Super Tuesday sets stage for Donald Trump-Joe Biden rematch, but trouble lies ahead for both


If Donald Trump’s march towards the Republican presidential nomination had seemed unstoppable before today, it appears all but assured now. 

The former president won almost every contest on Super Tuesday, the second biggest day of voting in the US outside of November’s presidential election.

More than a third of the Republican Party delegates were up for grabs as 15 states had their say on the party’s nominee.

And while Trump still hasn’t reached the magic number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination, he could get there within days.

It leaves big questions over the campaign of his only remaining rival, Nikki Haley.

The Super Tuesday results also provide insights into President Joe Biden’s standing with voters, as well as clues on what to look forward to from an expected replay of the 2020 election campaign.

Here are the key takeaways from a big day on the path to the White House.

‘Never been anything like this’, says Trump

Donald Trump was claiming victory even before polls closed, promising his supporters they would deliver “our doubters the most HUMILIATING DEFEAT they’ve ever felt”.

After setting expectations sky high, Trump delivered with a landslide result in most primaries and caucuses.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and red tie while surrounded by a crowd of people.

Donald Trump has been the clear frontrunner in the race to become the Republican presidential candidate.(Reuters: Shannon Stapleton)

On the stage at his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida after sweeping the first round of results, Trump was jubilant, telling cheering crowds “this was an amazing day”.

“They tell me there’s never been anything like this … it’s been an incredible period of time in our country’s history,” he said.

“We’re going to do something that frankly nobody’s been able to do for a long time.”

Trump’s only upset was in Vermont, where Nikki Haley emerged victorious after a closely fought race that took hours to call.

Vermont Republicans are generally considered to be more moderate, and the state’s so-called ‘open primary’ meant voters didn’t have to be registered with the party to take part.

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Haley might have been hoping for a similar result in Virginia, which neighbours Washington DC — the site of her only other primary win so far.

But Trump proved dominant there and in every other Super Tuesday state.

With 97 per cent of the vote counted, the Associated Press (AP) was estimating Trump defeating Haley by more than 60 points in Texas.

He is also projected to win by around 50 points in North Carolina, and 30 points in Colorado.

It means he could cross the number of delegates needed to secure the nomination as soon as March 12, when Republicans in Georgia, Mississippi, Washington state and Hawaii will vote.

Haley won only once, but not dropping out

Nikki Haley is the only serious Republican challenger to Trump still in the race, but she was a long-shot to win any primary going into today.

Unlike in other contests, the former United Nations ambassador didn’t organise an event for her supporters, remaining behind closed doors at her campaign headquarters in South Carolina.

Nikki Haley stands on a stage holding a microphone infront of an American flag.

Nikki Haley was trailing behind Donald Trump in the lead up to today’s voting and needed to win a state to stay competitive.(Reuters: Callaghan O’Hare)

She had previously committed to contesting Super Tuesday, arguing more Republicans across the country deserved the chance to vote.

But she would not be drawn on her future beyond this point, and didn’t offer any more clues once results came in.

“We’re honoured to have received the support of millions of Americans across the country today, including in Vermont where Nikki became the first Republican woman to win two presidential primary contests,” her spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas said in a statement.

“Today, in state after state, there remains a large block of Republican primary voters who are expressing deep concerns about Donald Trump.

“That is not the unity our party needs for success. Addressing those voters’ concerns will make the Republican Party and America better.”

Haley’s campaign has been kept alive by donors who don’t want Trump as the Republican nominee in November.

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One backer, Eric Levine, told CNN earlier on Tuesday that Haley had become the “spokesperson” for people in the party who reject the former president as their candidate.

But even he suggested her campaign needed to hit certain milestones if it was to continue.

“If she starts polling 10, 15 per cent across the country in Super Tuesday states, she has to get out of the race at that point,” he said.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen. But then she would have to, because, you know, it’d be Trump versus Biden.”

Biden easily won races, amid warnings

Republicans were not the only ones taking part in Super Tuesday, with Joe Biden also moving substantially closer to officially securing his party’s nomination.

As an incumbent running for re-election, the Democratic president isn’t facing any strong challenges to his candidacy.

In fact, one of his long-shot challengers — congressman Dean Phillips, whose state of Minnesota voted today — joked that Haley was “attracting more appeal from Democratic Party loyalists” than him.

The president easily won all of the Super Tuesday Democratic primaries, apart from a surprise result in the tiny US territory of American Samoa where he was beaten by 51 votes to 40 by investor Jason Palmer.

Despite the victories, there are still some warning signs in the results for Biden.

More than 100,000 people in Michigan voted “uncommitted” last week in that state’s primary to register their anger over the president’s handling of the war in Gaza.

A close up of Jode Biden wearing a suit as he stares off into the distance.

Today’s results provided some insight into Joe Biden’s standing with voters ahead of the election.(Reuters: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)

Similar protest votes played out in several Super Tuesday states.

In Minnesota, around 19 per cent of voters registered as “uncommitted’, with a further 7.9 per cent backing Phillips.

Smaller numbers of votes against Biden were also reported in Massachusetts and Colorado.

The president didn’t make a speech about Super Tuesday but he did post on X, formerly Twitter, following the results.

Referring to his usual talking points, Biden attacked Trump and warned of a looming threat to democracy.

“Today, millions of voters across the country made their voices heard — showing that they are ready to fight back against Donald Trump’s extreme plan to take us backwards,” he said.

“Every generation of Americans will face a moment when it has to defend democracy. This is our fight.”

Biden will get the opportunity to address millions of Americans later this week when he delivers a high stakes State of the Union speech.

His campaign might have been hoping for a celebrity boost ahead of his address, with Taylor Swift deciding to weigh into Super Tuesday.

But despite speculation that the superstar might endorse Biden as she did in 2020, sparking wild far-right conspiracy theories in recent weeks, she limited her intervention to a call for people to vote.

Taylor Swift posts on Instagram: "I wanted to remind you guys to vote the people who most represent YOU into power."

Taylor Swift took to Instagram to encourage people to vote on Super Tuesday.(Instagram: Taylor Swift)

“I wanted to remind you guys to vote the people who most represent YOU into power,” she wrote.

“If you haven’t already, make a plan to vote today.”

Race for general election starts now

A rematch of the 2020 election had been looking increasingly likely for months, and both Donald Trump and Joe Biden were already treating it as such.

Trump did not mention Nikki Haley in his speech, instead taking aim at his successor over issues such as the economy and immigration, both of which are considered potential weak spots for Biden.

Exit polls conducted by Edison Research suggested immigration was the top election issue for 43 per cent of voters in North Carolina.

A line of voters, including a man holding a dog, sign in at a polling center during the Super Tuesday primary election.

Voters in 16 states cast their ballots in today’s presidential primaries and caucuses.(Reuters: Aude Guerrucci)

They also suggested more than half of Republican voters in North Carolina and Virginia would still consider him fit for the presidency, even if he was convicted of a crime.

Trump is still facing four sets of criminal charges, with the first scheduled to go to trial later this month.

The former president also has challenges ahead when it comes to the voters who backed Haley, and the question of whether they would ultimately support him in the general election.

Alternatively, they could get behind Biden or choose not to vote at all.

While the future of Haley’s candidacy remains uncertain, expect both Biden and Trump to continue to campaign as though they’re the only two in the race.

Polls might suggest many Americans are unenthusiastic about the prospect of a repeat, but that’s what the two parties – and primary voters — have delivered.



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