Trump Is Not Winning Iowa – Throughout the 2016 Republican Party Presidential Primary, Donald Trump was the unlikeliest candidate to win.
Despite all the odds being stacked against him, with every major poll showing Trump losing to any of the more traditional conservative Republican candidates that year, Trump pressed on with his unconventional campaign.
His tenacity was rewarded when he proved to be the last man standing in that gauntlet that was the 2016 GOP Primary.
Yet, whenever Trump was presented with a negative poll, rather than address the matter directly and refute it, Trump routinely castigated the information as a “Fake Poll” (part of a larger pattern of “Fake News”). Years later, Trump said the quiet part out loud when he was asked about negative polls coming out about what was then, in 2021, his potential reelection campaign.
Trump arrogated that, “If it’s bad, I just say it’s fake. If it’s good, I say, ‘That’s the most accurate poll, perhaps, ever.’”
Donald Trump is Winning?
Today, Trump is enjoying something he has rarely ever enjoyed in his entire time as president: positive polling. And that should be disconcerting to Trump supporters, because the establishment never gives Trump the accurate data.
Whether it be at the national level, or in head-to-head matchups against President Joe Biden in key swing states, or in the Iowa Republican Primary, Trump looks to be coasting not just to the GOP nomination in 2024, but back into the White House. Appearances, however, are often deceiving.
And in politics, they’re downright wrong.
Just as in 2016, where many of the polls were proven inaccurate, the current spate of polling showing Trump decisively defeating Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis either nationally in the primary or specifically in Iowa might not be entirely accurate.
Ron DeSantis has the most comprehensive ground game of any of the candidates. He’s also got the support Iowa’s popular governor, Kim Reynolds (who may end up being DeSantis’ vice-presidential running-mate, if DeSantis shocks everyone and wins the nomination in 2024).
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has wasted months and gobs of cash on fighting multiple legal troubles, picking fights with Howard Stern on social media, and short-changing his own ground game in Iowa. I bring up the ground game factor because the Iowa caucuses, more than most other states, really require an early, consistent, on-the-ground presence from candidates.
Whereas Trump is just now whimsically entering the fray in Iowa, candidates like DeSantis, have made it their mission to personally crisscross the entire state and shake as many Iowan voters’ hands as possible.
Iowa is a Unique State
Such personal touches in a state like Iowa are key for any candidate to stand a chance in winning over the voters there. What’s more, Trump has a very long history of poor performances in Iowa. Donald Trump has not changed since the 2016 campaign, when he lost the Iowa primary to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and even accused Cruz of having rigged the primary fight in Iowa back then.
Sure, Trump has many diehard supporters there.
But Iowa isn’t like some of the other states where Trump’s emotional grievance schtick works. Iowans want results. DeSantis is likely to have a better chance at winning them over than does Trump.
Of course, the Trump people aren’t very concerned whether they win the state or not in the GOP Primary. After all, their reasoning goes, the former president lost the state to Cruz in 2016—and Cruz ended up losing the primary to Trump.
Many other observers have long held that Iowa’s importance in the primary process has declined significantly over the years. Yet, for an upstart candidate, such as DeSantis, he needs early momentum.
And nothing generates momentum like a primary win—the kind of win that Iowa would offer the governor of Florida.
DeSantis Should Not Be Discouraged by Polls
DeSantis should not be discouraged in the slightest by these early polls of Trump beating everyone. Especially because no real votes have been cast. DeSantis should look to the Trump example from 2016: anytime a negative poll is released, castigate it as inaccurate.
Then pivot and focus on getting yourself before as many voters as possible, never letting up, until those final votes are counted, and the results are certain. Trump never gave up in 2016, despite all the odds against him and all the negative polls. He pressed onward until voters actually had their say—and everyone was shocked by the real results.
DeSantis must follow this example, because the last thing the Democrats want to do is to have the sclerotic and possibly senile Joe Biden face off against the young, articulate, and decisive Ron DeSantis. The Democrats would much rather face Trump.
If DeSantis can win the GOP nomination, then, the Democrats would be up a political creek without a paddle.
If Donald Trump does manage to win the GOP primary, then the election will be dreadfully close…and Trump might even ultimately be prevented from holding political office again, if he were to be found guilty of the 91 felony charges against him. DeSantis has no such baggage.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert occasionally serves as a Subject Matter Expert for various organizations, including the Department of Defense. He can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.
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