Opinion | Trump’s Landslide Victory in Iowa


To the Editor:

Re “Trump Wins Iowa in Key First Step Toward Rematch” (front page, Jan. 16):

If you weren’t scared before Monday night’s Iowa caucuses, you should be terrified now. The disgraced, twice-impeached, quadruple-indicted former president came within one vote of winning all 99 of Iowa’s counties, and received 51 percent of the vote.

Ron DeSantis came in a distant second with 21 percent of the vote, and Nikki Haley was a distant third with just 19 percent of the vote.

The bid for the Republican nomination for president is all but over, leaving America with a terrible choice between the autocratic and awful former president, and the obviously too old and frail current president.

Unless Ms. Haley can win convincingly in New Hampshire, and match Donald Trump in South Carolina, the former president will be the nominee.

Mr. Trump’s popularity seems to rise in direct proportion to his ever-growing legal woes. He uses each court case to raise more money and further enrage his core supporters.

This was a really bad night for all Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike. It is hard to believe, but believe we must, that the threat of another Trump presidency is perilously real.

Henry A. Lowenstein
New York

To the Editor:

“Is this heaven?”

“No, it’s Iowa.”

Iowans of all stripes took provincial pride in those iconic lines from the film “Field of Dreams.” But a lot has changed here since that movie was released in 1989. A state with a distinguished pedigree in fields like civil rights and education has steadily darkened politically, from bright purple to deep red.

Monday was a cold day in heaven, and I’m not talking about the frigid weather conditions. A cult leader ran away with the nation’s first contest in the G.O.P. presidential nomination derby, setting an ominous tone for the rest of this most crucial of election years. Democracy, our very way of civic life, is imperiled.

I can see the sequel now. In “Field of Nightmares,” when the old ghost strolls out of the cornfield, he’ll look around and say, “I thought this was heaven.” And the response will be, “There was a time.”

Michael Wellman
Des Moines

To the Editor:

Donald Trump won the Iowa caucuses by a dominant margin, commandeering just over 50 percent of the votes. His nearest competitor was 30 percentage points behind him. It is surely a sign that he is the overwhelming favorite, even the prohibitive favorite, to win the Republican presidential nomination.

But things are not as rosy for Mr. Trump as it might first appear. It’s also a fact that almost half of the Iowan electorate rejected the former president in favor of another candidate. This may be interpreted as a sign that he is not as pervasively popular in his own party as he would like us to believe. It is also a sign of potential vulnerability in the general election.

This is surely music to the ears of President Biden and his supporters.

Ken Derow
Swarthmore, Pa.

To the Editor:

With former President Donald Trump’s landslide victory in the Iowa Republican caucuses, President Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, should not be surprised when they become the next Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro in the 2024 election.

David Tulanian
Henderson, Nev.

To the Editor:

The Iowa results were not great for those who would prefer that Donald Trump not win the election. On the other hand, 49 percent of the caucus voters did not vote for him. The weather was extreme. One may want to think that Mr. Trump’s great fans showed up in a higher percentage.

Therefore it may not be in the bag for Mr. Trump if one of the opponents chooses to drop out. But will they? Their ego may be in the way.

To the Editor:

Re “Prospect of a Rematch of Biden-Trump Causes Young Voters to Retreat” (news article, Jan. 7):

Some young voters need reminding that picking between the lesser of two evils is not new in American democracy. ’Twas ever thus.

The election is not about you, not about your conscience, not about your ideal candidate. It’s about the one candidate of the two who will be best for the country.

Deciding not to vote because the candidates aren’t perfectly in step with your own wishes is puerile, selfish and anti-democratic.

Just vote.

Helen Nicholas
Oakland, Calif.

To the Editor:

Re “The Necessary Risk of America’s Military Strikes in Yemen,” by Bilal Y. Saab (Opinion guest essay, nytimes.com, Jan. 13):

Mr. Saab argues that the United States didn’t have much of a choice but to strike Houthi land targets in Yemen. The Red Sea, he writes, is simply too important to the world’s supply chains for a ragtag rebel group to hold it hostage.

We can debate whether the U.S. and its British allies made the right decision, but it’s largely an academic question now. The more important one to ask is: What now?

By using military force against the Houthis to degrade their ability to attack merchant vessels, the Biden administration has now backed itself into a corner. While the strikes will obviously have a short-term effect on Houthi drone and missile capabilities, it’s difficult to envision deterrence holding over the long term.

The group has fought countless wars over the last two decades, including against a Saudi-backed military coalition, and emerged stronger after all of them by outlasting its opponents.

A number of anti-ship missiles have been fired toward Red Sea shipping lanes since the U.S. and British strikes, which suggests that the Houthis are still wedded to their position of holding ships at risk until Israel either ends the war in Gaza or drastically steps up humanitarian supplies there.

The Biden administration is now confronted with an unenviable choice: Take more military action after each Houthi attack, or hold your fire. The first increases the prospects of escalation, which the U.S. should be avoiding. The second will make the U.S. look confused and disjointed.

Ideally, U.S. officials would have thought through these dynamics before the initial order to strike. Unfortunately, the emotional urge to “do something” seems to have trumped a cold cost-benefit analysis.

Daniel R. DePetris
New Rochelle, N.Y.
The writer is a fellow at Defense Priorities, a foreign policy think tank based in Washington.

To the Editor:

Re “The Case Against Israel Is Strong,” by Megan K. Stack (Opinion guest essay, Jan. 14):

Ms. Stack’s essay describes the destructiveness — in terms of lives and infrastructure — of Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, but does little to prove the frivolous claim of genocide.

Regardless of inflammatory and appalling statements by some members of Israel’s political leadership, the actual conduct of the war shows that an intent on genocide is indeed meritless. Israel’s military drops leaflets to warn civilians of potentially dangerous areas, it calls civilians asking them to evacuate before strikes, and it lets in some food, water and fuel for civilian use, among other measures. Countries attempting genocide would not do those things.

South Africa’s charge of genocide, and Ms. Stack’s defense of that charge, cheapen the meaning of the word by confusing what may amount to potential war crimes — sadly common in conflicts — with actual attempts to wipe a set of people off the map.

There are fair arguments to be made regarding the legality under international law of Israel’s mode of response, but the charge of genocide is a step too far.

Benjamin Davidoff
New York



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