US Politics

US Politics

Donald Trump won the Iowa caucuses yesterday, the first step in his bid to reclaim the Republican nomination for the third consecutive presidential election. Read our recap.

How Trump Sidestepped the Tradition of Iowa Pandering

Presidential candidates often enmesh themselves in the state’s politics to woo voters, but the nature of this race means much less focus on local issues.

Donald Trump stands on a stage pumping his right fist. He’s wearing a dark suit, white shirt, red tie and a white baseball cap that says Trump Caucus Captain.

Donald J. Trump has run his campaign in Iowa in the style of an incumbent, focusing less on local issues in favor of big, national topics.Credit...Haiyun Jiang for The New York Times

    • Donald Trump stands on an elevated platform, holding a microphone. People wearing red hats are in the foreground.
    • Former President Donald Trump in Clive, Iowa, on Monday. Doug Mills/The New York Times

    The race for second place in Iowa

    Donald Trump won the Iowa caucuses yesterday, the first step in his bid to reclaim the Republican nomination for the third consecutive presidential election. Read our recap.

    The victory, called by The Associated Press only 31 minutes after the caucuses had begun, accelerated his momentum toward a potential rematch in November with President Biden that could play out on both the campaign trail and in the courtroom.

    Ron DeSantis, who had predicted victory in Iowa, came in a distant second. Nikki Haley finished third, appealing particularly to moderate, suburban and college-educated voters. The result was a setback for both Republicans, who had spent as much time and money battling each other in Iowa as battling the front-runner.

    Quotable: In remarks, Trump said he wanted to “congratulate Nikki and Ron for having a good time together.”

    Other news: Vivek Ramaswamy, the 38-year-old entrepreneur and political newcomer, dropped out of the race after a disappointing fourth-place finish.

    USA Weekly News

    DonaldTrump-If I were president, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine would never have taken place

    Donald Trump Exposes "US President Crooked Joe Biden's Criminal Behaviour Of His Involvement In The Deliberate Murder Of Over 20,000 innocent defenceless Palestinian Women and Children In Gaza, including providing Israel with Billions of Dollars to fund and establish Hamas and ISIS, which is run my Mossad Operatives, who approved allowed, planned and carried out the 7th October attack on Israel, as a false flag excuse to wipe out Gaza and murder and injure as many of the Palestinian Population in Gaza as possible and/or create the forced migration of the Palestinian People that do not die from the bombing, disease, dehydration and/or starvation from Gaza..."

    "..Israel and Mossad have been planning a second Nakba in Gaza for decades..." 

    INLTVNews Secret Investigation Report shows how and why the real powerbase behind the Israel Gaza War and Israel's Genocide Aims on the Palestinian People in Gaza and the West Bank is connected to Lord Jacob Rothschild, and  the former British Zionist Jewish Leader Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild and the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which lead to " the formation of Israel  in 1948,  an episode that resulted in the ethnic cleansing of some 750,000 Palestinians from their land..."

    "MI6, Mossad, CIA and other members of the Five Eyes Security Agencies in various ways have effective control of the established mainstream media outlets..."... William Colby former CIA Director

    "..Joe Biden US President and Antony Blinkin US Secretary are both deliberately denying $500 million to UNRWA for Humanitarian for Palestinians in Gaza while giving Israel another $15 billion for military aid to murder 20,000 plus women and children in Gaza and pushing for another $50 billion for military aid to purchase killing machines sold  by Joe Biden's Zionist partners and friends who own arms companies who make hundreds of billions of dollars each year from supplying Arms to both sides of all the Wars around the world... for Ukraine to continue to fight the two year old never ending Russian Ukraine War to kill more people that would not even have started, if I was US President instead of Crooked Joe Biden ...:... " ..Donald Trump tells and INLTVNews in an exclusive INLTVNews interview to be included a new INLTVNews movie called "The Gate Is Open ... The Dark Truth Behind The Israel Hamas Gaza War..." 

    YouTube INLTV News Videos Part1

    Well Funded Private Group Supported by Donald Trump and other Millionaires and Billionaires Are Preparing A Private Prosecution Against USA President Joe Biden, USA Secretary Antony Blinken and  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin for Various War Crimes Which Includes Conspiracy to Murder and injure over 70,000 innocent Palestinian Women and Children in Gaza and Westbank In Palestine

    YouTube INLTV News Videos Part1 The're Killing Women And Children In Gaza The Song

    In Gaza, Israel has been planning a second Nakba for decades

    • lord Jacob Rothschild from

        Israel's Zionist State Real Power

      See  USA Weekly News 

        • An insider in the Five Eyes Spy Security Alliance Network  has spoken out exposing Lord  Jacob Rothschild and his private security agency Mossad are behind controlling and financing Hamas and the 7th October 2023  attack in Israel and influencing 13 Western Powers to stop humanitarian funding to Palestinians in Gaza 
  • How Trump Sidestepped the Tradition of Iowa Pandering

    Presidential candidates often enmesh themselves in the state’s politics to woo voters, but the nature of this race means much less focus on local issues.

Donald Trump stands on a stage pumping his right fist. He’s wearing a dark suit, white shirt, red tie and a white baseball cap that says Trump Caucus Captain.

Donald J. Trump has run his campaign in Iowa in the style of an incumbent, focusing less on local issues in favor of big, national topics.Credit...Haiyun Jiang for The New York Times

How Trump Sidestepped the Tradition of Iowa Pandering

Presidential candidates often enmesh themselves in the state’s politics to woo voters, but the nature of this race means much less focus on local issues.

Anjali HuynhKellen Browning

Anjali Huynh and 

Reporting from Des Moines

Campaigning in Iowa in the months leading up to the caucuses has traditionally involved candidates’ embracing local customs, visiting familiar locations and championing policies aimed at helping the state’s farm-driven economy.

But this year, the Republicans seeking their party’s presidential nomination have largely avoided over-the-top pandering to local priorities — and any such attempts appear not to be as effective as in the past.

That’s largely because former President Donald J. Trump, who has run in the style of an incumbent, has dominated the state while barely setting foot in it. Though he refers to Iowa farmers in his speeches and talks about how he has poured money into the state, Mr. Trump has eschewed the classic retail politicking that is a mainstay of the caucuses in favor of larger rallies while focusing his message more on national issues.

In doing so, Mr. Trump is suggesting that it is perhaps not as necessary to show so much deference to local priorities to score a victory in Iowa — at least, for a former president with a huge following.

 A stack of Trump fliers on a table. A pair of hands at the top is reaching for the pile, as if to straighten them out.
Mr. Trump has held a large polling lead over his rivals in Iowa.Credit...Haiyun Jiang for The New York Times

“Most of the talk is about border security and the economy and inflation, national issues rather than Iowa-centric,” said Brent Siegrist, a state representative in Council Bluffs. If Mr. Trump was “not in the field, maybe some other issues would have risen to a more prominent role,” he suggested.

