The two leading figures in the Republican Party – former President Donald Trump and Florida’s principled limited government constitutional conservative Republican Governor Ron DeSantis – are already trading blows before DeSantis is even formally in the race for the Republican nomination for President.
And there’s a list of other plausible candidates, including former Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Tim Scott, in or considering getting in, prompting conservative activists across the country to look at the field and ask themselves, who has, or can, earn my support?
We know former President Trump as the towering and persecuted founder of the Make America Great Again movement and we know Governor DeSantis as the most successful implementor of MAGA movement policies and goals, and we know former Vice President Pence as the GOP’s premier representative and spokesman for traditional values, with the others looking for their own niches based mostly on style or personality.
But none of them have yet to articulate, let alone show any action on, the most important qualification the Republican nominee must have to become President.
And that’s not fealty to the agenda that launched Donald Trump to the White House in 2016, or cleaning up the Deep State corruption that tore the country apart during his tenure as President.
What we, and millions of other conservative activists and grassroots leaders want to see from the 2024 Republican primary candidates is an understanding of how the election process has been corrupted in key states, especially Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Nevada, and a plan for dealing with the new reality that it is ballot turn-in, not voter turn-out on Election Day, that counts.
Because if Republicans do what they usually do, which is to wake up to new electoral realities the week or day before an election, no Republican can get to 270 Electoral College votes, no matter what disasters Biden and the Democrats perpetrate between now and Tuesday, November 5, 2024.
And frankly, we haven’t seen the kind of grassroots organizing and aggressive legal action necessary to fight and win that battle from Trump, DeSantis, or anyone else.
Trump and DeSantis have been taking swings at each other over the success or failure of their endorsed candidates, but the reality is the reason their endorsees lost, Trump’s most notably in the Pennsylvania and Georgia Senate races and DeSantis’s most recently in the Jacksonville, Florida mayor’s race, is that both of them blew in, sprinkled a little fairy dust on their endorsed candidate, and then did little to nothing by way of technological or legal support to get their candidates over the hump on Election Day.
So, while Trump has spent something like $15 million bashing DeSantis and DeSantis has been flying around the country telling donors and activists Trump can’t win, the Democrats and their Far Left allies have been testing out new election technology and winning court cases to institutionalize the insecure and possibly corrupt practices that gave Joe Biden his margin of victory in 2020 and turned the GOP’s 2022 “Red Wave” into a mere splash.
Changes during the pandemic completely remade how elections are run in states that Republicans must win to win the White House: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada and Arizona are almost beyond the reach of the GOP, not because there aren’t potential Republican majorities in those states, but because Democrats have mastered the new terrain of universal mail-in ballots, ballot harvesting, government-driven voter turnout campaigns in Democrat precincts and early voting ballot collection.
The national Republican organizations and committees seem stuck in the 1980s with Election Day Get-Out-The-Vote campaigns, and many conservatives aren’t helping by discouraging GOP voters from voting early and chasing the unproven claims of hacked voting machines, when the more obvious problem is the thousands of untracked universal mail-in ballots available to Democrat ballot harvesters.
The results of this failure to address the new election law and voting process terrain was on full display in Wisconsin’s recent judicial election.
The news media and establishment Republican consultants have all blamed Judge Dan Kelly’s double-digit loss on voter rejection of the right-to-life and limits on abortion post the Dobbs decision.
But that’s a very shallow analysis – abortion is what “activated the activists,” but what decided the election was the Democrat ballot turn-in effort that used paid and volunteer technology to identify, advocate to and collect every possible Democrat ballot, particularly in Democrat-oriented urban areas, liberal college towns and among Democrat-friendly and tech savvy younger voters. This was especially important in college towns where Democrats used Wisconsin’s same day voter registration system to their great advantage.
As Natalia Mittelstadt reported for our friend John Solomon’s Just the News, in a proof-of-concept effort in advance of the 2024 election, Wisconsin "Community mobilizers" could make as much as $270 by creating a list of 75 people and making sustained efforts to turn out 60 of them to vote in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election.
Wisconsin Takes Action, a project of Organizing Empowerment PAC, held live Zoom training sessions during the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, instructing potential "community mobilizers" on how to reach out to people to encourage them to vote and get paid hundreds of dollars for their outreach efforts.
Attendees could earn $30 by downloading an app from the Empower Project, a left-wing organization that helps "progressive organizations and nonprofits ... activate, build, and expand their activist bases and organizational reach on a meaningful scale," according to its website reported Ms. Mittelstadt.
Read Ms. Mittelstadt's entire article through this link and note that where Democrats used this system Republicans mostly lost – in Wisconsin, in Nevada and in the Georgia runoff.
Imagine what the results might be if pro-life conservatives had a similar effort based in pro-life churches and parents’ rights groups that used similar technology to get conservative parents to turn-in their ballots instead of relying on blast email and 1980s-style phone banks?
Trump and DeSantis, and all the other Republican candidates, have two jobs: Brand the Democrats and forge campaigns that get out of the 1980s and effectively operate in the post-2016 technology-driven ballot turn-in environment. Right now, neither the candidates nor the Republican Party committees are addressing the legal and technological challenges standing between the GOP nominee and 270 Electoral College votes, and if they don’t start now, it won’t matter who wins the Republican nomination in 2024.
George Rasley is editor of Richard Viguerie's ConservativeHQ.com. A veteran of over 300 political campaigns, including every Republican presidential campaign from 1976 to 2004, he served as a staff member or advance representative for some of America’s most recognized conservative political figures, including Ronald Reagan, Sarah Palin and Jack Kemp. A member of American MENSA, he served on the House and Senate staff and on the staff of Vice President Dan Quayle. Rasley is a graduate of Hanover College and studied international affairs at Oxford University's Worcester College.
2024 Republican primary race
Get Out the Vote
Wisconsin Supreme Court election