US Elections 2020: Republicans to scrap primaries in 4 states giving Donald Trump a head start
The president's critics in the GOP are livid over the idea and lashed out at both the Republican National Committee and the incumbent.
With the first caucus for the 2020 presidential elections a few months away, the Republican Party members in as many as four states have come up with a plan. They are set to cancel their primaries and caucuses for the upcoming elections to help President Donald Trump and create hurdles in the way of his party challengers. Politico has reported the same.
The four states that will scrap their political events in a few days to boost Trump’s chances are South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and Kansas. While Trump won South Carolina, Arizona and Kansas in the 2016 elections over his opponent Hillary Clinton, the latter had won in Nevada. The cancellation of the primaries by the state Republicans will ease Trump’s in-party challenges and avoid a 1992-like scenario when the then incumbent president, George H W Bush, faced a challenge from Pat Buchanan in the primaries and then lost his re-election bid to Bill Clinton.
In case the GOP primaries are canceled, it will present quite a contrasting scenario of the American presidential election compared to 2016 when Trump had faced steep challenges from the likes of Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and others in GOP primaries and caucuses before beating them all at the end.
Resistance to the idea
But as understandable, the idea has faced resistance from Trump's primary challengers in the party. Former Illinois Representative Joe Walsh and former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld have challenged the president time and again even though the businessman-turned-president has a solid support in the GOP ranks.
“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,” Politico quoted Walsh as saying. He said that the incumbent is afraid of facing serious challenges in the primary owing to soft support. He even slammed the Republican National Committee (RNC), saying it should be ashamed of itself.
Weld too took a dig at Trump saying he was leaving no stone unturned to make the Republican Party his "own personal club."
RNC officials though said they had nothing to do with the cancellation moves.
The RNC has made its intention clear of throwing the weight behind Trump nationally. Earlier in 2019, members of the committee had vowed to extend “undivided support” to Trump next year. In February, Ronna McDaniel, chairperson of the committee, even went to the extent of predicting that anybody challenging Trump in the primaries will only “lose horribly."
Cancellation of primaries not without precedent
If the shutdowns do take place in the GOP primaries, they would not be happening for the first time. Both the parties saw dropping primaries during popular presidents’ re-election bid. In 2012, Arizona did not have a presidential primary to help Barack Obama’s re-election. In 1996, Kansas did the same to facilitate Bill Clinton’s second election.
South Carolina has a history of primaries getting skipped by both parties. In 1984, no primary was held when Ronald Reagan ran for the second term and in 2004, when George W Bush was in search of his final stint. The state even saw no primaries in 1996 and 2012.