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Republicans Need To Wake Up And Play A Different Game, Or They’re Bound To Lose

Photo by DUSTIN FRANZ/AFP via Getty Images

Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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The GOP expected this election to be a referendum on the Democratic Party and its policies, hoping it would grant them a majority in the U.S. House and Senate. Still, in critical states like Arizona, Colorado, and Washington, Republicans lost crucial races most attributed to the Democrat election machine that is an expert at using early and absentee voting to their advantage.

Republicans failed to gain the necessary votes to win, leaving the GOP with only a slim majority in the House and its voters asking how the party could have screwed this up so badly. While the Democrats took advantage of state election laws to create and execute a highly elaborate ballot-harvesting program, Republican leadership merely sat back and complained about losing elections to the legal voting scheme.

After the Democrats won back control of the House in 2018, Republican members from the Committee on House Administration released a statement denouncing the act of ballot harvesting as the “most notable threat to election security.”

“While Democrats choose to ignore this obvious threat to our nation’s elections, Republicans remain committed to outlawing this sinister practice, currently legal in states like California, to ensure that every American’s vote is counted and protected,” GOP members stated promised. (RELATED: Are Lonely Wine Karens Ruining Our Country? Exit Poll Reveals The Depressing Truth)

But all the complaining in the world didn’t stop the Democrats from continuing to round up much-needed ballots to keep winning critical races. At the same time, Republicans repeatedly sidelined themselves into second place by refusing to play the same game.

Former California GOP communications director Hector Barajas warned in 2020 that state Republicans only had two options. “We were either going to continue to whine, oppose valid harvesting, and lick our wounds after the elections, or we were going to figure out the rules, look at the chessboard that was put before us, and figure out how to play the game,” Barajas said.

California Republicans tested whether the GOP could use a program to legally harvest ballots during the 2022 election. Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California, said in May that although he thinks the practice should be illegal, it would be irresponsible for Republicans not to take advantage of the same legal votes as Democrats.

“I want to ban ballot harvesting eventually, but until that time, conservatives need to be smart, and we need to use the same strategies Democrats are using and do them better in order to win in this state. Whether we like it or not, ballot harvesting is legal so let’s make it our advantage,” DeMaio said.

Using events like “Barbeque, Beer and Ballots” and “Drive & Drag,” DeMaio helped Republicans gather ballots from voters GOP candidates have consistently missed in past elections. DeMaio said the “Drive & Drag” events are mainly set up to make it “fun, efficient, and easy” to get Americans to vote.

“We are having volunteers drive these to these neighborhoods because the point is to skip the homes of high-propensity voters who always vote and to only target low-propensity voters to harvest their ballots or stimulate them to vote,” he said. (RELATED: ‘Still In The Fight’: Kari Lake Refuses To Concede After Projectors Call Gov Race For Dem Katie Hobbs)

Although California Republicans failed to win any statewide seats, GOP candidates running for the U.S. House outperformed expectations and were instrumental in Republicans taking by the majority. Nine California incumbent Republican Congressmen, including Tom McClintock, Kevin McCarthy, Mike Garcia, Young Kim, Michelle Steel, and Darrell Issa, won their reelection.

Republican Kevin Kiley, a recent recall challenger to Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom, is poised to win his race, currently around 5 points ahead of Democrat Kermit Jones.

John Duarte is less than 1,000 votes from beating Democrat Adam Gray for California’s 13th Congressional District, which was redrawn during the state’s redistricting process. The district was expected to go to Gray, according to The New York Times, which listed it as leaning Democratic, adding that President Joe Biden would have won California’s 13th by 11 points in 2020.

When it was announced that Republicans had lost essential elections in the midterms, Scott Presler, a Republican voter registration specialist, tweeted he would be adding ballot harvesting to his resume.

“I’m an expert voter registration harvester. Now, I’m going to become an expert ballot harvester,” Presler tweeted. “Fight fire with a blowtorch.”

Outside of California, eight other states conduct all their elections by mail. This list includes Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon, which have the most lenient ballot collecting schemes laws permitting the voter to choose who turns in their vote. Unlike other states like Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan, that specifies only a family member, healthcare caregiver, or household member is allowed to pick up and drop off ballots.

The U.S. has only one state, Alabama, which requires the voter to deliver their own ballot in order to vote. While the ideal landscaped would be voters showing up to use paper ballots in elections, it’s just not feasible if the party keeps losing. (RELATED: ‘They Created An Industry’: How Leftists Gaslight Americans On Extremism)

Republicans must stop fantasizing about changing voting laws while out of the majority. The only smart thing to do before 2024 is to utilize the GOP’s ability to build strong grassroots campaigns, only this time geared toward ballot harvesting.