Jeff Kaufmann, the chairman of Iowa’s Republican Party, said he was “surprised” that the state of the U.S. border with Mexico, rather than a more local issue, had “vaulted to the forefront” of issues for many voters.

The other candidates have still sought to make Iowa-specific pitches typical of a traditional race. But with Mr. Trump maintaining a nearly 30-point lead over his nearest rival — Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina — in the final Des Moines Register poll before the caucuses, their pitches do not always seem to land. Local issues have instead served more as a differentiator among the candidates competing for second place, rather than part of a winning strategy.

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who has visited all of the state’s 99 counties and was pinning his hopes on a strong showing in the caucuses, has leaned into proposals aimed at resonating with agricultural communities, such as calling to remove a “death tax” on family farms. 

Mr. DeSantis and Ms. Haley briefly sniped at each other over ethanol and agricultural issues during the most recent CNN debate. On Thursday, Ms. Haley took aim at Mr. DeSantis at a biofuels summit for previously supporting legislation to repeal the Renewable Fuels Standard, a popular policy that requires ethanol to be blended into gasoline.

Vivek Ramaswamy speaking on a stage with  roughly 20 people looking on. A person in the foreground is holding up a sign that says No Deadly Carbon Pipelines.

Vivek Ramaswamy has seized on one local issue, planned carbon dioxide pipelines.Credit...Hilary Swift for The New York Times

And Vivek Ramaswamy, the wealthy entrepreneur, has harshly criticized his rivals, including Mr. Trump, by name for not opposing carbon dioxide pipelines that would seize some Iowans’ land via eminent domain.

Yet such sparring seemed almost quaint at a time when Mr. Trump and his legal travails continue to suck up most of the attention. 

Monte Shaw, the executive director of the Renewable Fuels Association, said that the lower-polling candidates had “inevitably ended up talking about Iowa issues” by way of engaging with voters at town halls or participating in debates. But, he said, Mr. Trump’s larger rallies, with less voter interaction, had “allowed him to stick to broader issues.”

“It’s not really a typical caucus because you do have a former president running,” Mr. Shaw said. “He does have the ability to come in and draw big crowds,” he said, adding that “that is not your typical Iowa caucus style.”

Still, as Mr. Trump has sought to shore up support in the state, he, too, has made last-minute local pitches. In a video posted by Mr. Trump’s super PAC one day before the caucuses, Mr. Trump said he would “endorse ethanol” because “ethanol endorsed me”— though he presented no specifics about what that would entail in terms of policy.

The heightened attention on national priorities may not make much of a difference to Iowa in the long term. After all, past candidates have, at times, made promises that they seem to forget when the primary calendar moves onward. During former President Barack Obama’s first term, for example, he faced criticism from farming organizations for not fulfilling an Iowa campaign promise to close a loophole that benefited “mega-farms.”

Iowans say the focused attention has largely benefited their state over the years. They point to examples like the appointment of Tom Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa, as agriculture secretary under the Obama and Biden administrations as proof that hosting presidential candidates pays off.

Iowa has influenced policy by forcing candidates to study up on the Farm Bill, a legislative package that oversees agricultural and food programs nationwide. And Terry Branstad, the former governor of Iowa, noted that former President George W. Bush — the last Republican candidate to both win the Iowa caucuses and become the eventual party nominee — was “instrumental” in enacting the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“The use of ethanol under his leadership went way up, even though he’s from the oil state of Texas,” Mr. Branstad said. “That was something Iowans appreciated.”

Mr. Trump often boasts that he gave farmers $28 billion in bailouts to offset any repercussions from trade wars. But his focus on specific issues has been lacking.

But the state’s first-in-the-nation status — only for Republicans this cycle — remains important to lesser-known candidates trying to jump-start their campaigns. David Peterson, a political science professor at Iowa State University, suggested that years before presidential hopefuls join the field, they might consider how they would address agricultural policy and issues that affect rural Americans.

“If you’re a senator from a state that doesn’t have any agriculture, that doesn’t grow any corn, you’ve still got to think about ethanol subsidies, and, ‘Will that hurt me in Iowa?’” Mr. Peterson said. “It’s a cost-less thing to support because your constituents won’t care, but it could potentially be a costly thing to oppose if you end up running for president.”

A stage for a Trump rally. There is red and white bunting in the foreground, and a lectern on the stage has a Trump campaign sign. An American flag behind the lectern is being put away.

Mr. Trump has eschewed the classic retail politicking that is a mainstay of the caucuses in favor of larger rallies and focusing his message more on national issues.Credit...Haiyun Jiang for The New York Times

With that in mind, the 2024 candidates have made varying degrees of such promises. Mr. DeSantis has vowed to move the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Iowa. Ms. Haley has made general promises to take on China to “free America’s farmers and ranchers.” And Mr. Ramaswamy has suggested tying the U.S. dollar to agricultural commodities.

This week, Mr. DeSantis, Ms. Haley and former Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, a long-shot candidate, appeared at a forum for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit to woo farmers, duly voicing their support for all eight parts of a Biofuels Vision plan, including promises to promote renewable fuels and oppose electric vehicle mandates.

However, Mr. Trump, who maintains a commanding lead over his rivals and remains a favorite among Iowa farmers, had not publicly taken a stance on more than half of them.

Anjali Huynh, a member of the 2023-24 Times Fellowship class based in New York, covers national politics, the 2024 presidential campaign and other elections. More about Anjali Huynh

Kellen Browning writes about technology, the gig economy and the video game industry. He has been reporting for The Times since 2020. 

More about Kellen Browning

Election 2024

  • 5 takeaways from Trump’s runaway victory in the Iowa caucuses.

  • The mood at the DeSantis watch party was anger and disbelief — over how fast the call was made.

  • Trump invested in a muscular turnout operation, and it paid off.

  • Vivek Ramaswamy, a wealthy political novice who aligned with Trump, dropped out of the race.

  • News outlets declared Trump the winner even as Iowans were still caucusing.

Our Coverage of the 2024 Presidential Election

News and Analysis

Read More

As Trump Continues to Insult E. Jean Carroll, 2nd Defamation Trial Opens

The writer has already won $5 million for his sexual abuse and his subsequent denials. But the former president still claims he does not know who she is.

E. Jean Carroll smiles in sunglasses.

E. Jean Carroll is seeking $10 million for statements Donald J. Trump made in 2019.Credit...Kirsten Luce for The New York Times

A Manhattan jury will be asked a narrow question this week: How much money must former President Donald J. Trump pay the writer E. Jean Carroll for defaming her after she accused him of raping her?

