There has been a lot of talk about the fairness of elections the last few voting cycles, but one thing that cannot be disputed is what the Republican Party is – or, rather, is not – doing to increase turnout. The Republican National Committee (RNC) and Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel have had a host of excuses as for why the GOP did not perform better in 2018, 2020, and 2022, but some prominent conservative voices believe the problem may actually lie within the organization.
On Monday’s show, Megyn was joined by Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA and host of The Charlie Kirk Show, to discuss the state of the RNC and why the GOP needs to start focusing on tactics like ballot chasing in order to have success in 2024 and beyond.
What’s Wrong with the RNC
Kirk did not mince words when talking about what he perceives to be the shortcomings of the RNC – especially when compared to the Democratic National Committee (DNC). “I want to win, and I hate losing,” he said. “I’ve been very critical of RNC leadership… [because] I think Ronna McDaniel is a very sweet person, I think she should go run for Congress… but she’s a loser.”
As Kirk explained, the underwhelming track record would not be accepted anywhere other than politics. “[McDaniel] has overseen losing election after losing election, and there’s always an excuse,” he noted. “I think that in business or in anything, after six years of failure, you gotta make a change. You have to say, ‘You’re done. We’re going to find somebody new. Let’s get some fresh thinking.’”
So, what’s different about the DNC? “The Democrats have gone all in, and they did this post-COVID,” Kirk shared. “They were very smart… They were very strategic.” He referenced the strategies Politico reporter Molly Ball laid out in her 2021 piece, “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election,” including building out the party’s infrastructure through non-profit, activist, and legal groups. In Kirk’s view, the DNC has taken the “sexiness out of politics” (think: candidate selection, messaging, popularity) in favor of what he calls “the boring stuff of politics.” That encompasses “the clipboard and tennis shoes-type of work, the voter registration, the ballot chasing, and the machinery,” he added.
Kirk points to Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) winning in Pennsylvania as an example of the DNC’s success. “They are able to get somebody who should not be a U.S senator, John Fetterman, to beat a very qualified candidate, an incredibly smart man in Mehmet Oz. How is that possible,” he asked. “Some people say it’s because of abortion. That might be partially true, but it’s mostly because the Democrats have built an incredibly well-funded and bulletproof-type machine that registers their low-prop voters, and gets people to vote early, and gets their mail-in ballots in.”
While the Republican Party is headquartered in Washington, DC, and – in Kirk’s words – “consultant heavy,” the Democrats “run their political infrastructure through a network of political entrepreneurs that get three million, four million, five million dollars in micro-communities like the black community in Atlanta or in the white working class community in Wisconsin.” He believes the RNC needs to move away from the “centralized” system towards a “more decentralized, entrepreneurial model” that is committed to “grassroots work.”
What’s the Alternative
Through the Turning Point USA Action – the political arm of Turning Point USA – Kirk is hoping to pave the way for a paradigm shift where the GOP successfully employs the same tactics as the Democrats in key battleground states. Chief among them? Ballot chasing in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin.
As Kirk explained, focusing the majority of resources on getting out the vote on Election Day is an “outdated model” in this era of mail-in ballots and early voting. “Democrats say, ‘We have 30 days to go collect ballots, to go get our low propensity voters to turn in their ballots, and we are going to maximize our turnout over a 30-day window,’” he said. “Republicans and conservatives are going to just try to bum rush the polls on one day. I think that’s a failed strategy on our part.”
Ballot chasing is a legal practice in states like Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin that allows party workers to go door to door and encourage people to turn in their ballot. “You are ‘chasing’ the ballot until completion, until it has gone in the mailbox or into the Secretary of State’s office or the local recorder’s office,” Kirk explained. “You’re not allowed to touch the ballot – that is illegal in those states… but this is the type of clipboard and tennis shoes, gritty hustle work that can get 15,000, 20,000, 30,000, 40,000 low-propensity voters that otherwise are not voting at all.”
Kirk believes that can be the difference in an election and is necessary for long-term success. “I think we live in a center-right country. I really do,” he concluded. “The reason that does not always manifest politically is we’re not playing the game and the Democrats currently are.”
You can check out the full interview with Kirk by tuning in to episode 555 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.