Boston, MA– Last week, the Massachusetts Republican Party approved a new plan for assigning state delegates to the 2020 Republican National Convention. Politico reports that instead of assigning a proportional number of delegates to all of the Republican primary candidates for president, this year, if a candidate gets more than 50% of the vote in the Massachusetts primary, they will be awarded 100% of the state’s delegates.
This move will shield President Trump from any serious primary challenge by the only other Republican to announce a run so far, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld. As a popular former governor, Weld might have won a decent number of delegates in the state.
MassGOP Chair Jim Lyons, elected in January this year, said that the new delegate assignment rule will help to focus voter attention on local elections to the state senate and house. "We want to keep the emphasis on trying to protect all of our elected officials in the Statehouse and to trying to add more seats in the Legislature. Local town committees will be more focused on trying to elect state representatives and state senators."
Two members of the Republican state committee spoke out against the rule, but many more spoke in support of the change. Interestingly, the new rule would not have benefited Trump in the Massachusetts 2016 primary. He didn’t quite get an outright majority, with 49.3% of the primary vote (22 delegates), followed by John Kasich at 18% (8 delegates), and Marco Rubio with 17.9% (8 delegates).
The Massachusetts GOP seems confident that Trump will get more than 50% of the vote in the state’s 2020 primary election, but it would be kind of hilarious if this backfired. Should we all change our party affiliation to Republican so we can vote Weld in the primary? Tempting… But then if I ran for President someday, I’d have to explain why I switched parties back and forth all the time, and that would make me basically unelectab--- oh. Nevermind.
In all seriousness, it seems highly unlikely that Weld could win a majority in Massachusetts’ primary election next year. In New Hampshire, Trump is leading with Republican voters at 72% to Weld’s 17%, according to a poll by Suffolk University and The Boston Globe.
Politico points out that if other states follow Massachusetts’ example and make a similar rule that assigns all delegates to the majority winner, Weld would not have much impact at all at next summer’s Republican National Convention.
Weld will attempt to appeal to more moderate conservatives and independents who are tired of Trump’s incoherent bluster and bold-faced lies. It will be a shame if we don’t get to hear much from Weld at the GOP convention. His criticisms of Trump are on point: “Insulting our allies, eroding our military alliances abroad, cozying up to dictators—there’s no limit to the damage that can be done.” Agreed, Mr. Weld.
Image via Flickr / Gage Skidmore