It wasn’t that long ago that Americans elected a moron because he seemed like someone you’d like to have a beer with. Looks like an awful lot of people are falling into that same trap again:
For many Americans, the Trump presidential campaign amounts to a billionaire talking endlessly, and entertainingly, on television. But here in Iowa, it’s another story. Trump is trying to beat the politicians on their turf, building one of the most extensive organizations in the Republican field.
The groundwork laid by Trump’s sizable Iowa staff, with 10 paid operatives and growing, is the clearest sign yet that the unconventional candidate is looking beyond his summer media surge and attempting to win February’s first-in-the-nation caucuses.
This is becoming a cause of concern for rival campaigns.
“I see them as a major threat to all the other campaigns because of the aggressiveness of their ground game,” said Sam Clovis, an Iowa conservative who leads former Texas governor Rick Perry’s campaign.
“You cannot swing a dead cat in Iowa and not hit a Trump person,” Clovis continued. “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. . . . Every event we go to — the Boone County Eisenhower Social, the Black Hawk County Lincoln Dinner, the boots-and-barbecue down in Denison — the Trump people are everywhere with literature and T-shirts and signing people up.
“The Trump bus will pull into an empty parking lot and just be there on the main drag, like the little town of Le Mars, the ‘Ice Cream Capital of the World.’ . . . People will pull over, go sign up. They’ll get 50 people in an hour and go to another town. That happens all over the state.”
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), in an interview Thursday, said of Trump: “I think he’s got a real campaign here. Whether he’s willing to devote the time to go to as many places as some of the other candidates are going is the question.”
Backers of former congressman Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns, which were well organized in Iowa, see Trump appealing to Paul’s base here despite the competing candidacy of Paul’s son Rand, Kentucky’s junior U.S. senator.
“He’s catching on with the average Americans who have had it with foreign wars, our trade policies and a stalled economy,” said Drew Ivers, Ron Paul’s 2012 Iowa campaign chairman.