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Roving Periscope: Trump wins NH, may trounce Haley in SC, and take on Biden

Roving Periscope: Trump wins NH, may trounce Haley in SC, and take on Biden

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Virendra Pandit

 

New Delhi: With New Hampshire in his kitty, former US President Donald Trump, seeking re-election this year, is expected to trounce Indian-American Nikky Haley also in South Carolina in February to win the key Republican nomination which would enable him to take on the incumbent Joe Biden who is also taking a shot at a second term.

Trump, who is facing four criminal indictments and lost the last presidential contest in 2021, has now put himself on the cusp of clinching the Republican presidential nomination for the November 2024 elections after New Hampshire electors handed him a decisive victory in Tuesday’s primary, the media reported on Wednesday.

He comfortably dispatched his only remaining intra-party challenger, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, just a week after his romp in the Iowa caucuses forced his other main rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, out of the race.

These back-to-back victories have put Trump on track to deliver a knockout blow to Haley next month in her home state of South Carolina and turn his attention to an all-but-certain rematch with President Joe Biden.

Trump is almost bulldozing his way into his own Republican Party to nominate him as a presidential candidate again against the wishes of his many intra-party foes. However, the Grand Old Party (GOP) can do little, but helplessly watch the maverick leader’s likely return to the White House.

“No one would like to see the Republican Party shift back in another direction more than I do. But it’s not going to happen,” Jennifer Horn, the former New Hampshire GOP chairwoman, who has since left the party, told Bloomberg News on Monday.

The New Hampshire outcome makes even more inevitable a scenario that many political and business elites have begrudged: Trump and Biden are due to face off for the presidency in November. The result will determine the shape of America’s democracy at home and its role in the world, the media reported.

Trump assailed Haley, made fun of her dress, and called her an “impostor” who is “not going to win.” He said he would beat Biden in the general election. He has time and again claimed that he had won in 2020 also but Biden “stole” his victory.

“We are going to win this,” Trump said. “The reason we have support is because they are so bad at what they’re doing and so evil and they’re destroying our country.”

Some Wall Street titans have smelled the air and warmed up to the prospect of Trump’s return in the White House. For instance, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said last week Trump was “kind of right” about certain issues and accused the Democrats of “scapegoating” his supporters.

But Haley is still trying to hold on. She repeated attacks on Trump’s age, mental acuity, and ability to defeat Biden in November.

“This race is far from over. There are dozens of states left to go. And the next one is my sweet state of South Carolina,” Haley said in Concord, New Hampshire.

Trump’s victory in the primaries came from a broad coalition of Republicans. He won in urban, suburban, and rural areas. There was no discernible gender gap. And he won among every age group, with the highest support coming from the youngest and the oldest voters.

Haley won only among liberals, moderates, and White voters with a college degree.

Trump’s emergence as the clear frontrunner gives President Biden a chance to drive home his argument that the race is a choice between him and the Republicans, rather than a referendum on the achievements of his presidency.

“He’s betting you’re going to stop caring,” Biden said of Trump on Tuesday at a Virginia abortion-rights rally meant to serve as counter-programming to the Republican race in New Hampshire. “I’m betting he’s wrong.”

 

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