NEW YORK (AP) — A decade after its last election autopsy, the Republican National Committee is moving forward with a new post-election audit designed to examine the GOP’s underwhelming performance in the recent midterms and the party’s broader struggles in the years since former President Donald Trump took power.
The report, which will likely take several months to complete, is expected to explore internal concerns about candidate quality, the lack of a clear governing agenda and the party’s unwillingness to embrace early voting, among other issues. There is some disagreement about the exact focus and scope of the upcoming review, but committee members involved in the planning suggest it will not shy away from difficult topics — including Trump’s intense focus on conspiracy theories.
“We need to figure out what worked and what didn’t work in the ’22 cycle to make sure we put ourselves in the best position to win in ’24. I think there’s a lot to learn from,” Henry Barbour (RNC Committeeman), from Mississippi, was selected by Ronna McDaniel to co-chair the review.
This is a rare moment in public reflection by a Republican Party which has stubbornly refused any attempts to change its course during the Trump era. The GOP has been singularly focused for six years on Trump and his priorities. Even as its electoral losses increased in 2018 and 2020, The party’s disappointing midterm results Some committee members were at breaking point earlier in the month. They are now more open for change.
Since the RNC last requested a post-election audit, it has been ten years. The “Growth and Opportunity Project” 2013. Republicans It is important to be more inclusive and welcoming while also being more accepting of immigrants.
Trump was the embodiment of everything the report recommended against in 2015. Yet his surprising White House victory convinced party leaders to ignore their own recommendations — at least for a time.
McDaniel will initiate the post-2022 review, as she faces serious reelection tests within the committee she has steered since Donald Trump’s election in 2016. In a corresponding move designed to demonstrate her political strength, McDaniel on Tuesday also announced the creation of an informal advisory council made up of a collection of 2022 candidates — some successful and some not — and prominent Republican operatives, including former Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway.
It is unlikely that the advisory council will have any influence on the review. This follows pressure from McDaniel, who was forced to admit a problem within her party. Some RNC members were particularly concerned after she offered a rosy assessment of the GOP’s performance during a conference call the day after the midterms.
Republicans A narrow House majority was won, which was well below the expectations. The Senate majority was also not won. That’s even as Democrats faced historically bad political headwinds.
“I must say that your remarks on the call this afternoon were disappointing and showed incredible unwillingness to face the reality of what happened last evening. I’ve heard from many members today who feel the same and want a real, honest assessment of what happened,” RNC member Bill Palatucci of New Jersey wrote to McDaniel in a private email. This email was obtained by The Associated Press.
“We have to face the fact that most of our candidates and the party in general underperformed by any objective measure,” Palatucci continued. “I wish you well but being unwilling to address the reality of the situation does no one any good.”
Trump’s allies are expected to play an active role in the upcoming review.
McDaniel appointed Harmeet, a Trump attorney, and committeewoman from California to be the other co-chair. Another likely participant is David Bossie (an RNC member from Maryland), who was once Trump’s campaign manager.
Trump loyalists play an increasing role in the RNC, which is made up of elected officials from all 50 US states and a central staff in Washington. In recent years, those openly criticizing Trump have been largely expelled.
Now, McDaniel is tasked with maintaining unity within her party as a growing number of GOP leaders push back against Trump’s influence.
Several Republican presidential prospects are openly preparing to challenge Trump’s bid for the 2024 presidential nomination. In recent days, some of them, including former Vice President Mike Pence, have condemned Trump’s recent private meeting with white supremacist and antisemite Nick Fuentes.
Despite the apparent shift in party fortunes, the people involved with the new review are acutely aware of the fact that their final report can’t alienate Trump and his base, which is viewed as an important part of the Republican coalition.
This delicate balance is especially important as Democrats try to avoid any divisions heading into the next presidential race.
“Democrats are unified — on how to divide America,” Conway, the former Trump counselor, stated this. “Republicans must be unified — on how best to help a broken nation.”