Former President Donald J. Trump has just raised the stakes in the war between his faction and the establishment for the heart of the Republican Party.
In a Nov. 20 post on Truth Social, President Trump highlighted new poll results from Harvard University’s Center for American Political Studies and the Harris Poll saying both suggest that the Republican National Committee (RNC) should spend money against Democrats rather than investing in additional debates.
“If not, revamp the RNC, now!” the former president wrote.
The broadside comes just a few weeks ahead of the fourth GOP debate, scheduled for Dec. 6 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. President Trump, being the Republican frontrunner, has boycotted every such event so far.
It also follows businessman and GOP 2024 candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s petition calling on RNC head Ronna Romney McDaniel to resign. He made the same demand early in the third debate.
Mr. Ramaswamy is not alone in questioning Ms. McDaniel’s leadership, particularly after the GOP and conservative proposals fared poorly in multiple Nov. 7 elections and ballot initiatives. In recent weeks, Trump allies have stepped up their criticism of her.
“I think the overhead of the entire operation needs to be examined,” said Trump advisor Roger Stone in a Nov. 16 appearance with Kimberly Guilfoyle on her Rumble show.
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) said in another recent interview, “I think Ronna McDaniel’s got a lot of things that she’s got to answer to and she’s got to do it fast. You can’t just say it’s the state parties, even though [in] some of these elections—Ohio, Kentucky—the state party has a lot of answers that they need to bring as well. But Ronna is the head of the table. She’s the RNC chair. She’s got to step up.”
Ms. McDaniel, the niece of Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), was appointed to her current position by President Trump at the start of his term.
She responded to the criticisms in a recent interview with CNN’s Dana Bash.
“This Republican-on-Republican infighting—I’m not running for president so I’m not in this primary—isn’t helping our party,” she said.
“We need every Republican and then some to win elections. And the Republican voters want to hear us talk about the border, fentanyl, Israel, our kids, crime, inflation, and they want to see us take on Joe Biden,” Ms. McDaniel continued.
The RNC head also pledged to back President Trump if he is the nominee. He has declined to sign the loyalty oath that he would back the party’s eventual choice, one of the preconditions for appearing in the debates.
A Revealing Poll
The Harvard/Harris survey, conducted last week among more than 2,580 American voters, showed that President Trump is massively favored by GOP voters.
When questioned, 67 percent answered that President Trump would be their choice for president in the next election. Just 9 percent selected Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Mr. DeSantis with 8 percent support, in turn, barely edged out former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy sat at 5 percent, while just 3 percent of GOP voters who responded said they would make former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie their commander in chief.
The former New Jersey governor has sought to make an issue of President Trump’s absence from every debate so far. At the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, he tried to turn the tables on a man known for memorable nicknames by calling him “Donald Duck.”
In his Truth Social post, President Trump said Mr. Christie was “dead in the water” and “a total loser!” He also referred to Ms. Haley, now emerging as a major rival, as “Birdbrain,” and called Mr. DeSantis “DeSanctimonious.” Only Mr. Ramaswamy was spared.
Most Harvard/Harris respondents predicted that President Trump will be the Republican nominee, though a majority of the Democratic voters in the survey disagreed. Notably, 84 percent of Republican respondents made that prediction, as did 70 percent of independent voters.
In addition, two-thirds of respondents indicated that they think President Joe Biden seems too old to be president, while 58 percent voiced doubts about his mental fitness for the presidency.
Republicans have made much of the prospect of a 2024 run by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is slated to debate Mr. DeSantis later this month. Yet, he is tied for fourth in the list of candidates that Democratic voters indicate they would like to run if President Biden drops out.
Almost a quarter of those respondents chose Vice President Kamala Harris, while 13 percent selected Hillary Clinton, and 10 percent chose perennial socialist hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.).
Gov. Newsom was tied at 7 percent with Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg.