Updated: May 5
Like other members of the Take Back Our Republic Action team, I joined after running Republican political campaigns. I've been through the same steps as my colleagues - run a primary campaign, if you win, then start running against the Democrat, and so on. Before joining, though, I wanted to better understand why TBOR Action wanted to change the very system team members utilized to achieve political upsets across our Republic.
I came to learn more about our President, John Pudner, who, incidentally, has never lived in or worked in Washington DC - how he's lived in three states and was part of statewide Republican efforts to flip legislatures in those three states red. How he ran Bush’s national faith-based effort, helping to defeat Al Gore and achieve one of the largest political upsets in American history. How he's the only person in American history to defeat a Congressional Majority Leader.
I also had the opportunity to meet Byron Shehee, our National Grassroots Director, and how he not only achieved one of the largest upsets in Alabama's political history - taking out the Democratic State Senate Leader - but also how he, more recently, elected a Republican in Shreveport, Louisiana for the first time in twenty years.
Both used the traditional primary and general election format - so why change?
This became more clear as we, as a team, came to reflect on the results from both the 2022 midterms and following elections, most notably the Wisconsin Supreme Court. One thing remains abundantly clear - conservatives have to change their electoral strategy moving forward. While liberals and their allies continue to adapt to and adjust their approach, conservatives have, unfortunately, remained steadfast and have refused to adapt to the ever-changing electoral landscape. While this might also pertain to more subjective issues such as candidate quality, these are merely symptoms of the greater, objective problem.
How conservatives are currently approaching election operations is not working, plain and simple.
As we saw one close defeat after another, we've realized it's clearly time to look into every and any avenue possible to address these concerns as we prepare for the all-important 2024 election cycle. A number of ideas have thus far been proposed to address this, ranging from increasing GOTV efforts for mail-in/early ballots to emphasizing strong media buys over anything else.
While these would certainly help future candidates, neither of these adequately addressed the root issues conservatives continue to face - divisive, costly, and deeply personal primaries with wounded victors, depleted campaign resources, and local/state parties not only unable to unify behind the victor, but becoming increasingly split regardless, has become a major, reoccurring problem.
As President Lincoln eloquently put it, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."
One such way that we at TBOR Action believe this can be fixed is through the implementation of Final Five, a voting system that positions candidates for success in the general election by removing the need for expensive, dirty, and divisive primaries, allowing them to instead focus solely on the big issues at play, giving them the best chance to win in a general election.
This is able to occur thanks to Final Five's unique system, wherein voters are able to rank their candidate preference. This would result in increased voter turnout and enthusiasm, candidates that focus on the root issues of each campaign instead of mud-slinging, and a victor that receives a true majority of support across their constituency, not because of outside billionaires or the mega-party apparatus.
Not only is implementing Final Five a sound solution, but it’s also a viable one that’s proven to work. No other example better exemplifies this than Gov. Glenn Youngkin, whose state primary was held through a Final Five system for the first time. As a result of this, the candidates focused on the issues that mattered, did not need to dig up mud on one another, and, at the end of the day, would receive the united front of the entire party as the victor instead of a split-up faction. Because of this, Gov. Glenn Youngkin was able to achieve his historic upset victory and stun the insiders, nay-sayers, and cynics of the political world.
While we, of course, can’t change human nature when it comes to these things, we can, however, change the way we approach how elections are conducted. Final Five, put simply, ensures that the victor is one that receives a true majority of support. Alongside the aforementioned refocus on GOTV efforts towards new voting methods and increased media presence, this should give conservative candidates a real, fair, fighting chance moving forward.
After witnessing one close election cycle after another where the victor, often Democrat, does not receive a true majority of support, any and all methods to achieve this should be on the table, for if conservatives continue to refuse to innovate and adapt, we will continue to see the same kind of defeat.
In the plain, immortal words of then-presidential candidate Trump, “What the hell do you have to lose?”
For more on TBOR Action's efforts on Final Five, please click here.