Posted on: January 15, 2024, 09:14h.
Last updated on: January 15, 2024, 09:14h.
Former President Donald Trump is expected to be tonight’s big winner when voters for the first time in the 2024 primary season make their voices heard.
Iowa is the first state in the union to conduct its primary this presidential election. Accustomed to cold temperatures and snowy winters in January, Iowans will brave historically frigid weather this evening to venture to high schools and community centers to participate in the first-in-the-nation caucuses.
Trump, seeking to represent the Republican Party for a third consecutive presidential election cycle, is the heavy betting favorite to emerge as tonight’s victor. Traders on the political wagering exchange PredictIt give the 45th president a 96% chance of securing the most secret-ballot cast votes.
During his final appeal to Iowa voters yesterday, Trump said this is their time to make their voice louder than “all of the liars, cheaters, thugs, perverts, frauds, and crooks”.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has the next-best odds at an implied chance of just 6%. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy is third at 2% and former South Carolina Governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is fourth at only a penny.
Republicans and Democrats conduct their Iowa caucuses in vastly different means.
While Democrats require voters to move to the physical sides of their caucus site to stand in support with their fellow Iowans behind a specific candidate, Republicans first hold a town hall where designated members of the community make final campaign speeches on behalf of their preferred candidate. After those addresses, caucusgoers receive their ballots and make their picks in secret.
The ballots are collected, verified, and counted, with the results posted to the state GOP website. The Iowa caucuses begin at 7 p.m. CT.
While each candidate hopes to upset Trump and come out on top, political pundits believe DeSantis, Haley, and Ramaswamy are essentially battling for second. The runner-up position would be a major victory for each candidate, as Iowa issues its 40 Republican delegates up for grabs based on the share of the caucus vote they receive.
Smarkets, a peer-to-peer political betting exchange, gives Trump an implied chance of 94% in securing the most delegates tonight. While Trump will likely kick off his reelection campaign in winning fashion and tout his success as a vote against the DC establishment and the many federal prosecutors and lawmakers seeking to put him in prison for the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, the candidate who comes in second will improve their odds of becoming Trump’s primary foe this primary.
Iowa Democrats Fold on Caucus
Tonight’s vote in Iowa will be centered on the Republicans, as the Iowa Democratic Party opted to bypass its regular caucus in favor of an exclusive mail-in ballot system that runs until Super Tuesday, which this year is March 5. Democratic voters in Iowa, as of today, can cast a primary vote via mail-in ballot.
President Joe Biden is running unopposed from any serious challenger. He’s expected to field all 46 delegate votes in Iowa.
It’s worth noting that Iowa allows voters to change their party affiliation on election day. With many Iowa Democrats afraid of another Trump presidency, political observers in the Hawkeye State believe a faction of Democrats will take advantage of that option to move GOP primary support to one of the three Trump challengers.