The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board on Tuesday argued former President Trump’s sweeping win in the Iowa caucuses should push Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to drop out of the GOP presidential race and give former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley a chance at beating the former president.
“Mr. DeSantis faces no clear path to the nomination. He’s well behind Ms. Haley in New Hampshire and South Carolina,” the editorial board wrote Tuesday. “If he believes, as he says, that Mr. Trump can’t win in November, he should leave the race and give Ms. Haley a chance to take on Mr. Trump one on one.”
Trump garnered 51 percent of the vote from the Iowa caucuses Monday night, shoring up about 56,260 votes in the Hawkeye State. DeSantis came in second with roughly 23,420 votes or 21.2 percent, while Haley placed in third, with 19.1 percent (21,085 votes), according to Decision Desk HQ.
The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board contended Trump’s results display the “organizational strength” that the former president did not have in 2016 when he lost the state to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
“It’s also a sign that he is running almost as a quasi-incumbent in the eyes of his supporters,” the board wrote, claiming President Biden and the Democrats have paved the way for another Trump nomination.
“Mr. Biden’s failing Presidency and unpopularity have diminished the argument that Mr. Trump can’t win again, despite the GOP’s multiple election defeats since he came to dominate the Republican Party,” the board wrote. “The four Democratic indictments and attempts to strike him from the ballot have also rallied many Republicans behind Mr. Trump to put a thumb in the eye of the Democratic left.”
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Trump’s indictments have fed into his “martyr-for-the-cause” narrative, the board argued, and have made it more difficult for his rivals to break through his movement.
New Hampshire’s primary is nearly a week away, and the board argued time is running out for voters to change course and “make a race of it” in the key early voting state.
“It’s hard to believe, but both political parties are on a path to nominate candidates most voters say they don’t want,” the board said. “Mr. Biden may be the only nominee Mr. Trump can beat, and vice versa. Republicans have a chance to think twice about their choice, and the Iowa result means there isn’t much time to do it.”
The gap between Haley and Trump has narrowed in recent weeks to nearly 8 percentage points, according to the polling index by The Hill and Decision Desk HQ. Polling as of Tuesday shows Trump with about 41.4 percent in the Granite State, while Haley has the backing of about 33.4 percent. DeSantis, who was once widely expected to be the second-place contender in the GOP primary, has seen his support diminish to nearly 6 percent in the key early-voting state.
“Ms. Haley’s relative strength in the Granite State speaks to Mr. Trump’s weakness in the general election,” the board wrote. “Independents can vote in either party primary in the swing state, and Ms. Haley is attracting these voters who will be crucial in the half dozen states that will be decisive in November.”
The board pointed to a series of polls showing Haley beating Biden by a wider margin than Trump, an argument the former South Carolina governor has repeatedly used on the campaign trail.
The board also argued Democrats are “taking a huge gamble,” in light of Biden’s approval rating, which dropped to a new low last weekend, and suggested Biden should drop his reelection bid if he truly wants to avoid a second White House term for Trump. He suggested the Democratic Party can use late primaries and August conventions to choose other candidates who are “younger and not tied to the ball-and-chain of Mr. Biden’s record.”