HomePoliticsBiden and Trump crossed paths during Tuesday's primaries. But both showed...

Biden and Trump crossed paths during Tuesday’s primaries. But both showed signs of weakness.

President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump are still staring at large parts of their electoral base not on board.

The holdouts in each party continued to flex their muscles Tuesday in the primaries in New York, Wisconsin, Connecticut and Rhode Island. And even though there were more Republican holdouts — voters who cast their votes for candidates other than Trump — than Democrats in that election, Biden’s problem still seemed more acute.

That’s because Trump holdouts were concentrated in places Republicans have already lost — and won’t come into play in November — while the “uncommitted” protest vote against Biden was strongest among Democrats’ core base.

Tuesday’s primaries, although not competitive at all, were an opportunity for Biden to strengthen that base. Democratic voters in Connecticut and Rhode Island, where “uncommitted” was on the ballot, are not particularly progressive, which would generally favor Biden. And Wisconsin, which had a voting line with an “uninstructed delegation,” is a key swing state in the general election.

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But Biden showed signs of weakness in all those states. In Connecticut and Rhode Island, “uncommitted” broke 10 percent, while “uninstructed” in Wisconsin recorded just under that figure.

Tuesday’s anti-Biden Democratic vote was concentrated in predictable places: cities with a significant college presence like New Haven, Connecticut (where “uncommitted” got 24 percent), Providence, Rhode Island (29 percent) and Madison, Wisconsin (“uninstructed” even tied Biden in one district, gaining a total of 15 percent in Dane County).

College towns like Madison have become a Democratic salve in swing states during the recent elections, and Biden cannot afford to backlash there.

But that doesn’t mean Trump doesn’t have problems with some traditional Republicans, especially in the suburbs. Nikki Haley dropped out of the Republican presidential primary four weeks ago, but still received 27 percent of the vote in upscale Westport, Connecticut, and 22 percent in Greenwich, Connecticut. In the so-called WOW counties around Milwaukee — the cornerstone of Republicans’ victories in Wisconsin — Haley got 17 percent in Ozaukee, 14 percent in Waukesha and 12 percent in Washington.

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That trend continued in New York, where the presidential primaries were also held on Tuesday. Haley broke 20 percent in three counties: Monroe, home to Rochester (25 percent), Tompkins, home to the college town of Ithaca (24 percent) and Manhattan (22 percent).

New York did not have an “indeterminate” option, and the blank ballots that organizers encouraged Democratic voters angry with Biden over the Middle East to send in will not be counted until results are certified in the coming weeks. So it’s too early to know if there has been a significant protest vote there.

Primaries are not a general election, and many voters will undoubtedly return to their parties in November. But both Biden and Trump still have a lot of work to do before then to improve their standing with their bases.

And it is Biden who has more ground to make up. After all, Trump is leading in the polls – in six of the seven swing states in the general election, according to new polls from The Wall Street Journal published on Tuesday evening.

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