For the past week, I’ve been on the road in Iowa, covering the presidential campaigns in anticipation of the caucuses themselves on February 1st. I’ve checked out rallies and campaign appearances by major candidates such as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to washed-up hacks like Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson. But the biggest and most important candidate I’ve covered so far is none other than Donald Trump.
Whether you like it or not, Trump’s campaign is the strongest political upheaval in America since Ronald Reagan swept to power in 1980. I’ve attended two of Trump’s Iowa rallies so far, one in Pella on the 23rd and another in Iowa City on Tuesday, and it’s absolutely astounding how nakedly the media is lying about him. Leftist shills in the MSM and their cuckservative allies have been pushing a narrative about Trump and his supporters that borders on libelous.
While we still have a long way to go before the general election, it’s clear based on what I’ve seen that the only things that can stop Trump are a rigged nomination or an assassin’s bullet. Trump’s message resonates with a shockingly wide swath of the American public, and he’s inspired a populist uprising that won’t be going away even if he doesn’t make it to the White House.
Americans For Making America Great Again
The first thing that struck me about Donald Trump’s campaign is the extent to which the media downplays attendance at his rallies, a point the Donald has raised in his speeches. At the rally in Pella (a town of only 10,000), at least 2,000-3,000 people were in attendance; in fact, two-thirds of the people in line had to be moved into an overflow auditorium, where Trump gave a second speech after he was done talking to the main group. You can watch my recording of Trump’s speech here.
Trump’s Iowa City speech was absolute bedlam. In contrast to the 2,000 people that the Washington Post claimed were in attendance, I’d estimate there were at least 5,000 people there, and most likely way more: the crowds were so thick where I was that I couldn’t get a precise head count. In fact, Trump had to delay his speech by 45 minutes while the volunteers tried to cram as many people into the auditorium as possible, and there were still huge numbers of people who had to be sent away.
Moreover, the demographics of Trump supporters bear little resemblance to the “angry white men” stereotype pushed by the left. Both rallies attracted a wide spectrum of people: young, old, middle-aged, and roughly equal numbers of men and women. The Iowa City rally was especially skewed towards the young, with tons of cute college girls up front. In contrast, the other GOP candidates and Hillary Clinton can only draw old people to their events.
And for all the hand-wringing over the “hatred” and “rage” that Trump is supposedly stirring up, the only violence I witnessed at either rally was from anti-Trump protesters. In particular, at the Iowa City rally, leftist hecklers started throwing apples at Trump (which is assault) after he called Bernie Sanders a “communist.” Additionally, infiltrators kept trying to disrupt Trump by blowing whistles. You can watch my recording of Trump’s Iowa City speech below (the apple-throwing incident is at 6:31):
Outside the rally itself, a dozen misfits had set up shop, wielding signs complaining about Trump’s supposed “racism.” Their scruffy, lice-ridden appearance (there was even a bearded lady) was a stark contrast to the well-dressed, wholesome-looking Trump supporters. As we left the building to go back to our cars, one of them jeered at us, “Don’t walk on the socialist sidewalks!”
Moreover, Trump’s fans are enthusiastic about the man to a degree which is almost unheard of in politics; of all the candidates I’ve seen so far, only Bernie Sanders’ supporters even come close in their fanaticism. Both rallies had the atmosphere of a rock show, with supporters mobbing the stage to get autographs and pictures with the man. At the Pella event, the audience gave Trump a standing ovation that lasted so long that he had to ask them to sit down.
Finally, Trump has expanded the conservative base to a degree that no other politician in the U.S. has done in eons. During the introductory speeches, one of Trump’s campaign co-chairs asked how many people in the audience had never voted in the caucuses before. Close to half the crowd’s hands went up. Trump has done the seemingly impossible: get people who are tuned out of the political process involved again, and supporting conservative principles at that.
Will Trump Win Iowa?
It’s clear that Donald Trump’s combination of nationalist, conservative policy proposals, his personal charisma and his willingness to speak the truth will carry him through the presidential primaries. But the real question is whether he can win Iowa, the only one of the early contests where he’s lagged behind: he’s been trailing Ted Cruz in the polls for the past month, though he’s been posting solid leads in the past week.
Having seen what I’ve seen, I believe that Trump is not only going to win the Iowa caucus, he’s going to do so by a convincing margin. Not only are his rallies attracting the biggest crowds, I spoke to several of his staffers at the Pella rally; his volunteers are seasoned operatives who know what they’re doing. Indeed, Trump supporters are probably underrepresented in the polls due to the fact that many have been disengaged from politics and voting.
Trump’s much-maligned move of skipping tonight’s Fox News GOP debate in Des Moines won’t hurt him one bit. The news that he wouldn’t be there broke during the Iowa City rally, and none of the people around me mentioned it at all. Not only will Fox News see a massive drop in their ratings (since Trump was the sole reason why many people watched the previous debates), the other candidates will likely spend most of the debate whining about him.
I’m going to be covering the presidential campaign in Iowa for Return of Kings for the next few days, writing daily reports on the state of the race and also covering the caucuses themselves on February 1st. While there’s still time for the winds to change direction, Iowa will almost certainly be hopping about the Trump Train.