The big guy is back. The first two Republican primary contests of the year have now taken place —the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. We might see a rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump this year after all as Donald Trump won both these events and is now leading the party nominations again.
After winning in Iowa and New Hampshire, former President Donald Trump now has 32 delegates. His strongest opponent only has 17. Winning the GOP nomination requires at least 1215 out of 2429 delegates awarded as part of the primary process.
Although Donald Trump’s victory in New Hampshire did not match the 20-point margin that was predicted by recent polls, it should be more than enough to maintain the current direction of the race. He won by a landslide in the first contest in Iowa. And the upcoming states on the Republican primary calendar tilt more heavily in his favour than New Hampshire, suggesting his march towards the nomination will soon become a stampede.
With each passing vote, a truth becomes increasingly clear. As polls for many months have shown, the Republican Party is still Donald Trump’s party. His base’s loyalty is unwavering, through dramas both legal and political. His brand of conservative populism is in step with his party’s voters, as is his focus on issues like immigration, crime and energy.
A CBS exit survey paints a picture of Mr Trump’s support base, but it also shows its limitations. Among self-identified “very conservative voters”, the former president won 88%. He carried 66% of primary voters with no college degree and evangelical Christian voters by a similar margin. He won only 23% of moderates and 39% of college graduates, groups he will have to appeal to if he wants to beat President Biden.
There are also some concerns about Donald Trump being appealing enough to win voters outside of the party. “For him to win the general election, he’s got to start running a general election campaign, which will mean his message is going to have to appeal to those independent voters and moderate Republicans,” said Senate GOP Whip John Thune, the No. 2 Republican who has yet to endorse Trump but said he would back the eventual nominee.
Here’s a look at the next upcoming primary dates:
February 3: South Carolina Democratic presidential primary election
February 6: Nevada Democratic presidential primary election
February 8: Nevada Republican presidential caucuses and Virgin Island Republican presidential caucuses
February 24: South Carolina Republican presidential primary election
February 27: Michigan Democratic presidential primary election
March 2: Idaho Republican caucuses and Missouri Republican caucuses
March 3: Washington, DC, Republican presidential primary
March 4: North Dakota Republican presidential caucuses
March 5: Super Tuesday — states and territories holding elections include Alabama, Alaska Republican presidential primary, American Samoa Democratic presidential caucuses, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa Democratic presidential preference, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.