Trump and Biden reach delegates needed for presidential nomination

The two candidates already have the numbers for the summer conventions following Tuesday’s primaries in Georgia, Mississippi and Washington

Donald Trump
Donald Trump, last Saturday during a rally in Rome (Georgia).ERIK S. LESSER (EFE)
Miguel Jiménez

It is almost official. U.S. President Joe Biden will face off against Donald Trump in November for control of the White House. On Tuesday, following the primaries in Georgia, Mississippi and Washington state, the two secured an absolute majority of the delegates who must choose the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates at their respective conventions in the summer.

In truth, both had effectively secured the nomination with the Super Tuesday results, where they both secured overwhelming wins. In the Republican Party, Trump emerged from Super Tuesday with 1,089 delegates, just 126 short of the 1,215 needed to win the nomination. The outcome was dictated by the polls even before Nikki Haley, aware that the distance was insurmountable, announced her withdrawal. On March 12, there were still marginal candidates on the ballot (Haley herself was on the ballot too, given the early registration deadline), but they obviously had no chance.

The Republican convention will be held from July 15 to 18 in Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, one of the six states that are set to play a key role in the November 5 presidential election, along with Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Arizona. On Tuesday, Trump scored clear and easy victories in the primaries in Georgia, Mississippi and Washington, securing enough delegates to win the nomination, without needing to wait for the results of the Hawaii caucuses.

Trump is expected to secure the nomination with wins in all races except Vermont and Washington, DC, which was won by Haley. He has swept the primaries, despite his 2020 defeat and the fact that he is facing four indictments for a total of 91 felony charges. In less than two weeks, he will have to sit in the dock for the first time in a criminal case.

Still, Trump was punished in Georgia, where a significant percentage of the vote, around 15%, went to Haley, despite the fact that she had already dropped out. That being said, in Georgia the primaries are open, so it is difficult to interpret to what extent this protest vote came from moderate Republicans defecting from Trump or from Democrats who chose to vote in the rival party’s primaries in an effort to erode the former president’s momentum.

In the Democratic Party, there was no real opposition at any time, since neither Congressman Dean Philips nor the self-help book writer Marianne Williamson had the slightest chance. Robert Kennedy Jr. decided to drop out of the race and tried to run as an independent. Despite doubts about Biden’s low approval ratings and age, 81, possible challengers have respected the tradition of not running against the president in office.

The first results of Tuesday’s election night, those of Georgia, were enough for Biden to surpass the 1,968 delegates that will give him the majority, although he also won clearly in Mississippi and with some protest vote in the State of Washington. Biden benefited from the fact that Florida and Delaware cancelled their primaries because the president is the only candidate, so he won all the delegates in those states. This allowed him to reach the majority a week earlier than expected. The Democratic National Convention will take place from August 19 to 22 in Chicago (Illinois).

Both the votes for Haley in Georgia, in the case of Trump, and the “uncommitted” votes in Washington, in the case of Biden, are a new sign of both candidates’ weakness. For Trump, the main risk is that moderate and independent voters will turn their backs on him. In Biden’s case, they are a symptom of how some segments of the population, particularly young voters, Arab-Americans and some other minorities, reject his support for Israel in the war in Gaza, which the U.S. government has tried to take a more nuanced stance on.

Joe Biden at a campaign event in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 9, 2024.
Joe Biden at a campaign event in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 9, 2024.Peter Zay (Getty Images)

Biden celebrated his nomination in a statement that accused Trump of being a threat to democracy. “I am honored that the broad coalition of voters representing the rich diversity of the Democratic Party across the country have put their faith in me once again to lead our party — and our country — in a moment when the threat Trump poses is greater than ever,” the statement read. According to the president, Trump “is running a campaign of resentment, revenge, and retribution that threatens the very idea of America.”

Swing states

Despite the fact that neither Trump nor Biden had any significant rivals, both went to campaign in Georgia last weekend. They were not thinking about the primaries, but about the presidential race which has effectively started, given the importance of that state. This is the second time in two weeks that they have crossed paths, as they recently both visited the border with Mexico, one of the key issues of the campaign. Among the swing states, Georgia is the second-most important (with 16 electors or electoral college votes), behind Pennsylvania (19) and ahead of Michigan (15), Arizona (11), Wisconsin (10) and Nevada (6).

In the 2020 election, Biden beat Trump by 306 electoral votes to 232, with victories in all six of those swing states. Because of population variations, the same results would now leave a slightly tighter outcome (302 to 236). The majority needed for the presidency is 270 votes, meaning there are many combinations within Trump’s reach. Assuming no other states flip, Trump would secure the presidency by winning four of the swing states, but he could also do so with three or even two of the four.

After the State of the Union address, Biden started to campaign in these key states. He visited Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) on Friday, Atlanta (Georgia) on Saturday, and he will go to Milwaukee (Wisconsin) on Wednesday and Saginaw (Michigan) on Thursday. Vice President Kamala Harris visited Phoenix (Arizona) and Las Vegas (Nevada) last week. In his week-long marathon, Biden also included New Hampshire, perhaps in atonement for not having participated in its primaries.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get more English-language news coverage from EL PAÍS USA Edition

More information

Archived In

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS