Donald Trump

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a watch party during the 2024 Iowa Republican presidential caucuses in Des Moines, Iowa on January 15, 2024.

(Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump Iowa Win Called a 'Stark Reminder' of Threat He Poses to Democracy

"Now is the time for the American people to stand up, mobilize, and vote like the survival of our democracy is in the balance—because it is."

Former President Donald Trump's victory in Iowa's Republican presidential caucuses on Monday should serve as a "stark reminder" of the threat he poses to U.S. democracy, progressive campaigners said after the GOP frontrunner finished 30 percentage points ahead of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the party's first primary contest of 2024.

That's a record margin for a contested Iowa Republican caucus, far surpassing Bob Dole's 13-percentage-point win in 1988, according toThe Associated Press, which called the low-turnout race for Trump just 30 minutes after caucus doors opened.

Sean Eldridge, president and founder of Stand Up America, said in a statement that the former president's win is another clear indication that "the 2024 election will be a referendum on the future of our democracy."

"Trump and his allies are laying the groundwork for a second administration that would be even more extreme than the last, from pledging to weaponize the Department of Justice to retaliate against his political opponents to pardoning himself and January 6th insurrectionists," said Eldridge. "Now is the time for the American people to stand up, mobilize, and vote like the survival of our democracy is in the balance—because it is."

The former president is facing more than 90 felony charges at the state and federal levels, some of which stem from his central role in the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection—an attack fueled by his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

Trump's voters in Iowa have imbibed that lie, with 90% of them telling entrance pollsters on Monday that they do not believe President Joe Biden—who is running for reelection this year—won the 2020 election legitimately.

Trump has been removed from primary ballots in Colorado and Maine over his actions on and in the lead-up to the January 6 insurrection. The former president has appealed both decisions, and the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to weigh in soon.

Trump's public statements and reporting on his allies' private machinations make clear that, if reelected, the former president intends to aggressively pursue a far-right agenda and attempt to weaponize government agencies against his political opponents, including those he has described as "radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country"—an echo of Nazi rhetoric.

Some of the Trump team's planning for a second term can be seen in the work of Project 2025, a coalition of right-wing advocacy organizations whose stated purpose is to "pave the way for an effective conservative administration."

As Rotimi Adeoye reported for The Daily Beast on Sunday, "Project 2025's goal is to recruit thousands of conservatives to Washington, D.C. to replace the existing government workers they believe are part of the 'deep state' to enact their radical Republican agenda."

"Their proposed agenda is comprehensive, advocating for the privatization of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the weakening of protections against foreign election interference, a reduction in visas for international students, and, notably, the dismantling of federal abortion protections," Adeoye wrote. "This encompasses aggressive measures such as restricting access to contraception, leveraging the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for heightened 'abortion surveillance' and data collection, and revoking a Department of Defense policy prohibiting abortion travel funding."

"The moment Trump takes the oath of office and utters, 'So help me, God,' the gears of the right-wing conservative movement could be set in motion, translating the ambitious Project 2025 document into action," Adeoye added. "The potential implications of a Trump administration could be detrimental to Americans. We must prevent this from happening."

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