What did we learn from the Iowa caucus yesterday? 

January 16 – With the Iowa caucuses yesterday bringing an expected big win for former president Donald Trump, some were a little surprised to see Florida Governor Ron DeSantis pull into second place ahead of Nikki Haley. 

Both DeSantis and Haley ended up far behind Trump, though. 

Trump took more than 50 percent of the votes in Iowa as the Republican nominee for president in 2024 and he took every county in Iowa, except one. Haley is ahead by one vote in one county. 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “If that changes, it’s possible Trump sweeps the entire state. DeSantis is a distant second at 21%. Haley third at 19%. An interesting footnote on DeSantis’ second place, he spent about $200 million in Iowa. I mean, it’s just an incredible blockbuster number. That’s going to translate when all the smoke clears today, he’s going to have paid about $10,000 per vote in Iowa, and it’s unclear that any of this propels him to anything. I do think this result yesterday hurts Nikki Haley. She has to do something big in New Hampshire next week if she’s going to keep this thing going.”

Yesterday was the lowest turnout in Iowa since 2000. The weather was really awful last night in Iowa. 

Barkdoll noted, “All of these numbers we’re talking about – yes, it was a huge night for Trump – we’re only talking about total votes of around 100,000 voters. Trump had about 56,000 votes, and that was about 32,000 more votes than DeSantis got in second place. So a win is a win is a win. But fairly low vote totals.”

It was also announced that Vivek Ramaswamy is dropping out of the race. 

Barkdoll suggested, “That’s good for Trump because those votes are likely going to go more to him than they will to DeSantis or Haley. So you should see Trump get a slight bump from those Ramaswamy voters going into New Hampshire and South Carolina.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM added, “He’s actually actively endorsing Trump, which people are questioning whether he might be vying for the vice presidency seat even though every time he was asked he would just sort of deflect and say but I’m going to win the presidency. There were times in the past where he said he wouldn’t take it, but I noticed lately he changed the sound of that answer. Donald Trump himself admitted that’s the name he’s hearing the most from people wanting him to pick a vice president. He says he has somebody in mind. We still don’t know who that would be. It’s interesting to watch the media come out and try to spin all this this morning. They said oh, DeSantis finishes behind, but second, with Haley close behind him. He did spend a tremendous amount of money there. It’ll be interesting to see how this all switches up now. Trump getting over 50% is pretty key as well.”

Barkdoll said, “Here’s another point about last night and last week and we talked about this at the time, I was struck at last week’s Fox Town Hall. It seemed like a new Donald Trump and I don’t mean this in a bad way. But we talked about how he seemed to have struck last week at that town hall, a much more moderate, less edgy tone. At the time, we wondered if that was deliberate? What’s the strategy? But then I listened to his victory speech last night, very conciliatory. I mean, he was praising Haley and DeSantis, not some of the usual barbs you would hear from him. I’m sure all of this is strategic. He must have some advisors saying, hey, this is now what voters want to hear and maybe it’s creating the appearance that he’s already the nominee. There’s no use attacking the other candidates anymore, but I was surprised last night, how sort of friendly he was towards DeSantis and Haley, the way they’ve all been beating each other up prior to yesterday’s Iowa caucus.”

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “the Pennsylvania Franklin County Democrat Committee just rolled out a Joe Biden tweet, which goes into what you’re saying here. The Joe Biden tweet is ‘but here’s the thing. This election was always going to be you and me versus extreme MAGA Republicans.’ I can’t believe they shared that idiot’s post and I can’t believe they’re still working on that one. That doesn’t work in the research and you’re marginalizing half of the country on this one, over half, I’d imagine. He says it’s going to be you and me, the Franklin County Democratic committee and the rest of the Democrats against extreme MAGA Republicans. Bad idea, bad share, bad post.”

“And division of the country,” Jansen added. 

Barkdoll said, “We talked yesterday about that Gallup poll, the frustration Americans have with the two party system. I don’t think it’s a good strategy to create more of this divisiveness and I think Trump is smartly pivoting to that because we know they’re still voters on the fence, people that don’t vote a lot. They don’t want to hear all of this rancor. They like more of the messaging they were hearing last night and last week. So Trump may have already figured that out. It sounds like maybe Biden still has some work to do.”

Ryan suggested, “Here’s the other thing. If an extreme MAGA Republican wants no more proxy war with Iran, that is with Russia and Ukraine, if we don’t want that, we don’t have the chaos that Joe Biden has put on the American people. Do we want millions of people going over the southern border and whatever they bring, the baggage that they bring with them? That’s Joe Biden and Bidenomics. How about Bidenomics? How about your gas, your groceries, the energy, the assault, look at what happened in Chicago These greening acts had been pushing these electric vehicles. It’s a parking lot of electric vehicles out in Chicago because of the extreme cold. So if extreme MAGA Republicans as the Franklin County Democratic committee is positioning and carrying Joe Biden’s bucket of crap, you guys have made a really bad decision and Joe’s going down the wrong path. It’s easy to reposition Joe Biden and the disaster that he is as the worst president in American history.”

Barkdoll said, “Remember Michael Jordan’s famous quote ‘Republicans buy sneakers, too.’ He was saying that in response to some things the NBA was doing that he felt was alienating conservative people from going and supporting NBA basketball. You can make the same analogy here. Some of these memes and the constant demonization of the opponent, I think can backfire. It really can turn people off. Particularly to the point you’re making, look at those polls out the last few days showing Biden’s approval rating in the low 30s. He doesn’t have a lot of leverage here to be going after what he sees as the other side. I just think it’s a really poor strategy.”