It takes a big man to stand up to his enemies, and a bigger one to stand up to his friends Albus Dumbledore
Well, that’s like, a total bummer, man. Here I was, all ready to settle in for some cheap post holiday entertainment in 2020, circa 2016, GOP eyeball gouging and groin kneeing between Donald Trump, Joe Walsh, Mark Sanford, and William Weld. But it appears now that this will be just one more in a long line of unfulfilled fantasies in my life. This injustice will not stand, man. The Dude will not abide!
According to new reporting in Politico, in meetings later this week, four states, South Carolina, Kansas, Nevada, and Arizona will finalize plans to entirely scrap any plans for presidential GOP primaries in those states, handing the state delegates to Trump by default, and making any serious primary challenge to his renomination even more remote. Trump advisers are quick to point out that the party of incumbent presidents regularly forego the primary process for renomination, but what they kind of sweep under the rug is that it normally occurs when the incumbent president isn’t facing any declared opposition.
If you look closely, you may notice a kind of a common thread there. In 2018, South Carolina elected a Democrat to congress when a Trumpista defeated incumbent Mark Sanford in the primary. Arizona, which Trump narrowly won, elected a Democrat to fill Jeff Flake’s vacant seat. Nevada gave the Denver boot to GOP incumbent Dean Heller in 2018 and Kansas elected a Democratic Governor as well as a Native American, lesbian, MMA fighter to congress, flipping a seat long held by the GOP. All of these are states in which Trump may have been expected to show possible weakness in a primary battle.
Now, to be sure, it is the individual states, and not the RNC that controls state primaries, so no outside interference by the White House can necessarily be inferred. You might remember that I recently wrote an article in which I reminded everybody that South Carolina had actually threatened to take this action just about 9 months ago, and now it appears that others are following suit.
Let’s be clear here, I have trouble in conceiving that any of Trump’s challengers could pull off taking a single state in a primary, with the possible exception of Weld in New Hampshire or Massachusetts. But one can only imagine that these individual states internal polling must have shown enough weakness for Trump that the states were loath to risk embarrassing him with a challenger logging an unacceptable percentage of a primary vote.
This has got to be the single most pathetic show of emotional insecurity I have ever witnessed. Sweet Jesus, Gerald Ford, who wasn’t even duly elected as President, but replaced President Sneaky when he took it on the lam, damn near ended up in a floor fight at the RNC convention in 1976 against Reagan, but he went through the process. It shows the stunning weakness of character that Donald Trump possesses, that he doesn’t even have to tell these states anything, they just instinctively know that he will be upset by any less than shining results from their state primaries, and take the necessary steps to appease his childish ego.
This is a PR nightmare for the GOP and RNC, and should be an abject humiliation for Trump. Whether he ordered it or not, the simple fact that Trump’s insecurity is rampant enough that state parties automatically knew to take steps to protect him should make him hang his head in shame. And for the GOP writ large, this is a prime example that the actual Republican party no longer exists as an independent organization, it is nothing more than three initials on letterhead.
This cannot end well for Trump or the GOP. “Soft” GOP voters, who may have been on the fence for Trump, will not take well to being dragooned into voting for Trump by having their choice taken away. And Democrats should ballyhoo this to the stars, reminding everybody within earshot that Donald Trump is not necessarily the popular choice of Republicans to be on the presidential ballot in 2020, he is there by imperial fiat. His imperial fiat.
It will be interesting as the week wears on to see if these states actually go through with their plans, and if they do, if and how many other states copycat them in their quest to assuage Glorious Bleater. But at least Mark Sanford, William Weld, and Joe Walsh can just take their ball and go on back home. Baby Donald isn’t gong to come out and play.