Iowa Caucus Highlights: What to Watch For

Iowa Republicans face severe weather as they prepare to kick off 2024 presidential caucuses CNN reporting– The Republican presidential nominating process is set to begin with Monday night’s Iowa caucuses, despite the record-low temperatures in the region. The extreme cold has significantly limited the campaigners in the final days leading up to the caucuses, forcing former President Donald Trump, ex-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and others to scale back their scheduled events.

Now, the voters of Iowa will deliver the first verdict of the 2024 election by deciding which Republican candidate will challenge President Joe Biden in November. Below are the five things to look out for in the Iowa caucuses: The key question about Trump’s performance is not just whether he’ll win, but also whether he will win in a manner that shows the GOP electorate has no interest in a Trump alternative. The final Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom poll revealed that Trump has 48% support, significantly ahead of Haley with 20% and DeSantis with 16%—and he’s close to breaking the 50% threshold.

Trump continues to be the strong favorite for the Republican presidential nomination for a historic third consecutive election. The uncertainty lies in whether it will get tougher for Trump to secure the nomination after Iowa. Haley and DeSantis are still competing to earn the opportunity to independently challenge Trump, while major donors and party officials who could potentially back the second-place winner of that race may be monitoring whether Trump is vulnerable.

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If over half of the party’s electorate turns up to vote against Trump on this historically cold caucus night, it could signify weakness for him. “It’s not going to be that many people in the grand scheme of things that are going to participate in this, and it may be significantly less than what happened last time,” DeSantis stated in Dubuque on Sunday. “So, your vote matters.” However, the die-hard supporters of Trump have shown no sign of wavering, and Trump used his rally in Indianola on Sunday to emphasize the urgency of voting.

The most crucial question on Monday might be who secures the second position and whether that candidate can do so in a decisive manner. Current national polls show Trump with a substantial lead, but Haley might have a slim chance to mount a serious challenge based on her recent performance. DeSantis might see Iowa as his best chance at an early-state win, as he doesn’t appear poised to compete for a win anytime soon.

Nevertheless, his performance in Iowa will be a significant factor for Republican voters and donors looking for a viable Trump alternative. Haley and DeSantis are still fighting to have a one-on-one shot at Trump, while Trump seems to be focused on Haley as she emerges as his potential opponent. The Iowa caucus is known for narrowing down the fields of presidential contenders for both parties. However, the biggest spotlight in 2024 will be on DeSantis if he finishes a disappointing third.

Amid questions about the turnout in the frigid weather, both Trump and DeSantis are touting their organizational strength in Iowa. The larger question, however, remains the level of importance for which candidates’ supporters knocked on more doors or organized the best network of precinct captains, as presidential races increasingly become nationalized.

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