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GOP’s cancellation of presidential primaries could blow up in Trump’s face — here’s why

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In recent weeks, Republican state party committees have been moving to cancel presidential primaries to prevent Never-Trump conservatives, like former Reps. Joe Walsh (R-IL) and Mark Sanford (R-SC) and former Gov. Bill Weld (R-MA), from challenging the president from the right. So far, Republicans in Arizona, Kansas, Nevada, and South Carolina have all announced they will scrap the voting process for 2020.

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There is, to be sure, precedent for doing so — both parties have often canceled primaries in certain states when they have an incumbent president running. Moreover, it is understandable that the GOP doesn’t want to tie up too many of its resources on what should be the foregone conclusion of Trump being nominated for a second term, when they will have to face hundreds of millions from the Democratic side in the general election.

But as Gregory Korte wrote in Bloomberg, when the incumbent is as vulnerable as Trump, canceling primaries could actually backfire, and turn the 2020 Republican National Convention into even more of a headache.

The danger is, because the delegates for the states where primaries are canceled would be “unbound,” if some sort of massive scandal occurs in the middle of the primary season, it would actually be easier for delegates in states without primaries to vote against Trump on the convention floor — whereas in states where primaries had taken place, the delegates would still be required to vote for Trump.

“Given Trump’s popularity within the party, it’s unlikely the primaries would make a big difference anyway,” wrote Korte. “But canceling primaries could result in more uncommitted delegates to the Republican National Convention next year, meaning they would not be pledged to Trump and could be less loyal if things go sideways.”

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An additional risk to Trump is that he may actually be boosting the profile of his primary challengers nationwide — something they claim is in fact happening.

“The attempts to stifle competition have backfired,” said Weld. “The Republican Party in Washington is working on voter suppression. I’m working on enlarging the electorate.” Sanford, meanwhile, noted the contradiction of the GOP’s play, saying if Trump was really so popular and strong a candidate, ‘You would take the win. You would take 90 percent all day long, particularly in the first-in-the-South primary.”

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2020 Election

Rising star Warren weathers attacks at Democratic White House debate

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Surging White House hopeful Elizabeth Warren faced a barrage of attacks from fellow Democrats at the party's fourth 2020 debate Tuesday, cementing her status as a frontrunner in the race to challenge Donald Trump.

The president himself loomed large as the dozen Democratic contenders trained their fire on him, calling for his impeachment and assailing a Syria troop pullout that Joe Biden slammed as "shameful."

"The impeachment must go forward," thundered Warren, the progressive senator who is neck and neck with former vice president Biden at the head of the 2020 nomination race -- a stance loudly echoed by her fellow Democrats on stage.

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2020 Election

‘I don’t care’: Watch Kamala Harris shut down Chris Hayes for asking a dumb question about Trump

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Sen. Kamala Harris shut down MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes during a post-debate interview on Tuesday evening.

Hayes questioned Harris about her call for Twitter to follow their terms of service and kick President Donald Trump off of the platform.

"Do you think he puts people’s lives in danger when he targets them in tweets?" Hayes asked.

"Absolutely," Harris replied.

"Do you think he knows that?" Hayes asked.

"Does it matter?" Harris replied.

"The fact is he did it. The fact is that he is irresponsible, he is erratic," she explained. "He is like a 2-year-old with a machine gun."

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2020 Election

Democrats blast Trump and demand his impeachment at CNN debate

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Democratic White House hopefuls united in searing condemnation of Donald Trump during their fourth debate Tuesday, saying the president has broken the law, abused his power, and deserves to be impeached.

From the opening moments, most of the dozen candidates on stage launched fierce broadsides against Trump over the Ukrainian scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

"The impeachment must go forward," said Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is neck and neck with former vice president Joe Biden at the head of the 2020 nominations race.

"Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences," she thundered.

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