5 takeaways from Trump’s big night in Iowa

Trump is in control

Trump’s victory Monday was so commanding that it’s going to be hard for any of his rivals to catch him now.

“Tonight’s a very big night for what this could portend for the future,” said Rick Santorum, the two-time Republican presidential candidate who surged to win a surprise 2012 caucus victory. “If Trump has 50 percent in Iowa, plus shows in New Hampshire, it’s over.”

Months of polling data showed as much. And
entrance polls also suggested
most Republicans were willing to overlook Trump’s indictments.

Still, there was also a red flag for the general election — more than 30 percent of caucusgoers said he would not be fit for the presidency if convicted. In what is likely to be closely-contested general election, Republicans will need to keep GOPers skeptical of the former president in the fold.

Trump in Iowa was working toward a consolidation.

On Sunday, he received the endorsement not only of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — who performed well with Iowa’s suburban Republicans in 2016 and was backed by Haley in that year’s primary — but also North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who dropped out of the presidential primary in December after running as a pragmatic conservative.

Trump, on the eve of the caucus, also officially
secured a majority of GOP congressional support
, now boasting 135 endorsements from Republicans in the House and Senate — far beyond DeSantis’ five House endorsers and Haley’s single congressional endorsement.

For months, Trump’s GOP foes — particularly outside groups — have attempted to make the case that he has an electability problem.

But Republicans, the ones in Iowa included, just aren’t buying that. A
CBS/YouGov poll
released Sunday found that a whopping 70 percent of GOP voters nationally believe that Trump — not Haley, not DeSantis — is the party’s best hope of beating Biden. That’s despite the same poll of general election voters showing Haley outperforming Trump.

Addressing a crowd of supporters in Des Moines on Monday night, Trump spoke as if all his rivals were already getting out of the race.

“I want to congratulate Ron and Nikki for having a good time together,” he said from the stage.

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