Unity, not group hug
On Friday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) voted 111-51-4 to re-elect Ronna Romney McDaniel as Chairman. With her election to a fourth term, McDaniel becomes the longest-serving RNC Chair since the Civil War. She faced a formative challenge from Harmeet Dhillon, the National Committeewoman from California and Mike Lindell of My Pillow fame. After her victory, a relieved McDaniel invited Dhillon and Lindell to the stage as a show of a sign of unity. “With us united, and all of us working together, the Democrats are going to hear us in 2024,” McDaniel declared.
Dhillon told reporters immediately after exiting the stage the GOP is not united. “Nobody’s going to unite around the Party the way it is, which is seemingly ignoring the grassroots,” Dhillon said. Lindell, who had predicted he would win the race but got only four votes, had no comment on his poor showing. Even in a show of solidarity, the GOP was ungracious. Three observations:
First, the GOP is historically a party of disunity. The modern Republican Party seems to always have tension and unrest. Whether its pro-life Republicans being dismissed by pro-choice Rs or fiscal conservatives being trivialized by other GOPers, turbulence and strife are more the rule than the exception in the Party of Lincoln. Agreeing to disagree is not practiced. Demonizing fellow Republicans is the sport of choice. From precinct level to the RNC, debating and attacking those who only agree 80% of the time has been the main reason Republicans haven’t dominated politics for decades.
Second, Democrats can disagree and still unite. A classic example is the recent Speaker of the House race. Speaker Kevin McCarthy, (R-CA) was elected on the 15th ballot. Every single Democrat House member voted every single time for minority leader, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, (D-NY). They epitomized steadfastness/unity. They are willing to focus on the majors in governing, unlike some Republicans, who are willing to lose in order to make a point. The Dems have come a long way since Will Rogers declared he was a not a member of an organized political party- he was a Democrat.
Third, America loses, when Republicans govern with a disagreeable penchant. Holding out for nothing when you could settle for something is irrational, yet time and time elected Republicans can’t seem to come together. When the Grand Ole Party is in power, being contentious keeps the country from moving forward.
Most registered Republicans have no idea the job responsibilities/duties of the RNC Chairman. Unifying the Party is not a specific function of the job. The rules of the Party are clear; the Chair’s job is to conduct a fair and impartial presidential primary every four years(and raise tons of money). Therein lies the problem. Ronna McDaniel was hand-picked to lead the RNC by former President Trump. Will McDaniel run a fair primary with objectivity? Will she be neutral and give every candidate equality or will she attempt to ‘tilt the table’ to help Trump? The 168 members of the Republican National Committee’s job now becomes to hold McDaniel accountable to adhere to RNC Rule 11(no endorsing in primaries).
Regarding ‘Unity of the Party,’ that job is on individual Republicans, not the RNC Chair. The Republican Party claims to be ‘bottom up/grassroots’ driven. True unity happens when a fair primary is conducted, a nominee chosen(at whatever level) and grassroots Republican voters coalesce around the nominee and help get them elected. Unity is not some group hug on a national stage.
Steve Fair is Chairman of the 4th district of the Oklahoma Republican Party. He can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. His blog is stevefair.blogspot.com.
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