Ronna McDaniel, the establishmentarian Chair of the Republican National Committee, will soon resign, after a tenure of about seven years. The sorry state of the Republican National Committee’s finances finally raised the pressure on her to the critical point. But that kind of pressure never comes from one event only. This pressure started building at least since Harmeet Dhillon’s challenge to her Chairmanship last year. After the 2023 Off-year Elections, it built faster than the pressure in the old boiler in the Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s novel The Shining. And overnight, it finally blew.
Ronna McDaniel and her checkered tenure
CNAV talked about the troubled tenure of Ronna McDaniel before. She took over as Chairman of the RNC in 2017. The best testimonies about her record come from Vivek Ramaswamy (then still a candidate) and commentator Benny Johnson. On January 5, Ramaswamy posted this:
After the 2023 Off-years – the Abortion Election – Ramaswamy said, during the third Presidential primary debate:
Since Ronna McDaniel took over as Chairman of the RNC in 2017, we’ve lost 2018, 2020, 2022 – no Red Wave, that never came – we got trounced last night in 2023. And I think we have to have accountability in our Party.
Ramaswamy, speaking to McDaniel directly, challenged her to take the stage and resign then and there. He then objected to the choice of moderators for that debate – a choice upon which she surely signed off. “We should have Tucker Carlson, Joe Rogan, and Elon Musk,” he said, instead of the moderators they did have.
Benny Johnson weighed in with more grim statistics:
In fact, after the poor showing in 2022, McDaniel almost lost her Chairmanship in January of 2023. Harmeet Dhillon came close to unseating her as several large Republican donors moved away from McDaniel. Yet somehow she hung on – and went on to lead the disastrous strategy for the 2023 off-year elections. Elections that saw key losses and/or missed opportunities in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky.
Two kinds of donors
How did she hang on? By appealing to the other kind of donor. The Republican Party has two classes of donors: those who love the status quo, and those who hate it. The “haters,” or those who genuinely want to change things in this country, did not support her last year. But enough of the “go along and get along” crowd remained for her to stave off Harmeet Dhillon’s challenge. Those donors don’t want change. They are even content with minority status in the House and Senate. To them, a Senator or Representative’s best contribution to the workings of American society is constituent service.
Originally, “constituent service” consisted of writing letters of recommendation for admission to the United States Military and Naval Academies. Now it means helping a constituent navigate a dizzying variety of government assistance programs. And not one of those programs finds any justification among the enumerated powers of Congress. From 1933 onwards, successive Presidents and Congresses bastardized the phrase general welfare in the Preamble to the Constitution. (And also Article I Section 8 Clause 1.) Originally it meant “welfare of the several States as a collective.” Now it means “welfare of every individual, whether citizen, lawful resident, or unlawful resident.”
Donors like those who have supported Ronna McDaniel until today have only themselves to blame for that. And maybe that’s what they wanted: roles in what would become a communist polity and economy. Or a province of the one-world government that the World Economic Forum proposes.
Where did all the money go?
But after that debate, and beginning even before Punxatawney Phil turned his head toward the sun last Friday, signaling an early spring, came the hollow crack of a broken promise. The Raw Story crowed that the Republican Party was in the worst financial shape in a decade.The Daily Caller reported the same.That riveted RNC members at their Winter Meeting in, of all places, Las Vegas, Nevada. Then came financial reports showing that Ronna McDaniel has been a shockingly poor steward of what funds she had available. We Love Trump shared this X post from Benny Johnson:
In fact Charlie Kirk had shared an even more devastating report the day before:
More devastating because it compares RNC expenditures to DNC expenditures. Ronna McDaniel placed a priority on fripperies, while her Democratic counterpart concentrated on maintaining a database of voters and getting out the vote. No wonder Republicans lost the 2023 Off-years!
But the Elephant in the Room (pardon the pun) is that the money had stopped flowing. Donors big and small, who hate the status quo, stopped giving. CNAV hopes The Establishment is satisfied. They bought themselves a tame Chair, so that they could continue building their Constituent Service Machine. Now see what!
Trump to Ronna McDaniel: you’re fired
Then came a scene right out of Donald Trump’s old reality TV show, The Apprentice. Leading up to that scene, he appeared with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo on Sunday Morning Futures. There he acknowledged – candidly – Bartiromo’s statement that “The Democrats have all the money.”
