New Hampshire Showed Trump’s Strengths and Weaknesses

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Donald Trump’s comfortable victory last night in New Hampshire’s Republican presidential primary demonstrated his ironclad control of the party’s right-wing base and set him on what could very well be a short march to his third nomination.

Trump is the first non-incumbent Republican candidate to win both Iowa and New Hampshire. His dominance has melted away much of the remaining opposition to him among Republicans on Capitol Hill, and his polling numbers suggest that there is probably no state in the country where another Republican could defeat him.

But last night’s results also underscored some of Trump’s potential vulnerabilities. Independents, college-educated voters and Republicans who are unwilling to dismiss his legal jeopardy voted in large numbers for his rival, Nikki Haley. Those intraparty divisions point to trouble ahead for Trump as the presidential race enters a broader electorate, one that rejected him less than four years ago.

In other politics news, the United Automobile Workers union, an influential voice on labor issues, endorsed President Biden.

A large Russian military transport plane crashed today in the Belgorod region of Russia, not far from Ukraine, according to a video verified by The Times. The Russian Defense Ministry said that everyone onboard was killed.

Russian officials said that the plane had been carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war who were to be exchanged for Russian service personnel. They accused Ukrainian forces of launching missiles from the nearby Kharkiv region that struck the aircraft.

Ukraine did not comment directly on the accusations, but it hinted that the crash could have been a tragic mistake, saying that Russia had not informed it that prisoners would be flown to Belgorod’s airport, as had been the case in previous exchanges.

Ohio lawmakers overrode Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of a bill that would bar minors from receiving puberty blockers, hormone therapy or gender transition surgery. The law is now set to go into effect in 90 days.

The new legislation is part of a national wave of laws — across at least 20 states, all of which have Republican-led legislatures — that aim to restrict transition care. The Ohio bill says that medical professionals who provide transition care to minors could lose their licenses and face legal action.

A U.N. training center in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, where hundreds of displaced people had taken shelter, was struck by two shells today, killing at least nine people and injuring 75 others, U.N. officials said. A U.N. official described the shells as tank rounds — and Israel is the only party to the conflict in Gaza with tanks.

Khan Younis has recently been hit by heavy fighting. Israel’s military said it had encircled the city in an effort to hunt down Hamas leaders.

In related news, Israel and Hamas continued indirect talks on a cease-fire today, but the gap between the sides remains wide.

It’s long been maintained that a good ghost writer should be neither seen nor heard. But in recent years, ghostwriting has become slightly less secretive. Recent successful books like Britney Spears’s “The Woman in Me” and Prince Harry’s “Spare” have elevated their ghostwriters into the public eye.

Given these authors’ secretive profession, it was unusual for a group of around 140 of them to gather, as they did this week in Manhattan. They schmoozed, strategized and celebrated their work — and my colleagues were there to capture the scene.

Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas, whose inaugural cruise departs this weekend, is packed with mind-bending features. The 1,198-foot-long vessel has 20 decks, eight “neighborhoods,” six water slides and dozens of restaurants.

The company has also boasted about the ship’s use of energy-efficient technology, including an advanced water treatment system. But some climate experts argue that building such a huge ship in the first place goes against the goal of sustainability.

Walkers Sensations Poppadoms, the bagged British snack pictured above, are fluffy, anglicized versions of the Indian papadum — a crunchy flatbread. They contain potato granules, but are they a chip?

A British tax appeals court took on that existential food debate and ruled last week that, yes, the poppadoms are, effectively, the same as potato chips. It may sound like a trivial distinction, but when it comes to British tax law, it’s no small claim: As chips, Walkers’ poppadoms would be subject to a 20 percent tax.

Have a satisfying evening.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Matthew

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