Guest post by Paul Ingrassia
Today Iowans will weather subzero temperatures to participate in the first official event to kickstart the 2024 presidential season: the Iowa caucus. Riding the tailwinds of four brazenly unconstitutional, politically motivated indictments and a recent court appearance in New York State, Donald Trump heads into Iowa with anywhere between thirty- and fifty-point leads over his nearest competitor, the neoconservative former South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley, and appears to have all the momentum behind him.
While the results of Iowa are not necessarily determinative of who eventually becomes the party’s nominee (after all, President Trump placed second behind Ted Cruz in the 2016 Iowa caucus), the caucus is nevertheless seen as an important bellwether for the rest of the primary season. A surprise upset victory or loss, or stronger than expected showing has made or broken a presidential campaign of yore, either catapulting a sleeper candidate to national prominence or derailing a once viable candidacy for all time.
The territory on which the 2024 Iowa caucus will take place is, much like the events of the past year, unprecedented. Donald Trump is the first candidate to enter the primary process as the frontrunner in three presidential campaigns since Franklin Roosevelt. In his third bid for the presidency, he is arguably now on stronger footing than he was in his previous two campaigns. This time around, however, he is facing of course a mountain of opposition by a weaponized justice system at the behest of Joe Biden, the presidential figurehead whom half the country believes illegitimate, and a significant portion of the other half – presumably his own coalition – believes too old and decrepit to carry out the duties of his office.
Being that the same half who believes Biden is illegitimately serving his office is the same half that will be voting in today’s caucus, it raises the serious question of why we are even having this primary cycle in the first place? If the Republican coalition broadly thinks President Trump is the legitimate officeholder, then why are at least three Republicans, all of whom repeatedly pay deference to the frontrunner’s agenda, attempting to challenge Trump for his party’s nomination? After all, if they truly believe, as they profess on the campaign trail, that the 2020 election was fraudulent, why are they attempting to interfere with the legitimate officeholder in his quest to reclaim the office that is rightly his? Even more so, if they believe the process is rigged, why are they even running without working to fix it first – what black magic allows them to miraculously fix “a broken system,” without so much as lifting even a finger to, well, fix the broken system?
A very strong argument can be made that DeSantis, Haley, and even Ramaswamy would not have possessed the political capital to launch their presidential campaigns in the first place without all the work the frontrunner did – in terms of endorsements, coalition-forming, appointments, and policy platforms – at various times in various ways on their behalf, and which now they are attempting to pass off to voters as entirely their own work.
In short, the Iowa caucus presents the option for voters to choose between the original MAGA candidate and an assortment of copycats, who impersonate with varying degrees of success. If polling is indicative of general sentiment, however, it seems voters, overwhelmingly, have called the copycats’ bluffs and favor the original. This is not a shock, given not only what President Trump has gone through personally for the country and the movement he spearheaded. After all, he has and remains the only candidate in this entire race to pledge his life, fortune, and sacred honor – exactly what our Founding Fathers did – and suffer tremendous sacrifices as a result, simply because he put the best interests of the country over his own wellbeing ever since the day he descended the escalator and officially launched his career in politics.
The other candidates have feigned homage to the original all throughout this primary, but what they are attempting to sell simply is not cutting. Voters are keenly aware, even more than most of the candidates, of the extremely high stakes of this election – an election that will determine America’s future in a way not seen since at least 1860, when Abraham Lincoln defeated John C. Breckinridge, thus igniting the Civil War.
The issues front and center this cycle are whether we get to live in a free country that administers impartial justice; whether we return power to the hands of American people via elected lawmakers rather than unelected, deep-state bureaucrats; whether our country will still preserve any semblance of a southern border and retain its once formidable national identity and enviable heritage; whether lawmakers will continue to drive up inflation and our national debt by squandering untold hundreds of millions of taxpayer money on unwinnable overseas conflicts; whether parents will be able to exercise their right of choice over their children’s right not to be indoctrinated with woke propaganda in schools; whether all Americans will still be able to think and speak freely and enjoy the fruits of their constitutional guarantees: the sacred freedoms of speech, religion, assembly – as well as due process of law.
