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Ron & Nikki’s Road to Perdition

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks at a campaign event following her third-place finish in the Iowa caucus on January 16, 2024, in Manchester, New Hampshire.
No, Iowa wasn’t essential for Nikki Haley—but she wanted it, and made a late play for it. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Peter Hamby
January 16, 2024

For all the inside baseball talk about frigid weather and turnout operations and which Republican candidate “needed” a second-place finish, there’s really only one lesson to take away from the Iowa caucuses last night: This is Donald Trump’s Republican Party.

While I was stuck watching caucus results on a holiday, my brother Michael was happily watching the NFL playoffs. At one point, he sent me a vintage clip we both love: legendary Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick scrambling for an overtime touchdown in a late-season game against the Minnesota Vikings in 2002. It’s a spectacular play. Vick is so powerful and so fast that he sprints through a gap between two Vikings defensive backs chasing him downfield. Both are dialing in for the tackle, eager to save the day, but neither of them sees the other. Vick accelerates just as both Vikings players jump for him and miss. Embarrassingly, they collide with each other and collapse to the turf as Vick skates into the end zone.