Minnesota Voter Challenging Republican ‘Soviet-Style’ Primary Ballot With Donald Trump As Only Choice

Donald Trump appears at a rally in Louisiana.
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A Minnesota voter has filed a legal challenge against the state Republican Party’s ballot for next year’s presidential primary. That primary has President Donald Trump as the only choice, which the voter calls a “Soviet-style” election.

As the Star-Tribune reported, a small business owner named Jim Martin has filed a lawsuit opposing the party’s decision not to put any other candidates on the ballot. Minnesota is one of a number of states that have moved to restrict the 2020 Republican primary, throwing support behind Trump despite facing challengers seeking to win the nomination.

“I want to be in an American election,” Martin, an independent voter who has also accused the Democratic Party of keeping candidates of their ballot, told the Star Tribune. “It’s something that sets us apart from the world.”

Martin pointed out that Trump donated $50,000 to the Republican National Committee, and on the same day the RNC gave money to Minnesota’s Republican party, which he sees as a potential sign of malfeasance. The state party denied that there was any connection between the donations.

The Minnesota Republican Party has stood by its decision, with chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan saying that her responsibility is to get Trump re-elected.

A number of Republicans have come forward with plans to challenge Trump, including former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Congressman Joe Walsh. They have said that Republican voters deserve a choice about who to represent the party, noting that many are opposed to Trump.

Their path to the nomination appears almost impossible. As Politico noted, the Republican Party has taken efforts to scrap primaries and pave the way for Trump to serve as the party’s candidate again in 2020. As the report noted, Republicans in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and Kansas were expected to cancel their primaries altogether and pledge support to Trump.

Walsh was among those speaking out against the move to cancel the primaries.

“Trump and his allies and the Republican National Committee are doing whatever they can do to eliminate primaries in certain states and make it very difficult for primary challengers to get on the ballot in a number of states,” Walsh said. “It’s wrong, the RNC should be ashamed of itself, and I think it does show that Trump is afraid of a serious primary challenge because he knows his support is very soft.”

The Minnesota Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Martin’s lawsuit on January 9. The Minnesota Republican Party said it would not be able to print new ballots by the time early voting starts on January 17 if it loses the lawsuit.