Is it time for a new game plan?
My friends and neighbors are all asking me “What happened to the Washington Red Wave?” As conservatives across the state of Washington review the extremely disappointing state election results, many are discouraged. Republican leaders knew it would be tough, but they thought we had a chance to pick up some ground, especially in the State Legislature.
We won’t have the final results until Nov. 29 when the elections are certified, but things are looking very bleak for Republicans statewide. So what’s going on with elections in Washington state?
For a national perspective, Matt Margolis over at PJ Media pointed out “There are many theories about why the elections played out as they have. Many believe it was a lack of quality candidates, or the issue of abortion, or even Donald Trump(bit.ly/3hHRVSl).” Another possible reason might include low conservative turnout.
In Washington state, our results are not due to the lack of quality candidates. We had the strongest slate of Republican candidates up and down the ticket that I’ve seen in a long time. The Legislative Republican Caucus did a great job of recruiting strong candidates who fit their districts, and the candidates hit the campaign trail hard. And the Democrat candidates in this election are largely radical, progressive candidates who have voted to raise taxes, defund the police, and release criminals into our communities.
While Donald Trump did endorse a few Washington State candidates, he didn’t visit the state during the election cycle, and focused on other states where we had better opportunities nationally. I don’t believe he had much impact here.
Some political analysts are blaming low voter turnout. I reviewed the turnout numbers on the Secretary of State website on Sunday, four days after the election. It’s true voter turnout state wide is about 10% lower than the turnout four days after the election in the 2018 midterm (bit.ly/3tqc15Q).
However, there have been problems with the state’s signature verification database, so it’s possible we may see turnout improve as counties continue to process ballots this week. Since this turnout reduction appears to be impacting ALL counties, and not just conservative ones, I don’t think that the lower turnout specifically is to blame for Republican losses.
Before I tackle the issue of abortion, let’s consider Tucker Carlson’s opinion from Nov. 9 (bit.ly/3g45ISs). His first point was that the election process matters. In Washington, our laws governing elections include a number of problems that make it easy to manipulate outcomes and which reduce transparency.
Motor-voter laws, same-day voter registration, mandatory vote-by-mail, ballot harvesting and laws that make it difficult to keep voter databases up to date are all legal. These corrupt processes are most likely being used to manipulate elections. That doesn’t even consider possible problems with the tabulation equipment. Maybe that’s not even needed given the other easy AND legal ways to influence election results.
What’s most troubling about Washington’s election processes is that we will need a Legislature willing to fix these laws. But with Democrats in control of our Legislature, that’s not going to happen. How do conservative and independent Washington voters dig out of this hole? How do we activate enough voters to overcome the legal manipulation of elections? That’s going to continue to be a major challenge.
The other problem Tucker mentioned, which is even more insidious than our legal challenges, is the problem of who controls the media.
Another factor that makes a big difference to the outcome is “...access to channels of communication...you can say whatever you want, but if no one hears you, you're not really speaking and that's the case for Republicans so often…”
He continues, “The rest of the American media amounts to a gigantic filter designed to distort what Republicans are saying. It's a campaign apparatus and only the Democrats have it… It's about winning elections and Democrats can win because they have that. If Republicans want to win elections, too, they might spend some money to fix that, to achieve parity.”
In Washington, we saw the impact of media control in the Tiffany Smiley race regarding the issue of abortion. Abortion is already protected in Washington state law and the Supreme Court decision had no bearing on the rights of Washington State women to have abortions. As a Senator, Smiley would have had very little impact on that issue. However, the media and Murray ginned up abortion hysteria against a great candidate, and used this false narrative to motivate the progressive base.
Washington state’s Republicans cannot fix problems that they don’t acknowledge. There’s plenty of Republicans who claim that we don’t have an election integrity problem in our state. They take the easy route of blaming the voters or the candidates. Rather than continuing to live in denial, it’s time to face the real problems of corrupt voting processes and media manipulation of our message and come up with fresh ideas and a new game plan.
Nancy Churchill is the state committeewoman for the Ferry County Republican Party. She may be reached at DangerousRhetoric@pm.me. The opinions expressed in Dangerous Rhetoric are her own.
(1) This Explains the Lack of a Red Wave… PJ Media, Matt Margolis, 2022-11-10
(2) Republicans Underperform Midterms, Tucker Carlson opinion, 2022-11-09
(3) SOS.WA.GOV, Elections research (2018 comparison)