New Hampshire is the end of Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign or the beginning.
“Will Nikki Haley give Donald Trump a run for his money in one-of-a-kind NH primary?” wondered David Jackson for USA Today this morning, injecting a note of hopefulness into the proceedings.
“Trump aims to drive Haley out of the GOP race with big New Hampshire win,” advised top political correspondent Stephen Collinson for CNN.
It’s Super Tuesday in New Hampshire. Republican Party primary voters — along with a goodly number of registered Democrats and independents — are in the process of casting their votes.
With the race down to two candidates, today’s NH primary results could give pollsters and political analysts their best look yet at what Election Day 2024 might hold for both parties.
For Haley, it’s a hard day. A loss would be disastrous — a win wouldn’t mean that much.
Even if she does manage to defy pollsters, oddsmakers, and bookies by defeating Donald Trump in NH today, it probably won’t make much of a difference in the race. It may breathe a bit of new life into Haley’s campaign, but she will still be leagues away from cinching the nomination.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, hardly needs a win in New Hampshire today. Even if Haley’s New Hampshire voters route his primary campaign, Trump is still the overwhelmingly likely nominee.
“Every day the Republican Party is becoming more and more unified,” the former President told throngs of his supporters at a rally on Monday. “We started off with 13, and now we are down to two people. And I think one person will be gone probably tomorrow.”
Trump’s predictions aside, Haley has been cagey about whether defeat in New Hampshire — a state in which she has spent heavily and campaigned hard — will be her ticket out of the race.
“New Hampshire represents Haley’s best opening to claim an early victory against Trump that would slow what is beginning to look like his inevitable march to the nomination, which would complete his transformation of the GOP in his image,” wrote Stephen Collinson for CNN.
Meanwhile, support for Trump is consolidating and opposition to him is melting.
“Wall Street opposition to Trump collapses, as ‘pipe dream’ of primary defeat ends,” wrote Brian Schwartz gloomily for CNBC on Monday.
And with Donald Trump increasingly outperforming him in the polls, President Joe Biden must be feeling the pressure.
President Biden’s reelection campaign, like his successful 2020 bid for the presidency, is beset on all sides by doubt and Democratic Party hand-wringing.
“The Problems With Biden,” Harold Meyerson worried for the American Prospect on January 22, 2024. “He has to dig himself out of three holes if he has any chance to beat Donald Trump.”
Biden’s three biggest vulnerabilities heading into the election — according to Meyerson and general consensus — are the economy, immigration, and a failure by the Biden administration to sell Americans on the accomplishments of the Biden Administration contained therein.
Of course, many mainstream media outlets believe the economy and immigration concerns can be mitigated by altering voters’ perception of the issues — i.e. if Democratic Party campaign spin-masters can only find the right way to talk about the economy and immigration, all the Democratic Party’s problems will magically go away.
There are no problems in America, according to this strange logic; and certainly not in the struggling working class. Only the pesky but manageable perception of problems.
Of course, some problems do exist, these experts occasionally allow, if only tangentially and sandwiched between healthy doses of positivity.
“The housing market, to be sure, remains profoundly out of whack,” allows Meyerson, “but the uptick in other measures of economic well-being gives Biden a window to argue that his stewardship of the economy bears no resemblance to the way Republicans characterize it, and to contrast his economic goals for a second term to Trump’s and the Republicans’.”
Plenty of Democrats are clamoring for President Biden to fix — not their perception of the economy or immigration — but the actual problems themselves.
While Democratic Party leadership stays locked away all day “tweaking the message” and putting together focus groups, some Democratic voters are hoping for a big Trump win in New Hampshire and beyond.
It’s the only way, they think, to light a fire under the Democratic Party.
“Could Trump’s Iowa Win Be the Catalyst to Drastically Change the Democrats’ Strategy?” hoped Douglas MacKinnon for The Messenger on January 21, 2024.
“Over the past several months, I’ve talked with many Democratic political strategists and executives who unanimously believe that their party can’t win in November if Biden — or even Vice President Kamala Harris — is the nominee,” fretted MacKinnon. “Trump is gaining momentum by the day, they acknowledge, and he’s making inroads into the Black and Latino communities, traditionally voting blocs on which the Democrats could rely.”
Trump has other supporters in the Democratic Party. Ironically, the Biden Administration believes a Trump win will inspire Democratic Party voters to work harder to reelect him.
“Trump’s surprise fan club: Why many Dems want him to win big in N.H.,” revealed Alex Thompson and Erin Doherty for Axios today.
“President Biden’s team believes that Trump becoming the presumptive Republican nominee for president would give a much-needed jolt of energy to voters and grassroots donors who don’t want to see Trump back in the White House,” they wrote.
“The president’s campaign has internal data indicating that most of the undecided voters Biden is targeting don’t think Trump will be the Republican nominee because they haven’t tuned into an election that’s more than nine months away,” continued the pair. “Democratic strategists close to the Biden campaign say that as good as Trump is at mobilizing his MAGA movement, he’s also one of the best motivators of Democrats that the strategists have ever seen.”
Not everyone is convinced of the efficacy of this strategy, however. Plenty of Democrats feel that a Trump-Biden rematch has received sufficient press time that most voters expect nothing else.
Will a Trump win in New Hampshire Tuesday help the Democratic Party?
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)