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Super Tuesday shows the resilience of Teflon Trump

Ready to do it all over again. Credit: Getty

March 6, 2024 - 10:00am

The results of last night’s “Super Tuesday” primary were largely predictable, as both Donald Trump and Joe Biden won decisive victories in (almost) all the states competing in the delegate round-up. At this point, the candidates’ respective nominations are merely a formality. For all intents and purposes, the general election can begin in earnest.

Not all that long ago, these results would have been hard to believe. Less than a year ago, Trump appeared to be on the ropes; and the rapid series of criminal indictments, prosecutions of his close allies, and civil suits made it look like he would be hard-pressed to avoid personal bankruptcy or prison, much less run for president of the United States.

A host of potential claimants to the MAGA throne emerged, some — like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis or tech whizkid Vivek Ramaswamy — garnering enthusiasm among the resolutely online. But from virtually the start, it was clear that Trump and only Trump commanded the allegiance of the party regulars.

Every multi-million-dollar judgment against him, every federal SWAT team tearing through his wife’s closet looking for “top secret” documents, every tenuous RICO case, and every effort to deny him ballot access only heightened the contradiction between what the supposed guardians of “our democracy” claimed they believed and what they actually did.

National politicians are usually destroyed by the merest hint of scandal. But Trump is antifragile. Efforts to kill him literally make him stronger in the eyes of an electorate that speaks of rigged games and corrupt systems. A regime that has welded open the gates on the southern border to permit the entry of 10 million unvetted and impoverished foreigners, and which then has the temerity to insist that the border has never been more secure, is like a bully demanding you agree that two and two make five. The Republican base no longer has any tolerance for this kind of spin.

Nikki Haley’s two minor victories — in Washington DC and Vermont — were therefore the exceptions that prove the rule, before she dropped out of the race today. Her running-dog candidacy, fuelled by Democrat and Chamber of Commerce donations, was the last breath of the old, globalist GOP — the sort of Republicans who don’t mind losing, so long as they can remain respectable.

As for Biden — who comes across as if he isn’t a day under 90 — his presence in the race seems to be as baffling to the leaders of his party as it is to the average American Democrat who, in poll after poll, says that Biden is too old to be running. To all those who imagine that American presidential politics are a finely organised shadow play run by elites, à la Network or Being There, the fact that Biden’s candidacy seems to be impelled entirely by his own cantankerousness offers an embarrassing rejoinder.

America hasn’t had a presidential election rematch since Dwight Eisenhower beat Adlai Stevenson for the second time in 1956, and hasn’t seen two former occupants of the White House challenge each other since 1892. It is bizarre that America, so broad and rich, should have settled on Biden v. Trump Part Two for its main card in 2024. But, perhaps, we have the politics we deserve after all.


Seth Barron is managing editor of The American Mind and author of The Last Days of New York.

SethBarronNYC

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UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago

Less Teflon and more cast iron. He has a patina (both literally and figuratively) from a lifetime of heat, grime and oil that gives him non-stick properties.
The eternally adolescent american mind, ever desperate for a sense of rebellion, just becomes more likely to vote for him the less suitable a candidate he is. Just instead of rebelling against their parents they think they’re rebelling against the “elites”.
Little do they realise that in a republic they are actually in control and they are only rebelling against themselves.
What they also don’t realise is that Biden has only been able to persist because copper bottom Trump has lowered the bar so much. Biden should have been ejected by the electorate and his party years ago but with Trump as the alternative he suddenly looks better.
It would have been a scandal for Biden to have been found storing confidential documents in his garage but because Trump did the same the American public doesn’t know to expect any better. He would have been tossed for being such a terrible speaker and clearly mentally weak but Trump who is just as bad again means the American public can’t expect any better.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Are you American? Because I’m not and even I know that Trump’s storage of documents was not equal to Biden’s. Biden never had any business with any confidential documents on his property because he was VP at the time they were dated.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago

I hate this site. Say anything that can be perceived as anti-Trump and you’re sent straight to the bottom. So much for “unheard”.
My point was that Trump’s chaos and incompetence has allowed Biden to get away with things he otherwise would not have been able to. It is irrelevant if what Biden did is worse. If anything it reinforces the point.
Get someone capable and competent in as your figurehead and suddenly Biden looks a lot worse.

Richard Ross
Richard Ross
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

In all seriousness, I appreciate your posting, UR, even tho I disagree with all you’re saying; not only for balance but because the contrast between your perception of the facts and (what I perceive as) reality makes the truth that much more stark.
The polls (incontrovertible data) show that the fabled Average American does indeed recognize Biden’s ineptitude; they’re just not ready to take the necessary medicine, certainly not from the dirty orange bottle.

