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
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.