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The Saratoga Falcon

Despite Trump’s double-digit primary victory, Biden still in favorable position

The New York Times
The map above indicates in red where Trump won and in blue where Haley won.

Former President Donald Trump faced off against his former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley in New Hampshire’s first presidential primary of this election cycle on Jan. 24. In the end, the primary was an easy victory for the former president, as he won with an 11-point margin over Haley. 

Experts say Trump is now the inevitable GOP nominee to face off against President Biden next November.

The primary was a key step in the race for the presidency, as the winning Republican candidate will affect both Biden’s campaign and the election itself massively.  New Hampshire’s primary — which has historically been the first in the nation — has demonstrated the shifts in strategies candidates use to improve their platform and campaign. 

Although Trump’s victory was large in percentage terms, gaps are starting to show within undeclared (independent) voters. In 2016, independent votes were 39% of total registered voters and accounted for 43% of Trump’s votes. 

Last year,  43% of total registered voters were independent, making their support crucial for a candidate, Republican or Democrat, to win in November. Although the New Hampshire primary affirmed Trump’s stronghold over the GOP base, he has not yet gained needed support with the independents.

In the New Hampshire primary, 44% were independent voters, and 58% of independents voted for Haley. According to a poll from CNN, 40% of those who voted for Haley said their dislike of Trump outweighed their support of Haley.

In the New Hampshire primary, independents are allowed to vote for either the Republican or Democratic candidate, though they may only vote in one, not both. 

The high percentage of non-Trump independents will likely be echoed by the rest of the independent electorate, which is worrying for the Trump campaign. According to a New York Times article, the number of Haley supporters “telling pollsters they will back Mr. Biden” is a striking “40%, according to state and national polls.” This number is more than likely due to the looming 91 felon criminal charges and the former president’s two-time impeachment. 

 This 40 percent number is huge, and it’s all the more noteworthy when you consider roughly 10% of all New Hampshire Republican primary participants say they will support Biden in 2024. 

Though this primary confirmed Haley’s inability to secure the Republican presidential nomination, she said she will continue until Super Tuesday, which she has enough funding to do. Super Tuesday, on March 5,  is arguably the most important day for the Republican ticket. The day includes 16 primaries ranging from California to American Samoa.

Given the ongoing court cases and Trump’s old age (78) — health experts are worried about his mental and physical health — Trump may not be able to continue his campaign at full throttle. 

Trump must also stop catering only toward his passionate base to win more of the much needed independent votes. Associating himself with politicians known for spreading misinformation like Majorie Taylor Green and Vivek Ramaswamy only further pushes the much-needed independents away.

Trump is also leaning towards becoming the first American dictator, or at least increasing his power to have more control over the federal government. The seemingly biggest issue on the ballot is Abortion Rights, and when that is on the ballot, Republicans lose. Whether the Republicans like it or not, the focus will be on the issues that matter most to voters, and abortion rights will inevitably be at center stage next fall. 

If he does not change to focus more on independent voters and moderate his stances and behavior, then those without an affiliation will vote for anyone but Trump, likely costing him any chance at the presidency.

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