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    After South Carolina, Trump’s March to the Nomination Quickens

    The reality has been clear for weeks, since former President Donald J. Trump trounced his opponents across the frozen fields and icy highways of Iowa. But his overwhelming victory on Saturday in South Carolina, where he defeated Nikki Haley in her home state, makes it all but official.The Republican nominating contest isn’t a competition. It’s a coronation.The party primaries this winter represented the best chance for Republicans who were opposed to the former president to oust him from his dominant position in the G.O.P. The stakes were extraordinarily high: Many of his Republican opponents see Mr. Trump as, at best, unelectable and, at worst, a threat to the foundations of American democracy.And yet, as the campaign has moved through the first nominating contests, the race has not revealed Mr. Trump’s weaknesses, but instead the enduring nature of his ironclad grip on the Republican Party. From the backrooms of Capitol Hill to the town hall meetings of New Hampshire to the courtrooms of New York City, Mr. Trump shows no sign of being shaken from his controlling position in the party — not in 2024, and not in the foreseeable future.“I think the party will be done with Trump when Trump is done with the party,” said David Kochel, a longtime Republican strategist who is opposed to Mr. Trump. “That’s the long and short of it.”All of Mr. Trump’s primary rivals, except Ms. Haley, have folded and endorsed his candidacy. He has conquered state parties and the Republican National Committee, installing loyalists in key posts, and collected the backing of vast numbers of Republican elected officials. And what once appeared to be extraordinary political liabilities — the 91 felony counts against him, his increasingly extreme rhetoric, his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol — have only served to bolster his support among the Republican faithful.With his victory on Saturday, Mr. Trump has swept all the early nominating contests — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, the U.S. Virgin Islands, South Carolina — an unprecedented achievement in a contested primary race. He heads into Super Tuesday on March 5, when a third of all delegates to the G.O.P. convention will be awarded, with “maximum velocity,” said the Republican governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, who endorsed Mr. Trump over his predecessor, Ms. Haley.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Haley’s Loss to Trump in South Carolina Fuels More Doubts About Her Viability

    Read five takeaways from Donald Trump’s big win over Nikki Haley in South Carolina.Former President Donald J. Trump easily defeated Nikki Haley in South Carolina’s Republican primary on Saturday, delivering a crushing blow in her home state and casting grave doubt on her long-term viability.Mr. Trump’s victory, called by The Associated Press, was widely expected, and offers fresh fodder for his contention that the race is effectively over. Ms. Haley pledged to continue her campaign, but the former president has swept the early states and is barreling toward the nomination even as a majority of delegates have yet to be awarded.“This was a little sooner than we anticipated,” he said in Columbia, S.C., minutes after the race was called, adding that he had “never seen the Republican Party so unified as it is right now.”Throughout his victory speech, Mr. Trump made it clear that he was eager to turn his attention to the general election, at one point telling the crowd: “I just wish we could do it quicker. Nine months is a long time.”He also did not mention Ms. Haley by name, alluding to her only twice: once to knock her for a disappointing finish in a Nevada primary contest with no practical value, and once for supporting an opponent of his in 2016.In her election-night speech in Charleston, S.C., Ms. Haley congratulated Mr. Trump on his victory. But she said the results — he was beating her by 60 percent to 39 percent as of late Saturday — demonstrated that “huge numbers of voters” were “saying they want an alternative.”We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    5 Takeaways From Trump’s Big Win Over Nikki Haley in South Carolina

    Donald J. Trump lapped Nikki Haley in the Midwest. He beat her in the Northeast. He dominated in the West. And now he has trounced the former two-term governor in her home state of South Carolina.After nearly six weeks of primary contests in geographically, demographically and ideologically diverse states, even Ms. Haley’s most ardent supporters must squint to see the faintest path to the presidential nomination for her in 2024.The race was called the moment the polls closed, and within minutes an ebullient Mr. Trump took the stage, avoiding a mistake he made in New Hampshire when Ms. Haley spoke first and, even in defeat, gave a rousing speech that had irked him.“It’s an early evening,” Mr. Trump beamed.But Ms. Haley, the former United Nations ambassador, is still vowing to plow on, warning her party that sticking with Mr. Trump and the distractions of his four criminal indictments is a pathway to defeat in November.“Today is not the end of our story,” she declared.Here are five takeaways from the South Carolina primary and what comes next:Ms. Haley cast her ballot on Kiawah Island, S.C., with her mother and children.Ruth Fremson/The New York TimesIt was a home-state failure for Haley.She campaigned more aggressively. She spent more on television advertisements. She debuted a shiny new bus to traverse the state, and kept raking in donations.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Haley’s Traditional Campaign Was No Match Against Trump in South Carolina

