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Joe Walsh and Bill Weld. Photos: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call and Tom Williams/Roll Call

Kansas and South Carolina's Republican parties shuttered their 2020 presidential primaries on Friday and Saturday, respectively, the AP reports.

The big picture, via Axios' White House editor Margaret Talev: Early on, President Trump's campaign team studied the patterns of past presidents who lost re-election and sought to avoid their mistakes. Trump is using the tools he has now to minimize primary challenges so that he can save his money and energy to focus on the general election.

Why it matters: The chances of Trump's only 2 current GOP challengers — Rep. Joe Walsh and former Gov. Bill Weld — being able to build support in these states will be formally constricted. Republican parties in Arizona and Nevada intend to follow Kansas and South Carolina's lead, the New York Times reports, citing 3 people familiar with the states' plans.

What's next: "States that do not hold primaries still choose delegates, often by holding a convention," the Times reports. Nevada has scheduled meetings on Saturday to determine the fate of their primary and Arizona's decision is expected later in September, per the AP.

What they're saying: Walsh compared the president to a "mob boss" for the states' decisions to remove primaries, in an interview with the NYT and on Twitter. Weld told the Times that the move to close primaries "is something that would be appropriate in a monarchy.”

  • “These are decisions made entirely by state parties, and there are volumes of historical precedents to support them,” Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesperson, told the NYT. “Nevertheless, President Trump will dominate and prevail in whatever contest is placed before him.”
  • "The Kansas Republican Party will not organize a Caucus for the 2020 election because President Trump is an elected incumbent from the Republican Party," the Kansas GOP said in a statement on Friday.

Go deeper: More Republicans than Democrats leaving Congress before 2020 election

Go deeper

18 mins ago - Sports

China pulls Celtics games after Enes Kanter criticizes Xi Jinping

Celtics center Enes Kanter. Photo: Jim Michaud/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

China will no longer stream Boston Celtics games after center Enes Kanter called Chinese President Xi Jinping a "brutal dictator" in a social media post over his government's repressive policies in Tibet, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: Kanter's criticism of Beijing has sparked another round of trouble for the NBA in China, one of its largest and most restrictive markets.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Trump's new venture could be peak SPAC

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Former President Trump last night announced plans to launch a digital media network called "Truth Social," and said it would go public via a SPAC called Digital World Acquisition (Nasdaq: DWAC).

What to know: So far, this is a joke. The press release didn't contain even basic information, such as the new company's CEO. In fact, the only execs mentioned are Trump (as chairman) and veteran TV producer Scott St. John as head of a subscription streaming service.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Tesla is outrunning the supply chain crunch

Expand chart
Data: FactSet and company release; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Tesla, citing a "structural shift" in demand for electric vehicles, reported its highest-ever quarterly profit of $1.6 billion and $13.8 billion in revenues despite supply chain problems.

The big picture: The company's third-quarter report says the chip shortage, port congestion and other woes have affected its factories but argues that "flexibility" and "ingenuity" are a counterweight.