Just when South Carolina begins to look relatively sane compared to other states, the GOP comes along and says “hold my beer.”
State Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick said that, although no decision has been made, the party may not bother to hold a presidential primary in 2020.
“The grassroots of the state party, up and down at every level, totally support the president,” he says.
Way to deflect all that criticism about the GOP’s growing authoritarian tendencies.
Now, if Trump has no opposition for the Republican nomination in 2020, this is not a problem. The Dems didn’t have a primary in 1996 and 2012 — but only because President Clinton and President Obama ran unopposed in their own party.
The chances of Trump getting such a pass grow slimmer each day.
If Trump runs for re-election, which is a bigger if than many people realize, you can bet at least one literate, non-horrifying candidate will get into the race.
Cough — John Kasich — cough.
Should South Carolina opt to not hold a primary with legitimate challengers in the running, it will look like nothing more than a ploy to protect Dear Leader and his fragile ego.
It would also make South Carolina look like a banana republic — and not the kind that sells khakis.
How’s the support now?
State Sen. Sandy Senn says the party shouldn’t shelter any candidate, even a sitting president.
And she’s absolutely right.
“They presume we all think alike!” she says.
Yes, or they’re just hopelessly sycophantic, which is apparently how the president likes it.
But the fact is, Republicans don’t all think alike, not even remotely.
The latest poll out of Winthrop University showed Trump with about an 80 percent approval among Republican voters. That is quite healthy, but far from unanimous.
And remember, that poll was taken before:
Wall Street suffered its worst week in a decade.
A federal judge sentencing former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn suggested he was a traitor to his country who should be charged with treason for conspiring with a foreign government
Secretary of Defense James Mattis — the last adult in the room — resigned because he could no longer take the chaos and bonehead moves of this administration.
Trump shut down the government in a temper tantrum over his southern border wall, which polls show a majority of Americans don’t want.
And the president ignored advice from the U.S. military and called for a withdrawal of troops from Syria, which prompted even Fox News to accuse Trump of re-founding ISIS.
But he did make Vladimir Putin happy, which may have been the point.
That’s just one week.
At this point, it would be a miracle if someone else didn’t run for the Republican nomination in 2020.
Come on, comrades ...
In fairness, the South Carolina Republican Party executive committee has taken no vote on the 2020 primary and, according to some members, has never discussed canceling it.
But McKissick speaks for the party, and he should know better than to suggest such lunacy. That’s just one step away from skipping the national election because, you know, everyone just loves the president.
He’s said so himself.
Stifling opposition is the modus operandi of communist strongholds like Russia and North Korea — you know, places with leaders that Trump apparently admires (obviously, he has never watched “Doctor Zhivago”).
At the rate this administration is careening off the tracks, it’s not unreasonable to guess that even Nikki Haley might choose to run in 2020.
Does South Carolina really want to not hold a primary with a native daughter, and former governor, in the race? Of course not. McKissick obviously just doesn’t want South Carolina to possibly tell the emperor that he is wearing no clothes, and losing support.
Otherwise his anointed candidate wouldn’t have lost the 1st Congressional District, which has an 11-point Republican advantage.
Anything that smacks of rigging the game is going to hurt Republicans in the long run. Senn correctly notes that malarkey like this will send middle-of-the-road voters running for the Democratic Party.
So the state GOP would do well to nip this in the bud and announce its plans for a 2020 presidential primary, sooner rather than later. Make South Carolina (relatively) Sane Again.
Otherwise, this looks exactly like what it is: People with first-world problems turning South Carolina into a third-world country.
Reach Brian Hicks at email@example.com.