Key takeaways from Trump’s win at Iowa caucuses

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By Anthony Zurcher
North America correspondent in Des Moines, Iowa

It was perhaps the least surprising victory in the history of the Iowa caucuses.

Donald Trump has been projected as the winner of the first contest in the Republican race for a presidential nominee, and his margin appears as comfortable as opinion polls had suggested for months.

Neither the extreme cold weather nor the prospect of an anticlimactic finish deterred his supporters from turning out across Iowa to deliver victory for their man.

The full results are not in yet, and we still do not know whether Nikki Haley or Ron DeSantis will win the coveted second place in Iowa. Here are some takeaways based on what we do know at this point:

This is Donald Trump’s party

A survey of Iowans entering caucus sites on Monday night helps explain exactly why Trump’s bid for a electoral encore has been successful so far.

About half of Republican caucus-goers consider themselves part of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement, according to CBS News, the BBC’s US partner.

Mr Trump’s victory was a broad one as well. He won the young and old, men and women. He also won over the evangelical and hard-right conservative voters he had difficulty winning in 2016.

A large majority of participants think Mr Trump was the actual winner of the 2020 presidential election – a number that increases to 90% among Trump supporters.

Typically, defeated presidential candidates fade from memory, never able to shake the taint of the loss. Mr Trump, however, has managed to convince Republicans – here in Iowa and nationally – that he didn’t lose. And that is one of the reasons why he won on Monday night.

Mr Trump’s dominant position within the Republican Party has been irrefutable – but his win here, in the larger context of modern American politics, is extraordinary.

Two years, 22 months and 25 days ago, Donald Trump ended his first presidential term under a cloud of controversy, his campaign to challenge the 2020 election result culminating in the January 6 Capitol riot.

Now, as winner of the Iowa caucuses, he has taken the first significant step toward becoming the Republican Party’s nominee in November’s presidential election.

Trump still has work to do to become the Republican standard-bearer. He will face a more formidable challenge from Ms Haley in New Hampshire next week, where polls show his once dominating lead has been whittled to near single digits.

But he is still the overwhelming favourite in the race, endorsed in his first test by actual Republican voters, despite all the drama – legal and political – around his campaign.

This story will be updated.

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