U.S Election

Super Tuesday: Trump-Biden rematch almost certain as Nikki Haley takes her last shot

Author: Editors Desk Source: News Corp Australia Network:
March 4, 2024 at 09:39

With a long list of states set to vote this week, a reputable poll has put Donald Trump way ahead in his rematch against Joe Biden.
Former president Donald Trump has a chance to render his last remaining rival for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination all but irrelevant on Tuesday, local time, as 15 different US states cast their votes in the “Super Tuesday” primaries.

Mr Trump, who defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton for the presidency in 2016 and then lost his re-election bid to Joe Biden in 2020, initially faced a lengthy list of fellow candidates for the 2024 nomination. Now only Nikki Haley, a former United Nations ambassador and governor of South Carolina, remains to challenge him.

On Tuesday, these states will vote for their preferred Republican nominee: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.
 

Donald Trump campaigning in Virginia on March 2. Picture: Saul Loeb/AFP
Donald Trump campaigning in Virginia on March 2. Picture: Saul Loeb/AFP
 
His last remaining rival, Nikki Haley, in North Carolina on the same day. Picture: Allison Joyce/AFP
His last remaining rival, Nikki Haley, in North Carolina on the same day. Picture: Allison Joyce/AFP


Most of the same states will also choose their preferred Democratic nominee, though President Biden faces no meaningful opposition.

Thus far, Mr Trump has defeated Ms Haley in Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Missouri, Michigan and Idaho, while she has only won the primary in America's capital city, Washington D.C., which was held on Sunday.

Should Mr Trump sweep all or most of the Super Tuesday states, it will essentially close off Ms Haley’s already narrow path to the nomination.

That would set up a rematch of 2020’s general election, between the oldest pair of candidates to ever compete for the presidency. Mr Trump is 77 and Mr Biden is 81.

Both men have been plagued by gaffes, verbal stumbles and moments of confusion during their time on the campaign trail so far. But Ms Haley’s argument – that a new generation of leadership is needed – has failed to dislodge Mr Trump’s popularity among Republicans, and no feasible Democratic candidate has emerged to challenge Mr Biden.
 

Joe Biden speaking at the White House. Picture: Mandel Ngan/AFP
Joe Biden speaking at the White House. Picture: Mandel Ngan/AFP


‘Birdbrain is a loser’: Trump lashes out

Ms Haley’s win in Washington D.C. on Sunday – unsurprising, given its Republican voters skew moderate compared to the rest of the country – prompted duelling statements from the two campaigns.

“It’s not surprising that Republicans closest to Washington dysfunction are rejecting Donald Trump and all his chaos,” said Ms Haley’s spokeswoman, Olivia Perez-Cubas.

“While Nikki has been soundly rejected throughout the rest of America, she was just crowned Queen of the Swamp by the lobbyists and D.C. insiders that want to protect the failed status quo,” Mr Trump’s spokeswoman, Karoline Leavitt, countered.

“The swamp has claimed their queen.”

The former president himself echoed that sentiment in a post on his social media network, Truth Social, published on Monday morning. He referred to Ms Haley as “Birdbrain”.

“I purposely stayed away from the D.C. vote because it is the Swamp, with very few delegates and no upside,” Mr Trump wrote.

“Birdbrain spent all of her time, money and effort there. Over the weekend we won Missouri, Idaho and Michigan – BIG NUMBERS – complete destruction of a very weak opponent.

“The really big numbers will come on Super Tuesday. Also, WAY UP ON CROOKED JOE!

“Birdbrain is a loser, record low performance in virtually every state.

“I enjoy watching the Bird disavow her PLEDGE to the Republican National Committee and her statement that she would NEVER run against President Trump (‘a great president’). Well, she ran, she lied and she LOST BIG!”
 

Nikki Haley. Picture: Joseph Prezioso/AFP
Nikki Haley. Picture: Joseph Prezioso/AFP


He was alluding, there, to Ms Haley’s previous commitment that she would support whoever won the Republican nomination against Mr Biden in November. She rescinded it on Sunday.

“The RNC is now not the same RNC,” she said, attempting to justify the move.

“I’ll make what decision I want to make.”

Mr Trump recently moved to install his political allies, including his daughter-in-law Lara Trump, in leadership positions on the National Committee. Mrs Trump, who is married to the former president’s son Eric, has expressed her intention to use RNC resources only to benefit her father-in-law – instead of using them to help Republican candidates across the country, as has previously been the case.

Mr Trump never committed to support the eventual nominee, and declined to appear on stage for any debates against the other Republican candidates.


Polling shows Biden in deep trouble

Mr Trump’s fight against Ms Haley feels ever more like a prelude to the inevitable rematch against Mr Biden in November – and polls show the 2020 result may well be reversed.

A particularly striking survey from Siena College, published in The New York Times over the weekend, showed Mr Trump leading the incumbent President 48 per cent to 43 per cent among registered voters. Mr Trump also led 47-41 in a theoretical match-up against Vice President Kamala Harris.

“That’s the largest lead Mr Trump has ever had in a Times/Siena national poll. In fact, it’s the largest lead Mr Trump has held in a Times/Siena or Times/CBS poll since he first ran for the presidency in 2015,” the newspaper noted.

The same poll showed Ms Haley beating Mr Biden even more comfortably, with a margin of 45-35, though unless something very unexpected happens on Tuesday, that contest will likely never happen.
 

Donald Trump on Saturday. Picture: Saul Loeb/AFP
Donald Trump on Saturday. Picture: Saul Loeb/AFP
On Sunday, CBS News released its own poll, with more encouraging news for Mr Trump.

 



Not only did it show Mr Trump leading Mr Biden 52-48, but several indicators also favoured the Republican.

Asked about the quality of their two presidencies, 46 per cent of respondents said Mr Trump’s had been “excellent” or “good”, while 53 per cent characterised it as “fair” or “poor”.

The same numbers for Mr Biden were a far less healthy 33 and 67 per cent, respectively.

On an increasingly salient measure – mental acuity – just 6 per cent of voters thought both candidates had the necessary sharpness to do the job, thanks to a stark partisan split.

But once again, Mr Trump had a clear edge in the total numbers, with 49 per cent of respondents believing he has the necessary mental and cognitive health to be president, compared to 32 per cent who said the same of Mr Biden.

Both candidates have suffered repeated verbal gaffes in recent months, with Mr Biden, for instance, infamously mixing up the presidents of Mexico and Egypt, and Mr Trump repeatedly confusing his opponent with his predecessor, Barack Obama.

The two men have also slurred their words and frequently lost their train of thought mid-sentence while in front of the cameras.

Both insist they have the mental acuity required to be president.

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