In a show of support for President Trump’s re-election bid, the Republican Party in Kansas, Nevada, and South Carolina is reportedly planning to cancel caucuses and primaries that would give Republican challengers an opportunity to compete for the 2020 nomination.
To date, two candidates, including former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, both Republicans, have launched formal bids to challenge Trump in 2020. Both are considered long shots to upset the president, an incumbent whose job-approval rating remains positive with 94% of the party.
However, the state-level decisions, which are expected to be made on Saturday, Sept. 7, would cut off important avenues for challenging candidates to introduce their platforms and gain support, essentially ensuring that President Trump gains renomination.
Needless to say, the decisions are drawing criticism from primary challengers.
“Trump and his allies and the Republican National Committee (RNC) 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,” complained Walsh. “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.”
“Donald Trump is doing his best to make the Republican Party his own personal club,” stated Weld. “Republicans deserve better.”
So far, the RNC has denied being involved in the discussion at a national level.
The decision to cancel primaries by the party whose incumbent currently holds the White House is not uncommon. Similar decisions were made by Republican chairpersons when President Ronald Reagan sought re-election in 1984. Democrats also called off several state-level primaries when Presidents Bill Clinton and Barak Obama sought their second terms.
South Carolina GOP Chairman Drew McKissick, Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald, and Kansas GOP Chairman Michael Kuckelman are pointing to the cost savings of canceling their primaries, a move that will free up funds to use in support of candidates in other races.
In a statement, McDonald said, “It would be malpractice on my part to waste money on a caucus to come to the inevitable conclusion that President Trump will be getting all our delegates in Charlotte. We should be spending those funds to get all our candidates across the finish line instead.”
In any case, expect to hear the president’s challengers add this to their list of criticisms.
“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 concluded. “We also intend to loudly call out this undemocratic bull on a regular basis.