in many states, the left is doing everything it can to steer private money towards public election administration. Administration done in conjunction with purportedly nonpartisan but often left leaning organizations seemingly targeting the Democrat ballots needed to win. 

 

The Biden administration is trying to use federal agencies to mobilize presumed Democrat voters as well, also in conjunction with the same left leaning NGOs on a march 2021 Executive Order shrouded in mystery, as the bureaucracy stonewalls over inquiries about it. Republicans have started to engage in election administration, but largely in terms of monitoring, not executing. So what’s the plan to combat Democrat control over election machinery. lawfare is also now an integral part of our election system. The GOP has started to devote significantly greater resources to the litigation game, but to catch up to Democrats will require a long term sustained effort, packed with real money and filing suit over election policies and practices, after the votes have already been cast, of course, has proven a losing strategy as courts his unwillingness to grapple with fundamental issues around the 2020 election, largely on technical grounds demonstrated. Meanwhile, Democrats have sought to ruin the lives of the Republican election lawyers litigating those cases, in their own words to make them toxic in their communities and in their firms seeking to kneecap their competition. Before it can ever bring a case to court. Or Republican candidates preparing now to aggressively target existing election Jackanory and stave off that which is to come with the courage and smarts behind it needed to win in the face of an unrelenting and shrewd opposition. This is before we get to the issue of fraud and the imperative for a Republican candidate to exhaust every means to prevent it. And in the absolute worst case to detect and mitigate it made incredibly hard when voting happens further from the election booth than ever before. We can layer on top of these issues, broader forces any candidate will be up against among them as the ruling class. Recall what President Trump faced in 2020. As time’s Molly Ball described it in her secret history of the shadow campaign that saved the 2020 election, he found himself up against quote, a well funded cabal of powerful people ranging across industries and ideologies working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws steer media coverage and control the flow of information. They were not rigging the election ball road, they were fortifying it. This cabal will reengage in 2024 and redouble its election fortification efforts. And once again, this is the working assumption Republicans must operate under two candidate should assume the deep state will engage in all manner of dirty tricks. The election interference has already begun in earnest. Frankly, it’s been ongoing since 2016. Given the Democrats advantages, it would be foolish for any Republican candidate, no matter how formidable and against that opponent, no matter how weak to presume victory is preordained or even likely in 2024. Again, the question they all must answer is how do you intend to win under this voting system?

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