The Alaska Republican Party will not hold a presidential primary, The New York Times reports.
In a statement released on Saturday, the party’s State Central Committee explained that it had officially passed a rule which states that a primary “would serve no useful purpose” because a Republican is in the White House.
Primaries in Kansas, South Carolina, and Nevada have already been canceled, seemingly shielding President Donald Trump from his challengers, including former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, Tea Party conservative Mark Sanford, and former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh.
Although it is not unusual for the party of the incumbent to cancel primaries, the decisions have irked Trump critics on the right, as well as his primary challengers.
The strategy could be somewhat risky, according to Bloomberg, since it is putting the spotlight on insurgent candidates.
This was noted by Weld, who claims that his campaign has intensified.
“The attempts to stifle competition have backfired,” he said, adding that the GOP in Washington is also “working on voter suppression.”
“I’m working on enlarging the electorate,” he argued, pointing out that the GOP’s decision has reignited interest in his campaign, even prompting cable news producers to book him on popular shows.
As Bloomberg notes, primary challengers have historically not meant good news for incumbent presidents, and no modern president has managed to win re-election after having to fight off a serious primary challenge.
For instance, in 1992, Republican incumbent George H. W. Bush lost to Democrat Bill Clinton in the general election, largely because of the fact that fellow republican Pat Buchanan had wounded him in the primary race, exposing voters to his perceived weaknesses pertaining to economy and taxation.
According to Sanford, the cancellations are a sign of weakness and cast serious doubt on Trump’s claims that he is one of the most popular Republican presidents ever, raising questions about the real strength of his support.
“It suggests that someone looking at the numbers is concerned, and that his support is a mile wide and an inch deep,” he said.
While it remains to be seen whether any of the primary challengers will manage to damage Trump despite the GOP’s actions, the numbers are clear and suggest that Trump is indeed exceptionally popular among Republicans.
According to Gallup, for instance, around 90 percent of Republicans momentarily approve of Trump, and his approval rating has seldom dropped below 80 percent.
Unlike the Republican, the Democratic primary field is crowded, but the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has suggested that it will shrink soon.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the DNC is expected to tighten debate requirements, and by the end of 2019, the field could narrow down to just a few candidates. Former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts remain the front-runners.