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Trump’s So-Called Primary Challengers Hit Another Roadblock

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

I know it may not seem like it, but President Trump is facing primary challenges. It’s ridiculous. They're not going to be successful. But hey, it’s a free country, and if former GOP Gov. Bill Weld, who ran on the Libertarian ticket last year and pretty much encouraged people to vote for Hillary, and Rep. Joe Walsh want to be the dunce cap crew this cycle—then let them. Trump has aptly called these people the “three stooges.” They’re not going to win. President Trump has solid approval ratings among Republican Party members. We have a nominee. We don’t need to waste time depleting money and more importantly, time, on this silly contest. This isn’t Carter in 1980. Let’s get a grip.


And these three are no-names. There’s no money, no exposure, no national constituency with these three would-be challengers. Joe Walsh, Weld, and Sanford cannot win a national election. We already have the war chest filled, the infrastructure set, and the base juiced to re-elect Donald Trump; enough of this circus. The party isn’t stupid. They know this is ridiculous. There is a GOP consensus candidate on who should be the nominee in 2020, and that person is President Donald J. Trump. Arizona recently joined states that are nixing their primary contests because...well, they’re not necessary this year. And this isn’t unprecedented either. Democrats have done it before as well (via The Hill) [emphasis mine]:

The Arizona Republican Party officially canceled its 2020 presidential primary contest on Monday, joining several other state Republican parties.

State Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward confirmed the party's decision in a letter to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs obtained by The Hill.


This is not the first time Arizona has had presidential primaries canceled: the Arizona Democratic Party did not have primaries in 2012 and 1996, when former Presidents Obama and Clinton, respectively, were running for reelection. 

The moves to cancel primaries in several states comes as President Trump faces long-shot primary challenges from former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.).


South Carolina, Nevada, and Kansas are also expected to drop their primary contests as well (via Politico):

Four states are poised to cancel their 2020 GOP presidential primaries and caucuses, a move that would cut off oxygen to Donald Trump’s long-shot primary challengers.

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.

Trump advisers are quick to point out that parties of an incumbent president seeking reelection have a long history of canceling primaries and note it will save state parties money. But the president’s primary opponents, who have struggled to gain traction, are crying foul, calling it part of a broader effort to rig the contest in Trump’s favor.

Rigged? There’s no rigging. Trump is the nominee. He’s the president. He’s the leader of the Republican Party. It’s also noteworthy that buried in this piece is the notion that this isn’t an unprecedented move by the state parties:

The shutdowns aren’t without precedent. Some of the states forgoing Republican nomination contests have done so during the reelection bids of previous presidents. Arizona, GOP officials there recalled, did not hold a Democratic presidential primary in 2012, when Barack Obama was seeking a second term, or in 1996, when Bill Clinton was running for reelection. Kansas did not have a Democratic primary in 1996, and Republican officials in the state pointed out that they have long chosen to forgo primaries during a sitting incumbent’s reelection year.


We don’t have time for this nonsense. We have a tough re-election fight ahead. 

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