Mar 6, 2024 - Politics & Policy

5 big takeaways from Super Tuesday

Donald Trump, wearing a blue suit white shirt and blue tie, give a thumbs-up.

Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The rematch many Americans don't want has arrived: Super Tuesday virtually cleared the field for Joe Biden and Donald Trump, as their races for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations are now more coronation than competition.

Why it matters: As they rolled up victories in state after state late Tuesday, Biden and Trump looked beyond their primary foes and blasted each other's records as president.

  • Tuesday's results gave each campaign reason for optimism and concern — and set up storylines for some of the nation's most-watched battles this fall. Five takeaways:
  1. Haley gets a consolation prize — and goes dark
  • Trump won at least 13 contests, piled up hundreds of GOP delegates and is set to clinch the nomination as soon as next week. But his last GOP rival, Nikki Haley, surprised with a win in Vermont's primary — her first state victory after winning in D.C. over the weekend.
  • The former UN ambassador didn't give a speech, and as of late Tuesday hadn't announced any more public events. A Haley campaign source told Axios on Wednesday she would suspend her campaign.

2. The "uncommitted" protest against Biden continues

  • In Michigan's Democratic primary last week, thousands of Arab American and young voters cast ballots for "uncommitted" to protest Biden's pro-Israel policies in the war in Gaza — about 13% of the electorate.
  • On Tuesday, the protest continued in Minnesota, another key Midwestern state Biden needs to win in November. More than 45,000 Democratic voters — nearly 19% — voted "uncommitted" rather than for Biden.
  • The protests are a small minority of the Democratic electorate but could be critical as Biden tries to rebuild the Midwestern "blue wall" that helped him beat Trump in 2020.

3. A surprise winner, and Dean Phillips' sad night

  • Biden easily won every Democratic contest Tuesday over Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) and author Marianne Williamson — except American Samoa, where little-known entrepreneur Jason Palmer beat the president.
  • As the results came in, Phillips — who invested millions of his own money trying to cast Biden as a likely loser in November — lamented on X: "Congratulations to Joe Biden, Uncommitted, Marianne Williamson, and Nikki Haley for demonstrating more appeal to Democratic Party loyalists than me."
  • In a statement to Axios, Phillips said he would be "assessing tonight's results and all available data over the coming days before making a decision" about whether to continue.

4. Trump's North Carolina problem

  • Biden lost North Carolina to Trump by about 75,000 votes in 2020, but Tuesday's GOP primary gave Democrats hope that the president might be able to flip the state this year — or at least make Trump spend precious campaign dollars defending it.
  • Several exit polls indicated that a significant chunk of Haley voters in the state have serious reservations about Trump.
  • CNN found that 80% of Haley's voters wouldn't necessarily vote for the GOP nominee in November, and 66% said they didn't believe Trump was physically or mentally fit to be president.
  • Another likely factor in North Carolina: The GOP nominee for governor, Mark Robinson, has made statements and Facebook posts criticizing gay people and Jews. Democrats are planning to invest in the race, calling the Trump-backed Robinson a "dangerous conspiracy theorist."

5. Adam Schiff's gamble pays off

  • Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) looks likely to become Sen. Schiff. The congressman who gained a national following as a Trump antagonist successfully boxed out his progressive rivals, California Reps. Katie Porter and Barbara Lee, in the state's Senate primary.
  • Schiff's ads linking Republican Steve Garvey to Trump appeared to give Garvey a boost among conservative voters in the final stretch. It was part of Schiff's apparent strategy aimed at facing Garvey in the general election rather than one of Schiff's Democratic rivals.
  • Under California's rules, candidates from both parties compete in the primary and the top two finishers face off in the general election.
  • Schiff is now the overwhelming favorite to beat Garvey, a former baseball star, on Nov. 5 in deep-blue California.
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