Joe Walsh Op-Ed for The Wall Street Journal: Republicans Suppress Their Own Voters
Eight state parties have canceled 2020 contests or limited them to Trump.
The Georgia and North Carolina Republican parties decided this week that Donald Trump will be the only name on their 2020 presidential primary ballots, and they aren’t alone. The Minnesota Republican Party pulled the same move a few weeks ago, and earlier the parties in South Carolina, Arizona, Kansas, Nevada and Alaska canceled their nominating contests outright. The party is disenfranchising GOP voters in eight states—so far.
The Republican Party apparatus has been bound to one man through power plays and intimidation. Since Mr. Trump was elected, 40 Republican state party chairmen have turned over. The party’s leadership is unrecognizable from what it was before Mr. Trump.
The president’s record staff turnover—high-profile departures like chief of staff Reince Priebus, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, national security adviser John Bolton and Energy Secretary Rick Perry —also reflects his disregard for anyone who disagrees with him. Ten members have departed his cabinet, more than any other first-term president since Gerald Ford, and Mr. Trump isn’t even through his third year.
Retribution for defying Mr. Trump extends to elected officials. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has drawn threats of a primary challenger for appointing Kelly Loeffler to the U.S. Senate rather than Mr. Trump’s recommendation. That’s one reason 32 congressional Republicans decided to retire in 2018, and 22 so far say they will in 2020.
The Republican Party effectively no longer exists. It’s been stolen from its longtime supporters, donors, volunteers, voters, members and elected representatives. The Party has been overrun and forced to abandon its principles of limited government, free trade and a strong national defense.
For many Republican voters their only options are no options except for the one the party bosses have chosen. The new class of party bosses won’t allow challenges, won’t allow dissent, won’t allow other voices. Apparently even Republicans voters can’t be trusted enough to choose a presidential candidate.
It shouldn’t have to be said, but I’ll say it anyway: This shouldn’t happen in America. We should never cancel elections. No wonder young voters are turning away from the Republican Party. Mr. Trump said he was going to drain the swamp, but instead he’s destroying the Republican Party from the inside.
Political parties and primaries should be about fostering competition to nominate candidates preferred by the voters of that party. But today’s Republican Party demands fealty to Donald Trump, instead of fealty to core beliefs and principles.
I intend to do whatever I can to reverse what the GOP bosses have done in these eight states, but here’s hoping Republican voters realize it and rise up against this un-American action.