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The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

‘Twas the night before the caucus, and tensions are rising among the candidates.

Dalton ’24
DeSantis speaks at his event in Ankeny, Iowa.

Despite facing bitterly cold temperatures, voters in Iowa continue to show up to political events for their last chance to hear the presidential candidates speak before tomorrow’s caucus. A caucus is similar to a primary election, except it requires voters to physically appear at voting centers based on their precinct and register their preferred candidate. Meanwhile, supporters give speeches in favor of their contender and try to get others to vote for them. As of Saturday night, Donald Trump leads in the polls by 48%, with Nikki Haley pushing ahead of Ron DeSantis by 4%, according to The Des Moines Register.

Regardless of his low polling numbers, 38-year-old Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy hit the ground running in Ames, Iowa. The local restaurant where his event was held saw a smaller turnout compared to Haley’s and DeSantis’ events later that day. In his speech, he touted the ideals of the American Revolution, citing the Declaration of Independence on numerous occasions as a representation of the American values in which he believes.

At Ramaswamy’s event, there was a significant turnout of younger voters. 11-year-old Anderson proudly sported a Ramaswamy hat and spoke of his faithful backing of the candidate. 17-year-old Grant Jansen expressed appreciation for having a younger candidate run. 

“I feel like I can connect with [Ramaswamy] more, and not necessarily agree, but understand what he’s saying,” Jansen said.

Ramaswamy speaking in Ames, Iowa. Channing ’25 Staff Photographer.

The difference between Nikki Haley’s rally and Ramaswamy’s event was evident. Queen’s “Radio Ga Ga” blared through the speakers in the back of a Jethro’s BBQ. Women flaunting hot pink boas were riled up with assorted chants in support of Haley. 23-year-old Texas resident Olivia Piercy was an enthusiastic spectator who traveled to Iowa in support of Haley. 

“She’s the authentic, real candidate that we’ve all been looking for,” Piercy said, “And if that means coming to Iowa and talking to people about why I believe in her, then that’s what I’ll do.”

Amidst her close battle against DeSantis for second place, Haley began immediately with a passionate speech that covered several topics. She highlighted the U.S. national debt, foreign affairs and veteran affairs. Specifically, she mentioned her husband to exemplify the shared struggles of male and female combat veterans. Attendees were hopeful in her ability to follow Trump’s leading ideals like abortion regulation and immigration reform without the drama that many believe would come with his presidency.

“Nikki is the one that can beat Biden,” 74-year-old Haley supporter Betsy Price said. “She’s a businesswoman, a common sense conservative, that people can trust.”

Women at Haley rally pose with signs. Dalton ’24 staff photographer.

DeSantis’s event, held at The District Venue in Ankeny, Iowa, started with a prayer from a local Iowan pastor, which was met with enthusiasm from the crowd. After the prayer, there were four introductions before DeSantis appeared, featuring talk show host Steve Deace, Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie, Texas Congressman Chip Roy and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. All of these speakers showed excitement towards Ron DeSantis, matching the energy of the crowd. 

A man holds a DeSantis sign at a rally. Channing ’25 staff photographer.

Following Reynolds, DeSantis appeared with his wife Casey and their three children on stage. DeSantis then discussed his experience as the Governor of Florida, specifically highlighting his COVID-19 policies, gender-affirming surgery ban and abortion ban as some achievements of his time in office. Despite his supporters showing their excitement through cheers and chants, DeSantis faced challenges from youth in the crowd when he opened up to public questions.

A student journalist from Harvard Westlake faced sharp criticism following her question to DeSantis. 

“I was wondering, especially considering recent events in Perry and your staunch support of gun violence, how do you suppose we fight the violence-” the West Coast journalist said before she was interrupted by DeSantis himself, asking her where she was from and criticizing her for “spewing propaganda.” 

With the caucus tomorrow, all three candidates have tried to stir enthusiasm in their crowds and encourage them to caucus despite the record-cold temperatures this year. As the day progresses, votes could still swing in unexpected ways. 

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About the Contributors
Dalton ’24
Dalton ’24, Co-Managing Editor and Head of Politics
Stella '25, Co-Editor in Chief
Channing '25, Head Politics Editor
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    Jason SeitzJan 16, 2024 at 8:40 pm

    This was very informative. I’ve learned a lot about the candidates from this concise analysis.