Hey Thomas, Why do a state's Republican primary get so much attention?
“It's simple: Iowa is the only state that actually holds primaries. The state is then the first real indicator for candidates, outside the polls, of how they're doing. The next primary isn't until February 24. That's why it's been anything but Iowa since Weeks.
“Even though this is a small state, Iowa is very important to media dynamics. If the candidates do better or worse than expected here, it will affect how voters think about them in the primaries in the following states. So it's all the political money and attention The media is now focused on this place.
“In 2016, Donald Trump unexpectedly came in second place here, and then his chances were suddenly estimated to be much higher.” Voters in other states, who initially viewed him as a curiosity rather than a serious candidate, suddenly saw him as a serious contender. We know how that ended.
What kind of state is Iowa anyway?
“This is not a country that represents the entire United States. Iowa is located in the Midwest, very white, conservative and right-wing Christian. Furthermore, the country has amazing Dutch roots. Many of the surnames I encounter here come from Dutch.
“During elections here, citizens do not go to the polls. Instead, what is called a rally is organized. Citizens debate in community centres, libraries and gyms, try to convince each other and only then present their options. There are a few states that have something similar But Iowa goes further: Voters are often better informed, so they can explain their choice to their neighbors on such caucus evenings.
Who is on the Republican list of candidates this time?
Trump is at the top. According to opinion polls, he can count on more than half of the votes. This is great progress. He is followed by Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida. Nikki Haley follows closely behind, then Vivek Ramaswamy. “Then there's Asa Hutchinson, but he's so on the sidelines that it's best to forget him.”
What do you notice on the streets of Iowa during the primaries?
And since all the Republican candidates are in Iowa, there's a lot of life here. I attended the meetings of Healey, Ramaswamy, and DeSantis in a day and a half. I was also going to go to one of Trump's visits, but he had to cancel the trip due to the snow storm currently hitting Iowa.
“At the same time, I've noticed that Iowans have remarkably thoughtful, and sometimes even timid, ideas about politics compared to other places in the United States. You see few signs of campaigning. Countless people say they still have to make up their mind.” , which is very different from what I hear in other places. And because all residents have the luxury of seeing the candidates up close and asking questions, the campaigns have become less blind to each other. But I hear from everyone that they are being harassed by different campaign teams. Every vote is worth a lot here .
Do the criminal cases against Trump still play a role?
“No actually no.” The majority of people in Iowa who vote Republican support Trump. They believe him when he says that criminal cases are not based on facts, but rather are a form of political opposition. Only among a small segment of voters, who mainly support Haley, do you hear voices critical of Trump.
What will you care about in these primaries?
“All the candidates except Trump are now vying for second place. DeSantis has focused essentially all of his campaign money on Iowa. He visited all 99 municipalities here. If he can't beat Trump, he at least wants to show he can get close to him.” But in the meantime, Haley's popularity has soared in the polls over the past month. If she can defeat DeSantis in the religious state of Iowa, he will no longer be able to insist that he is Trump's top challenger. I wonder how long DeSantis will stay in the race.
Is there really anything at stake for Democrats these days?
“No actually no.” The Democratic primaries usually start here as well, but they have changed their rules. For them, the primary won't start until next month in South Carolina. All things considered, there are no competitive Democratic primaries this year, with Joe Biden, the incumbent, running for president with party support.
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