After last night

The Michigan primary was held yesterday. President Biden defeated Uncommitted, Marianne Willison, and my cousin Dean Phillips on the Democrat side. Dean commented on Twitter for the benefit of his former friends in the party: “If you resent me for the audacity to challenge Joe Biden, at least you’ll appreciate how relatively strong I’m making him look among primary voters!”

President Trump handily defeated Nikki Haley on the Republican side. Here are the current results posted by RealClearPolitics. Note the differential in turnout.

One can infer that Biden and Trump will be their respective party’s presidential nominees, but the results seem slightly more surprising than expected. Axios managing editor/politics David Lindsey offers a brief take on the results that I found helpful:

There wasn’t much doubt that President Biden and former President Trump would romp to victories in the Michigan primaries Tuesday. But Biden’s win in particular revealed his vulnerability in a crucial swing state that could decide the presidency in November….Arab American and young voters — key to Biden winning Michigan in 2020 — turned out by the tens of thousands on Tuesday to vote … not for Biden, but for “uncommitted” in the Democratic primary.

• The protest vote, driven by anger over Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war, had drawn more than 77,000 supporters with 70% of the ballots counted — several times more than organizers expected.

• That took some of the glow from a victory in which Biden got more than 80% of the vote, and confirmed that Biden has some serious persuading to do between now and November.

• “We need more than just nice words and hope. We need a permanent ceasefire” in Gaza, Layla Elabed, campaign manager for Listen to Michigan, told CNN. The group was behind the “uncommitted” vote effort.

Other takeaways from Michigan:

1, Biden has other problems, too.

• Another jolt for the president’s campaign Tuesday: A jarring enthusiasm gap between the Democratic and Republican primaries.

• Nearly 40% more people voted in the Republican primary than in the Democratic contest — despite the protest campaign that aided turnout on the Democratic side.

• Trump, who once again defeated former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, got more votes on the GOP side than the total number of votes cast in the Democratic primary between Biden, “uncommitted” and two other candidates.

2. It wasn’t all good news for Trump.

• That surge in GOP voters was driven in part by about 27% of Republicans voting for Haley, whose support continues to be not nearly enough to win the Republican nomination — but enough to show that a sizable chunk of the GOP may never be on board with Trump.

• Haley’s campaign might not last beyond Super Tuesday next week, when Trump is expected to score hundreds of delegates and put a virtual lock on the GOP nomination as 16 states hold contests.

• But Haley’s level of support suggests that many of her backers may stay home in November — or even vote for Biden, if Trump is on the ballot.

Whole thing here.

We seek to read the tea leaves in the results. As some sage has famously observed, “It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.” George Eliot’s narrator in Middlemarch puts it this way: “Among all forms of mistake, prophecy is the most gratuitous.” To read the tea leaves we have to project ahead to next November. How will the candidates look at that time? Our crystal ball is cloudy. Both Biden and Trump are hobbled by weaknesses that will be magnified over the next eight months.

For Democrats this is the Weekend At Bernie’s election. It has become increasingly difficult to keep Biden upright during business hours. His brain is fried. His managers have to keep him under wraps. He is an embarrassment. Playing to his party’s activist base, he has left undone what should have been done and he has done that which should not have been done.

For Republicans this is the “In the Jailhouse Now” election. The electoral impact of the Democrat lawfare on Trump are particularly difficult to predict, but they can’t be good for him. They impose their own limitations on Trump in terms of time, money, and who knows what else. That’s what it’s all about. Anyone can see storm clouds ahead.

I absolutely hate the clichéd last resort of scoundrel pundits as the election approaches. You know, “it depends on turnout.” With respect to what should be the insuperable problems each candidate confronts, let’s just say “it depends on how it turns out.” They can’t both lose. One of them is going to prevail.

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