Ms. Carroll’s chance encounter decades ago at the Bergdorf Goodman department store, in which she said Mr. Trump shoved her against a dressing room wall, pulled down her tights and forced himself on her, was already the focus of a trial last year. A jury in May awarded Ms. Carroll just over $2 million for the assault and nearly $3 million for defamation over Mr. Trump’s remark in October 2022 calling her claim “a complete con job.”

The trial starting Tuesday focuses on separate statements by Mr. Trump in June 2019, directly after Ms. Carroll disclosed her allegation in New York magazine. At the time, Mr. Trump called her claim “totally false,” saying that he had never met Ms. Carroll, a former Elle magazine advice columnist, and that she invented a story to sell a book.

Now, Mr. Trump says he wants to attend and testify at Ms. Carroll’s trial, something he didn’t do in the earlier case. That’s sparked a bitter dispute between lawyers for Ms. Carroll, 80, and Mr. Trump, 77, over what the former president could say if he took the stand, and whether he would stray beyond strict boundaries the judge has set 

The judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, has ruled that given the jury’s findings in the first trial, Mr. Trump cannot now contest Ms. Carroll’s version of events — as he frequently does in public statements.

“Mr. Trump is precluded from offering any testimony, evidence or argument suggesting or implying that he did not sexually assault Ms. Carroll, that she fabricated her account of the assault or that she had any motive to do so,” Judge Kaplan wrote in an opinion on Jan. 9.

The judge had also previously ruled that Ms. Carroll does not need to prove again that Mr. Trump’s comments in 2019 were defamatory, finding they were substantially the same as those that prompted last year’s award.

“This trial will not be a ‘do over’ of the previous trial,” Judge Kaplan wrote on Jan. 9.

Ms. Carroll is seeking $10 million in damages for harm to her reputation, plus unspecified punitive damages, which are intended to deter misconduct.

Roberta Kaplan and E. Jean Carroll stand outside a courthouse.

Roberta A. Kaplan, left, wrote to the judge, saying that Mr. Trump’s “recent statements and behavior strongly suggest that he will seek to sow chaos.”Credit...Anna Watts for The New York Times

Still, Mr. Trump continues to attack her relentlessly, repeating that he had never met Ms. Carroll and denying that he assaulted her. Minutes after the verdict last year, he began to issue a stream of blistering posts on his Truth Social website, and later he went on CNN, where he called Ms. Carroll a “wack job” and said the trial was “a rigged deal.”

In recent weeks, he has escalated those attacks. On a single day at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida estate, he issued a rapid stream of more than 40 derisive Truth Social posts, stunning some advisers with the fusillade. On Jan. 6, while campaigning in Iowa, he said again that Ms. Carroll had faked her story.

Then on Thursday, when Mr. Trump was allowed to speak in court during New York’s civil fraud trial against him, he assailed a judge to his face. Afterward, Mr. Trump announced he would attend Ms. Carroll’s trial, “and I’m going to explain I don’t know who the hell she is.”

On Friday, Ms. Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta A. Kaplan, wrote to Judge Kaplan in federal court, saying that if Mr. Trump appeared at the trial as a witness or otherwise, “his recent statements and behavior strongly suggest that he will seek to sow chaos.”


“There are any number of reasons why Mr. Trump might perceive a personal or political benefit from intentionally turning this trial into a circus,” Ms. Kaplan said. (She is not related to Judge Kaplan.) 

Ms. Kaplan asked that the judge, a veteran of nearly three decades on the bench, require Mr. Trump to state under oath that he understands what testimony is off-limits, like claiming he did not rape or know Ms. Carroll or questioning her motives.

Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, responded Sunday in a letter asking the judge to deny Ms. Kaplan’s request, saying it “proposed unprecedented hurdles.”

She said Mr. Trump was “well aware” of the court’s rulings “and the strict confines placed on his testimony.”

“We presume that this is not a kangaroo court of a third-world country,” Ms. Habba added, “where a party to a lawsuit is involuntarily made to say what a court and an opposing party wants them to say.”

Alina Habba walks into federal court past gray barricades.

Alina Habba, one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, said her client well understands the judge’s rules. Credit...Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump’s attacks on Ms. Carroll have not ended. On Friday, Judge Kaplan denied Mr. Trump’s request to delay the trial for one week to allow him to travel to Florida for the funeral of Melania Trump’s mother.

Mr. Trump went on Truth Social, calling Judge Kaplan a “crazed, Trump hating Judge” who had presided over an “Election Interference Witch Hunt, disguised as a trial, of a woman I have never met before.”

”Can anyone imagine a husband not going to his wife’s mother’s funeral over a MADE UP STORY,” Mr. Trump blared.

Ms. Kaplan and Ms. Habba have declined to comment about the case in recent days. Legal experts, though, have been puzzling over Mr. Trump’s approach.

Rebecca Roiphe, a New York Law School professor who studies the legal profession, said, “Whenever I can’t figure out a Trump legal strategy, I usually think it’s not a legal strategy but in fact a public relations strategy.”

Mr. Trump probably assumes he will lose, she said. “He just wants to claim that this is a political hit job, and so he’s giving himself the material with which to do that.”

As for Ms. Carroll, a substantial punitive damages award could be the most effective way to stop Mr. Trump’s attacks, said Chris Mattei, a lawyer who in 2022 helped the families of eight people killed in the 2012 mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., win $1.4 billion from Alex Jones, the Infowars conspiracy broadcaster.

“You would expect Ms. Carroll to present all the evidence available to her,” Mr. Mattei said, “to show that Donald Trump is recalcitrant and determined to continue to harm her.”

Ben Chew, a Washington, D.C., lawyer who represented the actor Johnny Depp in a defamation case against his ex-wife, said money is Mr. Trump’s vulnerable spot.

“It’s really the only avenue through which the court or the jury can put an end to this,” he said.

Mr. Trump has long been furious about Ms. Carroll’s allegations, and in private, he has repeatedly railed against her.

In the trial last spring, Ms. Carroll testified that the attack at Bergdorf’s came after she bumped into Mr. Trump one evening, and he asked her to help him buy a present for a female friend.

They ended up in the lingerie section, where he motioned her to a dressing room, shut the door and began assaulting her. Using his weight to pin her, he pulled down her tights and forced his fingers and then, she said, his penis into her vagina. The jury did not, however, find he had raped her.

Judge Kaplan has ruled that because the jury found that Mr. Trump had used his fingers to assault her, her rape claim was “substantially true under common modern parlance.”

Kellen Browning contributed reporting from Newton, Iowa, and Susan C. Beachy contributed research.

