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HomeCruiseTrump Takes Iowa: Now the Crazy Really Begins | Opinion

Trump Takes Iowa: Now the Crazy Really Begins | Opinion

Donald Trump’s trouncing of the weak and ineffective Republican primary field in the Iowa caucuses, putting him on cruise control toward the Republican nomination this summer, was easily the most predictable outcome in politics in a long time.
Through a toxic combination of fear, intimidation, and cultish behavior, the twice-impeached and many-time criminally indicted former president has long had complete and total control over the Republican Party. To think any other outcome than what we saw on Monday night in Iowa was possible was a fool’s mission and merely wishful thinking by out-of-touch Republican megadonors and the media wanting a race for ratings.
Predicting the Trump Train would tear through Iowa—and set itself up to roll right through to Milwaukee and the convention nearly unhindered—was easy. Predicting what happens next is nearly impossible.
Former President and Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump arrives to speak at a watch party during the 2024 Iowa Republican presidential caucuses in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 15. JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images
Not since 1940 have we seen an ex-president running for another term in office. And it has been more than 65 years since we have seen a rematch of the same election four years later. Never before has the nation experienced an election where the nominee of a party could spend more time in a courtroom than on the campaign trail—and could be convicted of multiple federal and state felonies before Election Day. Add into the mix that either candidate would be the oldest person ever elected president (by a sizable margin) and both are unpopular with the electorate, and that we may see multiple third-party candidates impact the election in key states, and it is fair to say the cliff we’re careening toward plunging over is unprecedented. And that is the understatement of the century.
The next 10 months will be a wild, unpredictable, dangerous, and unprecedented roller coaster that will test and push to the limits—and beyond—every norm, law, and institution we have in this country. And the consequences and outcome will forever shape this nation and the cornerstones of our democracy and freedoms.
In a normal cycle, campaigns would spend the spring and summer preparing for a so-called “October Surprise”—an unexpected event or scandal outside the campaign’s control that has a big impact on the race. But this year, October Surprises could come almost daily. Nearly every day over the next 10 months, we could see a judge, a jury, a prosecutor, a health scare, a simple trip on a stage, domestic unrest, or a major international crisis upend or decide the election.
The Trump vs. Biden race four years ago happened during a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic, a lockdown, an economic collapse, and nationwide protests over the killing of Black men by police. At the time, it felt as though the nation would never again see such an unprecedented, volatile, and unpredictable political moment. Now, it looks like that might not even hold a candle to what we are about to live through.
As a nation, we are jumping without a net. And the stakes could not be higher.
So how does this end? I don’t know. And neither does anyone else. And if they say they do, they’re lying.
We are in uncharted territory, and the traditional inputs and norms that have been used to handicap past election cycles have been disrupted to the point that predictions about how all this will end are about as accurate as polling was in 2016.
All anyone can say for sure is this: Keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times, because this year is going to be wild, dangerous, and filled with many more twists and turns then any election in the history of the nation.
So, buckle up. Because we have likely seen our last predictable event of the election. Now it gets crazy. And unpredictable.
Doug Gordon is a Democratic strategist and co-founder of UpShift Strategies who has worked on numerous federal, state, and local campaigns and on Capitol Hill. He is on Twitter/X at @dgordon52.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.



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