Super Tuesday’s key takeaways: A Biden-Trump rematch and warnings for both

Super Tuesday yielded no surprises, with US President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump emerging the biggest winners in the biggest single day of voting in the US primaries. But there were cautionary signals for both candidates as the 2024 campaign season heads for a battering phase in the leadup to November’s presidential election.


Hours after the polls closed in California on Super Tuesday, the two candidates heading for a foreseen presidential rematch set the tone of their campaigns ahead of the November vote.

It was predictable and dismaying for the electors who matter most in the 2024 US presidential election: undecided voters in key swing states.

The Democrat incumbent, President Joe Biden, warned of an “existential” national threat and “darkness” if his Republican rival wins the White House race.

“Four years ago, I ran because of the existential threat Donald Trump posed to the America we all believe in,” Biden wrote in a statement. “Tonight’s results leave the American people with a clear choice: Are we going to keep moving forward or will we allow Donald Trump to drag us backwards into the chaos, division, and darkness that defined his term in office?”


The Republican Party’s quasi-nominee, who is now all but certain to face the man who ousted him from the White House four years ago, delivered a characteristic victory speech at his Mar-a-Lago beach club in Florida.

In a rambling address to cheering supporters, Trump aired his belief that the US is a “third world country” when it comes to elections and called Biden “the worst president in the history of our country”.


The scripted speeches, predicted headlines and low voter turnout made the biggest day in the 2024 US primary elections a “Stupor Tuesday”. The overriding message after a day that saw 15 states and one US territory select their candidates was clear: many Americans are not enthused by the rematch.

But not everything was predicted and predictable on Super Tuesday. Behind the inexorable Biden v. Trump face-off were key takeaways that will be examined in the lead-up to the November election. 

What’s next for Nikki Haley and her supporters 

Nikki Haley, Trump’s only Republican rival, did not win enough delegates on Super Tuesday to take her anywhere close to the 1,215 needed to secure her party’s presidential nomination.

The 52-year-old former UN ambassador did however snap Vermont, her lone state victory after last week’s Washington DC primary win.

But while her performance was not substantial enough to deny Trump the Republican nomination, it was significant enough to deny him a clean sweep of states.

That’s where the demographics of Haley’s supporters matter, and it’s an electorate that will be much discussed in the months leading up to the November election.

“Her entire campaign centred around those more urban areas where there is a higher concentration of college-educated, university-educated people,” explained FRANCE 24’s Fraser Jackson, reporting from Washington.

Trump’s triumphant showing on Super Tuesday underscored a development that has been in the making over the past few years: the Grand Old Party (GOP) has been taken over by his culturally conservative, blue-collar, non-urban supporters.

But that still leaves a very important demographic up for grabs in the November vote.

“She [Haley] has been polling about 20 to 40 percent of the GOP voters in this primary. That is still a significant chunk of people,” explained Jackson. “That’s a significant chunk of people who say that they don’t want Donald Trump.”

The results in Vermont, a state represented in the Senate by icon of the US left Bernie Sanders, showed that there exists a stubborn chunk of Republican voters who are not as enthusiastic about Trump as expected.

“It’s going to be in those margins that Joe Biden and Donald Trump have to vie for those Nikki Haley voters, to try to pull them to their side,” said Jackson. “And that’s what we’re going to be watching for the next couple of months.”

The question, though, is not just about Haley’s plans after her Super Tuesday drubbing, with pundits debating whether she will endorse Trump.

It’s a matter of whether her supporters are enthused enough about the Democratic candidate to cross party lines.

Biden’s Gaza problem

The Democratic incumbent may have won the Super Tuesday primaries, but that’s because he hardly faced any competition with just a handful of long-shot candidates on the ballots.

In a telling surprise, it was a long-shot candidate that provided some spark in an overwhelmingly dull primaries night. That’s when Baltimore businessman Jason Palmer won the US territory of American Samoa, denying Biden a lone Democratic contest on Super Tuesday.

Residents of American Samoa, as in other US territories, vote in primaries. They do not however have representation in the electoral college, a critical factor in America’s aged, creaky democratic system.

Biden’s biggest problem came from his party’s left, with a protest vote against the US president’s support for Israel drawing the attention of the establishment party’s advisers and strategists.



Exactly a week before Super Tuesday, voters in the Michigan primary delivered a warning shot to Biden, when more than 100,000 people, or 13 percent of all voters, marked their ballots “uncommitted” to show their opposition to the president’s position on the Gaza war. 

A week later, the uncommitted figures were also noteworthy. In Minnesota, with almost 90 percent of the expected votes counted, 19 percent of Democrats marked their ballots “uncommitted” to show their opposition to Biden’s perceived disregard for the Palestinians in Israel’s war against Hamas

The “uncommitted” vote was on the Democratic ballot in six other Super Tuesday states – Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Support in those states ranged from 3.9 percent in Iowa to 12.7 percent in North Carolina, with more than 85 percent of the votes counted in each of those states, according to Edison Research.

The nearly 13 percent mark in North Carolina was significant, noted Jackson. “That is something to watch, because North Carolina is a state that the Democrats are hoping to flip this election,” he explained. “It could be a real battleground state.”

Georgia on their minds

With Biden and Trump sweeping Super Tuesday, the next stop to watch is Georgia, with both candidates heading to the Peach State over the weekend.

While the southeastern US state holds its presidential primaries on March 12 – their official reason for having duelling events there – in reality Georgia is on their minds because of its importance in November’s general election.

On Saturday, Biden plans a visit to the Atlanta area, a rich source of Democratic votes, while Trump will be in the Georgia city of Rome. The events will be their first general election split-screen moment in a key battleground state.

In the 2020 election, Biden beat Trump in Georgia by a miniscule 0.23 percent of the vote and Trump’s efforts to overturn Biden’s win there has since led to the former president’s indictment by the Fulton County district attorney for election interference.

Georgia will again be a critical swing state in the expected rematch between Biden and Trump in November, and so Saturday’s visits by both men will likely be the first of many between now and the general election.

(With Reuters)



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