I spent last Friday at the Republican National Committee (RNC) meeting in Dana Point, California. My goal was simple: To do my part to bring in new leadership for the national Republican Party.

My work should have been easy. RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel had steered the party to three disappointing election results in a row. Reviews of the RNC’s spending reveal massive expenditures on flowers, donor mementos, and other junk that help party apparatchiks feel important but do not help win seats on election night. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who seems to know a little about winning races, had called for change at the RNC just the day before on my radio program.

At the grassroots level, pretty much no one in the GOP was fired up for a fourth term of Ronna. According to a Rasmussen poll, just 15% of Republicans wanted McDaniel to get another term. According to another poll by Trafalgar, just 6% wanted to keep McDaniel at the helm.

If anything, both of those polls actually overstated her support. Of the 11,000-plus grassroots conservative activists who attended AmericaFest in Phoenix just before Christmas, only 2% wanted McDaniel to have another term. And in my daily life, where I interact with Republican voters and activists all the time, I had never met a single individual who was an avid believer that Ronna should remain RNC chair.

But last Friday, I met 111 of them in a single ballroom at the Waldorf Astoria in Dana Point.

The moment I set foot inside the venue, I arrived in a political Narnia—a completely different world where none of the old norms applied. It was a world where the voices of the Republican base, frustrated after three straight electoral disappointments, barely mattered. In fact, their voices barely even existed at all.

“I don’t give a flying flip what the small donors think,” one RNC member told me. “They are not voting today.”

“The volunteers who are upset don’t understand how things work around here” was anther line I heard, in one form or another, over and over again.

In the end, out of 168 voting RNC members, 57 voted to give the actual Republican Party—the people who donate, volunteer, attend rallies, and vote—what it wanted, by voting for new leadership from either Harmeet Dhillon or Mike Lindell. And 111 RNC pro-Ronna members gave the Republican faithful a proverbial middle finger. “We’re the adults,” was their thinking. “Shut up and do as we say.”

I might be more forgiving if I thought the Ronna voters really believed that she was a misunderstood genius—someone whose skilled leadership was saving the party from far worse disasters. But nobody made that argument. Some Ronna voters appeared genuinely delusional, claiming the November midterms were a “raging success” and “historically good.” And they were good, if you are an RNC consultant and not a struggling business owner or a concerned parent. Others seemed to know that Ronna was a subpar leader but were too frightened to rock the boat by voting out a sitting chairman. They backed Ronna for the sake of “continuity, not chaos”—a weak argument built on fear, not vision.

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel speaks during a
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel speaks during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters on November 9, 2020 in Washington, D.C.
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

But the most common attitude I encountered was one of pure contempt. It wasn’t confidence in Ronna’s own abilities as party leader. It was loathing for a party base that had the gall to think it could demand her removal. It was the same establishment disgust toward the “smelly Walmart people” who didn’t know their place—only this time, it was from people who have an “R” for their partisan affiliation.

Beneath this loathing was an abundance of confidence: Confidence that these RNC members could safely ignore 90% of the GOP base and nothing would happen. The money will continue to flow. The suckers will keep donating. The party will do what it is told.

Now, it’s our duty to prove them wrong.

Until there is change at the RNC, I cannot in good conscience encourage anyone to donate money to them so they can squander it. If I learned anything last Friday, it is that these people care about money, position, and prestige more than they care about ideas or public policy.

So cut off the money, and they will hear us.

The other way to prove them wrong is to replace these RNC members directly, just like we primary elected lawmakers who betray their voters.

One day after whipping votes for Ronna at the RNC, Maine GOP Chair Demi Kouzounas lost her bid for re-election as state chair. We need to make sure that more of Ronna’s boosters face the same fate. If Ronna McDaniel won’t be held accountable for three straight terms of failure atop the RNC, then the people who chose her will be.

Charlie Kirk is the founder and CEO of Turning Point USA and host of the top-rated podcast and nationally syndicated radio program, “The Charlie Kirk Show.”

The view expressed in this article are the writer’s own.