Trump Nomination Once Seemed 'Untenable,' Now Inevitable

Former president's win in New Hampshire primary suggests he's a shoo-in for 2024 general
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2024 6:40 AM CST
Trump Nomination Once Seemed 'Untenable,' Now Inevitable
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a primary election night party in Nashua, New Hampshire, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The New Hampshire primary results came in quickly Tuesday, with the AP calling the GOP race for Donald Trump as soon as the polls closed. The former president's main contender, ex-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, vowed she's not dropping out yet, but Zeeshan Aleem writes for MSNBC that Trump's win "cements his status as the future Republican presidential nominee and ends any realistic hope of her own shot at it." If there was any state Haley had a decent chance in, it was the Granite State, where polls brought her closer to Trump than anywhere, notes Aleem—so "if she couldn't win there, where else can she win?" In a separate MSNBC piece, Aleem notes that Tuesday's victory "seals [Trump's] (almost) untouchable status in 2024," adding, "All evidence indicates that the Republican base is ready to go all in for Trump one more time." More analysis on Tuesday's results:

  • Precedence: Steven Shepard of Politico notes that Haley was right about one thing: "Iowa starts the voting, and New Hampshire corrects it." Shepard points out that in the last three election seasons when a Republican incumbent wasn't in the running (2008, 2012, and 2016), the GOP candidate who won the Iowa caucuses didn't end up nabbing their party's nomination—but the person who won in New Hampshire did. In those years, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Donald Trump were the eventual nominees after losing Iowa but taking New Hampshire.
  • 'Year of Trump': That's how Mark Davis puts it for Newsweek, noting that unlike nail-biters in years past, New Hampshire proved the former president has no challengers who can dethrone his frontrunner status. "It appeared untenable that a candidate navigating Trump's minefield of indictments could emerge with an even larger, more loyal base," Davis writes. He adds that if Trump does indeed make it to the Oval Office again, "Trump's enemies ... will have been shown that their power pales alongside millions of voters burning to deliver the statement that they will not be told whom they are allowed to vote for."

  • Biden's showing: The Democratic incumbent president wasn't on the ballot in New Hampshire, but he won the state anyway on Tuesday thanks to write-in votes. Tim Balk writes for the New York Daily News that those results should offer Team Biden some hope, with Republican strategist Doug Heye noting that Haley's still-solid showing against Trump—she earned 43.2% to Trump's 54.5%, as of Wednesday morning—illustrates that "Trump's nomination is risky for holding on to the White House—as well as for Trump acolytes down-ballot."
  • 'Hope for American democracy': John Avlon points out that New Hampshire allows independents to vote in its primary, with Tuesday's results indicating why more states should allow such contests. "An open or semi-open primary does not solve all the problems facing our democracy," he writes for CNN. "But it shifts the incentive structure decidedly toward reaching out beyond the partisan base, which is where the constructive compromise of democracy actually occurs."
  • Trump's reaction: The GOP frontrunner, for one, made clear Tuesday he disagreed with New Hampshire's semi-closed vote, Balk notes for the Daily News. "SO RIDICULOUS," Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform early Tuesday evening, before the polls had closed, though he erroneously wrote that Democrats could also cast votes for the Republican nominees (Dems can vote in the primary, but only on their own party's ballot, per CBS News). By the end of the night, however, Trump had cheered substantially, calling it a "very bad night" for Haley (using a derogatory nickname for her that he's used before) and suggesting big wins for himself in upcoming states. "THANK YOU, NEW HAMPSHIRE!" he wrote.
(More New Hampshire primary stories.)

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