UNITED STATES: On Saturday, Republicans in Michigan approved a proposal to allow caucus meetings to choose more than two-thirds of their state delegates for the party’s 2024 presidential candidate. This change may benefit party front-runner Donald Trump.
The strategy, which Michigan’s Republican state committee endorsed at a meeting in Grand Rapids, would deviate from the battleground state party’s custom of assigning all presidential delegates based on a public primary.
The shift would be significant since 70% of delegates would be chosen at caucus meetings, when the party’s most engaged members are expected to have the most influence. Given his popularity with local party officials, some Republicans and political analysts stated that could work in Trump’s favour.
Under the plan, on March 2, there will be caucuses to choose three delegates from each of Michigan’s 13 congressional districts, accounting for 39 of the 55 delegates from the state to the next year’s Republican National Convention. The decision for the remaining 16 seats will be made in accordance with the results of the state’s primary on February 27, according to a modified proposal that the state committee reviewed on Saturday.
It is still unknown whether the Republican National Committee (RNC) will approve the plan as necessary.
Michael Schostak, a former vice chair of the state party, stated that Trump would have a “big advantage” because only delegates who have already been elected from precincts would be allowed to participate in the district caucus.
“These are not like other states’ caucuses, which are more open to a broader swath of the Republican electorate. Those Republicans supporting someone other than Trump are not well represented among the current precinct delegates and state committee,” he said.
In national polls, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis trails former President Trump by a significant margin. Former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, ex-vice president Mike Pence, and U.S. senator Tim Scott are some more candidates with low single-digit polling numbers.
Chris LaCivita, a key adviser to Trump’s campaign, stated that a regulation change would play to Trump’s advantage.
“The president enjoys a really solid level of support among the party faithful in Michigan. We are very bullish on the caucus system,” LaCivita said.
Since the Democratic Party, which controls the state legislature, pushed the primary to February 27, Michigan Republicans have been considering modifications to the state’s delegate-selection procedure. Republicans came up with a compromise strategy to prevent having the majority of their delegates invalidated because holding it that early would have violated RNC regulations.
The hybrid primary and caucus plan was developed to avoid a fine from the RNC, said Kristina Karamo, chairperson of the Michigan Republican Party, on Saturday.
“Republicans in Michigan deserve FULL representation at the RNC convention. We will honour the voice of those who vote in the state-wide presidential primary and those voting in the caucus,” Karamo tweeted.