Republicans who opposed the now-inevitable presidential nomination of Donald Trump are pushing for new rules that would hinder the rise of a similar candidate in the future.
Donald Trump performed particularly well in states with open primaries—that is, contests where Democrats and independents could also cast votes. Trump’s chief rival, Ted Cruz, did well in states with closed primaries, where only registered Republicans can participate.
Cruz’s supporters are now spearheading an effort to limit state primaries to registered Republicans only, and hope to solidify their plan at the party’s national convention in Cleveland this July. It’s an idea with support from party top brass. “I believe that only Republicans should vote in Republican primaries,” RNC chairman Reince Priebus told Politico last Friday (May 6).
It’s not hard to see why party establishment types would favor closed elections. Outsider candidates like Trump and Bernie Sanders have thrived in states where independents and non-party members were permitted to vote.
“We now have a progressive, Trojan horse candidate that manipulated the open primary process to hijack the GOP nomination,” said Kendal Unruh, a GOP activist who will sit on the Convention Rules Committee that will set terms for the 2020 election, in an interview with Politico. “If you’re not a Republican, then you can wait for the general. Democrats shouldn’t have a role in choosing our nominee,” her colleague on the committee, Guy Short, added.