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Will Trump triumph in the Republican Primary contest?

Donald Trump, former President of the United States from 2017 to 2021, has announced he will be running in the Republican Party presidential primaries. Despite the controversy surrounding the Capitol riots in January of 2021, Trump’s popularity remains, as does the likelihood that he will be named as the Republican nominee for President. 

Trump now has a commanding lead over other contestants in the race for the nomination, but who are the significant contestants that remain, and will they be able to challenge Trump successfully? 

Ron DeSantis

Perhaps the most prominent contestant in the primaries against Trump is Ron DeSantis, the 46th governor of Florida (appointed in 2018) and a key advocate of far-right causes. DeSantis has been successful in transforming one of the largest swing states of America into a recognisable shade of red. Additionally, he has been a prominent figure in controlling abortion laws within his state; he signed a bill regarding abortion, resulting in abortion being illegal if it was carried out after the first 6 weeks of pregnancy. His hard-right views may appeal to Republicans and his popularity in Florida could generate support for his cause. 

However, will he be able to challenge Trump? 

DeSantis has shied away from setting an anti-Trump tone in his campaign, and instead, his strategy appears to be one of winning over Trump supporters. His criticisms of Biden show him to hold Republican values close, but, whether he will be able to win over moderate Republicans is another question. DeSantis has been viewed as a major rising star and at points of the campaign he has overtaken the former President in polling data, but never for long periods. Trump seems to continually creep back into the top spot. 

Nikki Haley 

Nikki Haley, another strong contestant in the primaries, takes her stance as an alternative to the Trump-DeSantis debate. Haley is politically accomplished, having been elected Governor of South Carolina (2011 – 2017) and as the United States ambassador to the United Nations (2017 – 2018). 

A strong option for the Republican party, yet her position outside of the political obsession between DeSantis and Trump could limit her success in the campaign. Haley appears to have strong showings in New Hampshire and South Carolina, two critical states after Iowa. Haley has criticised DeSantis for focusing his campaign too centrally in Iowa, whilst announcing she will launch a $10 million campaign herself in Iowa and New Hampshire. 

Can Haley beat Trump? 

Much of her policy regarding abortion laws downplays this controversial topic, she takes a more centralised stance in her campaign making it difficult for her to connect with Trump supporters. As for the attention around the DeSantis-Trump debate, Haley would need to increase her support drastically to move attention away from it and to her campaign. 

Who or What Will Stop Trump? 

Trump’s popularity remains high, yet opportunity for other candidates remains possible.

Trump has formerly been charged with 34 felony counts regarding the Stormy Daniels scandal in 2016, and if found guilty of any of these charges, he could be disqualified from running for office. This would certainly allow other candidates to step onto the podium and become more visible – perhaps we would see a DeSantis-Haley contest. All things considered, it could well be that Trump’s campaign is not as strong after all. 

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