On Monday night, January 15th, Trump won the Iowa caucus in a landslide with over 50% of votes. With this win, Trump set a new victory margin record in the Iowa Republican caucus.
Despite most of his in-person campaign events being canceled due to weather, Trump’s win shows that his support among the republican voters, even with four criminal trials looming, is as high as ever.
So voters don’t care about his pending trials?
MSNBC News wondered this, too, polling caucus voters to see if they think Trump would still be fit for the presidency if he is convicted. 65% of those polled said ‘yes.’ Some analysts speculate his support could actually increase if he is convicted.
Many thought Trump’s win in Iowa was certain, not doubting the loyalty of his 2016 supporters. This left Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley fighting for second place.
So, what happened with the other nominees?
Well, DeSantis markets himself as “Trump without the baggage.” According to The Guardian, that means someone “more effective, more focused and less susceptible to flattery, scandal or the distractions of short-term self-interest.”
He thought he could leech many of Trump’s supporters through similar stances on gender and racial issues. However, DeSantis has fallen short with voters because he was never able to emulate Trump’s charisma and humor.
Despite heavy campaigning efforts and the endorsement of Iowa’s Republican Governor, Kim Reynolds, DeSantis was unable to compete with Trump. Ending up only 21% of votes.
Haley, on the other hand, has taken the opposite approach, focusing on the anti-trump or “Never Trump” voters. This is, as the name suggests, a group of moderately conservative Republicans that oppose Trump’s nomination.
Haley finds herself in a tough campaigning position. She has to attack the former president to get the “Never Trump” vote, yet align herself with him enough to appeal to the majority of voting Republicans.
Her stance has led to criticism from all angles, with many voters saying she isn’t hard enough on Trump. All of this resulted in her 3rd place finish.
Finally, Vivek Ramaswamy came in 4th with only 7% of the vote. He has since decided to end his presidential campaign and has pledged his support to Trump.
What does this mean going forward?
Not too much as this is only the first caucus, but it shows that Trump is currently the favorite for the Republican Party presidential nominee. This victory also provides Trump’s campaign with a lot of momentum.
Although polls for the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 23 show Haley gaining ground on Trump, political analysts predict large Trump supporter turnouts.
Yet, not everything is smooth sailing for Trump. This Iowa caucus turnout was significantly smaller than the last one in 2016, and 31% said they think Trump isn’t fit for the presidency if he is convicted. These are some of the things to keep an eye on in this 2024 presidential election.