Tuesday, January 23, 2024

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Presidential Race Goes Into Political Outer Space

The 2024 U.S. presidential race has suddenly gone into

political outer space as, within a week, the races for the

Republican  and Democratic nominations have been

decided without almost any voting, and against the 

traditional weight of popular concurrence.

As astronauts in physical outer space experience 

weightlessness, voters now might be confronted with the

political weightlessness of having little or no say in the

eventual presidential ballot itself.

On the Republican side, former president and 2024 

frontrunner for renomination Donald Trump has regained

his support in the GOP base, and despite the early and

serious efforts of several credible opponents, has not

only maintained a very large lead in virtually all opinion

polls, but in the first actual voting easily defeated his

opponents as he exceeded 50% of the total vote.

This caused his leading opponent in the early part of

the cycle, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, to withdraw 

and endorse him. Now only one major opponent, former

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley remains in the race,

but since New Hampshire permits some Democrats and

independents to register as Republicans on Election Day 

and vote in the GOP primary, her total vote in the New

Hampshire primary included many crossover voters —- 

voters who will not be available to her in most succeeding 

primaries where she trails Mr, Trump by substantial 

margins. Even with non-Republicans padding Haley’s

New Hampshire total, Trump still received almost 55%.

Most immediately and significantly, the next primary is

in her home state of South Carolina where she is far

behind, and where fellow SouthCarolinian and former

presidential rival Senator Tim Scott has endorsed Mr.

Trump, as have Governor DeSantis and her other

former rival Vivek Ramaswami. 

Barring the unforeseen, the GOP nomination race is

now likely over in the traditional process of the voters.

However, in this unprecedented election cycle, Mr.

Trump’s nomination does not guarantee that his place 

on the November presidential ballot is assured.

Facing four criminal trials and numerous indictments,

as well as an unprecedented effort to keep him off

several state ballots using an obscure passage in the

Constitution (alleging he fomented an insurrection

against the government in 2021), it is possible, should

the U.S. Supreme Court decide he can be tried, and

he is convicted, and/or also decide that the  

constitutional prohibition apples to him, and several

states subsequently remove him from the ballot, that

he might not be his party’s viable nominee in November.

On the Democratic side, President Joe Biden so far has

only token opposition. The Democrats have formally

eliminated the traditional Iowa and New Hampshire

voting, and their first primary is in South Carolina. Even

his minor opponents do not even appear on most state

ballots. Party leaders have successfully prevented any

major Democrats from opposing Mr. Biden, and his

renomination is now assured.

Despite a great many Democrats and independents 

voting for Nikki Haley in New Hampshire, Mr. Biden won

that primary gaining more than 70% with write-in votes.

However, the Democrats’ president has historically low

poll numbers, significant unfavorability among his own

party’s voters, and trails his major Republican opponents

in most recent polls. These polls reflect the popular vote

which Democrats in recent elections have won, and so his

current numbers indicate he would lose the all-important

Electoral College in a landslide. Should Mr. Trump be

excluded from the presidential ballot in several states

where Democrats are in control, it is very likely that states

where Republicans are in control would move to exclude

Mr. Biden from their ballots, alleging that his immigration

and border policies are an insurrection against the


Many notable Democrat leaders, strategists and liberal

media commentators have called on Mr. Biden to retire,

and this has not subsided, but instead increased as the

cycle enters the primary stage. A very large number of

Democrats, polls say, would prefer a younger and more

active nominee,

Feeling weightless in all of this, what voters will do next

November is ominously unpredictable. Frustrated, many

Republicans, Democrats and independents could stay 

home or vote for prominent third party candidates.

The presidential election might not be decided until

well into 2025.

Eventually, astronauts in space come back to earth and

its laws of gravity. Voters on the left, right and center

could have their chance to express how they feel having 

been sent this cycle into political outer space against their 



Copyright (c) 2024 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.


Monday, January 15, 2024


In this strangest of presidential elections in memory,

the Iowa Caucus was destined to tell us everything and

nothing — and so it did.

The results demonstrated the clear dominance of

former President Donald Trump in the Republican 

Party, and set him on course for his party’s nomination

next July in Milwaukee.

New Hampshire will vote in its primary in a few days,

and it will likely be closer, but it is hard to imagine

either  of his two remaining opponents defeating him


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made a Herculean

effort in Iowa, and did come in second, but he received

less than a quarter of the vote. 

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley hoped her 

recent poll surge would enable her to come in second, 

but she trailed DeSantis by more than 2000 votes. She

will likely do better in New Hampshire, and DeSantis

likely will do much worse, but neither of them have

much prospects beyond that.

On a bitterly cold day, Mr. Trump carried all of Iowa’s

counties. Another opponent, Vivek Ramaswami, came in

a distant fourth in Iowa, and soon after the results were

known, he suspended his campaign and endorsed Mr,


So the constant poll news of the past several months,

that Donald Trump was way ahead of is rivals, was 

confirmed in Iowa — as was the likelihood he will be

the 2024 Republican nominee for president.

On the other hand, Iowa revealed little or nothing about

who will be elected president next November.

The Democrats held a half-hearted unofficial caucus in

Iowa with no results expected until March. They also

ruled out their New Hampshire primary, and their now

likely nominee, President Joe Biden, is not even on the

Granite State ballot — although he is expected to win

there with write-in votes.

Despite historically low poll numbers, and unpopularity,

Mr. Biden has no major opponent for his party’s

nomination. A retiring Minnesota congressman who

can self-fund his campaign is running against him, but

his poll numbers indicate he can’t even win in New

Hampshire against Biden as a write-in candidate.

But in spite of this, and the Iowa results, it is not at all

clear that Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden will face each other

in November.

Mr. Trump faces four upcoming criminal trials, and an

unprecedented attempt to legally bar him from several

state ballots. These are likely to require decisions of

the U.S. Supreme Court at some as yet unspecified


Mr. Biden’s frail health, as well as his administration’s 

policies, have resulted in his low approval polls not

only among Republicans, but among many Democrats

as well — who say in polls they would prefer a younger

nominee. Many leading strategists in his own party  

have urged him to retire, and many political observers

have suggested scenarios of his retirement just before

or just after the party convention in Chicago.

Should some individual states be allowed to bar Mr.  

Trump from the November ballot, it is likely that other

states will bar Mr. Biden from their ballot using the

same legal reasoning.

The results in Iowa, despite showing Mr. Trump’s 

grassroots strength and probable nomination, reveal

little or nothing about the eventual true course of this

cycle’s presidential election, just as New Hampshire in a

few days will likely reveal little or nothing about Mr.

Biden’s true prospects.


Copyright (c) 2024 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.