Trump and Biden romp to victory in Super Tuesday primaries

President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley
President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley Copyright The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
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The wider electorate's deep misgivings about both candidates are doing nothing to head off the prospect of a 2020 election rematch.

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President Joe Biden and his predecessor, Donald Trump, romped through more than a dozen states on Super Tuesday, all but cementing a November rematch and increasing pressure on the former president's last major rival, Nikki Haley, to leave the Republican race.

Their victories from coast to coast, including the delegate-rich states of California and Texas, left little doubt about the trajectory of the race.

Haley won a narrow victory in heavily Democratic Vermont, denying Trump a full sweep, but the former president carried other states that might have been favourable to her such as Virginia, Massachusetts and Maine, all home to large swaths of moderate voters like those who have backed her in previous primaries.

The only contest Biden lost on Tuesday was the Democratic caucus in American Samoa, a tiny US territory in the South Pacific Ocean. Biden was defeated by previously unknown candidate Jason Palmer, 51 votes to 40.

Not enough states will have voted until later this month for Trump or Biden to formally become their parties' presumptive nominees, but the primary's biggest day made their rematch a near-certainty.

Joe Biden at the White House.
Joe Biden at the White House.Andrew Harnik/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

Haley watched the election results in private and had no campaign events scheduled going forward. Her campaign said in a statement that the results reflected there were many Republicans "who are expressing deep concerns about Donald Trump."

"Unity is not achieved by simply claiming 'we're united,'" spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas said.

Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, meanwhile, was packed for a victory party. A crowd in the ballroom erupted as Fox News announced that the former president had won North Carolina's GOP primary.

"They call it Super Tuesday for a reason," Trump told a raucous crowd. He went on to attack Biden over the border with Mexico and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Biden, who has all but ignored the existence of any Democratic primary challenge, didn't give a speech, but instead issued a statement warning that Tuesday's results had left Americans with a clear choice – and touting his own accomplishments after beating Trump.

"If Donald Trump returns to the White House, all of this progress is at risk," Biden said. "He is driven by grievance and grift, focused on his own revenge and retribution, not the American people."

The age of uncertainty

Despite Biden's and Trump's domination of their parties, polls make it clear that the broader electorate does not want this year's general election to be identical to the 2020 race. 

Both the 81-year-old Biden and the 77-year-old Trump continue to dominate their parties despite facing questions about age and neither having broad popularity across the general electorate.

A new AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll finds a majority of Americans don't think either Biden or Trump has the necessary mental acuity for the job.

Biden is the oldest president to ever occupy the Oval Office, and Republicans pounce on any verbal slip he makes as evidence of his supposed decrepitude. His aides insist that skeptical voters will come around once it is clear that either he or Trump will be elected again in November.

Trump, meanwhile, is now the same age Biden was during the 2020 campaign and has attracted more and more concern about his own cognitive fitness with repeated flubs – among them referring to the Second World War in the future tense and mistakenly suggesting he was running against Barack Obama, who left the White House in 2017.

Donald Trump addresses supporters at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
Donald Trump addresses supporters at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.Rebecca Blackwell/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

The final days before Tuesday demonstrated the unique nature of this year's campaign. Rather than barnstorming the states holding primaries, Biden and Trump held rival events last week along the southern border, each seeking to gain an advantage in the increasingly fraught immigration debate.

After the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 on Monday to restore Trump to primary ballots following attempts to ban him for his role in helping spark the Capitol riot, Trump pointed to the 91 criminal counts against him to accuse Biden of weaponising the courts.

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"Fight your fight yourself," Trump said. "Don't use prosecutors and judges to go after your opponent."

Biden is set to deliver the annual State of the Union address in Washington on Thursday, and will then hit the campaign trail in the key swing states of Pennsylvania and Georgia.

The president faces low approval ratings and polls suggesting that many Americans, even a majority of Democrats, don't want to see the 81-year-old running again. His easy Michigan primary win last week was spoiled slightly by an "uncommitted" campaign organised by activists who disapprove of the president's handling of Israel's war in Gaza.

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