It’s being tagged as the most hotly contested race for chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC) in over a decade. That the election for the GOP chair is billed this way signals how out of touch most of the media are with the Grand Old Party; yes, there is some tension between the three most prominent candidates. Yes, there will be some party infighting. But whoever comes out on top of this election, former President Donald Trump will emerge as the biggest winner of all.
There are three contenders vying to head the Republican Party. Mr. Trump previously chose one to head the RNC, another is a Trump attorney, and the third is an outspoken ally of 45. It would be safe to say then that today’s balloting, held at a swank seaside resort in Dana Point, California, might get a bit theatrical at moments, but it will not be a fight between the grassroots America First folks and the anti-Trump establishment. The real question will be which of these three will be the most Trumpian of all.
Republican Party – Rule of Threes
Current RNC chair Ronna McDaniel is seeking her fourth term as party leader. She was appointed by Mr. Trump when Reince Priebus stepped down and has taken a lot of heat following what many consider a disappointing 2022 midterm election.
Kansas committee member Mike Kuckelman took issue with blaming McDaniel for the GOP’s poor showing. He was among other members who told CBS News: “This idea that we need a scalp, we need to fire a leader … It’s a little bit like, ‘I had a bad day at work, so I’m going to come home and kick the dog.’” Kuckelman said he plans to vote for McDaniel, who remains in the lead and has recently shored up her leaky boat.
Harmeet Dhillon, whose law firm has served as Trump’s legal counsel, is giving it the old college try. In a friendly Fox interview, Dhillon pointed out that ten states had voted no confidence in Ms. McDaniel. She has attacked the three-term RNC leader on several fronts and managed to siphon off a few members of the national committee that are soft on the incumbent. But Dhillon’s essential problem is that she has no experience as RNC chair, and McDaniel has a ton of it. Perhaps this is why the former Michigan chair has been nailing down fence sitters and racking up wins coming down the stretch to this week’s showdown.
The third candidate – an outlier – is known as the “My Pillow” man, Mike Lindell, who managed to parlay just enough support to get his name on the ballot. Meanwhile, the candidates are doing the political tap dance and publicly stating they will run an impartial primary process. RNC bylaws outline only two main duties for the national chair – running the national convention to nominate the party’s candidates for president and vice president and holding a couple of annual meetings. However, the reality is the chair is a highly visible position that sets the tone for the party faithful and is mainly responsible for filling Republican coffers with the crucial funds needed to run a successful presidential contest.
The only candidate who has announced his intention to run for president has decided to let the three contenders duke it out. “Let them fight it out,” Trump said recently in a podcast interview. A shrewd move to be sure—why make an enemy when you don’t need to?
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has not officially thrown his hat in the ring, publicly threw his support to Harmeet Dhillon yesterday, Jan 26. Speaking with another Dhillon supporter, Charlie Kirk, the Founder of Turning Point USA, DeSantis asserted, “We’ve had 3 substandard election cycles in a row, ’18, ’20, and ’22, and I’d say ’22 was the worst…I think we need a change. I think we need to get some new blood in the RNC.”
It’s doubtful DeSantis’ 11th-hour endorsement will fundamentally alter the RNC election today because most committee members appear to have made up their minds. McDaniel only needs 85 votes to win, and back in November, 101 RNC members “proudly” pledged their support. “These are perilous times, and the Biden presidency, abetted by the extremist consensus among Democrat Party elites and elected officials, has been, is, and will continue to be a disaster for our nation,” they wrote in a letter to McDaniel endorsing her as RNC chair.
Many see the current state of the Republican party as fractured, with grassroots populists trying to wrest control of the party from establishment forces. But is that the case? Looking at the field of candidates for RNC chair, it appears that the battle for the heart and soul of the party might not be as contentious as many make it out to be. President Trump and Gov. DeSantis may have different ways of doing things, but their policy views are not that far apart. Thus, it looks like the battle for the RNC chair is the difference between gorgonzola, Stilton, or Saga blue – they are all blue cheeses, and not one of them tastes anything like cheddar.
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