In spite of the media’s years-long insistence that Donald Trump had an “ironclad grip” on the 2024 Republican nomination for President, polling all along has shown that only about half of Republican primary voters around the nation wanted Trump. The other half were willing to latch onto any Republican candidate who seemed to have momentum. At one point early on, Ron DeSantis was tied with Trump, before everyone figured out that DeSantis was a creepy dimwit.
But there was still this notion Republican primary voters would end up falling in line behind Trump by the time voting came around. The thing is, that never did happen. Trump only got around 50% of the Republican vote in the Iowa caucus this month. And now he’s only gotten a little more than half of the Republican vote in the New Hampshire primary.
New Hampshire is even worse for Trump because not only did he only get fifty-something percent of the vote, Nikki Haley got forty-something percent of the vote. Now that Haley is the last semi-viable Republican candidate left standing, roughly half of Republican primary voters have flocked to her. It’s not that Haley is popular or has any real momentum. It’s just that half of Republican primary voters really don’t want Trump to be the nominee.
Of course fifty-something percent of the vote is a majority. So if Trump’s current numbers hold across the nation, he’ll win the nomination. But if he barely gets above 50%, and he arrives at the Republican National Convention this summer with a criminal conviction and prison sentence around his neck, and if he’s widely seen as being senile by then, the party could conceivably take the nomination away from him.
What Donald Trump needed in Iowa and New Hampshire were huge, convincing blowout wins to give the appearance that the Republican voting base is falling in line with him. Instead what we saw was that Trump really is as unpopular within the Republican primary voting base as his poll numbers said he was. And this is before he gets convicted at trial and starts drooling on stage. It’s only going to get worse for Trump by the time of the convention. It’ll then be up to the Republican Party to decide if it really wants to hand its nomination to someone that non-viable. Meanwhile Joe Biden must be having a good laugh.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report