The new US election cycle officially began on January 15, when voters in Iowa decided who they wanted to see as a Republican challenger to Democratic President Joe Biden in the presidential election scheduled for November 5.
The voters' decision could not have been clearer. As we reported,
Donald Trump convinced 51% of voters that, despite the criminal proceedings he took, he is the face and leader of the party.
After Trump at the end of 2022, Ron DeSantis, who was still in direct competition with him, was far behind, as he received 21.2 percent of the votes, while former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley came in third place with 19.1 percent in the vote. hundred of votes. Votes.
The other two most famous candidates, Withdraw from the primaries in the meantime Far-right Vivek Ramaswamy won 7.7%, while underdog Asa Hutchinson got just 0.2% of the vote – even ahead of Ryan Binkley, who was not actually measured at the national level.
In four points, we explain the balance of power after the caucus in Iowa and what we can read from the results.
Donald Trump is the Republican Party, at least in Iowa
The Iowa caucus could not have produced a clearer result: Trump absolutely dominated the field, despite the fact that the divisive politician did not campaign as much as his rivals.
On the one hand, he could not devote all his attention to Iowa because of the criminal proceedings against him, and on the other hand, because his campaign team estimated that only he could lose this race, he did not participate in the debates. For example – he even made it difficult for his rivals to be the first to capitulate in Georgia the day after the debate, while giving a live interview with Fox News at the same time as the final debate to distract from these events.
Although Trump is highly regarded nationally and leads in state polls, Iowa was a good barometer for whether voters impeached him because of his questionable credentials.
The answer to the latter is a clear no.
Of the anti-Trump candidates running against him, only Asa Hutchinson remained afloat before the primary was canceled — Pence's former running mate last year, Chris Christie, who was once loyal to Trump but has since harshly criticized him for it. To the November 2020 election and the siege of the Capitol, the primary choice that suspended his campaign a week earlier — and Hutchinson couldn't even pull off a one percent result.
More recently, anti-Trump candidates have lined up behind Haley, but the former UN ambassador couldn't even finish second.
Thus, current GOP voters certainly cannot be persuaded by anti-Trump votes alone.
Compared to eight years ago, Trump has increased his support base, with a majority of evangelical Christians voting for him, for example — and in Iowa, which is very racially homogeneous, it is this group of voters that plays the role of kingmaker.
Meanwhile, this does not mean that Trump has won the presidential nomination – only one of the 50 states has voted at the moment, and the turnout was very low even compared to what is usual at caucuses, although this was mostly due to the weather conditions. . However, for anyone to defeat Trump, an extraordinary event must occur.
Ron DeSantis is still in the race — for now
While the clear winner of the evening is the former president, the other presidential candidates may be disappointed with the results – and we're putting it mildly. Florida's gubernatorial score of 21.2 percent, which influential Republican media mogul Rupert Murdoch's media empire has called the party's future even after the 2022 midterms, may be considered good in itself, but all that is irrelevant in the face of the 2022 midterms. Majority Absolute to Trump.
Additionally, DeSantis' result was disappointing because he had poured most of the money and energy into the Iowa campaign.
DeSantis may have hoped that if he got a good result, he could give his increasingly weak campaign a boost and close the gap between himself and Trump — but that did not happen, despite campaign events in all 99 of the state's counties.
The Florida governor's result also proves that Fox News does not have as much influence over the will of voters as they would like. Since the 2022 midterm elections, DeSantis has been highly visible among the candidates on the Republican-skewed cable channel, but that means nothing for the sunshine state's leader.
After his recent disappointing result, it will be difficult for him to save his campaign, which has already faltered several times – because, in addition to voters, donors also began to back away from his campaign at the end of last year.
Thus, DeSantis can only realize at the last straw that Trump will somehow get swept up in his legal affairs and then could become the party's presidential nominee. At the same time, he will have to maintain his campaign, which is threatened not only by Trump, but also by Nikki Haley, who sometimes leads him in the polls.
Nikki Haley may still have hope, at least in New Hampshire
Although Haley ranked second in the last poll before the caucus, the performance of the former ambassador to the United Nations and governor of South Carolina was only enough to secure third place.
Even before the caucus, Haley lowered her expectations for Iowa and focused mostly on subsequent New Hampshire, but just like DeSantis, her outcome is also inconsequential under Trump's dominance.
However, he was clearly hoping for a better result – and could have viewed second place as a modest victory.
Although Haley correctly pointed out that the Iowa caucus has not decided anything yet, its current results carry ominous signs. As New York Times political analyst Nate Cohen said To be noticed, Haley performs well mainly in areas with high education, however, in areas with low education, it does not even reach ten percent. If someone without a university degree is not supported, they have absolutely no chance of competing.
Setting: New Hampshire
The next stop for the Republican primary will be New Hampshire, where this time on January 23, with an election, not a caucus, party supporters will decide who they want to see as Joe Biden's rival on November 5.
Although in the state Nikki Haley is doing well in the polls – currently at 28 percentage points It is measuredIn addition, Chris Christie, who has withdrawn from the primaries in the meantime, can also count on some of his 12 percent supporters – he still faces a difficult task if he is to defeat Trump, who, although he has recently managed From that, it lost support in the state, and remains at 44 percentage points.
Additionally, with Ramaswamy's resignation, the gap between Trump and Haley may widen.
Obviously worse off is Ron DeSantis, who is polling at less than ten percent and has also failed to gain traction in Iowa, so his campaign team can prepare for a tougher stretch after a tough week.