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Historic cold during Iowa caucuses tests Trump’s dominance of Republican Party

The Iowa caucuses, the kickoff to the long-running Republican presidential primary process, will begin at 8:00 p.m. ET. Participants will gather at more than 1,500 schools, churches and community centers to discuss their options, sometimes for hours, before voting by secret ballot.

The fight for second place

Former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, the only woman in the primary, stymied DeSantis. The two have competed fiercely in recent weeks to become the clear replacement for the former president, who has been rejected by many Americans and could face a guilty verdict before the end of the year.

“I like a lot of what (Trump) does, but his personality just gets in the way,” said Hans Rudin, 49, a community college counselor in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He said he supports Trump on both counts. .last election, but will back DeSantis on Monday.

Polls show Trump starting the day with a wide lead in Iowa while Haley and DeSantis battle for second place. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson also voted, as did former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie , who suspended his campaign last week.

“The Party of Donald Trump”

The coldest temperatures on record are expected to hit the Iowa caucuses Monday night, making travel conditions hazardous in nearly every corner of the mostly rural state. That has campaigns preparing for a low-turnout campaign that will test the strength of their support as well as their organizational skills.

The final results will provide a strong signal in the remaining nomination battle to determine who will face Democratic President Joe Biden in the November election.

After Iowa, Republican primaries will move to New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina in the coming weeks and then to the rest of the country in the spring. The final candidate won’t be determined until the national convention in July, but it will be difficult to stop Trump if he scores a major victory in the early campaign.

Trump’s political prowess, entering the Iowa caucuses 426 days after launching his 2024 campaign, tells a remarkable story of a Republican Party unwilling or unable to leave Trump behind.

Trump lost resoundingly to Biden in 2020 after sparking near-constant chaos during his time in the White House that culminated in a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.

The former president faces a total of 91 felony charges in four criminal cases, including two indictments for his attempts to overturn the election and a third for illegally storing classified documents at his Florida home.

In recent weeks, Trump has increasingly echoed authoritarian leaders and cast his campaign as retaliatory. He openly expressed his intention to use government power to persecute his political opponents. He repeatedly borrowed rhetoric once used by Adolf Hitler, claiming that immigrants entering the United States illegally were “poisoning the blood of our country.” He recently shared a “word cloud” on his Truth social network account, highlighting words like “revenge,” “power” and “dictatorship.”

Trump attacks undocumented immigrants and evokes Nazi rhetoric, says they ‘poison America’s blood’

That hasn’t discouraged many Republican voters.

“Trump is a Christian. He is trustworthy. He believes in America. He believes in freedom,” said Kathy DeAngelo, a 71-year-old retired hospital administrator who spoke at Subzero on Sunday weather waiting to see Trump. “He’s the only one,” he said.

The final Des Moines Register/NBC News poll ahead of the caucuses shows Trump maintaining a huge lead, with support from nearly half of likely caucusgoers, while Haley is at 20 %, DeSantis’ approval rating is 16%. Haley and DeSantis remain in a tight race for second place. Trump also has a higher approval rating among likely caucusgoers than the other leading contenders, with 69 percent approval compared to 58 percent for DeSantis and just 48 percent for Haley.

On the eve of the caucuses, Trump predicted he would set a modern Iowa Republican caucus record, with a margin of victory greater than the nearly 13 percentage points Bob Dole won in 1988. He also tried to downplay expectations that he would win. 50% of the total votes.

Regardless of whether he reaches that number, his critics point out that about half of the state’s Republican voters are likely to vote for someone who is not Trump.

“Sometimes someone wins by 12 points and that’s like a record. Well, we should do something about it,” Trump said during an appearance at a Des Moines hotel on Sunday. “If we don’t get this done, we’re going to get criticized, right? But let’s see if we can get to 50 percent.” “Challenge the weather and save America,” he later added.

A historic cold hampers Iowa caucus participation

Temperatures could drop as low as -14 degrees in parts of Iowa on Monday, while snow from Friday’s blizzard still makes travel through rural parts of the state treacherous, where roads are generally unpaved.

Forecasters warned that “dangerous wind chills” could reach as low as 45 degrees below zero by noon Tuesday. According to the National Weather Service, this condition can cause “frostbite and hypothermia to develop within minutes if clothing appropriate for the conditions is not worn.”

Signs appeared on major highways over the weekend, warning motorists in large, flashing orange letters: “Travel Not Recommended,” emphasizing the dangers of winter weather that is a threat even to Iowans that would make a Unrepresentative processes become even less representative. .

Many older Iowans, the backbone of the caucuses, are wondering how they will participate in the caucuses, when only a small fraction of the participants are voters of color, given Iowa’s overwhelmingly white population , which is one of the reasons why the Democratic Party proposed a primary election for the first time. This year’s primary election will be in South Carolina.

The Iowa caucuses also take place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday.

Trump faces four criminal charges for allegedly trying to overturn 2020 election defeat

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