News & Politics

Republicans in Four States Preparing to Ditch Primaries and Caucuses in 2020

Republicans in Four States Preparing to Ditch Primaries and Caucuses in 2020
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel appears on Fox News in New York on May 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Instead of a convention, why not just hold a coronation?

Republicans in four states are preparing to scrap presidential primaries and caucuses next year with many more state parties almost certainly to follow. There are actually legitimate reasons for this, but the “optics” are off.

Nobody believes any Republican challenger to Donald Trump has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the nomination. And primaries and caucuses are expensive and difficult to pull off. Why waste the money and fund an exercise in futility?

Because, well, democracy and such.


Republican parties in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas are expected to finalize the cancellations in meetings this weekend, according to three GOP officials who are familiar with the plans.

The moves are the latest illustration of Trump’s takeover of the entire Republican Party apparatus. They underscore the extent to which his allies are determined to snuff out any potential nuisance en route to his renomination — or even to deny Republican critics a platform to embarrass him.

In a way, it’s refreshing for a candidate to admit conventions are five-day infomercials and going off script could prove to be disastrous.

But then there’s that damn question of free and open debate, which Trump apparently doesn’t want.

“Trump and his allies and the Republican National Committee are doing whatever they can do to eliminate primaries in certain states and make it very difficult for primary challengers to get on the ballot in a number of states,” said former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who recently launched his primary campaign against the president. “It’s wrong, the RNC should be ashamed of itself, and I think it does show that Trump is afraid of a serious primary challenge because he knows his support is very soft.”

“Primary elections are important, competition within parties is good, and we intend to be on the ballot in every single state no matter what the RNC and Trump allies try to do,” Walsh added. “We also intend to loudly call out this undemocratic bull on a regular basis.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld said in a statement, “We don’t elect presidents by acclamation in America. Donald Trump is doing his best to make the Republican Party his own personal club. Republicans deserve better.”

I doubt whether too many Trump supporters care. As far as deserving better, they are getting exactly what a majority of them asked for: a president who doesn’t give a crap about the rules — or democracy — and will run roughshod over the constitutional niceties to savage his opponents. This kind of slash and burn politics makes many Trump supporters swoon in ecstasy. And, hey! If it works…

Trump is not “afraid” of a primary challenger. But is Trump always right about every issue? Is he sort of infallible, like the pope?

There are major issues to discuss, including immigration, national security, and the massive debt this president has piled on to the backs of taxpayers with no thought about how we could ever pay for it. These are issues that are worthy of debate in an open forum so that all voices can be heard — even voices that disagree with Trump.

Otherwise, we’re left with something that more resembles the Politburo picking a Communist Party leader rather than free and open choice made by the vast majority of Republicans.

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