Benjamin Weiser is a reporter covering the Manhattan federal courts. He has long covered criminal justice, both as a beat and investigative reporter. Before joining The Times in 1997, he worked at The Washington Post. More about Benjamin Weiser

Maggie Haberman is a senior political correspondent reporting on the 2024 presidential campaign, down ballot races across the country and the investigations into former President Donald J. Trump. More about Maggie Haberman

Maria Cramer is a Times reporter covering the New York Police Department and crime in the city and surrounding areas. More about Maria Cramer

What to Know About E. Jean Carroll’s Accusations

Card 1 of 5

Two lawsuits. E. Jean Carroll, a writer who says Donald Trump raped her in the mid 1990s, filed two separate lawsuits against the former president. Here’s what to know:

How Trump, DeSantis and Haley’s Teams Are Thinking About Turnout in Iowa

Republican campaigns are battling cold, complacency and voter discontent as they push voters to caucus on Monday.

A man walks on a snowy sidewalk in front of a mural reading “Greater Des Moines.”

Campaigns are struggling to predict how many voters may show up to caucus during dangerous winter weather in Iowa.Credit...Hilary Swift for The New York Times
Jonathan Swan
Charles Homans

Jonathan Swan and 

Jonathan Swan reported from Des Moines and Urbandale, Iowa. Charles Homans reported from Waukee and Waterloo, Iowa.

Nikki Haley’s team predicts Iowans will brave brutal weather to caucus for her. Aides to Ron DeSantis say the subzero temperatures give their candidate an edge because he has the biggest team knocking on doors. And the Trump team says they don’t worry about the cold — former President Donald J. Trump’s supporters will “walk through glass” to caucus for him.

The truth: No one really knows what to expect on Monday night when Iowans become the first to weigh in on the 2024 presidential election. An already unpredictable and quirky process is even more so this year, thanks to dangerously cold weather and an unusually uncompetitive contest.

Until recently, both the Trump and DeSantis teams had been privately preparing for an enormous turnout of more than 200,000 caucusgoers, a figure that would eclipse the party’s previous record of 187,000 in 2016. But as the winter storm blew in last week, nobody from any of the leading campaigns wanted to attach their names to a firm prediction.

The National Weather Service forecast subzero temperatures in Des Moines, with wind chills dropping to as low as minus 30 degrees on Monday.

This year’s caucuses are unusual for many reasons beyond the weather. A contest known for elevating long shots has been dominated by the former president for months. What suspense is building is not about the winner, but about the margin of victory and who claims second place.

That has given the affair a subdued, sedated feel. Interviews with voters across the state reveal many are unhappy with their choices, and feel that they’re going through the motions in a simulation of a contest.

Brian Bean, an insurance company owner in Waukee who caucused for Mr. Trump in 2016, is not caucusing, he said, citing concerns about some of Mr. Trump’s recent speeches and a field of other candidates that had left him unimpressed. While he expects to vote for Mr. Trump in November if he is the Republican nominee, “What bothers me about him is he’s not denying that he won’t be vindictive if he’s elected,” Mr. Bean said. “And I’ve got a problem with that.”

A stack of blue signs reading “Trump Make America Great Again!”

A volunteer assembling Trump campaign yard signs in Urbandale, Iowa.Credit...Jon Cherry for The New York Times
A stack of blue signs reading “Trump Make America Great Again!”

Some of the discontent is distinctly Iowan, said Bob Beatty, a political science professor at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, and an expert on the Iowa caucuses. Voters in the state delight in being courted by candidates and wielding their perceived influence. (In reality, Iowa Republicans have a poor record of picking the recent nominees.)

This year, Iowans have been effectively stripped of their role by Mr. Trump’s apparent advantage — a key poll published Saturday showed him winning 48 percent — and lack of interest in the storied traditions of campaigning in Iowa. Mr. Trump’s campaign in the state has been limited to large rallies and he didn’t participate in any of the primary debates.

“He’s not shaking hands, and he’s not taking questions,” Mr. Beatty said. “Trump is campaigning as an incumbent, and it’s half working. And if you get half, that’s it.”

Encapsulating the local malaise — albeit from the anti-Trump perspective — the Raygun clothing store in Des Moines is selling T-shirts with the slogan: “Election 2024: You’d think battling a fascist takeover of America would spark more interest from people.”

David Kochel, a longtime Iowa political strategist, predicted about 150,000 Iowans would show up on Monday, a figure in line with historical norms, but still just about 25 percent of the registered Republicans in the state. He cited Mr. Trump’s lead and the weather as the biggest factors.

“Iowans can go out when it’s 15, 20 degrees, no problem. They do it all the time, all winter long,” Mr. Kochel said. But when it’s “10 below, 20 below — that can get dangerous for people. I mean, cars don’t start, elderly people, frostbite.”

Voters cannot participate on their own schedule. To caucus, voters must show up at their local caucus site at 7 p.m., listen to speeches from candidates’ supporters and write down their preference. The process can be quick — or not.

A man in short-sleeve shirt and a black cowboy hat walks across a snow-covered street. He is carrying a sign reading “Truth Vivek.”

The National Weather Service is projecting wind chills as low as minus 30 degrees in parts of Iowa on Monday.Credit...Hilary Swift for The New York Times

Some would-be caucusgoers, looking at the forecast, were having second thoughts.

Anthony O’Malley, 61, a retired Army veteran and a Republican-leaning independent in Waterloo, said he was considering registering as a Republican in order to caucus on Monday, and was deciding between Mr. Trump and Ms. Haley. But the combination of a recent surgery and the weather had changed his mind.

“It ain’t worth it,” he said.

Mr. Kochel, who is not aligned with a campaign, said he believed lower turnout would benefit Mr. Trump’s rivals. Polls show Mr. Trump is more popular with people who are considering caucusing for the first time this year, a group that might be easily deterred by the weather.

That’s a view shared by the DeSantis operation, which has spent weeks boasting of its get-out-the-vote machine. The well-funded super PAC backing the governor, Never Back Down, has spent tens of millions of dollars on voter outreach in the early states — outspending any of Mr. DeSantis’s rivals. Over the past seven months the DeSantis super PAC has identified every potential DeSantis voter in Iowa and visited their homes multiple times. It has collected reams of data on these voters, studied what would be required to get them to caucus for Mr. DeSantis — whether they need a ride or some extra encouragement from a neighbor. It says it has enlisted 1,600 precinct captains ready to organize caucusgoers on Monday. 

An adviser for the Trump campaign, Chris LaCivita, scoffed at the idea that bad weather was good for Mr. DeSantis.

“It’s laughable that weather would have a greater impact on first-time caucusgoers,” Mr. LaCivita said, claiming the campaign’s voters had an extraordinary level of commitment. “When Trump says most people will walk through glass to vote for him, he’s not joking.”

