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Is Trump About to Make a Huge Mistake for 2024?

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

If there’s anything that recent disappointments at the ballot box can be attributed to, it’s the fact that Democrats have embraced early voting and ballot harvesting while Republicans have not.

While Democrats argue that early voting is convenient and reduces wait times on Election Day, Republicans argue that these practices increase the likelihood of fraud and make it impossible for voters to get their vote back if they change their mind before Election Day. In 2022, for example, by Election Day, Dr. Mehmet Oz was leading John Fetterman in the polls, but too many voters had already cast their ballots by that point, and Fetterman’s victory was effectively locked.

In the wake of the 2022 elections, the GOP signaled that it was willing to embrace these practices in order to level the playing field and engage in ballot harvesting where it is legal. Once this is clear, relying on outdated strategies will doom the GOP. Donald Trump appeared to understand this, too. Earlier this year, he signaled an openness to early voting and ballot harvesting.

“The radical Democrats have used ballot harvesting to cancel out YOUR vote and walk away with elections that they NEVER should have won. But I’m doing something HUGE to fight back,” a Trump campaign email from February announced. “Our path forward is to MASTER the Democrats’ own game of harvesting ballots in every state we can. But that also means we need to start laying the foundation for victory RIGHT NOW.”

As much as many on the right hate early voting and ballot harvesting, if the GOP wants to win elections, it has to play by the same rules as the Democrats in order to be in a position to end these practices.

Flashback: The GOP Must Embrace Early Voting in Order to Destroy It

While Trump originally signaled support for early voting and ballot harvesting months ago, he has now appeared to flip-flop on the issue. In a recent interview with Sebastian Gorka on the Salem News Channel, Trump said, “I even tell people, you don’t have to help me at all. I have all the votes we need. We have so many votes when we have a landslide.”

Do you trust that Trump has the 2024 election in the bag? I sure don’t. National general election polls haven’t consistently shown him with a lead over Biden, and when he does have a lead, it’s within the margin of error. Battleground state polls aren’t any more convincing that Trump is headed toward a landslide victory, either. As has been previously reported, polls show that Ron DeSantis is performing better than Trump against Biden in key battleground states.

Trump claiming he has the votes for victory is a meaningless boast that will doom the GOP in 2024. Candidates should always campaign like they’re five points behind, never letting their guard down for a second. Trump’s boastful attitude could very well undermine the GOP’s ballot-harvesting efforts and ensure defeat in 2024.

Let’s not forget that the last time a Republican presidential candidate won the national popular vote was in 2004, and it was by an uncomfortably narrow margin in an election against the lackluster John Kerry. I’ve long maintained that George W. Bush’s popularity at the time should have resulted in a more decisive victory, not one that hinged on the results of just one state. In many respects, the Electoral College outcome in 2016 was a stroke of luck. Democrats didn’t take 2020 for granted, and Republicans shouldn’t take 2024 for granted either. This is not the time to be overconfident.

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