Election Oddity: Biden Camp Rooting for Trump in NH

Axios reports they want him to lock up nomination and thus energize Democrats
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2024 11:08 AM CST
Updated Jan 23, 2024 1:19 PM CST
5 Election Storylines Ahead of New Hampshire
Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Laconia, New Hampshire, on Monday.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Updated with comments from the Haley campaign. Primary day has arrived in New Hampshire, and it's widely been depicted as do-or-die for Nikki Haley if she's to have any hope of defeating Donald Trump for the GOP nomination. However, Haley's campaign made clear on Tuesday that she won't be dropping out even she fails to beat Trump on Tuesday night, reports the Guardian. "While members of Congress, the press, and many of the weak-kneed fellas who ran for president are giving up and giving in—we aren't going anywhere," wrote Betsy Ankney. She signed off, "See y'all in South Carolina," referring to the upcoming primary there. A sampling of other Election 2024 coverage:

  • The polls: Trump has a comfortable lead in most polls of around 20 points. Could they be wrong? At the Washington Examiner, Byron York suggests it's not likely. "In more than two decades of aggregating polling data, we've only seen a few instances where all of the polls were off in a significant way," Tom Bevan of RealClearPolitics tells him. Of course, York points out that one of those times was in 2008, when Barack Obama was up 8 points on Hillary Clinton and lost by 2 points.
  • Democrats' odd hope: It may sound counterintuitive, but Axios reports that "Biden's team" is rooting for Trump to win in New Hampshire and lock up the nomination ASAP. As they see it, fear of a second Trump term would energize Democrats and donors and get them fully behind the president. In their view, a sure Biden-Trump rematch will change "the dynamics of the campaign" in Biden's favor, per the story.
  • Trump trouble? A Politico analysis suggests Trump has a problem no matter the outcome in New Hampshire. "There's a whole swath of the Republican electorate and a good chunk of independents who appear firmly committed to not voting for him in November if he becomes the nominee," write Sam Stein and Natalie Allison. Haley supporters, for example, tend to say they wouldn't switch to Trump should he defeat her, and in a close election, that could be decisive.

  • Trump 'gamble': At the Washington Post, Aaron Blake is also looking beyond New Hampshire. Should Trump lock up the nomination, Blake sees it as a "huge gamble" for Republicans. Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 and 2020, and the GOP hasn't done well in midterms with him as the party's dominant force. He can win, of course, but "Republicans would be placing a lot of faith in a guy whose political instincts haven't exactly rewarded that." In Trump's favor: Biden's unpopularity and the possibility of a third-party candidate siphoning votes from the president.
  • What Biden needs: Yes, the Democrats are holding a New Hampshire primary, too, though Biden's name isn't on the ballot because the state and national parties feuded over the primary date. Still, a Biden write-in campaign is afoot, and Alex Seitz-Wald of NBC News writes that if the president doesn't match the 81% or 84% totals of Obama and Bill Clinton, respectively, it will be considered a bad night for him.
(Haley won the early Dixville Notch vote in New Hampshire by a count of 6-0.)

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