Where Things Stand: Trump Joins Rest Of GOP In Dropping His Beef With Mail-In Voting

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SALEM, NH - JANUARY 28: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the New Hampshire Republican State Committee's Annual Meeting on January 28, 2023 in Salem, New Hampshire. In his first campaign events since annou... SALEM, NH - JANUARY 28: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the New Hampshire Republican State Committee's Annual Meeting on January 28, 2023 in Salem, New Hampshire. In his first campaign events since announcing his plans to run for president for a third time, the former President will also be speaking today in South Carolina, both early-voting states. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Shortly after the midterm elections, when Republicans barely seized a majority in the House and lost the Senate, GOPers started making noises about reversing course on the party’s years-long battle with mail-in voting. The about-face seemed specifically tied to Herschel Walker’s Senate defeat in Georgia, where just a year prior Republicans passed a handful of voting restrictions post-2020, one of which was focused on making it harder to vote by mail.

Everyone from failed 2022 candidates like Blake Masters to far-right provocateurs like Charlie Kirk started calling on Republican leadership to change its tune on voting-by-mail, a war on the franchise that Donald Trump only escalated during his years as president. Ahead of the 2020 election, when states began expanding vote-by-mail to make it easier to vote during the pandemic, Trump’s attacks on the practice only grew.

Trump’s criticism fueled Republican voters’ disillusionment with early voting and mail-in voting. Research has shown that that disillusionment contributed to the party’s midterm losses and a few of the very people who helped to spread those lies ahead of the 2022 elections, like Sean Hannity, have essentially admitted that when you spread lies about the integrity of the system, people tend to not participate in that system.

And so, apparently, someone has finally gotten though to Trump. As the Wall Street Journal noted in its report, the shift in Trump’s tone on mail-in-voting comes not long after both Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis publicly stated that the party needs to stop focusing so heavily on in-person voting on Election Day. While Haley is the only one to officially announce, both will likely challenge him in the primaries.

You can read the WSJ full report here, but here’s the gist:

The 2024 presidential candidate remains critical of various forms of early voting, advisers say, but his campaign is nonetheless mounting an effort to pursue such votes after Democrats excelled at doing so in recent elections. His team is studying state laws governing absentee and mail-in voting as well as ballot collection, called “ballot harvesting” by critics, in which third parties gather and turn in votes, people familiar with the effort said. …

Mr. Trump highlighted the move in a fundraising email this week, saying, “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.”

The email added, “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.”

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