Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Trump advisor Justin Clark, pictured here in September, told an audience of influential Republicans in swing state Wisconsin that the GOP will go on offense in 2020 to monitor polls.

Trump advisor Justin Clark, pictured here in September, told an audience of influential Republicans in swing state Wisconsin that the GOP will go on offense in 2020 to monitor polls. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

After Admitting "It’s Always Been Republicans Suppressing Votes," Trump Advisor Says Party Will Get Even More Aggressive in 2020

"It's clear there's no law Donald Trump and his right-wing machine won't bend, break, or ignore to try to win the presidency."

Eoin Higgins

Reporting on Friday shows a top advisor for President Donald Trump's re-election campaign caught on tape in November bragging  of the Republican Party's history of voter suppression—and promising to go on the offensive in 2020.

The revelation came from the Associated Press in a report Friday on comments by Trump re-election advisor Justin Clark at an event in Madison, Wisconsin.

"Traditionally it's always been Republicans suppressing votes in places," said Clark. "Let's start protecting our voters. We know where they are... Let's start playing offense a little bit. That's what you’re going to see in 2020."

AP reported that Clark's remarks show the Republican Party determined to use relaxed civil rights regulations to their advantage:

The roughly 20-minute audio offers an insider's glimpse of Trump’s re-election strategy, showing the campaign focusing on voting locations in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, which form the the so-called "blue wall" of traditional Democratic strength that Trump broke through to win in 2016. Both parties are pouring millions of dollars into the states, anticipating they’ll be just as critical in the 2020 presidential contest.

Republican officials publicly signaled plans to step up their Election Day monitoring after a judge in 2018 lifted a consent decree in place since 1982 that barred the Republican National Committee from voter verification and other "ballot security" efforts. Critics have argued the tactics amount to voter intimidation.

One Wisconsin Now deputy director Mike Browne expressed his outrage over the remarks and the alleged strategy.

"The strategy to rig the rules in elections and give themselves an unfair partisan advantage goes to Donald Trump, the highest levels of his campaign and the top Republican leadership," said Browne. "It's clear there's no law Donald Trump and his right-wing machine won't bend, break, or ignore to try to win the presidency."

Dan Froomkin, editor of Press Watch, said that Clark's comments showed that the GOP plans to go beyond suppressing the vote and "will now supplement with aggressive voter intimidation at polls."

Clark told AP that he was speaking in jest about a Republican history of voter suppression. But elections observers weren't buying it. 

"This should be one of those things that Democrats never stop talking about," said Media Matters editor-at-large Parker Molloy. "This is a scandal. "

HuffPost senior enterprise editor Nick Baumann wasn't suprised at the content of the remarks but rather at the fact they were made in the first place.

"This seems like a noteworthy admission of something many people believe to be true but few people involved acknowledge," said Baumann.

Progressive advocacy group For Our Future Wisconsin treated the report as a call to action. 

"Fight back by voting," the group tweeted.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Supreme Court Denies Trump Bid to Conceal Records From Jan. 6 Panel

One government watchdog group welcomed the decision as "a huge win for transparency."

Jessica Corbett ·


Jayapal, Lee Resolution Promotes More Peaceful US Foreign Policy

"It's far past time we take our foreign policy into the 21st century," said Rep. Barbara Lee. "We should be leading with diplomacy and human needs as the path to global security."

Brett Wilkins ·


Anti-War Veterans Group Issues Its Own 'Nuclear Posture Review'

Released ahead of a Biden administration report, the assessment warns that the danger of nuclear war is greater than ever.

Jessica Corbett ·


Critics Warn Puerto Rico Debt Plan Will Lead to More Austerity

"The island's ability to resume growth and avoid cuts in anti-poverty programs are both chief concerns," said one economic justice advocate.

Julia Conley ·


Faith Leaders, Rights Groups to Biden: End Immigration Detention

"People are losing their lives to a detention system that simply does not need to exist," said one immigrant rights advocate.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo