There will be no reckoning, no rebuke, no open displays of antagonism in the final 80 days. The Republican National Committee has a fiduciary duty to its nominee, and that means it won’t publicly undermine Trump, no matter how ugly the numbers get. Nor would doing so be an effective means of inoculating its down-ballot candidates from the Trump fallout, which would ostensibly be the goal of such a move. If anything such a signal would make the down-ballot chore even more difficult, as Sean Spicer, the RNC’s top strategist, noted last Wednesday. It would also jeopardize the joint-fundraising structure that the committee is dependent on for a disproportionate chunk of its revenue. No matter how gratifying (or even righteous) such a grand gesture might be, this isn’t personal — it’s politics. And part of that political calculation means keeping up appearances, for better or worse, so that the bottom doesn’t fall out.
But that fiduciary responsibility works both ways. The RNC has a duty to ensure the success of the GOP as a whole, which means the nominee’s increasingly dubious path to the White House does not trump the party’s broader electoral considerations.
So no, the RNC isn’t going to “cut Trump off.” But it’s instructive to consider where the committee is putting its cash to begin with. The national party isn’t stockpiling cash for a big media blitz down the stretch like its congressional-campaign counterparts. The money is paying for field staff and setting up victory offices. It’s going toward mailers, campaign literature, and chasing down absentee ballots. These are shared, mutually beneficial investments for the good of the entire ticket. The question isn’t whether to do these things, it’s where to deploy the effort. And that’s the key: Triage isn’t punitive, it’s a function of scarcity, efficacy, and allocation.