Frontline Conservatives Blame Failing Republican Campaigns on Party Leaders

Criticism of the Republican National Committee’s alleged ‘country club’ attitude has trickled down to the GOP’s local levels.
Frontline Conservatives Blame Failing Republican Campaigns on Party Leaders
Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, in Dana Point, Calif., on Jan. 27, 2023. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)
Alice Giordano
11/29/2023
Updated:
11/30/2023
0:00

In the wake of continued unrest over the actions of the Republican National Committee (RNC), some frontline conservatives say that GOP leaders have become too elitist to listen to ordinary voters.

“They think they know better than us,” Freddy Burgos, a Fairfax County, Virginia Republican told The Epoch Times, “so they ignore our wishes.”

The home improvement contractor said that many in GOP leadership are now elitist “country club Republicans.”

“They have become more like dictators than representatives,” he added. “We basically have a Republican leadership with a Democratic mentality.”

Mr. Burgos was recently part of a movement to censure local Republican Party leaders for promoting candidates for school board seats that were not “true Republicans.” They included one candidate who was openly a Democrat and even hosted a Democratic fundraiser just before switching parties, he said.

The move followed the defeat in November of some of Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin-backed Republican candidates and the Democrats’ retention of the state Senate and capture of the state House.

A resolution, initiated by Mr. Burgos and several other members of the Fairfax County Republican Committee, was specifically aimed at Mike Ginsberg, chairman of the 11th Congressional District of Virginia Republican Committee.

Mr. Ginsberg was accused  of taking action that “resulted in election losses on November 7, 2023.”

It also accused him of leading a “flawed endorsement process” and “negative media publicity” and for failing to ensure that candidates took the pledge to affirm the Republican Party Creed.

The resolution also called for censuring Fairfax County GOP Chairman Steve Knotts, but there was a last-minute decision to omit him since he wasn’t seeking re-election.

Mr. Knotts and Mr. Ginsberg did not respond to requests by The Epoch Times for comment about the resolution.

Stacy Langton, a conservative mom who became a national figure in the fight against sexually graphic books in school libraries, told The Epoch Times that she also disagrees with the party’s leadership.

She says Mr. Knotts and Mr. Ginsberg overlooked more traditional conservatives qualified “for the job” and instead went for what she said seemed more like political operatives interested in supporting the “anti-Trump” movement within the party than bolstering traditional party values.

She pointed to a Republican school board candidate who received no support from the county’s GOP leaders and yet received significantly more votes than the “Democratic candidate they bolstered.”

Fairfax County mother Stacy Langton (L) protesting outside a Fairfax County School Board meeting in Falls Church, Va., on Nov. 3, 2022. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)
Fairfax County mother Stacy Langton (L) protesting outside a Fairfax County School Board meeting in Falls Church, Va., on Nov. 3, 2022. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)

“What you see happening in Fairfax County on a smaller level is happening nationally,” she said. “You have establishment people working against America First MAGA candidates.”

Mr. Burgos agrees, pointing to Republicans who seem to be doing more, he says, to defeat former President Donald Trump than to defeat President Joe Biden.

Ms. Langton added that “it’s insulting enough” when establishment Democrats like Hillary Clinton say Trump supporters are so mentally unfit they need deprogramming, but “it adds insult to injury when your own party leaders accuse you of that same mental defect.”

She said that she herself has experienced what she described. She filed a lawsuit against one of the school board candidates that Mr. Ginbsberg and Mr. Knotts promoted. The suit alleged that the candidate created a fake porn account on Twitter in Ms. Langton’s name.

In an open letter in response to her lawsuit, Mr. Ginsberg called Ms. Langton a “Twitter-obsessed activist” in “desperate need of attention” and said nothing about the actions of the candidate.

‘Felt a Little Like Trump’

“I have to say I felt a little like Trump must feel,” said Ms. Langton, who is a staunch Trump supporter.

Despite his wealth and Ivy League background, Mr. Trump is not a “country club Republican,” said Mr. Burgos, noting that Democrats have relentlessly attacked him and his family and threatened his livelihood.

“Trump is more ordinary than ever,” he said. “He’s being bullied by the elite and that’s what makes him so relatable to the average Joe and so hated by the establishment.”

As unrest over party leadership trickles down to the local level, criticism continues to trickle up to the national level.

After Republicans in Virginia and other states suffered unexpected defeats on Nov. 7, the third GOP presidential debate was held the following night.

Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy reignited a call for RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel to step down and accused her of captaining a “party of losers.”

He followed up by posting a website, fireronna.com, asking respondents to vote yes or no on removing Ms. McDaniels. Although it didn’t seem to help much with Mr. Ramaswamy’s slipping poll ratings, it did appear to set off a domino effect with a hailstorm of notable party influencers calling daily for her resignation.

Ms. McDaniel, a graduate of Brigham Young University and the niece of Trump critic Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), quickly moved to extinguish the political firestorm by appearing on major TV networks. She told CNN that “we lost races in 2022 because of vitriol within our party.”

Criticized in the past for not doing enough to support Mr. Trump against Democratic attacks, she also publicly vowed that the RNC would “absolutely” support the former president “if voters chose him”—even if he was convicted of a crime.

In an X post a few days before Thanksgiving, Mr. Trump berated the RNC, saying they wasted money on the GOP presidential debates and called for a revamp of its leadership.

“Use it against the Democrats to STOP The STEAL! If not, REVAMP THE RNC” NOW!!!,” Mr. Trump demanded.

Mr. Trump referenced a new poll showing that in spite of his skipping the debates, he was still leading with 67 percent of the voters while second-place candidate Flordia Gov. Ron DeSantis was mustering 9 percent, and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a former U.N. ambassador, was at 8 percent.

More bad publicity soon hit Ms. McDaniel. Based on Federal Election Commission records, the RNC has its lowest amount in its coffers in nearly a decade—about $9 million—while the Democratic National Committee has almost twice that.

This week, Ms. McDaniel’s intentions were brought into question by a former leader of the RNC.

Scott Reed, who led the national committee in the mid-1990s, told Business Insider that it seemed that the last GOP debate was scheduled deliberately on the same night as the Country Music Association Awards, a popular televised event with a largely conservative audience.

“Who in the world would schedule a debate on the same night as the country music awards unless you were actually trying not to reach Republican primary voters,” he said.

Alice Giordano is a freelance reporter for The Epoch Times. She is a former news correspondent for The Boston Globe, Associated Press, and the New England bureau of The New York Times.