The Democrats are supposed to be the ones falling apart -- not the party that just put together the most stunning upset in an off-year election. And yet, the RNC -- for reasons no one can understand -- apparently doesn't want to follow the recipe for success that won Republicans Virginia (and got them a hair's breadth away in New Jersey). In what can only be called selfish ignorance, the committee's leadership is trying to shed the values that made their party an attractive alternative to begin with. And no one seems more surprised than the chairman who made the decision to walk away from voters in the first place: Ronna McDaniel.
Either the RNC didn't expect the grassroots fury over their LGBT coalition -- or they thought they could ignore it. Whatever their thinking, the last several days have been a rude awakening for the GOP's fundraising arm. Calls and emails have been streaming into RNC headquarters and state offices, all demanding answers about why the party unilaterally abandoned core principles. Local party leaders were blindsided and angry. "I would have never voted for the RNC to partner with any organization that diametrically opposes key planks of our platform," one Virginia official said, "whether that be Planned Parenthood, Handgun Control, La Raza. You have my word I never will."
But the backlash didn't stop there. In Texas, Republican leaders made their outrage public. State Chairman Matt Rinaldi did his best to distinguish the state from the woke leadership of the RNC, blasting the capitulation as unacceptable. "The Republican Party of Texas believes that the path forward to save our country from the extremism of the Democrat Party involves rejecting identity politics and building a coalition of families, parents, and individuals who value freedom to mobilize support for the upcoming midterms. We do not believe building GOP versions of Left-wing movements furthers our cause and do not support this move by the Republican National Committee."
Shaken by the criticism, McDaniel decided to host a conference call with leaders on Monday. It was, as one state official put it, almost perfunctory. After reading a prepared statement and taking no questions, she quickly ended the call -- hardly the dialogue that the elected leadership of the Republicans deserved after such a betrayal. In a follow-up email, McDaniel blamed lurking reporters for the brevity and sent a list of talking points that state leaders could use to justify her new "Pride Coalition." She apologized for the "lack of communication" and went on to list several bullet points that only dig the RNC's hole deeper.
Among other things, she labeled the partnership with the LGBT movement just another "comprehensive outreach program." "The RNC hiring this new staffer [to oversee the LGBT efforts] does not mean we are advocating for ANY policy or RNC platform change on these issues," she insists. "And it certainly doesn't mean we are trying to make any changes to the core values of our party." Whether McDaniel intends to change the values of the party or not, that will almost certainly be the end result. You can't embrace an agenda that's incompatible with parents, privacy, and religious freedom and expect everything to stay the same. Much as the RNC may want to, no one can separate the ideology from the policy implications.
One thing I've learned in my quarter of a century in politics is: personnel is policy. If you're putting people in power who are advocating for things like radical transgenderism -- guess what? It's going to be reflected in your policy. As for Ronna's insistence that the goal is "simply to get more voters to vote Republican in 2022," exactly how is that possible when you've just alienated the massive base you already have? "This is exactly what we're trying to keep out of schools," one upset mom posted.
Like most people watching this all unfold, Chad Connelly, former GOP National Director of Faith Engagement, can't believe how politically tone-deaf the RNC is. "I've had pastors all over the country calling me and asking me what is going on. And listen, as Christians, you and I have our feelings about how detrimental this is. [How] dangerous... it is. And let's face it--just a couple of weeks ago in Virginia, a lot of the extremist LGBT ideas are exactly why the Democrats lost so big in the state of Virginia... [So] it seem[s] like a pretty bad idea to then go enable that." And frankly, he said, McDaniel was elected to protect the Republican brand. "And I think what the party chair did was break her word. She broke her word to the Republicans nationally and went against the party platform without consulting those members, the 168 members of the Republican National Committee. I think that's pretty unprecedented."
Of course, RNC leaders probably didn't send this through the normal channels because they knew their membership would oppose it. What they didn't know was how strongly they would. But frankly, what did McDaniel expect? After all that conservatives have been through these last two years, after the uphill battles over voter fraud and election integrity, the last thing conservatives want is to be sabotaged from the inside. We're less than a year away from a midterm election that could stop the Biden agenda in its tracks. If Republicans can't even stop that agenda in their own party, what voter in their right mind would turn out for the GOP?
"The number one thing I heard [in my dozens of events leading up to the elections] was how horrified parents were by the extreme LGBT indoctrination in schools," Chad said. "They were astonished. Just horrible stuff [in the curriculum]..." So it's surprising right after the big win in Virginia over these very issues that the RNC would jilt parents and break the new supporters' trust.
"The minute you leave truth and tradition," Al Robertson warned this week, "then you're in serious trouble." Well, the RNC is in trouble all right. And it's not because they've extended a hand to social liberals. It's because they've conflated love with affirmation. We can love everyone -- and we're commanded to. But we don't love all ideas. So until the RNC walks back this fatal mistake and starts representing real conservative values, my advice is this: send your hard-earned dollars directly to candidates who have a track record of fighting for the principles you believe in. If the committee calls asking for your donation, tell them, "Sorry. Call the Pride Coalition, because I'm not giving you money to undermine my beliefs."