‘Paris Is Well Worth a Mass’

It will be important to see what Biden does to overcome perceptions of weakness and old age; more interesting will be the challenge facing Trump

The U.S. Super Tuesday, when Democratic or Republican activists in 15 or 16 states — depending on the count — vote or make public their preferences for this or that candidate, had a predictable but also surprising result.

Predictable because both President Joe Biden, for the Democrats, and former President Donald Trump, for the Republicans, literally swept the process.

But in the game of expectations, serious weaknesses were revealed, especially in Trump’s case. And one fact: His problem will be less about winning votes than how to avoid losing them.

True: Biden only lost one primary, in American Samoa, a Pacific territory where he competed with a local politician named Jason Palmer and lost by 51% to 40%.

What is serious, though, is the number of votes, especially from leftist and Arab-American groups who abandoned him because of his support for Israel’s invasion of Gaza to persecute the Palestinian group Hamas. An estimated 100,000 Democrats, especially in Michigan, abstained from voting*.

Otherwise, it was just him all the way, accompanied by concerns about his age, health and political weaknesses.

Trump won everything except Vermont, where he was defeated by Nikki Haley, who dropped out of the race on Wednesday. But in doing so, the former governor and former ambassador made Trump’s problems visible.

According to one estimate, just over 2.2 million Republican activists have participated in the primaries so far. But while Trump won almost everything with more than 1.5 million votes, his rival got more than 700,000 votes, which implies that a third of Republicans did not vote for him and, in some cases, never will.

Apart from that, he also faces problems because of the Republican positions on abortion, his legal situation, his stance on minorities and his money problems.

For both, virtually certain candidates, the unity of their party is important, but they do not have it.

That loyalty is of the utmost importance. One need only recall Biden’s margins of victory over Trump four years ago — Arizona by 10,457 votes, Georgia by 12,670, Nevada by 33,500 and Wisconsin by 28,882.

What is certain is that the two candidates must now begin efforts not only to consolidate their bases but also to start to win over the voters who consider themselves independent and are the force that will give the victory to one or the other.

It will be important to see what Biden does to overcome perceptions of weakness, old age and decision-making; more interesting, perhaps, will be the challenge Trump faces: moderating his rhetoric, overcoming his image as a cheat and fraudster, marginalizing his current legal problems and fundraising.

Making adjustments will have costs for both. But after all, as Huguenot King Henry III of Navarre said in 1593 when he converted to Catholicism to become Henry IV of France: “Paris is well worth a mass.”

*Editor’s Note: In the Feb. 27 Michigan primary, 100,000 people voted “uncommitted” rather than for Joe Biden. They did not abstain from voting.

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About Stephen Routledge 180 Articles
Stephen is a Business Leader. He has over twenty years experience in leading various major organisational change initiatives. Stephen has been translating for more than ten years for various organisations and individuals, with a particular interest in science and technology, poetry and literature, and current affairs.

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