The so-called Republican "Red Wave" ultimately looked a little more like a red mud puddle once the dust settled on the 2022 midterm election. Donors are now starting to ask questions about where their money disappeared to when it comes to Republican Party investments.
The New York Times explained that GOP chairperson Ronna Romney McDaniel was put into her office by Donald Trump, but now she's in the fight of her political life as she has to justify her success as a party leader. Bubbling under the surface of that issue, however, is the larger problem the party is facing: they're losing swing voters and there's no plan to get them back.
Since Trump took over the party, they've suffered at the ballot box. They lost the House in 2018. They lost the White House and Senate in 2020 and this year was what the Times called a "history-defying disappointment." Instead of blaming Trump, however, they're looking at McDaniel to blame.
"Those Republicans, whose voices have grown louder in the wake of the party’s weak November showing, see any hopes of wooing swing voters and moderates back to the G.O.P. as imperiled by Mr. Trump’s endless harping on his own grievances, the taint surrounding his efforts to remain in power after his 2020 defeat, and the continuing dramas around purloined classified documents, his company’s tax fraud conviction and his insistence on trying to make a political comeback," said the report.
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Her challenge isn't coming from the middle, however, it's coming from the far-right like pillow magnate Mike Lindell, Trump loyalist Harmeet Dhillon, Fox host Tucker Carlson and even Charlie Kirk.
“There may be many reasons for the various losses over the last several years, but what they all have in common is that they occurred under the current leadership, which has promised to change exactly nothing in the next two years,” Dhillon told the Times. “The most unifying thing that Ronna could do would be to move on to new challenges, and allow us to unite around a vision that includes much-needed reforms, improvements, and investments in a winning future.”
According to McDaniel, Dhillon is an election denier who ran a "scorched-earth campaign" against her.
“It’s been a very vitriolic campaign,” McDaniel said in an interview, adding: “I’m all for scorched earth against Democrats. I don’t think it’s the right thing to do against other Republicans.”
Lindell is obviously a strong advocate of the election conspiracy, but McDaniel still refuses to agree that President Joe Biden won fairly in 2020. Ironically, Lindell is now saying that Trump's rival, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) cheated in his re-election.
RNC committee member Bill Palatucci agrees that the Trumpism that has taken over the GOP has "done so much damage to this country and to this party."
“We have to acknowledge that 2022 was a disaster, and we need to do things differently,” he said. “I would prefer and still hope there would be a different option.”
While Dhillon is making calls to try and get rid of McDaniel, it's working against her among many of those who have been closely allied to the chair over her six years in the office.
“Consultants are running the building at the R.N.C.,” Dhillon told Steve Bannon while at the Talking Points conference. The crowd cheered. “Those consultants get paid whether we win or lose.”
A message on an internal RNC listserv from Jeff Kent, another RNC committee member, said Dhillon “does not have the right to go on national television and defame the character of the R.N.C. members who have chosen not to support her.”
McDaniel is pointing to voters who came out in 2022 as her success.
“We don’t pick the candidate,” she said of the RNC. “We do not do the messaging for the candidates, right? They pick consultants, and their own pollsters. So what does the RNC do? We build the infrastructure. We do the voter registration.”
The vote for the RNC chair will happen at the Jan. 25 meeting.