Only one man has the experience under his belt to challenge the deep state with the mightiest coalition and most passionate supporters found in any movement in this country’s history: and that, of course, is Donald John Trump. The passion, the dynamism, the spirit of MAGA, is all attributable to the extraordinary gifts of Trump alone, who is a once in a generation kind of leader: a larger-than-life presence that voters intuitively recognize and gravitate towards, attributes that are simply lacking in any other candidate, no matter how well they try to imitate his policies, talking points and even his mannerisms.
Because of Trump’s uniqueness, serendipity would have these other campaigns crash and burn on their own terms – which has largely come true. Vivek Ramaswamy’s pathetic attempt to rationalize to an Iowa voter than he alone can save Trump from the deep state in a clip that went viral just a day before the caucus, follows the heels of Haley and DeSantis’ campaigns, both of whose campaigns arguably failed to ever get lifted off the ground: the shared tragic fate of all those who attempted to derail MAGA’s king. And, as the saying goes, if you come at the king, you best not miss.
All three of Trump’s competitors not only missed but exposed themselves as being empty vessels for the interests of Washington’s criminally incompetent political establishment. None of them, save Ramaswamy, were independently wealthy: DeSantis and Haley profited off their political offices, and not once enjoyed success in the private sector. As a result, those two were particularly vulnerable for subterfuge by globalist donors: and that they were, between Ron DeSantis’ uncanny ties to Ken Griffin, the Koch brothers, and the China lobby, or Nikki Haley’s well-established links to the military industrial complex, including being an effective mouthpiece for Raytheon and other military contractors that steal from working class Americans to wage endless wars from Eastern Europe to Asia to the Middle East.
Ramaswamy, albeit independently wealthy, has equally worrisome ties to Big Pharma – in particular, to the vaccine powerhouse Pfizer, with whom he has an extensive history. There is also concern about the former Soros-fellow’s eligibility to run for president, given that his father, an Indian migrant, never once got – or even desired, by Vivek’s own admission – American citizenship. The serious question of presidential eligibility, under Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, likewise plagues Nikki Haley, the daughter of two non-citizen parents, that casts a long shadow over the legitimacy of her entire campaign.
In conclusion, the decision is not a difficult one for Iowa caucus voters. The race boasts a tried-and-true warrior in Donald Trump, a proficient dealmaker, with the track record, charisma, and aptitude to match – making him the only candidate capable of accomplishing the mighty task ahead of us. Pitted against him are a bunch of wannabes (though, in Vivek’s case, he arguably does an even better Obama), all of whom have shown themselves prone to subversion by anti-MAGA forces. There is the now-disgraced Florida Governor, whose campaign, in the legendary words of Tucker Carlson, is operated by the “nastiest” and “stupidest” people. The onetime Ambassador to the United Nations, who favorably compared herself to Hillary Clinton, whose political career was revived from oblivion by Trump himself, only to later stab him in the back after pledging not to ever run against him. And finally, the Big Pharma-bro and Soros-fellow, whose own father never even cared enough to apply for American citizenship, but who has the audacity to believes he alone can save Trump from CIA chicanery, despite never having held a political office, let alone serve in the sorts of posts that would equip him the chops to take on the deep state.
Trump rises above the rest of the field – and it is not even close. They are grifters, he is the real deal. This is why Iowa will set the stage for the rest of the country in the weeks and months ahead by sending an undeniable signal in favor of Donald John Trump, the only MAGA candidate – yesterday, today, always.
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Paul Ingrassia is a Constitutional Scholar; a two-time Claremont Fellow, and is on the Board of Advisors of the New York Young Republican Club and the Italian American Civil Rights League. He writes a widely read Substack that is regularly re-truthed by President Trump. Follow him on X @PaulIngrassia, Substack, Truth Social, Instagram, and Rumble.