This last Tuesday, as usual so far this year, Trump did well in his primary proxy battles. His Alabama win was impressive. But also as usual this year, there were anomalies. Especially in Georgia.
For Trump, always in Georgia. That key state on Tuesday turned down two of Trump’s endorsed congressional candidates. With other statewide losses and the senate runoffs last year, Trump can’t catch a break in the Peach state. Other states have also said no to Trump.
The cumulative effect of this is to open up a hole. The losses are acting like blockers in football. The right running back can get through it and pick up some yards.
Another interesting scene as of late was in South Carolina. There Trump target Nancy Mace held on to her congressional seat. Who endorsed her in this race? Nikki Haley. Then there is New Hampshire.
“According to polling numbers released on Wednesday by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, 39% of likely Republican primary voters in the Granite State would support the first-term Florida governor, with 37% backing the former president. Respondents were provided a list of potential contenders for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, and DeSantis margin was well within the survey’s sampling error,” says FNC.
“The survey suggests support among New Hampshire Republicans for DeSantis is surging. Trump held a 43%-18% advantage in support of DeSantis the last time the UNH Survey Center asked a 2024 GOP presidential nomination preference question, in October of last year. Trump topped DeSantis 47%-19% in UNH’s survey last July.
“The poll indicates DeSantis with a massive 66% net favorability among likely GOP primary voters, ahead of Trump’s 46% net favorability…The poll indicates Biden topping Trump 50%-43% in New Hampshire in a hypothetical 2024 general election matchup, but shows DeSantis edging Biden 47%-46%.” The New Hampshire primary is vitally important to any presidential candidate.
Now that’s all well and good for DeSantis and superficially has nothing to do with Haley. But all that data is opening up that hole in the Trump defensive line even wider. Though DeSantis is probably good on his word of not running if Trump does.
Haley said the same thing. But, as with the Mace race, she is being aggressive in challenging Trump in proxy fights. Would she take him on as things now stand? Probably not. But circumstances will change and the process likely won’t benefit Trump.
There will be other proxy losses for him. He will still win the majority of those races. But the bleed will continue. The Dems will keep going after him on the January 6th committee, perhaps even recommending criminal indictment. There are legal actions pending in New York and Florida. And there is always the former president’s propensity to say something that does not benefit him with even Republican voters. Thus, six months from now, he may be weaker. Weak enough to tempt a serious challenger who is already challenging him.
If so, and with DeSantis waiting for a complete Trump meltdown to enter the race, an eventuality that may not come, logic, proxy campaign actions, and Washington watercoolers are whispering one thing: Haley in ’24.