Harmeet Dhillon, a lawyer, activist, and candidate for the chair position of the Republican National Committee (RNC), took to the stage at Turning Point USA’s AmericaFest (AmFest) to outline her plans for the RNC. In a radical departure from the way in which the party normally conducts business, with Washington, DC, as its main power source, Dhillon said that, in the event of her election victory, she'll consider the grassroots as the core of the reformation.
“Outside of DC, there’s a whole host of talent just waiting to be tapped. One of my ideas is decentralizing the Republican National Committee … out of DC and into America. This is day 16 of my race for RNC chair, and I already have hundreds of applicants for jobs at the RNC, and these are people who have jobs but want to do something to help their country. And so we’re all pulling together.”
Dhillon, running against incumbent Chair Ronna McDaniel and MyPillow Chief Executive Mike Lindell, singled out the GOP's shaky midterm results as the main reason for change at the top level of the party. She told the crowd:
“Now, in the midterms, our party was outspent, out-messaged and outworked. And currently in DC, our leadership is doubling down on stale, establishment leadership, no new ideas, no fresh start, going along, getting along with the Democrats … omnibus spending measures, spending like drunken sailors. Focusing on issues that are non-issues for our base. And that’s what’s wrong with this party.”
The audience responded to her words with a roar of applause. It appeared that the crowd was with her, believing that the RNC requires a new leader and that the party's structure requires urgent reorganization. Without naming names, she revealed the shortcomings of the older guard and made the case for change at the top levels.
“Now, over my thirty-plus years as a lawyer … my almost 40 years as an activist … I’ve learned [a] few things about what works and what doesn’t. Objectively, I think we can all agree that the results our party has produced have been unacceptable. The red wave didn’t happen, and that’s not just academics, pundits talking on television, shaking their head and saying how the polls were wrong, turnout wasn’t good, candidate selection, let’s blame Trump. I’ve heard all the excuses, but the result is the same. And I don’t hear a plan for us to win in 2024 unless we radically change what we’ve been doing wrong.”
One of my ideas is decentralizing the Republican National Committee outside of DC and into America #AMFEST2022 pic.twitter.com/XVvtivDgLH
— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) December 20, 2022
As evident by the reactions of the audience, Dhillon's comments are a reflection of the consensus this year at AmFest that change is necessary across all levels of the GOP. According to RedState‘s Susie Moore, the outcome of the straw poll didn't go well for Ronna McDaniel:
“78.4 percent of those polled disapprove of current RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel’s performance (65 percent of those strongly so). Only 4.6 percent approve of the job McDaniel has done.
“Overwhelmingly, those polled feel the RNC should listen to the grassroots when selecting the new chair—84 percent indicated so versus 12 percent who voted ‘no.’ (One wonders to whom those 12 percent believe the RNC should listen.)
“Given the choice between McDaniel, RNC Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon, and My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, 57.6 percent of those polled favored Dhillon, while 31 percent favored Lindell, and a mere 1.7 percent favored McDaniel.”
If these results are any indication, Ronna McDaniel is deeply disliked by conservatives, and that's a problem. McDaniel has had, as has been noted, a lavish lifestyle during her time as the head of the RNC and has spent millions on private jets, limousines, floral arrangements, and retreats. This isn't a good image to an activist doing tedious work, ranging from telephone calls to voter registration drives to GOTV efforts to watching polls, while your party's top officials are in comfortable chairs with their feet up and sipping champagne.
We'll soon learn whether Harmeet's efforts to bring about change at the RNC are successful. The full committee is scheduled to vote on its next chair by the end of January.