Herein we refer to an article in The Federalist, an outstanding source for conservative commentary. They used the same picture of the comely Kari Lake, so far cheated out of her bid for governor of Arizona, to adorn an article calling for Republicans to emphasize early vote by mail and ballot harvesting. We find it ironic given that much of the cheating in Arizona revolved around things like hundreds of thousands of mail in votes without a chain of custody and tens of thousands of votes counted without signature verification (a notoriously unreliable process that is not an issue with in-person voting.)* Side note: Kari Lake is a Quad Cities native and educated in Iowa. She began her media career at Davenport’s KWQC the heritage of which is WOC where one Ronald Reagan got his start – see excerpt below our article.** Like Reagan, Lake is a poster child for strong clear messaging which we see as key to victory sans Democrat cheating mechanisms.
There have been a spate of articles in conservative media about how Republicans have ~~ missed the boat . . . need to get on the band wagon . . . need to get their act together and do what Democrats do — promote vote by mail (and ballot harvesting where legal). Gee wiz statistics are dropped about lost election margins meant to imply that Republicans would have won these particular races only by more and earlier vote by mail and harvesting regimes.
Such claims as regards Republicans are overwrought at best (in our humble but not inexperienced judgement) and we would counter that if changes are to be made a winning margin would be larger had the party and the candidates engaged in better and more aggressive messaging earlier on. As regards the clamor “we must do what Democrats do” we say: OK, how about aggressive law-fare pre-election.
Some of the critics of current RNC Chairman Ronna McDaniel use her supposed lack of emphasis on vote by mail as an indictment of her performance as RNC Chair. Never mind that Trump, the titular head of the Party conveyed a message of not being a fan of vote by mail because of the fraud so easy to perpetrate and perpetuate. Nevertheless McDaniels now seems to be all for it, promising to do more. McDaniels is lack luster at best and needs to take her leave but it should be understood that state parties have resources and can emphasize vote by mail if they wish. We do not think that is the solution but don’t blame McDaniel for not doing more.
McDaniel’s most active opponent Harmeet Dhillon has made ~~we must do vote by mail programs like Democrats~~ practically a rallying cry in her effort to replace McDaniels. It is a siren call of churning expense and an appeal for a bad government, inherently fraud enabling process.
An article fairly presenting the case for more early vote-by-mail efforts appeared in The Federalist, written by Scott Presser. We commend it to you to set up our comments. Republicans, It’s Time To Get Our Act Together On Early And Mail-In Voting.
I listened to Presler when he appeared at a Bettendorf campaign event for former congressman Bobby Schilling in which Presler’s presentation concentrated on his program of earned media and messaging by example – seeking good press for Republicans by doing clean-up work in Democrat run cities, embarrassing the political leadership in those cities and beyond. I thought it was an effective effort. However his analysis of recent electoral losses and branching out to remedy it I find off the mark. He should stick to messaging innovations. Read it first for context to my view set forth below which is a revised /embellished version of a comment I posted to the Presler piece appearing in The Federalist.
The vote early by mail push will not overcome weak messaging or grow the Republican Party
The GOP failed to tip more people over the edge in key states — because they were too slow and did not engage the enemy by inoculating the voting populous months before voting started. And that is a messaging problem. For example the GOP was weak on right to life messaging and let Democrats beat up on them when POWERFUL responses were and are available. They were afraid to respond and Democrats smelled fear and blood in Blue state environs. For the most part the Republican apparat sucked their thumb (but that was not true of many of the conservative winners). Abortion was not near the factor Democrats hoped it would be but it managed to panic a number of Republicans and cause Trump to falsely claim right to life groups were stupid in the way they handled the matter. More on that in another post.
Beyond that the Republican Party apparatus failed to call out Democrats aggressively on a plethora of issues early on, failing to justifiably enhance unease and motivate the mushy middle with the facts and logical implications of Democrat policies.
Republicans failed to defend the culture adequately which had they been more aggressive would have make inroads into the Democrats’ vote base at least by de-motivating them to vote and even motivating them to vote Republican albeit in the vaunted but arguable privacy of voting by mail. Disregard for now that voting by mail is the most insecure inherently fraud-prone voting mechanism that hardly any civilized democracy has adopted other than the U.S.
Early voting by mail weeks before the election is the process the Democrats need to get their votes out because so many are disengaged and vote by mail is by design loose and fraud prone. Things they consider features.
For the GOP there is arguably a danger if not already an over reliance on the GOTV mantra as it is not cheap in practice and because competition for resources to expand the pie of republican sentiment. Of course some amount GOTV effort is part and parcel with winning but it is a mistake to think of it as the be all and end all. It is fine to make people aware of voting options but every dollar spent on a narrow function (people do know how to vote) which in practice as laid out by the election mechanics gurus is devoid of motivation and quickly wears out, becoming irritating and dismissible. That is because it TYPICALLY involves repeated hectoring of even solid dependable Republicans because gold stars are handed out to paid functionaries for turning out people who would vote anyway. The utility is deeply questionable.
