Absentee values, or Why the GOP should call for a new election in NC-9

NCGOP Chair Dallas Woodhouse (photo c/o The Daily Haymaker)

The Republican Party’s lackluster response to obvious and deliberate fraud in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District election has been accurately labeled by mainstream media as more than slightly ironic and downright hypocritical in light of the near-zealous approach generally taken toward the subject by their Standard Bearer in Chief. And I’m not here to pile on.*

But it seems to me there’s an opportunity to make lemonade out of this pile of shit. Unfortunately, NCGOP Chair Dallas Woodhouse — seriously, that’s his name — is doubling down on a criminal candidate and engaging in empty platitudes while the story consumes more and more coverage time. So at the risk of offending my friends on the left, I’m here to offer Mr. Woodhouse some unsolicited advice, free of charge:

Shut up and call for a new election.

Yeah, it might feel a little icky at first, but it won’t be any worse than looking yourself in the mirror every night and knowing you represent all that is wrong with our politics. In the end, you’ll thank me for saving you weeks and months of posturing while an Elections Board investigation uncovers every last seedy detail of how you and your cronies enabled the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of Americans.

And by the way, we’re talking about a special election on a Tuesday in January or February 2019 —prime time for good ol’ reliable Republican voters, who turn out like clockwork, while Democrats need offers of free coffee and donuts just to get out of bed. You’re almost guaranteed a win, with or without the whole fraud dynamic.

Of course, you’d be stuck with a nightmare in Mark Harris, by all accounts the perpetrator of massive campaign violations in both the primary — when he ousted a trusted Republican incumbent — and general election. That’s why you should be combing through the state party bylaws as I write this post in search of a loophole that will allow you to pick a new nominee.

Worried about the appearance of a swampy backroom deal? Trust me, given the alternative of losing yet another seat to that San Francisco Demon Liberal, Nancy Pelosi, your voters will forgive you. Take it from a guy who’s run a lot of losing campaigns: Winning heals all wounds. (Fwiw, the Charlotte Observer Editorial Board suggests the House call for a “redo” of the primary, so there may be a “bloodless” option for you.)

And if we’ve learned anything over the past three-plus years of Trump-sanity, it’s that the best response to any controversy in a 24-second news cycle is to claim you had it under control all along and that your opponents are standing in the way of common sense solutions.

After all, everyone will forget about the whole thing in a couple days when Ruth Bader Ginsburg gets heartburn off a spiked kombucha.

This photo, on the other hand…

*AUTHOR’S NOTE: I had the honor and privilege of working with the Obama for America 2008 campaign during the Democratic primary in Oregon, a state with 100% vote-by-mail elections, where it’s legal for campaign staff to collect ballots from voters. While it was part of my Plouffe-approved script, I never had the nerve to ask someone to entrust me with their ballot. One voter offered theirs to me, and instead I helped them find the nearest drop box (white mailboxes in just about every public space, from parks to plazas). I didn’t think it was right to insert myself into the process.

We should all take personal responsibility for voting, and we should encourage voting as a core social value if we ever hope to get the leadership we deserve.

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