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Republicans are about to implement a Donald Trump loyalty test inside its central party committee, the latest move to gauge fealty to the de facto party leader that could potentially kill the next presidential nominee’s chance to reach voters.

The Republican National Committee is poised to amend its party rules during its winter meeting in Salt Lake City next month to demand any contenders for the presidential nomination pledge to skip general-election debates sponsored by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, the New York Times reported yesterday. The group has organized the televised sessions dating to 1988 and drawn Trump’s scorn since 2016 for its perceived biases. Any candidate who does not comply could lose the RNC’s support.
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The test isn’t one just for the candidates themselves, who would have to promise that, if voters choose them as the nominee, they’ll stick to the plan aimed solely at appeasing Trump. The move is curiously ironic, given Trump very well might be the nominee anyway. Each of the 168 members of the RNC will have to go on the record in the vote on the matter in February on whether they side with Trump’s contempt of the obscure panel or to keep the party chasing every possible voter in elections that have historically been decided at the margins.

The vote sets up a self-purging of the RNC, a byzantine organization with complicated rules but one that nevertheless controls much of the mechanics of how the party picks—and sustains—its nominee. Unlike a normal general election, the RNC has fairly unilateral control over who gets to debate during the primaries, where the debates are held and what news orgs get to ask the questions. An RNC that puts its thumb on the scales can essentially shut-out unfavored candidates—or effectively throw the nomination to Trump if its members decide to be shameless. And if you don’t think a party’s apparatchiks can interfere with an election, just ask Hillary Clinton’s ill-gotten delegates from Florida and Michigan, states that defied the Democratic National Committee in 2008 by jumping the line with their primaries and ended up stripped of half of their delegates as penance.

For the general, the major parties can always …read more

Source:: Time – Politics


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Echoing Trump, GOP Threatens to Pull Out of Presidential Debates

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