It's been called a "miracle," an "awakening," and "unthinkable." Voters in California's 25th Congressional District elected Mike Garcia in a landslide --- making it the first time in 22 years that the GOP has retaken a Democrat-held seat. The media are scratching their heads, asking what happened. Isn't the blue wave in the last election supposed to be expanding, especially in liberal states like California?
To understand what happened, you have to take a look at the shenanigans of the 2018 election. You had to hand it to California Democrats when it came to their mid-term election strategy. They had no need to commit voter fraud -- because they made it legal!
As former California Republican Party Chairman Shawn Steel shared with me on Washington Watch yesterday, "the Democrats did something in 2018 like the which we've never seen. They invented ballot harvesting... where they go door to door to Democrat, low-propensity voters to say, "I'm from the Democrat Party, I'm here to pick up your ballot.""
With the help of a liberal legislature and governor, Democrats systematically rewrote the rules to allow for ballot harvesting -- a practice that's illegal almost everywhere else in the country. Once the rules were changed, Democrats sprung into action -- and began delivering ballots to election offices by the truckload -- no questions asked.
Unbelievably, some counties made it even easier for the door-to-door harvesters by mailing absentee ballots to every adult -- whether they requested it or not! As if that weren't outrageous enough, California began accepting ballots up to a week after Election Day.
On election night in 2018, GOP congressional candidates like Young Kim had strong leads in the ballot counting -- but those leads vanished within days. The Associated Press was even confident enough to declare incumbent Republican Congressman Dave Valadao the winner because he had what was thought an insurmountable 4,000 vote lead. But the AP wasn't counting on the "late, late, late, late" ballots, and Valadao eventually lost. When the last House race in California was finally tallied and called 22 days after Election Day, half of the Republican congressional seats were lost to Democrats. After the crushing defeat, Republicans began to realize that liberals were playing by a new set of rules. Republicans had to learn to play by the new rules if they wanted to win.
And learn they did. "We've learned that churches can collect ballots. That is a huge message," Steel explained. "We have great Christians all over America...a significant number of evangelical Christians love America [but] they don't vote. They just have to be cajoled and pushed and prodded and reminded because that's not their number. They're not political animals." Evangelicals may not love politics, but they love their freedoms, and in California they are showing it. In fact, I've spoken to dozens of California pastors, and they are encouraging their members to bring their ballots to the church.
Democrats may complain Republicans are using their tactics to win -- but these are the rules they created for the election process. I consider this to be a political Jiu-Jitsu move because Republicans have taken what Democrats threw and turned it around and used it on them. We've been encouraging California churches to collect ballots. If the election rules are changed, then we need to operate by the rules they create. At least then it's a fair playing field.
Beyond changing election tactics, I'm encouraged to hear that there is something far deeper happening in California. Christians are engaging as never before. This should give us hope that if California can turn around, there is hope for the rest of the nation.