The Republican National Committee withholds some polling data from GOP candidates to prevent them from distancing themselves from President Donald Trump.
Trump's 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale has led the takeover of the RNC to consolidate an unprecedented amount of control over the president's party, according to a new report by Pro Publica and Texas Monthly.
Other presidents -- including Barack Obama -- have exerted control over their party, but political experts say Trump's takeover actually hurt GOP candidates during the 2018 midterms, and threatens to do so again next year.
For example, the RNC provides sophisticated polling-based analytics called "voter scores" to party committees and local candidates, but they withhold one important data point to protect the president.
The RNC omits data showing how voters in specific states and congressional districts feel about the president, which helps Trump but puts GOP candidates at a disadvantage.
Republican insiders believe the RNC holds on to that data to prevent GOP candidates from publicly distancing themselves from Trump or leaking polling data that could embarrass the president.
“They don’t want you to know if it isn’t good,” said former RNC chairman Michael Steele, an outspoken Trump critic. “There’s a lot of data they’re sitting on that they’re not sharing.”
Steele complained that the RNC is no longer independent, but was instead part of the Trump campaign.
"The question now isn’t, ‘What do you need?’" he said. "The question is, ‘Do you support Donald Trump?’”