The Republican Party renominated California Speaker Ronna McDaniel on Friday in a meeting that once again underscored the deep divisions in the conservative camp ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
This close friend of Donald Trump, who has been in charge since 2016, was re-elected for a fourth term with 111 out of 167 votes cast at the party’s national committee in Dana Point, California.
With a victory in the first round, she spared herself the humiliation that Kevin McCarthy experienced in early January, forced to make important concessions to the party’s hardest fringes in order to reach the post of “speaker” in Congress after 14 consecutive votes.
But this election has nonetheless exposed the fractures in the “Grand Old Party” (GOP), scalded by its poor performance in the November midterm elections, where it won only a fragile majority in the House of Representatives and failed to win back the Senate.
Weighed down by legal problems, Donald Trump has already declared his candidacy to regain the White House in 2024, but his stranglehold on the party is increasingly contested. The candidates he endorsed in November mostly failed to get elected, turning the ex-president and his unbridled taste for provocation into a “losing machine” in the eyes of many.
His protege Ronna McDaniel had so far always been re-elected unopposed. But this time she had to get rid of Harmeet Dhillon, a lawyer who won 51 votes by tapping into the bitterness of many Republicans to forge an unexpected alliance.
His calls for change have appealed to both the most extreme Trumpists and those seeking an alternative to Mr. Trump. On the eve of the vote by secret ballot, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose presidential ambitions are hardly in doubt, thus came out in his favor.
“I think we need a change. I think we need new blood on the Republican National Committee,” the pure-blood conservative, triumphantly re-elected in November, told Florida’s Voice.
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Far from the mess that was on display for all to see in Congress in early January, Ronna McDaniel tried to reunite her party after her victory. She brought Ms. Dhillon and her other rival, conspiratorial entrepreneur Mike Lindell, who won 4 votes on stage.
“With all of us united, the Democrats will hear us in 2024,” she rejoiced, immediately congratulated by Donald Trump on social networks.
Before the vote, she had warned against dividing her camp. “Nothing we do is more important than making sure Joe Biden has only one term as president,” she insisted. “But for that we have to stand together.”
A desire that will likely turn out to be pious. In the corridors of the luxury hotel where the committee took place, Ms Dhillon insisted on the popular support she enjoyed and accused the body of blindness.
“No one is going to unite behind a party that ignores its base,” she told the press, accusing the GOP establishment and Mr. Trump’s advisers to rig the election by putting all party resources at the service of Ms. McDaniel. “I think the party will have to deal with the fallout from this disconnect with the grassroots.”
The members of the committee “did not listen to what the people wanted”, there were many of Mr. Lindell, the other loser, with AFP.
More than support for Mr. Trump sounds the re-election of Mrs. McDaniel as a way to “block the most extreme fringes of the party from taking control” of the GOP, which supported Mrs. Dhillon, analyzing for AFP political scientist Wendy Schiller.
According to her, this normally unexciting election has turned into a “proxy fight” between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. What underlines the persistent discomfort among curators in full doubt.
“Nationally, this party is really fragmenting and falling apart to win the election.”