Is Donald Trump the essential candidate? This is the question that resonates within the Republican Party of the United States as the elections begin. caucus of Iowa, which are celebrated on a national holiday, in honor of Martin Luther King. In Iowa, cold weather forced people to stay home most of the day. Heavy snowfall last week still partially covers election posters. Tens of thousands of citizens are preparing to brave temperatures below 20 degrees below zero this Monday to travel to hundreds of schools, sports centers, community centers, churches and other venues to elect their favorite candidate. Trump’s victory is considered a given. It remains to be seen what margin it is and who comes second, Ron DeSantis or Nikki Haley.
Trump is well ahead in polls across the country, but former UN ambassador and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley says the nomination battle is not yet decided. After competing in Iowa, a conservative, religious state that doesn’t particularly favor her, Haley has her sights set on New Hampshire, where the primary is held next Tuesday, and her prospects are good. She wants to consolidate herself there and for the Republican primaries to be seen as a matter of two: Trump and her. However, the former president’s advantage among the Republican base seems almost insurmountable.
Not just among the basics. Trump has gathered support from Republican Party members of Congress, and whether out of fear or conviction, he already had more than half of all Republican senators and representatives this weekend. One of those who allowed him to cross the threshold is Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Trump’s rival in the 2016 primaries and now devoted to his cause. He preferred him to the governor of his state, Ron DeSantis, which must have hurt the latter.
Haley has her upward trajectory as an asset. Even as DeSantis fell in the polls, she continued to improve. The calendar is favorable to him. The next battle will take place in New Hampshire, a small state, but more urban, moderate and educated than Iowa, where the governor, the popular Chris Sununu, facing Trump, offered him all his support. Haley also found the retirement gift from Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, which garnered sympathy in New Hampshire. Given that he was the only openly anti-Trump candidate, Haley aims to attract a good portion of his voters.
Leave the negativity behind
This Monday, candidates rushed until the last minute to campaign and concentrated their final efforts around Des Moines, the capital and most populous city in the state. Haley insisted in her final campaign messages on presenting herself as a “new generational leader who leaves negativity and baggage behind and focuses on the solutions of the future,” an alternative to the “chaos” that haunts Trump. “We cannot defeat Democratic chaos with Republican chaos,” he insists again and again.
Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.
That day also came with a bombardment of commercials on local television, mostly with negative ads from Haley against DeSantis and vice versa. Once again, Trump wins this battle between his two pursuers.
The former president spent most of the day speaking on the phone with his army captains. caucus, a sort of delegates to the various meetings which are held this afternoon to vote. Unlike what they were until now caucus Among the Democrats (with voting by show of hands, formation of groups and elimination of the least supported candidates), among the Republicans, they vote by ballot and the vote is secret.
Trump was also active this Monday by attacking his rivals from his social network Truth. In it, he once again uses his insulting nickname against Haley, “idiot”, and calls her a “globalist”. He criticized Fox News for airing a poll showing Haley trailing him closely in voting intentions in New Hampshire. Although he also committed abuse against DeSantis and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, his continued attacks on the only female candidate show that she is the one he fears the most right now.
After New Hampshire, the next stages of the Republican primaries will take place in Nevada and South Carolina, where DeSantis also does not have high expectations. In both cases, Trump’s advantage is very clear, but South Carolina is Haley’s home state, where she was governor, and she can play the local card there.
Whatever happens in these early rounds, Trump remains the clear favorite, according to the polls, but the possibilities of a real alternative depend on a victory or a narrow defeat for Haley in New Hampshire, where Snow and cold are also expected next week. In Iowa, bad weather had a detrimental impact on the American economy. caucusa political and tourist attraction which constitutes a source of income for the State every four years.