Grassroots voters all along the ideological spectrum agree on at least one thing when it comes to picking presidential candidates: an open primary and caucus process, where party bosses don't game the system to aid their preferred candidate. And, after contemplating a blatant nose-thumbing of that "good government" concept – in order to assure President Trump's re-nomination – Republican Party leaders are signaling they'll leave the rules pretty much alone in 2020.
That's because they are "content that existing bylaws and the president's overwhelming grassroots support are sufficient to stiff-arm any GOP opponents that might emerge," the Washington Examiner reports. (At the same time, at their winter meeting the 168 members of the Republican National Committee may formally signal their enthusiasm for anointing Trump to a second term at next summer's convention in Charlotte.)
A handful of prominent GOP dissidents, including Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and former Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, are quietly assessing their prospects for waging an insurgent challenge – and the party bosses' response suggests they're not much worried for now. (Besides, any signs the party machinery is tipping the scales to the incumbent could undercut a central message of Trump's: that he's an anti-establishment populist whose victory came after besting "rigged" systems in the GOP primary and the general election.)
But other anti-Trump forces are not taking those signals for granted. Defending Democracy Together, a group of conservatives opposed to the president, has launched GOPUnRigged.com to air TV ads this week in the early primary states of New Hampshire and South Carolina, warning that the RNC will rig the nominating system to thwart any challenges to Trump.