Trump’s hold on Republican party remains

While former President Donald Trump has been out of the White House for nearly a year, he still influences the Republican party, specifically, his supporters.


Cecilia Shearon

Former President Donald Trump addresses attendees that showed up for his “Save America” rally in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.

Lauren White, Politics Reporter

Ten months removed from the White House, and banned from Twitter, former President Donald Trump continues to influence the Republican Party. 

Trump held a rally in Des Moines on Saturday, where thousands of supporters gathered to cheer him on while he reminisced on his presidency, made false claims about the 2020 election, and touted the fears he has about the Biden Administration. 

“We must send the radical left a message they will never ever forget and we must do it by electing record numbers of America first Republicans and we have a lot of great ones,” Trump said. 

While he has not confirmed a campaign for the 2024 election, he made suggestions of the idea in front of the crowd on Saturday, saying he wants to “Make America Great Again, again.” 

Austin Evans, a 19-year-old Iowa State University student, attended the rally in full support of the former president. Evans said that Trump still has a massive hold on the Republican Party and if he were to run in 2024, his campaign would either unite or divide the party. 

“I’m hoping he’s going to declare candidacy, because so far he hasn’t even said that he’s going to run. We’re all hoping he will,” Evans said. 

RELATED: Trump supporters on 2024, policy concerns

Evans said that Trump speaks for Iowans specifically because of the small communities that make up his support. 

“He really says the truth of Iowans and what we believe in, and I feel like he is also a big uniting force … I’ve never seen anything like him,” Evans said. 

Chrystal Becklar, a 57 year-old supporter from Crawfordsville, Iowa, said that people continue to support Trump because of his honesty, she said, unlike the Democrats. 

Saturday’s event was riddled with falsehoods about the election and other exaggerated or false narratives. 

“He doesn’t beat around the bush, he comes out and says how it is and that’s what we need to hear. We need the truth. People want the truth, and we’re not getting it from the Biden Administration,” Becklar said. 

Speakers at the event included Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Rep. Ashley Hinson, Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Sen. Chuck Grassley where they claimed that the U.S. was better — wealthier, safer, and happier — under the Trump Administration. 

Reynolds said that in 2020 the U.S. had a president who got things done. She said that Trump secured the border, protected law enforcement, put America first, and unleashed historic economic growth across the country.

“The radical, irresponsible, reckless policies that we see coming out of the Biden administration can be summed up in three words: inaction, chaos, and crisis,” Reynolds said. 

The Republican Party, in Iowa at least, is still Trump’s party — A recent Iowa Poll from Th Des Moines Register conducted on Oct. 4, said that the majority of Iowans are favorable of Trump, and 91 percent of Republicans had a favorable view of him.

Trump endorsed Grassley’s reelection campaign and alluded to also endorsing Reynolds in the near future, during his speech on Saturday. 

Grassley accepted Trump’s endorsement at the rally, saying it would be foolish to reject someone who has as strong support among Republicans as Trump.

Johnson County Democratic Party Chair Ed Cranston said misinformation coming from Trump and various political heads is detrimental to the public.

“Trump is really just an entertainer, and when misinformation is shared, there’s a risk that it will be picked up and passed on, and that is not helpful for just believing in facts and science,” Cranston said. 

Though he is a Democrat, Cranston feels that Grassley, Hinson, Miller-Meeks and Reynolds are “tied” to Trump, reflecting poorly on and holding back the Republican party.

“A lot of Iowans probably gave him the benefit of the doubt, not knowing, and that they know what he would do, I think, in general, Iowans will think that this is not who really represents them,” Cranston said. 

Cranston said that he assumes supporters of Trump are already supporters of Grassley, but the endorsement could actually hurt the senator. 

“I don’t think the senator of 40 years is going to gain any support from that endorsement. And I think he could actually lose support based on that, because of the outlier that Trump is with the values of Iowans,” Cranston said. 

Muscatine County Republican Party Chair Fred Grunder said that endorsements from Trump tend to be influential for the party because a lot of the candidates he has endorsed have gone on to win their seats. About 60 percent of his endorsements have won their elections from 2018 to 2020. 

Grunder said that Trump, during his presidency and now, has aligned with the conservative party and said that is why he continues to stand behind Trump. 

“Any elected official that really is concerned about putting our policies forward is in line with what Trump was doing and probably would do again if he gets back in,” Grunder said.