Trump wins South Carolina primary, advances toward Republican presidential nomination
Published: Feb 25, 2024 08:54 PM
Former US President Donald Trump at a New Hampshire primary election night watch party in Nashua, New Hampshire, US, on January 23, 2024 Photo: VCG

Former US President Donald Trump at a New Hampshire primary election night watch party in Nashua, New Hampshire, US, on January 23, 2024 Photo: VCG

Donald Trump, the former president, emerged victorious in the Republican Presidential Primary in South Carolina, triumphing over Nikki Haley, the former US Ambassador to the United Nations, in her home state. Analysts believe the results means Trump is now a step closer to becoming the Republican presidential candidate, but as long as Haley does not drop out of the campaign, variables still likely to arise. Pending lawsuits against Trump represent a wildcard for both parties in the race to the White House.

According to Edison Research, with 92 percent of ballots counted, Trump led by 59.9 percent to 39.4 percent, a 20.5 percentage point lead. According to FiveThirtyEight, polls across South Carolina before Saturday had Trump leading by an average of 27.6 percentage points, VOA reported.

The defeat delivered a crushing blow to Haley, who was born in the state and served as governor twice. In previous Republican primaries, Trump beat Haley in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, media reports said.

Despite this setback, Haley declared her intention to persist with her campaign until Super Tuesday in March, when a group of states will play a crucial role in determining the candidate who will challenge President Joe Biden in the upcoming November election.

In the eyes of the US media , as a woman of minority ethnic background and the only female candidate in the Republican camp in this election, Haley is seen as "the last competitor" standing in Trump's path to securing the Republican nomination.

However, Haley was unable to win in her home state , which means that Trump is now closer to becoming the Republican presidential candidate again, in an unlikely rerun against President Biden in the 2024 US presidential election, despite Trump still facing a series of high profile court battles, analysts noted.

Super Tuesday is a pivotal moment in the race for the GOP nomination, as it will likely determine whether Trump can solidify his position as the frontrunner. With Haley facing a string of defeats, Trump will emerge as the only viable candidate left . However, if Haley refuses to withdraw from the race, Trump will need to secure more than half of all the delegates to secure the nomination, which seems increasingly likely as time goes on, Diao Daming, a professor from Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, raised the point that although Trump remains the frontrunner , he will continue to face great challenges brought by pending lawsuits against him on how to compete against Biden.

Trump is currently dealing with 91 felony charges in multiple states and various lawsuits. The initial trial for one of the criminal cases is set to begin on March 25, marking the first time a former US president will face a criminal trial, according to a NPR report.

Diao believed that before the November election, only the sealing of the door is likely to be decided, and the other three are likely to go through the process. After the procedure, the trial may not be completed, so the impact on him may not be as severe as imagined.

If Trump takes office as the next president, he could arrange for Justice Department appointees to dismiss the cases, or even make a historic use of his presidential pardon power against himself, according to a BBC report.

Media reports revealed that Haley meanwhile has drawn from a large fund of donations from Wall Street and other wealthy supporters who believe she has a better option than Trump.

The fact that Haley did not withdraw despite a strong defeat indicates that she has enough financial support, suggesting there is a faction within the Republican Party that opposes Trump. Diao pointed out that if Trump were to be forced to go to prison due to a lawsuit, Haley is likely to be the one to step in as a substitute.