OPINION: Washington should not bypass Republican caucus

Everyone should have chance to vote for their representation of choice



Though President Trump may currently be leading the polls by a landslide for Republican voters, that doesn’t mean all right-leaning voters support him. Every voter should have a voice.

GUS WATERS, Evergreen columnist

The 2020 Republican caucus in Washington should not be canceled because it would steal the unique political voice it has to offer.

Nevada, Kansas and South Carolina have opted to cancel their Republican caucuses, according to CBS. Delegates from these three states are given to whatever candidate the individual state’s branch of the Republican party chooses.

The reasoning behind the canceling of their caucuses makes some sense. It saves money for the state, and President Donald Trump losing the Republican caucus “[is] highly unlikely” said Cornell Clayton, a WSU professor who specializes in democratic political institutions.

It is true that Trump is almost certain to win the Republican caucus of 2020 given his sky-high approval rating of 88 percent among Republicans, according to Gallup.

However, there is still plenty of time between now and Feb. 3, the beginning of the Republican caucus. Given the current situation with impeachment and the ongoing economic effects of the trade war, it isn’t certain Trump can maintain his current approval among Republicans.

If the Washington state Republican caucus were to be held today, Trump would win in a landslide, and with this in mind, it may make sense to cancel the caucus. But if we were to cancel the caucus based on current data, only to find out that four months from now Trump had lost ground among Republicans, it would deprive voters in Washington of a crucial chance to have their voice heard.

“Personally, I’m not a big fan of the cancelling of the caucuses, but it’s historically a precedent,” College Republicans President Blaine Ross said.
Both Bush and Obama had caucuses cancelled as part of their re-election campaign.

Giving dissenting voices a platform is a critical component of democracy, and Clayton notes that even in times where one candidate is almost assured of winning, having a caucus enables the party to have a debate about the direction that they’re headed.

Whitman County has a unique opinion to give in the debate about the direction that the Republican party is taking.

“Our state representatives are quite conservative. If you look at how Whitman County voted in the last presidential election or in the last congressional election, they tend to be a bit more liberal,” Clayton said.

If the Republican caucus were to be cancelled it would silence those voices. Farmers in Whitman wouldn’t be able to voice their displeasure at his tariffs that hurt agriculture, fiscal conservatives couldn’t bring up the more than $22 trillion debt and Trump supporters couldn’t directly vote for their candidate of choice.

Trump undeniably has many accomplishments. He has had nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea, presided over the lowest unemployment in 50 years and oversaw the recapturing of vast swaths of ISIS territory.

At the same time, he has done some utterly un-Republican things. It was the Republican Teddy Roosevelt who stood against big business and for the livelihood of worker. Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower stood for civil rights when he sent troops to integrate schools in Arkansas. Republican Ronald Reagan paid reparations to Japanese who had been interned in WWII.

Trump does not embody those values that the Republican party once championed.

Republicans in Washington need to have a serious debate about the direction their party is headed.