Trump Wins Iowa Caucus, Cementing Hold on 2024 Republican Nomination

trump wins iowa caucus


Former President Donald Trump has secured a decisive victory in the Iowa caucus, as supporters braved blizzard conditions to cement his stranglehold over the Republican Party in the first primary contest of the 2024 election cycle. 

The Associated Press called the caucus for Trump barely 30 minutes after the caucuses began at 7:00 p.m. local time. Early results showed Trump leading Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley by dozens of percentage points, with Vivek Ramaswamy in a distant fourth place.

The former president took a relatively casual approach to his Iowa campaign, only upping his appearances in the state in the weeks leading up to the caucuses as his rivals labored for months in an attempt to make a dent in his dominance. 

Trump held only 24 events in the Hawkeye State between Jan. 1 of last year, and Jan. 4 of 2024, less than half of the number racked up by fellow candidate Nikki Haley, 75 less than Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and more than 200 less than upstart MAGA mimic Vivek Ramaswamy. The former president also failed to secure the usually heavily coveted endorsements of Iowa’s Governor Kim Reynolds and evangelical leader CEO Bob Vander Plaats, who both backed DeSantis. But what Trump lacked in commitment to retail politics paled in the face of his near-total control of the  Republican base. 

In his closing pitch to Iowans, the former president presented not a policy platform outlining his vision for the future of the nation, but a request that prospective voters aid him in exacting his revenge on his political enemies. 

“These caucuses are your personal chance to score the ultimate victory over all of the liars, cheaters, thugs, perverts, frauds, crooks, freaks, creeps and other quite nice people,” Trump told a crowd in Indianola on Sunday. “The Washington swamp has done everything in its power to take away your voice. But tomorrow is your time to turn on them and to say and speak your mind and to vote.”

Trump told his supporters that nothing should stop them from caucusing for him on Monday — not the frigid temperatures currently buffeting the midwest, not disease or infirmity, not even the possibility of death. “You can’t sit at home,” Trump said, “If you’re sick as a dog … even if you vote and then pass away it’s worth it.” 

Despite rarely interacting directly with his fellow candidates, Trump heavily played his rivals against each other throughout the course of the last year. As previously reported by Rolling Stone the former president viewed Ramaswamy’s as a useful tool to “ratfuck” DeSantis. Now that the Florida governor’s candidacy has tanked, allies close to the former president say Trump has now shifted into “Wreck Nikki Haley” mode. 

“Team Trump smartly used Nikki Haley as a weapon of mass destruction to destroy DeSantis’ coalition,” one source close to the Trump campaign told Rolling Stone, “knowing that in the end Haley would never be able to put together a winning coalition in the primary, given all the weaknesses she has on the right.” 

The only hint Trump gave of any pre-caucus jitters was several preemptive attempts to undermine a long-shot upset from one of his rivals by repeatedly suggesting that the early state primaries may have already been rigged against him. Earlier this month, the former president’s campaign mailed out flyers to Iowa voters accusing the governor of “trying to rig the Iowa Caucus.” On Sunday, Trump suggested to reporters that there may already be irregularities in the next primary contest, in New Hampshire. 

“In New Hampshire [Americans for Prosperity] are signing people [up] to vote,” Trump said, referencing the Koch brothers nonprofit organization and their support of Haley. “I think that is disgraceful. I don’t know if they are even allowed to do it.” 

The former president’s unfounded claims of election interference have been the defining issue of his politics since his 2020 election loss, and they certainly didn’t hurt him in Iowa on Monday.. Exit polls in Iowa showed that two thirds of voters did not believe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election. 

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Trump is facing a slew of criminal and civil cases related to his conduct both in and out of office that hold the potential to wreak havoc on his campaign to retake the White House— two of them stemming directly from his efforts to undermine his election laws. Currently, the former president is attempting to have the Justice Department’s criminal election interference case against him tossed under the argument that the president should enjoy absolute immunity from prosecution for any crime committed while in office — even ordering assassinations, as his lawyers argued recently. A separate state case in Georgia has charged Trump and a slew of his associates with a racketeering scheme aimed at influencing election results in the battleground states. 

Barring any unforeseen wrenches, both of those cases are expected to go to trial this year. Simultaneously, several states have moved to outright remove the former president from their 2024 electoral ballot on grounds that Trump committed insurrection. But as Trump walks away from Iowa victorious, it seems Republican voters are not dissuaded by the storm surrounding him, and that nothing can stop the crash course trajectory of a second showdown with Biden.





Source link: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/trump-wins-iowa-caucuses-2024-republican-nomination-1234947031/

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