There is just no sugarcoating it. By garnering 51% of the vote, Trump won in a romp. Not only did he win, the vote totals of the two runners-up (Ron DeSantis 21% and Nikki Haley 19%), were close enough to keep them both in the race. As a result, there is no reason to expect either of them to drop out before the New Hampshire primary on January 23rd. All of which means that there is virtually no chance that the field will quickly narrow so that Trump will be forced to face a single challenger.
A look at the results below the surface contains more bad news for those of us who think Trump is a disgrace. The turnout was light, possibly because of the weather. But it was light in the suburbs and urban areas, which are the more accessible areas and the areas where Haley was supposed to be strong. By contrast the rural areas which represent Trump country, are far less accessible. But Trump voters turned up anyway and voted for him.
Another factor was the demographics of the voters. Haley ran strong in areas with high incomes and a concentration of college educated voters. On the other hand, Trump ran very well in less affluent and less educated precincts. This suggests it will be difficult for Haley to make much headway among the Republican faithful. And it suggests that Trump has a ceiling on his support among the general public.
High income precincts are defined as the ones with a median household income greater or equal to $100,000; less affluent precincts have a median household income less that $50,000. Precincts with a concentration of college graduates are defined as ones where 40% of the population has a college education; areas with fewer college graduates are ones in which 15% or less have a college education.
In short, the Republican Party is starting to look like very much like the Democratic Party of yesteryear. It is rapidly becoming a down-market party that is less educated and dominated by blue collar workers. On the other hand the Democratic Party has made substantial gains both among college educated voters and in the formerly Republican suburbs.
So far however, most of the difference between the parties, with the exception of abortion rights, has been performative. The internal contradictions of the two party’s have not yet come to the surface. For example, in the old Democratic Party, tax policy was designed to tax the few to (allegedly) benefit the many. To the extent the Democratic Party base becomes wealthier and more educated (two sides of the same coin) it is difficult to imagine that the party will continue to advocate the massive income transfers it had formerly supported.
By the same token, the old Republican Party was committed to free trade. Well, that’s gone out the window. Similarly, the old GOP was supportive of immigration (also a free trade issue). Easy immigration also provided a source of cheap labor for country club Republicans. And the folks in the Country Club are increasingly likely to be Democrats.
All things considered, the trend continues. We appear to be on track to have a Presidential rematch between two clueless and corrupt old men. And as much as the voters insist that they want different nominees, we are going to get the ones the public votes for. In the end it looks like the winner will be the candidate the public detests the least.