Could ‘silent’ anti-Trump Republicans block his path back to the White House?

Trump’s fate looks likely to rest on a small but growing cohort of Republicans who refuse to vote for him, writes Mary Dejevsky. With months before his candidacy is officially confirmed – and lurid court cases to appal the electors – there’s still time for the backlash to build

Thursday 07 March 2024 19:10 GMT
In key early primaries, the turnout for Trump has been lower than pollsters’ had expected
In key early primaries, the turnout for Trump has been lower than pollsters’ had expected (PA)

One of the most startling impressions from the past week has been the extent to which it now seems to be accepted, on both sides of the Atlantic, that Donald Trump is certain to be the Republican nominee for president – and almost as certain to be back in the White House this time next year. A reasonable response to all this certainty might be: “Steady on…”

It is true that Trump has so far enjoyed one of the smoothest rides to a presidential nomination on the part of any challenger in recent memory. Nikki Haley, his only rival after the Iowa caucuses, won only two contests, in Vermont and Washington DC, before suspending her campaign. She even lost in her home state of South Carolina, where she had been governor, which was hardly a promising prelude to a presidential run. She leaves Trump now with a clear run to become the Republican Party’s nominee.

Trump’s campaign was also given an unexpected boost – unexpected by timing rather than content – when the Supreme Court upheld his appeal against being excluded from primary contests in individual states. The ruling, which was handed down on the day before so-called Super Tuesday, with primaries in 15 states and one territory, was unanimous. The specific state concerned in the case was Colorado, but Maine had followed in announcing a ban on Trump contesting its primary, and other states had been expected to follow suit.

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