It’s over! Trump will be the nominee

State-run media will try to prop Nikki up during this final week. She’s gonna get smoked.

The Republican race is over – Nikki Haley may be the only one who doesn’t know it yet.

Donald J. Trump has certainly figured it out. That’s why he was so gracious in his victory speech Monday night. He wants to get the primary season behind him.

Vivek Ramaswamy also gets it. That’s why he dropped Monday night after his fourth-place showing, endorsed Trump and even campaigned with him yesterday.

Besides Trump, there are only two Republicans left in the fight now – Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis.

The difference between them is that DeSantis understands that he’s a dead man walking, or should I say, dead man on a private plane.

The losing candidates are all in the five stages of grief, as Rep. Matt Gaetz pointed out Monday night. Nikki still seems stuck in stage one — denial.

DeSantis? I’m not certain where he stands on the grief-and-loss spectrum. But his campaign has been in a downward spiral for a long time now. He may be all the way to the fifth and final stage – acceptance.

There are, after all, worse things than being the governor of the third most populous state in the Union. Even if you do have to live in Tallahassee.

It’s been clear for a while now that the DeSantis campaign was assuming room temperature, particularly when it came out that one of DeSantis’ campaign managers was telling insiders that the staffers’ only goal now was to “make the patient comfortable.”

That’s what they say in a hospice. In this case, a political hospice.

Nikki had a small window of opportunity in Iowa – if she’d finished second. That way she could have branded herself the “comeback kid” or some such thing.

She could have demanded that DeSantis clear the field for her. She, or should I say her donors, gave it their best shot – by some estimates the Haley campaign dropped $37 million in Iowa (to $35 million for DeSantis and $18 million for Trump).

But in the end, she finished third, behind Trump and DeSantis. She carried one of Iowa’s 99 counties, by one vote. Trump took the other 98.

With a second-place finish, she could have kept the gag going for one more week. The Murdoch empire would have gladly propped her up, the GOP would have lavished even more millions on her. She could have sent out even more hysterical texts and mailings to keep annoying every registered Republican in New Hampshire.

But after underperforming in Iowa, Nikki remains in denial. How else do you explain her decision to skip the last two scheduled GOP debates in New Hampshire this final week?

Since Trump wasn’t going to show up, it would have come down to her versus DeSantis – again. So she brushed the Florida governor aside, sneering that from here on out, she’ll only debate Trump or Biden. So there!

If Nikki had finished second, behind Trump, she could have gotten away with this. As it is, she’s refusing to debate the guy who trimmed her in Iowa. It looks like a fit of pique.

State-run media keeps talking about the alleged flintiness of Granite State voters, and how they like to be contrary. That’s true – up to a point. Remember, New Hampshire was the first state Trump carried in his initial campaign in 2016.

I’m not sure endorsements mean much anymore (unless it’s Trump). But even in independent New Hampshire, I’m thinking Nikki’s loudest national supporters give off a slight RINO odor that may be a big turn-off for the old Live Free or Die Republican crowd.

Chris Sununu. Larry Hogan. Bill Kristol.

Where’s Charlie Baker? Shouldn’t he be lurking around the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua this weekend, sternly lecturing the “folks” to vote for Nikki?

I know, Don Bolduc, the conservative former US Senate candidate, has done a radio spot for her. But then, he had a falling out with Trump after his loss to Maggie Hassan in 2022. But he must be pretty damn bitter to throw in with Nikki Haley.

After my listeners heard Bolduc’s endorsement, they began texting me:

“What the hell’s wrong with Bolduc?”

Maybe Nikki’s got something up her sleeve, secret weapons for the final weekend.

Does anyone have the pre-election schedules for Sens. Mitch McConnell and Mitt Romney? Are Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger warming up in the bullpen for Nikki?

Chris Christie has been a terrible candidate lately, but he has proven himself to be an astute critic of his fellow also rans, first Marco Rubio in 2016 and now Nikki Haley.

As Krispy Crème Christie said on the hot mic last week before he withdrew from the campaign:

“She’s going to get smoked, and you and I both know it. She’s not up to it.”

So has she been running for vice president, has that been her real play here? You know George Bush and Ronald Reagan really went at one other in the 1980 primaries. Bush even called Reagan’s tax-cutting blueprint “voodoo economics.”

But they kissed and made up.

But Nikki and Trump? Until Monday night, he had been calling her “Birdbrain.” But I don’t think he loathed her the way he dislikes, say, Mike Pence, or even Ron “DeSanctimonious,” who Trump has said would now be working in a “pizza parlor” if he hadn’t endorsed Ron for governor in 2018.

Maybe Trump would have turned the other cheek and embraced a Trump-Birdbrain ticket. But even though Trump trusts his own political instincts above those of anyone else, some of the people he’s closest to have warned him not to even think about extending the olive branch.

Donald Trump Jr., for one. And Tucker Carlson said he would actually campaign against Trump if he put Birdbrain on the ticket.

State-run media will try to prop Nikki up during this final week. Think headlines like “Haley Surges in Latest Poll,” and “Independents Breaking for Haley.”

As for me, for once I tend to agree with Chris Christie.

She’s gonna get smoked.

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