The Republican National Committee is being criticized for announcing that it will be holding no debates and no primaries for the upcoming GOP Presidential nomination process. That means, naturally, that the Republicans are planning on re-nominating President Donald J. Trump, as they should.
Every one-term President should be presented to the American people for their verdict regarding whether they want him to continue after four years in office. Since that is the case, there is no justification for holding a competition for the nomination that wastes time, money, and creates division in the party.
In the 21st Century, a sitting President seeking a second term will be renominated. The last time a President who wanted to serve a second term was denied the nomination was in 1884, when the Republican Party denied the nomination to President Chester A. Arthur, and a) he had not been elected (as Vice -President, he became President when Garfield died from the incompetent medical treatment he received for what should have been a non-lethal bullet wound and b) was dying anyway. Since then, no sitting President who wanted to continue in office has been denied the chance to try.
Those who oppose Trump and want to see him gone, mostly Democrats but also the GOP NeverTrumpers, want the President primaried because there is a prominent theory that this weakens a re-election effort. Both George H. W. Bush and Carter had to run in primaries, and both lost their re-election bids, though in both cases I think they would have probably lost anyway. Primary losses also persuaded President Lyndon Johnson to withdraw his candidacy and not run for re-election in 1968.
The RNC passed a resolution pledging “undivided support” for the President, which means that the only announced competitor for the nomination thus far, pseudo-Republican William Weld, will have to go door to door, or something.
There are other good reasons not to make a President fight for renomination. A campaign takes time away from the job of governing. Since no legitimately elected President has been denied a nomination since before the Civil War, it makes no sense to hold a time-consuming charade that has the special bonus of hurting the party’s chance of holding the White House.
A political party’s job is to nominate competent, skilled, trustworthy individuals for elected offices. How they decide to do that job is their own business. The old nomination process where it was all hashed out at the convention (0r in smoke-filled hotel rooms) worked pretty well. Primaries appear democratic but really aren’t, as relatively few voters participate and the systems of awarding delegates are baroque and inconsistent.
Parties have sometimes used hybrid systems, where the party’s Old Hands have enhanced influence that gives a party worried that the primaries have stuck it with a dud a last ditch escape route. That’s fine too; Ethics Alarms advocated the GOP accessing its emergency plan when the primaries had produced a presumptive nominee named Trump.
The only conduct that is unethical when it comes to deciding a Presidential nominee is when a party announces its rules, and secretly rigs the nomination for a candidate in defiance of those rules while pretending that its a fair contest.
Of course, no political party would ever dream of doing THAT…