September 9, 2019
Is the GOP “running scared”? Four states are set to cancel their 2020 Republican presidential primaries and caucuses—a move that would block President Donald Trump’s challengers from even getting on the ballot.
Republican functionaries in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and Kansas are expected to announce the cancellations this weekend, three GOP officials who are familiar with the plans told Politico.
According to the political news outlet, “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.”
“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,” former Representative Joe Walsh (R-Illinois), who recently launched his primary campaign against the president, told Politico, adding, “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.”
Walsh warned,“W e 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 Governor. 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.”
RNC officials said they played no role in the decisions, the news outlet reported. Trump aides said they supported the cancellations—but stressed that each case was initiated by state party officials.
The shutdowns aren’t without precedent for either the Democrats or the Republicans. South Carolina GOP Chairman Drew McKissick noted that his state decided not to hold Republican presidential primaries in 1984, when Ronald Reagan was running for reelection, or in 2004, when George W. Bush was seeking a second term. South Carolina, he added, also skipped its 1996 and 2012 Democratic contests.
“As a general rule, when either party has an incumbent president in the White House, there’s no rationale to hold a primary,” McKissick said.
Officials in several states said in statements provided by the Trump campaign that they were driven by the cost savings. State parties in Nevada and Kansas foot the bill to put on caucuses.
“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,” Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald told Politico. “We should be spending those funds to get all our candidates across the finish line instead.”
Research contact: @politico