by Ned Ryun
After sifting through the rubble from election night, and having done some soul searching on my basic knowledge of politics, I’ve come to a few conclusions: American politics has entered a new age. All that has gone before—polls, historical trends, message, issues, candidate quality, traditional get-out-the-vote efforts, candidate debates, voter persuasion—means almost nothing and is extremely insignificant.
The thing—the only thing—that truly matters now is a “ballots out, ballots in” machine.
With that perfected, you could elect a random name in a phone book, or a dead man, or a vegetable. Or both a dead man and a vegetable, as Pennsylvania recently demonstrated.
This epiphany is at once startling and obvious, particularly since we saw a prelude to this moment in the 2020 election cycle. So how was it missed by so many of us until after the midterms? Recent success leading to overconfidence is the answer. The Virginia results, in a blue state that went for Biden by 10 points in 2020, blunted my skepticism and made me over confident. Republicans won everything in Virginia in 2021: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and the House of Delegates.
Coming out of Virginia, the conclusions—the wrong conclusions—were that we could beat whatever Democrats did in 2020 with a great focus on mid- to low-propensity voters, drive them to the polls, and overcome the rigging and manipulation. Not only did the Virginia success lead to the wrong conclusions for 2022, I’m convinced that Virginia, and even New Jersey for that matter, rang the Left’s alarm bells in a manner sufficient enough to stir them to amp up their efforts. They realized after 2021 it was time to dial in the 2020 mail-in, ballot-harvesting machine and so they did; and in all the right places.
That’s what the 2022 elections were all about. I don’t want to hear anyone crying, “Well maybe it was the abortion issue.” Nope. “Maybe it was candidate quality.” Nope (please see my previous comments on a dead man and a vegetable). “Do people really want lawlessness and inflation?” Nope. “Maybe it was extreme America First candidates turning off moderate Republican and Independent voters.” Wrong again.
It had everything to do with numbers, but not polling numbers or inflation numbers. It was about who got the most ballots sent out and who collected the most. That’s it. That’s the 2022 midterms in a nutshell.
Crass? Crude, impersonal, rife with potential fraud and corruption? 100 percent. And, in many states, perfectly legal. If conservatives and Republicans want to win again, we had better adopt the only-ballots-matter approach at least in the short term or die. I have zero ethical problems with it, none whatsoever. This is now the modern-day political battlefield in America, the rules of the game. One can either howl at the moon about it or beat the Left at it.
So I’m going to figure out how to beat the Left at its own game in 2023 and 2024. It’s either that or we find ourselves on trains to reeducation camps in the near future. While that might sound like hyperbole, is it really when you can envision America as a one-party state? We barely squeaked out the House of Representatives in a highly advantageous midterm. Unless we figure out our ballot-out, ballot-in machine, I don’t see us winning the White House or much of anything else in 2024. And if that happens, expect the Left to come very hard for many of us.
The good news is we already have something of a model in Florida, sans the ballot harvesting and ballot drop boxes. Ask yourself how Republicans kept on winning for decades in a state that had a Democratic voter registration advantage until very recently. The answer is that Florida Republicans perfected the art of early voting, mail-in voting, and absentee ballot chasing before Election Day. While Republicans would never win the early voting and mail-in fight, they largely mitigated the damage and then crushed Democrats on Election Day. It’s what Brian Kemp did in Georgia this year, also, in beating Stacey Abrams.
So it’s time to hit this breach hard, folks. Time to get churches and gun shows to ballot harvest wherever it is legal. Time to send harvesters into rest homes where it is legal. Time to get Republican county clerks to send out mass absentee ballots, whether requested or not and then track them all. Time to create a dialed-in absentee ballot chase program where we are sending people door-to-door to collect them. We can talk about reforms after we gain political power, but we’d better invest significant sums into this now or the GOP will lose in 2024. We have seen our future. Embrace it. It can either be the republic’s death or its success.
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Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter @nedryun.
Photo “Ballot Drop Box” by Cindy Shebley. CC BY 2.0.