The reason why Donald Trump started attacking Vivek Ramaswamy over the weekend was that he finally realized that Ramaswamy was trying to steal votes from him in Iowa.
In the final 72 hours of the Iowa caucus campaign, one in which he gleefully pushed all manner of boundaries, Ramaswamy finally—and perhaps fatally—appears to have incurred Trump’s wrath.
After all the obsequious praise, after all the bloviating conspiracies, Trump and his team finally recognized the grandest conspiracy of all: If you were trying to steal votes directly from Trump, you’d run a campaign like Ramaswamy.
Poetically, Ramaswamy was done in with an audacious argument that distilled the tortured logic of his campaign—that, in order to save Trump, America First patriots needed to vote for him.
The con that Ramaswamy was attempting to run all along was to fill the MAGA void as Trump didn’t show up for the campaign, which would allow him to peel off Trump’s voters without ever having to confront the former president. Ramaswamy was trying to out-grift Trump, and for months it worked.
For months, the scheme worked. Ramaswamy avoided Trump’s anger while courting Trump’s voters. It wasn’t until just before caucus day, when the weather got historically bad in Iowa, and the Trump campaign started to worry about the size of their margin of victory that they realized that they might need those votes that Ramaswamy was trying to take, and they better do something to get them back.
Trump needs a big margin of victory in Iowa because he has built his whole primary campaign on the idea that his victory is inevitable.
If Trump stumbles in Iowa, one of the big reasons could be that the old grifter got out conned by a guy named Vivek.
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Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association