Trump spices up thoughts of state primary

Whether The Donald gets a chance to make good on his campaign’s Make America Great Again motto won’t be known for a seeming eternity.

But right now Donald Trump is making the quadrennial pursuit for the presidency interesting, months before it should be on our minds at all.

It’s what he says. It’s the way he says it. And it’s those views, and his bravado, that have put the business magnate ahead of all Republican hopefuls.

His performance thus far is why a large audience is expected to observe Thursday’s debate featuring he and the next nine brightest stars — according to the latest polls — in the constellation of Republican candidates.

The event comes days before there is another conversation in Washington about when this state should conduct its presidential primary — or if it should have one at all.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman will sit down with Democratic and Republican party leaders next week and try to convince them to hold it March 8, 2016, rather than May 24, when it is now scheduled.

She’ll argue the change will give Washington a scent of importance to contestants in the presidential selection process. This will attract some to the state to campaign, bringing attention to issues of state import while pumping a few dollars into the local economy.

The state’s Republican Party is game for redoing the calendar. It intends to allot its batch of delegates to candidates based on results of the primary and voting in caucuses.

The state’s Democratic Party is not. It will ignore the results and allot delegates solely based on caucus voting. Many party leaders oppose holding the primary, saying it’s not worth the $11.5 million it will cost the state. Washington canceled the primaries in 2012 and 2004, citing budget reasons.

This is where The Donald may be a persuasive argument to change their minds.

The Democratic Party’s national leaders see political value in the rabble roused by Republican candidates. An email sent earlier this week contained a personal appeal from President Barack Obama to tune in Thursday for a preview of what the Democratic candidate can expect to face next year. It also asked for money and volunteers for next year’s campaign.

Democratic leaders in Washington may want to embrace a similar attitude.

Sure, moving up the primary might lure Trump to the state and energize Republicans. And if Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz campaigned in the state as well, it could boost the collective spirits of the GOP.

If The Donald showed up in Seattle, wouldn’t that invigorate Democrats as well? Would a parade of GOP presidential candidates not be a useful tool for organizing and fund raising and drawing a line in the philosophical sand between the parties?

On Tuesday, Wyman will convene a committee made up of the chairman and vice chairman of the state Democratic and Republican parties, plus the majority and minority leaders in the House and Senate. Wyman, a Republican, is chairwoman.

She’ll need support from at least six of the nine members to change the date.

Maybe The Donald can help.

Political reporter Jerry Cornfield’s blog, The Petri Dish, is at Contact him at 360-352-8623; and on Twitter at @dospueblos

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