I don't go by polls, I go by pols. I follow their actions. I watch their moves. The final ad for Donald Trump before today's caucuses in Iowa is not an attack on one of his rivals, or even Hillary Clinton. The ad is his version of "Morning In America." It features packed rallies, enthusiasm, upbeat rhetoric and smiling faces.
No weather vanes showing an opponent's changing positions.
No black and white photo of an opponent with a narrator saying the opponent is not good for America.
Just Trump and patriotism and make America great again.
Trump has succeeded in making this nomination process a referendum on Trump. It is all about him, and he is winning.
From the Wall Street Journal:
One candidate – Donald Trump – is dominating the conversation among Iowans on Facebook ahead of Monday’s presidential nominating caucuses.
The social network reports that 181,300 Iowans talked about Mr. Trump on Facebook in the past week. The next most-discussed Republican candidate was Sen. Ted Cruz, with 48,000 people mentioning his name.
The Facebook data reflect public opinion polls, which show Mr. Trump leading Mr. Cruz in the days before the caucuses. In third place opinion polls is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who also ranks third in Facebook mentions. Mr. Rubio sparked comments from 21,500 Iowans in the past week.
At the back of the pack in the online conversation: Govs. Chris Christie and John Kasich, who were mentioned by 5,600 and 2,300 Iowans, respectively.How does this play in Iowa?
Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post reported:
DUBUQUE, Iowa — As Republican front-runner Donald Trump arrived in Iowa this weekend for a final burst of campaigning ahead of the Monday caucuses, he did so in his usual over-the-top fashion: rolling his jet to a stop in front of an airport hangar filled with supporters in this eastern Iowa river town.
The arrival — set to the theme song from the movie “Air Force One” — captured the surreal theatrics that have defined Trump’s candidacy, attracting attention in a way that prompts many to ask: Is this for real? Is he for real?
In any other election year with any other candidate, Trump’s consistently high poll numbers and massive rally crowds would earn him the title of presumed nominee. But this year is unlike any other and Trump is unlike any other GOP candidate — a thrice-married billionaire real estate developer who has never held elected office, wears white shoes to the Iowa State Fair, curses at his rallies and gives rides to children in his Trump-emblazoned helicopter.
Yet Trump is on the cusp of something historic: A candidate who has broken nearly every rule of traditional campaigning is favored to win the Iowa caucuses and several primary contests to follow. The prospect has continued to baffle political pundits, strategists and party leaders, many of whom don’t seem to want to believe what is happening until they see some proof. The caucuses on Monday provide Trump with the opportunity to provide some.Republicans know they have to expand their party's base of support.
Trump is. He is bringing in Democrats, independents, and people who never vote. They want to Make America Great Again.
From Miss Johnson:
Trump was everything the party didn’t think it wanted, with his plans for mass deportation and a “great, great wall” on the U.S.-Mexico border. But he seemed to be exactly what many Republican voters wanted: an outsider who has never held elected office and is pumping his own money into his presidential campaign rather than relying on a super PAC. He wasn’t afraid to attack the Republican establishment, his GOP rivals or Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. Plus, he made debates fun to watch.
“He’s got everybody stirred up and that’s a good thing,” said Vickie Hagen, 57, a school bus driver who lives in Davenport and went to Trump’s last event on Saturday. She plans to caucus for the first time on Monday, voting for Trump so that he can win her state and prove his doubters wrong. “He’s an anomaly, so it’s like: Let’s find out if he’s really real. I know he can do what does. He’s a great businessman.”Up in Pittsburgh, columnist Salena Zito wrote:
This country's political alignment is missing one thing, and it's a big thing — a party that represents the moderately traditionalist values of the country's majority.
America doesn't need two secular, cosmopolitan parties.
Trump's secret is that he has found an unoccupied space to practice politics. Call it the politically incorrect, moderately traditionalist, main-street economics zone, where winners and losers exist (just as in the real world) and it is not a crime to believe unabashedly in American greatness.
Trump has stoked xenophobic fears and used his crass showmanship to mark out this territory. His tactics of strong demagoguery make it completely understandable to lament his success.
Yet, in order for our political system to work, people must feel as if they have real choices that can make a difference — and they haven't felt that way for some time.
This election cycle began with Americans being told that Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton were the inevitable choices. Many people just snapped.I disagree with her on xenophobes; it is not a phobia if the fear is real and Muslims and Mexicans are killing Americans.
Trump succeeded on making this election all about him -- and yet, all about his supporters as well. The irony of those who oppose the wall is that they bring up Ellis Island.
Ellis Island was set up to screen out the people we did not want in America.
This is our country. We will decide who gets in. And this is our White House. We will decide who occupies it for the next four years. I have a feeling that decision is made.
For years, Republicans have looked for the next Reagan. Someday, if all goes well, we may look for the next Trump.
Polls show he's at 30% in Iowa -- 6 points above his nearest rival. That's a number that can trigger an avalanche. And that is how he and his rivals are acting. Even William Kristol feels it.
But polls are often wrong. We shall see.DMR and Q polls consistent. Assume trends continued through today, and a bit of break to frontrunner, could be Trump 33, Cruz 22, Rubio 20.— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) February 1, 2016