Asked whether the Trump campaign was doing anything to ensure their voters showed up to caucus in the subzero temperatures, Mr. LaCivita said that months ago they began recruiting drivers with four-wheel-drive vehicles to give neighbors rides to caucus sites.

Mr. Trump’s campaign has been outspent by Mr. DeSantis. But, unlike in 2016, when Mr. Trump lost Iowa to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, the former president has built a professional campaign operation. 

The campaign says it has around 2,000 caucus captains — identifiable by their signature gold and white caps, which have already become a coveted collector’s item in Iowa political circles. Many of these volunteers have been given formal training and each has been tasked with bringing 10 Iowans to caucus for Mr. Trump.

Three men sit at a round table in front of an America flag. “DeSantis 2024” signs are on the table.

Voters listened to Ron DeSantis speak in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Saturday.Credit...Jordan Gale for The New York Times

Mr. Trump also benefits from intensely loyal fans, some of whom have driven many miles to help him out, without having any contact with the campaign.

Edward Micheals, a 66-year-old truck driver, said he drove from his home in Dallas, Texas, to volunteer. “We don’t want to take any chances,” he said in an interview at the Machine Shed restaurant in Urbandale on Thursday, where the former president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., rallied supporters.

Amid all of this uncertainty, the biggest wild card is Ms. Haley.

Until late November, she had almost no campaign staff on the ground in Iowa. But then the political network founded by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch endorsed her and handed over their organizational muscle and financial heft. The group, Americans for Prosperity Action, has been knocking doors across Iowa for Ms. Haley, trying to reassemble the coalition of wealthier, college-educated Republicans that brought Senator Marco Rubio of Florida close to victory in a fast finish in the 2016 Iowa caucuses.

The weather may play to her advantage with that group. Those voters are concentrated in urban areas, where roads have been cleared and it will be easier for them to get to a caucus site. It’s unclear which factor will matter more in her fight with Mr. DeSantis for second place.

“If you put a gun in my head right now, I would probably rather be Nikki Haley because she has had the better trajectory than DeSantis over time,” said Mr. Kochel, the political strategist, referring to the battle for second place. “But boy, I wouldn’t bet a mortgage payment on it right now.”

Reporting was contributed by Jazmine Ulloa, Reid J. Epstein, Kellen Browning and Lisa Lerer.

Jonathan Swan is a political reporter covering the 2024 presidential election and Donald Trump’s campaign. More about Jonathan Swan

Charles Homans is a reporter for The Times and The Times Magazine, covering national politics. More about Charles Homans


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Israel's Genocide Of Palestinian People In Gaza 29th December 2023

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Donald Trump's lead is growing over Republican rivals Apr 02, 2023 


Breaking News: Vivek Ramaswamy, wealthy political novice who aligned with Trump, quits campaign

Vivek Ramaswamy, Wealthy Political Novice Who Aligned With Trump, Quits Campaign

A self-funding entrepreneur, Mr. Ramaswamy peaked in late August but deflated under attack from his rivals. He endorsed Donald J. Trump after dropping out after the Iowa caucuses.


Vivek Ramaswamy during former President Donald J. Trump’s speech at a caucus site in Clive, Iowa, on Monday.Credit...Maansi Srivastava/The New York Times

Vivek Ramaswamy, the 38-year-old entrepreneur and political newcomer who briefly made a splash with brash policy proposals and an outsize sense of confidence, dropped out of the race for the Republican White House nomination after a disappointing fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.

He then immediately endorsed former President Donald J. Trump for the White House.

“We did not achieve the surprise that we wanted to deliver tonight,” he said in Des Moines on Monday night.

Mr. Ramaswamy, who funded much of his campaign from a personal fortune made in biotechnology and finance, was an unlikely contender at one point. He clung closely to Mr. Trump, vowing to support him even if he was convicted of felonies, promising to pardon him if elected to the White House, and saying he would voluntarily remove his name from the ballot in states that succeeded in knocking Mr. Trump from the ballot as an “insurrectionist” disqualified by the Constitution.

Then two days before the Iowa caucuses, Mr. Trump’s campaign turned on him, declaring him a fraud, and the former president — after months of warmth toward his would-be rival — demanded that voters reject Mr. Ramaswamy and vote for him.

By then, the Harvard-educated Mr. Ramaswamy had embraced increasingly apocalyptic conspiracy theories; spoke of a “system” that would block Mr. Trump from office and install a “puppet,” Nikki Haley; called the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol an “inside job” orchestrated by federal law enforcement; and begun trafficking in the racist theory of “replacement” that holds falsely that Democrats are importing immigrants of color to supplant white people.

The theory, which has fueled white supremacist rampages in Buffalo, N.Y., Pittsburgh and El Paso, Texas, “is not some grand right-wing conspiracy theory,” he said in one Republican primary debate, “but a basic statement of the Democratic Party’s platform.”


Mr. Ramaswamy’s opening gambit was to say that, with his superior grasp of the Constitution and civil service laws, he would take Mr. Trump’s America First agenda further than the former president ever could.

That would mean immediately eliminating the Department of Education, F.B.I. and Internal Revenue Service by executive order, cutting the federal work force by 75 percent in a mass layoff, without Congress’s approval, and pulling back America’s foreign military commitments, first in Ukraine but also eventually in Israel and Taiwan.

His isolationist foreign policy gave rivals a ripe target to attack him on, but his bleak vision of millennial and Generation Z voters “starved for purpose, meaning and identity,” with a black hole in their hearts had surprising resonance with older voters.


He used the debate stage to clash fiercely with Republican rivals for the nomination not named Trump, mocking Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida for what he said were high heels on his boots, calling Ms. Haley, the former South Carolina governor, a stooge for China and the defense industry, and tarring the entire field as pawns of the wealthy financiers of their super PACs. He even called the G.O.P. a “party of losers.”

Such tactics initially gave surprising traction to a businessman who had never held elective office and was known only to a narrow slice of the electorate familiar with his books decrying “Woke Capitalism” and investment strategies aimed at environmental progress and social consciousness. He made a splash at the Iowa State Fair rapping to a recording of his idol, Eminem.

His support among Republican primary voters in a composite of national polling spiked the day of the first Republican debate at 11.6 percent, putting him in third place, just behind Mr. DeSantis and well ahead of the rest of the field.

But he slipped back to the pack as his efforts to gain attention and a penchant for stretching the truth yielded caustic responses from his rivals and appeared to grate on the voters. The second Republican primary debate, in September, featured Ms. Haley telling Mr. Ramaswamy, “every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber.”

During the third debate in November, Ms. Haley called Mr. Ramaswamy “just scum” after he accused her of hypocrisy on China because her daughter used the Chinese social media platform TikTok.


