For years now, Donald Trump has kept laughably incompetent RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel in place simply because of her cartoonish loyalty to him. This decision helped cost Trump a congressional majority when he was in office, and it probably cost him in his failed 2020 reelection bid. But Trump made it clear that personal loyalty was more important to him in an RNC Chair than the ability to go out and win anything.
Then this week Trump suddenly changed his mind, and began publicly talking about how maybe McDaniel shouldn’t have the job anymore. We don’t know what all went on behind the scenes, but today McDaniel resigned. We’re accustomed to chaos from the Republican Party by now, but think about how big of a deal this is. We’re right in the midst of the 2024 election cycle. People are casting primary votes right now. And the Chair of one of the two major parties just resigned. Talk about crippling chaos.
It gets worse for Donald Trump though. For him, it’s not about trying to win a congressional majority, or even necessarily about trying to win an election himself. This is about Trump desperately trying to hang on to control over the RNC for as long as possible, so he can ensure he gets the 2024 nomination, so he can keep using his “campaign” as an excuse to raise funds to pay for his legal defenses.
To that end, what Trump needs more than anything right now is personal loyalty. He needs an RNC Chair who will try to protect him during what is sure to be a chaotic Republican National Convention. Trump will be going into the convention with at least one and maybe more criminal convictions hanging around his neck, plus his worsening senility. McDaniel’s sole remaining job at this point was to whip delegates and keep the nomination from being taken away from Trump.
And yet this past week, Trump seemed to completely forget that this was his plan. Someone somewhere decided that Ronna McDaniel needed to go, and they convinced an increasingly pliable Trump that he needed to help nudge McDaniel toward the door. Oops. There goes Trump’s security blanket.
This is all a reminder of just how senile Donald Trump has become. He doesn’t have any idea what’s going on anymore. He doesn’t know, or remember, or understand what his own plans and strategies were. And it’s clear that anyone around him can now convince him of anything, which is consistent with worsening dementia.
In any case, Trump just blew it by helping force his loyalist ally Ronna McDaniel out the door. And his odds of ending up with the 2024 Republican nomination probably just incrementally dropped accordingly.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report