What started as a good night for Democrats in the House on Election night 2018, turned into a very, very good result after paper ballots were counted days and sometimes weeks later.

In Orange County, often referred to as Reagan Country, it was a wipeout (see Map above).

The conventional wisdom is that Trump lost California Reagan Republicans in Orange County.

This November 18 CNN analysis is typical of the conclusions the mainstream media and Never-Trump Republicans drew:

It was where “good Republicans go to die,” Ronald Reagan often quipped.

Now, with the final ballots counted, Democrats have achieved a total takeover of congressional seats in the one-time Republican bastion of Orange County….

“We are seeing a realignment with college-educated voters and Orange County is ground zero for this phenomenon,” said Sean Clegg, a California-based Democratic strategist who advises US Sen. Kamala Harris and California Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom. “This election was a clear referendum on Trump and Trumpism and people want the reality show to end, particularly suburban women.”
The Democrats’ success in flipping all four seats from red to blue is a stunning development for a county that served as the North Star for Reagan-style conservatism.

“The cataclysmic losses in Orange County are the manifestation of changing demographics that have been in motion for a couple decades. Trump has accelerated the political consequences the GOP,” said Rob Stutzman, a California-based Republican strategist, noting that the lesser-known GOP candidate for governor, John Cox, is still winning the county by a slender margin, according to the latest results posted by the Orange County Registrar of Voters.

“That’s good evidence that the congressional losses are a Trump effect,” said Stutzman. “The GOP can compete to win those seats back in two years and new district maps in 2022 will possibly yield a clear GOP seat. The ‘Orange Curtain’ has fallen but Republicans will still compete in Orange County for the next few election cycles. They’ll be more likely to succeed without Trump on the ballot.”

While simple, that narrative may be wrong in Orange County and throughout California, where Republicans fared okay on Election Night, but lost numerous seats as paper ballots were counted.

Paul Ryan expressed his surprise, and the term “ballot harvesting” that most people likely had not heard before. The Daily Caller reports on Ryan’s reaction:

“California just defies logic to me,” said Ryan at a Washington Post live event. “We were only down 26 seats the night of the election, and three weeks later, we lost basically every California contested race. This election system they have — I can’t begin to understand what ‘ballot harvesting’ is.”

Bre Payton at The Federalist explained what ballot harvesting is, and how it is one of many features that leaves California open to voter fraud:

2. ‘Ballot Harvesting’ allows political operatives to drop off other people’s ballots.

new state law allows third parties to pick up ballots and drop them off at polling locations on behalf of that person, a practice known as “ballot harvesting.”

In video footage that surfaced last month, a woman who identifies herself to a California resident as Lulu is seen knocking on someone’s door and offering to deliver their absentee ballot, but “only to, like, people who are supporting the Democratic Party.”

Patton pointed to an e-mail to supporters from Orange County GOP chair Fred Whitaker attributing the party’s losses in longtime Republican districts to ballot harvesting as the San Fransisco Chronicle reported:

‘The number of election day vote-by-mail drop-offs was unprecedented — over 250,000. This is a direct result of ballot harvesting,’ Whitaker wrote. ‘That directly caused the switch from being ahead on election night to losing two weeks later. … We have to develop a response to this new law that allows us to remain competitive while recognizing the realities of Republican voter attitudes towards handing over their ballot.’

Others also have pointed out the problem. Joel Pollak at Breitbart writes:

The practice explains several mysteries about the 2018 election, such as: why mail-in ballots caused massive shifts toward Democrats in races Republicans thought they won on Election Night; why Republicans won the turnout battle in the primary, but lost it in the general election; and why Democrats with party backing defeated fellow Democrats without it — even when the latter had more money.

“Ballot harvesting” by Democratic Party operatives — a surprise tactic they likely saved for the general election — appears to have made the difference. The San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday that Democrats ran a disciplined, door-to-door campaign offering to deliver voters’ ballots to the polls:

…. “We beat Republicans on the ground, fair and square,” said Katie Merrill, a Democratic consultant deeply involved in November campaigns. “Many of the field plans included (ballot harvesting) as an option to deliver voters or their ballots” to the polls.

Republicans, in contrast, simply focused on traditional turnout operations — and lost badly….

But as Democrats point out, there is no reason that Republicans cannot use the same methods in California. So Republicans should take them up on it. There is no alternative.

This should not have come as a surprise. The video above and the Democrat effort to ballot harvest was exposed at Redstate on October 16, CA Dem Party Sinking To New Lows To ‘Harvest’ Absentee Ballots

Since the Kavanaugh debacle (and I mean debacle for the left, and not for the right), many have said that the Democrats will say or do anything to make their hoped-for Blue Wave in November a reality. Election fraud isn’t a new tool in their toolbox, but recent changes in California’s vote-by-mail law regarding “ballot harvesting” make the state an attractive target for Democrats to easily influence (or steal) a few seats.

In the state’s hotly contested 25th Congressional district, in which two-term Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) is fighting off a challenge from Katie Hill (D-Newhall), footage from a Santa Clarita family’s Ring camera is telling.

The results of Republicans falling asleep as to ballot harvesting were devastating.

Republicans were out-hustled, out-muscled, and out-maneuvered. The result not only was a wipeout in Orange County, but also the risk that we may draw the wrong conclusions as to the cause of the Orange County wipeout.