The Crumbling RNC and Its Replacement

In just over two weeks, the Republican Party is likely to make major inroads, if not regain majority status, in the U.S. House and is also expected to pick up several seats in the U.S. Senate. Momentum is clearly on the Republican side, as nearly two-thirds of Republican voters recently indicated that they are "intensely interested in the election" compared to only about half of Democratic voters.

With such enthusiasm prevalent among Republican voters and the overall party, it would be expected that the Republican National Committee (RNC) has a huge war chest, swelling by the day, while the Democratic National Committee (DMC) would have little. We might also expect that the RNC is garnering accolades for its work in resurrecting the fortunes of GOP candidates and the Republican Party. However, this is far from the case.

In this election cycle, the RNC has had several preferred candidates lose to Tea Party challengers in the primaries, and the RNC's chairman, Michael Steele, has been largely ineffective and at times controversial. Republicans, specifically conservatives and Tea Party members, have felt that the RNC has become entrenched in a middle-of-the-road political strategy. All of this has caused the RNC to become increasingly irrelevant during this campaign season and may point towards further weakening of the GOP among the Republican Party faithful.

Look no farther than the lifeblood of politics, the almighty dollar, as evidence of the fall of the RNC. In August, the RNC raised $7.9 million versus $10.9 million raised by the Democratic National Committee -- a $3-million gap. Keep in mind that the DNC outraised the RNC during a time of great hope for Republican candidates and crumbling approval ratings for President Barack Obama. In theory, the RNC should have far outraised the DNC in such an environment.

The RNC is not alone, however, as the fundraising arms of the congressional races, as the DSCC outraised the NRSC by $7.4 million to $6.1 million in August, while the DCCC outraised the RNCC, in just recently released numbers for September, by $15.9 million to $11.2 million.

Yet it's not as if Republicans are starving for campaign funds -- quite the contrary. Money is pouring into the Republican Party, just not through the RNC. The primary recipient of Republican money is the increasingly powerful American Crossroads group, led by, among other heavy hitters, former White House advisors Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie.

It is the American Crossroads group that has become the de facto RNC for the conservative and Tea Party movements, filling the necessary needs for fundraising and political strategy on behalf of conservative candidates across the nation.

The group, which began its fundraising efforts in earnest early this year, had an initial fundraising goal of $50 million, which the group has met and surpassed. According to a recent piece from The Hill, American Crossroads has now raised its fundraising goal to $65 million by Election Day. That goal seems increasingly in reach in part due to words spoken last week by President Barack Obama in which he attacked American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, accusing the groups of facilitating foreign money in our elections.

Karl Rove refuted the incendiary claims by Obama in a Thursday op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Obama's attack on the group only highlighted its growing political power and the ability American Crossroads has to further widen the expected GOP House majority or possibly pull off the long-shot prospect of gaining the majority in the Senate.

Obama and top Democrats know that the leadership and strategists of American Crossroads are among the best minds within the Republican Party and are a far greater political threat to Obama and the Democrats than is the RNC. Therefore, attacks are likely to escalate as Election Day nears and desperation among Democrats increases.

In addition to Rove and Gillespie, among the other major GOP players who have advised or currently are involved in American Crossroads are GOP operative Carl Forti, former RNC Co-Chairwoman; Jo Ann Davidson; former RNC Chairman Mike Duncan; and Jim Dyke, former RNC Communications Director.

American Crossroads is the RNC of the conservative movement, shelling out millions of dollars to specific races and providing strategic advice to many conservative candidates. What this means for the future of the RNC is unknown. Right now, the RNC is perceived to be stagnant, with little direction and questionable leadership.

When the election returns come in on the night of November 2 and if the GOP wins big, conservatives can thank American Crossroads, not necessarily the RNC.

Chad Stafko is a writer and political consultant living in the Midwest. He can be reached at
stafko@msn.com.
In just over two weeks, the Republican Party is likely to make major inroads, if not regain majority status, in the U.S. House and is also expected to pick up several seats in the U.S. Senate. Momentum is clearly on the Republican side, as nearly two-thirds of Republican voters recently indicated that they are "intensely interested in the election" compared to only about half of Democratic voters.

With such enthusiasm prevalent among Republican voters and the overall party, it would be expected that the Republican National Committee (RNC) has a huge war chest, swelling by the day, while the Democratic National Committee (DMC) would have little. We might also expect that the RNC is garnering accolades for its work in resurrecting the fortunes of GOP candidates and the Republican Party. However, this is far from the case.

In this election cycle, the RNC has had several preferred candidates lose to Tea Party challengers in the primaries, and the RNC's chairman, Michael Steele, has been largely ineffective and at times controversial. Republicans, specifically conservatives and Tea Party members, have felt that the RNC has become entrenched in a middle-of-the-road political strategy. All of this has caused the RNC to become increasingly irrelevant during this campaign season and may point towards further weakening of the GOP among the Republican Party faithful.

Look no farther than the lifeblood of politics, the almighty dollar, as evidence of the fall of the RNC. In August, the RNC raised $7.9 million versus $10.9 million raised by the Democratic National Committee -- a $3-million gap. Keep in mind that the DNC outraised the RNC during a time of great hope for Republican candidates and crumbling approval ratings for President Barack Obama. In theory, the RNC should have far outraised the DNC in such an environment.

The RNC is not alone, however, as the fundraising arms of the congressional races, as the DSCC outraised the NRSC by $7.4 million to $6.1 million in August, while the DCCC outraised the RNCC, in just recently released numbers for September, by $15.9 million to $11.2 million.

Yet it's not as if Republicans are starving for campaign funds -- quite the contrary. Money is pouring into the Republican Party, just not through the RNC. The primary recipient of Republican money is the increasingly powerful American Crossroads group, led by, among other heavy hitters, former White House advisors Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie.

It is the American Crossroads group that has become the de facto RNC for the conservative and Tea Party movements, filling the necessary needs for fundraising and political strategy on behalf of conservative candidates across the nation.

The group, which began its fundraising efforts in earnest early this year, had an initial fundraising goal of $50 million, which the group has met and surpassed. According to a recent piece from The Hill, American Crossroads has now raised its fundraising goal to $65 million by Election Day. That goal seems increasingly in reach in part due to words spoken last week by President Barack Obama in which he attacked American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, accusing the groups of facilitating foreign money in our elections.

Karl Rove refuted the incendiary claims by Obama in a Thursday op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Obama's attack on the group only highlighted its growing political power and the ability American Crossroads has to further widen the expected GOP House majority or possibly pull off the long-shot prospect of gaining the majority in the Senate.

Obama and top Democrats know that the leadership and strategists of American Crossroads are among the best minds within the Republican Party and are a far greater political threat to Obama and the Democrats than is the RNC. Therefore, attacks are likely to escalate as Election Day nears and desperation among Democrats increases.

In addition to Rove and Gillespie, among the other major GOP players who have advised or currently are involved in American Crossroads are GOP operative Carl Forti, former RNC Co-Chairwoman; Jo Ann Davidson; former RNC Chairman Mike Duncan; and Jim Dyke, former RNC Communications Director.

American Crossroads is the RNC of the conservative movement, shelling out millions of dollars to specific races and providing strategic advice to many conservative candidates. What this means for the future of the RNC is unknown. Right now, the RNC is perceived to be stagnant, with little direction and questionable leadership.

When the election returns come in on the night of November 2 and if the GOP wins big, conservatives can thank American Crossroads, not necessarily the RNC.

Chad Stafko is a writer and political consultant living in the Midwest. He can be reached at
stafko@msn.com.