Written by Nico Fodor
Edited by Annika Lilja
The most recent Republican Presidential Debate featured only former South Carolina Governor and former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a severe decrease from the eight (former ambassador Haley, Governor Desantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina senator Tim Scott, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, and former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, but not frontrunner Donald Trump. As of now, many candidates have dropped out of the race, while others remain in, but failed to qualify for the debate.
One notable exit was Vivek Ramaswamy, who withdrew from the 2024 presidential race on January 15 after a disappointing performance in the Iowa caucuses. Ramaswamy, who positioned himself as an “America First” candidate (a foreign policy mentality to address domestic issues before getting the country involved in international conflicts like wars), aligned with former President Donald Trump, finished fourth in Iowa and subsequently endorsed Trump. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, initially a contender in the race, announced on January 21 that he was ending his presidential campaign. This decision came after Desantis, despite placing second in the Iowa caucuses, lost to Donald Trump by a significant margin. The endorsement also led to a sense of fear from Republicans aiming to prevent Trump from securing the nomination. With DeSantis out of the race, the focus shifted to former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley as the sole remaining GOP challenger to Trump. However, Trump, with strong support and endorsements, has positioned himself as the presumptive nominee.
The dynamics of the race became more evident in a speech where Trump criticized Haley for attempting to mobilize independents, including those leaning Democratic, to vote in the Republican primary. Trump’s team strategically invited prominent South Carolina lawmakers, including Gov. Henry McMaster and Lt. Gov Pamela Evette, to New Hampshire, showing Haley the challenge and uphill battle she’ll face to win her home state. Despite the challenges, Haley welcomed the one-on-one showdown with Trump, stating, “May the best woman win.” However, many people began to sense Trump’s growing inevitability, with Republicans uniting behind him.
In New Hampshire, Trump secured 176,392 votes in a significant victory, further solidifying his position as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. This outcome dealt a setback to Nikki Haley, who finished second by 35,902 votes, a considerable number in a low-population state like New Hampshire.
As the race progresses, Trump’s early successes in Iowa and New Hampshire have positioned him as a unifying force within the GOP. The challenge for Nikki Haley lies in finding a path to victory in the face of Trump’s overwhelming support among Republicans. The withdrawal of candidates like DeSantis and Ramaswamy, coupled with Trump’s dominant performance in early primaries, emphasizes the evolving record of the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. As the campaigns move forward, the dynamics within the GOP continue to shape the landscape, with Trump emerging as a formidable force on his path to securing the nomination.
Dawsey, Josh, et al. “Trump Takes Another Stride toward GOP Nomination with DeSantis Dropout.” The Washington Post, 21 Jan. 2024, www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/01/21/trump-gop-nomination-desantis-endorsement/. Accessed 28 Jan. 2024.
Koretski, Katherine. “Vivek Ramaswamy Drops out of the 2024 Presidential Race, Endorses Trump.” NBC News, 15 Jan. 2024, www.nbcnews.com/politics/2024-election/vivek-ramaswamy-dropping-2024-presidential-race-rcna133875. Accessed 28 Jan. 2024.
Ramer, Holly, et al. “Trump Wins New Hampshire Primary as Rematch with Biden Appears Increasingly Likely.” AP News, 24 Jan. 2024, apnews.com/article/trump-new-hampshire-primary-two-candidate-race-72a59c4133879eaeec63d6ed30e91e01. Accessed 28 Jan. 2024.