Everyone is fixated on the crowded Democratic primary field these days and watching every new poll for signs of some sort of movement. (That’s been a largely disappointing endeavor for those who prefer someone other than Joe Biden.) But what about the GOP primary? The odds of the nominee being someone other than President Trump are approximately the same as the Democrats settling on Ted Cruz, but we still have to go through the motions, right?

Perhaps not. Or at least not in all cases. In Nevada, the state GOP is currently considering a move to skip the caucus process entirely and just hand their votes to Trump. (Associated Press)

The Nevada Republican Party next month will consider bypassing its presidential nominating caucuses next year by having governing members endorse President Donald Trump and avoid any primary challenge.

The Nevada GOP’s governing central committee will vote at its September meeting whether to approve the change, allowing the central committee members to then commit the state’s Republican delegates all for the president.

“The Nevada Republican Party is firmly behind President Donald J. Trump’s re-election campaign,” Nevada GOP chair Michael McDonald said in a statement. “We are all in and are excited to get to work on sending President Trump back to the White House for four more years!”

Turns out that Nevada isn’t the only state looking at this action. South Carolina’s GOP will vote next month on a proposal to cancel their own primary contest and hand Trump all of their votes as well.

While the parties in each state are the final arbiters of their own rules, this doesn’t exactly leave people with the best impression, does it? Nevada’s GOP spokesman went out of his way to say the change, “isn’t about any kind of conspiracy theory about protecting the president.” Unfortunately, when you feel compelled to make that sort of statement, you’re pretty much admitting that it’s precisely a conspiracy theory to protect the president.

The desire to do this is understandable. Presidential politics are frequently more about optics than policies and Donald Trump has been enough of a disruptive force to attract primary challenges. Given Trump’s massive level of support among Republicans, those challenges aren’t going to go anywhere, but it still looks bad and could likely incite the President’s famous temper if someone else shows up on the ballot.

But we have these primaries and caucuses for a reason. If someone else wants to run and they can generate enough support to qualify for the ballot, shutting them down cold is a guaranteed way to alienate any wavering Republicans who might have considered supporting the challenger. This is shaping up to potentially be an incredibly close race in some of the purple states and we don’t need to be turning off any marginal Republican voters. And even leaving those practicalities aside, this is supposed to be a fair, open process. Shutting it down simply sends the wrong message.