March 6, 2024 - 10:00am

The results of last night’s “Super Tuesday” primary were largely predictable, as both Donald Trump and Joe Biden won decisive victories in (almost) all the states competing in the delegate round-up. At this point, the candidates’ respective nominations are merely a formality. For all intents and purposes, the general election can begin in earnest.

Not all that long ago, these results would have been hard to believe. Less than a year ago, Trump appeared to be on the ropes; and the rapid series of criminal indictments, prosecutions of his close allies, and civil suits made it look like he would be hard-pressed to avoid personal bankruptcy or prison, much less run for president of the United States.

A host of potential claimants to the MAGA throne emerged, some — like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis or tech whizkid Vivek Ramaswamy — garnering enthusiasm among the resolutely online. But from virtually the start, it was clear that Trump and only Trump commanded the allegiance of the party regulars.

Every multi-million-dollar judgment against him, every federal SWAT team tearing through his wife’s closet looking for “top secret” documents, every tenuous RICO case, and every effort to deny him ballot access only heightened the contradiction between what the supposed guardians of “our democracy” claimed they believed and what they actually did.

National politicians are usually destroyed by the merest hint of scandal. But Trump is antifragile. Efforts to kill him literally make him stronger in the eyes of an electorate that speaks of rigged games and corrupt systems. A regime that has welded open the gates on the southern border to permit the entry of 10 million unvetted and impoverished foreigners, and which then has the temerity to insist that the border has never been more secure, is like a bully demanding you agree that two and two make five. The Republican base no longer has any tolerance for this kind of spin.

Nikki Haley’s two minor victories — in Washington DC and Vermont — were therefore the exceptions that prove the rule, before she dropped out of the race today. Her running-dog candidacy, fuelled by Democrat and Chamber of Commerce donations, was the last breath of the old, globalist GOP — the sort of Republicans who don’t mind losing, so long as they can remain respectable.

As for Biden — who comes across as if he isn’t a day under 90 — his presence in the race seems to be as baffling to the leaders of his party as it is to the average American Democrat who, in poll after poll, says that Biden is too old to be running. To all those who imagine that American presidential politics are a finely organised shadow play run by elites, à la Network or Being There, the fact that Biden’s candidacy seems to be impelled entirely by his own cantankerousness offers an embarrassing rejoinder.

America hasn’t had a presidential election rematch since Dwight Eisenhower beat Adlai Stevenson for the second time in 1956, and hasn’t seen two former occupants of the White House challenge each other since 1892. It is bizarre that America, so broad and rich, should have settled on Biden v. Trump Part Two for its main card in 2024. But, perhaps, we have the politics we deserve after all.

Seth Barron is managing editor of The American Mind and author of The Last Days of New York.