By Alex Miller

On 1 February 2024 a bigoted businessman lost the Republican Party Iowa Caucus, the first voting stage in the long US presidential campaign, to the shock of many. Except that it wasn’t really a shock because Donald Trump won’t win the race to the White House and become President in November this year.

The media hype around the billionaire, along with the internet hilarity, is a distraction away from the fact that he is an incredibly flawed presidential candidate and although he may be leading in the polls currently, I am more than comfortable to say that he will not become President of the United States. Trump lost out in the first caucus, which he should’ve won given his lead in the polls, and there’s plenty more where that came from.

The long road to the White House began months, even years, ago for some candidates, but it has just properly got going with the first caucus taking place in Iowa earlier this month. Presidential hopefuls from both of the main parties compete for the chance to represent their parties in the national election by campaigning from state to state and letting party members, or on occasion the general public, vote on who they think should lead the party into the election. Iowa always goes first with a caucus to decide who comes out on top and shortly after New Hampshire holds the first primary of the election cycle (there is a slight difference between a caucus and a primary but the outcome is more or less the same) before the rest of the US states follow suit and the Republican and Democrat parties criss-cross the nation counting up votes for who the country wants to see battle it out for the presidency.

The first blow to Trump’s wall of arrogance and egotism has been made by the people of Iowa. The rural, conservative state had Trump written all over it since he shot up the polls at the back end of last year, but his cockiness in not attending the last Republican presidential debate due to a petty spat between himself and the mediator and his policy plans that have an incredible lack of substance cost him dearly. Trump fell 4% of the votes behind the evangelical Christian, Tea Party advocate Ted Cruz, who is a senator from Texas, whilst the young and energetic Florida Senator Marco Rubio is snapping at Trump’s heels just 1% off his pace.

The results in Iowa don’t mean everything but Rubio is set to rocket past Trump now, and since Monday he has received an additional $2 million in funding from supporters. Equally Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who dropped out of the presidential race after Iowa, now backs Rubio and, as the election circus heads east to New Hampshire, the less conservative states will take their toll on Trump. For example, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie barely canvassed in Iowa placing all his eggs in the New Hampshire basket is hoping for a big showing. It’s a long and gruelling race for a gruelling job and, although some states may back Trump, his competitors won’t be far behind and he will soon drop off the pace.

If the man calling for a blanket ban on Muslims entering the US and building a wall on the Mexican border to stop illegal immigrants does by chance happen to make it to the presidential election in November, he is going to be up against well rounded and tested politicians in the form of either Hilary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. Although Trump’s anti-establishment demeanour has carried him a long way in the race already, it can only go so far when his outlandish pledges and rough, unprepared style are put under the microscope and torn apart by the Democratic Party. Traditionally Republican presidential hopefuls are more right-wing in the primaries to appeal to the core party electorate, who can be counted on to participate in the primary system, and then subsequently reign in their rhetoric and political plans in order to appeal to the more liberal undecided voter. Mitt Romney did this in 2012. I suspect with Trump there is no diluted, less right-wing alternative however. It’s his ultra conservative manor that has carried him this far in the race and if he makes it to the national vote (and it’s the biggest ‘if’ I’ve ever written about) this will hurt him badly.

After two terms under President Obama the US may choose to go down the Republican Party route this year, but Trump’s campaign simply does not have the legs and broad width of appeal to win both the primary system and the national election. He’s loud, controversial and an internet icon…but that’s about it.