As polling predicted, Donald Trump thoroughly trounced the competition in a snowy Iowa Republican Primary.
Before the Republican Party primary in Iowa this year, the majority of left-leaning news outlets seemed to have been preparing for the worst.
“And the Winner of the Iowa Caucuses Will Be…Who Cares?” snarked Roosevelt University Associate Professor David Faris for Newsweek on Monday.
“Is anyone paying attention to Monday’s Iowa caucus?” wondered Faris. “The feverish pitch of horse race polling, speculation and jockeying that usually precedes an Iowa caucus is mostly missing this year. For the mainstream media, former President Donald Trump has this thing wrapped up and all that remains is for Republican voters to officially nominate the guy for a third time. Democrats are morosely resigned to their octogenarian president’s re-election bid, and months of elite hand-wringing hasn’t convinced him to step aside.”
Iowa isn’t everything, it’s true. Former President Donald Trump lost to Sen. Ted Cruz in Iowa circa 2016 and won the race anyway —as Faris points out. President Joe Biden also lost Iowa in 2020 on his way to the White House.
“Throughout this century, winning Iowa has actually been a pretty poor predictor of winning a major party nomination for president, and it’s gotten worse as the century has marched balefully on,” wrote Faris. “ That is primarily because caucuses attract a different crowd that is not necessarily representative of the general electorate.”
“Trump tops his opponents while Biden hits a new low in approval ahead of Iowa caucus: POLL,” reported Gary Langer for ABC News on Saturday.
“With the Iowa caucuses Monday, the national survey finds Trump especially well rated by Republicans and Republican-leaning independents on three metrics: having the best chance to win in November, being a strong leader and being the party’s most qualified candidate.”
“Trump Receives a Warm Embrace in Frigid Iowa,” Antonia Hitchens practically groaned for the New Yorker on Sunday. “Before the caucus, snow had kept the former President away from his enthusiastic crowds. On Saturday, he finally arrived in Des Moines.”
Donald Trump arrived in Iowa to — as Hitchens and so many other journalists and media personalities reluctantly admit — a hero’s welcome from Republican Party primary voters in Iowa.
If the upwards of 100 legal obstacles, charges, and prosecutions were weighing on the former President, he didn’t show it. Donald Trump has probably discovered the same paradox that is so troubling to news outfits like the New York Times, Washington Post, and MSNBC.
The more legal hot water a patchwork of prosecutions manages to cook up around Donald Trump, the more he gains in the polls. Polls have consistently shown Trump leading the Republican primary race.
That didn’t stop journalists like Hitchens from entertaining — at length — the “only question that seemed to be sustaining the narrative tension for the droves of journalists and pollsters who had descended on the state: What if Trump didn’t have it in the bag? The inevitability of his triumph was tedious, but what if the blizzard meant a late-breaking horse race could still emerge?”
Alas, it was not to be.
“Republicans who will gather to cast the first votes of the 2024 presidential primary season have one essential responsibility: to nominate a candidate who is fit to serve as president, one who will ‘preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,’” began the NYT editorial board in what appeared to be abject terror. “Donald Trump, who has proved himself unwilling to do so, is manifestly unworthy.”
“Mr. Trump has a clear path to the nomination; no polling data to date suggests he is anything but the front-runner,” the NYT begrudgingly allowed. “Yet Republicans in these states still have their ballots to cast. At this critical moment, it is imperative to remind voters that they still have the opportunity to nominate a different standard-bearer for the Republican Party, and all Americans should hope that they do so.”
“This is not a partisan concern,” the editorial board assured any Republican Party primary voters who still read the New York Times.
Republican primary voters in Iowa were having none of it, however.
In the end, Iowa Republicans cast their vote for their chosen candidate. Resoundingly.
“Trump Won the Only Real Ticket Out of Iowa,” Ed Kilgore admitted for New York Magazine on Tuesday morning. “Donald Trump won half the Caucus vote against DeSantis, Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, and some other random names. He carried 98 of Iowa’s 99 counties, and led in urban, suburban, and rural areas”
“31 minutes: Trump’s historic Iowa victory puts America on notice,” fretted Zachary Basu for Axios. “The astonishing speed and sweep of former President Trump’s victory in the Iowa caucuses last night delivered a massive wakeup call to Republican skeptics still dreaming of a post-MAGA world.”
Basu called it, “Trump’s perfect night.”
“He couldn’t have scripted it any better,” wrote Basu. “Trump won 98 of 99 counties in Iowa, dominating virtually every demography while physically campaigning in the state far less than any of his top rivals.”
The Trump campaign was also outspent in Iowa by both Gov. Nikki Haley and Gov. Ron DeSantis.
While Trump’s win was historic, the Iowa caucus model isn’t fate. The next stop for Republican Party presidential hopefuls is New Hampshire.
Nikki Haley’s campaign spent far more heavily in New Hampshire than in Iowa, and she is expected to do better in that contest. Ron DeSantis, who found himself coming in second in Iowa, may wind up placing third in NH.
If that happens, DeSantis might reconsider the presidential run he has undoubtedly been reconsidering since at least this time last year.
Does anyone other than Donald Trump have a chance of winning the Republican primary contest in New Hampshire?
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)