The secret to Republican victory in 2024 is hiding in plain sight

Many Republicans will be shocked to learn that Election Day 2024 happens long before Nov. 5.

In fact, it hurts the Republican cause – and the elections of President Donald Trump and House and Senate Republicans – to focus narrowly on Nov. 5.

The first election dates are Sept. 16 in Pennsylvania and then Sept. 20 in Minnesota and South Dakota. The next election days are Sept. 23 in Mississippi, and Sept. 24 in Missouri. There are 43 other states and the District of Columbia that follow with their early voting dates. Only Alabama and New Hampshire do not have early voting.

Here’s an example of why this matters: In 2022, the Republican Senate campaign in Pennsylvania was focused on Election Day in November. The campaign did not begin advertising until long after early voting had started. As a result, 40% of Pennsylvanians had already cast their ballots before the first major Republican ad had aired. 

This pattern was not unique to that race.

Republicans have a history of failing to get the vote out early. This has a compounding negative effect. 

First, it means Republican turnout on Election Day must be dramatically higher to make up for the number of Democratic votes already in the ballot box. Second, and probably more important, it means that Republican candidates have not been able to focus on the low propensity voters – those who are least likely to turn out.

The Democrats have focused on early voting in large part because they want to be able to identify everyone who has not yet turned out. That way, they can focus on phone calls, direct mail, text messages, and even visits to remind those voters that they should vote. They keep it going until the people vote, and their name comes off the list.

Republicans have a history of failing to get the vote out early. 

This long campaign approach has proven for the last decade that it is more likely to win close elections than the focus on the federally designated official Election Day.

Shifting Republicans from their focus on Election Day – and their reluctance to vote early – is a major job. Getting it done in one year will require a really focused, determined, and enthusiastic effort. 

The fact is that, despite all the talk about ‘Bank the Vote,’ it had no discernible impact on the special election for New York’s 3rd District. Republicans lost the early voting decisively and simply could not make it up on Election Day. It wasn’t due to any conspiracy. There was a big snowstorm on Election Day which reduced turnout. The Democrats already had a head start on ballots, so they were fine.

Turning around the Republican attitude, getting people to vote early, and creating a new commitment to win the vote throughout the campaign will require new focus and determination.

Every time we focus on Election Day, we undermine and weaken our chances of winning the early vote.


As my friend and former U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg Randy Evans suggested in a recent paper, Republicans should start by focusing on ‘winning day one of voting.’

As Evans wrote: ‘This means identifying the first day of voting of every kind in each State and D.C.; educate GOP voters of that day with an explanation of how to vote that day; set as an objective to win the voting on that day with commitments by Republican voters to show up and win beginning on day one.’

Evans then suggested that Republicans should then continue to build momentum by focusing on ‘winning week one of voting.’ 

As he put it, ‘To generate momentum this requires full follow-up to all who commit to vote on Day One who fail to do so that we can win Week One. It also involves pushing hard to create a sustainable push throughout early and absentee voting beyond Day One and Week One.’

He then suggested systematically following up with voters in each state up to their official election days. By Evans’ theory, the cumulative effect of this focus on winning early voting should culminate in winning all the pre-election day activity and, of course, election day voting (which should be a simple cleanup day).

The Republican National Committee should establish a set of 51 Election Day countdown clocks that include early voting-to-election day periods for each state and the District of Columbia. 

President Trump and all the Republican candidates should begin emphasizing early voting.

The party and campaign systems should focus on winning the first day of early voting, because it will give them the organization and momentum to continue executing on turnout.

Conservative radio and TV hosts and key activists should be encouraged to quit focusing on Election Day and instead focus on winning the early vote in every state. Every time we focus on Election Day, we undermine and weaken our chances of winning the early vote.

A serious win from day one approach will significantly increase the likelihood of Republican victories in 2024. And it is the right response to the campaign world the Democrats have built.

The time to change is now.

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