(Photo courtesy of Yahoo News). “Sign reading Iowa Caucuses 2024”
The Iowa caucuses are the nation’s first step towards picking out the candidates for each party. They differ from much of the nation when it comes to nominating candidates for the presidential election. While most states use democratic primaries to determine their representative for the party, 5 states, including Iowa, use caucuses. The Republican Caucus consisted ofmeetings held at different locations throughout the state by the party where speeches are made in support of candidates before those at the meetings vote via secret ballot.
There were four major candidates left in the republican candidacy for the presidency: Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy. As the first of the primaries through the year, many candidates rely on how well they do in the Iowa caucuses. A good showing can make people more confident in the candidate’s competitiveness, spurring more success and getting more support from donors. A bad showing can be the end of the run. Ron Desantis especially was relying on the Iowa caucus to show out. He went to every single county in Iowa, campaigning hard toward Iowa’s religious far right, as an alternative to Trump. Out of the 99 counties in Iowa, Desantis won zero. Trump, who hadn’t shown up to a single republican debate, won 98 out of 99 counties, winning 51% of the vote, a landslide. Desantis got 21% of the vote, Haley got 19%, and Ramaswamy got 8%. Haley won the final, more moderate county that evaded Trump.
Trump’s landslide win shows a near-determined future toward the nomination. After showing up to none of the republican debates and not making much of an effort to even campaign in Iowa, this was still an easy victory for the former president. Ramaswamy and Desantis dropped out after seeing these results, each endorsing Trump.
According to UMass Lowell Professor of Political Science Joshua Dyck, “[DeSantis] presented an alternative to Trump that was Trump-like. . . ’Vote for me if you like the style and policy of Donald Trump.’”. Dyck says that because Ramaswamay and Desantis both campaigned under Trump’s style of leadership, staying within his lines in the party made any case against him weak, causing voters to reason that they might as well just vote for Trump. Professor Dyck says, “Since 2016 the republican party has. . . become the party of Trump.”
Haley is the only Republican left standing against Trump, and although she lost in the New Hampshire primaries as well, she seems optimistic about her chances with her home state withSouth Carolina’s primaries coming up in February. She promises to see the whole race through, staying steadfast in her opposition to Trump. However, she has a difficult road ahead of her, with many not seeing a way for her to steal the nomination out of Trump’s hands. Professor Dyck is one of that majority, saying,“[Haley] has no chance, Donald Trump is going to be the nominee.”