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The One Woman Who Dodged a Bullet After the Tillis-Sinema Amnesty Deal Collapsed

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

She doesn’t have a vote in Congress, but she is running to be one of the faces of the Republican Party and one of the rubber stamps regarding setting the agenda and tone of the operation. Ronna McDaniel is running to remain the Republican National Committee’s chairperson, though the rumblings for changes have reached a fever pitch after a disastrous 2022 midterm cycle. This latest election would be the third consecutive cycle of middling results, and I think I’m being generous here. The GOP was looking for a Super Bowl-caliber election win but ended up finishing the season 6-11. That’s how this cycle feels, given the factors that should have broken our way: an economic recession, an unpopular president, high inflation, and rising crime. Instead, in some crucial races, like Pennsylvania, voters opted to elect a man, Democrat John Fetterman, who has been handicapped by a severe stroke and can’t put sentences together, to the US Senate. When you can’t beat an insane leftist who is hamstrung by a stroke—you need to ask yourself some existential questions, or the GOP needs new blood in the leadership pool.


The vote reference is because Ronna is facing an election challenge while, at the time, congressional Republicans were mulling a heinous bill that struck at the core of the GOP agenda. The failed immigration bargain hatched by Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) would have allowed millions of illegal aliens to obtain U.S. citizenship. There was a serious push to get this law through as quickly as possible, given the lack of committee hearings to flesh out the details since lawmakers knew it was especially unpalatable for conservative base voters.

Luckily, this bill died once Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) came to his senses and blessedly said it wouldn’t be included in the end-of-the-year omnibus. But, McDaniel has been a vocal opponent of amnesty—what was her take? Why was she silent on this legislation that spilled out in ugly social media exchanges between groups neck-deep in this policy battle, like the Border Patrol and immigration reform organizations? Mitch did nothing while Tillis and Sinema were drumming up support for this bill, and now he becomes its grim reaper within a couple of days. McDaniel should have been asked since no one in Republican leadership seemed capable or willing to tell Tillis and any other pro-amnesty Republican that this bill was awful. With the bargain now dead, McDaniel isn’t distracted by a policy issue that could have led to scores of defections among the GOP base, and rightfully so since, if passed, the law would only benefit the Democrats. That’s the kicker: these Republicans thought that they would get some credit for these immigration pushes that surrender everything on the altar of Democratic demands. 


Yet, what she can do now is voice her stance shared by the GOP base on this issue to the members of the RNC that any future immigration bill must include a provision to finish the border wall. There are other stipulations I can think of, but this has to be the bare minimum concession from Democrats. No wall, no bill—period. 

McDaniel thinks this will be another coronation, but next month's fight could get nasty, as scores of Republicans want change after three election cycles of sub-par results. She couldn’t deliver on sizeable congressional majorities for Republicans. Still, maybe she can set the tone for who will get the party’s support on key policy issues, like immigration, outlining the breed of Republican we want more of on the Hill. If she's doling out opinions about how to handle abortion, she can offer a word or two about immigration. 

Or maybe Harmeet Dhillon, McDaniel’s opponent, is better suited. Time will tell.


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