During an interview on WISN-TV in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus declared that Donald Trump’s 2016 candidacy was “a positive” for the Republican Party. Priebus fielded a number of questions about Trump, and each time he reiterated his assertion that Trump was a good thing for the Republican Party and for the country.
Priebus argued that Trump “brings a lot of interest” to the Republican presidential race and that his candidacy was a “net positive for everybody.” The Republican Party chair downplayed concerns about Trump’s divisiveness, and he promised to support whoever wins the GOP nomination.
At one point, Priebus tried to deflect away questions about the Republican Party’s lack of appeal to minorities by arguing that the GOP has become a “young, diverse party” where voters have a “whole slew of options.”
In a rare moment of candor, Priebus did seem briefly to acknowledge the GOP’s image problem, by noting that it has developed a reputation for being “a midterm party that doesn’t lose and a presidential party that doesn’t win”. However, aside from that one insightful comment, he spent most of his time spinning away concerns that Trump or other Republican candidates would alienate minority voters.
Priebus’ favorable comments about Trump demonstrate the bombastic billionaire’s growing influence with the Republican Party. Early in the campaign, GOP power brokers seemed intent on ignoring or undermining the Trump candidacy. Now party leaders appear too scared to criticize Trump for fear that they may anger a large chunk of potential Republican voters.
Trump has caught the Republican Party off guard, as his campaign of bigotry and insults has caught fire with GOP primary voters. Reince Priebus seems to be conceding that Trump’s message resonates with the voters inside his party, and now the sheepish head of the RNC can do nothing but belatedly hop on the Trump bandwagon.
Priebus apparently figures if he can’t beat Trump, he might as well join him. Trump’s campaign is not a net positive for the Republican Party or for the country, but Reince Priebus is either too foolish or too timid to admit that. He has decided to embrace the Trump candidacy, and if that candidacy proves to be a political disaster for the Republican Party, Priebus will own the political fallout.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.