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Trump Poised for Big Win in Iowa Republican Presidential Caucuses

Written by on January 15, 2024

The first voting in the 2024 U.S. presidential campaign starts Monday night in the snowbound farm state of Iowa, with polling showing that former President Donald Trump is positioned for a substantial victory in the Republican caucuses as he tries to eventually reclaim the White House in next November’s national election.

A final Iowa poll released over the weekend by the Des Moines Register, NBC News and Mediacom showed Trump with 48% support among likely Republican voters headed to 1,657 caucus sites at schools, fire houses and community centers throughout the state.

The survey showed Nikki Haley, Trump’s one-time United Nations ambassador, trailing with 20% support, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with 16% and tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy with 8%.

A wild card in the process is just how many voters will travel on treacherous, icy roads in extremely cold temperatures to get to the caucus sites. No early voting or by mail voting has been permitted.

Trump joked to a rally of his supporters Sunday, “If you vote and then pass away, it’s worth it,” prompting laughter. “You’ll be safe and all. You’re going to be safe. … You’re going to be all indoors, but you’ve got to get up; you’ve got to vote. Because it has nothing to do with anything but taking our nation back, and that’s the biggest thing there is.”

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump delivers pizza to firefighters at Waukee Fire Department in Waukee, Iowa, Jan. 14, 2024.
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump delivers pizza to firefighters at Waukee Fire Department in Waukee, Iowa, Jan. 14, 2024.

In the immediate weeks ahead, more states are holding political primary and caucus elections to pick the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees, who will officially be nominated at national party conventions in July and August.

In the end, most polling and political analysts predict another contest between two aging politicians, Trump, 77, and President Joe Biden, 81. It would be a replay of the contentious 2020 election when Biden thwarted Trump’s reelection bid after a single term in the White House.

While Iowa is just one of 50 states, the heartland state holds an outsized role in the U.S. presidential nominating process. It is the first state to vote in the quadrennial elections. Even so, Democrats this year opted for mail-in balloting that will be tabulated later, in part because Iowa has turned decidedly toward Republican candidates in state and national elections.

The Iowa campaign has lasted for months, with several key Republican presidential aspirants already dropping out of the race for lack of support even before the voting, including Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.

Republican presidential candidate and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at a campaign event in Adel, Iowa, Jan. 14, 2024.
Republican presidential candidate and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at a campaign event in Adel, Iowa, Jan. 14, 2024.

With Trump holding a commanding lead, the vote in the caucuses has seemingly turned into a race for second place, with both Haley and DeSantis hoping a close finish behind Trump will give them a boost in the January 23 party primary in the northeastern state of New Hampshire and succeeding states.

Trump is facing an unprecedented 91 criminal charges across four indictments and trials in some of the cases could occur in the coming months, including one in Washington still set for March 4 accusing him of illegally trying to upend his 2020 election loss. But the criminal charges played little role in the lead-up to the Iowa vote.

Both Haley and DeSantis have shied from consistent, vocal political attacks on Trump for fear of alienating his supporters, although they assailed his refusal to attend five debates to confront him directly.

They have chided him for an increasing national debt during his White House tenure and failure to build the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that he promised in his successful 2016 campaign to curb migrants from crossing.

Republican presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at a campaign event in Ankeny, Iowa, Jan. 14, 2024.
Republican presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at a campaign event in Ankeny, Iowa, Jan. 14, 2024.

Haley said this past weekend, “Republicans have lost the last seven out of eight popular votes for president. That’s nothing to be proud of. We should want to win the majority of Americans.”

“But the only way we’re going to win the majority of Americans is if we have a new generational leader,” said Haley, who is 51. “That leaves the negativity and the baggage behind and focuses on the solutions of the future. You don’t fix Democratic chaos with Republican chaos.”

Despite his third place standing in the last Iowa poll before the caucuses, DeSantis told CNN’s “State of the Union” show Sunday, “We’re going to do well on Monday. Our voters are very motivated. There’s a lot of excitement on the ground.”

Trump, on his Truth Social site, fired last-day broadsides at the political prospects of both Haley and DeSantis.

“I am beating crooked Joe Biden in every poll,” Trump claimed falsely, “while Nikki ‘birdbrain’ Haley and Ron DeSanctimonious are losing badly to crooked Joe in the polls. They are also losing to me, in record numbers.”

 

By Ken Bredemeier


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