01.24.2024 0

Trump sweeps New Hampshire, Iowa, first Republican in competitive primary to achieve feat, Haley on last legs

By Robert Romano

Former President Donald Trump easily won the New Hampshire primary against rival former South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley with a record number of votes for the contest, 166,000 and counting with 92 percent of precincts reporting, and the third highest percentage total, 54.6 percent, for a Republican in a competitive primary after Richard Nixon’s 78 percent in 1968 and Dwight Eisenhower’s 56 percent in 1952.

The margin, Trump’s 54.6 percent to Haley’s 43.3 percent, was an 11-point rout leaving little doubt about Trump’s dominant position in the race, continuing to display all the elements of the incumbency advantage even though he is not in the White House.

In so doing, Trump became the first Republican in such a competitive primary to sweep both the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary since Iowa was added to the mix in 1976. Now, only Nevada (where Haley will not be competing) and South Carolina remain of the early states, the latter where Trump has led 100 percent of the polls, currently by an average of 30 points.

On that note, once again, the polls were right once again as they correct in Iowa, where in New Hampshire Trump had led 95 percent of the polls taken, averaging about 55.8 percent headed into the contest. Haley did well, too, overperforming her 36.5 percent showing in the polls, although to be fair, half the polls in the average had Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who ended his campaign before the primary, still in the race.

Looking forward, for Haley, South Carolina appears to be her last stand. If she cannot win the state she represented in the governor’s mansion, then she cannot win. Only Bill Clinton in 1992 and Joe Biden in 2020 have come back from losses in Iowa and New Hampshire to win their party’s nomination in modern history, both catapulting their campaigns with wins in South Carolina. No Republican has ever done it.

All that fuels the Haley campaign at this point is happy talk and wishful thinking, if not the tens of millions of Republican establishment dollars flowing through the campaign and D.C. consultancy coffers.

As for Trump, the consecutive, decisive results in Iowa and New Hampshire certainly appear to vindicate his decision to run again for president after narrowly losing to President Joe Biden in 2020. For more than a year, Trump has dominated the GOP race in both national and statewide polls.

Given the malicious prosecution of Trump since 2016 truly if all facts are considered by D.C. establishment and Democratic prosecutors, causing a rally to the leader effect among Republican and independent voters, the bids to challenge Trump in the primary have stood out as attempts to hedge against his prosecution and conviction, offering tacit acceptance of legally targeting political opponents, rather than locking arms and saying hell no.

The failure of the Republican institution to unite forcefully against the inquisition of Trump poses an existential not just to him or the Republican party, but to the nation’s two-party system and the Constitution.

Even now, Haley’s persistence in continuing moves forward both the farce that she stands much of a chance and provides an outlet for that rein of terror, first against Trump, but soon any Republican that challenges D.C. norms of open borders, “free” trade and endless wars.

A key difference between the two candidates was the issue that put Trump under federal investigation in the first place, his opposition to U.S. intervention in Ukraine, intervention which, naturally, Haley supports.

In June 2023, Haley called the war in Ukraine “one we have to win,” while Trump has likened the region to a dangerous powder keg and warned against escalation there could lead to the nuclear hellfire of World War III, and instead advocating a diplomatic resolution.

That war — the predictable, avoidable and yet inevitable war — now enters its eleventh year, dating back to the 2014 U.S. overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych and Russia’s resulting annexation of Crimea. The choice for voters is clear, Trump wants to negotiate peace, and Haley doesn’t. She’s more pro-intervention than President Joe Biden even, who at least must manage the realities and limits of U.S. power, similarly warning against World War III even while making it more likely with his Haleyan pledges to “win,” while Haley gets to play pretend in the game of brinksmanship.

For now, mutually assured destruction keeps us from the gates of hell and Armageddon, as it has since the Cold War. Only wise leadership can see our way through, and only one person will able to provide it after November, whoever happens to win the election.

In the meantime, attention will now surely shift the Supreme Court’s imminent ruling on attempts by Trump’s political opponents to remove him from the ballot in Colorado, Maine (and presumably everywhere else) under bullshit Fourteenth Amendment, Section 3 grounds of insurrection even though he has never been convicted of insurrection, and the only institution to ever charge him with that, the House in its 2021 impeachment of him, ultimately found him not guilty in the trial by the Senate.

The Supreme Court case itself comes into acute focus as the 57th primary after the states, territories and D.C., the one that will matter perhaps the most, where an unelected panel of justices will decide if it is they, or the American people, who will decide who gets to be the Republican nominee this summer and ultimately the president in November, a faulty ruling on which could shatter the consent of the governed.

The stakes could not be much higher in 2024, but recent history has had a way of continuing to raise them as forces continue to mount against Trump’s ascendancy.

So far, Trump is well on his way to securing the GOP nomination very early in this process, with a better than fair chance of sweeping the primaries, which would be another first for a Republican in a competitive primary, but when it comes to a former president, there might not be any true competition. As Trump would say, it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s whether you win. Time will tell. Stay tuned.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government Foundation.

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