Things look pretty bleak for the GOP. The elections have come and gone and the party’s not exactly bragging about the results.
Nonetheless, nearly two-thirds of the Republican National Committee (RNC) have signed on to a letter supporting Michigan’s Ronna Romney McDaniel for another term as chairman.
It’s an odd move. The great red wave so many folks were expecting didn’t materialize. The results were at best a mixed bag. Going into the next election, party leaders might want to re-think who they want at the helm of the RNC’s mighty political machine.
On the plus side, McDaniel raised a lot of money and spent some of it effectively. The party’s effort at outreach, which included the establishment of a permanent GOP presence in places not traditionally considered Republican strongholds was perhaps the most successful in many years.
On the minus side, the GOP lost a lot of races up and down the ballot it should have won. Party leaders didn’t plan adequately for the impact redistricting and reapportionment would have on federal and state legislative races. The thing most everyone missed was just how many seats the Republicans were trying to win in Democratic territory.
Several names are being tossed around as potential replacements but before you can decide who the new chairman should be, you have to decide if a change should be made.
The letter backing McDaniel, which started apparently with Illinois National Committeeman Richard Porter is part of an effort to preserve the status quo. Given how the GOP has “lost” three national elections in a row, that doesn’t seem like the best plan.
Fresh ideas, new strategies, and the need for a better ground game and air war — which, not incidentally, lines the pockets of consultants who grow rich off ad buys — are needed for the Republicans to win.
If you consider 2022 a referendum on former President Donald Trump versus President Joe Biden, Biden won.
The GOP may have gotten three million more votes in the campaign for control of the U.S. House of Representatives than the Democrats but, state by state, their candidates didn’t win enough votes in the right places for the GOP to win the presidency in 2024, if you can make that kind of oranges to tangerines comparison can be made.
Pennsylvania and Michigan were a disaster. Wisconsin was a mixed bag. The GOP needs all three to win the White House. The party made none of the expected progress in New England and, in the southwest, where the porous border has created daily chaos, things got worse.
Why? The GOP didn’t offer independents and disaffected Democrats anything to win their votes. “Biden bad” isn’t enough of a message. Maybe that’s not the RNC’s job but someone needed to be talking to them other than the Democrats. Their message, that Trump candidates running in swing areas were a danger to the democratic system and abortion rights worked.
The effort to win McDaniel a fourth two-year term is based, the letter says, on these being “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.” That’ll turn out the party faithful but that’s not enough to win races in places where you need more than just the base vote to win.
All that’s strategy. Tactically, the GOP still sits by and allows too much time to cast ballots and count them. The Republicans still don’t have an answer for this, even after six years of McDaniel as chairman. If ballot harvesting is here to stay, the GOP needs to match what the Democrats are doing and then do it better.
If that’s a legal or constitutional problem, the party ought to be challenging in an organized and well-funded way the rules that allow for it while still amassing an army of canvassers to make sure every GOP-leaning voter turns in a ballot.
Going forward, the RNC needs to learn to play the game the way the Democrats do, but better. If McDaniel doesn’t have the killer instinct necessary to be the leader that does that, the GOP needs to get a chairman that can win elections.
A former UPI political writer and U.S. News and World Report columnist, Peter Roff is a Trans-Atlantic Leadership Network media fellow. Contact him at RoffColumns AT mail.com and follow him on Twitter @TheRoffDraft.
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