5/19/16, "Republicans' new reality: Forever Trump," Politico, Kyle Cheney
"Even if Trump never sets foot in the White House, his stamp on the Republican Party will linger long past 2016....
(Longtime Virginia activist Morton) Blackwell told POLITICO he’s hopeful that the anti-establishment fervor driving today’s political climate helps him reshape those battles.
“Since I first started paying attention to these things back in the 1960s, there are probably fewer movement conservatives on the RNC than at any time. That is because we’ve had the nominations of McCain and Romney, neither of whom is sympathetic to movement conservatives,” he said. “I think it would be reasonable to assume that since a big majority of the delegates elected to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland supported either Cruz or Trump, that there would be more anti-establishment people elected.”
Blackwell hopes that will translate to what he says would be a new approach: “Under the new committee, there will be greater opportunities for power to rise from the bottom up rather than the top down.”
Trump hasn’t shown any direct interest in reshaping the RNC to fit his anti-establishment mold, but his supporters — as well as those who backed Cruz — stuffed convention halls and helped tip the balance of those meetings anyway.
“He didn’t directly have any role in Dave Bossie’s campaign, but obviously, we saw a different element come into central committees and different party offices,” said Louis Pope, who was bested by Bossie at the Maryland convention.
Pope, who was vying for a fourth four-year term as an RNC member, said he saw the seeds of change planted in 2012 when libertarians attempted to take over aspects of the convention that nominated Mitt Romney for president. Those changes have been reinforced and accelerated this year, he said.
“You’re going to have a more conservative party. You’re going to have a little bit more libertarian party,” he said. “Less, for lack of a better word, establishment.”
Shane Goettle, who won an election to fill the seat of retiring North Dakota committeeman Curly Haugland, said he supported multiple candidates before he came around to supporting Trump. But he said he now views the lesson of Trump’s candidacy for the GOP as shaking up the status quo.
“I don’t buy the idea that Trump is the end of the Republican Party. Trump is an opportunity for this party,” Goettle said. “I think shaking things up can be good.
That doesn’t mean, however, that these insurgents will have full power over the party. Establishment-backed Republicans continue to hold top posts at the RNC, and committee veterans cautioned that the ranks of these RNC newcomers are unlikely to rewrite the calculus on the RNC’s core functions.
Indeed, some of the newcomers fit the mold of more traditional RNC members, such as Keiko Orrall, an ally of moderate Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and supporter of Marco Rubio’s presidential bid; California’s Harmeet Dillon the first Indian American elected to the RNC; and Tennessee’s two new members: Oscar Brock, the son of former Sen. Bill Brock, and Beth Campbell, a veteran party insider.
“I don’t see a whole lot of maverick in either one of them,” said Peggy Lambert, one of the outgoing Tennessee RNC members.
But the impact of the anti-establishment wave won’t just be felt among the RNC newcomers. It’s also influencing members who are already on the committee.
“You can’t ask for voters to give their input, and then they give it to you, and you just ignore it. That’s what some in the party want us to do, they want us to act like it didn’t happen,” said one veteran RNC member who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Donald Trump won. That’s the fact. That has consequences.”"