Rewriting the Republican election playbook

As Rod Serling might have said on “Twilight Zone”: “Imagine if you will, a game of football between two rival teams, teams that have faced off in contests for as long as anyone can remember and who have always fought honorably. At the end of the contest, win or lose,  there was genuine camaraderie between the opposing teams. But now the rules of the game have been perverted by one team. As your team tries to defend their quarterback with traditional blocking techniques, the opposition draws firearms, shoots the blockers, and then riddles the quarterback with bullets.”

This does not sound like a contest I would want to watch, much less participate in, especially if the other side had the guns. It doesn’t sound like the kind of game that either CBS or Fox would want to televise, although Amazon might take a chance with them to bolster ratings. Certainly, any post-game gatherings would cease to occur, as one team would be busy cleaning their weapons while what remained of the other team gathered at the morgue to identify the remains of their teammates.

If this sounds a bit far-fetched, be aware that it is the equivalent of the current election process in the United States. Republicans are content to vote the old-fashioned way, in which voters showed up at polling places on election day, proffered their photo ID, were granted a ballot, and made their selections. They were quite willing to allow the occasional absentee ballot for the sick unable to travel to the polling place. They were also willing to allow the same absentee ballots to be used by those voters who were unavoidably away from their home area on election day, provided these absentee voters provided proof of identity and their inability to vote in person.

The opposing Democrats are not so willing to play by the time-honored rules. They have mastered techniques of ballot-harvesting, allowing voters who might not have shown up to vote their preferences, past voters who are deceased, and even voters who never existed to vote for the candidates of their choice, provided there was a (D) following the name on the ballot.

Democrats have always been practitioners of this black art. We likely would never have seen President John F. Kennedy save the nefarious efforts of Chicago mayor Richard Daley, incentivized by JFK’s father Joseph P. Kennedy’s unlimited budget and family ambition. The election of Kennedy, at least, gave us a president who, while not perfect, at least gave us a sense of national pride in the perceived strength of his leadership. But the Dems in 2020 outkicked their coverage (reverting to football terminology) in using every dubious, unethical, and illegal tactic in the election playbook. This time, their efforts gave us no leader who would proclaim, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” They gave us a tottering, dementia-addled old fool who asks, “Where are all the chocolate chips in this ice cream?” while sniffing the hair of the young lady busily loading a cone.

Former president Donald Trump, the most apparent victim of the unethical and likely illegal tactics he has always opposed, spoke to Fox News host Sean Hannity on Monday night and admitted that Republicans would have to change tactics “if we ever want to win another election.” Third-party ballot harvesting, previously eschewed by Republicans, will have to become part of the Republican playbook to regain a fair chance in future elections. It is sad it has come to this, but as we have seen, good blocking technique can do only so much for your quarterback. When the defense comes at you with guns, it’s time to draw your own firearms.

Bill Hansmann is a dentist and dental educator with over fifty years in the profession. He continues to teach and write political blogs and semi-mediocre novels while living with his wife and cats in Florida.

Image: Elvert Barnes

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