Trump, Biden dominate Super Tuesday contests as they march toward rematch

March 6, 2024 6:04 pm

[Source: Reuters]

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump swept to victory in statewide nominating contests across the country.

Setting up a historic rematch in November’s general election despite low approval ratings for both candidates.

Trump won the Republican votes in a dozen states – including delegate-rich California and Texas – brushing aside former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, his lone remaining rival, whose campaign no longer has a viable path to the nomination.

Article continues after advertisement

After a commanding performance across 15 states where more than one-third of Republican delegates were up for grabs on Super Tuesday, Trump had all but clinched his third consecutive presidential nomination, despite facing a litany of criminal charges.

Trump and Biden trained their focus on each other as the results became clear. In a victory speech delivered at his Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida, Trump attacked Biden’s immigration policies and called him the “worst president” in history.

“November 5th is going to go down as the single most important day in the history of our country,” Trump said.

In a statement, Biden again cast Trump as a threat to American democracy.

“Tonight’s results leave the American people with a clear choice: Are we going to keep moving forward or will we allow Donald Trump to drag us backwards into the chaos, division, and darkness that defined his term in office?” Biden said.

Biden had been expected to sail through the Democratic contests, though activists opposed to his strong support of Israel urged Muslim Americans and progressives to cast “uncommitted” protest votes in Minnesota as they did before in Michigan.

Biden was projected to win Minnesota, but “uncommitted” had earned 20.4% of ballots with about half of the expected vote counted, according to Edison. The president won 14 other states, including a mail-in vote in Iowa that ended on Tuesday.

He did suffer one loss, in the U.S. territory of American Samoa’s caucus, where entrepreneur Jason Palmer won 51 votes to Biden’s 40, according to the American Samoa Democratic Party.

Another campaign between Trump, 77, and Biden, 81 – the first repeat U.S. presidential matchup since 1956 – is one few Americans seem to want. Opinion polls show both Biden and Trump have low approval ratings among voters.

Immigration and the economy were leading concerns for Republican voters, Edison exit polls in California, North Carolina and Virginia showed. A majority of Republican voters in those states said they backed deporting illegal immigrants. Trump, who frequently denigrates migrants, has promised to mount the largest deportation effort in U.S. history if elected.

Katherine Meredith, a 65-year-old homemaker, voted for Trump in California’s Huntington Beach, which includes a significant Trump base despite California’s strong Democratic leanings.

“The border is a complete catastrophe,” Meredith said.

Trump has won all but one of the contests so far, winnowing a sprawling Republican field of candidates down to two.

Vermont was the only state on Tuesday where Haley was competitive, holding a narrow 49.3% to 46.8% lead over Trump with 89% of the estimated vote counted, according to Edison. Polls in several states remained open, with Alaska scheduled to wrap up the day at midnight EST (0500 GMT on Wednesday).


Voters were also casting ballots in down-ticket races, including a contest in California to identify potential successors to the late Democratic U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

In Arizona, independent U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema, a former Democrat, said she would not run for reelection, setting up a battle for her seat that could determine control of the closely divided Senate next year.

In North Carolina’s primary election for governor, Trump-endorsed Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson won the Republican nomination and will face Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein. The race in November is likely to be one of the highest-profile governor races in the country.

Pop megastar Taylor Swift encouraged her fans to vote in a post on Instagram, though she did not endorse specific candidates. Biden’s campaign is hopeful Swift will eventually back his candidacy, as she did in 2020.

Haley’s challenge has highlighted some of Trump’s potential general election vulnerabilities. She has reached 40% in some state contests, performing particularly well among independent, well-educated and suburban voters who could play a crucial role in battleground states in November.

About one-third of North Carolina voters said Trump would not be fit to serve as president if he was convicted of a crime, while in Virginia, 53% said he would be fit for the office if convicted.

Trump is scheduled to begin his first criminal trial on March 25 in New York, where he is charged with falsifying business records to conceal hush money payments to a porn star during his 2016 presidential run.

In addition to the New York case, Trump faces separate federal and Georgia state charges for election interference, though it is unclear whether either case will reach trial before November’s election. He also faces federal charges for retaining classified documents after leaving office.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in all four criminal cases.

Biden faces his own weaknesses, including widespread concern about his age. He is already the oldest U.S. president in history.