Republicans are rallying to The Donald against what they see as an assault on the US from all directions
Coming off of a resounding victory in the New Hampshire primaries, former US President Donald Trump is on the road to a second presidential showdown against the incumbent Joe Biden.
Predictably, Trump soundly defeated Nikki Haley in New Hampshire on Tuesday, making him the first Republican presidential candidate to win contests in Iowa and New Hampshire since both states began leading the election cycle back in 1976.
For her part, Haley, who spent over $30 million in an effort to take the Granite State, has stubbornly refused to concede defeat, pinning her hopes on victory in her home state of South Carolina on February 24. Yet the former UN ambassador will need much more than time and cash to bring down the Orange Man, whose cult of personality and enduring political message has proven unshakeable in the face of numerous relentless attacks. Barring some unpredictable event, Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee.
Against almost insurmountable odds, Trump – who is facing 91 felony counts across five indictments – has managed to corral much of the GOP into his MAGA camp while keeping the circling wolves at bay. For a 77-year-old man, this is no small physical and mental achievement.
At the same time, his fiercely loyal base is of the opinion that the Democrats, ‘hyping up’ the so-called insurrection of January 6, 2021, are engaged in the very worst form of election interference and intimidation ever directed at a presidential candidate. In fact, Trump is the first and only former president to be criminally charged and many Republicans do not view that as an accident. What the Democrats learned too late, however, is that those attacks only served to bolster their opponent’s credentials.
For MAGA adherents, the year 2024 represents not just another trip to the ballot box but a last-ditch effort to save their country, not least on the geopolitical front, where they want to see a more isolationist posturing. Thus, foreign policy played a crucial part in New Hampshire as the neocon faction headed by Nikki Haley, who represents the militant McConnell-Cheney wing of the Republican Party, attempts to stay relevant.
Much to the delight of the defense industry, the presidential election cycle is happening at a precarious moment on the global stage, where military conflicts – complete with the participation of nuclear powers – are raging in both the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Many Republicans cannot imagine Haley anywhere near the levers of power at such a dangerous juncture. At least Trump can say that he kept America out of new military conflicts during his four years as president, a rare feat by modern US standards.
On the question of national defense, it’s also necessary to mention Trump’s arch-nemesis, US President Joe Biden, who secured a write-in victory in New Hampshire. Undoubtedly, the greatest point of contention between the MAGA camp and the US leader is the situation on the US-Mexico border, where every year millions of illegal immigrants pour into the country at great expense to both safety and financial resources.
This month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott attempted to halt the madness by installing barbed-wire fencing along the Rio Grande. Those efforts were quickly dashed by the Supreme Court, which is supposedly weighed in favor of the Republicans. Here is what Trump had in mind when he uttered on the campaign trail that he would be “dictator for a day” if elected president. Just like Joe Biden became a veritable Caesar on his first day in office, signing off on dozens of executive orders without congressional oversight, Trump, if given the opportunity, will swiftly reverse those very same orders as the back-and-forth power struggle in Washington, DC continues unabated. But does America really need a ‘dictator’ in office every four years?
And then there’s the economy, which the Biden administration deliberately throttled by removing the country’s best chance at achieving energy independence in one fell swoop. One of Biden’s first decisions as president was to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, the signature deal of Trump’s four years in office. Allowing an uninterrupted flow of oil from Canada would have greatly stabilized the US economy, while helping to reduce the need for America’s heavy military presence in the Middle East, something the defense lobbyists would never agree to. For the Democrats, however, they believe the tradeoff is worth it if it means saving the planet from the scourge of climate change.
With these and many more pressing issues on the table, perhaps the biggest question confronting the US as it heads into the final stages of the presidential election is whether the country can keep it together before November 4.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.