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HAYDEN LUDWIG: The Left Has Billions To Register New Democrat Voters. When Will Conservatives Get Serious?

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Hayden Ludwig Contributor
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While Republicans have been focusing on sharpening their arguments to win the next election, “progressive” operatives have been busy honing their secret weapon—and the conservative movement is totally unprepared to counter it. If patriots don’t wake up to the new reality on the 2024 battlefield, we’ll lose more than the next election; we’ll lose the nation.

This machine, carefully crafted over the past 15 years, abuses America’s nonprofit sector for partisan gain. It weaponizes 501(c)(3) groups created to encourage charity—the same part of the tax code as your local church or the Salvation Army—to cynically boost Democrat voter turnout in swing states like Arizona, Virginia, and Georgia. 

Get-out-the-vote drives are part and parcel to politics; they should be run by overt partisan groups which are required to operate in the open and follow clear federal laws. Congress wisely took a lighter approach to regulating philanthropy and nonprofits to avoid quenching America’s centuries-old spirit of charitable giving. Encouraging genuine philanthropy is why contributions to 501(c)(3) groups are tax-deductible for donors.

But starting around 2008, leftists discovered they could weaponize these nonprofits to do the Democratic Party’s dirty work: Identifying, registering, and turning out millions of new voters—while getting the American taxpayer to subsidize this racket. (RELATED: HAYDEN LUDWIG: Meet The Left’s Newest Billionaire Megadonor. You Won’t Like What You See)

My organization, Restoration News, calculates that the Left’s fleet of voter registration groups reported $1.3 billion in revenues for 2021 alone. In contrast, the Right spends so little registering new Republicans that no one’s bothered adding it up—yet it may be as low as 1 percent of the Left’s vast wealth.

That massive disparity in firepower is the key reason why Democrats were able to flip once-red states like Georgia and Arizona in 2020. Not by persuading independents they have better ideas, but by microtargeting left-leaning demographics—unregistered minorities, single women, Millennials, college graduates—with sophisticated get-out-the-vote drives. 

Statistics suggest that an individual who checks one or more of these demographic boxes is overwhelmingly likely to vote for the Democrat… but only if he’s registered to vote. In this way, these groups attempt bypass the IRS’ clear prohibition against tax-exempt nonprofits running biased voter registration drives (wink, wink).

But the real reason they’ve gotten away with it for so long is because conservatives failed to notice.

Take the worst of the batch: the Washington, D.C.-based Voter Participation Center (VPC), which labels this bloc the “New American Majority.” Each year, VPC mails out millions of partially pre-filled-in voter registration and absentee ballot applications which look like government documents, fooling unwary voters. 

VPC flooded my state, Virginia, with 2 million such mailers in our 2021 governor’s race. 419,000 of them went to bright blue Fairfax County, which voted 70 percent for Joe Biden in 2020. Except VPC erroneously mixed its forms to voters in Fairfax City with those in neighboring Fairfax County, forcing the state to step in and clean up the group’s mess. VPC similarly botched its registration drive in Wisconsin’s April 2023 Supreme Court race.

Encouraging Americans to vote is one thing. But one of VPC’s tricks is to pressure individuals into voting by “vote-shaming”—comparing their turnout record to their neighbors to embarrass them into returning the group’s mailer.

That’s ugly enough, yet how many voters would shy away from filling out VPC’s mailers if they knew that it was heavily funded by the far-left Tides Foundation, Zuckerberg-funded Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and the obscure Enlight Foundation—itself bankrolled by Chinese tech billionaire Yongping Duan? (RELATED: TRENT ENGLAND And JASON SNEAD: Who Is Driving Ranked-Choice Voting Initiatives?)

Amazingly, for all this machine’s size and sophistication, Democrats are often neck-and-neck with Republicans in competitive races. It turns out that though the Left commands vastly more money than the Right, “progressives” must outspend conservatives to win virtually anything outside Manhattan. 

That’s good news, but conservatives shouldn’t rely on the woke Left’s self-implosion heading into 2024—it’s time for Republicans to build their own voter registration machine focused on Evangelicals, conservative Catholics, homeschoolers, gun owners, and every place patriots gather. With just a fraction of the Left’s wealth, conservatives could build an unbeatable coalition that puts America first. 

We have the will; will donors step up and help us save the nation?

Hayden Ludwig is director of research for Restoration of America, which publishes Restoration News

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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