Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus, implying that donors do not want much dissent from conservatives after the midterms and during the presidential primary season, vowed to call out Republicans who rip into other Republicans.
At a Christian Science Monitor breakfast on Friday, Priebus told reporters that there is a “very strong feeling among the grassroots and many of our donors that aren’t going to put up with Republicans slicing each other apart.”
After saying that “there is going to be a high level of disdain for candidates who spend their time trying to destroy other Republicans,” Priebus—invoking Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment—said that he will “be less concerned about [his] own reputation and refraining from being vocal with candidates that go out of their way to simply just kill each other.” Reagan’s 11th Commandment centered on not making personal attacks, but establishment Republican donors—who make vicious personal attacks on and off the record against conservatives—often invoke it to try to silence dissent on policy issues. As Priebus acknowledged, that is why many of the grassroots have become fed up with establishment Republicans and campaign organizations they view as hypocritical on issues of “GOP unity.” Establishment Republicans associated with the Chamber of Commerce, Karl Rove, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have all in the past year vowed to crush or destroy grassroots conservatives and the Tea Party.
Priebus also said the “people can say and do pretty much what they want,” adding that he “can’t control everybody’s mouth.” After the midterms and with a GOP-led Congress, conservatives want to again fight for the heart and soul of the party, pushing for “bold” stands against Obamacare and massive amnesty legislation.
The RNC Chair’s comments demonstrate that, unlike on the left, one of the main problems on the right is that the interests of the donor class, especially on issues like bigger government and amnesty for illegal immigrants, do not align with those of the conservative base.
Priebus did say after the midterm wave that donors are “buying what we’re doing and what we’re selling” and will double down on the RNC’s programs to identify and target new voters. The RNC Chair said that since “no nominee is going to have $100 million for a data program,” the RNC will have to fill that expensive void.