Donald Trump scored a resounding victory in the Iowa caucuses, beating Ron DeSantis by roughly 30 points, who placed second just ahead of Nikki Haley.The scale of Trump’s victory underlines the former president’s enduring popularity within the Republican Party, leaving his rivals far behind.
According to the Associated Press, this was the lowest turnout caucus in a quarter of a century, with an estimated 115,000 voters turning out on Monday night. Voters had to risk their health in sub-zero temperatures in what could be one of the coldest caucuses in history. Candidates had to cancel events because of the weather.
In Indianola, Trump urged his supporters to go out and vote despite the cold.
“You can’t sit home. If you’re sick as a dog, you say, ‘Darling, I gotta make it,’” he said. “Even if you vote and then pass away, it’s worth it, remember.”
Two hours after his official victory, Trump offered a message of unity, distancing himself from his more common aggressive and vengeful messages:
“We want to come together,” Trump said. “Whether it’s Republican or Democrat, liberal, conservative, it would be so nice if we could come together and straighten out the world and straighten out the problems and straighten out all of the death and destruction that we’re witnessing.”
Trump is facing 91 felony charges in four criminal cases, and after the caucuses, he is scheduled to appear at a court hearing as a defendant in his legal cases in New York. Currently, the U.S. The Supreme Court is deliberating whether states can block Trump from their ballots after his claims fueled the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 2021.
Ever since he announced his plans to challenge Biden again, Trump has gathered a lot of support. He based his campaign on the false claim that he did not really lose the 2020 election to Joe Biden, pushing false claims and convincing many that these claims are true.
Meanwhile, DeSantis claimed his opponents “threw everything but the kitchen sink at us”. Nevertheless, he thanked his supporters, saying that “despite everything they threw at us, we punched our ticket out of Iowa”. Thirty-one minutes into the caucuses, the AP called the race for Trump, angering DeSantis campaign officials who claimed the media was interfering with the process.
DeSantis plans to travel to South Carolina on Tuesday -which holds its primary on 24 February- before heading to the New Hampshire primary later in the day.
Haley’s campaign team is confident she will do better in both New Hampshire and South Carolina, where she was twice elected governor. Haley has taken a more aggressive approach to Trump, saying Americans don’t want another Trump-Biden rematch and asking voters whether they want more of the same or new conservative leadership.
Iowa is a clear success for Trump, but the state is not a predictor of who will be the Republican nominee in the presidential election. The last time a Republican candidate won Iowa and went on to become the party’s nominee was in 2000, after George W. Bush’s victory. However, the next two primaries, in New Hampshire and South Carolina, could see a lot of twists and turns.