“We now have a progressive, Trojan horse candidate that manipulated the open primary process to hijack the GOP nomination,” an activist in Colorado told Politico this week, explaining why he was part of a plan to close off Republican primaries to non-Republican voters.
For a vocal subset of the chunk of the Republican Party that has voter’s remorse about the businessman, the process itself bears some of the blame. Trump “romped” in primaries where non-Republican voters could weigh in, Politico explains, leading to this “Trojan horse candidate.”
The only flaw in this argument is that Donald Trump actually won because Republican voters voted for him more than they did any of his opponents. He won because Republicans wanted Trump to represent their party.
It’s true that Trump did better in open primaries and caucuses, ones where non-Republicans could vote. He won 18 open contests and 13 closed ones. He lost 12 closed contests and lost five open ones. But that overlaps with the split between primaries and caucuses. He won 26 primaries and lost 11 caucuses, according to Real Clear Politics’ definitions. He won 81 percent of the open primaries and 82 percent of the closed ones. But he won only half of the open caucuses and about a quarter of the closed ones. It was primaries where Trump thrived, not open contests. Primaries — where more people vote.