By then, Ms. Haley had overtaken Mr. Ramaswamy for third place in national polling. His dogged campaigning in New Hampshire, which in late summer had him vaulting to second place, lost its magic. He blitzed Iowa with by far the most events — rallies, round tables, podcasts and interviews seemingly with anyone with a microphone — but could not regain altitude.

Mr. Ramaswamy had privately told backers that his strategy was to cling to Mr. Trump in the hope that the former president’s myriad legal battles would force him out of the race — and Mr. Ramaswamy would be the logical next choice for Mr. Trump’s most ardent supporters. By the end of September, he had contributed nearly $17 million of his own money.

But with Mr. Trump making it clear not even a conviction would force him from the race, Mr. Ramaswamy’s strategy and self-funding proved unsustainable.

Jonathan Weisman is a politics writer, covering campaigns with an emphasis on economic and labor policy. He is based in Chicago. More about Jonathan Weisman

Our politics reporters. Times journalists are not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. That includes participating in rallies and donating money to a candidate or cause.

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New York Times


Jonathan Weisman

By Jonathan Weisman

Reporting from  Des Moines

Jan. 16, 2024,


Donald Trump first inched further ahead as top contender for the Republican presidential nomination after announcing that he expected to be indicted in New York, according to exclusive Trafalgar Group polling for Newsweek. Then, after the indictment happened, he surged in the polls.

The announcement on March 30 that Trump would be indicted in New York, becoming the first former U.S. president to face charges in a criminal case, confirmed the prediction he had made on March 19. Trump has been under investigation for allegedly violating campaign finance laws over hush-money payments to an adult film star and over his business records. He has called the indictment politically-motivated and denied wrongdoing.

Leaping to Trump's defense, Republicans have said the indictment will only help him in his bid to win the GOP nomination and try to return to the White House.

The polling for Newsweek points in that direction.

In a poll taken March 14-19, largely before Trump had said he expected to be indicted, he was supported by 43.8 percent of likely Republican primary voters.

In a second poll taken March 22-25, after his announcement, he was supported by 44.4 percent. A total of 1,082 people were polled. And in a third poll taken Friday-Sunday, after the indictment came down, Trump surged to 56.2 percent. The margin of error was 2.9 percent.


Composite image of some potential contenders for the Republican presidential nomination for the 2024 election with former President Donald Trump on the left and Ron DeSantis, Liz Cheney and Mike Pence from top to bottom on the right. The four came top in an a poll of likely Republican primary voters in which Trump extended his lead.

In all three polls, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was second of the 11 who are seen as likely contenders, though his numbers slipped after news of an impending indictment of Trump, going from 32.2 percent to 30.4 percent. Neither responded to emailed requests for comment. In the third poll ending Sunday, DeSantis fell to 22.5 percent.

Trump has been under investigation over his business dealings in Manhattan as well as allegedly paying adult-film actress Stormy Daniels to keep their relationship a secret ahead of the 2016 election. The charges are so far sealed.

Robert Cahaly, chief pollster for Trafalgar, predicted that if Trump can hold above 50 percent, "then this field of Republicans that we think will expand, won't, because some who are on the fence will stay on the side of not running." Whether he can or not could depend on what's in the sealed indictment. "If it's weak and all about Stormy Daniels," then his polling numbers could remain high, said Cahaly.

The Trafalgar polling also tried to get a better sense of sentiment towards the candidates without calculations as to who would have the best chance of beating President Joe Biden or another Democrat.

To that end, the first poll asked respondents: "If you personally had the ability to name the Republican presidential nominee, who would it be?" In that case, DeSantis moved much closer to Trump, trailing him 38.5 percent to 40.2 percent.

Asked for their reasons for supporting a candidate, among eight possible answers, "Always puts America first" was the most popular response at 38.4 percent, followed by "represents a new generation of leaders" at 18.7 percent.

Following those were, in order, "understands the concerns of average people;" "can win the general election;" "represents a threat to the Washington establishment;" "economic issues;" "culture warrior;" and "international issues."

Trafalgar also asked in its first poll for respondents to name their second choice.

Trump and DeSantis also dominated, though Nikki HaleyMike PenceMike Pompeo, Tim Scott and Vivek Ramaswamy also featured.

In an indication of how passionate Trump's most fervent supporters were, nearly 16 percent of likely GOP primary voters who had called him their first choice also listed him as their second choice, even though they weren't supposed to, Cahaly noted.



Biden Goes Off-Script After His Speech — It’s WORSE Than You Could Imagine

President Joe Biden's fields questions from Nicolle Wallace via MSNBC

President Joe Biden delivered a speech during the signing ceremony of a proclamation to establish the “Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument” in Illinois and Mississippi.

At the end of the speech, Biden went off-script and it didn’t go well.

“Before I say even more what’s on my mind, I’m now gonna leave this podium,” Biden said. The video quickly went viral on social media as people mocked Biden’s apparent mental decline.

“What a speech… Epic in its brilliance,” one person commented sarcastically. “So sharp, witty and funny,” another person said mockingly.

“Before I lie even more, Im going to walk away,” another person said.

President Biden is accused of lying during the speech by suggesting he participated in the Civil Rights movement.

Biden talking about his time as a public defender. “It was a lesson I learned coming out of — not like real leaders in the civil rights movement — but when I came out of the civil rights movement as a kid as a public defender.” Biden said.

Biden was a public defender for a brief time. After significant research, BuzzFeed found that Biden defended a cow thief in Delaware.

A poll from NBC found that the majority of Americans (68%) believe Biden does not have the mental and physical health to serve as president.

The poll also found that a staggering 43 percent of Democrats believe Biden is not mentally and physically healthy to serve as president.

This concern among Democrats has doubled since 2020. Prior to 2020, just one in five Democrats were concerned about Biden’s mental acuity.

NBC found that 89% of Republicans agree that Biden does not have the cognitive or physicial abilities to be president.

Biden will be 82 years old in 2024 and claims he will seek re-election as the nominee of the Democratic Party. Given Biden’s long history of physical and mental struggles, it remains unclear whether the Democrat Party will rally behind him and win the White House.

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    “I certainly expressed to Clayton you know, Colorado Republicans would love to see [Trump] come out so that they can, you know, give them a good show of support. And I’m sure he’ll go ahead and pass that on to the president,” Dave Williams, chair of the Colorado GOP said. (Trending: Founding Dixie Chick Member Dies Unexpectedly)


    “We would welcome him to come out but we understand if he needs to focus on Iowa.”

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    “We need to be able to highlight what Biden and his team are doing, disenfranchising voters on a wide scale, not just on a national scale, but in these states and what they’re doing is taking democracy out of the hands of the public, out of the voters,” Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said.