    Some campaign professionals wonder if playing it safe was ever going to shake up the race.Nikki Haley has proudly called herself the underdog in the Republican presidential nomination fight, telling South Carolina audiences over and over how she defeated, or at least outlasted, 12 other candidates, all of them men, and then adding, “I just have one more fella to catch.”But in her race in South Carolina to catch that fellow, former President Donald J. Trump, she ran an exceptionally conventional campaign, crisscrossing the state in a bus, delivering her stump speech almost word for word, over and over, and seldom taking questions from the audience or the news media in attendance. Her guest speakers were local mayors and prosecutors.As the campaign for her home state came to a close, ending in a swift victory for Mr. Trump on Saturday night, some campaign professionals question how such a cautious effort was ever going to shake up a nominating contest in which Mr. Trump had already won the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, and held a clear lead in South Carolina.Lis Smith, who helped run the presidential campaign of Pete Buttigieg in 2020, putting a little-known former mayor of South Bend, Ind., on the political map, said that once Ms. Haley got the race down to a two-candidate contest, “there was a huge opportunity to make a splash.”But in the state where she served as governor, Ms. Haley didn’t do much of what a candidate trying to close a yawning gap would do, Ms. Smith said — such as take questions from voters or pull stunts to grab press attention, like showing up at campaign events with surprise guests.“If you are the underdog, if you are trying to drive the narrative, you have to understand what drives the media,” she said, “and you have to be willing to make news, not give set speeches.”We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Prominent Republican Seeks to Shield the Party From Paying Trump’s Legal Bills

    A veteran Republican National Committee member has initiated a long-shot effort to prevent Donald J. Trump from taking over the party committee before he has enough delegates to become the presumptive presidential nominee in an effort to prevent the R.N.C. from paying his legal bills.Henry Barbour, a committee member from Mississippi, has sponsored two resolutions, one that would require the committee to remain neutral in the primary and another that would assure it does not spend committee funds to assist Mr. Trump in his legal battles. The proposals, which would not be binding even if passed, come as Mr. Trump seeks to install new leadership in the organization, including Lara Trump, his daughter-in-law, who has said she would be open to the committee paying his legal bills.The resolutions, which were first reported by The Dispatch, have come under fire from the Trump campaign.“The primary is over, and it is the RNC’s sole responsibility to defeat Joe Biden and win back the White House,” said Chris LaCivita, a top Trump adviser who is expected to move into a top role at the R.N.C. “Efforts to delay that assist Joe Biden in the destruction of our nation. Republicans cannot stand on the sidelines and allow this to happen.”The neutrality proposal is directly related to the primary: After the South Carolina primary, only four early states will have held contests. Mr. Trump has a fraction of the delegates he needs, and Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, is still running, although she has yet to win a state.The other resolution has been more in the forefront of some R.N.C. members’ minds: It seeks to bar the committee from paying Mr. Trump’s legal fees as he faces four criminal indictments and two enormous civil lawsuits.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Nikki Haley is Proof That Trump Is Not Invincible

