The left is setting aside constitutional norms in a ruthless power grab according to a recently retired Congressman.
Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R.-Utah, who served on and chaired the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and is now a Fox News contributor, made the case that the left is using a variety of underhanded strategies to fundamentally change American elections and tilt them in their favor.
Chaffetz lays out his argument in a new book, “Power Grab: The Liberal Scheme to Undermine Trump, the GOP, and Our Republic.” He argues that the left is using underhanded strategies to fundamentally alter the nature of U.S. elections, making them less stable and subject to rigging.
Chaffetz explained his argument in a talk at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday. Here are four of the tactics he highlighted on the left.
1. Trolling at Town Halls
One of the left’s more effective tactics, Chaffetz said, is using activists and media allies to go after conservative politicians at town hall events.
That’s what happened to Chaffetz during his last term in Congress.
He said Democrats mobilized a group called Indivisible Utah, which “had a specific manual to take over a town hall meeting.'”
Their strategy was to create the impression that Chaffetz was being attacked by his own constituents on account of President Donald Trump, even though he represented a predominantly conservative district.
“[T]hey wanted to create this illusion that a conservative Republican in a safe district—who just happened to be chairman of the Oversight Committee with the newly minted president of the United States, Donald Trump—that his voters were mad,” Chaffetz said.
“It was used as a tool and a prop. They paid people to come in. There were people from all kinds of states there,” Chaffetz said. “But they wanted to create this media illusion that it was an organic Utah phenomenon in a conservative Republican’s district.”
2. Weaponizing Nonprofits for the Democratic Party
In addition, the left has been effective at manipulating loopholes to weaponize nonprofit groups, Chaffetz said.
Nonprofit groups often hire for-profit groups to do fundraising using what’s called a 990 form, and one of the most prominent fundraisers for liberal groups is Grassroots Campaigns Inc.
“They will put on t-shirts—ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood—and then they’ll start knocking on doors,” Chaffetz said.
“Planned Parenthood will say ‘Hey, we’re raising money, 50 bucks, you know, for Planned Parenthood. You with us or against us?”
The person then might reply: “Oh, I love Planned Parenthood. Yeah I’ll give you $100.’ What does that tell you about that voter? … You think they are going to vote for a Democrat or do you think they are going to vote for the Republican?”
This process allows Grassroots Campaigns Inc. to collect data on voters that can help predict voting behavior. The problem, Chaffetz said, is that people working for these groups can then carry the collected voter data when they go to work for campaigns or a political party, like the Democratic National Committee, “bypassing all of the campaign finance rules.”
3. Nationalize and Skew Elections
Another big initiative of the left, according to Chaffetz, is to change the rules of elections to stack the deck in favor of Democrats and progressives.
This strategy can be seen in the legislative priorities of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Chaffetz said:
“If you look at the priorities that they have put forward in Congress and you look through any poll that’s out there about what are the most important issues, you’re going to hear about health care, you are going to hear about the economy, you’re going to hear about immigration.”
But this isn’t what the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives prioritized.
“Why is it that Nancy Pelosi has H.R. 1, House Resolution 1 … what is her first bill? Does it have anything to do [with] Pew’s top 20 or top 50 issues? No, it doesn’t,” Chaffetz said.
“H.R. 1 is about how to reconfigure elections. [Pelosi] wants to reconstitute how we do elections in this country because it’s their calculus. This is my theory that I lay out in the book, that they have to reconfigure how we do voting in this country for them to win long-term.”
H.R. 1, which the House passed but was never brought up for a vote in the Senate, would have made a number of changes to America’s election system. Among them are mandatory voter registration, a mandate that states allow felons to vote, and a ban on states setting their own rules about voting by mail.
These are just a few of the bill’s many proposals. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the bill a “naked attempt to change the rules of American politics to benefit one party.”
4. Ballot Harvesting
A fourth strategy is the practice of “ballot harvesting,” which H.R. 1 did not address, Chaffetz said.
Ballot harvesting is when an individual doesn’t have to be present to cast a vote. Instead, their vote can be cast by someone else.
“Democrats, in legislation, have supported the idea. They want to make this [the] law everywhere you go, that you do not actually have to be present to vote,” Chaffetz said.
“Vote harvesting allows someone [to] go around … collecting ballots from all of you. [They] can go knock on your door and say, ‘I know that you didn’t get to the poll, I know that you didn’t fill out your ballot, I know it’s inconvenient for you, but if you just give me your ballot, you know, fill it out, I’ll turn it in for you.”
A lot can go wrong with this process, Chaffetz said. He noted that even in Utah, thousands of votes for Democrats are alleged to have rolled in “after the deadline.”
Ballot harvesting made a huge impact in recent California elections, where the tactic threw a huge number of House Republican seats to Democrats. Thousands of new and unexpected voters showed up to certain districts and flipped seats.
“I don’t know how you win an election in California when Democrats play by different rules than Republicans and engage in this type of vote harvesting,” Chaffetz said.