Super Tuesday is one of the biggest days in election primary season, for both the incumbent president and the individual hoping to take him out. This year, all attention has been on the Republican Party and the internal battle for power that they’ve found themselves struggling with.

A Crowded Beginning Field

The primary field for the Republican party was initially very crowded, with more than a dozen candidates vying for both the attention and the donations of the American public and corporations. Among these candidates were former governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, and current governor of Florida, Ron Desantis.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Tom Williams

The headliner of the Republican primaries, of course, is former President Donald Trump, who is in the middle of his third bid for the White House. When he announced that he was running for president again in 2023, many people immediately presumed that Trump would be the favorite for the Republican nominee, regardless of how the primary season ended up shaping.

Which Thinned Quickly

This is a prediction that has, by and large, been proven correct. Despite the crowdedness of the field in the beginning, the other Republicans who were running for president quickly ended their campaigns when it became clear that they couldn’t keep up with either fundraising or gathering support.

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The field has since narrowed down to two candidates for the presidental nomination: Donald Trump, and former Ambassador to the United States and former South Carolina governor Nikki haley. Nikki Haley formerly worked in the Trump administration, making their head-to-head competition for the Republican nomination something quite fascinating to watch.

Nikki Haley Against Trump

Additionally, though she initially supported him both in his term as president and his potential bid after the fact, Nikki Haley has become a staunch critic of the former president. She has criticized his potential policy choices as well as the fact that he is currently under indictment for more than 90 crimes.

Source: Flickr/Glenn Youngkin

Haley has gone out of her way to point out that while she did support Trump once, she no longer believes that he’s the right person to do the job of President. She believes that it’s time for both Trump and Biden to step aside and allow for new generational leadership to step in, and wants to be the first of the new generation to make waves in America.

A Moderate Republican Candidate

Haley has painted herself as a moderate Republican, one who can bring America back to common sense principles of government. In an increasingly polarized political climate, her messaging has been fresh and seems to have resonated significantly with many different types of voters, including moderate Republicans and Independents.

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Her approach has been stark in contrast to Trump, whose entire campaign seems to be built on many of the same principles that won him the presidency back in 2016. However, he’s pushing even further on a good deal of far-right rhetoric, including hardline immigration policies and anti-LGBTQ+ talking points.

Haley Making Surprising Progress

Perhaps because of her more moderate take on the issues, Nikki Haley has been making steady progress in both fundraising, and in the polls. Many pollsters have her beating Biden by a more competitive margin than Trump could in the same matchup, and for two months running, the former governor has fundraised more money than Trump.

Source: Wikimedia/South Carolina Governor Nikki R. Haley

These facts have caused many people to take pause regarding Nikki Haley. She was considered a long shot candidate by many mainstream Republicans, who saw Trump as the only possible way to beat Biden this November. Haley has not been discouraged by this thought process, though, even in the wake of multiple primary losses now that primary season is well underway.

Super Tuesday as the Deal Maker

Unfortunately for Nikki Haley, her candidacy has become essentially dead in the water after Super Tuesday. This is the day when fifteen different states hold their primaries for president during election season, and many pundits believed that it was going to be this day that would make or break a presidential run for either of these candidates.

Source: Flickr/Trump White House Archived

For the Democrats, Super Tuesday is essentially irrelevant in primary season. President Biden is the presumptive nominee for the Democratic party, meaning that all eyes in the nation were on the Republican races, looking to see whether Haley would be able to eke out any wins against the former president.

Many Potential Wins

For the Haley campaign after winning her first primary in Washington D.C., there was some hope that she would have a relatively strong showing in some of the states that were running Super Tuesday primaries. Fifteen states is a lot, with thousands of voters that Haley could have appealed to during her campaign of the last few months.

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

And while it is true that Nikki Haley has performed stronger than expected in the face of the known name of Donald Trump, it is equally true that she hasn’t managed to capture as much of his base as she had hoped when she initially started her campaign.

Ultimately, Disappointment for the Haley Camp

Haley, in polls, has largely appealed to moderate Republicans and independents, with some moderate Democrats even polling in her favor when asked. This led many to see her as a candidate that could pull politics in America closer back to center, in an increasingly polarized time.

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Unfortunately for Haley and her donors, her pull wasn’t strong enough in the face of Trump’s polarizing rhetoric and political charisma. Her numbers were stronger than to be expected, but Trump still beat out Haley by significant margins in almost every single primary race they faced off in.

Some Primary Numbers

For instance, in Michigan, Trump beat Haley in the primary by 42 percentage points. This is an overwhelming victory, even though it doesn’t meet the projected 52 points that FiveThirtyEight average poll tracker predicted for the primary.

Source: Flickr/Trump White House Archived

Likewise, in South Carolina, Nikki Haley’s home state, Trump won by a margin of 20 points, rather than the projected 28. Trump’s alleged underperformance in the face of polling data still meets the criteria for a significant win in a primary race, making Nikki Haley essentially a lame duck candidate.

Super Tuesday Declaring Trump the Victor

In the wake of Super Tuesday, this is even more clear. Trump swept the primaries of Super Tuesday by significant margins, winning hundreds of electors for his reelection campaign. The former president currently has a total of 1025 delegates, with a total of 1215 needed to win the nomination for President.

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Likewise, Biden dominated the primary races for the Democrats. Despite the fact that Biden has several Democrats running against him in a bid for the White House, he has handily won every primary race, even in the races where more Democrats voted “uncommitted” than they did for the other candidates.

Haley Stepping Back

Though Haley stated publicly that she would remain in the race for president as long as she saw herself as a viable candidate, her campaign made an announcement the morning after Super Tuesday that the former governor would be suspending her campaign for president.

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Some political pundits believe that the language of her campaign statement is important, suspending versus ending the campaign. There are many people who believe that Trump has no chance of winning the White House again if he is convicted in any of the criminal trials that are currently running against him, and Haley keeping her campaign low and slow may be in a strategy to take his place should Trump become a nonviable candidate.

Trump Will be the Nominee

This resounding success for Trump on Super Tuesday has made clear what many people have been saying for months. Trump, despite his legal issues and despite his many controversies as a candidate and a former president, will be the nominee for the Republican party for 2024.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/The White House

This has set America up for another matchup between Biden and Trump, though many Americans are not thrilled about it. Many moderate Republicans have stated publicly that they want to be able to move beyond Trump and far right conservatism, but it doesn’t appear that that goal is going to be realized, at least during this election cycle.

Uncertain Roads Ahead

Though Trump is almost certainly going to be the nominee at the Republican National Convention this summer, the road to the White House is still an uncertain one. His legal troubles and polarizing rhetoric make him a difficult candidate to sell beyond his base of loyalists, and there are many who would prefer not to vote at all rather than vote for Trump or Biden.

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

This means that the election this November will be a contentious one. Many Americans feel that, yet again, they’ve been presented with the worst options that their individual parties can come up with. Trump loyalists are loud and proud, but it’s not certain that there are enough of them to overcome those who say they will never vote for Trump again, meaning that the Republican party is at a crossroads. Where they will go from here will be telling for the future of conservatism in America.