Iowa and New Hampshire are two states when it comes to politics that are to some degree are jaded to the star power of candidates. These are the states that have presidential candidates visiting in barber shops when you walk in for a haircut. These are the states where you are going to lunch at 12:00 (when the town horn sounds) with your parts manager from the John Deere dealership only to find a governor talking to a group in the back room of the local pizza restaurant.
I had seen the reaction to Donald Trump when he came to Winterset, Iowa about 6 weeks ago. The reception was strong, a decent crowd and a sold out fundraiser (for the county GOP) event where Mr. Trump was the keynote speaker. Overall a good event with positive reviews. I was curious as to how he was “actually” doing on the campaign trail, so I decided to trek out the Iowa State Fairgrounds today to see for myself.
Rumors had been spread far and wide that he was coming to Iowa today and was bringing his jet helicopter for campaigning around Iowa in the weeks and months to come. As the ultimate campaign ploy, inducement or public relations move, Mr. Trump had also promised to give children a ride in his fancy little play toy. True to his word, he arrived in his usual flamboyant Trump style, gave a short talk to the attendees at the ball-field where the chopper landed, then loaded up the future voters for a ride of lifetime.
It is at this point, where the train begins derailing (if you’re a Democrat) or for Trump’s purposes, the train begins picking up speed and is pouring black smoke.
Donald walked over, greeted the children, shook hands with the parents and he and his entourage left in trams for the 4 block ride up the road to the Fairgrounds. As we proceeded up the streets to the back gate (I was just 1 car length behind), I began noticing people standing in their front yards holding signs that read “We Love You Donald”. Since when did you ever see someone say “we love you” when that person is running for President?
Entering the back gate was almost as bad as trying to get a front door spot on Thanksgiving night at Walmart for sales beginning at 4:00 AM for the Black Friday. People were literally running (yes full-grown adults) down the sidewalks approaching the entrance yelling “he’s coming, he’s coming”!
Before Mr. Trump could even get through the gate, the crowds had grown to behemoth proportions. Trump his self was being escorted by his body men and Iowa State Troopers who were running blocking for the gaggle of reporters. But beyond the twenty or so surrounding him, people were lining the streets, packing the streets and trying just to get a glimpse of this presidential candidate. From my position just outside the inner circle, this gave me the vantage point to “ask” well wishers and those screaming words of encouragement “why” are you supporting Mr. Trump?
Without a doubt and I did ask the same question to approximately fifty or so “Trumpsters”, The prevailing theme was, “I want Trump because he tells it like it is” or “I want Trump because I am sick of politicians lying to me” and my favorite that I heard, “I want Trump because he knows how to make money and America needs fixed”.
Throughout my tenure with the campaign (which lasted about 6 blocks) which was headed to the world-famous “Butter Cow”, I could hear chants of “we love you Donald-thanks for running Mr. Trump-Please win Mr. Trump, we are with you” and many more positive statements.
I can honestly say; I have seen many a candidate in my day. I have seen many candidates speak to a handful of people and I have seen them speak to hundreds at fundraising events. I have never seen this sort of reaction to a candidate other than Barack Obama back in 2008. These people are and were literally pleading with Donald Trump to win and turn this country around. I cannot tell you how many times someone yelled “Mr. Trump, make America great again”, in which Mr. T responded with ” I will” and then would wave in the direction of the plea.
In the end; my favorite part of my visit today (other than the hour I spent with the Trump clan) was asking around to other well wishers, “anyone see Hillary today“? Their reaction; “Oh was Hillary here“? Yes, she was at the same time Mr. Trumps helicopter was flying over the Fairgrounds. Some things in life are truly priceless!
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