With the RNC's Status Quo Preserved, What's Next for the Republican Grassroots?

It’s been a few hours since the RNC chair election results were announced, and the overwhelming majority of grassroots activists and donors are mightily disappointed that Ronna Romney McDaniel has been re-elected. In fact, I’d bet that the only people who are excited about her victory are about 95 of the 111 RNC members who voted for her and the RNC vendors who are getting insanely rich as a result of their bloated contracts that don’t even require them to be good at their jobs. Oh, and let’s not forget the bougie floral vendors who can expect Ronna’s continued business. (Despite what I overheard CA’s RNC committeeman Shawn Steel say to a reporter in the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria, no, President Trump did not tell the RNC to spend $750,000 on floral arrangements or to rent private jets for him. He has a jet.)


I’ve been down in Dana Point all week covering the goings-on at this winter meeting. The meetings were all closed to the public and press except for Friday morning’s general meeting, which credentialed press were allowed to attend. It was surely just an oversight, but the RNC’s media advisory announcing both the availability of press credentials and the deadline for application never made it to my inbox – and yes, I checked my spam folder. Fortunately a couple of journos forwarded me their copy, and I got my application in, albeit a business day late. The RNC only responds if your application has been approved, and surprisingly, I didn’t receive a response. So, instead of being in the room, I covered the goings-on from the patio of the Waldorf, overlooking the Pacific. I definitely had a better view than the reporters in the room.

Many are wondering what happened, given the flood of endorsements Dhillon announced from committee members, major donors, and Republican elected officials, not to mention the fact that poll after poll showed overwhelming grassroots support for Dhillon and mostly single-digit support for McDaniel. There are quite a few factors, and Charlie Kirk well described a number of them in a tweet thread:


I can verify from my conversations with observers and committee members that a number of the Ronna voters absolutely view the grassroots with disgust. A friend who’s involved in state politics came to the resort one evening to attend Harmeet’s hospitality suite and network. A couple got in the elevator with us, and because of my reporting I knew that the husband was a member of the 168 who was openly critical of Harmeet, so I kept my mouth shut and looked straight ahead. My friend asked if they, too, were going to Harmeet’s hospitality suite, and the man looked at her with the most condescending, annoyed look I’ve seen in a long time. (He could tell we weren’t official guests of the event since we weren’t wearing badges.) Other people said they weren’t voting for Harmeet because her supporters emailed them and some even called! Oh, no!

Now, I must acknowledge that a couple of committee members had people show up at their homes and scream to vote for Harmeet or else, and one member reported getting a death threat over the election. That is absolutely not okay, and Dhillon does not endorse or approve of such tactics.

I was also told by committee members that they thought the open disagreement on strategy was unseemly and a bad look for the group so they were voting for Ronna. You know, because we still fight wars by lining our soldiers in nice formations and having a band play as they march to battle in their dress uniforms. (That’s sarcasm.) We’re not here to look prim and proper. We’re here to win.


Can you imagine members of the DNC worrying about such things? No. And guess what? They win.

Now that I have that rant out of my system, and probably after I have a few glasses of wine tonight with friends and then a good night’s sleep, it will be time to focus on 2024 and what we at RedState and I personally can do to ensure that we don’t end up with another Democrat president, that we flip the Senate and expand our majority in the House, and most of all to help build a lean, mean, conservative fighting machine through leveraging the contacts I’ve been making over the last 10 years of activism, journalism, and serving as a delegate to the California Republican Party.

And my friend, attorney, and National Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon feels the same. This was a disheartening loss, but we cannot give up. For some of us, including myself, that might not mean working directly with the RNC. It might mean supporting local candidates and your county and state parties. It might mean working with groups like Turning Point Action or Election Integrity Project. A few hours after the vote, Dhillon released a short video:

I had no doubt that Harmeet Dhillon would be gracious and professional if the election didn’t go the way we hoped. Team Harmeet left it all on the field and represented the grassroots and major donors with honor. It will be my honor to continue to work to elect Republicans and advance the conservative cause.



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