Trump’s giant leap toward the GOP nomination

Plus: Texas secessionists ‘more emboldened than ever’

Donald Trump holds up his fist during an Election Night Party in Nashua, New Hampshire, on January 23, 2024 (Getty Images)
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Last night, former president Donald Trump all but sewed up the Republican nomination for president in 2024. Former UN ambassador and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley finished eleven points behind Trump in a state that she needed to win in order to justify her continued presence in the race. Next up is Nevada, where Haley is not participating in the state GOP’s caucuses, as she has instead chosen to be listed on the irrelevant primary ballot. Then, Trump and Haley will square off in the latter’s home state of South Carolina. Trump enjoys a hefty…

Last night, former president Donald Trump all but sewed up the Republican nomination for president in 2024. Former UN ambassador and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley finished eleven points behind Trump in a state that she needed to win in order to justify her continued presence in the race. Next up is Nevada, where Haley is not participating in the state GOP’s caucuses, as she has instead chosen to be listed on the irrelevant primary ballot. Then, Trump and Haley will square off in the latter’s home state of South Carolina. Trump enjoys a hefty lead there according to early polling, and Haley will be hard-pressed to improve her position with another $31 million of ad buys like she did in New Hampshire, as she is already a known quantity to voters there.

Generally, there don’t seem to be any states left that Haley can realistically win. New Hampshire appeared to be in play because the state allows undeclared voters to participate in the GOP primary — and they make up just shy of 40 percent of the electorate. A few thousand Democrats changed their party registration back in October to log protest votes against the former president and, overall, undeclared voters showed up on Tuesday about as much as registered Republicans. About 70 percent of Haley’s votes came from the undeclared group, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Trump’s massive support among the GOP base. Not to mention the uphill battle Haley faced on the issues, as 41 percent of New Hampshire primary voters said immigration was their top concern — a bread-and-butter issue for Trump. How can she expect to compete in states that only allow Republicans to vote?  

Haley might stay in the race regardless, so long as her establishment GOP and Democrat mega-donors continue to bankroll her campaign. A Trump official surmised to me last night at an election watch party in Nashua, New Hampshire that Haley will stay in through Super Tuesday. Maybe she is hoping for a “black swan” event to take out Trump, or maybe she is trying to prove she can compete in preparation for a more contested 2028 primary. Neither of these reasons seem to consider how going head-to-head with the party’s chosen leader with no clear path to victory may permanently damage, if not destroy, her standing with Republican voters.

Mainstream media, seemingly desperate to buoy Haley’s bid, reported after last night’s results that Trump was angry and “seething” at Haley’s election night speech. As Trump put it during his own victory speech, he doesn’t really get angry, he gets “even.” The ebullient crowd at his victory party seemed to confirm that there are not any real concerns about facing Haley post-New Hampshire. 

-Amber Duke

On our radar

ANOTHER ONE DOWN A CVS store in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC will close due to rampant crime; employees say thieves target the store on new shipment days and ransack the arriving goods before they can even be placed on shelves. 

BRIBE AND PUNISHMENT Arizona senatorial candidate Kari Lake called on the state’s GOP chair, Jeff DeWit, to resign after leaked audio appeared to show him attempting to bribe her to drop out of the race. DeWit did so in a letter earlier today — in which he also said, “I question how effective a United States senator can be when they cannot be trusted to engage in private and confidential conversations.”

PLANE TO SEE Passengers aboard a Boeing 757 were forced to move to a new aircraft after one of the plane’s nose wheels came loose ahead of takeoff, marking the latest safety incident involving a Boeing plane. 

Not all media hirings and firings are created equal

For the media, not all layoffs are created equal; the latest round of newspaper layoffs are hitting the Los Angeles Times this go-around, to the chagrin of their colleagues around the country.

Los Angeles’s flagship paper is cutting more than 100 jobs in one of its largest-ever layoffs. While celebrating job losses is uncouth, there’s a certain irony in the solidarity that members of the Fourth Estate have with their West Coast brethren while many are simultaneously lamenting the rejuvenation of local media in Maryland — because the latter is being funded by a conservative.

In contrast with how a billionaire’s nepo baby daughter has wreaked havoc on the LA Times’s morale for years, a local boy made good when he bought the Baltimore Sun a few weeks ago from its previous hedge fund owner. 

However, it’s somehow a massive problem because David Smith, the paper’s new owner, dares to be conservative. MSNBC even called Smith’s acquisition of the Sun “extremely dangerous to our democracy.” 

But isn’t rejuvenating local news and employing dozens of journalists supposed to be a good thing?

Across America, thousands of people have already been laid off just weeks into 2024 — and no one is championing their cause with even a fraction of the fervor that the Times’s staff is receiving. 

Matthew Foldi

Texit forever

When I was a student at the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas, I was a member of College Republicans — “the best party on campus!” We campaigned for local candidates, held watch parties and attended rallies and events. At the latter, there seemed always to be a handful of Texas secessionists present, holding signs reminding everyone that they might sort of have the right to split from the Union.  

It’s a notion that refuses to die in the great nation-state, which was its own independent republic between 1836-1845. Several publications have reported on the Lone Star State’s secession movement heating up in recent months, with Newsweek reporting yesterday: 

The Supreme Court decision to allow federal officials to remove parts of a razor-wire barrier Texas had erected along the border with Mexico — a case of DC overruling Governor Greg Abbott — has sparked further calls for the Lone Star State to declare independence from the United States, in a movement called Texit. 

The Texas Tribune reported last November that “Texas secessionists feel more emboldened than ever”as theTexas Nationalist Movement collected 102,000 signatures to petition the Texas GOP’s State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) to put the question on the March 2024 ballot. The Texas GOP chairman rejected the petition.  

When people from my home state of Pennsylvania would ask me what it was like living in Texas, I’d explain to them that the Texan flag flew right next to the American flag — both huge and both everywhere. Then I’d show them this picture of Rick Perry, who was then the governor, and say, “Texas really is like its own country. And it’s awesome.” Which makes me think instead of seceding from the United States, Texas should focus on infusing itself more into the greater American culture. More red dirt music, more Shiner Bock beer and a Buc-ee’s on every corner. Prosit! 

Teresa Mull

From the site

Amber Duke: Why Donald Trump won New Hampshire
Ben Domenech: For the moment, Haley holds on