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Republican National Committee Needs New Leadership

Republican National Committee Needs New Leadership

When a party does not occupy the White House, that party is traditionally voiced by the two leaders in Congress – whether they represent the majority or the minority – and the chairperson of the Republican National Committee (RNC).  They are most effective when operating as a team.  That is not the case today.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy comes close to playing the traditional role as a Republican Party spokesperson. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell prefers to concentrate on the inside game – at which he is very good – rather than present Republican positions to the public.  He tends to avoid the media.

Then there is Ronna Romney McDaniel, chairperson of the RNC.  You may not have heard of her – and that is part of the problem.  She has been the head of the RNC for almost seven years.  The fact that the vast majority of Americans have no idea who she is – or who is the head the Republican Party’s most prominent national organization – says a lot about her leadership failure.

The RNC has a number of important responsibilities – getting out the vote, candidate services, fundraising, organizing debates and spreading the Republican gospel.

The Republican loss of the Congress in 2018 … the loss of the White House in 2020 … and the weak showing in 2022, a year that was to produce a red political tsunami … has cast into doubt the RNC’s effectiveness in getting out the vote in every election cycle since McDaniel assumed her post.  I am torn between giving McDaniel a C-minus or an F-plus in terms of producing election victories.  It may seem like a distinction without a difference, but it is the difference between a poor grade and an outright failing grade.

It is virtually impossible to empirically examine the effectiveness of candidate services but the number of complaints from unhappy candidates may be telling.  In terms of fundraising, the RNC has kept pace with the DNC – or vice versa.  That is not unmitigated good news for the RNC, since it is not the traditional situation.   The RNC generally does significantly better than the DNC.  After lagging behind, the RNC did outraise the DNC $17 million to $15 million in August of 2023.  That earns McDaniel a C+ for fundraising.

In a previous commentary, I argued that the first Republican presidential debate of the season was poorly conceived and managed.  I called out the RNC and the host FOX News as losers in the debate.  The allotment of time and the arbitrariness of the rules – which were ignored by the candidates, anyway – produced a shouting match that consumed time from the presentations on critical issues.

The most egregious error was the requirement that debate participants sign a pledge to support the Republican candidate in the general election no matter who it is.  That was a foreseeable blunder.  The solicitation of a show-of-hands indicating if a candidate would support Trump even if convicted of federal crimes was a bobby trap that the candidates could not avoid.  Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy was a quick and eager “yes” – and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie a firm “no.”

Five candidates seemed to struggle with an answer, but eventually voted “yes” – that they would vote for Trump even if convicted.  In the days following the debate, Democrats and their media allies used that question to slam the Republican candidates – especially Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Former South Carolina Governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.  It is not supposed to be the job of the RNC to make Republican candidates look bad.  I give McDaniel an F on managing debates.

Finally, the head of the RNC is supposed to be one of the major voices in the political firmament.  McDaniel earns a D as the Party’s spokesperson.  Her first problem is that she does not get out and about enough. She occasionally shows up on FOX, but I have never seen her on any of the other networks.  Are they censoring her?

Even worse, McDaniel is not a very effective or persuasive communicator when she does appear in the media.  I feel like I am getting nothing more than Republican boiler plate.  She seems to be using most of her airtime defending Trump or echoing the Trump line.  The head of the RNC is supposed to be neutral.  Her main job is to sell the Republican platform and policies.

To say that McDaniel is not dynamic or charismatic is an understatement.  There are different establishments in Washington, and McDaniel is a product of the Republican establishment – even though she was ostensibly picked by Trump to replace Reince Priebus.  In retrospect, the GOP would have been better to have kept Priebus.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem was vying for the RNC chairmanship at one time.  The Republican Party would have been better served if she had been elected to replace McDaniel.  And Noem is not the only Republican that would be an improvement over McDaniel.

The RNC chairperson is elected by the national committeemen and committee women in each state. They recently gave McDaniel a rare fourth term as head of the GOP.  As long as they a comfortable not shaking up the operation, the GOP may have to continue to suffer from mediocre and ineffective RNC leadership.

So, there ‘tis,

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. frank stetson

    Didn’t read yet, but would add: “needs new party too, time to toss the magarats and collect conservatives instead.

    • larry Horist

      Frank Stetson … OMG you have now respond to a commentary you have not read … and admit it. LOL I have suspected that to be true in other cases since you comments often have nothing to do with the commentary. You are so obsessed with playing your adversarial role that you do not even take a coupled minutes to read the commentary before you post? LOL If I was a librarian, I generally catalogue you under fiction ,,, but now I would go with humor fiction.

