Opinion writer

* Alex Isenstadt reports that the GOP isn’t going to take any chances next year:

Four states are poised to cancel their 2020 GOP presidential primaries and caucuses, a move that would cut off oxygen to Donald Trump’s long-shot primary challengers.

Republican parties in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas are expected to finalize the cancellations in meetings this weekend, according to three GOP officials who are familiar with the plans.

The moves are the latest illustration of Trump’s takeover of the entire Republican Party apparatus. They underscore the extent to which his allies are determined to snuff out any potential nuisance en route to his renomination — or even to deny Republican critics a platform to embarrass him.

That’s confidence!

* Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael Shear report that the administration is moving to slam America’s door to people fleeing war and oppression:

The White House is considering a plan that would effectively bar refugees from most parts of the world from resettling in the United States by cutting back the decades-old program that admits tens of thousands of people each year who are fleeing war, persecution and famine, according to current and former administration officials.

In meetings over the past several weeks, one top administration official has proposed zeroing out the program altogether, while leaving the president with the ability to admit refugees in an emergency. Another option that top officials are weighing would cut refugee admissions by half or more, to 10,000 to 15,000 people, but reserve most of those spots for refugees from a few handpicked countries or groups with special status, such as Iraqis and Afghans who work alongside American troops, diplomats and intelligence operatives abroad.

Both options would all but end the United States’ status as a leader in accepting refugees from around the world.

We’ll take refugees fleeing Norway. Or Sweden. Places like that.

* Russ Choma reports that a $50 million loan Donald Trump made to himself looks an awful lot like tax fraud.

* Here’s Pete Buttigieg’s first TV ad.

* Salvador Rizzo demolishes Trump’s claim that his wall is on its way to being built.

* Ron Brownstein takes a hard look at Texas, concluding it’s still Republican territory, but it’s moving quickly in Democrats’ direction.

* The Post Editorial Board says the Trump administration is trying to strong-arm the Ukrainian government into helping Trump get reelected.

* Colby Itkowitz reports that the Arizona Republican Party is sending fundraising solicitations saying they’re going to stop Senate candidate Mark Kelly “dead in his tracks.” Kelly is the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head during a mass shooting.

* Elizabeth Breunig zeros in on the responsibility passive lawmakers bear for gun violence, and for its terrible social consequences: “The terrorizing of the American people, and the gradual closing-up of American public life.”

* Immigration advocate Frank Sharry argues that the shifting of money from military projects to pay for Trump’s border obsession encapsulates many of Trump’s abuses all in one: the racism, the authoritarianism, the contempt for governing.

* David Roberts helps you understand the debate around nuclear power and climate change.

* Rebecca Leber says Elizabeth Warren demonstrated how Democrats can shoot down the dumbest argument against action on climate change.

* And Sopan Deb talks to Cory Booker about how “Star Trek” has influenced him.