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Can She Do It?

Patrick Healy: Katherine, the Iowa caucuses are 12 days away — the first chance some Americans will have to vote again for Donald Trump or decide if they want to go in a different direction. Trump has a lead of roughly 30 percentage points in several Iowa polls over Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley. What do you see driving the race in Iowa right now? Can anything stop Trump?

Katherine Miller: This is the part of an election cycle where the stakes and ideas really get tangled up with who voters think has the best shot of winning, polls, money and so forth. If a candidate runs out of money, for instance, it’s hard to campaign for president. If you zoom out and look at polling and the apparatus of support surrounding Donald Trump, it’s really much more likely than not he will be the Republican nominee. He’s polling extremely strongly nationally, but also in Iowa, where his campaign has built what looks like a real operation to make sure he wins.

Patrick: He looks like an incumbent president running for re-election, driving the conversation in the party about immigration, security, Biden’s flaws — and treating rivals like protest candidates he wouldn’t deign to debate.

Katherine: A lot of Republican voters also just support Trump and what he’s promised: The Des Moines Register published polling before Christmas showing that, on the subject of his grim commentary about immigration or when he compares people to “vermin,” many likely caucusgoers either said that those remarks made them more likely to vote for Trump or that they did not matter.

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