Cal Thomas on the 2024 GOP Race: Is It Over?

January 19th, 2024 4:54 PM

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich appeared on Fox News Monday night as Iowa voters caucused and delivered a decisive victory for Donald Trump in his quest to win the Republican presidential nomination and a second term as president. Gingrich joyfully predicted that Trump would not only win the nomination but would win the White House in November with a minimum of 29 states.

Gingrich may be right, but voter turnout in Iowa was down from four years ago and the lowest in more than a decade. Sub-zero temperatures were likely a contributing factor, as might a view by some that Trump had the race in the bag so why go out in freezing conditions? It is also a caution to recall that not every GOP winner of the Iowa caucuses in recent years has won their respective party’s nomination.

In his victory remarks, Trump displayed a rarely seen quality – kindness and praise of his opponents Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy. Following the vote count, Ramaswamy announced his withdrawal from the campaign and support for Trump.

Trump, who has trafficked in division and name-calling for years, suddenly called for unity in a low- key (for him) victory speech.

Establishment pundits remain shocked over Trump’s continued appeal to a large swath of voters, including an uptick in support among Blacks and Hispanics. People may have short memories but four years isn’t that long ago when one considers gas prices and mortgage rates were lower during the Trump presidency, the U.S. was not involved in foreign wars, inflation was down, and migrants weren’t flooding over our border in record numbers.

It isn’t difficult to understand the reasons Trump continues to have a firm grip on his supporters, despite his rhetoric and legal challenges. They include an establishment that has refused to acknowledge the anger felt by many Americans over a dysfunctional Congress, the $34 trillion debt, and the constant bickering among politicians, though it is largely the fault of we who elect them. They see unequal justice, political agendas instead of addressing the real concerns of voters and what they believe is persecution of Trump by liberal Democrats. Add to the list of outrages felt by Trump supporters who see unequal treatment in th e handling of Hunter Biden’s tax issues and in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ hiring of special prosecutor Nathan Wade with whom she has been rumored (by the Trump camp) to have had an affair. Willis has vehemently denied the accusation and showed up in an Atlanta church to blame racism for the criticism directed at her.

In an extraordinary statement, Gingrich said: “Trump is not a candidate. Trump is the leader of a nationwide movement to take back power from the Establishment.” If that sounds like hyperbole, consider the number of states that have approved a convention of states to invoke Article 5 of the Constitution with the goal of enacting term limits and a requirement for a balanced federal budget. That would be 19 states, according to the Convention of States website with other states either having passed the resolution in one legislative chamber or are considering it. Thirty-eight states are needed. A Trump victory might encourage more states to sign on.

Instead of dwelling on Trump’s personality, Washington politicians and the media ought to be examining the reasons behind voter anger and desire to move the country in a different direction. That’s what Trump is promising. It is the reason he won big in Iowa and may run the table in every other primary state.