The RNC Bloodbath Was Way Overdue

With Chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel exiting after seven tumultuous years, it’s little surprise some things are changing around the Republican National Committee.

Newly elected Chairman Michael Whatley, the former North Carolina GOP chairman, and Co-Chairman Lara Trump, daughter-in-law of former President Donald Trump, are making some glaring and necessary changes to the bureaucracy.

It’s being called a “MAGA takeover” of the party’s national fundraising and planning body. To some extent, that’s true, and to be expected as the national committee naturally aligns itself with the presumptive nominee. That alignment includes joint fundraising, joint strategy, and a unified front toward building a national coalition to win a presidential race, hold the House, and win the Senate.

It’s also being called a “bloodbath” but it sounds like little more than housekeeping to slim down and tune up a national campaign body that’s been caught flat-footed and behind the curve in recent election cycles, as the Washington Post reports:

The new leadership team at the Republican National Committee — picked by former president Donald Trump — started firing dozens of employees days after taking over, according to three people familiar with the firings who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

About 60 people were told they were no longer employed, according to a person with direct knowledge of the changes.

One of the people familiar with the firings said data, political and communications staffers were affected, and notifications were made on Monday by Chris LaCivita, a senior Trump adviser who was at the RNC’s Capitol Hill headquarters. LaCivita had complained about the staff of the RNC for several months, people who spoke to him said, and long planned to make changes. The Trump adviser had studied the organization’s payroll and employees for several weeks, the person said.

The news was first reported by Politico.

LaCivita also told some contractors that they would not be renewed, and some of the ousters included employees who worked in the campaign’s state offices. Some staffers were described as shocked by the firings, which took place over the course of the day.

One doesn’t need to look very far in the past to see why Ronna McDaniel’s tenure was fraught with issues.

For example, during the Virginia off-year elections in 2023 when Governor Glenn Youngkin needed to expand Republican seats in the state legislature to continue pushing his conservative agenda, the RNC was nowhere to be found after rounds of finger-pointing:

Republicans responded to Monday’s announcement of more Democratic cash — $2 million from the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee — by questioning whether national help was on the way.

“It’s just us. There’s nothing coming from the RNC,” said a Republican consultant working on races in Virginia. “They haven’t invested a dime.”

In the end, Republicans lost both state legislative chambers in a gruesome defeat leaving more finger-pointing afterward between state activists and the RNC. When questioned, Ronna McDaniel basically said that those were state races and she’s focused on national races. Also, eat cake, she said, according to Mediaite:

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel is facing questions about Republicans’ underwhelming performance at the polls this week.

Appearing on Friday’s edition of The Ingraham Angle, McDaniel was grilled about Tuesday’s results in Virginia by Laura Ingraham.

“Vivek and others are saying that under your leadership, Republicans have lost election after election, and positing the question, why should you retain your job given the track record of the party under your leadership?” the host observed. “And to that, what do you say?”

McDaniel responded by saying she is going to “continue to focus on Joe Biden and Democrats,” but was eventually interrupted.

“All that all that you just said, I couldn’t agree with more,” Ingraham said. “I know you believe in accountability. You talk about it all the time.”

McDaniel apologized for taking “too long” to answer the host’s question and talked up her record.

McDaniel failed to answer the basic question of why the RNC didn’t inject cash into Virginia and other off-year races. The DNC was flooding cash into the state and pushing other Democratic Party initiatives around the country but the RNC was missing in action in 2023. Instead, the party was planning a series of aimless debates where losing candidates spent two hours yelling at each other only for Donald Trump to easily tie up the nomination in March.

Whatever happened between 2017 and now is pretty clear. Ronna McDaniel fell out of touch with the grassroots and let the RNC turn into a good ‘ol boys’ club of holding cocktail fundraisers but not actually getting involved with winning elections.

All that is to say that for anyone outside of the Beltway corridor to have future faith in the RNC, a bloodbath was due. As a party chairman, it’s your job to be involved with winning elections. Period. Full stop.

That includes national elections during the presidential and midterm years and state elections during the in-between years.

The other part to consider is that future political leaders need to start somewhere. The RNC should be in the habit of helping to find and fund good candidates for lower-level offices with the hope they will bud into state and federal candidates over the next decade. Build out the bench, in other words. Instead, McDaniel recently spent $70,000 on floral arrangements but not a dime to help hold the Virginia General Assembly last year.

For what it’s worth, Lara Trump is saying all the right things:

Great. Now go do it.

Nate Ashworth

The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for over a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016 that continues today.

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