Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Opinion | Iowa proved that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee in 2024

CW / Hannah Grace Mayfield
UA hosted the Republican Primary Debate in December.

Only the first contest of the Republican nominating process is over. Yet Donald Trump has already proven that he will almost certainly win the Republican presidential nomination for the third time and that the 2024 election will be a Trump vs. Biden rematch.

The final Des Moines Register poll before the caucus predicted Trump would receive 48% of the vote, former South Carolian Governor Nikki Haley would receive 20%, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis would receive 16%. The final results largely followed projections, with Trump receiving 51% of the vote and a slightly surprising second place upset by DeSantis, who received 21.2% of the vote. Haley only received 19.1%. 

It seems likely that the harsh weather conditions during the caucus, which resulted in a meager turnout compared to prior years, gave both Trump and DeSantis a boost over Haley. Enthusiasm for Haley was incredibly low, with only 9% of her supporters in Iowa saying they were “extremely enthusiastic” compared to 23% of DeSantis supporters and 49% of Trump supporters. 

Some of this enthusiasm for Trump is likely due to nearly two-thirds of Iowa caucusgoers believing that Biden did not legitimately win in 2020. If Republican voters believe Trump won in 2020, why wouldn’t they vote for him again?

While the polls accurately predicted Haley’s and Trump’s performances in the race, DeSantis’s overperformance spells serious trouble for Haley’s chances of winning New Hampshire. DeSantis, who has since dropped out of the race and endorsed Trump, has allowed Haley the opportunity to make this a two-person race. However, it feels increasingly like Trump is so far ahead of Haley that the race might as well be over.

Before the caucuses, Trump enjoyed a sizable lead in New Hampshire that Haley hoped to overcome, with some polls putting her within striking distance of Trump’s lead. A second place finish for her in Iowa would have given her much needed momentum going into New Hampshire.

A New Hampshire win would be a turning point for Haley, considering the context that New Hampshire was the first nomination Trump won in 2016, after losing Iowa to Ted Cruz. An upset loss for Trump in the first state he ever won while running for president would spell potential trouble for his campaign. However, it seems that Haley’s underperformance in Iowa gave Trump the momentum going into New Hampshire that she so desperately needed.

As a result, the most recent polls out of New Hampshire show Trump with a double digit lead over Haley. Once again, Trump in these polls is receiving over 50% of the vote in a state that only a week ago was seen as competitive. 

If Trump’s success in Iowa holds in New Hampshire, a state seen as the last chance for any candidate to possibly beat Trump, then no path for Haley is available. 

The only way for Haley to win is by hammering home the electability argument, claiming that Trump is likely to lose to Biden compared to her. However, as recent polling suggests, Trump is beating Biden in most head-to-head matchups, and while a CBS poll did show Haley to be substantially more likely to win against Biden than Trump, the Iowa results show that Republican voters don’t seem to see a more significant margin of victory as necessary for their vote, given Trump is still beating Biden in the polls.

Overall, it seems inevitable that Donald Trump, the former president who is under 91 felony indictments, will be the Republican nominee for president. With his trials set to conflict in severe ways with the 2024 campaign calendar and Biden likely to avoid a debate with Trump under the guise that he will not debate someone under federal indictment, the 2024 election will be a Trump-Biden rematch that Trump, despite all of his legal issues, is currently favored to win less than ten months from election day. 

The American people will have to ask themselves if they believe that Trump, despite his baggage and legal trouble, would be a better president than Biden. Further still, is Biden’s argument that Trump is “willing to sacrifice our democracy, [to] put himself in power” still as real a threat now that Trump is not the sitting president?

It is time to decide once and for all to either give the former president his second term in office or keep Biden in the White House for four more years. No matter which way the election goes, it will be a defining moment for the future of the United States and the power of Trump’s movement within the Republican Party.

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