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Super Tuesday Takeaway: The General Election has Begun

The night was not without a few surprises.

Former President Trump Holds Super Tuesday Election Night Event At Mar-A-Lago

“Rematch mode, activated,” one Biden campaign staffer said as polls started to close on Super Tuesday. Between them, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump carried all but one race on Super Tuesday, further tightening these incumbents’ strangleholds on their party’s nominations.

Polls started to close at 7 p.m. eastern time, marching their way westward throughout the night. Predictably, calls for Biden rang in as soon as polls closed from Virginia to California. Trump’s Super Tuesday march was almost as uninhibited. By 9 p.m. eastern time, eight of the fifteen contests had been called for Trump. The former president racked up massive leads in predictable states like Tennessee and Oklahoma, but also in states where his final primary challenger, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, hoped to be competitive, such as Virginia and Massachusetts.

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Haley did get the best of Trump in Vermont's open primary, however. For most of the night, the race went back and forth until Haley started holding a steady lead at approximately 9:30 p.m. The race was called for Haley around a quarter till eleven at night, and it remains to be seen whether or not Haley will reach the 50 percent plus one threshold to take all of Vermont’s 17 delegates—the smallest delegate haul offered on Tuesday night.

Trump won’t be losing much sleep about Vermont. The Green Mountain State hasn’t voted Republican in a presidential election since 1988. In the presidential elections without a third-party candidate since, Democrats have carried Vermont by a margin around two to one. Trump won’t lose any sleep over Vermont’s 17 delegates tonight or its three electoral college votes come November.

The Haley campaign seems to acknowledge the end is near. Victory in Vermont amidst more than a dozen other losses won’t convince fleeing donors to stay. Although Haley campaigned hard in a number of Super Tuesday states, her campaign did not host a watch party or public event to give a post-election speech. Rather, she spent the night in Charleston, South Carolina with her staff, who told reporters at the beginning of the night, “The mood is jubilant.” One wonders the kind of exuberance would have broken out among Haley’s staff had she won another state. Not only did Haley not give a post election speech, but her website’s event page is completely cleared of future campaign events—which it should be.

But Trump wasn’t the only frontrunner to suffer a defeat. President Joe Biden was defeated by Jason Palmer, an entrepreneur, in American Samoa. Granted, American Samoa won’t have a say come November, and the island territory is well-known for its heterodox results. Nevertheless, Biden’s defeat in American Samoa marks the first time an incumbent has lost a primary since 1980.

Biden’s troubles weren’t isolated to the South Pacific, however. In several states, sizable numbers of voters chose “noncommitted” over the Democratic incumbent. In Massachusetts, 8 percent of the vote went uncommitted; another 8 percent was split between Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips and guru Marianne Williamson. Around 8 percent also remained uncommitted in Tennessee and Colorado.

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Biden faced the most blowback in Minnesota, which has concentrated pockets of Muslims, many of whom disagree with Biden’s Israel policy. Nearly 20 percent of the vote went uncommitted, while another eight percent went to Phillips. For a late-stage protest vote, that’s a pretty good result—one wonders what Christian voters could learn from our Muslim friends. Biden’s margin of victory was a comfortable 7 percent in 2020, but Hillary Clinton only bested Trump by 2 percent in 2016. If Biden can’t thread the needle in the Middle East, could it spell disaster come November?

Probably not. Where it could spell disaster, however, is in the swing state of North Carolina. More than 12 percent of the vote in North Carolina’s Democratic primary signaled “no preference,” and, with Trump’s widening lead in general election polls, Democrats need to close ranks if they want to avoid a double blow of Trump and Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson victories in the presidential and gubernatorial elections this November.

Strange things were happening to Biden in the Rio Grande region of Texas along the front lines of Biden’s border crisis. Protest votes in border counties, particularly in the southern part of the state, went to Armando Perez-Serrato. Perez-Serrato, a.k.a Mando, is a substitute teacher born in Orange, California whose platform includes mass deportations, executing Trump, and cutting off Israel funding. 

Another noteworthy result from the Lonestar State: In Texas 23rd district, Rep. Tony Gonzalez, who was censured by the Texas GOP for breaking with the party on gun control and gay marriage, failed to meet the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff where he’ll face a gun-toting YouTuber, Brandon Herrera. As the Rio Grande becomes more red, the math for Democrats to take back the House gets more complicated.

Biden and Trump seemed unperturbed by their respective losses. “Rematch mode” was certainly “activated” in more ways than one.

Just as he did in 2020, Biden sheltered in place as his campaign carried on. The Biden campaign released a fiery statement referring to his predecessor by name four times. “Tonight’s results leave the American people with a clear choice,” the statement read “Are we going to keep moving forward or will we allow Donald Trump to drag us backwards into the chaos, division, and darkness that defined his term in office?”

Donald Trump, the Biden campaign claimed, “is driven by grievance and grift, focused on his own revenge and retribution, not the American people. He is determined to destroy our democracy, rip away fundamental freedoms like the ability for women to make their own health care decisions, and pass another round of billions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy—and he’ll do or say anything to put himself in power.”

Meanwhile, Trump was the only major candidate actually campaigning on Tuesday night. Trump delivered an off-the-cuff but rather reserved speech from Mar-a-Lago. The former president looked right past Haley—failing to mention her even once—and to the general election rematch. 

“We have a great Republican Party with tremendous talent, and we want to have unity, and we’re going to have unity, and it’s going to happen very quickly,” Trump said. “Success will bring unity to our country.”

Trump juxtaposed his record as president on the economy, the border, and foreign policy to his successors. “We’ve watched our country take a great beating over the last three years,” Trump proclaimed. “And nobody thought a thing like this would be possible.”

But the redux has its limits. Biden is no longer a frail old man looking to avoid a novel bug, which the CDC is now saying to treat like the flu. He’s a frail old man who supposedly the leader of the free world, and he is looking for another four years in office.

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