Pushing early vote by mail with harvesting creates an aura favorable to Dems and will never be gotten rid as the apparat comes to see it as their bread and butter. That predictable human nature feature belies the argument often presented in favor of adopting Democrat tactics to win on the theory that once in power Republicans will then end such bad-government practices.
Hectoring people to vote early is key to nothing, it is inefficiently trading what would be timely votes for early votes to earn some paid apparatchiks some gold stars that so marginally increases total votes if at all but at the expense of creating a larger juggernaut of enthusiasm to vote to save the country from Democrats.
Seriously, who thinks the shortfall in Pennsylvania was people not knowing how or when to vote vs the de-motivational OZ and his messaging early on? His tally may have been brought over with expensive herculean effort but I would look at the messaging and candidate first which had they been up to the task might have overwhelmed the Democrats.
Performance by Republican elected officials and strong electoral messaging, targeted as necessary, policies defended not mealy-mouthed, — done early — in order to try to own the airwaves in the spring and fall will move more votes the Republican way than wasteful so called “banking” of votes – a concept the defense of which is ridiculous and a lie in practice.
The reason it is a lie is that even if the contact list management was good, and it is not and cannot be made timely, NO household is free from the expensive hectoring as long as one in the household chooses to vote the most secure way, in person. And it won’t stop even then as issue groups get into the act as well (thankfully they are the prime motivators for Republicans on the message front even though the platform is conservative, often aligning with them, go figure). It is simply a lie to say if you vote early you won’t be contacted again.
These vote early efforts have already reached the point of diminishing returns even for Democrats which is why they have to use fraud to enhance them. But good messaging and candidates not evasive not compromised fifteen ways by the Chamber of Commerce does not wear out and makes a bigger Republican “pie” which will vote and will beat the Dems as long as there is anti-fraud diligence (including law-fare as mentioned).
How have they reached diminishing returns? Because less than 1% of calls are answered and most of those answered get hangups or are incomplete. Direct mail effectiveness depends on how good it is and how much is devoted to motivational messaging as opposed to attention span robbing factors inherent in vote-by-mail hectoring instructions . . . not to mention the cost of multiple mailings devoted to comparatively complicated mail balloting instructions, bulk absentee ballot requests, etc.
Again, it is fine to mention options but such messaging is inherently not motivational and inevitably becomes functionary wastefulness as the consultants and venders selling services get into the act.
Door knocking — is good for a variety of reasons — but when excessively devoted to mechanisms of voting is very time-consuming and consequently very expensive (real world — it is not done that much by volunteers when it comes to GOTV efforts). Even the most favorable window for door-knocking (supper-time) might on a good day get one third answered, perhaps the key person not home and is often given short shrift at the door as well. In my experience too many of the early vote hectoring communications and communicators come off as bum’s rush creeps importuning solid Republicans to vote early.
Here are our recommendations for a more successful win column for Republicans:
- Inspiring candidates with assertive messaging, and regardless of them, strong Party messaging
- Messaging started in earnest much earlier to inoculate. Such efforts serve to as best we can hope “inspire” Democrats to vote Republican.
- Aggressive anti-fraud programs and law-fare
- Information on where to vote and simple instructions on options with an emphasis on voting in person even if at early voting satellite centers as available, de-emphasizing early insecure voting by mail for the anti-good -government process it is
- Instill in people that “voting before debates are concluded” is not all that civic minded or smart.
- If vote-by-mail is ever going to be as secure as in person voting, absentee ballots should be notarized – appearing in person with your vote and a voter ID check is the equivalent of that — why should vote -by mail people be given a pass? The disabled can be visited by judges as was done in the past.
- Signature verification of absentee voters is a largely a joke which is why the point above is important
- Absentee votes should all be hand counted as a mater of course – machine feeding of documents handled multiple times is error prone (witness recent Scott County elections)
- There are more possibilities and we invite such commentary.
*Kari Lake files devastating lawsuit detailing massive failures on election day in Maricopa County
Kari Lake early life and education:
Lake was born in 1969, in Rock Island, Illinois, . . . She is the youngest of nine children.
Lake grew up in Iowa. She graduated from North Scott Senior High School in Eldridge, Iowa, and then received a Bachelor of Arts in communications and journalism from the University of Iowa.
In May 1991, Lake began working at KWQC-TV in Davenport, Iowa, as an intern while attending the University of Iowa. She later became production assistant before joining WHBF-TV in Rock Island, Illinois, to be a daily reporter and weekend weathercaster in 1992. In August 1994, Lake was hired by KPNX in Phoenix, Arizona, to be the weekend weather anchor. She later became evening anchor at KPNX before relocating to work for WNYT in Albany, New York, in the summer of 1998, when she replaced Chris Kapostasy.