States shouldn’t cancel party primaries

By

Opinion

October 7, 2019 - 9:54 AM

Moves by Republican organizers in four states to cancel party primaries and rubber-stamp the 2020 renomination of President Donald Trump smacks of cowardice among Trump-supporting party officials. What are they afraid of? More to the point, if there was ever a time when party rank and file needed the opportunity to change course, this is it.

Primaries are party functions, and it’s neither unprecedented nor unconstitutional for state parties to cancel them. Both parties have done it at times, generally when an incumbent president from that party is running for reelection without significant internal dissatisfaction or challenge. South Carolina Republicans, for example, canceled primaries in 1984 and 2004 to clear the way for the second-term renomination of, respectively, presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

South Carolina is among at least four states (with Kansas, Nevada and Arizona) where Republicans are canceling next year’s GOP primaries, officially supporting Trump’s second-term renomination without allowing party voters to have a say.

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