      • Birdie

        Larry I agree with you completely, Frank fancies himself as some sort of voice of reason, but he is truly just a dope with too much time on his hands and severe TDS. His comments are ususlly just diatribe of irrational thoughts.

        • frank stetson

          Show me an irrational thought Birdie. You may have a different opinion but mostly all I hear is hot air over the actual facts.

          I realize you support a President who is a sexual abuser and “digital rapist” who has broken many laws, been fined many times, and settled more times than American pioneers in their manifest destiny. And he’s got over 90 counts against him in four different cases, over 30 felonies yet to come. Rudy just got whacked for defamation and this guy is broke so unless Trump bails him out, he’s pulling a Ned Beaty Deliverance special pretty soon. Coming out with a Ghouliani bobble head, but Trump’s trumps. And if Trump bails him out, what’s he gonna do for the other 17. Biggs just got 17 years; the keepers and boys are racking em up. It’s a good day with more to come.

          I write for myself in response mostly in response to Horist horse shit when he writes in given he is the most adept one on the site. I can understand his inability to respond. And when he does, and I push back, he most often just ducks. ” LOL I didn’t read it, just looked at the length” was his last comment on my comment responding to his FOUR comments with twice the length, and 100 times the “dope.”

      • frank stetson

        This is exactly how you responded to my commentary discussing your incredibly long commentary. LOL, you can’t even remember what you did within 24 hours, old man.

    • Robin W Boyd

      Interesting. I was thinking just the opposite. After some 40 plus years aligned with the Republican Party, I switched party affiliation to Libertarian due to how the Republican Party had become so much the same as the Democrat Party, filled with D.C. Swamp dwellers making promises they never came through with. I only came back to the Republican Party after seeing how President Trump actually worked on behalf of the U.S. and American citizens. And I did not want Trump to be the Republican candidate. It was good to be wrong about Trump. Now, let’s get Trump back in the White House and get the Republican Party back to working for the U.S. and American citizens instead of just for the Republican party career politicians.

      • larry Horist

        I tend to agree. Several years ago, I formed a CONSERVATIVE public policy group. I said at the time that is was not part of what I then dubbed the “strident right.” But it did oppose the big government policies of the Democrats and the radical left. I believe a political party can and should have a range of opinion within overarching principles. We once called it the “big tent.” Movements live within political parties but should not define them. Political parties need a level of pragmatism to succeed.

  2. Joyce

    The RNC has not done the job that is expected by the Republican voters. Big mistakes in the funding of candidates in past elections. Too much power. Pushing the candidate the prefer and trying to eliminate others, by using methods that were not previously know to “Candidates.
    Family member of Rino Romney. Get someone that is fair and knows what they are doing, without being politically motivated.

  3. Darren

    Well Frank, if MAGA means try to Make America Great Again.
    Then what would you want AMERICA to be.
    The Biden Government is Biased, Crooked, Elitist, Prejudice, Podophilic and prays on the uneducated!
    With your hatred of MAGA, I would have to guess you fit in one or more of these other categories above
    as most of this current government does.

    • frank stetson

      Well, Dan, if MAGA means Make America Grope Again, you’ve got your man, or facsimile thereof. Seems that you’ve downgraded MAGA to “try.” Guess you have to after Trump’s four years of terror. What’s a podophile? “A paraphilia involving sexual attraction to feet; foot fetishism.” Well, guess it’s better than a sexual abusing “digital” rapist who gets off with finger rape.

      For category, I pick Elitist, suck on it podophile. Any toe will do.

      FYI: there’s lots of Trump appointees still in the government, and many more below those levels. I am guessing a few podophiles there too.

  4. robin w boyd

    The Republican Party needs new leadership all around. To Hell with the “conservative only” stance that has been a sham for decades! We need a Republican Party that simply opposes far Left and Progressive ideologies without going to the extreme the other direction. We need a party of less career politicians who too often become D.C. Swamp dwellers, wallowing in the swamp with Progressive Democrats. We need more business minded Republican leadership from the private sector to work in politics for a while and go back to the private sector business world. We need more like Trump.

    • larry Horist

      Robin w Boyd … My previous response to you is apropos … and I agree with your description of the DC Swamp. It is a bipartisan problem.