The Election Integrity Battle Must Be Won before It Is Fought
Sun Tzu's maxim was certainly true for the 2020 election. I don't need to go into detail because Mollie Hemingway has already shown that the election was rigged.
Republicans should have learned that once the votes are cast, it is nearly impossible to litigate fairness. They did not. It's fair to say that in spite of all the talk after the 2020 election about fixing election integrity, very little was done that actually improved things. I must have heard Jenna Ellis bloviating a hundred times about how her Election Integrity Alliance was going to make sure everyone working on integrity was moving forward, getting it done. Fail. It's even worse, as the left is now refining its tactics and focusing on taking over the election process for good. Leftists even enlisted the federal government in registering voters who are unlikely to cast a ballot so they can cast one for them. Democrats have a long history of fiddling with elections.
Fast-forward to 2022, and we find ourselves with a disappointing outcome, particularly in same five states as in 2020: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, and Wisconsin. The radio pundit class and others all had opinions on why we were disappointed. NeverTrumps said, "It's Trump's fault!" Others like the feckless Arizona GOP leader Kelli Ward cried about lack of funding in key races. (True.) Others complained about candidate quality.
It seemed as though we were ready for it, but it is clear that the same shenanigans, refined with practice, occurred, primarily against conservatives. In 2020, all the toss-ups went to the GOP. Not so in 2022; they all went to the Democrats. In Virginia, the Democrat Ballot-Harvesting Manual instructs workers to go after dead people and bad addresses. In Nevada, GOP Senate candidate Adam Laxalt received a defeat from the jaws of victory when his opponent pulled out an impossible victory. In Arizona, vote totals show a flip of votes from the congressional races to the conservative statewide races of over 250,000 votes. In fact, for the top four statewide races, there were 150,000 additional votes over the congressional vote. Hmmm. The only statewide GOP wins were treasurer and superintendent of public instruction, both of whom are RINOs. Matt Gaetz accurately called it a McFailure.
Ideas have been proposed to win future elections, including improving vote integrity. Just get rid of absentee ballots, get rid of electronic voting, count the votes that day. Easy-peasy. Nonsense. Atlanta lost the All Star game because of passing modest reforms. The Republican-led Legislature in Arizona passed a law with no teeth. Although the Michigan Legislature passed some vote integrity bills, they were vetoed by Gretchen von Whitmer. The only real improvements were made in safe Republican states. None of these new laws came close to the kind of reforms needed, in the states needed, to level the playing field. We cannot count on any election integrity improvements where they are needed.
Other ideas include focusing on ballots, not votes. Most can agree on this. But this is just an idea that has been espoused by many in the conservative media following the election. There is no follow-up. No action. Telling people not to vote on Election Day and to vote early similarly will yield no results. We will end up in 2024 in the same place we are right now: disappointed. And more pissed off.
As our favorite climate kid Greta Thunberg once said: "Blah! Blah! Blah!"
So what is to be done? We need to win the battle before it is fought. What does that mean? Does it mean talking about it? Does it mean agreeing with some points and hoping it happens? I don't' think so. We need a strategy. What's a strategy? A strategy answers the following questions: What are we going to do? When are we going to do it? Who is going to do it? How much will it cost? Where will we get the money?
If we do not have a strategy, then we will not win.
Here is a three-pronged strategy that should be executed only in the troubled states where we can win: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, and Wisconsin. If we do not win the majority of these states, we cannot win the presidency, nor, likely, the Senate.
Strategy 1: Clean the voter rolls
This is a simple strategy that is not glamorous, which is why nobody talks about it. It was executed in Wisconsin and probably saved Ron Johnson's Senate seat. The goal is to deprive Democrats of the free ballots they can use to change an election outcome. From the article: "They went to scores of county registrars and challenged thousands of phantoms — proof in hand. Quietly, below the radar, they showed registrars, whose job it is to deal with this sort of thing, that Bill Jones was not a real person. They helped clean up addresses that were wrong — either typos or fake." Each of the five state GOP leaders needs to set up a team immediately. The funding for the Wisconsin team and software was provided by Mike Lindell. This is a no-brainer.
Strategy 2: Have an actual ground game
Republicans gained seats in liberal California and New York in part because they beat Dems at their own game. It did not hurt that there was favorable redistricting in New York. In addition, they had an actual message. Further, GOP election teams monitored the returns and contacted registered Republicans to make sure they voted. In California, Republicans learned from their 2018 debacle when ballot-harvesting was legalized. The ground game in these states was excellent. If California and New York can deliver the House for the GOP, our five states can do the same. To execute this strategy, each of the five state GOP leaders would put together a ballot strategy based on the state laws. Assume that 1,000 volunteers for each congressional district will be needed in the run-up to and on Election Day. These people need to be recruited and trained starting immediately. As a rough calculation, at $10 per ballot and 200 ballots per volunteer, we will need $2 million per C.D. At 43 total congressional districts, the total comes to $86 million. Obviously, certain districts do not need any help, and resources should be applied at the point of greatest impact. I think there is a certain real estate billionaire who wants to win again. He needs to put his money where his mouth is.
Strategy 3: Lawfare
Marc Elias did more to undermine election integrity (and the Constitution) than any person alive. He used COVID and other excuses to rewrite election laws in several states prior to the 2020 election. Then he did it again for 2022. Texas was able to overcome the interference in its voting laws. Again, that one really does not matter since it is solidly red. The GOP needs to challenge any changes from the legislated baseline in each of the five states. The lawyers need to use the same tactics as the Democrats: shop judges, and use any and all poorly written federal and state laws to twist them for their own use. This will be an expensive endeavor. It will require at least $5 million for each state. Peter Thiel, do you want your candidate to win next time? Pony up. It's worth it.
We have to win this battle now or lose this nation.
Image: cagdesign via Pixabay, Pixabay License.