Takeaways from the New Hampshire primaries: Trump demands the GOP unify, cover up its weaknesses

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President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump Both parties scored decisive victories Tuesday in New Hampshire’s primary, as both aim to move confidently toward the general election.

However, questions remain, although fewer for Democrats. Biden’s write-in campaign — which skipped New Hampshire in a tussle over the 2024 primary — easily defeated an energetic, well-financed challenge from Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota.

On the Republican side, a former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley He vowed to continue the matter, much to the dismay of Trump and his allies. She is moving forward with a sharp focus on South Carolina, where she used to be governor, but where Trump is seen as the front-runner.

Here are the biggest lessons from New Hampshire’s primary night — from Trump and the future of the Republican Party to the decline of local advocacy and more.

Trump increases pressure to end the primary campaign

Trump became the first non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate to win both Iowa and New Hampshire, winning both races by double digits.

Trump and his allies are first using the date as a clear signal that the 2024 primary campaign should be drawing to a close. Yes, a large percentage of GOP voters were looking for an alternative to Trump. But so far she has been unable to come close to overthrowing him.

“We have to do what’s right for our party,” Trump said at his election night party in Nashua.

Naturally, Trump is expected to urge his opponents to stop opposing him. Most importantly, essentially Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel He told NBC News in a statement Before the polls close in New Hampshire on Tuesday, if Trump wins big, it will be time for the party to formally rally around him. Several GOP lawmakers have suggested the same thing.

“If President Trump comes out strong tonight, it is a clear message our primary voters are sending,” McDaniel said in her statement earlier Tuesday, adding that former rivals have backed Trump and that “Republicans know that if we are not united as one country.” “If our party is behind our candidate, we will not be able to beat Biden.”

But Haley, in her post-election speech on Tuesday, pledged to keep fighting and continue her campaign in South Carolina, which hosts its primary late next month.

A warning sign for Trump

Although he pulled off a victory over Haley on Tuesday night, there are some general election warning signs in the result for Trump.

First and foremost: his performance with self-described “moderates,” who tend to be the swing voters in critical swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and even New Hampshire, come November.

An NBC News poll showed that while Trump won self-identified Republicans by 49 points, he lost independents by 24 points — and the makeup of the primary was split fairly evenly between the two groups. Moderates, who themselves constitute 29% of voters, supported Haley by a huge margin of 51 points over Trump, while he defeated conservatives by 42 points.

Meanwhile, only 13% of Haley’s voters said they would be “satisfied” with Trump winning the Republican nomination, while 86% of her voters said he would be unfit to serve as president if convicted of a crime.

Not all of Haley’s supporters were now Trump supporters in 2020. Greg Moore, regional director of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that has endorsed Haley, told reporters on Friday that he believed the “raw truth” of the competition between the two candidates would be enough. I see many unhappy Republicans turning back to Trump.

But NBC News spoke with several voters at Haley events who said they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Trump in the fall if he won the nomination — including some who had previously voted for him.

Donna Dostie, a Haley supporter from Hooksett, said she admired Trump’s policies but voted for Biden in 2020 after supporting Trump in 2016 because of the “chaos” he “brought to our country.”

She said she would write to Haley this fall if the election was a rematch between Biden and Trump.

“Trump makes me nervous,” she said. “He really does. I think he’s a dangerous man.”

However, these voters do not worry Trump. Asked by NBC News earlier Tuesday about getting some of them back, he wasn’t too concerned.

“They will all vote for me again,” he said. “I’m not sure we need much. I’m not sure. I think Biden is the worst president in the history of this country. But we’re all going to come back. They’re all coming back. And I think you see that.”

Referees do not guarantee victory

Governor of Iowa Kim Reynolds And Governor of New Hampshire. Chris Sununu She felt strongly that Trump should not be the Republican nominee, as both put their political capital on the line to stand against the most powerful figure in their party, supporting other candidates and campaigning vigorously for them..

Reynolds’ support for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis did not make a difference. DeSantis finished a distant second to Trump in the Iowa caucuses, which he once pledged he would win. (Trump spent the hours before the vote agonizing over Reynolds’s snub.) Foreshadowing possible retaliation.)

Sununu’s endorsement had a much more tangible impact on the race in New Hampshire. Haley trailed former New Jersey Governor Christie in the polls and established herself as a clear alternative to Trump. Christie, who had a New Hampshire or bankruptcy strategy, Drop out of school Two weeks ago, giving Haley a chance to bridge the gap with Trump.

Sununu, a four-term governor who won re-election bids despite his political distance from Trump, has thrown himself into Haley’s campaign. The two had been practically inseparable in recent days. But Sununu, who a month ago Haley predicted a “landslide” She began to lower expectations, stressing that losing to Trump would not be fatal to her attempt to reach the White House.

Losing Haley is not on Sununu. His endorsement gave her a boost when she needed it, but not a boost to the majority of Republican voters in New Hampshire. In the binary of Trump versus not-Trump — and Sununu, though popular in his state, is very much not-Trump — Trump still wins.

Democrats are still with Biden

For all the Democrats’ worry about Biden’s chances against Trump, despite all the polls showing Americans unhappy about a Biden-Trump rematch, and despite Biden’s age and vulnerabilities, Biden just won by a comfortable margin as a write-in candidate in New Hampshire . Unauthorized democratic primaries.

Biden didn’t even make it to New Hampshire in his first two presidential runs, in 1988 and 2008, before finishing fifth in the state in 2020, but this time he’s on pace to win about two-thirds of the Democratic vote in the state. , nearly 50 points ahead of the competition, even though his name wasn’t actually on the ballot.

That’s not too far from the 81% that President Barack Obama received in New Hampshire in 2012, when he ran for re-election without significant Democratic opposition (and with his name on the ballot). Biden appears to be on track to get more raw votes than Obama did that year, thanks to higher turnout this time around.

Phillips is a credible and well-funded candidate, smooth in the rankings, and a quarter-century younger than Biden. He went to New Hampshire and argued adamantly that Biden was “unelectable” and suffering “regression.” He easily outspent Biden’s campaign, which did not run a single television ad.

But New Hampshire Democrats chose to endorse Biden anyway, while Phillips is closing in on the unambitious goal he set for himself of more than 20% of the vote.

Phillips is worth about $100 million, so he will likely be able to continue his campaign as long as he wants, and he has already signed up to attend an event in South Carolina this weekend. Biden still has a lot of work to do to bring unhappy elements of his base back into the fold. But barring some sort of major, surprising external event, the rest of the world will likely move alongside Phillips into general election mode.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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