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Trump’s fate uncertain as Iowa prepares to kick off 2024 primary season

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In just one month, the state of Iowa will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the Republican Party and potentially altering the course of Donald Trump’s political destiny.

Despite facing four pending criminal indictments, Trump boasts a substantial lead in polls, leaving political observers questioning if his rivals can defy the odds in the upcoming primary season.

As the Midwestern state readies itself for the primary season kickoff on January 15, Trump’s dominance in the race contrasts sharply with the legal challenges looming over him.

His unwavering support base in Iowa and beyond remains unfazed by the criminal allegations, exemplified by individuals like 61-year-old farmer Adam Miller, who dismisses the charges, stating, “I don’t even understand what the crime is.”

However, the real test for Trump comes during the Iowa caucuses, where voters will have their say on January 15.

Traditional precinct meetings in school gyms and fire stations will set the stage for a fierce intraparty battle among Republicans.

Seven contenders, including Trump, will vie for the spotlight, but only two, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, appear to have a realistic shot at challenging the former president.

DeSantis, known for his hard-right positions on immigration and LGBT+ rights, faces a tough fight in Iowa, having crisscrossed all 99 counties in recent months.

Despite the endorsement of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, DeSantis has experienced a decline in support, with critics attributing it to his occasional wooden demeanor and lack of charisma.

On the other hand, Nikki Haley, hailed as the new darling of the American right, takes a more moderate stance on reproductive rights.

Both Haley and DeSantis carefully avoid direct attacks on Trump throughout the campaign, cognizant of not alienating his loyal supporters. Polls show them hovering around 12 percent, a stark contrast to Trump’s formidable 60 percent.

Political scientist Wendy Schiller from Brown University suggests, “Anything less than a huge victory means that Trump will look more vulnerable in the GOP nominating contest than observers, donors, and voters expected.”

After Iowa, attention shifts to New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, marking crucial milestones leading up to the Republican National Convention in July.

While the Democratic side anticipates a more straightforward nomination process for incumbent President Joe Biden, challengers like congressman Dean Phillips and best-selling author Marianne Williamson face slim chances of disrupting Biden’s path to the party’s convention in Chicago in August.

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