Former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, believes Republicans were “outorganized and outsmarted” during the 2022 midterm elections, and he is imploring the party to improve its ability to compete in states with early voting before the next presidential election.
“Early voting is a whole different dynamic,” Manafort told the “Just the News, No Noise” television show on Tuesday night. “You can’t have a static presentation of a message in an early voting process. You have to conform your message and your implementation to that. We didn’t. We have got to learn how to play the early voting game.”
Manafort gave a candid assessment of why Democrats will keep the Senate and the GOP will only have a slim House majority in 2023 after the red wave many conservatives expected failed to translate into the expected range of election wins.
“I think we just were outorganized and outsmarted,” the longtime Republican strategist said. “The bottom line is when you look at the results of the election, I’m told that we ran an election based on an election model of four years ago and the Democrats were running one based on today.”
Manafort, who has advised presidents dating back to Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, said the GOP has to change its mindset and strategize better to get more votes in the next election because Democrats are already ahead of the game.
“We have to focus on voting,” Manafort stated. “We have to organize ourselves according to what the schedule of voting is, and then we have to work backwards. If they have early voting that starts on the 15th of October, we have to be trying to get our debates before that. We have to have our own organized message.”
If Republicans don’t get on board with early voting, it will cost the GOP elections in the future, he warned.
“The point is early debates in states that have early voting at a minimum has to happen,” he explained, “and we have to have our strategy figured out before those voters go to the polls so that we’ve communicated to them in the ways that we need to.”
While some states may be more complicated than others in terms of voting laws, the Republicans can no longer rely on Election Day voter turnout to win, he said.
“If we want to win, we have to do what’s necessary to win,” Manafort said. “And we can’t just say it’s easy to just turn out the votes on Election Day. We still saw what happened. Now, mind you, there was a perfect storm. We had a lot more candidates up for reelection this year than the Democrats. That switches in two years.
“But the reality is we have to modernize our campaign approach. If we don’t do it, there’ll be another reason next time why we we didn’t succeed where we have the overwhelming numbers in our favor.”