GOP Feels the Heat as Democrats, Dark Money Groups Aggressively Advance Vote-by-Mail Efforts
Republicans are feeling the heat as progressive leaders and liberal dark money groups launch a coordinated, full-throttled initiative demanding universal vote-by-mail in the upcoming general election.
By Hannah Bleau
April 28, 2020
Progressive groups are quickly coming out of the woodwork in hopes of using the unprecedented circumstances created by the Chinese coronavirus pandemic to achieve a treasured Democrat Party policy goal of fundamentally changing the way the U.S. conducts elections.
“Multimillion dollar programs urging mail voting in November are already coming together,” Politico reported, highlighting the efforts of organizations with ties to Soros-backed, dark money groups.
Politico reported, noting the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) commitment to the issue:
Organizing Together, a field-focused group founded by Obama alumni, is partnering with Priorities USA, the Democratic super PAC blessed by Joe Biden’s campaign, to air digital ads in battleground states educating voters on how to cast ballots by mail.
“We will bring our democracy into the 21st century by expanding early voting and vote-by-mail, implementing universal automatic voter registration and same day voter registration,” the DNC outlines as part of its party platform.
Dark money groups have been working overtime to politicize the crisis, which has left millions of Americans out of work, struggling to make ends meet, and, in some cases, inspiring them to take to the streets in protest of what they say are draconian policies destroying their livelihoods.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) essentially showed her party’s hand after attempting to pack an early coronavirus relief package with a host of liberal pet projects, including ballot harvesting and universal vote-by-mail. Democrats, including all four far-left members of the “Squad,” now say the integrity of future elections rests on this universal vote-by-mail effort, pressing the movement under the guise of protecting American lives. Pelosi recently confirmed that a “chunk of money” in the next relief measure will “enable us to protect the integrity of our elections, as well as enable the American people to vote-by-mail.” However, the effort to politicize the virus — and the work of dark money groups — has been underway for months.
In March, two Democrat-aligned Super PACs announced their intention of spending millions on negative ads criticizing President Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
As Breitbart News reported:
“The campaign from Pacronym — a political action committee affiliated with the nonprofit group Acronym — represents the first major pivot to coronavirus-related advertising fewer than 250 days from the election,” the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
Acronym owns the technology firm Shadow, Inc., which was responsible for developing the infamous app used in the chaotic Iowa caucuses. Notably, the firm’s founder and CEO, Tara McGowan, “worked for Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign and previously served as the digital director for NextGen America, a progressive organization founded by presidential candidate Tom Steyer,” as RealClearPolitics noted.
Acronym is funded by the “liberal dark money group” New Venture Fund, which is “part of a larger group called Arabella Advisors, which provides philanthropic guidance and manages four nonprofits,” according to the nonpartisan ethics watchdog group Americans for Public Trust. Those also include the Sixteen Thirty Fund, Windward Fund, and Hopewell Fund.
The financial web, however, goes far beyond those connections. The political group American Bridge, which was founded by David Brock — a close ally of the Clintons and founder of Media Matters for America — is also involved in the overarching efforts to spread misinformation on President Trump’s response to the coronavirus and further politicize the crisis.
Trump’s reelection campaign this month slammed an attack ad by the Soros-backed Priorities USA Super PAC, which criticized Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic “by using deceptively edited quotes from briefings and the news media,” as Breitbart News detailed.
That effort — the focused criticism of the president — has now been coupled with what has, until now, remained the left’s dormant scheme to push universal vote-by-mail, which Republicans warn drastically increases the chances of voter fraud and compromises the integrity of elections.
Marc Elias, Hillary Clinton’s former campaign attorney, has remained on the forefront of the left’s war and has renewed his calls for major changes to U.S. elections, including the inclusion of ballot harvesting, curbside voting, and vote-by-mail.
True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht told Breitbart News last month that Elias is, in many ways, feeding the narrative to “hundreds of other groups that then take that and continue to push it.”
Concern is rising among Republicans, as they realize Democrats could capitalize on the fear and uncertainty of the virus, causing the public to soften to the idea of universal vote-by-mail for November’s election and beyond. Some say Republicans need to counter the effort by aggressively pushing alternatives, like expanded absentee voting, which still poses the risk of fraud.
But while conservative campaigns and groups like Americans for Prosperity are planning to pump more spending into their own mail programs to drive turnout, there is growing concern among Republicans that this month’s Wisconsin elections — which saw Democrats capture a state Supreme Court seat after pivoting aggressively to encourage supporters to vote by mail — demonstrate a lack of Republican readiness to wage a campaign dominated by absentee ballots.
One Republican consulting firm is already developing models that forecast voters’ interest in (or skepticism of) voting by mail, while another GOP firm sent a memo to campaigns urging them that “now is the time to push early and absentee voting.”
“Wisconsin was the stress test on this issue, and it’s clear that Republicans need to get serious,” said one Wisconsin Republican, granted anonymity to discuss the issue candidly. This Republican acknowledged the party was outmatched by Democrats’ efforts on chasing down ballots. “We have to overcome our instinctive hesitation and become more effective at it.”
Other Republicans, like former National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Davis, contend that that the idea of mail-in voting overwhelmingly benefitting Democrats will remain a reality until Republicans “figure out how to deal with it.”
However, many in the GOP stress that the issue is rooted in the risk of fraud itself. Data from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the Election Administration and Voting Surveys lends credence to those bubbling concerns, revealing that an estimated 16.4 million ballots mailed to registered voters went missing between the 2016 and 2018 elections.
Eric Eggers, research director of the Government Accountability Institute (GAI), warned that the Democrat effort for widespread mail-in voting, if successful, could result in 24 million ballots delivered to ineligible voters.
“If you have national mail-in ballots where the supervisor of elections are mailing ballots to everybody on the voter rolls and we know per Pew [Research] Center statistics that we’ve got at least 24 million flawed or inaccurate voter registrations in this country,” Eggers said during an April appearance on SiriusXM Patriot’s Breitbart News Tonight.
“That’s 24 million ballots that are potentially going to people with the wrong address or to people that are dead or to people that have double registered,” he added.
As Democrat groups continue in their efforts to politicize the coronavirus pandemic in hopes of achieving their policy goals, high-profile Democrats are increasingly vocalizing their intentions, with top party progressives — former President Barack Obama, former first Lady Michelle Obama, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), members of the “Squad,” failed Trump challenger Hillary Clinton, and a slew of left-wing celebrities — coming out in favor of universal vote-by-mail.
Perhaps none displayed the Democrat Party’s intentions more so than former presidential candidate Warren, who outlined her vision for U.S. elections in a lengthy Medium post this month. In it, she detailed her demand for a ban on cleaning voter rolls and call for officials to allow eligible individuals to vote “with a sworn statement of identity instead of a voter ID,” as well as the traditional insistence for universal mail-in voting.
All the while, Pelosi is leading the House effort to make universal mail-in voting a reality, telling MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell last week that “every person registered to vote should receive a ballot” and adding that we should have “same-day registration for those who have not registered to vote.”
“Opening the process, this is what our country is about, the vote, the sacred right to vote,” she said, noting the Democrat Party’s role in removing “obstacles for participation,” like basic voter ID laws, which the majority of Americans support, despite the continued Democrat narrative that such are “racist” and “discriminatory.”
“This is the lifeblood of our democracy, the vote. So here we are trying to protect the lives of American people, the livelihoods of the American people, and also the life of our democracy,” Pelosi said last week.
“That is what we are going to do in the next bill as well,” she promised.