This week, Wisconsin Republicans moved to try and squelch internal opposition to President Donald Trump via attempting to keep challengers Joe Walsh and Bill Weld off the ballot for the primary election that will be held there on April 7. In a meeting with state elections officials in which figures from both major parties formally submitted names for the ballot, state Republicans only submitted Trump’s name, despite the declared candidacies of Walsh and Weld, both of whom have previous experience as elected officials. The gambit well symbolizes just how comprehensively that Trump represents the GOP as a whole, gross belligerence and all.
There’s still a chance for Weld and Walsh to get on the ballot for the Republican presidential primary in the state. To overcome their dismissal by the state party, they’d each have to get 8,000 signatures by January 28.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
‘Andrew Hitt, chairman of the state Republican Party, said the GOP committee members chose to exclude Weld and Walsh because they haven’t been active in Wisconsin, they haven’t gotten onto ballots in other states and their campaigns didn’t so much as contact the Wisconsin party until Monday. Trump’s campaign, in contrast, has been working in close conjunction with them, he said.’
Neither Walsh nor Weld have made significant progress in their attempts to erode Trump’s coalition. The most recently listed poll on RealClearPolitics has Trump with a solid 90 percent of the support of those surveyed. In contrast, Walsh and Weld both got 5 percent of the support — which isn’t exactly a recipe for a winning effort against Trump. In the two polls before that one, Walsh and Weld each got just 2 percent of the support of those polled. At one point, there was a third primary challenger, former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, but he dropped out after also failing to make waves.
In contrast, the Democratic presidential primary field remains lively. This week, Wisconsin state Democrats submitted a full 14 candidates to state elections officials for inclusion on the ballot, including some longshot names like former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, both of whom currently poll with an average of six percent or less of the support. Most polling measuring possible general election match-ups has all leading Democratic presidential primary candidates beating Trump.
In the meantime, other state Republican parties have already taken their own significant steps to consolidate their party behind Trump. Across the country, half a dozen states and counting including Kansas, Alaska, South Carolina, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii have all decided to completely cancel their state primary elections and give all their convention delegates to Trump. Virginia has taken an effectively similar step and decided to forego the primary in favor of a presidential candidate selection at the state party convention, although there’s not really a question that the chosen candidate will be Trump.
Ahead of 2020, Trump is continuing to run his campaign on his long established vitriol and hate for everyone from immigrants to his political opponents, while the country continues to suffer the side effects.