In one of the most disappointing, anti-democratic displays of subservience to a powerful politician we have ever seen, the leader of the South Carolina Republican Party (SCGOP) said this week he was considering cancelling the 2020 “First in the South” presidential primary to protect U.S. president Donald Trump.
Drew McKissick – who is midway through his first term as party chairman – said he does not anticipate Trump drawing a GOP challenger in 2020, but he made it clear the party is willing to take whatever action might be necessary to protect the president’s path to renomination.
“We have complete autonomy and flexibility in either direction,” McKissick told reporter David M. Drucker of 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.”
Wow … we knew Trump was big in South Carolina, but big enough to cancel the entire primary?
This news outlet endorsed Trump during the 2016 “First in the South” presidential primary – and again in the 2016 general election against Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, we believe the forty-fifth president has failed to live up to his promises on spending cuts, tax reform, the nomination of pro-life judges and his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexican border – although to his credit he is belatedly fighting to get funding for a section of the wall included in the latest stopgap Washington, D.C. spending bill.
You know … the wall Mexico was supposed to pay for.
Anyway, in light of these mission critical failures, “there is no way in hell we will be endorsing him again in 2020” we wrote earlier this week.
Notwithstanding our views on his presidency, Trump continues to enjoy near-monolithic support in early-voting South Carolina – which has chosen the eventual GOP nominee in all but one primary dating back to 1980. Recent polls show him drawing the support of nearly 90 percent of the Palmetto State’s Republican electorate, meaning any GOP candidate looking to knock him off in the Palmetto State faces – at this point, anyway – an all-but-insurmountable climb.
Will anyone undertake such an arduous undertaking?
So far, Ohio governor John Kasich – a fiscal liberal who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2016 – is the only establishment Republican seriously considering a bid, but the floodgates could open on a dime based on Trump’s various, um, “issues.”
Not surprisingly, Kasich strategist John Weaver took a dim view of McKissick’s bid to preemptively shut down the voting.
“Not exactly a sign of strength,” Weaver told us. “That smell in the air is one of fear.”
Weaver later tweeted that Trump’s reelection campaign was “running in circles.”
The “First in the South” Republican primary has been canceled before – twice, actually. In 2004, former president George W. Bush was virtually unopposed in his bid for a second term in office – prompting GOP officials to call off the balloting. Similarly, in 1984 former president Ronald Reagan went all-but-unchallenged in his bid for a second term and the Palmetto State primary was not held.
On the Democratic side, the “First in the South” primary was scrapped for Bill Clinton in 1996 and again for Barack Obama in 2012.
Neither of those candidates faced credible opposition, either.
What do you think? Should South Carolina Republicans scuttle their primary to help Trump? Vote in our poll and post your thoughts in our comments section below …
Should the SCGOP call off the 2020 "First in the South" presidential primary?
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