Thursday, January 28, 2021

#InvisiblePrimary: Visible -- RNC Neutrality in 2024

One of the parlor games of the moment inside and outside the beltway in DC is the hunt for any break between the Republican Party (in its many forms) and former President Donald Trump. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reportedly has no desire to speak to Trump again, but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is headed down to Florida for a fundraiser and will speak with the former president in the process. But again, that is just one facet of the Republican Party, the party-in-government. 

The formal party apparatus itself, the RNC, recently broke with how it dealt with the president in 2019 ahead of the 2020 presidential primaries. Ronna Romney-McDaniel, the recently re-elected chair of the Republican National Committee, told the Associated Press in an interview...

“The party has to stay neutral. I’m not telling anybody to run or not to run in 2024. That’s going to be up to those candidates going forward. What I really do want to see him do, though, is help us win back majorities in 2022.” [McDaniel's response when asked whether she wanted to see Trump run again in the next presidential election.]

While that is a formal declaration of the chairwoman and is consistent with the rules regarding the conduct of the RNC in contested presidential nomination cycles, it differs from the national party's approach to 2020. It was, after all, at the RNC winter meeting in 2019 when the party stopped short of formally endorsing the president's renomination and reelection, but passed a resolution lending Trump the party's "undivided support." [The difference between a full endorsement and the symbolic show of unanimous support of the president among the party membership was one rooted in financial support (that an endorsement would have carried). But it should be noted that the RNC and the Trump reelection forces had already united by that point.]

Now, conditions are different in 2021 than they were in 2019. Trump is no longer the sitting president as he was then. Additionally, McDaniel's comments are not a reflection of any formal vote of the RNC membership (but merely a recitation of the party rules on the matter) as opposed to 2019. But in the end, formal or not, they mark a departure from the party's 2019 position and creates some light between the party and its (formal) former standard bearer. 

However, it will likely be Trump moving forward who will freeze the potential field of 2024 Republican candidates and not the Republican National Committee. But this is one to track as the invisible primary lurches forward. 

Recent posts: 

No comments: