Wednesday, January 02, 2019


We're all talking about Mitt Romney's op-ed (and his possible plans for 2020), and now the Washington Examiner is reporting this:
Mitt Romney’s scorching critique of President Trump in a New Year’s Day op-ed has sparked a call from within the Republican National Committee to change party rules to protect Trump from any long-shot primary challenge in 2020....

[RNC committeeman Jevon O.A.] Williams wants the RNC to change the rules, endorse Trump and declare him the de-facto nominee, heading off any primary challenge.
This isn't the first suggestion by Republicans that their own voters should be deprived of the opportunity to endorse (or not endorse) Trump's candidacy for reelection:
Last month, a torrent of criticism followed after the Washington Examiner reported that the South Carolina Republican Party might cancel its 2020 primary for president to preserve Trump’s standing.
And on the Friday before Christmas, the Examiner noted other efforts -- so far unsuccessful -- to limit primary and caucus voting in 2020:
In addition to South Carolina Republicans mulling the cancellation of their primary, Trump allies in New Hampshire are pushing the state GOP there to amend its bylaws so that it could formally endorse the president. The New Hampshire GOP’s state committee, about 500 activists, is set to vote on this proposal in late January.

Most party insiders in New Hampshire expect it to fail because of a desire to preserve New Hampshire’s unique role the “first in the nation” primary....

That’s ultimately the route the Iowa GOP decided to go. After grappling with whether to endorse Trump and cancel its 2020 presidential caucus, the party decided it was more important to protect Iowa’s status as the host of the first nominating contest on the presidential calendar.
But those states are deeply invested in their nominating contests. It won't surprise me if other states decide to declare Trump their Lord and Master by acclamation, voters be damned.

If Trump is the best Republican candidate, why the fear?
“Look, the political history is clear. No Republican president opposed for re-nomination has ever won re-election,” RNC committeeman Jevon O.A. Williams said in a email obtained by the Washington Examiner.
But that's not true. Sure, Pat Buchanan challenged George H.W. Bush in 1992 and Bush went on to lose, but Richard Nixon faced a couple of challengers in 1972 -- Pete McCloskey from the left and John Ashbrook from the right -- who combined for nearly 30% of the vote in the New Hampshire primary. Nixon went on to trounce them in subsequent contests, and then won 49 states in November. There's no reason to think that Romney or John Kasich or Ben Sasse or Jeff Flake would do any better than McCloskey and Ashbrook (especially if more than one of them ran). And if Trump is as vulnerable next year as Bush was in '92, why do Republicans want him running for reelection anyway?

(I don't think any challenger would lay a glove on Trump, but running for the Republican nomination was one of the few things he's done well in his political career, so if you're a Trump fan, why wouldn't you want him insulting and then vanquishing another primary field?)

For all the complaints about how the Democratic establishment put its thumb on the scale for Hillary Clinton in 2016, no one actually tried to cancel any voting. But this is the modern GOP we're talking about -- as David Frum wrote, "If conservatives become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy." Substitute "Trumpists" for "conservatives," and I guess that's true even within their own party.

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