Republicans apparently learned very little from the 2020 election which turned voting and vote counting into a chaotic multi-week affair, all to the great advantage of Democrats.
After finding their party blown out of the water by early votes and mail-in ballots, both vastly expanded to accommodate the pandemic hysteria, elected GOP leaders seem to have thought to themselves, “Well, better luck next time!”
And here we are. In an election year that should have seen major gains for Republicans across the board, the party failed to take the Senate, could still (a week after Election Day) fail to secure the House, and is now on life support for the governorship in Arizona. There isn’t just one reason for the shortcomings but none are more important than the party’s neglect in adapting to our new jungle of an election process.
For the past two years, every Republican should have been either attempting to beat back the flood of “no excuse” mail-in ballots saturating swing states, or building up a party network that could adapt to it. There were some efforts to manage the mail-in voting problem in Arizona and Georgia but otherwise the party said its prayers and hoped for the best heading into the midterms.
We see how that strategy turned out. Democrats once again turned on the ignition and their army of activists began knocking on doors and dialing up their reliable voters to be sure that every single one of them knew the time to vote was now. Whether it was three weeks or a month before actual Election Day, it didn’t matter. Now. In response, Republicans donned a toothy smile and told their voters to keep Tuesday open. Wait in line— no matter how long it takes.
True, Republicans tend to be a lot more motivated than Democrats to vote in a non-presidential campaign year. They’re happy to drive to the booth and wait their turn. But the new reality is that elections are happening for weeks before the designated day for official in-person voting. That’s a lot of time for dedicated activists to call or visit the homes of their voters, no matter how unmotivated they are, and tell them that they don’t have to wait at all. They can cast their ballot right now. Want me to do it for you?!
Where is Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel on this? Where is National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Tom Emmer? Where is National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Rick Scott? They’re the ones responsible for leading on these things but they did nothing. Now they’re cheerfully making plans for their future leadership positions and fundraising operations.
If elected Republicans aren’t prepared to roll all of it back to the pre-pandemic way of doing things — I know, the media will call you racist, boo-hoo — then they’ll have to adapt and develop their own way of pushing their voters to cast ballots for weeks leading up to Election Day. That’s what Democrats are doing and it’s working.