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

12 mins ago - Podcasts

The fight over fracking

Fracking has become a flashpoint in the election's final week, particularly in Pennsylvania where both President Trump and Joe Biden made stops on Monday. But much of the political rhetoric has ignored that the industry has gone from boom to bust, beset by layoffs, bankruptcies and fire-sale mergers.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the state of fracking, and what it means for the future of American energy, with Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group.

Democrats sound alarm on mail-in votes

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Democrats are calling a last-minute audible on mail-in voting after last night's Supreme Court ruling on Wisconsin.

Driving the news: Wisconsin Democrats and the Democratic secretary of state of Michigan are urging voters to return absentee ballots to election clerks’ offices or drop boxes. They are warning that the USPS may not be able to deliver ballots by the Election Day deadline.

Nxivm cult leader Keith Raniere sentenced to life in prison

Carts full of court documents related to the U.S. v. Keith Raniere case arrive at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in May 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Nxivm cult leader Keith Raniere, 60, was sentenced to 120 years in prison on Tuesday in federal court for sex trafficking among other crimes, the New York Times reports.

Catch up quick: Raniere was convicted last summer with sex trafficking, conspiracy, sexual exploitation of a child, racketeering, forced labor and possession of child pornography. His so-called self-improvement workshops, which disguised rampant sexual abuse, were popular among Hollywood and business circles.