Pack Up, Go Home; Iowa Win Makes Trump Inevitable!
Despite what they continue to spout on the campaign trail, it’s time for Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley to pack up and go home. Trump’s astounding victory in Iowa on Monday makes his nomination all but inevitable.
President Trump has always been expected to win the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. But his historic performance in the Iowa caucuses made it clear what a nearly impossible mountain his rivals need to climb to beat him.
The MAGA battalions showed up in force, carrying Trump to a 30-point victory and, importantly, lifting him to an unprecedented above 50 percent of all votes cast.
Haley, DeSantis, and many detractors hoped that his support might be soft or exaggerated in polls. They were dead wrong in Iowa. There’s no reason to think they’ll be right elsewhere.
Beyond that, it’s not only a question of Trump’s numerical dominance. There’s also the primary calendar — and Iowa’s impact on the contests soon to come —to consider.
Haley has long seen her best chance of upsetting Trump to be in New Hampshire. Unaffiliated voters in the Granite State can show up on primary day and request a ballot for either party’s contest. This, combined with New Hampshire’s history of delivering upsets, seems to make the state fertile ground for Haley.
In the polling average maintained by The Hill and Decision Desk HQ (DDHQ), Haley has closed to within 8 points of Trump. But even if Haley were to win the January 23 New Hampshire primary, what then? Her hopes would rest on primary voters in her home state of South Carolina rallying to her side.
They conspicuously have not so far — Trump leads her in the DDHQ polling average by more than two-to-one. Haley’s third place in Iowa deprives her of a tailwind going into New Hampshire.
As for DeSantis, it’s just not clear what his path is. Perhaps the plan is to survive New Hampshire and South Carolina, where he trails far behind, hope Haley drops out and magically defeat Trump on Super Tuesday, March 5. The chances of that actually happening look close to zero.
As primary candidates dropped like flies, Iowa proves one thing, and it’s time for Haley and DeSantis to admit it, Donald J. Trump is simply unbeatable in a GOP primary in 2024.
Iowans channeled Trump’s anger and his view that basically everything President Joe Biden has done has been a “disaster.” About 9 in 10 voters said they want upheaval or substantial change in how the government operates, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 1,500 voters who said they planned to take part in the caucuses. In a super-conservative state like Iowa, Trump’s resounding victory also showed how little his base – which is now the majority of the GOP – cares about his “legal issues.”
The data from Iowa is consistent with the national picture, too.
In the most recent Economist/YouGov poll, 82 percent of Republicans said they held a favorable impression of Trump.
Given Trump’s overwhelming odds of winning the GOP nomination, both he and Biden are already focusing on the general election in the fall.
Speaking on Monday night in Iowa, Trump zeroed in on how he feels the White House’s policies have hurt Americans and the world, including calling out energy, immigration, and foreign policy.
“I don’t want to be overly rough on the president. But I have to say that he is the worst president that we’ve had in the history of our country. He’s destroying our country,” Trump said.