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  • Writer's pictureMackenzie Mathieu

Weekly News Blast | Jan 21 - 28

2024 Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley standing with her family at her presidential campaign announcement

After Donald Trump's win in the New Hampshire primary, presidential candidate Nikki Haley prepares for the next primary in her home state of South Carolina (Bill Clark, Wikimedia Commons)

Trump Wins New Hampshire Primary

On January 23, New Hampshire held the country’s second Republican presidential primary. The two remaining candidates, former President Donald Trump and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, fought for the state’s vote, but once the polls had closed, it was clear that Trump had won the state, convincing many analysts that there will be a rematch between Trump and Biden this November. The 11-point difference is concerning for Haley’s campaign, especially considering all the campaign funds she poured into the state.

Leading up to the race, Nikki Haley visited counties around the state, including some small towns with fewer than 5000 voters each. She leveraged her experience growing up in a small town to relate to these voters, who are often ignored by national candidates. Still, even after targeting less populated northern counties, her town hall meetings and smaller-scale campaign locations proved unsuccessful. Haley hoped for a victory built on smaller counties, but campaigning less in the more populous southern counties ended up hurting her on election day. Donald Trump’s campaigning, on the other hand, consisted of larger rallies around the state.

Donald Trump’s win this week means the former president is the first Republican presidential candidate to win the primary in both Iowa and New Hampshire since 1976 when the two states became the first elections in the Republican presidential cycle. Many have seen this accomplishment as further proof of how much support Trump has from his party, more so than previous Republican candidates.

Once votes were beginning to be counted, Trump and his allies attempted to force Haley out of the campaign. Especially because DeSantis dropped out the weekend before, it was expected Haley would follow suit, but even after her loss in New Hampshire, Haley vowed to stay in the race. She congratulated Trump on the victory in her concessions speech following the vote but still has hope for the future. In her perspective, these primaries are just the beginning, and she believes she still has a chance to win. The next Republican primary is in her home state of South Carolina, and attention will turn to see if Haley’s former constituents will show their support in the polls.

U.S. and China Discuss Fentanyl Crisis

The joint U.S. and China anti-narcotics group held its first meeting on January 30. Located in Beijing, this committee’s goal is to reduce the production and trade of fentanyl. The United States delegation is led by Deputy Homeland Security Adviser, Jen Daskal, who, along with the Chinese delegation led by Chinese Minister of Public Security Wang Xiaohong, is attempting to decrease the deaths caused by the drug worldwide. Over 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2022 in the U.S. alone, and the countries have committed to making changes for the good of both countries’ citizens.

The U.S. is the location of most fentanyl-related deaths, but many believe that the ingredients and pill presses come from China. The synthetic opioid is then manufactured by drug cartels in Mexico and smuggled over the border into the U.S. China is now being asked to minimize the trade of the ingredients that create this overly addictive drug. In 2019, China made major changes to laws regarding fentanyl, which reduced the amount found in the U.S. significantly. The U.S. hopes China will continue this pattern and further reduce production following this meeting. 

The anti-narcotics group is the first example of cooperation between the U.S. and China since their relationship soured decades ago. However, since the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November, U.S.-China relations have steadily improved. Since the first meeting of the anti-narcotics group, both countries’ presidents have made statements implying the possibility of compromise as the meetings continue. 

However, some are concerned about relations staying positive, especially considering the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency previously blamed the fentanyl crisis on China. Further, in October, the U.S. placed sanctions on dozens of Chinese companies believed to be a part of the illegal fentanyl trade. For these discussions to occur, the U.S. had to remove sanctions on the Chinese Public Security Ministry’s Institute of Forensic Science. These sanctions were put in place after the department was complicit in human rights violations against Muslim groups in China. In contrast, Beijing is committed to its “zero tolerance” drug policy and says that the root of the fentanyl-related problems has its roots in the U.S.

It is unclear how much will change during these meetings, but many hope that the risks of fentanyl-related overdose will rapidly decrease in the following years with further cooperation between these two global powers.

Texas Border Dispute Between Federal and State Governments

On January 26, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the federal government and against Texas on a dispute regarding razor wire placed along the US-Mexico border. This fencing, constructed under orders from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, has prevented U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers from accessing the bank of the river to save migrants attempting to cross. The addition of this wire has resulted in multiple migrant deaths and prompted the federal government to bring this case before the Supreme Court.

The federal government argued that border control is a federal responsibility and power, as was decided in Arizona v United States in 2012, so Texas cannot put razor wire fences up and prevent the National Guard from removing them. On the other hand, Abbot used the Invasion Clause of the Constitution to justify the fences, comparing immigrants to a public foreign enemy. This clause gives states the right to defend themselves against invasion, a loophole in the legislation on immigration. Many opponents of Abbott point out that the small numbers of migrants in comparison to the population of Texas hardly represent an enemy that poses “imminent Danger,” as is required by the Invasion Clause.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision, Greg Abbott has refused to back down. Sticking to his belief in the Invasion Clause, he is continuing to instruct the state guard to lay more razor wire on the border. While the National Guard is officially part of the U.S. military, they takes orders from the governor, in this case Abbott, who is using his power to defy the Supreme Court’s decision and the federal government. Twenty-five Republican governors and 26 Republican attorneys general have supported the decision by Abbott to continue enforcing the border. Moving forward, another case may move to the Supreme Court questioning the ability of Texas to leverage its power over the National Guard against the federal government, but it will take time before the Supreme Court comes to a decision. Until then, Texas will continue to keep their border lined with the razor wire, and it is unclear how much the Biden administration is willing to fight to remove it.


Sources & Further Readings

Trump Wins New Hampshire Primary

U.S. and China Discuss Fentanyl Crisis

Texas Border Dispute Between Federal and State Governments


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