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Monday April 15th

Trump-Biden rematch increasingly likely after Iowa, New Hampshire primaries

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / “Donald Trump Nashua 2015” by Marc Nozell. CC-BY-2.0. December 28, 2015).
(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / “Donald Trump Nashua 2015” by Marc Nozell. CC-BY-2.0. December 28, 2015).

By Gauri Patel 
Staff Writer 

A sweep of the first two nominating contests in the 2024 presidential primaries season left Former President Donald Trump in a strong position to seize the Republican party nomination, making a rematch with Joe Biden increasingly likely. 

Trump secured a record-setting victory in the Iowa Republican caucuses on Monday, finishing with 51 percent of the vote with 99 percent of the votes counted, according to The Associated Press. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won just over 21 percent, and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley was close behind at 19 percent. Trump’s win marked the largest margin of victory in a competitive GOP race in Iowa history. 

“We want to come together, whether it’s Republican or Democrat or liberal or conservative,” he said in his victory speech, offering a message of unity. “We’re going to come together. It’s going to happen soon.”

About 110,000 voters participated in the 2024 caucuses due to the frigid weather and dangerous driving conditions, falling well below the high expectations for this year’s turnout. The voters who participated accounted for just under 15 percent of the state's 752,000 registered Republicans, according to CBS News. 

Trump is currently facing a defamation case against writer E. Jean Carroll, just one of multiple legal challenges facing the former president. According to interviews conducted with Iowa caucusgoers by CBS News, most people largely dismissed Trump's legal controversy, saying he would still be fit for the presidency regardless of whether he was convicted of a crime. 

After coming in fourth place with eight percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses, Vivek Ramaswamy dropped out of the presidential race and announced his endorsement for Trump. 

Ramaswamy, who, at 38 years old, was the youngest Republican candidate in the race, launched his campaign in February 2023. The businessman’s approach was very similar to that of Trump, campaigning on an “America First” platform, pushing to limit American involvement in foreign affairs like the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas wars. He leaned heavily into conspiracy theories towards the end of his campaign, suggesting that the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot was an "inside job" and raised questions about the 9/11 attacks, according to CBS News. 

In his campaign, Ramaswamy positioned himself as an heir to the MAGA movement, often telling voters on the campaign trail that the “deep state” would not allow Trump to be the Republican nominee and promoted himself as the alternative. 

“I go so far as to say if you want to save Trump and his legacy, but save Trump, the man himself, I’m gonna ask you to vote for me,” Ramaswamy told a crowd on Jan. 10. “And I know that’s counterintuitive, but that’s what this country requires.” 

In a similar move, on Jan. 21, DeSantis dropped out of the election and endorsed Trump as the Republican nominee for president. DeSantis entered the 2024 presidential contest with major advantages as suggested by early primary polls, amassing a political fortune in excess of $130 million, according to The Associated Press

He boasted a significant legislative record on issues important to many conservatives, like abortion bans and restricting the teaching of race and gender issues in schools. After suffering a 30-point loss and coming in second place in the Iowa caucuses, the decision marked the end of the race for DeSantis, who was once thought to be a legitimate threat to Trump’s supremacy in the Republican Party. 

Ramaswamy’s and DeSantis’ decisions leave Trump and Haley as the last major Republican candidates to participate in the New Hampshire primary. 

New Hampshire also held the first in the nation primary on Tuesday, culminating in victories for Trump for the Republican Party and incumbent Joe Biden for the Democratic Party. 

Despite Haley’s defeat, Tuesday’s vote offered evidence of the strong competition in the general election this fall. According to The Associated Press, Trump did not carry key groups of swing voters, and Haley beat Trump among primary voters who identify as moderates, as well as independents. There are also concerns from about half of New Hampshire Republican primary voters being very or somewhat concerned that Trump is too extreme to win the general election compared to about one-third saying the same about Haley, according to AP VoteCast. 

Biden, though not officially running in the state due to a party decision, won through write-in ballots. The Democratic National Committee broke tradition this year in favor of South Carolina holding its first primary of the year on Feb. 3, but New Hampshire went ahead with its vote due to a law requiring it to go first, according to NPR. As a result of the dispute, New Hampshire's delegates will not be seated at the Democratic National Convention in August, and the results will not count toward Biden's official nomination.

According to AP VoteCast, roughly 8 in 10 Democrats approve of his handling of the economy. However, about half say that he is too old to run for president again at 81, and about half disapprove of his handling of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. 

After the results of the New Hampshire primary, it appears more likely that Trump will be the Republican Party nominee for president once again and face a rematch with Biden in November. 

In a statement on Jan. 23, Biden thanked "all those who wrote my name in this evening in New Hampshire. It was a historic demonstration of commitment to our democratic process.” 

"It is now clear that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee,” Biden added. “And my message to the country is the stakes could not be higher." 


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