Trump Dominates in Iowa: What We Learned
The biggest takeaway isn’t about former President Donald Trump, but the Trump voter.
Former President Donald Trump was feeling the kumbaya in the air on Monday night at his presidential campaign headquarters in Iowa.
“I really think it is time now for everybody, our country, to come together. We want to come together,” Trump said. “Whether it’s Republican or Democrat, or liberal or conservative, it would be so nice if we could come together.” The reason for Trump’s warm and fuzzy feelings? The former president had just won the Iowa Caucus by about 30 points, capturing an outright majority of the caucus vote.
Trump even extended some kind words to his opponents: “I want to congratulate Ron and Nikki for having a… a good… a good time together. We’re all having a good time together. I think they both actually did very well.” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis took second place with about 21 percent of the vote. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley followed with around 19 percent. The reader can judge for themselves if the former president’s words were genuine.
Trump went on thanking his family, supporters, and sometimes just random people in the crowd. One man, dressed in a suit with a brick pattern, was even called up on stage. “He’s dressed like a wall. I love this guy,” Trump said. “He’s been to 150 rallies. He has the most beautiful outfit I’ve ever seen. It’s all beautiful brick.”
Brick-suit man, the former president said, is “emblematic of what we did.”
Another Trump tangent from Monday night that felt like a throwback:
You know, my wife attended the funeral two months ago of Rosalyn Carter, and it was beautiful. And Jimmy Carter was there and I thought to myself, ‘Jimmy Carter is happy now because he will go down as being a brilliant president by comparison to Joe Biden. He’ll be a brilliant president.’
DeSantis, according to the most recent polls, overperformed on Monday night—though that’s not saying much when second place is 30 points behind. Whether DeSantis performed well enough Monday night to stay in the race remains to be seen. Polls in the last week projected the Florida governor would finish third as Haley surged resources into Iowa late to try and deal the death blow to DeSantis with a second place finish in Iowa. Up until that point, Haley’s campaign had managed expectations in the Hawkeye state by making it clear they were betting on a strong performance in New Hampshire. Nevertheless, Haley’s polling numbers and expectations rose. The former South Carolina governor ended the night just under the benchmark set by polls.
But the biggest takeaway from Monday night’s results wasn’t about Donald Trump—most knew the former president would win handily. Rather, the major conclusion is about the Trump voter.
There have always been two schools of thought when it comes to the Trump voter. They’re more rural, usually poorer, less educated, and younger than the traditional GOP voter. Those metrics usually come with a lower propensity to vote. The other school of thought? A Trump voter is willing to walk across hot coals for the former president, or, in this case, caucus for hours in negative-degree weather.
The truth has always been somewhere in between. There’s a certain segment of the GOP that will pull the lever for the orange man—even if he’s in an orange jumpsuit on election day. Other Trump supporters simply think they were better off four years ago when Trump was president—perfectly justifiable.
What we learned in Iowa on Monday night, however, is that Trump’s floor is even higher than anticipated. At a rally in Indianola on Sunday, Trump told the Iowans in the crowd, “You can’t sit home. If you’re sick as a dog, you say, ‘Darling, I gotta make it. Even if you vote and then pass away, it’s worth it, remember.” Remember might be the key word in the former president’s statement.