Tonight the 2024 campaign for the presidency begins in earnest when Iowa Republicans gather in caucuses

By Dave Andrusko

And so it begins. The 2024 “race” for the presidency has been in third gear for a couple of years but with today’s Iowa caucuses what was a trot will morph into a full-blown bolt to the finish.

Political reporters lap this stuff up. They get to pontificate to their heart’s desire. So we read “Five things to watch in Iowa’s Republican presidential caucuses” (CNN); “5 things to watch for in the Iowa caucuses” (ABC News); “Trump, Haley and DeSantis vie for strong showings in Iowa caucuses” (Washington Post); “Here’s what to watch for today” [NBC News); “Election 2024 In Final Push, Trump, Haley and DeSantis Battle for Votes in Iowa” (New York Times); etc., etc., etc.

The irony is that as soon as their prediction stumble, if not fall on their face, reporters will either explain them away (e.g., the impact of the frigid temperatures and snow, the unexpected strength of the Trump/Haley/DeSantis ground game, the shrewdness of previously unknown Trump/Haley/DeSantis strategy) or ignore them and focus on New Hampshire and Haley’s home state of South Carolina.

The hocus pocus stuff is always great fun. Such as guessing which candidate’s supporters are more “energized” (which will change 10 seconds after the results are tabulated), who has the “momentum” [which will change 15 seconds later). and which way conservative Evangelicals break (they have been among Mr. Trump’s strongest and most reliable supporters).

And so it goes. Speculation+guesswork+conjecture. It’ll all be tested tonight starting at 7 pm CT when Iowa Republicans gather in over 1,600 libraries, churches, and other places to kick off the race for President.