Vivek Ramaswamy, the impressive podcast guest who has spent the last few months pretending to be a serious Republican presidential candidate, has just suspended his campaign after winning 8 percent of the vote in the Iowa Caucuses. “This entire campaign is about speaking the TRUTH,” he said. “We did not achieve our goal tonight.” He endorsed Donald Trump even though on Saturday Trump called him “sly” and “deceitful.” No matter: it’s not as if any Ramaswamy supporters will be lining up to vote for Nikki Haley any time soon.
DeSantis and Haley have proved that you can spend an awful lot of money failing to beat Donald Trump
The real TRUTH is that, as so often in Republican politics since 2016, everything is falling into place for Donald Trump at the right time. He didn’t just win last night. He dominated. He smashed past Bob Dole’s twelve-point margin-of-victory record in Iowa from 1988. In 2016, Trump came second in the state with 24 percent of the vote. In 2024, he got more than 51 percent, exceeding high expectations.
It’s not quite right to say that Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley, who came second and third, are Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination. At the moment, they are merely also-rans. All they have proved is that you can spend an awful lot of money failing to beat Donald Trump.
For DeSantis, who has spent months and many millions campaigning across Iowa and wooing out endorsements from local conservative figures, the hope last night was that his ground game would secure a strong second place finish. That didn’t happen. It’s only a matter of time now before he joins Vivek and drops out too. No doubt he’ll also end up bending the knee in order to endorse Trump.
Haley hoped that she would catch DeSantis and become the only real challenger going into New Hampshire next week, where polls suggest she has been eating into Trump’s lead. But she fell just short of DeSantis last night and Trump’s opposition remains split. Haley will fight on, a boat against the Trumpist tide, but if she can’t pull off a staggering victory on Tuesday, the race is over.
This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.