Friday, December 9, 2022


Harmeet Dhillon, a Republican National Committee member from California, has announced that she intends to challenge the current chair — Ronna Romney McDaniel — for leadership of the RNC.

That’s good news. As this column has noted before, it is embarrassing to the Republican Party that the current chair, who has managed to preside over three losing election cycles in a row, has so far been running unopposed.

Now the bad news. Ms. Dhillon doesn’t exactly have a record that leads to much confidence in her ability to right the ship. It seems her main claim to fame is that she is a lawyer who has done some work for Trump-adjacent folks, especially related to claims about the 2020 election.

She doesn’t seem to have any personal or professional history of participating in successful campaigns. Indeed, she lost campaigns in California (no shame there), and, of course, the party in California has been shambolic for an entire generation. So, she shares with the current chair the distinction of leading (sort of) the burnt-out shell of a state party.

Ms. Dhillon has also apparently done some work for the American Civil Liberties Union (no shame there, either, but neither is it a tribute to her judgment), and given money to Vice President Kamala Harris. In a normal party, that would be enough to disqualify her as a candidate for chair. Fortunately for her, the Republicans are not a normal party.

Mostly what Ms. Dhillon seems notable for is maintaining an active Twitter account. She also seems a bit careless with commitments — as recently as last week, she decided to participate in a task force or advisory blue-ribbon panel or whatever convened by the chair to examine the RNC’s problematic performance in the most recent election cycle. It seems that she’s already concluded that the chair was the problem.

Either that, or she and the current chair cooked up her candidacy as a safety valve to release the pressure for an actual contest for the chair.

Whichever, her example of willingness to serve has inspired me to make a decision.

Since there are no powerhouse lobbyists (like former chairs Haley Barbour or Ed Gillespie), no sitting officeholders (like Jim Nicholson or Paul Laxalt) and no campaign operatives (like Rich Bond or Lee Atwater) who seem to want the job of chair, and since the only credential appears to be the willingness to talk and tweet more or less indefinitely, I have concluded that I will run for chair of the RNC.

My platform is simple. I will fire most if not all of the legacy consultants (even my friends) on day one. The party will start working on an actual platform or agenda or whatever it will be called. The RNC, its members and employees will again exist to serve the elected officials, the volunteers and the donors of the party — and not the other way around. Unlike the other candidates, I will refrain from becoming a puppet of any 2024 presidential candidate, including and perhaps especially the former president.

If, when I am chair, the national Republicans underperform in the next cycle, I’ll resign. There won’t be any need for an advisory council to tell me it is time to go.

That’s it; that’s the entire platform. It’s already more extensive and detailed than those of my competitors. In fact, I welcome the other candidates to make the same commitments.

With respect to experience, I’ve worked on a host of campaigns at all levels starting in the Reagan years and going right up to the recent cycle. I’ve been in some losing campaigns and some winning campaigns. I’ve never given money to a Democrat. I’m not related to any Romneys. That record is better than those of my competitors.

Finally — and of supreme importance nowadays — I have a Twitter account and am prepared with opinions on all things at all times.

I encourage everyone to let their RNC committee representatives know that I am the best candidate (who is actually running) for RNC chair. I look forward to the campaign and to an open and fair discussion of how best to improve our slice of the American political system by making Republicans more electorally competitive.

• Michael McKenna, a columnist for The Washington Times, co-hosts “The Unregulated Podcast.” He was most recently a deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House.

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