2024

Sorting Out Super Tuesday: 3 Important Takeaways

It’s a 2020 rematch …

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The day after any major election, there are so many questions to answer. What went right — or wrong — for individual candidates? What do the results tell us? And perhaps most importantly, where do we go from here?

Seldom in recent memory have such questions been so easily answered. Rarely has the voting been quite so emphatic, in both parties, as it was on Super Tuesday 2024.

Yesterday’s voting ended one candidacy and cemented the status of two others as their parties’ de facto nominees.

It’s no longer a theoretical rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump; we are now just a few delegates shy of that general election matchup becoming a reality. You didn’t need to channel the ghost of legendary bookmaker Jimmy the Greek to see this one coming, either – although one loss apiece kept Biden and Trump from making it a clean sweep, respectively.

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Let’s start with Biden. His Democratic National Committee long ago stacked the deck strongly in his favor – although it seems someone forgot to send the memo to Democrats in American Samoa. There, Biden lost to an unknown technology whiz from Maryland. “Who is Jason Palmer?” That’s another question being widely repeated today. 

That quirky anomaly aside, the White House had previously, and effectively, smacked down all serious would-be contenders. The two who did run against him, outgoing Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips (who called it quits and exited the race Wednesday afternoon) and self-help guru Marianne Williamson (whose on-again, off-again, then on-again campaign was still “on” as of the last word), were little more than speed bumps on the ballot.

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Joe Biden‘s ‘Super Tuesday’ victory was hardly worth being called a “competition.” (The White House)

The only real question? Whether Biden’s campaign manager woke him up last night to tell him he had almost swept the field (and whether Biden will remember any of it this morning).

But despite his decisive victory, big problems still plague Biden. Regardless of what day he officially seals the Democratic nomination, he will still be 81; he will still say disturbingly random, rambling things in public settings; the U.S.-Mexico border will still resemble a Black Friday storefront with customers stampeding inside; inflation will still take a worsening bite out of paychecks; the Israel-Hamas war will still drag on; the radical climate change agenda he unleashed will still be killing jobs; and radical progressives upset over his policy toward Gaza will still be threatening a mutiny on his party’s left flank.

Biden’s challenge from here: To demonize all Republicans as MAGA-crazed devotees of an evil orange man hellbent on destroying “our democracy” (or at least the left’s vision of it). That’s his only hope of distracting attention from the myriad of failures mentioned above.

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MAGA ONCE MORE …

For Trump, what a difference a year makes. If we were to hop in the Wayback Machine and return to March of 2023, we would see everyone — politicians, pundits, and private citizens all like — were wondering what impact Trump’s looming criminal indictments, the first ever for a former U.S. president, would have on his presidential campaign.

Fast-forward to 2024, and the answer is obvious: None. Super Tuesday cemented the GOP’s status as the Party of Trump. But what drove his sweeping victory? Both surveys and mountains of anecdotal evidence bear witness to the fact a sizable number of Republicans voted for the former president out of outrage over seeing the criminal justice system cynically manipulated for nakedly political purposes.

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Trump overwhelmingly defeats Nikki Haley on Super Tuesday
Super Tuesday cleared up any lingering questions about former president Donald Trump‘s grip on the GOP (The White House).

Not every Republican who voted against Trump is a #NeverTrumper; and conversely, not every Republican who voted for him is part of the MAGA faction. Setting aside that latter group, many non-aligned Republicans cast their ballot for him either out of sympathy for the slings and arrows he has endured – or after experiencing three-plus years of a failed Biden administration; they liked what they had from 2017-2021 better than what they’ve got now.

Trump’s challenge: He needs to find a way to kiss and make up with the Haley faction of the GOP. Exit polling all over the country showed those folks vowing not to vote for him this fall under any circumstances. However, the unusually long gap between the nomination being essentially decided and Election Day — exactly eight months — presents a unique opportunity for Trump to do some major fence-mending within his party.

The question is, will he seize that opportunity?

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#NEVERNIKKI

Then there was Nikki Haley‘s not-so-super Tuesday. 

It was finally “come to Jesus” time for the former South Carolina governor. The cold, hard reality could no longer be denied. Sure, she won Vermont on Tuesday and the District of Columbia primary two days earlier. But what does it say when your only two victories came from the D.C. swamp and the home state of socialist Bernie Sanders

Wednesday morning, Haley faced up to the inevitable.

“The time has now come to suspend my campaign,” she said. “I have no regrets.” 

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Nikki Haley (Gage Skidmore)

Maybe not … but what about the left-of-center billionaires who plowed tens of millions of dollars into her candidacy?

In a four-minute speech that was simultaneously gracious and delivered through clenched teeth, Haley called it quits. In doing so, she said all of the right things. She congratulated — but stopped short of endorsing — her former rival. She vowed to continue fighting for the things she believes in, such as putting the country’s fiscal house in order.

Yet Haley also dropped a few breadcrumbs about her future on her way out. While insisting she has “always been a conservative Republican” and has “always voted for the Republican nominee,” she stopped short of making a Sherman-esque pledge not to continue running as an independent.

Instead, Haley dangled the possibility of running as an independent when she quoted the late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher: “Never just follow the crowd. Always make up your own mind.”

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An independent campaign is highly unlikely, though not an impossibility, for Haley. For the moment, however, she made it clear she’s expecting Trump to kiss her ring.

“This is now his time for choosing,” she said.

Really? Doesn’t Haley have it backward? Also, expecting a ring kissing from a man notorious for his love of having his own ring kissed is a tall order. It all comes down to one question for him: How badly do you want to win?

Like it or not (and polling shows a majority of Americans of all political stripes do NOT like it), we’re now in for Biden vs. Trump II: The Sequel. Grab a bowl of popcorn and make yourself comfortable. It’s going to be a long movie with no intermission.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Mark Powell (Provided)

J. Mark Powell is an award-winning former TV journalist, government communications veteran, and a political consultant. He is also an author and an avid Civil War enthusiast. Got a tip or a story idea for Mark? Email him at mark@fitsnews.com.

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