February 29, 2024

Former president Donald Trump thrashed his challengers in Iowa’s primary caucus there, claiming 51% of the vote to Ron DeSantis’s 21% and Nikki Haley’s 19%. The victory cements his position as the party’s front runner and confirms Haley as the less “chaotic” alternative—though DeSantis didn’t fall to third as some polls suggested he might, he put everything into winning over Iowa’s conservative Republicans and it didn’t happen.

Losing one-term presidents almost never mount subsequent successful primary campaigns, much less pull off landslides that demonstrate utter dominance of their party. Trump transformed the GOP in his populist, nationalist, nihilistic image in 2016. By claiming 50% of the vote in the biggest win in caucus history, putting him on course to his third consecutive nomination, he showed that eight years after his outsider presidential victory, the current GOP is entirely his party.

Trump takes 20 delegates to the GOP convention, DeSantis and Haley 8 each.

The race now moves to New Hampshire, where some polls have Trump and Haley within the margin of error and DeSantis has fallen into the Vivek-Hutchison tier of candidates unlikely to meet debate participation thresholds. Haley, this morning, declared she will do no more debates unless they include Trump.