Trouble is brewing for the GOP, and they need to get their act together quickly. I’m not even talking about the presidential election. It’s true that the electoral map is trending in the Republicans’ favor, as residents of blue states flee oppressive regulation and crime, but that trend won’t matter if state and local Republican parties don’t get their acts together.
As PJ Media’s Jeff Reynolds reported last month, several Republican state committees are in complete disarray. GOP committees in reliably red states, like Nebraska, are struggling, which is an ominous sign for the future. But what’s really concerning is that the problem also exists in the ever-so-important battleground states. As Jeff observed at the time, “Going into 2024, Republican candidates at all levels need a functioning party to enhance their efforts to get elected. That goes for school board candidates all the way up to presidential candidates.” I’m sorry to say, but things aren’t looking much better now, and that’s a big, big problem.
I wish I had confidence that these state-level Republican committees can get their acts together, but I don’t. Politico reported earlier this month that Michigan’s Republican party is broke and the Colorado GOP can’t pay its bills. The Arizona state party is also having problems, and the Pennsylvania GOP might be experiencing financial troubles as well.
“Around the nation, state Republican party apparatuses — once bastions of competency that helped produce statehouse takeovers — have become shells of their former machines amid infighting and a lack of organization,” the outlet reported.
“They’re just in as bad a place as a political party can be,” an anonymous Michigan GOP official told Politico. “They’re broke…Their chair can’t even admit she lost a race. It’s defunct.”
Jeff Trimmer, a former executive of the Michigan GOP and an advisor at the Lincoln Project, tells Politico he’s not particularly shocked. “It shouldn’t surprise anybody that real people with real money — the big donors who have historically funded the party apparatus — don’t want to invest in these clowns who have taken over and subsumed the Republican Party.”
Why is this a big problem? Well, as Politico notes, this could have a significant impact on the upcoming elections next year. “Operatives fear that hollowed out outfits in key battlegrounds could leave the party vulnerable, especially as Democrats are focusing more on state legislative races,” observes the outlet. “Traditionally, state parties perform the basic blocking and tackling of politics, from get out the vote programs to building data in municipal elections.”
Could it have made a difference in recent elections? You tell me. Republican John James barely lost to incumbent Democrat Sen. Gary Peters in 2020. It was absolutely a winnable seat, and arguably a stronger state GOP not plagued by dysfunction could have helped push James over the finish line.
For what it’s worth, not all GOP operatives agree there’s a problem. According to Politico, “some argue that modern politics in the age of super PAC make state parties relics of the past.” I think that point is debatable, but a strong local operation can make all the difference in down-ballot races.
I’ve noted before that 2024 presents an incredibly advantageous map for the GOP for the U.S. Senate, and that forecasts suggest that if the GOP wins the majority in 2024, it may take Democrats several cycles before they can realistically regain it. This means that the bigger the majority that Republicans can secure in 2024, the safer the upper chamber will be against a potential shift back to Democratic control, insulating the judiciary from being inundated with radical leftist judges. These races matter, and we can’t afford to be complacent.