Former President Donald Trump on Monday said he is warming to the idea of his campaign pushing for mail-in balloting and early voting because Republicans “have to play the game.”
The reason why his position has shifted, he said, is “because it’s so unfair, the whole process is,” referring to previous claims that vote-by-mail laws in some states have been exploited, namely during the 2020 contest.
“It’s a disgusting process. And what was happening is they'd go in there with an accumulation of votes, which in many places isn’t even legal, and they would accumulate votes at a level like nobody’s ever seen before,” Trump remarked.
The former president said that his team and Republicans “[are] going to have to play the game a little bit differently, because we’re starting off with a deficit, and tremendous bad things are happening.” If Republicans can nab victories in some battleground states by using early voting and vote-by-mail, they can change those laws, he argued.
“I know that your next question will probably be like, ‘What do you recommend?’” Trump stated. “And what I recommend is all paper ballots, one-day voting, voter ID, and no mail-in except for far away military and people that are really seriously ill. And we'll have an honest system again.”
Earlier this month, screenshots of fundraising emails sent out by Trump’s campaign appeared to confirm that he is now embracing vote-by-mail.
“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,“ one of the emails read, according to a screenshot. It added that their ”path forward“ will be 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.”
“You’re right,” Trump said in response when asked about Republicans not changing laws if they aren’t in power. “But you can shame the hell out of people and you can shame the Democrats. The Democrats know it’s corrupt and the Democrats should want to fix it but they don’t because they do have an advantage under that system. For the time, though, we have to live with the system that stinks so we have to fight it like they do, which is your question.”
What Comes NextOther Republicans have similarly signaled they, too, want to pursue early voting and absentee balloting strategies. Republican voters have long favored casting ballots during Election Day, according to a number of different pollsters, while Democrats were more likely to favor early voting regimes.
A survey released by Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll late last year showed that 52 percent of Democrat voters said they voted before Election Day. That’s compared with 45 percent of Republicans who did the same, according to The Hill.
Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist and former congressional candidate, noted to the website that Republicans can complain “as much as you want, but you gotta find a way to play the game, because the game’s not going to change right now.”
Also during Monday’s interview, Trump said he would push for a federal law on voter identification. Democrat lawmakers have signaled opposition to such measures, claiming that such rules are attempts to suppress voter turnout.
“We would have voter ID. How about even 88 percent of Democrats favor voter ID, but Democrat leadership doesn’t want to do it. There’s only one reason they don’t want to do voter ID: because they cheat,” he said.