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Tuesday’s Primary Winners Aren’t So Super

March 07, 2024
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Super Tuesday showed that Donald Trump will be the Republican presidential nominee and still dominates the GOP. He won 14 of 15 contests and appears to have taken at least 731 of the 854 GOP delegates up Tuesday, and is likely to take most of the remaining 77 delegates yet to be awarded. He’s on track to win a convention majority of 1,215 by mid-March.

Nikki Haley, Mr. Trump’s last challenger, carried Vermont with almost 50% and received between 23% and 42% in seven other states. Given delegate-allocation rules, she’s only picked up 46 delegates so far from Tuesday, giving her a total of 89. She suspended her campaign Wednesday. But her performance made clear that a quarter to a third of Republicans are wary of Mr. Trump. He will still face challenges in uniting his party, let alone attracting independents.

Mr. Trump’s meandering victory speech Tuesday wasn’t his worst but did little to bring together the GOP. He spent a couple of sentences claiming the party will have unity “very quickly.” But the perennially backward-looking ex-president spent virtually all his time telling his Mar-a-Lago audience that he’d closed the border, created energy independence, presided over a growing economy, and handled Covid in his first term. He didn’t mention Ms. Haley and missed the best moment he’ll have until the July convention to convert her supporters. Before she spoke this morning, he mocked her on Truth Social for getting “trounced” and said he hoped she’d “stay in the ‘race.’ ” He invited her supporters to “join the greatest movement in the history of our nation.”

Earlier, one of his minions mimicked the candidate’s usual retributive language. Saturday, Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance tweeted “I have a long memory. If you’re fighting Trump and his endorsed candidates politically today, don’t ask for my help in a year with your legislation or your pet projects.” While trading legislative help for political favors is what Washington swamp creatures do, most are smart enough not to say it.

Mr. Vance’s tough-guy affectation is doubly ironic. During the 2016 election, he wrote on 

Facebook

 that Mr. Trump was either “a cynical a—h—” or “America’s Hitler.” Even now, while he says he won’t work with Republicans who fail his loyalty test, Mr. Vance is co-sponsoring railroad safety legislation with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio), one of Mr. Trump’s leading critics in the Senate, who’s up for re-election this year. 

 

As for the Democrats, President Biden swept every contest by huge margins, except for the American Samoa caucus, in which only 91 people voted. The party’s pro-Hamas wing failed to muster a significant “uncommitted” vote, except in Minnesota, where it approached 19%. Neither of his primary opponents broke into double digits.

But dominance in the primary masks real trouble for Mr. Biden, and his team must know it. Polls in the last week from the Associated Press/National Opinion Research Center, CBS/YouGov, Fox News, the New York Times/Siena College and The Wall Street Journal are brutal for Mr. Biden on almost every measure. He’s in terrible shape eight months before the election. 

In the four polls that had head-to-head match-ups, Mr. Biden trailed Mr. Trump by 2 to 4 points. The president’s favorable and unfavorable numbers are worse than Mr. Trump’s in four of the five polls that measured them.

Mr. Biden’s 42% job approval in the Fox poll is lower by 3 points than Mr. Trump’s was at this point in 2020.

Read More at the WSJ

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