The spin downplaying former President Trump’s New Hampshire Republican primary win Tuesday night is just that — spin. By any fair measure, Tuesday night’s victory was a triumph.
Let’s start with the margin of victory. With 94 percent of the vote submitted, Trump crushed former Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) by double digits — 55 percent to 43 percent.
Then there’s the fact that New Hampshire had a record turnout Tuesday. The previous record for a Republican primary was 287,000 votes in 2016. In 2024, more than 300,000 participated, and Trump won the highest number of raw votes (170,454 and counting) for a Republican primary candidate in the state’s history. In 2020, Trump won the state with just 129,734 votes. In 2016, Trump won the state with just 100,735 votes. In 2008, the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) won with just 88,571 votes.
What’s more, Trump is two-for-two. He won both Iowa and New Hampshire with majority support (51 percent and 55 percent, respectively), and Tuesday night’s victory “made the former president the first non-incumbent to win both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.”
RELATED — Trump Takes Iowa! Donald Thanks Packed Room of Supporters After Historic WinMargo Martin via Storyful
Even more impressive is Trump accomplishing all of this with an astonishing amount of Democrat party meddling. New Hampshire is an open primary, which means Democrats can legally crossover and vote in the GOP primary (and visa-versa). BUT…
Even with 70 percent of Nikki Haley voters not being registered Republicans, Trump walked away with a victory. Overall, per Fox News, “Unaffiliated voters made up slightly less than half of the electorate (47%) and broke for Haley by 26 points.” Nevertheless, Trump still won the state by double digits and a record number of votes because…Trump won New Hampshire’s Republican vote by 46 points.
RELATED — Trump Shades Nikki’s Non-Victory Celebration: She Can’t Get Away with “Bullsh*t!”C-SPAN
Finally, New Hampshire is not what anyone would describe as a MAGA state. It’s not Iowa. It’s not South Carolina. This is a state that likes its Republicans named Sununu. If there was a primary for Trump to lose, this was that. One of the reasons non-incumbents fail to win both the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries is due to how different the Republican electorate is.
And yet, some in the media are attempting to spin this triumph, this record-setting win, as a sign of weakness for Trump. The only way to do that is to treat Trump as though he were still an incumbent president. That’s not to say that there’s no logic in that approach, but let’s not forget that the Republican party doesn’t see Trump as an incumbent, nor do his challengers. If Trump were an incumbent, the challenge he’s faced from Haley, DeSantis, Scott, etc., never would have happened. And the national GOP would’ve discouraged any kind of competition.
If Trump had been allowed to run like an incumbent — unopposed or with only token competition — then this incumbent argument would have merit.
In 2016, as a non-incumbent, Trump won New Hampshire with nothing close to a majority (35.3 percent). He did beat his closest challenger by 19.5 points, which is a higher margin than his margin on Tuesday against Haley. But let’s not forget that on Tuesday night, Trump won more raw votes than any Republican in New Hampshire primary history, and he soared well over 50 percent. In politics, 50 percent plus one vote is the whole ballgame. Everything else is gravy.
As far as Haley choosing to remain in the race, why wouldn’t she? The South Carolina primary is four weeks away. She has plenty of money, and she has nothing to lose and everything to gain by remaining in the race. Anything could happen between now and then, and if it looks like she’s about to be humiliated in her home state (which is what it looks like now), she can drop out.
Plus, and I know this is a minority opinion, the competition from Haley will only sharpen Trump and his team.
Tune-up fights for the championship bout are good things.
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