Unlike President Trump and the Republican Party, Democrats have not risen to the standard of leadership demanded by the coronavirus crisis. Not only have they displayed stunning partisanship – they have repeatedly held up vital coronavirus aid for left-wing pet projects – but they have openly celebrated this crisis as an opportunity to push through their far-left vision for America.
Rep. Jim Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, called coronavirus a “tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.” Nancy Pelosi said, “what we are doing will be big…I see everything as an opportunity.” Joe Biden, for his part, described it as an “incredible opportunity…to fundamentally transform” the country. Democrats are eagerly trying to force through unpopular, extreme policies, even if that excuse is an unprecedented, deadly crisis.
Unfortunately, we are already seeing their inappropriate opportunism in practice. Democrats are now going state by state, filing malignant lawsuits to strip away important election safeguards, legalize the practice of ballot harvesting, and push for a universal mail-in ballot system. These goals, if achieved, would invalidate the integrity of our entire election process.
Their goals are also unpopular: new polling shows that nearly two-thirds of voters believe there is fraud in U.S. elections, and 57 percent of voters believe this fraud happens more often when casting ballots by mail. Voters overwhelmingly approve of the very election safeguards that Democrats are attempting to strip away, and oppose radical policies like legalized ballot harvesting.
Democrat lawsuits have been filed in states like Nevada, Pennsylvania, and California. These lawsuits seek to legalize ballot harvesting, and other shady practices. Democrats in some cases want to send ballots to all inactive voters and suspend requirements for verification procedures such as signature matching. Some Democrats are calling for universal mail-in ballots.
Here in Florida, Democrats are also suing to require the state to count mail-in-ballots that arrive after election day, diluting the mail-in process’s security at a time when we will rely on it more than ever. Democrats also want unregulated ballot harvesting in Florida, and are pushing for paid operatives to go door-to-door to collect and deliver ballots.
The RNC is now taking legal action in Florida, directly intervening in the Democrats’ efforts to weaken the Sunshine State’s election systems. The Republican Party will not allow the left to use a pandemic as a means by which to weaken and alter our democratic process.
To be clear, Republicans here in Florida support—and have always supported—absentee voting with appropriate safeguards. That is not what this is. This is part of the Democrats’ cynical attempt at sabotaging our voting system. The last thing Florida needs during a time of crisis is to weaken confidence in our elections, but that is exactly what would happen if Democrats get their way.
Keep in mind: this irresponsible strategy is coming from the party that just months ago historically mismanaged their own Iowa Caucus. That debacle was such a crisis of disorganization that it led to the resignation of the Iowa Democratic Party chairman and caused campaign officials to question the veracity of caucus results. Now that same party wants to reform and take control of our national process.
To defend our system, the Republican National Committee and Trump Campaign have doubled our legal budget to $20 million in order to meet these cynical lawsuits at every turn. Our efforts include a new website, ProtectTheVote.com, to serve as a one-stop-shop and informational hub on the various legal efforts we are involved in, with the overarching goal of protecting the integrity of our elections across the country.
Democrats are using coronavirus as a distraction to sneak by radical reforms as America focuses elsewhere.
They won’t get away with it.
Tommy Hicks, Jr. is co-chair of the Republican National Committee.