Newsflash: Donald Trump will very likely win the Iowa caucuses. He’s 27 percentage points ahead of his closest rival, Gov. Ron DeSantis.

But Trump can still lose while winning if there’s a clear runner-up. It’s why the former president recently implored an Iowa rally, “Don’t take it for granted.” For a candidate who’s used to framing his campaign as an exercise in inevitability, it was a rare, if tacit, admission of vulnerability. 

For all the talk of Trump’s death grip on the GOP, it’s worth pausing to consider that in a recent Iowa poll 79 percent of Republicans said that they’d consider voting for another candidate. Most will default to Trump in the end. Still, not every Republican who prefers him will endure a freezing night in Sioux City or Fort Dodge to cast a ballot. That’s especially true if they think, as they should, that a Trump win in Iowa is preordained. 

To emerge as the, not a, Trump alternative, either Nikki Haley or DeSantis needs to peel off some Iowa Trump voters. But that can only be done by discerning who is “gettable” and who’s not. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the Trump base isn’t monolithic, nor is it impenetrable. But it does require differentiating some voters from others.

There are five main kinds.


First are the True Believers. They’re who Trump means when he says he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, and no one would care. They don MAGA hats and keep the TV glued to Newsmax (because Fox News is too tame). True Believers buy the “Big Lie” not simply as a cultural construct or in thinking that big tech censored news, but in the literal sense. This is the real Trump base. 

Second are the Reluctant Supporters. They feel no love for Trump, and many are even repulsed by his behavior and his social media posts. These include single-issue voters on policies like abortion. Many are evangelical Christians. They liked Trump’s tax cuts, deregulation efforts and conservative Supreme Court appointments.

Third are the Anti-Bideners. They view Trump, instinctually, as the president’s foil. They don’t like Biden because he’s a Democrat. They don’t like him because of inflation. They don’t like him because of critical race theory, and “wokeism,” and everything progressive they project onto the president. Most of all, they want to beat Biden. 

Fourth are the Bandwagoners. They’re loyal to the Republican Party. They root for “the team,” and particularly its leader. Trump is the face of the franchise, and as long as that’s true, they’ll support him. But they’d be just as content to support any candidate with an “R” next to the name.

Fifth are the Need-for-Drama Republicans. They get their kicks, psychologically and motivationally, from chaos. They spread rumors and conspiracy theories. They’re attracted to a “blow-up-the-system” brand of politics that, at its core, is fundamentally anti-conservative. Many have radicalized even beyond Trump. 

Haley and DeSantis can write off the first and last groups. The Trump True Believers are just that: True Believers. The Need-for-Drama Republicans aren’t a group that Trump’s rivals can, or should, embrace; these current and former governors are too establishment and can’t play in that lane. But they have more appeal for the other groups. 

By dint of her electability, Haley naturally aligns with the Anti-Bideners. In a head-to-head matchup, polling shows she’d beat Biden by 10 percentage points in a national popular vote, whereas DeSantis and Trump would be running in a virtual dead-heat. The big question for Haley is whether she’s willing to take serious shots at Trump when she is a potential prospect to be his running mate.

DeSantis’s affinity lies with the Reluctant Supporters. This means leaning full into policy, where he has a real record in Florida on Covid, immigration, education and taxes. DeSantis’s biggest error has been telling voters he’d have eight years ahead to enact a conservative agenda. Voters don’t want to hear eight years. They want to hear, “Now.” “Quickly.” “First 100 days.”

The Bandwagoners are the toughest to get because they require, first, showing viability in the primaries. That won’t happen until either Haley or DeSantis proves momentum.

For now, it’s the Trump vs. Everyone Else primaries. Trump can win without breaking a sweat if more candidates stay in the race and split the anti-Trump vote. For Trump to lose while winning, that has to change in Iowa.


DISCLAIMER: The content of Pro Liberation is firmly opinionated and is not meant to be interpreted as official news. We glean facts and quotes from mainstream news websites and abridge its meaning for readers to relate. We do not indulge in misinformation, conspiracy theories, or false doctrine but choose to express our right to free speech as citizens of this country and free born under God the Creator. We represent Nu Life Alliance Inc. a non-profit organization in the battle for social and economic justice. Donate to our cause at the following link. DONATE