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It’s Fair to Ask: Is the Republican Race Over?

It’s Fair to Ask: Is the Republican Race Over?


Is the Republican presidential main over already?

Not fairly, but it surely’s an inexpensive query after New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation main delivered a transparent victory for Donald J. Trump on Tuesday night time. And in case your definition of “over” is whether or not Mr. Trump is now on monitor to win with no severe contest, the reply might be “sure.”

With almost all of the counting achieved, he gained 55 % of the vote. His solely remaining rival, Nikki Haley, gained 44 %.

Mr. Trump’s 11-point margin of victory isn’t terribly spectacular in its personal proper. In truth, he gained by a smaller margin than many pre-election polls urged.

What makes Mr. Trump’s victory so vital — and what raises the query about whether or not the race is over — is that New Hampshire was Ms. Haley’s highest alternative to alter the trajectory of the race. It was arguably her highest alternative to win a state, interval.

If she couldn’t win right here, she may not have the ability to win wherever — not even in her residence state of South Carolina, the place the race turns subsequent. And even when she did win her residence state, she would nonetheless face a frightening path ahead.

Mr. Trump leads the nationwide polls by more than 50 percentage points with simply six weeks to go till Super Tuesday, when almost half of all of the delegates to the Republican conference will likely be awarded. Without an infinite shift, he would safe the nomination in mid-March.

Why was New Hampshire such a superb alternative for her?

  • The polls. New Hampshire was the one state the place the polls confirmed her inside hanging distance. She trailed by a mere 15 factors within the state, in contrast together with her 50-plus-point deficit nationwide. She isn’t inside 30 factors in some other state, together with her residence state of South Carolina.

  • History. The state has a protracted monitor file of backing reasonable and mainstream Republican candidates, together with John McCain and Mitt Romney. Mr. Trump gained the state with 35 % of the vote in 2016, however principally as a result of the reasonable vote was divided.

  • The voters. Ms. Haley fares finest amongst school graduates and moderates, and the New Hampshire voters is stuffed with these voters. The state ranks eighth within the college-educated share of the inhabitants, and in contrast to in lots of states, unaffiliated voters are allowed to take part within the Republican main.

  • The endorsements. In distinction with most states, New Hampshire’s political elite didn’t coalesce behind Mr. Trump. Ms. Haley even had the assist of the state’s standard Republican governor, Chris Sununu.

  • The media. New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation main receives way more media consideration than later contests. It supplied the likelihood — if solely a faint one — {that a} win might change her fortunes elsewhere. A later victory in an identical state like Vermont — whose Republicans additionally are typically extra reasonable — might be drowned out by different main outcomes that day and dismissed as too-little-too-late.

Ms. Haley made good on all of those benefits Tuesday. She gained 74 % of moderates, in accordance with the exit polls, together with 58 % of school graduates and 66 % of voters who weren’t registered Republicans.

But it wasn’t near sufficient. Ms. Haley misplaced Republicans by a staggering 74 % to 25 % — a bunch of no small import in a Republican main, particularly within the states the place solely registered Republicans can vote. Conservatives gave Mr. Trump a full 70 % of the vote. Voters with no school diploma backed Mr. Trump by 2 to 1.

In different Republican primaries, numbers like these will yield a rout. Conservatives, Republicans and voters with no diploma will characterize a far higher share of the voters. There isn’t any credible path for her to win the nomination of a conservative, working-class party whereas falling this quick amongst conservative, working-class voters.

Worse, Ms. Haley’s power amongst independents and Democrats will make it even tougher for her to increase her enchantment, as Mr. Trump and different Republicans will depict her marketing campaign as a liberal Trojan horse.

If Ms. Haley had gained New Hampshire, the potential for using the momentum into later states and broadening her enchantment would have remained. Not anymore. Instead, it’s Mr. Trump who has the momentum. He has gained nationwide in polls taken because the Iowa caucuses. Even skeptical Republican officers who have been seen as Ms. Haley’s likeliest allies, like Tim Scott or Marco Rubio, have gotten behind the previous president in current days.

Whether the race is “over” or not, the New Hampshire consequence places Mr. Trump on a snug path to the nomination. The Republican Party’s guidelines for awarding delegates, which permit states to award all of their delegates to the winner, might let him clinch the nomination in early March. Mr. Trump’s authorized challenges add an additional twist — if he’s convicted of against the law, maybe he’ll lose the nomination on the conference. But by the same old guidelines of main elections, there’s simply not a lot time for the race to alter. If it doesn’t, Mr. Trump might simply sweep all 50 states.

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