There’s no stopping Trump’s march towards Republican coronation
NEW YORK — Donald Trump marches towards what can only be called a coronation, rather than a nomination, as the Republican Party’s candidate for arguably the world’s most powerful job.
According to the RealClear Politics (RCP) averages of polls, Trump’s overall support is at 66.1 per cent within his party, with former South Carolina Governor and US Ambassador Nikki Haley at a distant 11.5, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at 10.5.
In a preview of the unfolding intra-party elections to pick the Republican nominee for President, he crushed his opponents in the Iowa caucus, last week getting 51 per cent of the votes against DeSantis’s 21.2 per cent and Haley’s 19.1 per cent and polls say he will repeat that on Tuesday in New Hampshire.
That puts him on the road to his coronation in mid-July as the party’s candidate for a rematch with President Joe Biden who defeated him 2020 – a defeat Trump defiantly refuses to admit.
However, the Supreme Court will have almost as much power as the Republican Party in making the final call.
The court will have to decide if Trump, who has refused to accept his 2020 defeat, can be removed from the ballots as two state officials have decided because they allege he had participated in an insurrection which bars him from holding office under the Constitution.
The insurrection charge arises from the riot on January 6, 2021, when hundreds of his supporters riled up by him at a rally mounted an assault on Congress breaking into the building and threatening the members of Congress and then Vice President Mike Pence to prevent them from certifying Biden’s election.
The Supreme Court has been asked to give a verdict on this.
In addition, he faces about 90 criminal charges in cases before four different courts where a guilty verdict can send him to prison, but ironically, not stop him from running in the election
These cases, which include trying to subvert the election in Georgia and threatening national security by improperly taking top secret government documents, have not dented his standing for a majority of his party, nor have several civil cases involving his conduct with women and fraud.
Biden is virtually unopposed in his party except for a couple of fringe candidates but Trump who has faced serious challengers has been acting as if it is lese majeste that anyone should oppose him.
In a clash of the entitled gerontocrats, Trump, 77, is two per cent ahead of Biden, 81, according to RCP collation of polls with about 11 months to go.
While there have been murmurs within his party about his electability, there has been no revolt leaving him with less of a challenge than Trump.
Biden’s age is becoming a factor, magnifying his verbal slips and his demeanour.
He is burdened by an unfavourability rating of 56.4 per cent according to RCP average, and a disapproval of his job rating of almost as much.
The tailwinds of the inflation that has abated still haunt him because prices of everyday needs have not reached the levels they were under Trump — without a disinflation with its own attendant problems — nor have the wage increases matched the price increases.
During his election campaign, Biden said that those fleeing oppression were welcome and that and the perception that the Democratic Party favours open borders have come to haunt him as an estimated 3.8 million migrants have entered the country since 2021.
Now their tide is flowing into Democratic Party-run cities and states threatening their stability and finances, creating opposition within the ranks of his own party’s elected officials.
On the foreign policy front, just as the country was moving on from the deadly fiasco of withdrawal from Afghanistan, Biden faces challenges from the left to his unconditional support to Israel in the Gaza conflict and from the right to the massive aid to Ukraine in a war that has stalemated.
On the other hand, the good news about the record low unemployment, the booming stock markets, the fall in some serious crimes, the attempts at reindustrialisation and the first stand against China do not appear to have percolated to the voters’ perceptions.
Trump makes electoral hay out of these.
More immediately, though, Trump will have effectively eliminated the challenges within his party by Super Tuesday, March 5, when 15 states including California, Virginia, and Massachusetts where polls predict insurmountable leads hold their primaries.
After that, it will be Trump concentrating on campaigning for the presidency while popping in and out of courts for the various cases.
And Biden and the Democrats’ main point of attack will continue to be that Trump’s election will endanger democracy.
Trump’s rants about being dictator for a day could be ammunition for them, but so far does not seem to voters as much an imminent threat as their perceptions of economic and immigration issues.
(Arul Louis can be contacted at email@example.com and followed at @arulouis)