Despite the fact that “the entire party supports the president”, Republicans are considering doing away with primaries in 2020 in order to ward off a potential primary challenger to President Donald Trump.
South Carolina GOP Chairman Drew McKissick was the first to float the idea, telling The Washington Examiner last month that they have “complete autonomy and flexibility” to either hold a primary or not, adding: “Considering the fact that the entire party supports the president, we’ll end up doing what’s in the president’s best interest.”
Last month the buzz was over the South Carolina GOP chairman airing the idea of multiple states simply canceling their primaries to ensure Trump isn’t annoyed by a challenge, as the Washington Examiner reported:
Drew McKissick, chairman of the South Carolina GOP, said he doesn’t anticipate Trump would face a primary challenge and emphasized that the state party executive committee hasn’t held any formal discussions about the contest, dubbed “first in the South” and usually third on the presidential nominating calendar. But McKissick would pointedly not rule out canceling the primary, indicating that that would be his preference.
“We have complete autonomy and flexibility in either direction,” McKissick told the Washington Examiner on Tuesday. “Considering the fact that the entire party supports the president, we’ll end up doing what’s in the president’s best interest.”
But the conversation has now moved from a single state’s party chairman to the Republican National Committee itself, which is mulling the idea of simply declaring Trump the nominee outright, thereby negating primaries altogether.
[I]n case other states don’t take the hint and begin dismantling long-established primary plans (and in some states, rich traditions as well), there’s now discussion of the national party taking the decision out of their hands and just declaring Trump the nominee without the muss and fuss of consulting voters. It was apparently spurred by horror over Mitt Romney’s Washington Post op-ed criticizing the president’s character. The Examiner again has the story:
The RNC committeeman representing the Virgin Islands [Jevon O.A. Williams] late Tuesday emailed fellow elected members of the national party urging them to change the rules when they convene in New Mexico for their annual winter meeting later this month. Republicans are confident that Trump would hold off any primary challenger, but worry the campaign would derail his re-election…
Williams wants the RNC to change the rules, endorse Trump and declare him the de-facto nominee, heading off any primary challenge.