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Trump heads into Super Tuesday buoyed by US supreme court ruling

Monday’s supreme court ruling ends moves by three states to exclude former president from presidential election ballot

Buoyed by Monday’s supreme court ruling that he was wrongly removed from Colorado’s primary ballot last year, Donald Trump will look to the 15 state primaries taking place across the United States on what is traditionally referred to as Super Tuesday as an imprimatur to his status as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

With Monday’s ruling ending the moves by three states to exclude him from the ballot, Trump used the occasion to lobby for a similar return in the forthcoming supreme court ruling on his claim of immunity from prosecution by the department of justice on a four-count indictment for efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

“While we are on the subject, another thing that will be coming up very soon is immunity for a president,” Trump said in a televised statement at lunchtime on Monday.

“And not immunity for me but for any president. If a president doesn’t have full immunity, you won’t really have a president because nobody serving in that office will have the courage to make what in many cases will be the right decision. Or it could be the wrong decision. But they have to make decisions and have to make them free of all terror reigned upon them when they leave office or before they leave office.”


The Trump campaign is anticipating a resounding endorsement from Republicans when the vote-counting starts on Tuesday night. Some 865 delegates are up for grabs in the combined states. Trump has already acquired 247 of the 1,215 delegates required to earn the Republican nomination at the July convention. Nikki Haley, his only remaining challenger, has 24 but did not rule out persevering with her campaign beyond this week.

“First of all let’s see what happens on Super Tuesday,” she said on Sunday.

“I don’t like to look at what-ifs, at hypotheticals. If the people want to see me going forward, they will show it. They will show it in their votes, they will show it in their donations. This is about really trying to get everyone to realise that this primary isn’t really about Donald Trump and Nikki Haley. Yes, that’s what it says in the ballot. This primary is about: what is the direction of the Republican Party?

“Are we going to go where you had Donald Trump: he grew government. He didn’t reduce the size of government. He put us eight trillion dollars in debt in just four years – more than any other president. And you’re saying the Republican Party is following him into that wasteful spending, not talking about fiscal discipline. This is about Donald Trump, who believes that you should be more of an isolationist, that America doesn’t need friends. That’s his focus.”

Haley’s percentage votes in the early states are significant enough that enticing them into the Trump faction of the Republican movement will be a significant and important aspect of his presidential campaign. But her opportunity to make an impression in terms of delegate numbers is further limited by the winner-take-all rules within a number of states. California is the biggest prize, with 169 delegates. Republicans in that state traditionally awarded delegates according to congressional district victories, a system which allowed candidates to target specific parts of what is an enormous and demographically varying state. But in July 2023, the California GOP adopted new rules which award the overall winner of the state all of those delegates. It means Haley could, in theory, attract 49 per cent of the California Republican vote without acquiring a single delegate.

A number of states will also hold voting on candidates for governorships on Tuesday. The North Carolina gubernatorial race is the most high profile of these, with Democratic attorney general Josh Stein and Republican lieutenant governor Mark Robinson expected to be ratified in the race to replace the outgoing governor Roy Cooper (Democrat). Their campaign is expected to mirror the national picture, with abortion rights emerging as a key theme in what will be a battleground state in the general election.

Meanwhile 1,420 delegates are on offer for the Democratic primaries, which continue to endorse president Joe Biden as the debate over the suitability of his returning candidacy rumbles on.

At the weekend, four significant polls served to confirm the fears of Democrats who are concerned with Biden’s dwindling appeal. Respondents to a New York Times and CBS poll had Trump 48 per cent to 43 per cent ahead of his rival among registered voting. The poll reflected worries about the president’s age and his ability to continue in the role of president for another four years as well as a slump, from 2020, in his popularity among voters under 30, black voters and women voters. Even more worryingly for the Democrats, 10 per cent of responders who voted for Biden in 2020 now intend to vote for Trump in November.

Thursday night’s state-of-the-union address will switch the spotlight to Biden. By that time, Trump may well be the last remaining Republican candidate standing, effectively marking the starting point of the 2020 presidential rematch between the veteran political and personal adversaries.