Trump experiences unexpected issue at primaries in almost every state

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Several Republicans vied for the GOP presidential nomination, but Donald Trump emerged as the early favorite and the most likely candidate to challenge President Joe Biden in the upcoming November general election. Despite achieving victories in primaries nationwide, Trump’s support among the Republican base waned in favor of candidates who had exited the race, notably in the Florida primary and recently in Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska and West Virginia. These results indicate potential challenges ahead for the former president.

Shifting Support in Primaries

In the Florida Republican primary held two months ago, Trump secured a victory but saw nearly 20% of the votes diverted to his former rivals, mainly those votes going to candidates who had previously suspended their campaigns, Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley. In Florida, where Ron DeSantis is the current governor, he received 41,269 votes, while Nikki Haley collected 155,560 votes.

Unexpected Results in Indiana

The pattern continued in Indiana, where Trump encountered significant opposition within his party during the GOP primary. Nikki Haley, despite having formally withdrawn from the race, secured over 20% of the vote. Haley’s continued influence, with 21.7% of the vote amounting to more than 128,000 votes, highlights the enduring appeal of her moderate Republican policies even in her absence from the race.

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Despite these challenges, Trump won Indiana decisively, claiming 78.3% of the vote and all 58 of Indiana’s GOP delegates. This win added to his substantial delegate lead, totaling 2,037 delegates compared to Haley’s 97, and was part of his broader series of primary victories that included Georgia, Mississippi, and Washington state.

Broader Resistance Within the GOP

The Indiana results reflect a wider trend of resistance within the Republican Party. For instance, in Pennsylvania, another crucial battleground, Haley received 16.6% of the vote, over 158,000 votes, even after her campaign had ended.

This trend also appeared on Super Tuesday, when Haley notably won Vermont and captured significant shares of the vote in pivotal states like Michigan and Arizona. The former South Carolina governor received over 26% of the votes in Michigan and 18% of the GOP primary votes in Arizona.

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Despite Trump’s overall dominance, these results expose a significant divide within the GOP, especially among more moderate Republicans who are pivotal for a presidential win in November. Analysts suggest that this persistent dissent signals that a considerable segment of GOP voters are looking beyond Trump’s “Make America Great Again” base.

Voter Dynamics

Haley’s support in Indiana may have been enhanced by the state’s open primary system, which allows voters of any affiliation to participate, possibly drawing a more diverse and moderate electorate. However, the Republican primary in Maryland and Nebraska was open only to registered Republicans, and independents and registered Republicans in West Virginia.

Trump received 88% of the votes in West Virginia, but the results in Maryland and Nebraska show weakening support for Trump. According to Politico reporters, “it wasn’t shocking to see Haley break 30 percent in the affluent D.C. suburbs of Montgomery County, Maryland…. It’s more concerning for Trump that she’s at 23 percent in Douglas County, Nebraska.”

A Clear Protest Against Trump

This scenario suggests that the significant vote share for Haley represents a protest against Trump, as noted by Democratic pollster Matt McDermott and political commentator Brian Tyler Cohen.

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Cohen pointed out on social media platform X that losing nearly a quarter of the primary vote to an absent candidate poses a troubling sign for Trump’s campaign, signaling potential vulnerabilities as he prepares for the general election.

Democratic pollster Matt McDermott voiced his concerns, noting that if President Joe Biden were experiencing a similar trend, it would be a major story in national news.

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