Trump Is No Longer the RNC's Golden Ticket (and Vice Versa)

Since his late 2022 campaign announcement for President, Donald Trump’s campaign has been largely silent. He appears to be preparing for some campaign events, but even he seems to be waiting for the field to develop around him.

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It shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Trump is clearly at his best when he has someone (or multiple someones) he can make his antagonist. But without any confirmed candidates on his side, all he can do is attack the same people he’s been attacking for months on Truth Social – hardly a platform for a campaign.

In the past, the former president has enjoyed the support and backing of the Republican National Committee. However, that no longer seems to be the case as Trump’s star seems to have fallen within the RNC, and he has really made no effort to back any of the candidates for RNC chair.

This morning, the New York Times has a piece detailing the concerns within the RNC that the party needs to put everything on the table rather than just stick with the guy they had last time.

“This isn’t 2016,” said Mac Brown, the chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky. “People have moved on.”

Jonathan Barnett, an R.N.C. member from Arkansas who claims to have been the first member of the committee to endorse Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, said the party would benefit from its nominee being forced to navigate a crowded primary field.

“I’ve been a supporter of Donald Trump in the past,” Mr. Barnett said. “I just think that we need choices this time. We’ve got to look at all of our options.”

The motivation to leave Mr. Trump behind is not ideological but political, the party leaders said: They worry he can’t win.

“Everybody is very appreciative of Trump, and he did a lot of great things,” said Art Wittich, an R.N.C. member from Montana who said Mr. Trump was not best positioned to win the general election. “There’s this burning desire to win in 2024, and that’s what’s going to drive a lot of the action.”

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AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Obviously, this isn’t representative of the whole RNC, but the fact that some of its otherwise fairly reserved members are speaking out – and to the Times no less – is indicative of some of the feelings behind the scenes.

It’s become apparent that the voters the party needs, those moderate and independent voters, are quite ready to move on. Overall, Republicans did well in various areas of the country in 2022. Florida and Georgia – the former of which was a swing state not too long ago and the latter predicted to be one in the near future – are bright red. New York saw big Republican gains. But in states and districts they should have won, Republicans dropped the ball.

The common factor among those who lost where they should have won was their backing from and relationship to Trump.

Arizona, for example, saw major Republican wins across the state – save for U.S. Senate and Governor. That wasn’t a GOTV problem. That was a candidate problem. The voters simply wanted to move on from 2016.

It’s not that voters want to move on from Trump. They just want to stop fighting past battles. Trump can absolutely still be a key player, but grievances don’t make a good campaign.

Likewise, Trump seems to have little time for the RNC or its internal struggle for chairperson. He’s relatively silent on the issue, while his loyalists appear poised to upend the RNC chair vote.

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That fight has little to do with him, as it doesn’t help advance his cause. Trump is concerned with himself and his campaign. He expects (rightly or wrongly, we’ve yet to know) that the RNC will just fall in line behind him when the internal mess is over.

But, it seems like the party apparatus may finally be ready to have a real fight for the GOP’s future, and they are open to the idea that it isn’t Trump.

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