In the lead up to America mid-term (mid-term elections), the Republican Party is in the grip of former President Donald Trump more than ever. His allegations of election fraud are an important part of the Republican strategy to take over the midterm elections. This could have serious consequences for the 2024 presidential election and American democracy in general.
“So what are we guys going to do? I only need 11,000 votes.” It’s January 2, 2021 and Trump is on the line with Brad Ravensberger for over an hour. He is Georgia’s Secretary of State – and therefore responsible for the electoral process in that state. Trump is asking his fellow party member to find “enough votes” (1,780) for the country to go to the incumbent president. Ravensberger refuses. Trump loses the election.
A strategy that looked like one last desperate step in 2020 may become a deciding factor during this year’s midterm. Because in the meantime the seed of doubt about the elections arose in the cunning strategy of the Republican Party to win the elections. It may just be that it will prove successful in the years to come.
Trump’s allegations of electoral fraud had exactly the desired effect, raising suspicion. About two-thirds of Republican voters now believe incumbent President Joe Biden unfairly came to power. “This means that they are doing everything they can so that it does not happen again,” says American expert Victor Flamm.
Therefore, Trump supporters are an indispensable link in the so-called precise strategy (Loosely translated: “the neighborhood strategy”) now used by Republicans. This strategy means that they want to increase their influence across the country at the local level as much as possible.
Republican “army” vote counters and lawyers
The strategy crystallized when Steve Bannon, a former Trump adviser, urged his supporters in an podcast to volunteer en masse at polling stations, preferably in Democratic-dominated neighborhoods. “We will win elections again, village after village, district after district. And they can’t stop us,” he said. After his call, the number of Republicans looking to become polling officials rose.
Vote counters are being instructed by Republicans before the midterms on how to sow as much doubt as possible about the validity of the votes. For example, by questioning voters’ identity documents or by questioning the operation of voting machines.
All of these reports are collected so that they can later be used as “evidence” of election fraud. In addition to volunteer voting, the party has found lawyers to provide this evidence in lawsuits Politico. “It’s really going to be an army,” said Michigan’s Republican Integrity Director.
Republicans in key positions
And that army is made up of more than just polling station volunteers and lawyers. Republicans are also trying to put their people in leadership positions at the polling stations. “In most cases, these are elected positions. That means people show up on the ballot. But sometimes there’s only one candidate, because it’s hard to find people for them anyway. So if a Republican offers a job, it’s likely That I get it too,” explains Vlam.
Finally, Republicans are trying to secure key positions within the states. An important job, for example, the job of the Secretary of State. This person in general (the exact function varies from state to state) is responsible for organizing the elections. “For example, they can create barriers that make it difficult for some people to vote,” Vlam says. He can also start an investigation into vote fraud or even conduct a recount.
In many states, Republican rejectionists are vying for political office. This happens, for example, in Arizona, where the party pays loyal Trump supporters to three key positions (Secretary of State, Governor, and Attorney General). If, moreover, in such a situation, widespread allegations of voter fraud come from polling stations run by Trump supporters, the influence of this group is widespread and relatively large.
While Trump tried to get additional votes from above in 2020, Republicans now want to cast doubt on the outcome from below.
Damage to the electoral system
or the precise strategy Will seriously affect the results is the question. “On an individual level, it wouldn’t have much of an impact. But now that it’s about so many different people in so many different places, there can really be an impact,” explains Vlam. This effect will be particularly important in countries where differences in outcomes are small.
So the strategy is worrisome, Flamm says. “I think this strategy can cause serious damage to the electoral system,” he says. “It can lead to an outcome that does not correspond to the will of the people. This is of course a big problem in democracy.”
“I also believe that this can damage confidence in democracy. Even if it does not affect the outcome, such tactics can cause Democrats to lose faith in the outcome. And if you don’t trust them anymore, the foundation of democracy is far away.”
What can Democrats do about it? Not much actually. Republican methods are legal. “The problem is: What is legal is not always ethical,” Vlam says. “You can stay within the bounds of the law and still do harmful things.”
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