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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

RNC: It Takes a Fief

Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. The 2024 race has begun. The nomination phase has effectively ended. Trump has begun turning the RNC into his personal fiefdom. 

David M. Drucker, Charles Hilu and Michael Warren at The Dispatch:
The Republican National Committee was poised to open and staff 40 satellite campaign offices across key battlegrounds when former President Donald Trump, now the presumptive GOP nominee, abruptly replaced RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and her deputies with fresh leadership.

Trump’s new RNC team, led by Chairman Michael Whatley, Co-Chair (and Trump’s daughter-in-law) Lara Trump, and senior campaign adviser Chris LaCivita, killed McDaniel’s 2024 blueprint. Roughly six weeks later, neither the committee nor the Trump campaign has much infrastructure or personnel in the swing states that will decide the November 5 election, multiple sources in Washington and the crucial battleground states told Dispatch Politics this week.

That means few if any regional and local campaign headquarters; little to no deployed field staff; and little to no traditional voter turnout activities, such as door-knocking, phone banking, or volunteer organizing. Even after the Trump-led RNC’s reimagined field program eventually emerges, their strategy is to concentrate almost exclusively on the half-dozen states that will determine Trump’s fate. Republicans elsewhere? They’re on their own.

“The RNC was aggressively staffing up in 10-plus states and it was put on hold when Trump started to make the changes at the RNC,” a veteran Republican field operative said. “The new regime is moving quickly to get the field operation going but I expect it to be narrowly focused on presidential battleground states, as opposed to expanding operations in states like California and New York, where there are a lot of House seats in play.”

In early March, the RNC’s new leadership sacked more than 60 full-time staff across the communications, data, and political departments. As Dispatch Politics reported soon after, roughly 40 of the 60 let go were field troops.

The majority of all fired employees were immediately invited to reapply for jobs. But weeks later, the field program is lagging, especially compared to the voter turnout operation stood up by President Joe Biden. The incumbent Democrat’s campaign has opened 30 headquarters alone in Michigan and has multiple such offices in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Florida.

The decision to jettison McDaniel’s preparations for a robust ground game that was similar in scope and strategy to the RNC’s efforts to boost Trump in 2016 and 2020 appears to have originated at the top. Trump repeatedly told McDaniel in conversations before he pushed her out of the chairmanship that he did not need the RNC to focus on “get-out-the-vote” activities. Rather, knowledgeable Republican sources told us, the former president informed McDaniel he wanted the committee to prioritize “election integrity” efforts.

 A key figure in the "election integrity" effort will have the major distraction of trying to stay out of prison.  Pema Levy at Rolling Stone:

The attorney running the Republican National Committee’s “election integrity” effort has been criminally charged by the state of Arizona for her efforts to help Donald Trump steal the 2020 election. This turn of events highlights the Orwellian meaning of the phrase “election integrity,” as used by Trump and the Republican Party: An effort to win at all costs.
[Christina] Bobb endeared herself to the former president as a fervent supporter who worked as both a Trump associate and a journalist as part of various efforts to help Trump overturn the 2020 results. As Mother Jones reported when the RNC hired her last month:
As a correspondent for OAN, Bobb promoted the Big Lie—enough that she was a named a defendant in Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation suit against the network. But Bobb was not just a purveyor of the Big Lie—she was also part of the operation. Weeks after the 2020 election, Trump brought in a new team of lawyers, including Rudy Giuliani, to help him subvert the results and remain in office. Though Bobb has not been charged with any crimes, she worked with that team to help coordinate the scheme to certify fake slates of electors in states Biden won, a plot that is part of both the criminal indictment against Trump in Georgia and the federal charges brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith.
Now Bobb has joined the list of Trumpists who have been charged with a crime. (Bobb’s name and charges have been redacted in the indictment until she is served, but multiple outlets have reported she is among the Trump allies charged.) Arizona charged each of the state’s 11 fake electors, which include sitting members of the state legislature and leaders in the state GOP. Arizona also charged Trump allies Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows, Boris Epshteyn, Mike Roman, John Eastman, and Jenna Ellis with related crimes.