As the first electoral battle in the US presidential election played out last week, Donald Trump cemented his hold on the Republican Party with a massive win in the Iowa caucuses, leaving his opponents far, far behind.
Even though Iowa does not historically determine who becomes President of the United States, the victory is significant as it strengthens the perception that Trump is the clear front runner for the Republican nomination.
The next battleground in New Hampshire this week is however a different arena with a more moderate electorate. Here, polls show a much closer fight between Trump and Nikki Haley, who is fighting to stay in the race.
Even though it is never wise to say anything is a forgone conclusion, Trump may well be on the way to not just becoming the Republican contender to take on Joe Biden in 2024, but may even be back in the White House. There is of course still some way to go and legal challenges to even having his name on the ballot.
Next month, the US Supreme Court will hear whether Trump should be banned from contesting elections under a clause in the constitution that bars those who “engage in insurrection” from holding office. But despite these legal hurdles, the thought has crossed our minds more than once- what would a second Trump term mean for America and the rest of the world?
Here is a clue
Look at how Trump campaigned in Iowa. The running theme of his rallies was that the 2020 election had been stolen from him, and he repeated several false claims to this effect along the way.
Compared to his rivals, Trump hardly campaigned, he did not participate in debates and despite all this, was declared the winner even before voting had ended. That is how big his victory was. The Associated Press reported how 4 out of 10 caucus goers in Iowa had said immigration was their main issue, not jobs or foreign policy.
New Hampshire however could be different, with a more moderate and educated base and it has an interesting history. It has delivered surprises and upsets across the political divide. Like in 2000, when George W Bush was defeated by Senator John McCain.
For Nikki Haley, winning in New Hampshire is crucial not just to slow Trump’s match but to keep her campaign alive. She was tipped to be in second place in Iowa but Florida Governor Ron DeSantis edged her out. Education is also an important factor.
What could possibly go wrong?
The AP reports quoting Votecast that more than half of Haley’s voters had a college degree. But only about 2 in 10 of Trump voters had the same. Haley has slowly and steadily climbed in the polls over the last few months. Which explains why Trump, under whom she served as US ambassador to the UN, has also sharpened his attacks on her.
The latest was only days ago when Trump launched a racist tirade against Haley while referring to her first name which is of Indian origin- Nimarata.
With Ron DeSantis withdring from the 2024 presidential race, and endorsing Trump, Nikki Haley becomes the sole remaining challenger to Trump. She has asserted herself as the “only one” capable of defeating President Joe Biden.
Be as it may, a second term for Trump can spell only chaos and further deepen divides. The former President wants to end America’s alliance with NATO, cut aid to Ukraine, end birthright citizenship amongst a long list of things that also include introducing flying cars. What could possibly go wrong?