SAN FRANCISCO —
The issue is that California Republicans are looking at GOP weaknesses
Anyone with a heartbeat and a shred of humanity responded to the attack on Paul Pelosi in October in a similar way, with shock and sorrow that went beyond politics.
It’s not Harmeet Dhillon.
The California representative for the Republican National Committee jumped onto Twitter to spread conspiratorial rumours about the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s house invasion in the dead of night and her husband’s attack by a hammer-wielding lunatic.
The extravagantly vindictive Tucker Carlson then capitalised on Dillon’s careless speculation, even mentioning the San Francisco attorney and MAGA supporter during his Fox News propaganda hour. Dhillon frequently makes shaky allegations regarding election integrity on Fox and other right-wing media, among other things.
That’s why it was significant when Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, recently named Dhillon to co-lead a committee looking into the disappointing midterm election results from last month.
It’s similar to asking an alcoholic for advice on leading a sober lifestyle midway through a bout of intoxication.
In November, Republicans had a great chance to take over the Senate, secure a sizable House majority, and expand their governorship base. Due in large part to the negative influence of former President Trump, they came up far short and managed to squeak out control of the House.
His interference in the Republican primaries elevated a number of losing, fourth-rate candidates. Trump and his supporters became a focal point of the campaign thanks to his campaign-style rallies, involvement in numerous investigations, and constant lying about the 2020 election. As a result, the midterm elections became a contest between President Biden and the abhorrent former president rather than a typical vote on the party in power.
The assault on Pelosi just over a week before election day served to highlight the risk posed by the incendiary rhetoric of the right and Trump’s role in inciting political violence.
The outcome in California was another another disastrous performance for the struggling Republicans.
Lanhee Chen, one of the strongest and brightest candidates the party has put up in a while, was easily defeated in his bid for state controller as a result of the scarlet “R” and Trump stigma attached to the Republican Party. As a result, it has been 16 years since a GOP member was elected to a state position.
In the state Senate and Assembly, Democrats successfully maintained their supermajorities while perhaps growing their party. And even while California Republicans won 12 seats in the House, the GOP still still controls a small portion of the nation’s most populous and powerful state.
They may give credit to someone like Dhillon, one of the Republican Party’s most recognisable figures in California, for that.
The 54-year-old daughter of Indian immigrants was raised in a rural area of North Carolina, and ever since she registered to vote, she has identified as a Republican. As editor of the Dartmouth Review, Dhillon demonstrated her political acumen and sensitivity while still in college. She garnered national news for defending a satirical editorial that compared the college’s Jewish president to Adolf Hitler and his campus policies to the Holocaust.
Dhillon opposed Trump before he won the 2016 presidential nomination. Her posts criticising Trump throughout the primary season come to mind, according to a GOP consultant and Facebook buddy, who termed Dhillon’s conversion merely opportunistic.
She adopted a zealotry similar to many converts.
Dhillon was one of those who supported Trump’s self-indulgent legal war and promoted false charges of voter fraud after he unquestionably and unavoidably lost the race for reelection. Dhillon was one of the top 20 disinformation propagators in the country, according to researchers who studied roughly 50 million tweets over a 312-month period leading up to the 2020 election.
She has since taken on a scandalous group of election sceptics and political ne’er-do-wells as the MAGA movement’s in-house attorney. Her business defended Trump before the House committee looking into the attempted coup on January 6. Dhillon also worked on the legal team representing Kari Lake, the unsuccessful candidate for governor of Arizona who refused to accept defeat by raising fictitious fraud allegations.
Getting involved with Trump and other political outlaws has reportedly improved Dhillon’s financial situation. (She also brought many legal actions against California Governor Gavin Newsom and his pandemic-related regulations.) Certainly, it has increased her profile.
Another debate is if it has helped the Republican Party.
After losing the White House in 2012, Republicans ordered a comparable post-election audit.
A number of recommendations were made in the autopsy report, including the need for a more friendly and inclusive tone and a more open stance toward immigrants.
Sally Bradshaw, a Florida GOP strategist and one of the project’s co-chairs, declared at the time that “public perception of our party is at record lows.” Republicans will find it harder and harder to win another presidential election in the near future unless reforms are implemented.
Of course, four years later Trump won the presidency by acting in direct opposition to what the postmortem recommended. Therefore, there is every reason to anticipate that the current task force’s findings will end up in the same gloomy, dusty location where most white papers and high-profile commissions go.
Dhillon probably shouldn’t waste her time or effort on her probe in light of that. However, she doesn’t have to go very far to see the Republican Party’s problems.
Dhillon only needs to look at himself in the mirror.