Election Day vs. ‘Election Season’: Should the GOP Continue to Fight the Democrats’ Game or Play It as Well?

Remember how elections used to be conducted? As Election Day drew nearer and nearer, anticipation and expectations continued to grow. On that one day, all the chips were on the table, win or lose. And with few exceptions, we knew the results before we went to bed. Like it or not, those days are gone forever.

Why so?

Prior to the 1980s, nearly all Americans voted at neighborhood polling stations. Today, as we know all too well, many states have eased rules restricting absentee ballots, allowing voters to cast ballots in person before Election Day, and now mail-in ballots are all the rage in the Democrat Party.

In addition, some states proactively mail ballots to voters, according to MIT’s Election Lab. Then, when the COVID “pandemic” arrived, mail-in voting skyrocketed — and the Democrats have never looked back.

In a word, Election Day has morphed into “Election Season.”

The salient question is, should the Republican Party — one faction, at least — simply continue to declare virtually every election they lose, “stolen”? Or about the growing number of mail-in ballots and the day-after-day counting of such, should Republicans heed the old axiom, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”? I suggest the latter.

Our Managing Editor, Jennifer Van Laar, has laid out a detailed explanation of how ballot harvesting continues to evolve in California (and a preview of what the rest of the country may expect).

The Federalist Editor-in-Chief Mollie Hemingway shared her thoughts on the growing problem for Republicans during an appearance on Fox News, beginning with the results of the 2022 midterms, which saw the GOP win control of the House by a much slimmer margin than many anticipated, and the Democrats maintain control of the Senate:

“[A]n election where Democrats way outperformed the actual polling, and the actual results,” Hemingway said, adding:

You had many more Republican votes, you had a flip of the generic ballot by seven points, and yet where it mattered, on the key targeted races, the Democrat ballot operation really overperformed. Well, that really helped Biden, but it makes it more difficult to move on from President Biden.

So what went wrong for Republicans in the midterms, as Hemingway saw it?

When you have a failure like Republicans had, it has a lot of fathers. You see a lot of finger-pointing, and all of it is probably valid. But I do think the one, overarching thing that Republicans need to understand is that they’re running elections on an Election Day model that no longer exists.

Democrats have worked very hard for decades to move to an ‘election season’ where they can harvest ballots every day of that election season so that by Election Day, they have already won. Whereas Republicans keep focusing on getting people excited for Election Day.

That is not going to work in places where there’s massive unsupervised balloting and ballot trafficking operations, so they either need to do a much better job of fighting those things, or they need to join and actually play according to the new rules of the game.

Bingo. Republicans must join the Democrats and “actually play according to the new rules” — and win.

Seeking legitimate election reform is one thing — and critically necessary — but automatically blaming lost elections on voter fraud or systemic election fraud is another. Moreover, doing the latter doesn’t afford election losers much “mirror gazing.” In a nutshell, dismissing elections as ‘stolen,” might feel better than accepting a loss, but on the contrary, it does only harm to losing candidates and their respective parties.

Fox News Ingraham Angle host Laura Ingraham said much of the same during a post-midterms recap:

Now a lot of finger-pointing continues … in the Republican Party. Here at The Angle, we’re less concerned about the finger-pointing, about the past. We’re more concerned about how to get better results in the future. Lots of buzz about challenges and changes to the Republican leadership in the House and the Senate and the RNC […]

Now, who knows how things are going to shake out but as much as the grassroots wants to turn the entire party upside down, and I do not blame them one bit [but] they need to be realistic about the landscape. You can’t beat something with nothing.

Whoever is in charge will have to lay out the groundwork now, for a far more sophisticated campaign in 2024. If you want to lead the Republican Party you need to be able to answer tough questions.

First, we can complain about it, and we do, even in some Republican states, ballot harvesting is legal in certain circumstances. In fact, it’s legal in dozens of states. Ballot harvesting is basically when a third party, often political ops, can collect and bring in ballots for a voter. So, why the heck aren’t the Republicans better at it?

Great question. And then this, as I suggested in my headline:

What are the most successful groups doing it now? How much does it cost? What are Republicans doing to emulate the successful methods? […]

Second, as much as we all wish voting was limited to one day, and I would mandate that tomorrow if I were queen, early voting is probably here to stay. So, what’s leadership proposing that their state officials do to get better at this?

You got to hand it to them, the Democrats know how to game the system. But, until Republicans can change election laws, they need to beat the Democrats at their own game.

Again, bingo. As long as the current election game is the current election game, the Republican Party is going to be forced to do the “When in Rome” thing, and learn to beat the Democrats at their own game.



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