- The Washington Times - Monday, October 7, 2019

The Trump campaign boasted Monday it’s worked behind the scenes to bind state-by-state delegates to the president, saying they want the GOP convention in North Carolina to be a “four-day television commercial” for reelection and not a debate among party activists.

Campaign officials argued that over the past century, presidents who failed to secure reelection neglected the nuts and bolts of the delegate process. They also chafed at suggestions the effort was designed to stamp out a trio of primary challengers, arguing they pose little threat and that GOP support for President Trump is at a historic high.

“The rules of the party now reflect adequately the will of the voters in the president’s party,” a campaign official said. “This is not being done from a position of weakness.”

Trump campaign officials cited dozens of states that have passed “winner-take-all” rules binding their delegates to the top vote-getter in primaries — or, at least, changes that will more accurately reflect the share of votes received.

They said under 2016 rules, for instance, a candidate who received only 6% of the GOP vote in Massachusetts could have amassed nearly 25%, or 10 out of 41, delegates.

Now “that will no longer be the case,” a campaign official said, because the state decided to dole out its delegates more proportionately.

The campaign said a properly executed convention is the single-most important thing the GOP can do to launch Mr. Trump’s sprint to November.

It wants to have Mr. Trump sparring with Democrats from Jan. 1 of the 2020 election year, rather than from Labor Day. And it wants to stave off chicanery on the floor in Charlotte, where Republicans will gather for their convention in August.

“We care about ensuring a predetermined outcome,” a campaign official said.

Mr. Trump is a consummate showman who frequently touts his support from within the party, so pushback at the high-profile convention wouldn’t be a good look for the sitting president. He’ll also want to avoid a repeat of 2016, when delegates voiced opposition to Mr. Trump from the floor.

The president gave his campaign a head start on herding delegates by announcing his reelection bid right after inauguration. He hasn’t stopped campaign since then, really, and amassed a huge fundraising head start on his potential Democratic foes.

The president is staring down an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats, however, and three GOP candidates have launched long-shot primary challenges — former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, former Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois and former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

Four states moved to cancel their GOP primaries, prompting the trio to accuse the Trump campaign of “weakness.”

The Trump campaign said the canceled primaries have been overblown, and that securing rule changes across the country is “certainly more impactful than the cancellations.”

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