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    Trump’s supporters have always loved his rhetoric

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    Criticized for making concerning comments

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    he radical left thugs that live like vermin”

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    Dehumanizing the political opposition

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    Embroiled in even more controversy

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    Parroting Adolf Hitler“Tonight, Donald Trump channeled his role models as he parroted Adolf Hitler, praised Kim Jong Un, and quoted Vladimir Putin while running for president on a promise to rule as a dictator and threaten American democracy,” Ammar Moussa said in a statement. 
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    The former president’s plans are worrying

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    The incidents may have helped Trump

    However, while these two incidents may have angered many, they may have also worked to help the former president in his race to win the GOP Presidential Nomination according to a poll from NBC News, the Des Moines Register, and Mediacom. 

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    A new poll investigating Trump’s comments

    The poll, which surveyed 502 GOP caucus goers, was conducted between December 2nd and the 7th, and asked participants to rank eight statements the former president made by whether they would make the person more or less likely to vote for Trump. 

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    Breaking down the most important questions

    Mediaite put together a good breakdown of the top three most important statements as they pertained to Trump’s worrying rhetoric and noted that in all of the three cases, the statements made caucus goers more likely to support Trump. 

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    Trump’s vermin comment

    When asked about Trump’s comments on rooting out “radical left thugs that who live like vermin,” 43% of respondents said it made them more likely to support Trump while 32% noted it didn’t matter and 23% reported it made them less likely to support Trump. 

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    “Poisoning the blood of the country”

    Trump’s comments about immigrants poisoning the blood of the country made 42% of people polled more likely to vote for him whereas 29% said the comments didn’t matter and 28% noted the remarks made it less likely they would vote for Trump. 

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    Sweeping raids and mass deportations

    Finally, when asked about comments Trump made on authorizing “sweeping raids, giant camps and mass deportations,” 50% reported they made it more likely that they would vote for Trump while 22% said it didn’t matter and 27% noted it made their vote less likely.

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    The dark truth about America

    While it was a small sample size, the polling nevertheless revealed that there are those in the country who not only like like the former president’s worrying new rhetoric, but it also makes them more willing to vote for him.

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Sun 24 Dec 2023

On a cold night in November, a man named Jefferson Davis addressed a crowd of conservative activists gathered in an American Legion hall 20 miles north of Milwaukee. In his left hand, Davis brandished an unusual prop.


“In this diaper box are all the receipts for the illegal absentee ballots that were put into the Mark Zuckerberg drop boxes all over the state of Wisconsin,” said Davis.

Behind him, a long table stacked with papers, binders and a small pile of doorknobs stretched across the hall. They were for theatrical effect: the doorknobs were a tortured analogy for the multiple conspiracy theories Davis had floated, and the diaper box was a visual stand-in for the ballot drop boxes Wisconsin voters used across the state in 2020. The paperwork, Davis insisted, contained the evidence of an enormous plot to steal the 2020 presidential election from Donald Trump in Wisconsin. His audience of more than 70 people, including local and state-level elected officials, sat rapt.

Davis was speaking at an event organized by Patriots of Ozaukee County, a rightwing group that vows to “combat the forces that threaten our safety, prosperity and freedoms” and compares itself to the musket-toting Minutemen of the revolutionary war.

The organization is one of more than 30 such “patriot” groups in Wisconsin identified by the Guardian which claim that the last presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump. Many, including the Ozaukee county organization, openly embrace Christian nationalist rhetoric and ideology, arguing that the laws of the US government should reflect conservative Christian beliefs about issues like abortion and LGBTQ+ rights.

Their religious interpretation of the US’s founding has propelled these groups not only into fights over elections administration but also against vaccine requirements and protections for transgender people.


We were tired of the GOP, because they’re not really an activist organization


Scott Rishel Patriots of Ozaukee County

Now, with the 2024 presidential election less than a year away, Wisconsin’s patriot movement and its allies are fighting for legislation that they believe will protect the state’s electoral process from fraud, and mobilizing supporters to work the polls, observe polling places and spread the word about their concerns – pushing the GOP further to the right and threatening more challenges to the voting process come election day.

Patriots of Ozaukee County was created in March 2021 by local activists who were “upset about the election”, said Scott Rishel, who founded the group. He felt there was nowhere he could speak freely about the 2020 election, or things like Covid-19 vaccines and masks. Plus, he said: “We were tired of the GOP, because they’re not really an activist organization.”

At the urging of a friend, he convened the group’s first meeting.

“With the 2020 election and Covid tyranny, that all opened my eyes,” he told the crowd of mostly older couples at the November event. “The silent majority was killing us. It was killing our country, killing our community. And we needed to learn how to no longer be silent.”

By “we”, Rishel meant conservative Christians. “Jesus Christ is my savior, my lord. It’s amazing how some people didn’t have the courage to say that – they think it’ll make people uncomfortable.”

Their movement of biblically motivated patriots has since roared to life, winning some powerful allies along the way.

In attendance at the Ozaukee county meeting was the state senator Duey Stroebel, the vice-chair of the state’s powerful joint committee on finance. Stroebel, who has refrained from actually endorsing Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, has nonetheless backed numerous bills to restrict voting access, invoking the heightened anxiety on the right about election security to justify their passage.

Nearly two hours into the meeting, Stroebel interjected. “One thing you might want to comment on is ranked-choice voting,” he said, voicing his opposition to a bipartisan effort in the legislature to adopt the voting method used in states including Maine and Alaska that allows voters to rank their preference on multiple candidates. The method ensures the winning candidate wins a majority rather than a plurality of the vote and essentially eliminates the risk of third-party candidates spoiling an election result.

“Senator Stroebel is referring to what’s called ranked-choice voting,” Davis told the crowd. “What I call it is ‘guarantee that Democrats win’.”

To members of this movement, this proposal is just the latest suspicious attempt to change the voting system to steal elections.

Hardline conservatives have grown increasingly convinced that the election system is rigged against them, largely because Trump has pushed those claims hard since the 2020 election. And in spite of the fact that there was no evidence of significant voter fraud in recent American elections, it has also mobilized local groups into action across the US.

Amy Cooter, a Middlebury College professor whose research focuses on militias and local rightwing groups, described the rise of patriot groups across the country as “a backlash movement”. After 2020, said Cooter, local rightwing groups have been motivated largely by “the last presidential election and thoughts that it was stolen – plus concerns that future elections might similarly be”.

The patriot movement in Wisconsin appears to be growing. Attendees at November’s meeting were unsurprised by the packed house: closer to 200 had attended the Ozaukee group’s last event in October, which featured a long lineup of speakers including Davis.


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Patriot groups in Wisconsin have found an awkward alliance with Republican officials and prominent activists in the state. A July gathering hosted by the Barron county Republican party, located across the state in north-west Wisconsin, drew closer to 500. That event, which included free beer and a gun raffle and was promoted by patriot groups, illustrated the common cause the movement’s activists have found with the grassroots of the GOP.

