Democracy In Action? No, more like Democracy Inaction. The GOP, which once stood for Grand Old Party, has decided not to allow any other republican candidate to run against Donald Trump in 2020. The Republican National Committee (RNC) passed a resolution on Friday that threw their “undivided support” behind Trump, and effectively undercut any other Republicans thinking of running.
The states seem prepared to follow suit. You may remember a post I wrote a few weeks ago about South Carolina planning to cancel the republican primary in that state? Since then, Kansas has also indicated it may cancel the 2020 primary, effectively removing any competition for Trump, and it seems likely that other states will follow suit.
Now, there are two ways one can look at this. One can assume that the Republican Party is so pleased with Trump that they see no reason for him to be challenged by any other republican candidate. Or … one can assume that the Republican Party realizes what an unpopular candidate Trump is, realizes that if a strong, viable candidate challenged Trump for the party nomination Trump would likely lose, and are trying to protect their assets. My vote is for the latter, though don’t hold your breath waiting for them to admit it.
For a number of reasons, most prominently the recent government shutdown, Trump’s popularity has taken a hit and in light of Roger Stone’s recent arrest, Michael Cohen’s planned testimony before Congress next month, and the ongoing Mueller investigation, there is real concern in the GOP that Trump could be vulnerable to a serious challenger, such as Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, or Ohio’s former Governor John Kasich.
Among democrats, one prevailing viewpoint is that if Trump is the default candidate running on the republican ticket, it is good for the democrats, for with his dwindling approval ratings, he is likely to lose. Okay, maybe, but this goes against democratic process, which is designed to give the people a choice. Trump has royally screwed up a number of times, and if the republicans want a different candidate, they should at least be given a choice. My own hope is that if the RNC blocks other potential republicans from running against Trump, then enough republicans will change their party affiliation and perhaps just this once vote for a democrat.
In case you’re wondering if it has ever happened that a sitting president was not nominated by his party for a second term, yes it has. Once. Franklin Pierce, the 14th President, was a democrat, elected in 1852. His pro-Southern sentiments and his policy of failing to lead on the divisive issue of slavery badly hurt his standing with the voters. Especially damaging was his support for the pro-slavery Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which backfired on him as Kansas was overrun by pro-slavery forces, mostly from the slave state of Missouri. The events angered Northerners everywhere and helped lead to the creation of the Republican Party.
When Democratic delegates gathered in Cincinnati, Ohio, for their convention in 1856, it was clear that they had had enough of Pierce. James Buchanan, who had been defeated by Pierce for the nomination four years earlier, won the nomination on the 17th ballot.
My hope is, of course, that Trump is ineligible to run, having already been removed from office, by the time the primaries roll around. Short of that, however, the process of nominating and electing a president is seriously compromised if the RNC is allowed to rob their constituents of a choice, a voice.
Donald Trump, by the way, was quite ecstatic when informed that he might not even have to work to earn the nomination …If I were a republican, I would be incensed to be robbed of my right to choose. The RNC is challenging the very process of fair elections … oh, but wait … they’ve been doing that for a long time with such things as gerrymandering, voter identification laws that are biased against minorities and the poor, and other methods that lead to the disenfranchisement of groups that tend to vote largely democratic. I guess if you can’t win honestly ….