Will Independents Save the GOP From Itself?

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

New Hampshire holds its presidential primaries today. Ron DeSantis has suspended his campaign and endorsed Trump. (I'd wager, given his earlier pledge to save the GOP from Trump and his over-the-top pandering to the Trump base, he's hoping Trump's legal problems represent a reentry path later.)

We thus have an early primary in a state that allows independent voters to participate in party primaries, and a two-person contest between Donald Trump and Nikki Haley. This represents as good a chance as there is for a sane candidate to begin to break the stranglehold of Trump's personality cult on the Republican Party, and give Americans a real choice in the next election.

According to a headline from the Boston Globe, it is unlikely that Haley will win, but buried at the end of the story is what I think will be the decisive factor:

Most Americans are tired of this... (Morph via FaceShape from pubic domain official portraits of President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.)
[T]here is one wild card that is hard to figure out: turnout. Despite the primary week being low energy overall, the New Hampshire Secretary of State is predicting there could be a record turnout.

Traditionally, there is higher turnout when voters are motivated to send a message against the status quo, in which case that could be against Trump.

Given that the contest in New Hampshire is largely a binary one between Trump and Haley, Haley could be the biggest beneficiary of a higher turnout.

Then again, she isn't turning out people in big numbers to her own events in the final weekend. [bold added]
Haley isn't drawing big crowds -- and doesn't have me raving about her here -- because she keeps committing unforced errors. So she doesn't have people excited about her candidacy so far. (I think the excitement -- or at least noticeable support -- might come if she does well, and offers real hope of keeping Trump out of office.)

The real question then, is How sick are independent voters of Donald Trump and Joe Biden?

If they're annoyed enough, they don't have to like Haley to want to vote for her, and they will.

I'd show up and vote for Haley if I lived there, but I don't know the answer to that question.

Today, we will find out.

-- CAV

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