The Brown county Republican party, in the north-east of the state, has hosted Constitution Alive! events, which patriot organizations advertised broadly. (A spokesperson said the local GOP is formally unaffiliated with patriot groups.)

“As you know, I travel the whole state,” Davis told me in December. “And everywhere I go, I’m either asked to speak by patriot freedom groups, or Republican party chapters. And most of the time both groups show up.”

Many patriot groups in the state are animated by the Christian nationalist viewpoint.

Patriots of Ozaukee County declares on its website that it views as fundamental “truths” that “God is our creator” and “Jesus is our savior”. The Ozaukee county group has also hosted Constitution Alive! events touting the claim that the US constitution is a Christian document – led by the Patriot Academy organization, a Christian nationalist group that also offers weapons courses.

They’re not alone. Patriots United, a group in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, exemplifies the typical rhetoric of the Christian right, describing its membership as “constitutional conservative Christians who seek to glorify and honor God” with the explicit aim of increasing “Christian influence” in local government.

Another Wisconsin patriot group called North of 29 has begun to put into action the work that Davis advocates. With the help of groups affiliated with Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO and conspiracy theorist, the group has begun canvassing neighborhoods for voter fraud, using data that they refuse to share publicly to identify instances of suspicious activity. (A similar group in Colorado has been sued in federal court for allegedly going “door-to-door around Colorado to intimidate voters”, a practice the suit argues violates the Ku Klux Klan Act.)

Most prominent elected Wisconsin Republicans have refused to outright endorse Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen. But they have invoked the fears of election fraud to justify passing restrictive voting legislation that election-denying activists have clamored for.

One bill, passed by the legislature and vetoed by the Democratic governor, Tony Evers, in 2022, would have made it harder for people to qualify as “indefinitely confined”, a status disabled voters can claim to receive an absentee ballot. During the 2020 election, during the peak of the Covid pandemic, the number of people who described themselves as indefinitely confined so they could vote from home increased dramatically – a fact that became a central point in conspiracy theories about the election. They’ve also tried to ban the use of private grants to help fund elections, keying off another conspiracy theory driven by money donated by Mark Zuckerberg’s foundation to local offices for election administration; Evers vetoed a bill to ban such money, but the legislature has now advanced the ban as a constitutional amendment which will be considered by voters this spring.

Republicans in the legislature also unsuccessfully tried to force out Meagan Wolfe, the state’s nonpartisan top elections official who became the target of conspiracy theorists and election deniers after 2020.

During his November presentation in Grafton, Davis handed out a pamphlet listing 53 issues that voters concerned about election security should focus on in Wisconsin. The priorities, which Davis and other election-denying groups across in the state have embraced, range from abolishing the bipartisan Wisconsin elections commission to requiring ballots cast in state and local elections to be counted by hand.

Davis’s recommendations might prescribe technical changes to elections administration. But he cast their importance in starkly biblical terms.

“I don’t know where you are with the Lord, and I mean this sincerely: you better pray,” said Davis. If the 2024 election wasn’t conducted “the correct way”, he warned, “there’s going to be you-know-what to pay.”

This article was amended on 26 December 2023. Brown county is in north-east, not north-west, Wisconsin as an earlier version said.

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December 3, 2023

A Republican congressman is calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to take action and explain steps being taken to free a Catholic priest the international community says has been wrongfully imprisoned in Nicaragua.

"I am gravely concerned about the overall state of religious freedom in Nicaragua and write today inquiring about the wellbeing of His Excellency Rolando Álvarez Lagos, Bishop of Matagalpa, a prisoner of conscience who remains wrongfully detained by the brutal — and criminal — Ortega-Murillo regime in Nicaragua," GOP Rep. Chris Smith wrote in a letter to Blinken this week. 

Smith is demanding answers about what the Biden administration is doing to free Álvarez.

A court in Nicaragua sentenced the Roman Catholic bishop earlier this year to more than 26 years in prison for alleged treason after he refused to be exiled to the United States.

Álvarez was among several priests and seminarians arrested last year as the government of Nicaragua clashed with the clerics of the Catholic Church who have criticized the regime.

Álvarez refused to join four other priests and 222 other political prisoners expelled to the U.S. as part of a prisoner exchange with the U.S. State Department, according to the Catholic News Agency.

The bishop said he chose to remain in his country in protest against other Catholics who are being persecuted by the Nicaraguan government.

The bishop said if he boarded the plane, it would be admitting he was guilty of a crime he never committed, according to a person close to Álvarez who asked not to be identified out of fear of reprisal.

Ortega has alleged Catholic leaders were involved in a plot to overthrow him, citing their role as mediators with protest groups following the 2018 protests in the country that resulted in about 300 deaths.

"Bishop Álvarez is an innocent man enduring unspeakable suffering," Smith said during a House hearing he held Thursday where members heard testimony from Nicaraguan exiled prisoners of conscience and their relatives.  

"His life and ministry have been an inspiring example of compassion, kindness, integrity and selfless service."

In March, Pope Francis compared Álvarez's imprisonment to Hitler’s regime and called Ortega "unstable."

chris smith

Rep. Chris Smith (Fox News )

"Given this disturbing trend of oppression, I respectfully request an explanation of what actions the Biden Administration is undertaking to advocate on behalf of Bishop Álvarez — and to compel the Ortega-Murillo regime to immediately release him from prison," Smith wrote before providing 15 questions for the Biden administration to answer by Dec. 21. 

The questions included, "Does the State Department possess information on the current location and wellbeing of Bishop Álvarez? …. If so, where is Bishop Álvarez being held?"

Other questions posed in the letter: 

• "Has the State Department filed a formal inquiry with the Nicaraguan government concerning the status of Bishop Álvarez?"

• "Has the State Department received any formal request for assistance from the Vatican to petition for the release of Bishop Álvarez?"

• "What is the Department doing to advocate for the release of Bishop Álvarez?"

Smith also asked for information related to economic ties with Nicaragua given the Ortega regime’s human rights abuses.

Photo of Bishop Ronaldo Alvarez

Rolando Álvarez Lagos (STR via Getty Images)

"The United States needs to act quickly and use every tool at our disposal," Smith said at the hearing. "The international community can no longer turn a blind eye to what is happening to the people of Nicaragua, including and especially people of faith."

State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital the letter was received but that the department does not comment on congressional correspondence.

The spokesperson added that the department calls for the "immediate" and "unconditional" release of Álvarez and all others "wrongfully detained."



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A Republican congressman is calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to take action and explain steps being taken to free a Catholic priest the international community says has been wrongfully imprisoned in Nicaragua."I am gravely concerned about the overall state of religious freedom in Nicaragua and write today inquiring about the wellbeing...

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