US election 2024 Trump dominates the Republican primary in Iowa

Iowa is considered the first test balloon for the US Republicans in the presidential election campaign. Unsurprisingly, Trump is now prevailing here – well ahead of his two worst opponents, Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley.

In the first Republican primary election for the party’s US presidential nomination, former incumbent Donald Trump achieved a clear and surprisingly quick victory. Several US television channels declared the ex-president the winner on Monday evening (local time) just over 30 minutes after the start of voting. The decision in Iowa was not made at polling stations, but at small party meetings, so-called caucus meetings. They were still running when Trump’s victory was already announced. Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, took second place – a long way behind Trump. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley came in third. The two were in a neck-and-neck race for second place.

According to CNN’s calculations, Trump won more than 50 percent of the vote. DeSantis and Haley were about 30 percentage points behind: very close, but DeSantis narrowly ahead of Haley. Even far behind in fourth place was entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who dropped out of the race that night (local time) and threw his support behind Trump.

The ex-president entered the race as the clear favorite – so his success in Iowa itself came as no surprise. The 77-year-old has consistently been far ahead of Haley and DeSantis in polls in Iowa, but also in other states and at the national level in recent weeks. Haley had started the election campaign very weakly months ago, but had gradually worked her way up in the polls. DeSantis, on the other hand, was considered Trump’s most promising internal competitor at the beginning of the election campaign – but he has seen a dramatic decline in polls in recent months. He should have breathed a sigh of relief at the second place in Iowa and reacted with satisfaction to his performance. Haley, on the other hand, was combative and warned against writing them off prematurely.

Further tailwind for Trump

In the USA, the party base determines its candidate for the presidential election. The primary election voting process is complex and varies from state to state. The election year officially began with the Republican primary in Iowa. Further primaries will follow in one state after another in the coming weeks and months. The presidential election will finally take place on November 5th. Iowa is numerically of little importance for the candidate selection. But those who do well in the small Midwestern state can expect a tailwind in future votes.

And that is huge for Trump. His loyalists celebrated the former president’s victory in Iowa as “incredible” and “historic.” The prominent Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, wrote on Platform X (formerly Twitter) that the primaries were now practically “over.” Republican Elise Stefanik from the parliamentary group leadership in the US House of Representatives called on the remaining candidates to drop out so that the party could rally behind Trump. On X she wrote that the other candidates had “no chance of winning.”

Trump himself refrained from making a big fuss about his triumph when he appeared in front of supporters and at times appeared presidential. He praised all of his party colleagues as “smart” and “capable” people. “I really believe that now is the time for everyone in our country to come together,” he said. “It would be so nice if we could come together to put the world to rights.”

Area code for snow and icy cold

The caucus meetings in Iowa took place on Monday evening in very different locations in extreme cold. Despite temperatures of minus 20 degrees and more, Republican supporters came together in churches or community halls to vote for their favorite. A winter storm had a severe impact on the election campaign in Iowa in the final stages – a number of events were canceled in the past few days as a result. The storm was then followed by extreme cold, with the weather service warning of “life-threatening” conditions. In the meantime, there were fears that the extreme weather could have an impact on voter turnout and the outcome. But that didn’t happen and Trump triumphed.

The many scandals and legal allegations against the ex-president do not change that. Trump is facing four criminal charges in the middle of the election campaign – including because of his campaign against his defeat in the 2020 presidential election, which culminated in the unprecedented attack on the US Capitol by his supporters. None of this has affected the Republican’s popularity in his party so far. Trump lost the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden. To this day, however, he does not acknowledge his defeat, but continues to spread lies that he was deprived of a victory through election fraud.

All eyes on the New Hampshire primary

Biden wants to run for a second term with the Democrats in November. As the incumbent, the 81-year-old has no serious competition in the party’s internal primaries.

All eyes are now turning to New Hampshire, where the second Republican primary is scheduled for next week. In surveys, Haley performs comparatively strongly there and is significantly closer to Trump. The Republican, who is considered to be somewhat more moderate, reminded supporters of her catch-up of the past few months and advised waiting for the vote in New Hampshire. The people in the country did not want a repeat of the race between Biden and Trump – and she was the only one who could prevent this “nightmare”.