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George Will: GOP Must ‘Rethink the Business of Open Primaries and Caucuses’


The Republican Party is “going to have to rethink the business of having open primaries and caucuses,” Washington Post columnist George Will urged after noting that Donald Trump has been doing well in “open” primary contests.

Watch the Fox News Sunday video here:



Here is a transcript of Will’s exchange with host Chris Wallace:

WALLACE:  How does a party — I know you say, well, look, a party is a strong structure and it’s gone through various permutations and combinations over the years, George, but how does a party survive when you’ve got, at least at this point, the two leading candidates, Trump and Cruz who are basically running against the Washington establishment and saying that they’re corrupt and they’re going to go in and change things?

WILL: It survives by planning ahead in case Mr. Trump is the nominee. There are already reliable reports that Republican senatorial candidates, incumbents and otherwise, are planning to distance themselves even with ads taking on the — the man at the top of the ticket. Second —

WALLACE:  What — so — so you’re saying Republican attack ads against the Republican nominee?

WILL: Distancing ads. (INAUDIBLE).

Second, the Republican Party is going to have to rethink the business of having open primaries and caucuses. Seven of the, what, 19 events so far have been closed. Trump has lost five of them. So the question is, is this, as has been said, a hostile takeover of the republican Party and the Republicans have to think whether they want to go forward year after year vulnerable to this.

Closed primaries are only for those who are registered members of a party prior to election day while open primaries allow for voting by registered voters from any party.

On Monday, Fox News noted that trends find Trump performs better in open primaries, while Sen. Ted Cruz has done well in the states that hold closed contests. reported:

To date, Trump has won a dozen contests, seven of which were open to voters regardless of party affiliation – and two of which have a hybrid system. He has won only three contests that were limited to registered Republicans – Nevada, Kentucky and Louisiana. (His victories in the latter two states were relatively tight.)

By contrast, five of Cruz’s six victories came in closed or semi-closed contests. The only exception was Texas, his home state.

Fox surmised that if Trump’s victories are indeed being aided by non-Republican voters, that may suggest “he’s a stronger general election candidate than Democrats give him credit for.”

Last week, the Boston Herald cited state election officials saying nearly 20,000 Bay State Democrats have left their party this winter, with thousands joining Republican ranks. Secretary of State William Galvin provided his “guess” for the unusual occurrence: “The Trump phenomenon.”

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

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