Trump’s Iowa caucus numbers were not a triumph but evidence of a weak candidate winning an unenthused election.
Susan Glasser put Trump’s Iowa numbers into context in The New Yorker, “By the time all the breathless cable-news coverage was over and the media horde of a thousand journalists had moved on, Trump had received support from a mere fifty-six thousand caucus-goers, amounting to some seven percent of the registered Republicans in the state and just three percent of over-all registered voters in Iowa. More people voted for Muriel Bowser in Washington, D.C., ‘s last mayoral primary. All told Iowa represents less than one percent of the nation’s population—and next week’s New Hampshire primary comes in a state that is even smaller.”
The reason why Trump was determined to keep small non-diverse states like Iowa and New Hampshire at the beginning of the primary calendar. The former president knew that those two states matched up perfectly with his electorate and they would get outsized media coverage, so if Trump won them by a large margin, the narrative that he is dominant writes itself.
Since few members of the political press who work in legacy media look deeper into the numbers. they see a big margin of victory and run with it as the story.
There is nothing so far in Iowa or the 2024 polling data, as dubious as it is, that suggests Donald Trump is a strong candidate.
The same red flags that have been around Trump for years are even stronger in 2024.
Donald Trump appears to be a weak candidate whose appeal is limited to non-existent outside of his current base of support.
Trump’s path to victory involves his devoted base turning out to vote while hoping that the rest of the country tunes out and stays home in larger numbers.
It happened in 2016, and Trump is hoping to make it happen again in 2024.
The idea that Donald Trump is a strong candidate is a myth created by the Trump campaign. Trump is very beatable, and the numbers in Iowa show his weakness, not his strength as a candidate.
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Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association