Trump campaign officials insist that rigging the GOP primary is not a show of weakness heading into the 2020 election.
Trump campaign officials stressed to reporters on Monday that attempts to alter the rules of the 2020 Republican primary to ensure Trump won't face any opposition should be viewed as a show of strength, and certainly not weakness, according to several outlets.
For months, Republicans in several states have changed the rules of the primary — or canceled the nominating contest altogether — in order to insulate Trump from any possible challenge. South Carolina and Nevada are among states to cancel primaries, while states like Michigan and Massachusetts changed their rules to make it harder for any other Republican to earn delegates at the 2020 Republican convention.
Overall, 37 states changed the rules of their nominating process to make it all-but-certain that Trump will win all or nearly all the delegates.
"This is not done from a position of weakness," campaign officials, who refused to be identified, insisted on the call. "The rule changes reflect the strength of this standing."
For example, Michigan raised the percentage of votes a candidate must receive in order to gain any delegates from 15% to 20%. Further, all state delegates will be awarded to a candidate if he or she receives more than 50% of the vote.
Three high-profile Republicans have launched campaigns to challenge Trump for the nomination: former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, and former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh.
The Trump campaign officials both dismissed the candidacy of each of these men, saying "We don't pay any mind to the guys trying to run in the primary," while at the same time changing the rules in almost every state to ensure Trump won't be embarrassed next year in Charlotte, North Carolina, by delegates voting for another candidate.
The attempt to protect Trump from any dissent within the party may hit a snag, as former Rep. Bob Inglis, a Republican from South Carolina, filed a lawsuit against the state Republican Party for canceling the primary.
The lawsuit was filed because "the cancellation of the primary by a small handful of party insiders denied me — and every other South Carolina Republican — our voice in defining what the Republican Party is and who it supports," Inglis said in a statement.
Rather than listen to the will of Republican voters, Trump campaign officials are more concerned about "ensuring a predetermined outcome at the convention," officials told reporters. The ultimate goal is a "four-day advertisement for the president and not an internal debate among activists."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.