Maria Bartiromo: The RNC doesn’t seem to be so strong. I mean, the Democrats have all the money. Look at what we’re seeing, we’ve got the Democrats actually with the money and spending it. The RNC is seeking credit lines, the RNC reported its lowest bank balance at the point in any year [since] 2016. Comerica says Michigan GOP defaulted on a loan of half a million dollars.
Trump: So, I have a lot of money, and the money that they get, people are not looking at the RNC. They want changes. You have to understand, I have nothing to do with the RNC, I don’t — I’m separate.
MB: How is Ronna McDaniel doing?
DJT: I think she did great when she ran Michigan for me. I think she did okay initially at the RNC. I would say right now, there’ll probably be some changes made.
Then Trump summoned Ronna McDaniel to his Mar-A-Lago residence, resort, and headquarters for a head-to-head talk. Yesterday CNN reported that, within hours, Trump said he would seek some changes at the Committee.
Then a series of reports came out yesterday that were all over the map. These reports came in from The Associated Press, ABC News, Fox News, and Headline News USA. The quality of these reports probably varies directly as the quality of their connections inside the RNC. The best consensus of these reports states: yes, Donald Trump did tell Ronna McDaniel that she should resign. She would do so after the South Carolina Republican Primary, which will take place Saturday, February 24. Then, Trump would support Michael Whatley, Chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, to replace her. But RNC spokesman Keith Schipper said officially,
Nothing has changed.
And about her continued tenure,
This will be decided after South Carolina.
Fox News reported in addition, that the RNC raised $12 million in January, to add to the $8 million it had on hand at year’s end.
The Democrats already talk of her as if she’s gone.
Ronna McDaniel is reportedly the latest American to lose their job under Donald Trump. Alex Floyd, spokesman, Democratic National Committee
Trump’s worst failing has always been a lack of imagination. That’s why he picked Ronna McDaniel to begin with. Yes, she delivered Michigan in 2016 – but not in 2020. (And don’t tell CNAV that she didn’t know about The Steal, because it was her job to know!) She also lost in 2018, then again in 2022, and last – and most disastrously – in 2023. For that she can have no excuse, and Donald Trump knows it.
The only pause CNAV takes is to the promotion of Mike Whatley as Interim Chairman. According to Fox, Whatley knows about The Steal. (What Fox has to say about that, doesn’t matter.) The Daily Caller reports that he, at least, has a better record than McDaniel has. Since becoming RPNC Chair in 2019, he delivered North Carolina to Trump in 2020 (by the skin of his teeth). According to a report The Daily Caller cited from C-SPAN, Whatley knew about The Steal ahead of time. And the reason we can know that, is that he stopped it cold in North Carolina. Ahead of the 2022 Midterms, according to The Charlotte News-Observer, Whatley built an Election Integrity Committee. That Committee recruited volunteers and polling-place challengers, and recommended some changes to election rules.
- Protected North Carolina’s all-Republican Senate delegation,
- Produced supermajorities in both chambers of the North Carolina legislature, and
- “Flipped” the North Carolina Supreme Court.
On the other hand…
But Whatley has been too close to establishmentarians in the pre-Trump years. His stint on the 2000 Florida Recount Team probably let him anticipate The Steal and stop it in his State. But his stint in the Bush Younger administration is no recommendation today. Neither is his staff position with former Sen. Elizabeth K. Dole (R-N.C.), the lady who, as Secretary of Transportation, introduced the concept of a Third Brake Light (Dole Light, Liddy Light) on cars on the American road in 1986. (British motorists call this a Centre High-mount Stop Lamp. In 1998, the United Nations issued Regulation 48 requiring it everywhere.)
These dubious distinctions give him a foot in the Establishment camp. While that might help him win the Special Election that will take place after Ronna McDaniel steps down, it should give everyone cause to watch him closely for signs of treachery. Trump would have done better to endorse Harmeet Dhillon, or Mike Lindell, both of whom ran for Chair in 2023. Or perhaps Vivek Ramaswamy.
Nevertheless, almost anyone would be better than Ronna McDaniel. This will also remove all remaining influence by Sen. Mitt Romney (RINO-Utah), who at least knows when to quit. (She’s his niece.) Finally, this seems to be further evidence that 2024 will be the Year of Reckoning for the Republican Establishment. And, by extension, the Deep State.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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