1. Will Trump swoop in and dominate?
Trump isn’t collaborating in any official Iowa State Truthful political occasions — hosted by the Des Moines Register, Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Sen. Joni Ernst — however he might be making an look on the fairgrounds on Saturday.
The objective: Roll up with an entourage of Republican congressmen, absorb all the eye, and make the opposite candidates (together with Ron DeSantis) look irrelevant. One well-sourced Republican mentioned Trump needs to be carted from place to position, slightly than do the usual walkaround — and possibly purchase a spherical of pork chops for folks alongside the way in which.
His followers are already making themselves recognized. Mike Pence fielded a trolling query — “How’s life going since Tucker Carlson ruined your profession?” — from a staffer for Kari Lake, who might be rallying for Trump right here on Saturday. Supporters in Trump gear (together with “Again to Again Iowa Champs” hats) heckled Pence, then held an impromptu press convention because the ex-vice president did radio interviews.
What does Trump have to fret about? Iowa Republicans swear there’s a big contingent of sentimental Trump supporters who nonetheless harbor doubts about his electability. In the event that they exist, they’ll be straightforward sufficient for reporters to identify — the occasion is a uncommon political cattle name the place the crowds aren’t simply hardcore conservative activists.
2. Can Ron DeSantis be regular?
Candidates use the occasion to indicate their relatable facet, and no person is underneath extra strain to take action than DeSantis. The Florida governor’s scaled-down, extra accessible marketing campaign is being watched carefully for errors, typically frivolous ones; a video from one go to to a county truthful final month, when he advised a toddler that his frosty drink had “quite a lot of sugar,” got millions of views. It might not be truthful, however it’s a part of the truthful. DeSantis will sit down with Reynolds on Saturday morning, then be adopted by reporters and voters — keep in mind the Pence hecklers — who need to ask him questions and see his retail campaigning up shut.
3. Will an underdog bark?
Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley, and Tim Scott are all making an attempt to reap the benefits of DeSantis’s latest ballot droop; all of them, say Iowa Republicans, have a better means with crowds. Ramaswamy and Haley might be competing for consideration with DeSantis and Trump on Saturday — in contrast to both man, they’re talking on the Register’s soapbox, the place voters are inspired to ask unscripted questions. Scott will cease by the truthful on Tuesday, by which level conservatives who harbor doubts about Trump will see whether or not anybody is producing actual enthusiasm.
4. Who will Biden’s challengers join with?
Each Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Marianne Williamson might be on the truthful on Saturday, regardless that the nationwide Democratic celebration has kicked Iowa’s caucus down its main calendar. Every will get entry to the biggest crowds of voters and gawkers they’ve seen all 12 months — with no Joe Biden to distract them. We’ve already noticed some home made pro-Kennedy gear right here, and Republicans are relishing any consideration that he will get. So are Democrats, who assume that the presidential scion turns into much less of an issue for Biden each time he begins speaking.