REPUBLICAN (DONALD TRUMP) PRIMARY

Aquarian Weekly
1/17/24
 
Reality Check
 
REPUBLICAN (DONALD TRUMP) PRIMARY
Or How Long Before the Terrorist Party Goes All-In  

The Republican Party is owned by Donald Trump and the MAGA cabal. This is hardly debatable anymore. He is poised to represent the party for a third consecutive run for president and has moved it from a conservative, Reagan-esque fiscally responsible, geopolitical faction to a populist vanity project. The idea the party is even faking a primary in 2024 is laughable, as funny as holding a dozen debates without the clear frontrunner. Even his competition is resigned to his victory, which is why none of them can articulate why they should be a viable alternative. Can you blame them? The man has a national polling number safely over 50-percent among likely Republican voters. They’re Republicans, where are they going? But suffice to say, the primaries are happening, and we cover politics here, so here we go.

Let’s start in Iowa. There is zero chance Trump loses there, even though it is likely going to be 15 degrees below zero next week and frontrunners want big turnout, so that might take a minor hit. That means Trump wins by 30 points instead of 40. We’re merely talking the spread now, not candidates. 

There are approximately three-million people in Iowa, of which about a hundred-grand will show up to caucus, and that number will be loaded with Evangelicals. Two-thirds of Iowans identify as such. Trump is killing it with Evangelicals, unlike in early 2016 when his loud-mouth, philandering boorishness handed Iowa to Texas Senator Ted Cruz. But since, Trump put three justices on the Supreme Court specifically to strike down Roe v Wade, which they did, an achievement he recently crowed about in a Des Moines town hall. Now he’s Jesus’s son. Iowa is a done deal. 

What holds the future of this dog-and-pony show beyond Iowa is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The once highly touted fascist has been a shit show on the campaign trail. He has taken over two-million dollars and a 40-percent voter share and turned it into campaign bankruptcy and a nine percent voter share. This is Rick Perry / Jeb Bush levels of crapping the bed. DeSantis sucks at everything – debates, stump speeches, defining his positions; being human or likable is beyond him. He imploded almost immediately and went from bad to worse faster than most people not named Rudy Giuliani, who once spent a million dollars for a single delegate – prompting still one of my favorite political observations: “That’s only one more delegate than me, and I didn’t run.” DeSantis might not get any delegates for twice the cash. Pretty impressive failure by any measurement of futility.

If DeSantis sinks to third place in Iowa, he may drop out. And if he does that, Trump sweeps the primaries. But if he comes in second, even a distant second, and hangs on for another two weeks, things might get interesting during and after the New Hampshire primary. This has less to do with the walking corpse that is Ron DeSantis than the only other barely breathing candidate left in this farce, Nikki Haley. 

The former South Carolina governor has held her head above water simply because she’s been surrounded by a parade of shitty candidates, many of whom are gone now, and one guy who has enough money to pull a Michael Bloomberg self-aggrandizing run until he becomes bored. Right now, the ghost of DeSantis is polling around nine percent in NH. Haley, however, is at 30. Trump is rocking at 41-percent lead there. Solid, but not insurmountable. Mainly because Independents (many of them abhor him) vote in the state, and only one out of four NH voters identify as Evangelical, likely the smallest number of that voting block Trump will see on this trek. But the real story here is former New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, who is sitting at 12 percent, just quit the race.

The idea the party is even faking a primary in 2024 is laughable

Christie’s only aim in running for president, as covered in this space months ago, was to hammer Trump. His campaign was Stop Trump “because he’s a fascist lunatic, who will take this country into a darkness rarely seen in many a generation” (his words). His 12-percent shan’t be going to Trump. Maybe, some of them go to DeSantis, but he’s MAGA-lite, and as illustrated above, sucks and is doomed. I’m no math whiz, but let’s say for the sake of argument Haley pulls even ten percent of Christie’s anti-Trump vote, then she’s at 42-percent, and that beats 41-percent.

Moreover, Christie smartly got out two weeks before voting, so there is time for polls to reflect her bump, and if there is a sniff that she might dent Trump, New Hampshire, one of the most vacillating contrarian states in the Union, would be happy to oblige. This is especially prevalent in a year in which there is no Democratic Primary to speak of, therefore the entire Independent anti-Trump attention will be focused on the GOP. However, if DeSantis decides to succumb to reality and suspends his “campaign,” then much of his nine percent might be enough for Trump to hold Haley off.

One interesting twist is Christie went out swinging at the remaining field, spatting, “Any candidate who doesn’t admit that Trump is unfit for office, then they themselves are unfit for office.” So, it is unlikely he endorses Haley outright, but again, this matters little – his 12-percent is less Christie-based than anti-Trump based. They will look at what is left and go for who’s closest, and that’s Haley. Giving your vote to DeSantis at this point is pot-pissing.

Let’s extrapolate this out, shall we? If this is a three-way race and Haley wins in NH. Then, even though she has no shot in her home state of South Carolina, where Trump is around 60-percent, at least he loses something for the first time since November, 2020. And, if you recall, that went well. Just as he did when he coughed up Iowa in 2016, he will say it was rigged. He says everything is rigged unless he wins. Convictions. Loses. The USFL. Atlantic City. 2020 general election. Everything he botches is someone else’s fuck-up. He will most definitely whine for a month between NH and SC and bring up all that bad mojo of election denialism that has torpedoed the GOP in every election cycle since he slunk out of D.C. with his tail between his legs. Could that boost Haley in SC? Could that remind those who may be under-motivated for Joe Biden in the general to remember what kind of loose cannon jack-ass Trump is when he’s running for office?

If nothing else, previous news-cycle primary shifts have taught us that narrative matters. It mattered for Trump in early 2016 when he was only winning primaries with 28-percent of the vote and everyone was convinced he was just trying to boost his NBC contract, yet he kept gobbling up delegates and winner-take-all contests. Bill Clinton in 1992, George Bush in 2000, and Barack Obama in 2008 all gained momentum from early surprise victories or even serviceable second-place finishes. A narrative bump for Haley against a thin-skinned psycho twit like Trump taking to social media and giving disjointed press conferences to bitch about the New Hampshire primary being stolen might make things look a little less cushy for him. 

Trump is going to be the Republican nominee and try and take down America from jail eventually, but there’s no reason this can’t be fun until then.

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