“Early voting lets us know how many votes we need, and ballot harvesting lets us control how many votes we’ll get”
By Edward Ring
The following conversation never happened. It is for the reader to decide to what extent, however, this conversation reflects the political reality in California today.
Candidate: It’s a surprise that you contacted me. I never thought I would run for office, I don’t know how to run a campaign, and I’m not well informed on any of the things I might have to manage if I get elected.
Government Union Operative: That doesn’t matter. We have profiled you and determined you will be a viable candidate and develop into a politician we can count on.
Candidate: But I don’t even know how to begin this process!
Government Union Operative: Don’t worry about that, either. Here are all the forms you need, already filled out. We’ll just put in your name and personal information, and then you’ll sign them. We will submit them. We will follow up.
Candidate: Where will I get my money to campaign? Where will I find a campaign manager?
Government Union Operative: We do everything for you. We’ve found a treasurer who will process all of your donations and expenditures, and all you have to do is approve them. We have a campaign consultant who will run your campaign for you. And we will run a separate independent expenditure campaign which allows us to avoid campaign contribution limits, and you will not have to do anything.
Candidate: What about my opponent?
Government Union Operative: Don’t worry. We will outspend your opponent by whatever amount necessary to ensure victory. They have to do everything themselves, knowing they’re going up against us. They have to raise money from small contributors. They have to constantly hold petty fundraisers. They haven’t got access to our government union contributions, and the corporations won’t help them because they’re all afraid of us. Unless your opponent is wealthy and willing to burn through a good chunk of their own personal fortune, they won’t have nearly enough money to compete with you.
Candidate: What will I campaign about? What will I say?
Government Union Operative: Don’t worry! We will tell you what to say. We will write your campaign literature. We will build your campaign website. We will handle every detail. We have all the money we will ever need, so we hire the best political consultants. We’ve learned exactly what voters respond to, and we will attack your opponent as an extremist.
Candidate: But shouldn’t I have ideas of my own? Shouldn’t I stand for anything?
Government Union Operative: No. Leave it all to us. Just be available for photos and to sign documents and checks.
Candidate: What if it’s a close election? Won’t all this be for nothing?
Government Union Operative: It probably won’t be close, but if it is, we know exactly what to do. If early voting trends show your opponent’s party turning out in stronger than anticipated numbers, we will invest more money in ballot harvesting during the weeks before election day. Our ballot harvesters know which household residents have registered with our party. Early voting lets us know how many votes we need, and ballot harvesting lets us control how many votes we’ll get. And it’s legal. You can’t lose.
Candidate: Can’t my opponent’s party do the same thing?
Government Union Operative: Theoretically, yes. But it costs a lot of money to engage in science-based ballot harvesting. And you see, haha, they haven’t got any money. What’s really funny, though, is that we’ve convinced Californians that we don’t have very much money, that we’re the underdogs, and that our opponents are spending us into the ground because they take contributions from “corporations and billionaires.” And guess what, we’re the ones who get almost all the contributions from corporations and billionaires, and they don’t.
Candidate: What if you can’t find enough households with voters registered to your party who haven’t voted yet, and early voting trends still show that I could be behind?
Government Union Operative: Relax. We have a lot of tools in our toolbox. Even though the last day to register to vote as a traditional voter is October 24, we can assist people with same-day registration as a “conditional voter” right up until and through Election Day, November 8. We know who to register. For example, our teachers’ union has ensured that the vast majority of young voters are thoroughly conditioned to vote for our party and to despise your opponent’s party. We have a profile for every eligible voter in the state. We know where every person under age 30 is living, and if they’re not registered, we can get them a same-day registration, then we’ll harvest their ballot.
Candidate: Isn’t it kind of weird that California permits early voting to begin a full month before the November 8 election and allows counting and certification to last all the way up until December 16? Doesn’t it allow you to manipulate the election outcome during this extended voting period?
Government Union Operative: So what? It’s legal. We control the politicians, which means we write the laws, and we made all of this legal.
Candidate: What if my opponent questions the fairness of same-day registration and ballot harvesting to ensure victory?
Government Union Operative: You’re a quick learner, but you still don’t get it. We have all the winning messages. If your opponent questions the ethics of ballot harvesting, or the accuracy of the registered voter database from which ballots are mailed to everyone or the injustice of taxpayer-funded government unions recruiting candidates and paying for their campaigns, we will just call them an “election denier.”
Candidate: Oh, yes! I’ve heard that phrase a lot lately. Those people are fascists!
Government Union Operative: Right you are. Welcome to the team. Now just sign here.