    In Rock Hill, S.C., last weekend, the biggest boom of a reaction came when Nikki Haley told the crowd, “Everybody’s telling me: Why don’t you just get out?” People basically responded with one long “no,” with one woman’s “Don’t give up!” sounding out above it. Ms. Haley responded instantly, “I will never give up,” and a big cheer went up.Ms. Haley’s events last weekend in South Carolina ahead of Saturday’s Republican primary were populated with people in Gamecocks hats and Clemson sweatshirts; older blond women in quilted vests and jackets; dads in preppy eyeglasses with teen daughters; old men in Army vet baseball caps, which took me a minute to clock that they were most likely wearing because Donald Trump had mocked Ms. Haley’s husband. These crowds tend to have — as a percentage, not in real numbers — more women and more couples, especially in their 60s and 70s, than the crowds at Trump events. And the most reliable response from any crowd Ms. Haley speaks to involves just the prospect of her quitting the race.“The truth is like, people feel it. This is a real emotion,” she said in a brief interview on Friday. “It’s a real fear. It’s a real concern that they have with Donald Trump and Joe Biden.”The Trump era has scrambled voting patterns across any number of groups, but there are a few voter demographics that have, arguably, mattered the most in the battleground states: Black voters of all ages; under-30 voters; white voters in rural areas; and suburban voters who often have college degrees and who are Romney-to-Biden voters, or have opted out of voting for president.That last group — a persuasion group — has mattered in the suburbs of Atlanta and Phoenix and in Michigan and Pennsylvania. The Republican Party has had huge problems retaining or winning back those voters throughout the endless Trump era. And those are the voters who seem to like to hear a candidate say, as Ms. Haley did this week, that “we refuse to use the awesome power of big government to punish those we dislike, and we recognize that America has done more good for more people than any country in the world.”We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Potential Trump V.P. Picks Flock to CPAC, Auditioning for the Spot By His Side

    The South Carolina primary is tomorrow, and Nikki Haley, a former governor of the state, is approaching a critical juncture in her presidential campaign. She is locked in a seemingly desperate struggle against former President Donald J. Trump, the dominant Republican front-runner, facing long odds in her home state as well as in crucial contests on Super Tuesday, March 5.But away from the campaign trail, conservatives near Washington are celebrating Mr. Trump as if he has already secured the Republican presidential nomination. At the influential Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC, which began on Wednesday, the question is not which Republican will face off against President Biden in November, but rather who will join Mr. Trump atop the ticket as his vice-presidential running mate.At least four people who will speak at CPAC today are widely seen as contenders in the made-for-television spectacle that Mr. Trump’s potential vice-presidential selection process has become: Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio, Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota and the entrepreneur and former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy.And while the conference will conclude on Saturday with the group’s traditional straw poll, for the first time in at least a decade, the survey will include a question about vice-presidential preferences, asking attendees to pick the best running mate for Mr. Trump.The former president has sought to cast an air of inevitability around his candidacy, and pushing a conversation about who will be on the ticket with him in November is one way he has tried to steer attention away from Ms. Haley.Emulating a season of “The Apprentice,” the reality television show he hosted in his pre-presidential life, Mr. Trump and his campaign have for weeks stoked speculation about whom he will pick — highlighting different contenders at different campaign stops, gauging the reaction of his loyal rally attendees and scrutinizing the candidates’ performance as surrogates both on and off the campaign trail.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Biden Considering Executive Order That Could Restrict Asylum at the Border

    The action under consideration could prevent people from making asylum claims during border crossing surges. The White House says it is far from a decision on the matter.President Biden is considering executive action that could prevent people who cross illegally into the United States from claiming asylum, several people with knowledge of the proposal said Wednesday. The move would suspend longtime guarantees that give anyone who steps onto U.S. soil the right to ask for safe haven.The order would put into effect a key policy in a bipartisan bill that Republicans thwarted earlier this month, even though it had some of the most significant border security restrictions Congress has contemplated in years.The bill would have essentially shut down the border to new entrants if more than an average of 5,000 migrants per day tried to cross unlawfully in the course of a week, or more than 8,500 tried to cross in a given day.The action under consideration by the White House would have a similar trigger for blocking asylum to new entrants, the people with knowledge of the proposal say. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.The move, if enacted, would echo a 2018 effort by President Donald J. Trump to block migration, which was assailed by Democrats and blocked by federal courts.Although such an action would undoubtedly face legal challenges, the fact that Mr. Biden is considering it shows just how far he has shifted on immigration since he came into office, promising a more humane system after the Trump years.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More