In 2020, Republican voters in Kansas won’t have a say in who will represent their party in the presidential election. On Sept. 6, the Kansas Republican Party released a statement via Twitter explaining there will be no organized delegate selection process in the state. The statement suggested the state party will adopt a resolution “instructing all delegates to vote for the elected incumbent.” Of course, we all know who that elected incumbent is.
President Donald Trump has about as good of a chance of winning the Democratic nomination as he does of losing the Republican nod, but conservatives in Kansas should be alarmed by this blatant act of disrespect to America’s democratic process by party leaders.
Kansas, like all states, serves a function within the federal democracy, a function beyond fast tracking a controversial incumbent who secured only 23.3% of the vote in the 2016 Kansas Caucus. Ted Cruz won the 2016 Kansas Caucus with 48.2% of the vote in a large field of candidates, a clear rejection of Donald Trump’s candidacy.
This is a massive misstep by Kansas Republicans. The party simply needed to do nothing, and the end result of nominating Trump would have been achieved. Instead, the party has become a national embarrassment, alienated Kansas voters and has painted itself as the president’s weak errand boy.
As the saying goes: Democrats fall in love. Republicans fall in line.
Donald Trump is facing primary challengers. However, they are merely protest candidates who should not be feared. It doesn’t take a political scientist to figure as much. So, why did Kansas Republicans make this move? Simply put, “Trumpism” has taken full control of the Republican party, and it no longer has any interest in the long-standing, traditional conservative values that built the Sunflower State.
Instead, the party (at both the state and national levels) has decided that conservative voters in Kansas, whom I know to be good people, are to be exploited in the pursuit of reviving nationalism and bolstering corporate welfare while stifling their voices during the nomination process. For many young conservative voters, this will be the lasting first impression that will be remembered for the rest of their lives.
The United States democracy is sacred yet delicate. It is taken for granted, and most Americans don’t often think of the turbulent, grim histories of the Civil War, World War II or the Cuban Missile Crisis. Threats to our democracy are real and present. The Republican party’s cavalier attitude towards its preservation is dangerous and unpatriotic.
One can only hope that in the future, the Kansas Republican Party won’t be afraid of an open exchange of ideas in the form of free and fair elections.
Elijah Southwick is a senior from Overland Park studying English and journalism.