The Republican primary race isn’t going much better for Donald Trump than anything else is going for him

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Donald Trump’s worsening senility is by far the biggest story in politics, and it’s finally getting a decent amount of media attention though it should be getting far more. Trump’s criminal trials are the second biggest story in politics, and while large chunks of the media are still pretending those trials will somehow never happen, that’ll change once the trials get underway; his first trial is set to start in just under a month. Then there’s the 2024 presidential primary contest, which at this point is the distant third biggest story in politics at best, but it still requires some attention.

To be clear, the 2024 Democratic presidential primary has turned out to be precisely the non-story that I said it would be. President Joe Biden is utterly dominating. He’s even winning in blowouts in states where he isn’t on the ballot. Also-ran Democratic primary candidates like Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson are getting close to zero percent of the vote. And as far as the general election, polling suggests that the presence of a loon like RFK Jr in the race would only help Biden. It also looks like all that doomsday hysteria over “No Labels” has turned out to be the non-story I said it would be.

But the 2024 Republican presidential primary is indeed turning into a bit of a story – just not the story that much of the media is feeding you. The worst people in the media, like disastrously dishonest new Meet The Press host Kristen Welker, can’t stop talking about how Trump is utterly dominating the primary voting so far. But that is… not what’s happening.

Trump is running as a de facto incumbent in the 2024 Republican primary race, so he should be utterly dominating. For three years now I’ve been pointing out that Trump was in serious trouble because he was only polling at around 50-55% in the Republican primary. This meant that in spite of Trump’s built in advantage as a recent presidential incumbent, roughly half of Republican primary voters were desperately looking for anyone but Trump. I said that he would need to get these numbers higher before voting began if he wanted to be on solid ground. But his poll numbers haven’t gone up at all. Even when Ron DeSantis imploded, none of DeSantis’ support shifted to Trump. Instead it shifted to anyone but Trump.

Sure enough, now that actual primary voting is underway, Trump is indeed in serious trouble. He’s not in danger of losing any of these states. Nor will he lose Super Tuesday. But he only got about 50% of the vote in Iowa. Then he only got about 50% of the vote in New Hampshire. You’ve heard me say that South Carolina is a far better predictor for the nomination than Iowa or New Hampshire. But now South Carolina has voted, and Trump only got about 60% of the vote. That’s really ugly for someone who’s practically running as an incumbent.

Worse for Trump, about one-fourth of Republican primary voters are saying they won’t vote for Trump in the general election if he’s the nominee. It’s bad enough that some of that 25% will stay home. It’s even worse for Trump when you factor in that some of that 25% will cross party lines and vote for Biden just to stop Trump. So much for the media narrative that Republican voters were all going to fall in line behind Trump once it became clear that he was in line for the nomination. It’s just not happening.

Trump isn’t going to lose the nomination based on primary voting. But that was never the danger for him. The danger was always that he was going to win the primary in such weak and vulnerable fashion that by the time the Republican National Convention rolled around and Trump was a convicted felon on top if it, the delegates might take the nomination away from him. Throw in the fact that Trump is now so senile he has to read the names of his family members off a card (and still couldn’t get it right), and the odds of the nomination being taken away from him are realistic, even if it’s tricky to try to put percentage odds on it.

Meanwhile Donald Trump’s first criminal trial (Alvin Bragg) is set to start in about four weeks. And if the Supreme Court shoots Trump down this week on “presidential immunity” as expected, his Washington DC criminal trial (Jack Smith) will then start as soon as his Alvin Bragg trial finishes.

So we’ll see what the Republican National Convention decides to do with a fully senile and twice-convicted Donald Trump who ends up with barely more than half of the primary vote and polling that says he can’t compete in a general election. That’ll be up to convention delegates to figure out. But all the warning signs are there that if Trump is the nominee, Republicans will be forfeiting the 2024 election – now more than ever.

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