Elon Workman
Elon Workman
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

As I understand it from listening to both Victor Davis Hanson and Andrew McCarthy Trump as a former President would have access to confidential documents and would be able to declassify them if necessary. Biden as Vice President would not have that facility. In addition some of the documents which Biden had go back fifteen or so years when he was a Senator and according to Andrew McCarthy Senators are not allowed to take documents away and can only examine them when strict security operation are in force.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
4 months ago

I think it’s time for Biden to gracefully retire from politics and, as an actor would say, exit stage left.
Or stage right. He has trouble finding his way off a stage , so perhaps I chose the wrong metaphor.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
4 months ago

How about this conspiracy theory? The Democrats want Trump to win the nomination; mission now pretty much accomplished. This summer Joe gets sick, withdraws, the Democrats choose some nice contender, Congressman Dean Phillips, or even not such a nice one, such as Governor Newsom. Kamala retires and takes up crochet.
The obstacle to Biden – age and infirmity – vanishes, and now all the sane voters can vote Democrat, including the old globalist GOP. Phillips wins with a landslide. Joe would go along with this, it secures his “legacy”.
Trumpian Republicans can go and lie down in a darkened room until they recover. Haley has a chance in 2028.
We had better hope this is more than a conspiracy theory if we want free democratic USA to survive.
And I’m a GOP supporter!

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
4 months ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Perhaps you can explain why and how the guy who first ruined San Francisco and then did the same to California should be handed the keys to the country. I hate to tell you, but the people electing Trump is in keeping with a “free democratic USA.”

David Giles
David Giles
4 months ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

The only things Joe “goes along with” these days are his bowels.

Simon Templar
Simon Templar
4 months ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Highly likely. But don’t wish for it. A party that can do to its political opponents what the Dems are doing to Trump is not a party that is going to negotiate with anyone. The next Dem administration will be Hard Left no matter who sits in the White House. The best hope is a Trump landslide victory.

Richard Ross
Richard Ross
4 months ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

This is exactly the plan – minus your obvious Uniparty membership – that I’ve been expecting to be revealed for some months now. The Democrats don’t want to reveal their Real Contender too soon, not before Trump is secure in the GOP nomination and the polls show his path to victory.
But once the teams are apparently set, any one of several Dem governors could be pushed forward by The Party and gushed over by a compliant media, quickly reversing the polls against Trump, who has done the Dems the favor of demolishing any other Republican contenders.
But don’t count on “Trumpian Republicans” to “lie down in a darkened room”. Does that sound like a MAGA tactic?
I hope not.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
4 months ago

“Efforts to kill him” exposed the hideous criminality of the corporate political uniparty. Anyone with a functioning brain saw what these people were willing to do: they told us from the moment Trump announced his candidacy that they would impeach him – for whatever.
If the entrenched political class simply accepted his presidency and worked with him, he’d have been largely amenable and their grotesque grifts would probably have continued with little upset. Instead, they threw everything short of assassination (so far) at him and created a Paul Bunyan-sized American colossus.
Thanks, *ssholes. You did the world a historic favor.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
4 months ago

So far. Because when the non-violent means of getting rid of him fail, what option is left.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
4 months ago

To all those who imagine that American presidential politics are a finely organised shadow play run by elites, à la Network or Being There, the fact that Biden’s candidacy seems to be impelled entirely by his own cantankerousness offers an embarrassing rejoinder. 
Both things can be true. 1) The system is much like a play, which is why people on either side of the uniparty are so adamantly against Trump. He’s the same guy the media could not interview often enough, the guy whose tv show people watched just to hear him tell someone “you’re fired.” And then he ran for office, an outsider who is not reliant on the donor class, is not beholden to the establishment, and has no political pedigree.
2) There is no graceful way to usher an incumbent out the door, not when his wife is busy re-enacting Edith Wilson’s role. Besides, who would replace him – the useless Newsom? The even less-prepared of the Obamas? Besides, Joe’s not the one making the decisions anyway, plus people can plainly see what the results are.
This is the “fundamental transformation” Biden’s former boss talked about. To the average American, the reality does not match up with the lofty rhetoric, though it’s impossible to fathom how anyone could see transforming the world’s richest country and (then) lone superpower as being a worthy pursuit.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
4 months ago

It is not so much Trump, it seems more like the deadly way the Democrats do Power, Presidential Politics and Justice. After Trump, bring on the next Republican Martyr.