'Leaner' Republican Party Aims To Partner With Outside Extremist Groups

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'Leaner' Republican Party Aims To Partner With Outside Extremist Groups

Charlie Kirk

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The Washington Post reported the Republican National Committee describes its 2024 approach as “leaner” and “more efficient” than in previous cycles, and that it intends to operate with a smaller staff and more robust partnerships with outside groups.

One of these outside groups is Turning Point USA, the conservative “youth” organization founded by Charlie Kirk in 2012 that has since grown into a social media juggernaut, with a massive digital footprint, and a major player on the conservative conference circuit. The group has long-standing ties with extremists, and Kirk himself frequently pushes racism on his radio show and weekly podcast.

The Washington Post reports that a weekend fundraiser for the Republican National Committee included meetings between James Blair, political director for both the RNC and the Trump campaign, and representatives from Turning Point and other outside groups. From the report:

Blair praised Turning Point in particular as a group that is doing “great work.”

Turning Point’s founder, Charlie Kirk, has been similarly effusive, recently announcing on social media: “As someone who has been a skeptic of the RNC in the past, I am very encouraged by what is happening.”

Instead of them being sort of outside allies now, they’re more like partners for us. And we are going to be the battlefield commander,” Blair said. “The new regime is top down. The new regime is, ‘You get in our rowboat and you row. You dance to the beat of our music, or we’ll just simply say who’s not playing ball.’”

Turning Point and its leader Charlie Kirk have spread racism

Of particular concern is Turning Point and Charlie Kirk’s racism and ties to far-right antisemitic, white supremacist movements.

On a April 30 stream on Rumble, Holocaust denier and far-right cult figure Nick Fuentes claimed that Turning Point is being taken over by young extremists associated with his “groyper” movement.

Fuentes said, “Turning Point, we had a big rivalry with them and they hated us, they fired everyone that was associated with me, and then this past year, their CFO Tyler Bowyer said, well, you know, some groypers are OK."

Turning Point Action Chief Operating Officer Tyler Bowyer said that some of Fuentes’ groypers are “OK-ish” and “just want to have an honest debate” while appearing on TPUSA founder Charlie Kirk’s podcast last month to talk about former Daily Wire host Candace Owens. Owens recently left the right-wing outlet following a string of comments against Jewish people. Figures associated with the “groypers” have previously spoken at Turning Point USA events on college campuses.

In November 2022, Fuentes dined with Donald Trump and pro-Hitler rapper Ye (formerly Kanye West) at Trump’s Florida resort Mar-a-Lago. Fuentes has repeatedly praised Adolf Hitler and compared himself to Hitler. He has also denied the Holocaust and called for a “holy war” against Jewish people.

Kirk himself has drawn hostility within the conservative movement for his own racist comments. In the last few months, he has remarked on his podcast that if he sees a Black pilot he’s going to doubt his qualifications and launched a campaign to discredit the work of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

These comments resulted in significant backlash from conservative commentators and Trump allies. Longtime Trump surrogate pastor Darrell Scott described Kirk’s comments as “bullcrap,” saying, “That boy’s a racist right there.”

In the same NBC article that reported Scott’s comments, an anonymous Trump ally said the former president is “f---ing pissed that Charlie is out causing problems for him in the Black community.”

Kirk’s record of racism and antisemitism is extensive. He has suggested that Black women including Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and MSNBC host Joy Reid “do not have the brain processing power to otherwise be taken really seriously” and used affirmative action to “steal a white person’s slot,” said that “Haiti is legitimately infested with demonic voodoo,” and attacked the Democratic Party coalition as “resentful, government-addicted minorities and people that want government benefits."

He has also pushed antisemitic stereotypes in the wake of Israel’s invasion of Gaza, blaming “Jewish dollars” for funding “cultural Marxist ideas” and saying Jews control “not just the colleges; it’s the nonprofits, it’s the movies, it’s Hollywood, it’s all of it,” among other comments.

Kirk has made negative comments about Trump’s ground game

Kirk has not expressed confidence in the Republicans’ ground game ahead of the 2024 election, going so far as to attack their efforts.

On The Charlie Kirk Show, he said that the Biden campaign has a “superior ground game."

“The bad news,” he added, “is I do not know if we have the infrastructure, if we have the troops, the plumbing to translate the public sentiment into election success."

In another clip posted to X (formerly Twitter) by the Biden campaign, Kirk said, “We are struggling right now to open up the necessary field offices to compete against Joe Biden."

He praised Trump campaign operatives Chris LaCivita, who has been at the forefront of the RNC’s pivot, and campaign senior adviser Susie Wiles, then listed off Biden’s extensive ground operations in battleground states.

He continued, “Thankfully, we at Turning Point Action, we have well over a hundred people now chasing ballots in Arizona, trying to close that gap.”

As The Associated Press reported in October 2023, Turning Point Action, the organization’s political arm, has been fundraising for a $108 million campaign effort to turn out votes for Trump in the battleground states of Arizona, Wisconsin, and Georgia.

This push comes amid scrutiny. Kirk himself has become a millionaire as a result of his political prominence. Additionally, the group is relying on a mobile app, which will serve as a platform for its get out the vote campaign, developed by the company Superfeed Technologies. Superfeed’s board is chaired by Tyler Bowyer, Turning Point’s chief operating officer, who has suffered financial setbacks in recent years. Bowyer was recently indicted by a grand jury in Arizona for being part of former President Donald Trump’s fake electors scheme to overturn the 2020 election.

Veteran Republican campaign operatives have warned that such a large investment goes far beyond the scope of what is needed for field operations in just three states. Jon Seaton, a former aide to the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), told the Associated Press that “there’s not even enough doors” to knock on in the territory.

Concerns about Turning Point’s connections to extremism, Kirk’s history of racism and antisemitism, and dubious fundraising scheme should ring alarm bells among any political operatives seeking to build a campaign for Trump. Instead, they’re leaning in.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

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