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Trump Says GOP Has To Beat “Democrats At Their Own Game,” Use Ballot Harvesting Where It Is Legal

Trump Says GOP Has To Beat “Democrats At Their Own Game,” Use Ballot Harvesting Where It Is Legal

Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s former president, has urged his fellow GOP members to use ballot harvesting as a way to sway future elections in their favor. The controversial tactic of collecting and submitting mail-in ballots has been a source of heated debate over election integrity and fairness since Democrats widely popularized it during the 2020 elections. Now, Trump is calling on Republicans to fight back by embracing the practice themselves in states where it is legal.

In May, Trump published an op-ed in the Washington Times, where he outlined his plan to beat Democrats at their own game. He acknowledged that ballot harvesting was “ripe for fraud” and “inherently corrupt.” However, he argued, it was also the reality of American politics in 2021. He pointed out that Republicans had lost the 2020 elections, in part because they were outmatched by Democrats’ ability to harvest votes. “If you can’t beat them, join them,” Trump wrote.

Ballot harvesting, also known as ballot collection, refers to the practice of gathering and submitting mail-in ballots on behalf of other voters. It is a legal and often effective way to increase voter turnout, particularly in communities that face barriers to voting, such as the elderly, disabled, or low-income individuals. Most states allow some form of ballot collection, although the rules and regulations vary widely.

Critics argue that ballot harvesting is a form of voter fraud that opens the door to abuse and manipulation. They fear that unscrupulous individuals or organizations could collect and submit multiple ballots from the same person or pressure voters to vote a certain way. In some cases, they say, ballot collectors could even destroy or alter ballots that do not align with their preferred candidate.

Supporters of ballot harvesting, on the other hand, argue that it is a necessary and legitimate practice that helps to expand access to the ballot box. They say that ballot collectors are subject to strict rules and oversight to ensure that they do not engage in fraudulent behavior. They also believe that the benefits of increased voter turnout and engagement outweigh the risks of abuse.

Trump’s call to use ballot harvesting may reflect his personal strategy of seeking revenge against Democrats following his loss to Joe Biden in 2020. Throughout his presidency, he repeatedly claimed that the election was rigged against him and encouraged his supporters to doubt the legitimacy of the results. He also sued several states, alleging fraud and irregularities in the mail-in voting process, but these lawsuits were largely dismissed by the courts.

In his op-ed, Trump argued that Republicans needed to fight back against what he saw as a systematic effort by Democrats to use mail-in voting and ballot harvesting to tilt the playing field in their favor. He urged GOP members to invest in grassroots efforts to collect and submit mail-in ballots, particularly in swing states where every vote counts. He also suggested that Republicans should offer incentives, such as “prizes or raffles,” to encourage voters to participate in the process.

Some Republicans have already embraced Trump’s call for ballot harvesting. In June, Republican lawmakers in Texas passed a bill that would ban ballot collection except for certain individuals, such as family members or caregivers. The bill would also make it a crime to pay someone to collect ballots. However, the legislation has not yet been signed into law, and Democrats are fighting back with a lawsuit.

In Arizona, where Republicans are currently conducting an audit of the 2020 election results, a group called the Voter Integrity Project has been collecting and submitting mail-in ballots in several elections. The group claims to have gathered thousands of ballots and has been praised by some Republicans for its efforts. However, critics have accused the group of engaging in illegal and unethical behavior.

Trump’s call for ballot harvesting has sparked a debate within the GOP over the ethics and effectiveness of the practice. While some Republicans, particularly those who are aligned with Trump’s brand of populist conservatism, see this as a legitimate way to level the playing field with Democrats, others oppose it as a dangerous and unethical practice that could backfire.

Critics of Trump’s strategy argue that Republicans should focus on improving their messaging and policies rather than resorting to questionable tactics that could damage the party’s reputation and erode public trust in the electoral process. They warn that embracing ballot harvesting could also lead to a race to the bottom, where both parties engage in increasingly unethical behavior to gain an edge.

Supporters, however, argue that the time for playing by the rules is over. They believe that Democrats have already shown that they are willing to use any means necessary to win elections, and that Republicans need to fight back with equal strength and determination. They point out that many of the concerns raised by critics of ballot harvesting, such as fraud and manipulation, are often overblown and can be addressed with proper safeguards and oversight.

In the end, the debate over ballot harvesting is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. It reflects the deeper divisions and polarization within American politics, where both parties are increasingly willing to use any means necessary to win, even if it means sacrificing the integrity of the electoral process. As the stakes continue to rise, the question is whether American democracy can survive such a battle. Only time will tell.

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